Sunday, August 6, 2017

NW-Freedom, N2854L: Fatal accident occurred August 06, 2017 at Trinca Airport (13N), Green Township, New Jersey

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allentown, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:
Lester Lydzinski:

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA265
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 06, 2017 in Green Township, NJ
Aircraft: LESTER LYDZINSKI NW-FREEDOM, registration: N2854L
Injuries: 1 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 August 6, 2017, about 1025 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built NW-Freedom, N2854L, was substantially damaged while attempting to depart from Trinca Airport (13N), Green Township, New Jersey. The non-certificated pilot was fatally injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the local, personal flight. The weight-shift-control aircraft was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot's son, the pilot was the owner-builder of the aircraft, and he had custom-built the airframe himself. He purchased the wing separately from its manufacturer. On the day of the accident, the pilot and a friend transported the aircraft by trailer to 13N, where he planned to fly it for the first time. The pilot had previously received some flight instruction, and had conducted a solo flight in other similar aircraft. On the day of the accident, he initially performed two ground test runs on the turf runway, and then took off. After takeoff, the aircraft drifted slightly to the left, corrected toward the right "a little too much," then drifted left again. About 50 ft above the ground, the wing "collapsed" with its tips rotating aft. The aircraft then descended and impacted the runway. The engine ran continuously for the entire flight, which lasted about 30 seconds.

The pilot's son recalled that while preparing the aircraft for flight, the pilot had some difficulty with one of the cables that ran down the center of the wing (the "cross bar restraint cable" according to the manufacturer's instructions). He said that two people could pull the cable in place easily, but it was difficult for one person to pull. The pilot had used a "ratchet strap" to pull the cable into place.

The aircraft impacted the left edge of runway 24, about 500 ft before the departure end. All major components were accounted for at the scene. The wing, constructed of fabric and aluminum tube, was found partially folded toward its storage position, and separated from the fuselage at its mounting brackets. The right wing strut was fractured about 18 inches below its attachment point to the leading edge. Blue paint transfer, consistent with the color of the propeller, was present on both sides of the fracture. Both flight control frame down tubes were buckled about 12 inches from their upper end. The right washout strut was found out of its installation hole, connected to its bungee cord. The aft flying wires were severed, the left wire was found entangled with propeller leading edge strip material. Both arms of the mast, which connect the wing to the fuselage, were bent toward the left and contained several blue paint transfer marks consistent with the color of the propeller. The cross bar restraint cable remained intact and attached to its forward mounting location. The aft end of the cable was free, and not attached to the "baily block hook" located at the rear of the wing keel tube. The fabric webbing handle used to pull the cable into place was separated from one of its two mounting points, and a 2-inch-long tear was present in the center of the webbing, about ½ inch from its loose end. The other end of the webbing remained attached to its mounting point, with short tears in the center on either side of the mount.

The fuselage came to rest in a cornfield alongside the runway at the end of a wreckage path about 25 feet long and oriented on a heading about 170° magnetic. It was located about 40 feet away from the wing. The forward frame was fractured and bent in several locations. The front (pilot's) seat was separated from the fuselage. The aft seat remained attached. The 12-gallon fuel tank was separated from the fuselage, and was about half full. The ballistic airframe parachute system was intact and was not activated. The four-stroke, two-cylinder engine was largely undamaged, and rotated smoothly. Two of the composite propeller blades were fractured and splintered along their span, the third blade was fractured at the hub and not found. An 8-inch section of flying cable sheathing was found embedded in one blade.

The aircraft maintenance records were not located. The Hobbs meter read 26.6 hours. The pilot's son recalled that the aircraft had been inspected at one time, but he did not recall any further maintenance details.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the pilot did not possess an airman or medical certificate.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Lester Lydzinski, 63, of Clifton, has been identified as the man killed in Sunday's plane crash in Sussex, according to New Jersey State Police.

Lydzinski's ultralight aircraft crashed in Green Township on Sunday morning near Trinca Airport around 10:30 a.m. CPR was administered to Lydzinski at the scene of the crash, according to emergency transmissions, but was unsuccessful. Lydzinski was pronounced dead at the scene, according to New Jersey State Police Sgt. Jeff Flynn.

Lydzinski was the only person on the plane at the time of the crash.

