Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cessna 172G Skyhawk, N4676L, registered to Anne Kristine II Inc and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred November 22, 2017 in Pittsford, Rutland County, Vermont

R.I.P. Capt. Norm Baker FN '70

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Anne Kristine II Inc:

Location: Pittsford, VT
Accident Number: CEN18FA037
Date & Time: 11/22/2017, 1700 EST
Registration: N4676L
Aircraft: CESSNA 172G
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On November 22, 2017, about 1700 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172G, N4676L, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain near Pittsford, Vermont. The pilot was fatally injured. The aircraft was registered to Anne Kristine II, Inc., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Weather conditions at the site are to be determined. The flight was not on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Pittsfield Municipal Airport (PSF), Pittsfield, Massachusetts at an unconfirmed time and the Middlebury State Airport (6B0), Middlebury, Vermont, was the intended destination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N4676L
Model/Series: 172G G
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:  No 
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:  Unknown
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: RUT, 787 ft msl
Observation Time: 1656 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / 0°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 310°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: PITTSFIELD, MA (PSF)
Destination: MIDDLEBURY, VT (6B0)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 43.755556, -73.040000

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 

Norman Baker

PITTSFORD, Vt. —  The remains of a plane wreck in Pittsford were recovered Saturday morning and the investigation into what caused the fatal crash has started.

Police said 89-year-old Norman Baker, a very experienced pilot, was killed Wednesday when his plane crashed into a ridge in Pittsford. Police said he was traveling from his home in Massachusetts to visit family in Vermont for Thanksgiving.

An investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board documented the scene Saturday morning before the wreckage was recovered and transported to a secure site in Massachusetts for further inspection.

"It was a high-energy impact and there were several trees, some fairly large trees, that were broken," investigator John Brannen said.

Brannen said the evidence leads him to believe the engine did not fail and cause the crash, though the investigation is just beginning.

"We have to look into the pilot's background, the weather, if air traffic control was communicating with him, see if we can get radar data ... all that kind of stuff," Brannen said.

The senior air safety investigator said he has investigated hundreds of crashes with the NTSB and Baker is one of the oldest pilots in all of the fatal crashes he has seen. Brannen will also look into his medical records and the autopsy report, though Baker's family told police he didn't have any previous medical conditions.

Brannen will lay out all the wreckage Sunday and finish his examination before putting out a preliminary report next week.

"Then, once I've done all the data collection and things that I need to do, I’ll write the factual report. That usually takes about six months to a year," Brannen said.

He said the probable cause finding will come out after that. The NTSB looks into all civil aviation accidents, fatal or not.

"We’re looking for ways to prevent accidents, similar accidents, from happening in the future," Brannen said.

Story and video  ➤

WINDSOR — Norman Baker lived a full life of adventure: on land, water and in the sky.

The 89-year-old pilot, skier, sailor, equestrian and arctic explorer died Wednesday when his plane crashed in Pittsford, Vt., while he was en route to celebrate Thanksgiving with his family, his eldest son, Daniel, said Friday.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

"My dad didn't drive," Daniel Baker, of Starksboro, Vt., said with a small chuckle. "My dad would rather fly than drive."

Baker had flown his 1966 Cessna across the country and to Canada several times, and regularly to visit his sons in Vermont and Provincetown and his daughter in Milton, according to his family.

The Windsor man was an engineer by trade but an explorer at heart, having been the navigator in three of the famed Thor Heyerdahl reed boat expeditions, according to friends and family, and a longtime fellow and former director of the Explorers Club in New York City, which brought him on yearly travels and lectures around the world.

"He was just an amazing, unstoppable man and with just a huge sense of adventure," said his youngest son, Mitchell Baker, 53, of Provincetown.

At age 13, Baker was awarded flying lessons after winning a model airplane-building contest, and by 17, he was flying solo.

It was at Cornell University where Baker, captain of the Pilots Club, learned to ski, a passion he brought with him through the rest of his life.

After college, he took a job as a laborer and later as an engineer in the gold mines of Alaska before moving out West as a surveyor, where he staked out the last state boundary lines, but soon ended up enlisting in the Navy, where he was a commander during the Korean War, Daniel Baker said.

Baker met Heyerdahl by chance after the war, while in Tahiti, and he became his lifelong mentor and friend. Photos of Baker on the reed boats Ra, Ra II and Tigris, are displayed in Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki Museum in Norway.

Mitchell Baker and his sister, Elizabeth Atwood, said they knew from an early age that their father was unique from those in other families they knew.

Mitchell, Daniel and Elizabeth were on skis by the time they were walking and were acquainted with people from every continent before they were teenagers.

As children, their family traveled around the country as Baker held lectures about his expeditions, and in the 1980s, the entire family moved to the British Virgin Islands, where they rebuilt the Norwegian schooner Anne Kristine.

They lived on the tall ship, which was built in 1868, for several years and sailed it to Manhattan, N.Y., before it was destroyed in the "Perfect Storm" in 1991, Daniel Baker said.

But of all their father's adventures, the most special to Baker was his 43-year marriage, his children said. In 2003, Mary Ann Baker died of lung cancer at 66.

