Sunday, November 19, 2017

Incident occurred November 19, 2017 at Grimes Field Airport (I74), Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio

URBANA — State troopers are investigating a plane crash that occurred at Grimes Field Airport in Urbana Sunday afternoon. 

Investigators were dispatched to the airport around 3:30 p.m. Sunday after the incident was reported. 

Dispatchers said the incident was ‘minor’ and no injuries were reported. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Cessna 172P Skyhawk, N52492, McClelland Aviation Inc: Accident occurred November 19, 2017 near Reid-Hillview Airport (KRHV), San Jose, Santa Clara County, California

McClelland Aviation Inc:

Three people were injured Sunday after a small plane crashed into a house near Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, according to fire officials.

The crash occurred about 3 p.m. at 2156 Evelyn Avenue, which is just across the street from the airport, San Jose fire officials said.

Two men and one woman were transported to a hospital. One person suffered a major injury, and the other two were lesser injuries, fire officials said.

The plane, a single-engine Cessna 172, crashed into the house's garage, but no one in the home was hurt. About 40 gallons of fuel spilled from the plane, and hazmat personnel were on the scene to clean up, fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort said.

The home's occupants were temporarily evacuated until the fuel was cleaned up, Van Elgort said.

The fixed-wing plane is registered to McClelland Aviation Inc. of San Jose, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The crash is being investigated by officials with the National Transportation Safety Board and FAA.

Original article can be found here ➤

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - San Jose Police are at the scene of a plane crash.

Police say the aircraft crashed into a home at Evelyn Avenue and Karl Street in San Jose just after 3 p.m.

Original article can be found here ➤

SAN JOSE — Two people were injured when a plane crashed into a garage in South San Jose Sunday afternoon, according to authorities. 

One person is listed as having major injuries and another with minor injuries. 

There was no word on the condition of a third person on the plane. 

Authorities are reporting that all three were onboard the plane.

A Cessna 172 crashed reported into a converted two-car garage in the 2100 block of Evelyn Avenue, not far from Reid-Hillview Airport.

One eyewitness, who declined to be named, said he saw the plane take off, struggle and then turn around heading back to the airport before it crashed.

Four ambulances are headed to the scene.

Original article can be found here ➤ 

A plane crashed this afternoon into a structure near Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman and fire officials said.

The crash of a Cessna 172 was reported at 3:01 p.m. in the 2100 block Evelyn Avenue about 300 yards northwest of the airport, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor and San Jose fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort said.

Two men and one woman were in the Cessna and all were taken to a hospital.

The plane crashed into the structure's garage. Van Elgort said no one inside the structure was injured.

As of 3:51 p.m. firefighters had the situation under control.

Original article can be found here ➤

Mr. Chan Wing Keong: Veteran air accident investigator is still living his dream of working in aviation

Mr. Chan Wing Keong became the first Asian to be awarded the Jerome F. Lederer Award, which is presented by the International Society of Air Safety Investigators, this year. Mr Chan has been in aviation safety for more than three decades, setting up the Air Accident Investigation Bureau of Singapore in October 2002.

Mr. Chan Wing Keong is most at home sitting among airplane parts like the jagged edge of a wing, black boxes and an underwater locator.

The 64-year-old has been in aviation safety for more than three decades, setting up the Air Accident Investigation Bureau of Singapore in October 2002, an independent investigation body under the Ministry of Transport. In August last year, the bureau was restructured to become the Transport Safety Investigation Bureau to include marine safety investigation.

For his work in promoting aviation safety in Singapore and the region, Mr Chan became the first Asian to be awarded the Jerome F. Lederer Award, which is presented by the International Society of Air Safety Investigators, this year.

For about 15 years, he has been the "Sherlock Holmes" of airplane investigations, piecing together evidence in plane accidents to find out what happened.

"An accident is defined as the events that occur from when people board an aircraft, to the time they disembark," he said. "Anything untoward that leads to fatality, serious injury or serious damage to the plane, counts as an accident."

He also looks at incidents, which are events that could potentially become accidents, such as a clipped aircraft wing.

"It is important to investigate every single case so we can learn from it," Mr. Chan told The Straits Times. "It's not about assigning blame, but it is about looking at the safety measures so we can make recommendations on how to prevent such incidents from occurring."

He said "safety is a system" and not about a single individual.

"We must see it in a wider, organizational context. Airplane investigations used to focus on the pilot, but in the last 20 years or so, people have learnt to look at the bigger picture," he added.

Mr. Chan said it was vital to have an independent body to investigate airplane incidents, separate from the regulatory organisation, in this case, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). "The perspective is that when the regulation unit also conducts investigation, it might not be completely objective," he said.

Mr. Chan, who studied aeronautical engineering at university, worked in CAAS' Airworthiness and Flight Operations Department before 2002. Through his hard work, the investigation bureau has gone from having just two people in 2002 to 17 today.

