Saturday, September 16, 2017

Mooney M20C Ranger, N53CP: Fatal accident occurred September 16, 2017 in North Branford, Connecticut

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Bradley; Enfield, Connecticut
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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

Charles P. Dundas: http://registry.faa.gov/N53CP 


NTSB Identification: ERA17FA327
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 16, 2017 in North Branford, CT
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C, registration: N53CP
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 September 16, 2017, at 1300 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20C, N53CP, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees and terrain near North Branford, Connecticut. The airline transport pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane, and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Robertson Field Airport (4B8), Plainville, Connecticut, and was destined for Francis S Gabreski Airport (FOK), Westhampton Beach, New York.

Earlier on the day of the accident about 1000, the pilot/owner flew from FOK north to 4B8, where he planned to pick up his passenger for a subsequent flight back to FOK. The route of flight was about 60 miles. The pilot and passenger had been flying together for over 10 years and had flown the route many times.

At 1109, the airplane was fueled with 15.8 gallons of 100 low-lead aviation gasoline; 9 gallons in the right wing tank and 6.8 gallons in the left wing tank. After he topped-off both fuel tanks per the pilot's request, the fueler witnessed the pilot sample the fuel in the airplane's fuel system, before he departed with his passenger about 1230.

Several witnesses near the accident site stated that they did not see the airplane or hear any engine sounds, but they heard what sounded like a "crash" in the trees. One witness described it as the sound of "gravel being dumped out of a dump truck." Several homeowners searched for the source of the sound and found the airplane wreckage about 1 hour after hearing the impact.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land. He held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and airplane single-engine sea. He also held a flight instructor certificate with a rating for instrument airplane. In addition, he held a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the pilot reported a flight experience of 31,300 total hours as of his last medical exam, dated October 16, 2006.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the airplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on September 4, 1964. The airplane was a low wing, four-seat, monoplane of conventional metal construction. It was equipped with retractable landing gear, and was powered by an air cooled, Lycoming IO-360, 180-horsepower engine, driving a Hartzell 3-blade constant-speed propeller.

At 1353, the weather conditions reported at Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN), New Haven, Connecticut, which was located at 12.5 ft elevation, 9 miles southwest of the accident site, included variable wind at 3 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, broken clouds at 1,400 ft, temperature 24°C, dew point 19°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.16 inches of mercury.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane first struck 75-ft-tall pine trees in a steep descending attitude before coming to rest up against trees in a nose-down position on its right side. The wreckage path was 170 ft-long and oriented on a north-northeast magnetic heading of 021°. The right wing separated from the fuselage at the wing root during impact, and was the first piece of wreckage discovered at the start of the debris path. The outboard 3 feet of the left wing was found 75 ft north of the right wing and was wrapped around a tree. The remaining fuselage, cockpit, left wing and tail assembly remained intact. The landing gear were in the extended position and the landing gear selector was in the down detent. The wing flaps were in the retracted position.

The right fuel tank was breached during the accident and evidence of fuel was found on the trees and vegetation near the initial impact point. The left fuel tank contained approximately 7.5 gallons of fuel. Visual examination through the firewall indicated that the fuel selector in was in the left fuel tank position.

The engine remained attached to the mounts and remained largely intact. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase and there were no broken fuel lines or oil lines discovered at the scene. The engine oil was measured using the dip stick and it was at the full indication

The three-blade constant-speed propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange and was largely intact. There was no evidence of rotational scoring and two of the blades were not damaged. One of the blades was bent aft about 30° and the propeller spinner was crushed on one side.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

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


 Aaron McCarter
 National Transportation Safety Board






The pilot who died in the Saturday afternoon plane crash that killed race-car driver Ted Christopher en route to a competition at Riverhead Raceway was a Long Islander who had a longtime friendship with the driver, a Connecticut police spokesman said Monday.

