Thursday, July 13, 2017

Unknown or Undetermined: Aviat A-1B Husky, N211AM; fatal accident occurred July 13, 2017 in Herriman, Salt Lake County, Utah

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah
Lycoming; Milliken, Colorado

Location: Herriman, UT
Accident Number: WPR17FA149
Date & Time: 07/13/2017, 0940 MDT
Registration: N211AM
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On July 13, 2017, about 0940 mountain daylight time, an Aviat A1-B airplane, N211AM, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Herriman, Utah. The flight instructor and pilot receiving instruction were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed during the postimpact fire. The airplane was privately owned and operated by the instructor as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed South Valley Regional Airport (U42), West Jordan, Utah, about 0927.

A law enforcement officer who was driving west at a higher elevation than the accident site saw the airplane flying low up a canyon. He turned away briefly, and when he looked back, the airplane made a steep right turn and its nose dropped, and the airplane appeared to be losing altitude quickly. The trooper also stated that it appeared that they had nowhere to go and was making a last-ditch attempt to escape. He was able to see the tops of both wings while the airplane was in the turn. He did not see any smoke coming from the airplane. As he continued driving, he lost sight of the airplane and eventually pulled over to see if the airplane had climbed out of the canyon. He then drove further up the canyon and saw smoke rising from the bottom of the canyon in the area that he had last seen the airplane.

Radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that, after takeoff, the airplane flew on a southwesterly heading toward and into the box canyon. The radar data indicated that the airplane reached an altitude of 6,000 ft during the last 1.5 minutes of the flight. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 34, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/19/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 835 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 37, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/25/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 2887 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model) 

The flight instructor held an airline transport pilot certificate issued on April 11, 2015, and a flight instructor certificate that was issued on December 12, 2011. A review of the instructor's logbook indicated 1,553.1 total hours of flight experience, with 78.4 total hours in the previous 90 days and 24.7 hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed on April 9, 2013. The pilot held a first-class medical certificate issued on January 19, 2015, with no limitations.

No personal flight records were located for the pilot receiving instruction. He reported 2,877 total hours of flight experience on his most recent medical certificate application with 160 hours in the previous 6 months. FAA airman records indicated that his private pilot certificate was issued based on an Australian flight certificate. Review of his airman and medical certificates revealed that his medical certificate had been revoked by the FAA following an investigation of his failure to report a disability, and that his Australian flight certificates had previously been revoked for falsification. The pilot's medical certificate was denied on August 25, 2016.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N211AM
Model/Series: A 1B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2110
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/30/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 871 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A1P
Registered Owner: SWGB AVIATION LLC
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The tandem two-seat, high-wing airplane was constructed of steel tube frame covered with fabric. Flight controls were installed at each seat. The accident airplane received its standard airworthiness certificate on October 20, 2000.

The recording hour meter reading at the accident site was not identifiable.

Examination of maintenance records revealed no unresolved maintenance discrepancies with the airplane before the accident flight.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: U42, 4606 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0935 MDT
Direction from Accident Site: 45°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 150°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 15°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: West Jordan, UT (U42)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
West Jordan, UT (U42)
Type of Clearance:None
Departure Time: MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

The automated weather observation station located at U42, about 11 miles northeast of the accident site reported at 0935: wind from 150° at 10 knots, 10 miles visibility, temperature 81°F, dew point 59°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.19 inches of mercury. U42 was located at an elevation of 4,406 mean sea level (msl); density altitude was calculated to be 6,980 ft.

The accident site was located at an elevation of 7,340 ft msl, with a calculated density altitude of 10,313 ft msl based on the reported conditions at U42.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 40.485556, -112.173611 (est) 

The airplane came to rest on down-sloping heavily wooded terrain about 12 miles southwest of the departure airport. Multiple broken branches were noted southwest of the main wreckage; the airplane was traveling in a northeast direction on a heading of about 060° with the nose of the main wreckage situated downslope. Investigators stated that the trees that the airplane struck were 30 ft from the main wreckage. Witness marks and broken branches were about 20 ft up from the base of the trees. All the major structural components of the airframe and engine were accounted for and were collocated with the main wreckage. As a result of the postcrash fire, the airplane was destroyed.

The airplane came to rest on its right side, with the airframe tubing that remained mostly intact. The fabric was destroyed in the fire, and exposed the airframe tubing along with the flight control cables. Flight control continuity was established throughout the airplane. The right wing partially separated; visual examination of the fuel cell revealed no obvious holes in the fuel tank. The left wing also partially separated from the fuselage, with most of the wing twisted and was bent under the fuselage. The fuel tank was breached.

The engine came to rest in its relative normal position and sustained thermal damage. A visual examination of the engine revealed no holes in the engine case. Post crash examination of the engine revealed no evidence of a mechanical anomaly that would have precluded normal operation. Additional information is attached to the public docket for this accident. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Utah Department of Health – Office of the Medical Examiner, Taylorsville, Utah, completed autopsies for both pilots. The cause of death for the flight instructor was conflagration injury and head trauma. The cause of death for the pilot receiving instruction was conflagration and blunt force injuries.