One of his first assignments was at Changi Airport in December 2002, barely 21/2 months after he started the unit.

"The night before, there was a collision between an aircraft and maintenance vehicle," he recalled.

"I had planned to visit the site at a similar time to see the lighting conditions and wetness of the ground, as it was during a rainy period. But about 6pm, I received a call about a plane over-running the runway, and I asked if they were joking."

With two incidents in less than 22 hours, Mr. Chan got down to work.

The team would usually visit the site of the incident, securing it and taking photographs, just as security personnel would at a crime scene.

Then they would take all the evidence gathered to the lab, where investigators analyse things bit by bit. This could involve taking apart the engine and most importantly, finding the black box and listening to the recordings from the cockpit.

"It is just like detective work," Mr. Chan said with a smile. "From all the evidence, we form a hypothesis of what happened and then we prove it. For instance, it could be that the pilot had issues, in which case we would look at his background such as his drinking habits. If it was an engine problem, we would look at the history of such engines and other issues they might have."

Listening to the black box cockpit recordings is done in a room accorded the highest level of privacy protection. "Imagine hearing the last words of a pilot," Mr. Chan said.

One of the big cases that put the investigative team under the spotlight was that of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, which crashed into the Java Sea on Dec 28, 2014, killing all 155 passengers and seven crew members on board. Singapore offered to assist, and sent a team of four out to find the black boxes.

The team had to sail in dinghies through bad weather to find the two black boxes, which they finally retrieved by Jan 13, 2015, using hydrographic equipment that can detect the items underwater.

One member of the team then was Mr. Ng Junsheng, a senior air safety investigator in the bureau.

"We were out there, very far away, but we knew we had support back home," said the 36-year-old.

Mr. Chan was coordinating all the information back in Singapore, including keeping the team's families in the loop. He also had to see if more equipment was needed or if the team needed backup.

Singapore has not had major aircraft accidents on its soil, but Mr. Chan hopes that overall aviation safety internationally could be improved.

"Even small cases are worth investigating," he said. "No small matter is too small. Incidents can be precursors to accidents. We cannot ignore an issue or it will just snowball."

For Mr. Chan, he is living the dream of working in aviation. In his office at Changi Airport overlooking the runway, he watches airplanes take off and land. "I just look out at the aircraft and hope nothing happens," he said with a laugh.

Original article can be found here ➤

Why is airport expansion necessary?

Dear Editor:

I understand that during the recent Republican municipal election forum that a Walterboro resident expressed concern about the low-flying aircraft over her home near the Lowcountry Regional Airport. The candidates apparently tried to pass responsibility to the FAA, stating that the takeoff/landing altitudes are regulated by that federal agency.

What these candidates did not explain (and some may not have known) is that the FAA usually requires an airport to conduct an environmental assessment when it lengthens and strengthens a runway, as was done between 2001-2003. Runway 5/23 (which is the runway closest to the residential areas near the intersection of North Lemacks Street and Robertson Boulevard) was lengthened to 6,002 feet, which made it the longest runway at the airport. The FAA granted the airport a “categorical exclusion” and did not require an assessment, which would have studied, among other things, the impact of the jets and planes taking off and landing so close to residential areas.

In a letter dated May 1, 2017, a group of concerned citizens petitioned the Walterboro-Colleton County Airport Commission to investigate alternate flight paths that would require aircraft traffic to avoid flying over residential areas, and to use other runways aside from Runway 5/23. We have never received a reply, and in my requests for information from the FAA, I have never been advised that an environmental assessment has been ordered.

The residents of the North Lemacks Street Neighborhood are bearing the brunt of the noise and safety concerns. In addition, two historic districts containing approximately 200 houses, churches and other structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places are being negatively impacted.

By the time this letter is published the municipal elections will have been held. Do the city council members and mayor have any intention of addressing this problem? How about the county council members? The airport commission is comprised of members of both, as well as the county treasurer, the county auditor and other officials.

I first went to an airport commission meeting to complain about the problem in April 2016. I did not know at the time that a new business, Lowcountry Aviation, was trying to lease approximately six acres of airport property adjacent to a runway. The lease was approved on Jan. 3, 2017, and the company is now seeking approval for a “fuel farm.” The language in the ordinance stated that the company was going to handle “aircraft management; aircraft maintenance/repair/overhaul, including electronic/avionic components; aircraft modifications and upgrades; engineering design; aircraft paint; charter airline services; flight training and simulation; aircraft brokerage; aircraft rentals; aircraft on-ground services; and aircraft storage services.” A sign posted at the airport terminal advertises that the company offers “general maintenance; aircraft weighing; engine borescope; interior refurbishment; electronic propeller balancing; helicopter main rotor track and balance; and annual and phase inspections.” How many more jets and planes will be taking off and landing at the airport once this company starts conducting business?

