Sunday, November 26, 2017

Pilot says Xcel Energy at fault in accident: Aero Vodochody L-39C, N6175C

National Transportation Safety Board

Raymond Davoudi, a San Diego restaurateur, was the passenger flying with pilot Brian W. Evans on May 28, 2015 in the Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros that sheared through power cables in De Beque Canyon.

Brian W. Evans, seen climbing out of a plane, had his commercial pilot certificate suspended for 180 days.

The jet pilot and passenger who flew up De Beque Canyon at an estimated 300 mph said in court papers that Xcel Energy was at fault for an accident in which the jet snapped seven power cables.

Pilot Brian Evans and his passenger, Raymond Mez Davoudi, each named the energy company in separate responses to a federal suit filed by an Aspen man who claims he suffered damage to his hands and hearing as a result of the incident on May 28, 2015.

An Xcel Energy spokesman said the company isn't a party to the suit and was unable to comment on it.

Steve Centofanti was driving west on Interstate 70 when he saw the jet, a Warsaw Pact-era trainer, approaching — apparently straight at him.

Centofanti suffered lost feelings in his hands from gripping his steering wheel "in a panic fearing for his life and the lives of his passengers."

He also suffered hearing damage from the roar of the jet when Evans turned it skyward after it struck the cables near the Grand Valley Diversion Dam.

Centofanti's vehicle, as well as others, was struck by cables that whipped through the air as they were slashed by the jet.

Responses to the lawsuit filed by Evans and Davoudi said Xcel Energy was a "necessary and indispensable" party that Centofanti had failed to include in the suit.

Xcel should have marked the cables, and should be liable for any damages awarded to Centofanti, lawyers for Evans and Davoudi said.

Evans is a former U.S. Marine Corps pilot and Davoudi is a San Diego restaurateur who, according to postings on his Facebook page, eagerly accepted Evans' invitation to fly with him in the jet, a Vodochody L-39C, from Idaho to Alabama.

The Federal Aviation Administration revoked Evans' pilot's license after the incident, noting that Evans had flown the jet at less than 500 feet and that pilots are not to operate aircraft "in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another."

Colorado State Patrol reports noted that a truck driver on Interstate 70 that day could have been fatally injured by whipping cables. Another driver, Steve Reynolds of Glenwood Springs, suffered extensive damage to his car from the slashed cables.

The jet suffered extensive damage in the incident but Evans was able to circle Grand Junction for some 45 minutes before landing without incident at Grand Junction Regional Airport, from which it had taken off earlier that day.

"Xcel Energy is not a party to these particular proceedings and therefore cannot comment on them," the company said in a statement. "Our transmission system in the area was repaired, and our primary concern today is the continued operation of our system to ensure safe and reliable service to our customers."

Original article can be found here ➤

L-39 N6175C from Matt Cawby on Vimeo.
L-39 N6175C taxi test at Paine Field May 8, 2010.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Grand Junction, CO
Accident Number: GAA15CA096
Date & Time: 05/28/2015, 1225 MDT
Registration: N6175C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Low altitude operation/event
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


According to the pilot, while flying over a river at an altitude of about 100 feet above water and ground level, at 250 knots, the airplane impacted unmarked power line wires that spanned the river. The power line wires are clearly identified on the Visual Flight Rules Sectional Aeronautical Chart. The pilot immediately established a climb and returned to the airport without further incident. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the nose, left wing, and vertical stabilizer.

The pilot reported that there were no pre-impact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadequate preflight planning and subsequent failure to remain clear of power line wires while maneuvering at low altitude.


Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Flight planning/navigation - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Wire - Awareness of condition (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Low altitude operation/event (Defining event)

Maneuvering-low-alt flying
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 45
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/17/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/05/2014
Flight Time: (Estimated) 2944.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 458.6 hours (Total, this make and model), 2902.5 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 135.6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 94.6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 37 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)
Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AERO VODOCHODY
Registration: N6175C
Model/Series: L39 C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 432942
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/09/2014, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 10362 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 32 Hours
Engines: 1 Turbo Fan
Airframe Total Time:  at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: IVCHENKO
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: AI-25TL
Registered Owner: XP Services Inc.
Rated Power: 3800 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Does Business As: Tactial Advantage Inc.
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: GJT, 4858 ft msl
Observation Time: 1753 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 70°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 7000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 8°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: GRAND JUNCTION, CO (GJT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: GARDEN CITY, KS (GCK)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1220 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G
Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  39.122500, -108.526667 (est)


D Naumann said...

The pilot was completely at fault and should have to suffer the consequences of his actions. He's just lucky he didn't pay with his life. Obviously a "showboater and "hot dog" who thinks the rules don't apply to him. If he keeps it up, he'll be in another article sometime in the future.

Anonymous said...

Exactly... Dumb-ass pilot should be man enough to admit he screwed up and be responsible for his poor judgment!

Steven Frost