Sunday, October 1, 2017

Bellanca 8KCAB, N2599Z, owned and operated by the flying club "Shelton Flight": Fatal accident occurred September 29, 2017 in Brinnon, Jefferson County, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Renton, Washington
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA215
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 29, 2017 in Brinnon, WA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-140, registration: N9549W
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 29, 2017, about 2213 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N9549W, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain near Brinnon, Washington during a night cross-country flight. The student pilot received serious injuries, and the certificated flight instructor (CFI) received fatal injuries. The instructional flight was conducted in accordance with visual flight rules (VFR) under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

According to the pilot who flew the airplane just prior to the accident pilots, the airplane was based at Sanderson Field airport (SHN), Shelton, Washington (WA), and was owned and operated by the flying club "Shelton Flight." That pilot stated that he and his son flew the airplane for about an hour, and the airplane operated normally, with no irregularities or problems. After landing, they topped off the fuel tanks with 7.6 gallons of fuel, and turned the airplane over to the accident pilots about 2000. Although it appears that the accident pilots did not file a flight plan and were not in radio communication with any Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control facilities on any of the three flight legs they flew that night, FAA ground-based tracking radar captured most portions of those three legs, including the accident leg. According to the radar data, the airplane departed SHN about 2050, and headed generally northeast towards Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field, PAE), Everett, WA. The airplane arrived at PAE about 2130, where the radar data is consistent with a touch and go landing. The airplane then departed PAE and flew about 23 miles west to Jefferson County International Airport (0S9) Port Townsend, WA. The radar data is consistent with a touch and go landing at 0S9 about 2156. The radar data then depicts the airplane departing 0S9 and flying a ground track on a direct course towards SHN. The airplane climbed to a maximum radar-indicated altitude of 3,850 feet, and then descended and leveled off at about 3,300 feet. The radar track ended about 18 miles south of 0S9. The last radar return was obtained at 2212:23, about 1,250 feet north of the accident location, and at an indicated altitude of 3,250 feet. About 2238, the student pilot telephoned 911 to summon help; this was the first notification that the airplane was missing or had crashed. 

First responders reached the wreckage about 0500 the next morning, and the student pilot was airlifted from the scene by a US Navy helicopter a few hours later. Investigation and recovery personnel accessed the accident site two days after the accident. The accident location was coincident with a straight line connecting 0S9 to SHN. The wreckage was situated on a heavily wooded slope in the Olympic National Forest. Most trees appeared to be pine, with trunks up to about 18 inches in diameter, and heights of 75 feet or more. Site elevation was about 3,075 feet. A partial swath of tree strikes by the airplane was observed, with an approximate heading of 110°, and a descent angle of about 30°. 

The fuselage came to rest upright, on an approximate heading of 180°, at about a 30° airplane nose down angle, with the aft end partially supported by vegetation. The engine remained attached to the fuselage. The propeller remained attached to the engine, and both were partially embedded in the soil. The cockpit volume was compromised by crushing in the aft direction. Both fuel tanks were breached, and no fuel was observed at the time of the site examination. Both wings and the left horizontal stabilizer were fracture-separated from the fuselage. All aerodynamic and flight control surfaces appeared to be present at the accident site. The key remained in the ignition switch, which was set to the "BOTH" position. The cockpit fuel selector valve handle was found set to the right fuel tank. The tachometer registered 5,495.38 hours. The 121.5 Mhz emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was found still attached to its antenna cable, and the switch was found in the "AUTO" (armed) position. The wreckage was recovered to a secure facility for subsequent detailed examination. 

The student pilot obtained his FAA third-class medical certificate in September 2015. He had logged 44.5 hours of flight time, not including the accident flight, in his personal logbook. His first flight was in December 2016, and all except one flight were conducted in the accident airplane. The CFI was a retired airline pilot with multiple type ratings. Insurance application information indicated that he had a total flight experience of over 27,000 hours, including more than 2,000 hours in fixed-gear, single-engine airplanes. Neither his flight instruction nor PA-28 experience was available at the time of this report. 

FAA information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1967, and that it was purchased by Shelton Flight in August 2015. Maintenance records indicated that the airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-E2A series engine. The engine was overhauled and installed in the accident airplane in October 1994, at which time the airplane tachometer registered 4,791.0 hours. The most recent annual inspection was completed in September 2017, at which time the airplane tachometer registered 5,461.9 hours. 

The 0S9 2215 automated weather observation included winds from 130 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, overcast skies at 4,200 feet, temperature 12 degrees C, dew point 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.06 inches of mercury.

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

QUILCENE — The passenger who survived a plane crash near Quilcene on Friday has been identified by authorities while the investigation into the cause of the crash continues.

Brent Wood, 35, of Olympia was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center on Saturday morning after the small aircraft crashed into Buck Mountain, according to Arthur Frank, chief criminal investigator for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Wood was listed in satisfactory condition at Harborview as of Wednesday, according to Susan Gregg of Harborview communications.