The South Carolina legislature passed job tax credit incentives to cover this new business. Readers have expressed excitement at the prospect of new jobs, but businesses that qualify for these job tax credits do not have to hire workers from Colleton County — the jobs only have to be created in Colleton County. How many local residents have this type of training or experience? Lowcountry Aviation has represented it is going to invest $3.2 million and hire 127 full-time employees. Isn’t it more likely that former Boeing employees who have been laid off from their jobs in North Charleston would be among the obvious candidates? (Boeing announced a layoff of 200 employees last June.) Should Colleton County residents have their health and safety threatened, their peace and quiet ruined and their homes devalued in favor of out-of-county workers who would simply drive to and from Walterboro for work?

Who is looking out for the best interests of those who are bearing the negative impacts? Why won’t the airport commission take action now before the situation gets worse? Why are taxpayers underwriting the cost of a $1.6 million expansion of the airport terminal — and why was this expansion even necessary?

Carol Black
Los Angeles, Calif.
and Walterboro

Original article can be found here ➤

Pratt Regional Airport (KPTT) seeks grant to replace underground fuel system

The Pratt Regional Airport is seeking a grant to replace its underground aviation fuel system.

The Pratt Airport Board Authority is hoping for a Christmas present in time for Thanksgiving.

The airport has applied for a Kansas Department of Transportation grant to replace the underground fuel storage tanks with an above ground system on skids.

Airport Manager Reid Bell told the Board of Directors at their monthly meeting on Nov. 9 that the decision on who gets grants should be made by Thanksgiving.

“We’re waiting to see if we make the cut this year,” Bell said.

The estimated cost of the new fuel system is $594,000. The grant would cover most of the cost but still leaving $82,000 for the airport share of the expense, Bell said.

The current tanks are underground and are 70 years old. They are still in compliance but they won’t last forever so Bell wants to get them replaced before they become an issue.

Most fuel tanks at airports are above ground now and are on skids so they can be moved when necessary. Bell wants the fuel system on skids because in the far future, the terminal area will undergo a renovation and he wants to move the system across the runway from its present location to the opposite side of the taxiway.

The grant money comes through the Federal Aviation Administration and goes through the KDOT Aviation division.

Getting the grant money is very important to the airport because the downturn in the oil and gas industry has resulted in a drop in the number of businesses at the airport and the revenue from those businesses.

“We’re having a problem with cash flow right now. We’re having trouble balancing the budget. We’re still working on that,” Bell said.

Although the cash flow is an issue, Bell said the financial statement for the airport was still good.

There are no new leases on the horizon but the city is working on a solar energy business that would locate at the airport. But that venture has a long way to go, including the price per acre and a lot has to be worked out before that happens, said Pratt City Manager Roy Eckert.

A transaction that is under consideration is BTI wants to purchase the ground they are now leasing at the airport. However, the federal government still has authority over selling land at the airport and they have to approve the sale and it’s a hassle to do that. The FAA prefers airports don’t sell ground because that is selling off the airport’s revenue generating ability, Bell said.

There are 25 acres involved at BTI and Bell said the sale doesn’t look like its going to happen.

The airport continues to look for other businesses an hopes to find more sources of revenue from land leases. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Rockwell International 112A, N1401J: Incident occurred November 19, 2017 near Clearwater Airpark (KCLW), Pinellas County, Florida

Pilot Marc Benedict, left, and passenger Gregory Guinee, rest on the curb along Keene Road after walking away from the crash of a small plane on Sunday along Keene Road, south of Sunset Point Road, in Clearwater. The plane was a Rockwell Commander 112A.

CLEARWATER — Two men walked away unhurt from a small airplane after it clipped a tree and spun around as the pilot tried to make an emergency landing on Keene Road, deputies said.

Pilot Marc Benedict, 61, and passenger Gregory Guinee, 55, of Clearwater, were not injured when the single-engine, four-seat Rockwell Commander 112 crashed about 10:25 a.m. Sunday along Keene Road at Sunset Point Road, said Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Cpl. Daniel DiFrancesco.

Benedict experienced engine trouble as he was returning to Clearwater Air Park from Zephyrhills Municipal Airport, DiFrancesco said. He had taken off for Zephyrhills about 9 a.m. and took off about 10 a.m. for the return trip.

Benedict reported engine trouble while flying southwest over On Top of the World, a 55-plus community in Clearwater, and attempted to land on Keene Road.

The left wing hit a tree in the road's median, causing the plane to spin around and come to a stop on a sidewalk.

An investigation is under way but deputies said there was no indication of impairment. The Federal Aviation Administration was scheduled to take overe the probe.

Keene Road was expected to be blocked until the plane could be towed away.

Wayne Owens, 49, heard the crash from his house on Bentley Street, just one house away from where the plane landed.

Owens, an electrician, thought it was a car crash before he noticed the downed tree and mangled plane. He's heard of other plane crashes nearby.