North Branford police Lt. James Lovelace identified the pilot as Charles Patrick Dundas, 81, of Hauppauge. He said Dundas had flown Christopher many times before.

“From what I’ve been told he was a very well-experienced pilot who had a long friendship with the driver,” Lovelace said.

Dundas was a veteran pilot who held ratings for commercial multi-engine aircraft, including the DC-9, Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 and other heavy aircraft, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Investigators believe the two were headed from Robertson Field in Plainville, Connecticut, where Christopher, 59, lived, to Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach, but the destination airport has not yet been confirmed, Lovelace said.

The Mooney M20C aircraft owned and piloted by Dundas was hangered at Gabreski, which is not far from where Christopher was scheduled to compete in a modified division race Saturday night, Lovelace said.

Officials at Riverhead Raceway paid tribute to Christopher Saturday night, including a ceremonial lap by the orange No. 82 modified car in which he was scheduled to compete.

The FAA said the single-engine plane crashed into a wooded area on the North Branford-Guilford border near New Haven early Saturday afternoon. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the cause of the crash, said the right wing was sheared off on impact.

The NTSB investigator, Aaron McCarter, said in a televised statement from the scene that a preliminary report was expected in seven to 10 days and that a more definitive incident report would likely be issued in 12-18 months. The NTSB, citing the ongoing investigation, would not cite an area of focus Monday.

Christopher was a widely known modified division race driver in the Northeast who had 109 division wins at Stafford Speedway in Connecticut, where he also was a nine-time division champ. He had another 99 wins at Thompson Speedway and 47 at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

Original article can be found here ➤  http://www.newsday.com


A legend of short-track racing, Ted Christopher of Plainville, Connecticut,  was killed in a plane crash Saturday in Connecticut while en route to Riverhead Raceway where he was scheduled to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship race, according to NASCAR. He was 59.




Fans and drivers paid tribute to Mr. Christopher prior to Saturday’s racing in Riverhead. The public address announcer Bob Finan described Mr. Christopher as a throwback racer, someone who always found a way to get to a race, whether it be by plane or boat.

~





A Suffolk County man has been identified as the second person killed in a Connecticut plane crash that claimed the life of a NASCAR champion.

Police said Sunday that 81-year-old Charles Patrick Dundas, of Manorville, was killed along with modified champion racer Ted Christopher in woods near North Branford.

Federal officials say the plane had left Plainville's Robertson Airport headed for Long Island on Saturday.

Dundas, who also lived in Fort Pierce, Fla., and Christopher were the only two aboard the Mooney M20-C plane when it crashed.

Christopher, 59, was to have competed Saturday night at Long Island's Riverhead Raceway.

NASCAR authorities had said Christopher was a passenger, but North Branford police wouldn't confirm that detail Sunday or say if Dundas was the pilot.

However, Federal Aviation Administration records show that Dundas was a certificated pilot based out of Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach.

Police found no evidence of fire or an explosion accompanying the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.nydailynews.com





Two people, including Ted Christopher, one of the winningest race car drivers at Connecticut tracks over the past decades, died when a small plane crashed Saturday afternoon in a wooded area near the North Branford-Guilford border.

Police confirmed that the crash killed the pilot and passenger, but as of Saturday night were not releasing their names. Christopher’s family confirmed that he was one of the victims. He was 59.

The crash happened a little before 2 p.m. in the woods of North Branford just behind a small Guilford neighborhood.

"We heard a noise, it almost sounded like a dump truck opening the back and gravel falling out," said Carrie Carignan, who lives a few doors away from where the plane went down near West Street and Taylor Lane.

Carignan and her fiancé hiked into the woods a little later, and about 40 minutes afterward came across the wreckage, she said.

“The plane is literally straight up and down. They were saying maybe it hit a tree and literally went straight down — it was just horrific,” Carignan said. “The nose is down and the wings and everything are just spread out through the woods. I really didn’t want to look at it too much.”