"She was the most important part of his life and really completed him," Mitchell Baker said. "And they had a really beautiful marriage."

The death of Mary Ann devastated the family. The Windsor community, where the Bakers had lived full time since the 1990s, came together to grieve with Baker.

"He and my mom were so grateful to move to Windsor," Atwood said. "The community is the warmest, healthiest place. I can't even tell you how, over the years, how they have cared for my dad."

Each year, to honor his wife, Baker and his friends would get together for a memorial paddle on Plainfield Pond, according to Sue Flores of Cummington, who was friends with the Bakers for over 20 years.

When the couple moved from New York City, where Baker ran a concrete construction company, to Windsor, they became actively involved in the small community.

The Bakers are Jewish, but Norman and Mary Ann were members of the West Cummington Congregational Church, where they made many friends over the Past few decades.

He would regularly pop in at the Sangar General Store, pick up skim milk and noodles, and chat with the store's owner, Prem Sangar.

"He was here this week, on Monday," Sangar said. "He was talking about how he was excited about going to see his family."

"He only had one personality, and that was optimistic and sure of himself," Flores said Friday night.

Baker loved to tell stories about his travels, many of which Flores recounted Friday evening.

At nearly 90 years old, he didn't slow down and was looking forward to a season of skiing in the Berkshires, Flores said.

"Norman had a lot of friends, and he was this extremely accomplished person who lived in our midst very humbly and enthusiastically," said Kristi Nelson of Hadley, who was a good friend of both Bakers. "He had this love for life and this adventurous spirit that was absolutely unstoppable. He was this incredible storyteller, and all his stories were based in reality."

Before his death, Baker was splitting his time between his home in Windsor and Atwood's home in Milton.

Each morning, Baker would make himself a bowl of granola and fruit before beginning his exercise routine, which included pull-ups on a bar he installed in Atwood's house.

Baker could do more pull-ups than his 19-year-old grandson and Atwood's husband, William, his daughter said.

"It wasn't a narcissistic thing," Atwood said. "He was very committed to living his life in the fullest way possible."

Atwood recalled a trip the family took to Rwanda about five years ago to visit her daughter. During the trip, the family took a strenuous hike into the mountains to find gorilla families.

One silverback gorilla walked over to Baker and pushed him over, which immediately concerned the rest of the family.

"But he just started laughing," Atwood said. "He was just thrilled to be pushed over by a silverback in the jungles of Rwanda."

When Baker wasn't sharing stories about his own adventures, he was intently and curiously listening to the stories of Atwood's three children, whom he adored, she said.

"He would listen to my children's lives, about high school life, and appreciate it just as if he was listening to Thor Heyerdahl's stories," Atwood said, choking up. "He was a great father to my brothers and I, but he was an even better grandfather."

Two weeks before his death, Daniel Baker's partner gave birth to twin girls, and Baker took the trip to Vermont to meet his youngest grandchildren.

While devastated by her father's loss, especially so close to Thanksgiving, Atwood feels grateful that Baker died, without suffering, while doing what he loved. Atwood said that she is sure that, during his last breaths, her father was thinking of his wife.

About two years ago, Baker broke his neck when he fell off a horse. More recently, he had hip surgery. Neither incident stopped him from exploring, but occasionally made walking more difficult, Mitchell Baker said.

"His airplane was the one place he felt young and not impaired at all," Mitchell Baker said. "Especially after losing my mother, flying was his great passion."

Story and photo gallery:

PITTSFORD — A Massachusetts man is dead after his plane crashed in the woods in Pittsford sometime on Wednesday, according to Vermont State Police.
Norman L. Baker, 89, of Windsor, Massachusetts, was traveling to the Middlebury area to visit family for Thanksgiving, according to Capt. Michael Manley, troop commander of the Vermont State Police southern division.

“We obviously feel sorry for the family, on a holiday to be losing a family member. Our condolences go out to the family,” Manley said.

Baker was the owner of the plane, a single-engine, four- seat 1966 Cessna Skyhawk, and he was only person on board when it crashed, officials said.

The plane was found in the woods off of Route 7 near Whistle Stop Lane on private property in Pittsford.

At a press conference on Thursday, police said Baker was an experienced pilot who had been involved with aviation since he was a teenager.

Detective Todd Wilcox, of the Vermont State Police, said Baker’s son was on the crash scene Thursday with police. Wilcox said the family “seemed to be doing fairly well for the tragic event.”

While police were not able to provide details on Thursday about whether Baker had ever flown professionally, they said he had made the flight between Windsor and Middlebury about 20 times.

“It is unknown why Mr. Baker crashed. The (National Transportation Safety Board) is sending an investigator to assist in the examining of the crash wreckage,” said Lt. Bill Pratico of the Pittsford Police Department.

Baker’s body will be taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for an autopsy. Manley said the results will help police determine if a medical event may have caused the crash.

“We’ve spoken to family, and there’s nothing as of right now that makes us believe he was unfit to fly,” he said.

According to Manley, it’s not unusual for a plane as old as the Skyhawk to continue to be in use if it is wellmaintained, although he offered no opinion on the condition of Baker’s plane.