"I feel very uneasy about it," he said. "I didn't think about it until after I bought the place that we're right in the direct line of the airport."

Original article can be found here ➤

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) —A small plane crashed in unincorporated Clearwater Sunday morning. Fortunately, both the pilot and passenger survived without any injuries.

The crash occurred on North Keene Road near Sunset Point Road, less than one mile from the Clearwater Airpark around 10:30 a.m.

Deputies said the single-engine Rockwell International aircraft 112-A piloted by 61-year-old Marc Allen Benedict had flown from Clearwater Airpark to Zephyrhills Municipal Airport

“They refueled and spent a little bit of time there before they departed to come back to Clearwater Airpark,” said Corporal Dan DiFrancesco with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Benedict told officials the plane began experiencing engine trouble while in the air over the area of Sunset Point Road and Belcher Road and he was forced to reroute the plane.

He said he worried he wouldn’t make it back to the airport and started looking for a safe place to land.

“He noticed the road was open,” said Corporal DiFrancesco. “He also noticed we had deputy in the area that was helping because he was on a traffic stop.”

While Benedict attempted a landing on Keene Road, part of the plane caught a tree, causing the aircraft to spin out of control and crash on the road. A deputy’s dash cam captured it on video.

“His words to me:  He would have made it if it had not been for that small tree,” recalled Corporal DiFrancesco.

Benedict and his passenger, 55-year-old Gregory Guinee would not speak to News Channel 8 on camera.

The chaotic scene caught neighbors by surprise.

“I could not believe that a plane actually crashed right literally a block from my house,” said Belinda Maxwell, who has lived in the area for about eight years.

“I said. ‘Oh my god, how could that be?’” another resident, Joe Pasquarella exclaimed.

“It could have been a whole lot worse,” said Maxwell. “Thank God no one lost their lives.”

Investigators do not believe impairment was a factor in the crash but an investigation is ongoing.

Original article can be found here ➤

CLEARWATER (FOX 13) - Investigators with the FAA, NTSB, and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office are investigating a small plane that crashed in Clearwater Sunday morning. 

According to the pilot, 61-year-old Marc Benedict, just after 10:00 a.m his Rockwell International 112A took off from Zephyrhills Airport heading towards Clearwater. The pilot reported that the noticed a problem with the engine while he was over the area of Sunset Road and Belcher Road in Clearwater. 

Benedict told investigators he did not feel like the plane would make it back to the airport and began to search for a safe plane to land. Benedict spotted an area on Keene Road and attempted to land. While doing so, the plane's left wing hit a tree causing the plane to spin and crash at 1817 North Keene Road. 

Deputies say both Benedict and his passenger were not hurt in the incident. 

The investigation is being conducted by the FAA and NTSB. There is no word yet as to what caused the crash. 

Original article can be found here ➤

CLEARWATER, Fla. (CBS12) — Deputies from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office are investigating a plane cash, Sunday morning.

The crash occurred on Keene Rd. in unincorporated Clearwater around 10:23 a.m.

According to PCSO, the pilot and passenger were not injured. 

Original article can be found here ➤

From the archives: Undercover St. Louis officer dies in helicopter crash

Hughes 369HS, N9179F, Drug Enforcement Administration: Fatal accident occurred November 19, 1993 in Antonia, Jefferson County, Missouri

St. Louis police officer Stephen Strehl pictured here with his family in 1993.

Editor's note: This story first was published on Saturday, Nov. 20, 1993, the day after the crash.

An undercover St. Louis police officer who fought back from an injury to wage war on drug dealers died early Friday morning in a helicopter crash while on drug surveillance in Jefferson County.

Officer Stephen J. Strehl, a 14-year veteran, was riding shotgun in a two-seat Drug Enforcement Administration helicopter about 3:45 a.m. when it plunged about 500 feet and smashed into trees three miles south of Antonia. The helicopter rolled onto Strehl, 35, pinning him. He had been assigned to a DEA task force.

The DEA pilot, Hawthorne I. Lee, 37, of St. Louis County, suffered severe head and leg injuries. He was in critical condition Friday at St. Louis University Medical Center.

Missouri Highway Patrol officers and two other DEA agents working on the investigation from the ground tried to pull Strehl from the wreckage, said John P. Sutton, special agent in charge of the St. Louis DEA office. They managed to get Lee out, he added.

"Certainly Steve has paid the ultimate price, " Sutton said. "While the city of St. Louis was asleep, he was out at 3:30 in the morning doing some serious crime fighting . . . to protect the public."

Sutton said the officers were working on "a significant drug case" involving the DEA task force and the Missouri Highway Patrol. He would not elaborate.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation and Safety Board were traveling to the crash site Friday afternoon.

The copter crashed in a sparsely populated area of wooded hills and valleys near Briarwood and Moss Hollow roads.

