Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, N22HW: Fatal accident occurred July 31, 2017 at Philip Billard Municipal Airport (KTOP), Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


NTSB Identification: CEN17FA297
14 CFR Part 103: Ultralight
Accident occurred Monday, July 31, 2017 in Topeka, KS
Aircraft: PIPER PA30, registration: N22HW
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 31, 2017, about 2030, a Piper PA-30, N22HW, impacted terrain at Philip Billard Municipal Airport (TOP), Topeka, Kansas. The student pilot and the flight instructor sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The airplane was operated by a private individual who was the the registered owner of the airplane, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as in instructional flight that was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated from TOP.

The student pilot had been receiving flight instruction from the flight instructor toward the addition of a multi-engine land airplane rating onto his private pilot certificate, which had a single engine landing and instrument rating. The accident flight was a practice multi-engine check ride for the student pilot's examination that was scheduled the following day.

A witness stated that the flight had used runway 18 for takeoff and landing prior to the accident takeoff, which was from runway 18. The witness stated that as the airplane passed the airport terminal building, it was very low in altitude and not climbing very fast. The airplane turned east and into the left-hand airport traffic pattern. The witness did not see the airplane impact the terrain.

The airplane wreckage was located between runway 13 and taxiway B, near the approach end of runway 13. The tail-to-nose heading of the wreckage was about 125 degrees. The airplane's wing flaps and landing gear were retracted. The airplane exhibited damage consistent with a low-speed impact in a left wing-low and shallow pitch attitude.

Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

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

Dr. William “Bill” Leeds

Friends and family continued to remember the life and legacy of James Bergman, who was killed in a plane crash in Topeka.

OLATHE, KS (KCTV) - Friends and family continued to remember the life and legacy of James Bergman, who was killed in a plane crash in Topeka on Monday. 

Bergman, known to friends and family by his middle name "Kevin," had spent more than a decade in the air. 

"He has an amazing legacy," said Scott Bergman, the younger brother of James. "I have an amazing lead to follow." 

James Bergman spent his days working in tech, but his passions were flying and traveling. 

"He really enjoyed giving back to others and just bringing that delight to people," Scott Bergman said. "He was the type of person that if you were at a party, and you wanted to go flying? Let's go."

Bergman and Bill Leeds were flying out of Topeka with Bergman as the co-pilot. Leeds, preparing to get his twin-engine certification that week, ended up crashing. 

Now as the family works to pick up the pieces, they focus on the legacy he left behind. 

"He lived an amazing life, and the word no boundaries for him," Bergman said. "There were a lot of people who talk about working inside of the box and for Kevin, the box did not exist."

A funeral has been planned for the weekend. The family also hopes to raise some funds to donate to a charity. 

Story and video:  http://www.kctv5.com

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Memorial services will take place this Friday for a Topeka doctor who was killed in a plane crash this week.

Dr. William “Bill” Leeds, 61, a pulmonary specialist in Topeka, died Monday night in a plane crash near Billard Airport. James Bergman, 55, of Leawood, was also killed in the crash.

Memorial services for Leeds will take place at 11:00 a.m. Friday at the Temple Beth Sholom, located at 4200 SW Munson, in Topeka. Inurnment will follow at Mount Hope Cemetery.

According to his obituary, Leeds was born on October 17, 1955, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Florida State University and went on to attend Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery. He founded Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine in 1999.

His family says he “Enjoyed flying, fishing with his wife and brother, spending time with the family pets, and damaging his home with tools, which he had no earthly idea how to use.”

Instead of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Temple Beth Sholom, 4200 SW Munson, Topeka, KS 66604 or Safe Harbor Prison Dogs, P.O. Box 536, Bonner Springs, KS 66012.


Topeka physician was flying a small plane with a Leawood flight instructor on board when the plane crashed Monday evening in Topeka, killing them both.

The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the men as William M. Leeds, 61, of Topeka and James K. Bergman, 55, of Leawood.

The highway patrol originally identified Leeds as 76 and from Mission. A dispatcher said the initial information was incorrect because the scene of the crash was chaotic.

The plane, a 1965 Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche multi-engine aircraft, crashed about 8:15 p.m. north of Philip Billard Municipal Airport, according to a preliminary crash report from the Highway Patrol.

The aircraft was headed northwest at the time of the crash and appears to have missed the runway and struck the ground at high speeds. The plane came to rest in a grassy field between the runway and the taxi road to the airport terminal, according to the Highway Patrol.

Bergman was a flight instructor who held commercial and flight instructor pilot licenses.

Leeds was the pilot, the highway patrol dispatcher said.

Leeds was a critical care pulmonologist at Pulmonary & Sleep Associates in Topeka. He treated patients with pulmonary illnesses and sleep disorders.

He frequently treated patients at satellite clinics in Onaga, Parsons, Burlington and Garden City, Kansas.

Leeds loved being a doctor, said Hope Biggs, the operations manager at Pulmonary & Sleep Associates.