Lydzinski was piloting a NW-Freedom, which is a light sport aircraft, state police Lt. Ted Schafer said. The Federal Aviation Administration's public registry indicates that the plane is classified as experimental and categorized as amateur-built. The state police were unable to confirm whether or not the plane was built by Lydzinski, built by someone else or if Lydzinski purchased it from someone.

Schafer said planes like Lydzinski's are common in the airspace above Sussex County, as are small aircraft like Cessnas and gliders that typically fly from Blairstown Aiport in Warren County.

Police said Lydzinski's plane is weight-shift controlled, meaning that a pilot uses their weight to control the height and direction of the plane.

On Sunday, Pete Sklannik, manager of the Trinca Airport, said data and accident effects were collected by the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Once the NTSB arrives on the scene, they will do their part to actually analyze the machinery that is associated with the ultralight aircraft," Sklannik said.

The plane had been approaching the 2,000-foot runway surrounded by cornfields on what appeared to be an ideal day for flying, the airport manager said. It was unclear whether the pilot intended to land, maneuver or circle around.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, according to Federal Aviation Administration's public information officer Arlene Salac.

NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said the agency is still in the "very early stage" of the investigation. Williams said the probe could take as long as a year as investigators work to determine a cause for the crash.  

Investigators began their on scene investigation by documenting the crash site, examining the aircraft and taking a preliminary look at the plane's engine. \Williams said they would begin to contact witnesses to the crash beginning today.

A report of the preliminary findings will be available on the NTSB website sometime next week.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

Pete Sklannik, Trinca Airport Manager, addresses the media at the scene of an aircraft crash which resulted in the death of the pilot at Trinca Airport in Green Township on Sunday, August 6, 2017. 

GREEN -- A small aircraft crash at Trinca Airport in Green has left one man dead, state police said.

The accident was reported at about 10:25 a.m. Sunday, New Jersey State Police Sgt. Bill Cisko said.

"The pilot was unfortunately declared dead at the scene of the accident," Cisko said. "Paramedics were attempting to revive him when state police arrived, but they were unsuccessful."

Cisko described the aircraft as a NW-Freedom with one occupant. More details will be released once the family of the deceased has been properly notified.

The crash occurred on airport grounds, Cisko said. No other injuries have been reported.

"As of right now, we have no idea what caused it," he said. "The matter is being investigated by both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board."

In addition to state police, Cisko said that paramedics from Saint Clare's Hospital, the Green Fire Department, the Allamuchy/Green First Aid Squad, the Andover Police and the Sussex County Prosecutor's office were all reported at the scene of the accident.

GREEN -- One person was killed Sunday morning when a small plane crashed at Trinca Airport, authorities said.

New Jersey State Police said the pilot was pronounced dead at the scene of the 10:25 a.m. crash and no other passengers were on board.

Airport manager Pete Sklannik described the plane as a ultralight aircraft.

"They're considered experimental aircraft. They're not in the same category as a fixed-wing aircraft, like a Cessna," Sklannik told NJ Advance Media.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. 

No cause had been announced as of 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

It was the second plane crash in New Jersey in a 12-hour span.

On Saturday night, a small plane crashed in Franklin Township, Hunterdon County, sending three people to area hospitals. 

Trinca Airport is owned by Green Township and access to the entrance was blocked off by police following the crash.

Sklannik said the airport is popular with pilots of ultralight planes.

Story, video and photo gallery  ➤

GREEN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The pilot of a small plane was killed when the aircraft crashed at an airport in Sussex County, New Jersey Sunday morning.

The NW-Freedom amateur-built aircraft crashed at the end of the runway at Trinca Airport in Green Township just before 10:30 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot was pronounced dead on the scene, according to New Jersey State Police.

No passengers were on board at the time of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the cause of the crash, which remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Story and video ➤

GREEN TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) -- State police say a pilot was killed when a small plane crashed near a New Jersey airport.

The accident happened at about 10:25 a.m. Sunday at Trinca Airport in Green Township, Sussex County.

The Federal Aviation Administration says a NW-Freedom amateur-built aircraft crashed at the end of the runway.

Only the pilot was on board.

It's not clear if the plane had taken off from that site or if it was headed to the airport when it went down.

The pilot, whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the crash.

Trinca Airport is a public use airport owned by Green Township and located three nautical miles southwest of the central business district of Andover.