Bill Abney, owner of a tow truck service, lifted the copter to remove the officer's body. He said the craft apparently missed a nearby power line but hit a large tree, breaking off a limb.

"It went on its side and was pretty well torn up, " Abney said.

Police said the helicopter was not fired upon. It was hovering about 500 feet when it just plunged toward the trees, said St. Louis Police Chief Clarence Harmon.

Sam House, 62, said he was awake in bed at his home on Upper Moss Hollow Road when he heard the copter's engine "revving up like a truck in low gear. I heard it lose power. I thought, `He's coming down. I hope it doesn't hit the house.' "

Lee is an experienced pilot who has worked for the DEA eight years, most recently overseas. He is certified to fly both helicopters and airplanes, Sutton said.

Sutton offered no theory about what happened. He said that the helicopter was well-maintained and that he had flown in it himself.

Harmon ordered flags flown at half-staff and asked that black bunting be placed at police stations. He said he had hoped he wouldn't have to add a photograph of another officer killed in the line of duty to the wall outside his office.

"But now, we'll see that happen, " he said.

"All law enforcement officers . . . in these days and times, you mark your days by the times you go home after your shifts, " Harmon said.

Strehl is survived by his wife, Kathy, and three young sons.

Strehl's friends remembered him as a good officer who had always wanted to work on drug cases.

Harmon recalled that Strehl was injured in the line of duty several years ago and required a long recovery. All the while, Strehl kept asking to be assigned to narcotics investigations, Harmon said.

He got his wish in October 1992, when Harmon gave him what is considered a plum assignment: The DEA interagency task force.

Kent Womack, a St. Louis Police public affairs officer, said he had worked with Strehl in the 9th District.

"He was the kind of guy you could always depend on, " Womack said. "Every officer has a pet peeve. His was narcotics dealers."

Story, comments and photos ➤

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: CHI94GA038
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Friday, November 19, 1993 in ANTONIA, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/27/1994
Aircraft: HUGHES 369HS, registration: N9179F
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

: 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 public aircraft accident report.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:


On November 19, 1993, at 0346 central standard time, a Hughes 369HS, N9179F, operated as a public use aircraft by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), impacted trees and terrain while on a training mission near Antonia, Missouri. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger (observer) received fatal injuries. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on file. The local flight departed Spirit of St. Louis Airport, at St. Louis, Missouri, at 0130.

The purpose of the flight was for training using a Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system. Persons involved in the training were the DEA pilot, and the Missouri State Police observer to operate the FLIR system in the helicopter; two DEA agents and one Missouri State Policeman, on the ground. The pre-arranged plan was to have the two DEA agents and the policeman travel to a pre-selected location by motor vehicle and the helicopter to follow and maintain an altitude of approximately 1,500 feet above ground level (agl). After arriving at the location, the FLIR operator was to locate one of the individuals on the ground and follow him to a private residence while remaining at the pre-arranged altitude. The operation was to take place under the cover of darkness. There was no plan to land the helicopter at the location. Two way radio communication was maintained between the helicopter and the DEA agents on the ground.

During the night of the operation, one landing at an athletic field was conducted to make a repair to the FLIR system. The mission was aborted at another location when the FLIR operator was unable to identify the residence selected. A decision was made at that time to proceed to another location.

The DEA agents and the policeman arrived at the pre-selected location at 0344. The two DEA agents remained at the motor vehicle. The policeman began to approach the residence, walking west on a road. Both of the DEA agents indicated in their statements, that as the policeman was making his way west toward the residence they became aware that the helicopter was descending. The agents observations of the helicopter were based on their observance of the navigation lights on the helicopter and noises they heard during the event. They reported that the helicopter missed striking the policeman on the road by approximately 10 feet. The helicopter then touched down in an open field ringed by trees south of the road where the policeman was walking and west of where the agents were situated.

The DEA agents stated that the helicopter was observed to touch down on the rear of the skids first, flatten out, and skid forward. Both DEA agents stated that the helicopter then lifted off and continued south. One DEA agent stated that as the helicopter began to gain altitude, he heard a noise which he believed to be the main rotor hitting something. The DEA agents then observed the helicopter continue south approximately 50 to 75 yards and gain about 50 feet of altitude. They stated the helicopter initiated an abrupt right turn and the noise of the main rotor hitting trees became evident. They stated that the helicopter then rolled inverted and impacted the terrain. At no time did the witnesses observe the landing light to be illuminated on the helicopter, nor were there any radio transmissions heard from the helicopter.

A radar plot of the accident helicopter's flight path, just prior to impact, indicated that the helicopter was maintaining between 1,200 and 1,300 feet mean sea level (msl), in the area of the impact site, coincident with the approximate time of the accident. A copy of the Recorded Radar Study compiled by the NTSB, Office of Research and Engineering is attached as an addendum to this report. (Note: From surface charts the approximate elevation of the accident site was 900 feet msl).