The Utah Department of Health, Unified State Laboratories: Public Health Bureau of Forensic Toxicology, Office of the Medical Examiner, Taylorsville, Utah, performed toxicological testing of specimens from the flight instructor. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, drugs of abuse, prescription drug panel, and opiates. The specimens tested positive for ethanol at 0.04 grams per 100 milliliters of blood, which was likely the result of postmortem production.

The FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot receiving instruction. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, volatiles and tested-for drugs. The laboratory did not perform a test for cyanide.

Additional Information

High Density Altitude

The hazards associated with high density altitude operations are outlined in an FAA Pamphlet titled DENSITY ALTITUDE (FAA-P-8740-2). The publication states,

High density altitude will decrease the airplanes performance. Whether due to high altitude, high temperature, or both, reduced air density (reported in terms of density altitude) adversely affects aerodynamic performance and decreases the engine's horsepower output. Takeoff distance, power available (in normally aspirated engines), and climb rate are all adversely affected.


According to the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3A):

At the same gross weight, airplane configuration, and power setting, a given airplane will consistently stall at the same indicated airspeed if no acceleration is involved. The airplane will, however, stall at a higher indicated airspeed when excessive maneuvering loads are imposed by steep turns, pull-ups, or other abrupt changes in its flightpath. Stalls entered from such flight situations are called 'accelerated maneuver stalls,' a term, which has no reference to the airspeeds involved. Stalls which result from abrupt maneuvers tend to be more rapid, or severe, than the unaccelerated stalls, and because they occur at higher-than-normal airspeeds, and/or may occur at lower than anticipated pitch attitudes, they may be unexpected by an inexperienced pilot. Failure to take immediate steps toward recovery when an accelerated stall occurs may result in a complete loss of flight control, notably, power-on spins.

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA149
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 13, 2017 in Herriman, UT
Aircraft: AVIAT AIRCRAFT INC A, registration: N211AM
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 13, 2017, about 0940 mountain daylight time, an Aviat Aircraft A1-B, N211AM, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Herriman, Utah. The airline transport pilot and student pilot sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postimpact fire. The pilot operated the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The local instructional flight departed South Valley Regional Airport (U42), West Jordan, Utah, at 0927. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

All major structural components of the airframe and powerplant were accounted for and located with the main wreckage. The airplane impacted an area of down-sloping heavily wooded terrain about 12 miles southwest of the South Valley Regional Airport. The wreckage was oriented on a 060° magnetic heading. A postimpact fire ensued, and the airplane was thermally destroyed.

A state trooper witnessed the accident airplane and reported that he observed it flying low up the canyon. He momentarily lost sight of the airplane; when it reappeared, the airplane was in a nose-low steep right turn. Shortly thereafter he observed smoke in the area where he last observed the accident airplane.

The wreckage was transported to a secure facility for further examination.

Nicholas Vaughn Thomas
1983 ~ 2017

Nicholas Vaughn Thomas, age 34, died on Thursday, July 13, 2017 in Butterfield Canyon, Utah. Nick was born on February 18, 1983 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He attended La Cueva High School and loved participating in athletics; excelling in track and football. Nick loved to read, fish, run, hike, travel, and most of all, to fly. After high school, he served a two year LDS mission to Finland. Nick enrolled at Utah State University in the Army ROTC program and graduated as Cadet Commander. Nick served his country proudly as an Aviator in the Utah Army National Guard. He loved to fly as an Apache helicopter pilot, a fixed-wing flight instructor, and recently received his FAA commercial license as a pilot for Sky West. Nick's favorite place to be was in the sky and he was a superb aviator.
While in Utah, Nick met the love of his life, Katherine Mader. They were truly best of friends and shared all interests and passions. After Nick's year deployment to Afghanistan, they were wed on September 20, 2014. Nick and Katie traveled the world together, showered their friends and family with their love, and uplifted one another in the best ways possible. Nick was proud to be an American soldier and was a true patriot. He dearly loved his country, his wife, his family, and his dogs!

He is survived by his wife Katie, his grandfather Charlie; his father Vaughn (Kitty), his mother Mary (Howard), his brothers and sisters: Matthew (Liz), Becky (Bryan), Jake, and Annie (Harley); his eight nieces and nephews, a large extended family, and his beloved canine companions: Patton, Sadie, Daisy, and Stella. The family wishes to thank the Utah Army National Guard, especially Lt. Col. Crockett, for their sustaining influence and support.

Memorial services will be held at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, July 20, 2017 at the Sunrise Chapel located at Camp Williams, 17800 Redwood Road, Bluffdale, Utah. Condolences may be expressed to the family at

Capt. Nicholas Thomas

HERRIMAN — The Utah National Guard confirmed Friday that one of the two people killed in a plane crash in Butterfield Canyon was one of its own.

Utah Army Guard Capt. Nicholas Thomas, 34, and Jake McGoldrick, 37, died in the crash Thursday morning, Unified Police Department reported Friday. The Utah State Medical Examiner's Office had positively identified the victims

"(Thomas's) tragic death weighs heavy on our organization, and our hearts go out to the Thomas family in their time of loss," according to the statement prepared by Lt. Col. Steven Fairbourn, spokesman for the Utah National Guard.