A neighbor who accompanied the couple back into the woods to try to help, and who did not want to be named, said that one victim had been thrown out of the cockpit, and that there were pieces of the plane scattered on the ground.

The plane, a Mooney M20C, a propeller-driven aircraft, crashed at 1:53, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which will investigate the incident.

“The plane is down in a heavily wooded area. The FAA has started its investigation; the NTSB will be here later tonight,” police Lt. James Lovelace said.

Police could not say where the plane was coming from or going to, and Lovelace said it was too early to discuss a cause. There was no sign of fire or explosion, he said.

Christopher was known as one of the leading and most diverse short-track drivers in America over the past two-plus decades. He was also known for a confident bravado and unique swagger like few others in the local short track racing scene. In the ranks of New England Modified racing he was most commonly referred to by two monikers, either simply “TC” or “The King.”

Christopher was the all-time winningest driver at both Stafford Motor Speedway and Thompson Speedway. He was also a longtime regular competitor at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

At Stafford Motor Speedway, he competed weekly in the track’s premier division, the SK Modifieds. He had a division-leading six victories this year, with his last win coming on Sept. 8. He finished fourth in the SK Modified feature Friday at Stafford.

He had 109 career SK Modified victories at Stafford Speedway and nine championships in the division. Overall, he had 131 victories at the track overall since 1986. His next closet competitor on the all-time wins list at the track was Woody Pitkat with 77 victories.

At Thompson Speedway he had won one of two SK Modified features at the track in the last event there on Sept. 10. It was his 99th victory overall at the facility.

At the New London-Waterford Speedbowl he had 47 career victories.

He was the third winningest driver of all-time on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with 42 career victories in 372 starts dating back to the 1987 season.

Christopher long had a reputation for racing anything anytime — from local Midgets divisions, to SuperModifieds, to indoor events in Three-Quarter Midgets to competing twice at the top level of Sports Car racing at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.

He had made six career starts in NASCAR’s top-level Monster Energy Cup Series and had 21 career starts in NASCAR’s second level Xfinity Series. In NASCAR’s regional K&N Pro Series East he had 10 career victories in 92 starts from 1990 to 2008.

“We are all saddened to learn of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft’s pilot," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said in a statement Saturday night. "As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR’s roots. He was a tough racer’s racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country. He will be missed throughout the racing community, in the garage and, especially, in the hearts of his many fans. NASCAR has his family and friends in its thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Original article can be found here ➤   http://www.courant.com


GUILFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – NASCAR driver Ted Christopher was killed Saturday in a small plane crash in Connecticut.

The Mooney M20C aircraft crashed in a wooded area near Guilford shortly before 2 p.m., according to the FAA.

Authorities said two people were on board the plane at the time. The second person’s name has not been released.

“We are all saddened to learn of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft’s pilot,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France.

“As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR’s roots. He was a tough racer’s racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country,” France continued. “He will be missed throughout the racing community, in the garage and, especially, in the hearts of his many fans. NASCAR has his family and friends in its thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

Christopher was scheduled to compete Saturday in a race in Connecticut.

“All of us at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park are saddened to learn of Ted Christopher’s passing. Last Sunday, he recorded his 99th victory on our oval. He will be remembered as one of the greatest Modified drivers of all time,” Thompson Speedway Motorsports said in a statement. “May Ted rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Christopher family, and all those impacted by this tragic loss.”

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://newyork.cbslocal.com






NORTH BRANFORD, CT (WFSB) -  The racing community is mourning the loss of a veteran modified NASCAR driver, Ted Christopher, they said was one of the victims in a plane crash.

Police said the 2 people on board a Mooney M20C aircraft were killed when it crashed in North Branford on Saturday. 

Crews responded to a plane crash with injuries on West Street that happened around 1:53 p.m. on Saturday. Police said they do not yet know where the plane took off, or to where it was headed. Police did not release the names, but Eyewitness News learned through several sources the identification of one of the victims.