Trees and foliage were damaged during the accident.


The pilot held a commercial certificate for helicopters and single engine airplanes. He also held an airline transport certificate for multi-engine airplanes. He had a total pilot time of 3,091 hours in all types of aircraft, with 289 hours in rotorcraft, and 220 hours in the make and model of the accident helicopter at the time of the accident. He was the holder of a first class medical certificate issued on July 2, 1993, with no limitations. His most recent biennial flight review was received in this make and model of helicopter one month prior to the accident. 


The helicopter was a Hughes 369HS, N9179F, serial number 140554S. The helicopter had accumulated 4,154 hours time in service at the time of the accident. An annual inspection was conducted on November 12, 1993, and the helicopter had accumulated eight hours time in service since the inspection. The total time on the engine was the same as the airframe and had accumulated 678 hours since the last overhaul.


Marks corresponding with the size of the landing skids were found at the location described by witnesses to be the initial touchdown point on a heading of 185 degrees. These marks corresponded to a level attitude on terrain sloping forward and to the right approximately 10 to 15 degrees. The ground scars ended within about 15 feet. Multiple small branches of a tree 20 feet beyond the initial ground scars, 10 feet above ground level, were severed. A tree which was seven inches in diameter and located 150 feet beyond the initial ground contact marks was severed about 25 feet above ground level. The tree had numerous scars on the east side of it. The helicopter came to rest inverted 15 feet beyond the tree, on a heading of 330 degrees.

A continuity check of the flight control system (collective, cyclic, and directional) was completed with no pre-impact discrepancies noted.

An inspection of the collective/throttle control linkage to the governor/fuel control system showed no evidence of damage.

The helicopter was equipped with dual flight controls. Both systems were inspected. The left seat cyclic control stick was fractured at the base. The right directional control pedal for the left seat/pilot position was fractured. The right directional control pedal for the right seat position was fractured. Witness statements showed that the fracture was the result of efforts by fire/crash rescue team members to facilitate the rescue of the occupants.

The directional control rod was fractured at fuselage station 219.0 where the tailboom separation occurred. The control rod remained attached to the tail rotor gearbox bellcrank and when moved, showed no damage or malfunction of the tail rotor pitch control system.

The main rotor system (hub assembly) showed extensive damage with lead/lag excursions and excessive blade flapping. The hub assembly had impact marks consistent with main rotor blade strikes.

The tail rotor system (hub assembly) had minor damage, in the form of small dents and scratches.

On the airframe, the forward windscreen and framing were fractured and separated. The right cockpit door frame was crushed and bent.

The right front seat pan was buckled from the right/forward to left/rear.

The tailboom fractured at fuselage station 219.0, and was bent at the point of separation.

According to witness statements, the engine was still operating after the helicopter came to rest. The exact power setting is unknown. They stated the engine was shut down by the local fire department when they dispensed a fire suppressing agent into both exhausts.

The drive system was examined. The over-running clutch functioned when inspected; rotating in one direction, while engaging when rotated in the opposite direction. The engine to transmission driveshaft showed no evidence of damage. The main rotor system and tail rotor driveshaft rotated when the driveshaft was turned by hand.

The main rotor driveshaft and static mast were fractured approximately eight inches from the bottom.

The tail rotor driveshaft was fractured at fuselage station 219.0. The tail rotor driveshaft (forward of fuselage station 219.0 and aft) rotated freely in both directions. The aft portion remained connected via a Bendix coupling to the tail rotor gearbox. The forward portion of the drive shaft remained attached via a Bendix coupling.

The main transmission rotated freely when the main rotor system and/or the engine to transmission driveshaft was rotated by hand. The magnetic chip detector plug was examined and found to be free of chips.

The tail rotor gearbox rotated in both directions and showed no evidence of lockup or ratcheting. The magnetic chip detector plug was examined and found to be free of chips.

The yellow main rotor blade was separated from the main rotor system at the pitch case housing. The strap pack was fractured. The pitch change link was fractured at the upper portion while the rod end remained intact with the main rotor hub assembly. The trailing edge damper arm was bent. The vibration absorber attaching bracket was fractured and the vibration absorber weight was missing. The blade had a partial fracture at blade station 30 and a complete fracture at blade station 117. The trailing edge of the blade had extensive damage and the outboard section (from blade station 117) was located approximately 150 feet north of the main wreckage. The remaining section of the blade with the pitch case housing was found approximately 70 feet to the rear of the helicopter.

The white main rotor blade remained attached to the main rotor hub assembly, but exhibited a complete fracture at blade station 132. The vibration absorber attaching bracket was fractured and the pitch change link had two fractures resulting in approximately four inches of the barrel missing. Both pitch link rod ends remained intact.

The blue main rotor blade had bending at blade station 142. The pitch change link was fractured at the upper end while both rod ends remained intact.