McGoldrick lived in South Carolina with his fiancée, the UPD said via Twitter. His immediate family, including his mom, were in Australia.

Just before 10 a.m. Thursday, a small, two-seat aircraft crashed in a heavily wooded area near the top of Butterfield Canyon. A Utah Highway Patrol trooper saw the plane go down.

The crash happened about 5 miles up the canyon near a Girl Scout camp, but no one on the ground was injured.

On social media, word of Thomas's death was already spreading among friends.

"He lived life large and enjoyed things to their fullest," one man wrote on Facebook, while also noting that Thomas had "already left his mark on the Apache battalion 'Air Pirates' and his Bravo Company 'Buccaneers.'"

"A true friend. One who always set the standard in everything he did," wrote another.

Another man posted on Facebook: "I remember Nick fondly from our 2012 deployment. He was an outstanding and dedicated officer." Another added, "Nick was an outstanding aviator, military and civilian both. He will be missed by all who knew him."

Jacob John McGoldrick
JULY 25, 1979 – JULY 13, 2017

COLUMBIA – A memorial service for Jacob John “Jake” McGoldrick, 37, of Nairobi, Kenya, will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, July 22, 2017 at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel. The family will receive friends following the service at the home of Mims and Ron Rust. Mr. McGoldrick passed away Thursday, July 13, 2017. Born in Australia on July 25, 1979, he was the son of Leigh Smith and fiancé of Cooper Rust. A lifelong aviator, Jake honorably served in the Australian Defense Force prior to becoming a civilian pilot. In addition to his mother and fiancé, surviving are his daughter, Kate Elizabeth McGoldrick; step-father, Lee Di Milia; maternal grandmother, Patricia Smith; brother, Jack Di Milia; sister, Jasmine Malia Bunch; and best mate, David Brown. Memorials may be made to Artists for Africa, Inc., 1056 Coatesdale Road, Columbia, S.C. 29209. Please sign the online guestbook at

HERRIMAN — Two people died after the small aircraft they were in flying crashed in Butterfield Canyon Thursday morning, police said.

Emergency crews responded to a report of a small aircraft crash shortly before 10 a.m., according to Unified Police Lt. Brian Lohrke. He said the initial call came in from Utah Highway Patrol.

A crash site was located by a Department of Public Safety helicopter about 6 miles up the canyon, Lohrke said. He added the crash was near a Girl Scout camp in the area.

Two people were found dead at the scene. No information was given about the two people who were killed.

The crash ignited a small fire that was extinguished quickly by Unified fire officials, Lohrke added.

He said the plane was a small two-seater aircraft. FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer added the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.

Kenitzer said he did not know the registration of the aircraft or the circumstances that led to the crash.

Lohrke said crews were trying to protect the scene for investigators while also making sure the crash didn't spark a wildfire.

"We want to preserve as much evidence as we can," he said. "That's something with the fire extinguishing that we have to be cautious of. Of course, we don't want everything around it caught on fire."

Butterfield Canyon was closed as a result of the accident, Lohrke said.

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, July 13, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Two people are confirmed dead after a small plane crashed and burned Thursday morning in Butterfield Canyon.

Unified Police Department Lt. Brian Lohrke said officials got word from the Utah Highway Patrol about a small aircraft going down in the area at approximately 10 a.m.

“We were able to get patrol officers up there immediately and also do a search and rescue call out and got search and rescue personnel up there,” Lohrke said. “We were able to locate the crash site which is at the top of Butterfield Canyon right near the border of Salt Lake County and Tooele County. There’s also a Girl Scout Camp up there that has an enclosed fence area and I believe the crash site was pretty close to that camp. The terrain and the fencing around the area there slowed down our progress of getting to the crash site but we were able to get there and we have everything we need up there right now.”

No other details have been provided about the deceased.

The crash also has caused a small brush fire in the area.

“Our first initial rescuers gave us that information that there was a fire and the plane was on fire, and because of the brush around the area they were very concerned about that,” Lohrke added.

Unified Fire Authority responded to the scene and extinguished the blaze.

Lohrke said officials are slowing down their response and preparing for the investigative stage, in which the UPD will work jointly with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Officials have not yet said where the plane took off from or what its destination was.

Butterfield Canyon, which is just west of the city of Herriman, is closed.

Butterfield Canyon • Two people were killed when a small plane crashed in Butterfield Canyon west of Herriman late Thursday morning, Unified Police reported.

UPD Lt. Brian Lohrke said the fatalities were confirmed by a Department of Public Safety helicopter dispatched to the scene of the crash.

The plane is a two-seater, so no other victims were expected.

No information was immediately released on the identities of the deceased, or where the flight had originated.

Lohrke said that a Utah Highway Patrol trooper saw the plane go down and reported it at 9:54 a.m.

The crash site was described as being about 6 miles up the canyon, which put it fairly high up on the mountain. Lohrke said a girl scout camp was located nearby.

The plane was on fire at one point, but the flames were quickly put out, Lohrke said.

Butterfield Canyon was closed at the mouth of the canyon while the crash was being investigated by UPD and the Federal Aviation Administration.

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