"It was really strange," described neighbor Carrie Carignan. "It almost sounded like a dump truck opening the back and gravel falling out."

Carignan and her fiancee told Eyewitness News they assumed the noise was a tree falling in the woods, but it wasn't until an hour later, when she said her husband made the gruesome discovery while on a hike. 

"All of a sudden, he called me frantic, you got to call 911, you got to call 911," said Carignan "There's been a plane crash and I'm like 'Oh my God.'"

The FAA is investigating the crash.

News of the crash spread quickly to the racing community when it was learned that veteran NASCAR Whelen Modified driver, 59-year-old Ted "Teddy" Christopher was one of the victims killed in the crash.

Before a race tonight at Waterford Speedbowl, General Manager, George Whitney said racers followed Christopher's #13 car as it was driven around the track twice in remembrance of the driver killed in the crash this afternoon. Whitney said Christopher often raced at speed ways in Waterford and Thompson. 

NASCAR CEO Brian France made a statement of the driver's passing. 

"We are all saddened to learn of the tragic plane crash this afternoon that claimed the lives of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and the aircraft's pilot. As a championship driver on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and New England short tracks, Christopher was a throwback to NASCAR's roots. He was a tough racer's racer, and his hard driving style and candid personality endeared him to short track fans throughout the country. He will be missed throughout the racing community, in the garage and, especially, in the hearts of his many fans. NASCAR has his family and friends in its thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Guilford Police and Fire, and North Branford units are also responded. The remains of the plane will be removed in the coming days. 

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.wfsb.com






NORTH BRANFORD >> NASCAR officials say modified championship racer Ted Christopher was one of two people killed when a small plane crashed in Connecticut.

The Federal Aviation Administration confirms that two people were aboard a Mooney M20C plane that went down in the woods near the North Branford-Guilford border shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday. They didn’t release names.

NASCAR says Christopher and the plane’s pilot died.

Jeff Mulready, who lives nearby, was out for a walk behind his house when he found the plane. He and his fiance, Carrie Carigman, immediately called 911.

When they heard the noise, they had no idea it was a crash, Mulready said.

Carigman said she saw two men in their 50s or 60s in the small plane. One man had crashed through the windshield, she said.

The 59-year-old Christopher captured 13 track championships and competed at every level of NASCAR during his career. In 2006, he was selected as one of the top 25 drivers in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history.

Racecar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted Saturday night that Christopher “was a legend.”

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the accident.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.nhregister.com




GUILFORD — A plane crashed near West Street in Guilford, along the North Branford line, according to police.

The call came in shortly before 3 p.m. A witness said she and her fiancé heard a loud noise and thought a tree fell when they made the horrific discovery.

“They just described it to me and I came on scene later and then the responding officers and they heard a loud noise,” said Lt. James Lovelace of the North Branford Police Department.

“It almost sounded like a dump truck like opening the back and gravel falling out,” said Carrie Carignan of Guilford.

Carignan said she and her fiancé discovered the crash an hour after it happened. She also said if it was not for them walking into the field to see what happened, no one would have known about the incident.

“There was like two people dead inside the plane. It was so much all at once,” added Carignan.

North Branford Police confirmed two men have died in the crash. Their names have not been released yet, but Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park confirmed that once of the victims was local racing legend Ted Christopher.

In a Facebook post from the Speedway, they said Ted was “one of the greatest modified drivers of all time.”

Connecticut State Police assisted the Guilford Police Department at the scene of the crash. The North Branford Fire Department appeared on scene just before 6 p.m. The FAA and NTSB are also on the scene and will be for several hours.

“You can see the plane is literally like straight up and down. I don’t know. They were saying maybe it hit a tree and it just literally went straight down,” added Carignan.

North Branford Police have not released details on where the plane was coming from and where it was headed. They said the NTSB is expected to do another press conference Sunday morning to answer more questions.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://fox61.com

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