The red main rotor blade had trailing edge damage and partial fractures at blade stations 20 and 73. The blade was bent both spanwise and chordwise. The strap pack had a fracture of the forward leg. The vibration absorber attaching bracket was fractured and the vibration absorber weight was missing. The pitch change link was fractured at the upper end and both rod ends were intact.

The red, blue, and white main rotor blades remained attached to the main rotor hub assembly which came to rest approximately 10 feet north of the helicopter, at the base of a tree which was described above as being severed at 25 feet and having damage on the east side.

The engine showed no evidence of displacement or damage. The governor and fuel control settings correlated with the collective and throttle controls. All engine fuel and air lines were inspected and no evidence of damage or looseness was observed.

Inspection of the fuel system revealed that the helicopter was equipped with an auxiliary fuel tank which remained intact and showed no evidence of leakage. The main fuel tank showed no evidence of damage, or leaking and contained fuel.

The fuel vent system was inspected to verify that the vent was open. No restriction was noted.

A vacuum check of the fuel system was conducted. A vacuum pressure of 10 inches was held for two minutes.

After the on-scene examination the helicopter was removed from the accident site to test run the engine at another location.


On December 1, 1993, the engine was removed from the airframe. On December 2, 1993, the engine was test run at Aviall, Dallas, Texas. An engine test log provided by Aviall is attached to this report.

During the inspection and run of the accident helicopter engine, no failed or distressed parts were found within the engine nor any of its components.

During testing the engine was subjected to a power calibration with stabilized running at various power levels. Engine operation was found to be acceptable throughout the testing with no operational problems encountered. Start times, acceleration and deceleration time responses were within acceptable overhaul limits. Engine performance was found to be 3.3% below new engine acceptance standards and at maximum power, and 4.3% below for "Cruise B" power. 


Parties to the investigation were The Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards District Office, Saint Louis, Missouri; the Drug Enforcement Administration, Dallas, Texas; Allison Engine Company, Indianapolis, Indiana; and McDonnell Douglas, Mesa, Arizona.

The aircraft wreckage was released to the Drug Enforcement Administration on November 20, 1993.

Major Zul Helmie Zainuddin: Willpower, ability make for safe belly landing of Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules

Royal Malaysian Air Force pilot Major Zul Helmie Zainuddin, who safely landed the Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules with only the nose tire after it suffered problems with the main landing gear as it departed from Labuan Airport, on Saturday morning.

LABUAN: Willpower and the ability to operate safely were instrumental in the successful belly landing of a Hercules C130 transport aircraft of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) at Labuan Airport on Saturday.

Its pilot, Major Zul Helmie Zainuddin, 31, who has been piloting Lockheed C-130H-30 Hercules for seven years, said it was also the positive attitude and thinking, with no panicking that helped him and eight other crew members to land the aircraft without landing gear safely on the runway, and with minimal damage to the aircraft.

"We are grateful to Allah The Almighty as we had landed safely despite the technical glitch in the sky, while the continuous simulator training we've undergone, have imbued positive attitude and thinking in us.

"We were taught to be fully prepared for any eventuality, and most importantly, to strictly adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) that helped us to land safely," he told reporters at the RMAF Membedai Camp, here, today.

Zul Helmie, who has 10 years of experience in aviation and operations, explained that the aircraft, which had just departed from Labuan Airport at about 11am on Saturday unexpectedly had a dysfunctional main landing gear on the right side.

They were leaving for Kuching, Sarawak for a routine 'sortie' competency training when the problem occurred.

"As the aircraft pilot, I took the responsibility by deciding to discontinue the journey for the training which was scheduled from Labuan to Kuching, and later to Kota Kinabalu before returning to Labuan.

"I circled over the island of Labuan for six hours to try solve the starboard main landing gear problem in accordance with the SOP, but the problem persisted," he said.

"The aircraft was running out of fuel, and it was already about an hour past the flight time schedule at the airport. So, as the aircraft captain, I decided to land without the main landing gear but only with the nose wheel landing gear.

"Actually, we had two options, according to the emergency checklist, one of which was to land completely without tires, and the other option was to land with only the nose tire with the other two tires (left and right), fully up.

"I decided on the second option which is safer, as landing with the nose tyre, I believed I could still control the direction of the aircraft and the impact might not be strong during the landing process," he added.

Zul Helmie said the safe landing was also the result of close cooperation from the emergency rescue teams from the Fire and Rescue Department and the RMAF Provost Unit, as well as the air traffic controller. 

Original article can be found here ➤

Feds to end subsidy for air service to Waimea-Kohala Airport (PHMU)

KAILUA-KONA — The U.S. Department of Transportation in January will end a subsidy for air service at the Waimea-Kohala Airport following unsuccessful efforts to negotiate sharing the subsidy’s cost.