Wood was described as in serious but stable condition by the Brinnon Fire Department on Saturday when first responders took him from the crash site to a ridge line where he was taken to Harborview by a Navy helicopter.

Wood survived the crash, but the pilot, 69-year-old Lance Atkins, also of Olympia, died. Wood reported the crash at 10:38 p.m. Friday, but it took first responders almost six hours to get to the crash site.

The plane, a Bellanca 8KCAB fixed-wing single-engine aircraft, was heading from Port Townsend to Shelton when it crashed, and the cause is still unknown. An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is underway.

“We won’t issue a causal finding for many months,” said Michael Huhn, an investigator for the NTSB. “It is very early in the investigation. I’m still in the fact-collecting phase.”

Initially a helicopter from Naval Base Whidbey Island was called in to help locate the crash site at roughly 1 a.m., but low clouds and fog on the north face of Buck Mountain made the search difficult, according to a news release from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

“We had to fight the time of day, the environment, fatigue, dense foliage and numerous other elements that made it difficult to locate the survivor,” said Lt. Kellen Odom, the search and rescue mission commander.

According to Brinnon Fire Chief Tim Manly, first responders used GPS from Wood’s cellphone and the plane’s beacon to pinpoint the crash site, and search and rescue crews were sent in on foot.

Manly said 13 first responders located the crash site at about 5 a.m. Saturday.

Members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Quilcene Fire &Rescue, Brinnon Fire Department, Olympic Mountain Rescue and Jefferson Search and Rescue responded to the crash Friday.

Original article ➤

QUILCENE — The pilot who died in a plane crash late Friday night was identified Sunday as federal officials continued to investigate what caused the plane to crash into Buck Mountain.

The pilot was Lance T. Aikins, 69, of Olympia, according to Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Haas, who acts as the county coroner.

He said he did not have the name of the passenger who was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center on Saturday morning.

Tim Manly, chief of the Brinnon Fire Department, said family had been notified, but he was unable to provide identifying information for the passenger who survived the crash.

Aikins owned a Bellanca 8KCAB fixed wing single-engine aircraft in Shelton, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Manly said Aikins and another man were flying from Port Townsend to Shelton.

Manly said he did not know the cause of the crash and that the National Transportation Safety Board is continuing to investigate.

Manly said search and rescue teams were on scene for 14 hours after the survivor reported the crash at 10:38 p.m. Friday.

“We wrapped it up at around noon [Saturday],” said Manly, who responded to the crash.

He said finding the wreckage was initially difficult. Clouds and fog made it impossible for a helicopter from Naval Base Whidbey Island to find the crash site, which he said was on the north face of Buck Mountain.

“We were going to try to have the helicopter find the aircraft and lower people in,” he said. “But it wasn’t safe for them to be in the area.”

That’s when crews from multiple search and rescue teams went in by foot.

Using GPS from the survivor’s cellphone and the aircraft’s beacon, officials were able to pinpoint where the crash site was, he said.

He said that 13 people arrived to the crash site at about 5 a.m. Saturday. Others were along the mountainside acting as radio relays and others remained at incident command.

The ground team took the survivor, who Manly described as in “serious but stable condition,” to the ridge line where he was hoisted into a Navy helicopter and flown to Harborview Medical Center.

Members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Quilcene Fire & Rescue and Brinnon Fire Department, Olympic Mountain Rescue and Jefferson Search and Rescue responded, Manly said.

Manly said he was happy with how smoothly the rescue operation went and the professionalism of those involved.

Original article ➤

QUILCENE — A small passenger airplane crash in the Buck Mountain area near Quilcene killed one person and injured another, officials said Saturday.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office did not release by Saturday the identities of the two people who were aboard the plane when it crashed Friday night.

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Haas, who acts as the county coroner, said he could not confirm that next of kin had been notified and therefore would not release identifying information.

“That has probably been accomplished by now but I’m not in a position to confirm,” Haas said in an email.

The Sheriff’s Office received a report about a plane crash in the Buck Mountain area near Quilcene at about 10:38 p.m. Friday, according to a press release.

The 9-1-1 caller was one of the two people in the aircraft.

When search and rescue teams arrived, one person was dead and the second was treated for injuries and airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the release.

Members of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Quilcene Fire & Rescue and Brinnon Fire Department searched the area based on GPS location. They requested assistance from Naval Base Whidbey Island and Rescue 75, the Navy’s search and rescue helicopter.

Chief Criminal Deputy Art Frank of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said the location within the Olympic National Forest was extremely remote. Due to thick trees and cloud cover, the teams could not find the airplane.

However, search teams from Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and Olympic Mountain Rescue hiked into the remote area and found the two people.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash. The board could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Original article ➤

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