He started the practice, originally called Topeka Pulmonary, in 1998.

“His saying was, when he stops loving what he’s doing, he will quit practicing,” Biggs said.

Biggs said he would tease his patients: “It’s not about you, it’s about me. As long as you’re getting better, I’m happy. You have to get better, because it’s about me.”


William M. Leeds, a Topeka pulmonary doctor, was piloting the Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche when it went down, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

Two men — one of whom was a well-known Topeka physician — were identified early Tuesday as the victims of Monday night’s fatal plane crash near Philip Billard Municipal Airport in northeast Topeka.

William M. Leeds, a Topeka pulmonary doctor, 61, was piloting the 1965 Piper PA-30 fixed wing multi-engine airplane when it went down, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol.

The plane’s co-pilot was identified as James K. Bergman, 55, of Leawood. Officials said Bergman was a flight instructor.

Both men were pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the crash was reported at 8:27 p.m. Monday at the airport. The location of the crash was listed as 3520 N.E. Seward Avenue, just north of Billard Airport.

The Kansas Highway Patrol crash log had indicated that Leeds was 76 years of age and was from the Johnson County community of Mission. However, that information appeared to be incorrect.

His identity was confirmed Tuesday morning by Rabbi Debbie Stiel, of Temple Beth Sholom, of which Leeds was a member.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, which was among agencies investigating the crash, the small airplane was traveling from southeast to northwest at the time of the crash.

The patrol said the plane appeared to miss the runway, striking the ground at a high rate of speed. The plane “impacted and turned approximately 180 degrees,” coming to rest in a grass field in between the runway and the taxi road to the airport terminal.

The air traffic control tower at the airport was closed at the time of the crash because it was after hours, said Eric Johnson, director of airports for the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority.

Planes were still allowed to fly in and out of Billard Airport between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., but it is considered uncontrolled during those hours, and pilots regulate themselves, Johnson said.

In his 11 years with MTAA 11 years, Johnson said, Monday night marked the first fatality at Billard, though there have been minor incidents, such as one in July in which a Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter made what was described as a hard landing in which two people aboard suffered minor injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified of the crash Monday night. Personnel from that agency, along with the National Transportation Safety Board, were to arrive on scene Tuesday morning.

A meteorologist with the Topeka National Weather Service Office, which is located at the airport in northeast Topeka’s Oakland neighborhood, reported hearing a thud Monday evening, went outside to check and discovered a downed airplane.

Leeds, a father of three children, worked out of Pulmonary & Sleep Associates, practice located at 515 S.W. Horne.

Rabbi Stiel said Leeds was an experienced pilot, adding that his death would be a major loss not only to his family, but the entire Topeka community, where he practiced medicine for many years.

“He was just as warm a person as you could imagine,” Stiel said. “He was someone who would give you a big hug, someone who put his patients at ease by taking time to listen to them and doing whatever he could to help.

Story, video and photo gallery ► http://cjonline.com

Two people are reported dead in a small plane crash near Billard Airport.

The plane went down around 8:30 p.m. Monday in a field near the airport. The Kansas Highway Patrol told 13 NEWS two people were killed.

Those people were later identified as William Leeds of Mission, Kansas, and James Bergman of Leawood.

Leeds was a doctor with Pulmonary and Sleep Associates in Topeka. The clinic's office manager confirmed to 13 News Tuesday morning that Leeds worked at the clinic.

Kansas Highway Patrol said it is taking the lead in the investigation at the scene. Kansas Highway Patrol crash logs state Bergman as the co-pilot of the aircraft.

Staff at the National Weather Service office at Billard Airport called 911 to report the crash.

KHP crash logs state the aircraft was traveling southeast to northwest, and appeared to miss the runway, striking the ground at a high rate of speed. The plane impacted and turned about 180 degrees, where it came to rest in a grass field in between the runway and the taxi road to the airport terminal.

Eric Johnson, head of the Metropolitan Topeka Airport Authority, said Topeka Police, Topeka Fire, Kansas Highway Patrol and MTAA police and fire were among agencies responding. He said the Federal Aviation Administration will be notified to assist in the investigation.

Johnson said the airport's tower closes at 7 p.m., so would not have had communication with the aircraft.

A 13 NEWS search of Federal Aviation Administration records shows the aircraft was a Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche. KHP crash logs later confirmed that detail.

Story and video ►  http://www.wibw.com

SHAWNEE COUNTY — Two people died in a small plane crash just after 8p.m. Monday in Shawnee County.

The Kansas Highway Patrol reported the Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche piloted by William M. Leeds, was traveling southeast to northwest. The aircraft appeared to miss the runway at Billard Municipal Airport in Topeka

The aircraft struck the ground at a high rate of speed, turned approximately 180 degrees and came to rest in a grass field in between the runway and the taxi road to the airport terminal.

Leeds and co-pilot James K. Bergman, 55, Leawood, died in the crash, according to the KHP.


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