The order, issued on Tuesday, ends a subsidy to Mokulele Airlines for air service to the airport, effective Jan. 16. The order doesn’t restrict that airline or any other carrier from offering unsubsidized service after the subsidy ends.

Rep. Cindy Evans, D-North Kona, North Kohala and South Kohala, said she’s speaking with officials on the county, state and federal levels about the impact of the subsidy’s termination and whether there is still an opportunity to find a cost share for the program.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye, D-Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa and Kona, said while she’s disappointed about the scheduled termination of the subsidy, she’s looking into usage data for the airport and communicating with officials at various levels to explore what options are available.

The airport last year recorded the second lowest number of passengers of any airport in the state, according to state air traffic statistics, with only 10,408 passengers. It recorded the fourth lowest number of takeoffs and landings, just under 2,800 for the year. By comparison, the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole recorded more than 3 million passengers and more than 135,000 takeoffs and landings.

A separate report on state airports’ revenue and expenses does not break out the Waimea-Kohala airport individually.

The Essential Air Service program is a federal program designed to guarantee air service for small communities across the country. The U.S. Department of Transportation lists more than 173 subsidized Essential Air Service communities across the country.

The community identified by the feds as Kamuela is one of just two subsidized Essential Air Service communities in Hawaii, along with Kalaupapa on Molokai, which recorded more passengers than Waimea-Kohala last year, 15,285, but fewer takeoffs and landings, just 2,215.

The current contract for the Waimea-Kohala Airport goes back to 2013, when the U.S. Department of Transportation picked Mokulele Airlines to provide Essential Air Service from October of that year through this past September, according to department documents.

Under that order, the airline has provided the airport with 12 nonstop round trips each week to either Maui or Honolulu via nine-seat aircraft. The subsidy rate started at $494,291 the first year and gradually lowered to $412,389 for 2017.

In total, the subsidy was valued at close to $1.76 million over the four years.

This past February, the department started soliciting proposals for the new contract to start last month.

Both Mokulele Airlines and Makani Kai Air submitted proposals for consideration, according to the order released earlier this week.

But the federal 2017 omnibus spending bill, signed into law in May, barred any money being used for an EAS contract with a community less than 40 miles from the nearest small hub airport before the secretary of Transportation has negotiated a cost share with the community.

That means the requirement for negotiations includes the Waimea-Kohala Airport. The department measured the distance from the post office in Waimea to the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, a distance that comes to about 36 miles.

According to the U.S. DOT’s list of subsidized Essential Air Service communities, which does not include communities in Hawaii and Alaska, there are only two other communities that are less than 40 miles from the nearest small hub: Pueblo, Colorado; and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

In March, the Waimea Community Association hosted a forum to talk about continued service at the airport and hear from Mokulele Airlines and Makani Kai Air.

But the issue of cost sharing at the local airport wasn’t on the table at the time, said Patti Cook, president of the nonprofit Waimea Community Association.

“At that point, it was really a conversation for subsidized EAS service for Waimea,” she said.

It wasn’t until later in the summer, she said, that federal representatives contacted her about cost sharing. But that’s an issue beyond the scope of what the community association does.

“That’s beyond our ability,” she said, saying she checked that the feds had been coordinating with government leaders as well.

Overall though she said she felt there was a “fair amount of outreach” from the federal government during the process.

That March meeting was the only community association meeting about the subsidized service and nobody from the federal government was in attendance.

In July, the director of the state Department of Transportation, Ford Fuchigami, wrote to the federal DOT in support of continuing the Essential Air Service program at the airport. In that letter, he said his department’s Airports Division would contribute 5 percent of the upcoming contract.

That money would be sourced from airport revenue, according to the federal order.

But Federal Aviation Administration policies ban the use of airport revenue to subsidize airline service.

When the feds told the state that airport revenue couldn’t be a part of the local contribution, Fuchigami indicated there wouldn’t be any state funds available for a cost share. State Department of Transportation spokesman Tim Sakahara said Friday the department “is not allowed by law to use its funds to pay for the local cost share.”

At some point, the department received a “final offer from the community” for a contribution of $500 as the local cost share. Documents state that the full contract was about $1.6 million.

The federal order doesn’t identify the source of the $500 offer or when it was made.

In any case, the feds considered that $500 offer too minimal to consider and tried to continue negotiations “for a substantive cost share proposal.”

In September, an email referenced in the order from Fuchigami indicated that they were going to “end all attempts to provide EAS for Waimea” and affirmed at the end of October that the state couldn’t provide funding toward a cost share.

As a result, the federal Department of Transportation made the decision to terminate the subsidy for Essential Air Service at the Waimea-Kohala Airport.

The existing contract with Mokulele, which was already extended once through the end of October, was extended in Tuesday’s order a second time through Jan. 15 “to allow for an orderly shutdown of service and not disrupt travel plans over the upcoming holiday season.” A representative for Mokulele did not return a request for comment on Friday.

Original article  ➤