Pratico said local emergency responders faced a challenge determining if a crash had taken place.

On Wednesday, around 5 p. m., local police in Pittsford and the Rutland barracks of the Vermont State Police learned of a potential aircraft incident in the area of Sugar Hollow Road.

The first person to call police reported a small aircraft was flying low.

“As it continued on the site, the caller indicated that they heard a loud noise. The caller was fearful that the plane had crashed and added that they only heard a noise and did not see the plane crash nor did they see any wreckage,” Pratico said.

Police learned there were no unaccounted flights due at the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport and none of the aircraft in the area had broadcast a distress signal.

Officers searched the area but there was no sign of a plane crash and police received no other reports, Pratico said.

The Vermont Civil Air Patrol also conducted a search by air but found no evidence of a crash.

However, around 11:30 p. m., police learned a plane had left Pittsfield, Massachusetts, flying toward Middlebury, but hadn’t arrived.

The Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team put together a search with the assistance of fire department members from Pittsford, Brandon and Chittenden.

Again, nothing was found and a second air search, conducted by Vermont Civil Air Patrol and the Vermont Army National Guard, was also unsuccessful.

The location of the wreckage was reported by a Pittsford resident who had heard about the incident and decided to look around his property to see if he could find anything, Pratico said. He found the plane while walking his property, police said.

Pratico said the timing of the crash, the day before Thanksgiving, didn’t seem to have an effect on getting the resources needed to conduct the search.

Original article can be found here ➤

PITTSFIELD — A Windsor pilot flying out of Pittsfield has been identified as the victim of a fatal crash after his plane went down in Vermont on Wednesday. 

Vermont State Police said 89-year-old Norman L. Baker took off from Pittsfield on Wednesday and intended to make a routine flight to Middlebury, Vt., but crashed in Pittsford, Vt.

Baker was the only person in the plane, which was not discovered until Thursday, after multiple searches, according to a statement released by Vermont State Police on Thursday night. 

It is not clear why the 1966 Cessna crashed, and the investigation is ongoing. 

Police described Baker as an experienced pilot who had made the journey from Pittsfield to Middlebury 20 times. An autopsy will be conducted at the Chief Medical Examiner's Office. 

A resident in Pittsford called 911 at about 5 p.m. Wednesday to report seeing a low-flying aircraft and then, after it continued out of sight, hearing a loud noise that could have been a crash.

First responders, including Pittsford Police and Vermont State Police, canvassed the area but found no wreckage. 

The Federal Aviation Administration, Vermont Civil Air Patrol and the Rutland Regional Airport reported no unaccounted aircraft and no distress signals from any planes in the area, according to police. 

At about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Massachusetts State Police reported a plane that had left Pittsfield but never arrived in Middlebury.

The report prompted the Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team to coordinate another unsuccessful search — again focused in Pittsford — with firefighters from the Pittsford, Brandon and Chittenden, Vt., fire departments. 

Early Thursday morning, a Vermont Army National Guard helicopter and multiple planes from the Vermont Civil Air Patrol flew overhead, but again found no evidence of the crash. 

On Thursday, the crash site was reported to police at about 11:30 a.m. by a local resident who had scoured his property after learning of the missing plane.

The plane had come to a stop near U.S. Route 7 in the town of Pittsford near Whistlestop Lane, police said. Baker was found dead near the plane. 

Original article can be found here ➤

One person is dead after a plane that left from Massachusetts crashed in Pittsford, Vermont.

The plane was located on the east side of Route 7 having sustained heavy damage. There were no passengers on board the aircraft but its pilot was found dead at the scene, say Vermont State Police.

The pilot was identified as 89-year-old Norman Baker from Windsor, Massachusetts. 

Baker's Cessna 172G Skyhawk left the Pittsfield Municipal Airport in Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon headed for Middlebury.

Baker has been flying his whole life. He had made the trip from Pittsfield to Middlebury approximately 20 times before Wednesday's crash.

Pittsford Police were alerted by a caller to a crash on Wednesday around 5 p.m. in the area of Sugar Hollow Road. The caller had spotted a small, low-flying aircraft in the area and reported that as the plane traveled out of sight, the caller heard a loud noise. The caller was concerned that the plane had crashed, but did not see a crash or wreckage.

Initial investigation found the caller's claim to be unfounded. Police coordinated with the FAA, Vermont Civil Air Patrol and Rutland Regional Airport to determine that there were no unaccounted for aircraft in the area, nor any broadcasting a distress signal.

Late Wednesday night, however, police were informed of an overdue aircraft en route to Middlebury from Massachusetts. Search parties were activated in Pittsford and surrounding areas.

The site of the plane crash was discovered Thursday afternoon by a private landowner searching his property. The cause of the crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Story and video ➤

PITTSFORD, Vt. (WCAX) "It's just wreckage strewn about everywhere," Alexis Miller said. "The largest piece I saw was the cockpit."

Miller described finding the horrific aftermath of a single-engine plane crash. The scene was along a ridge line about a quarter of a mile into the woods next to her family's Pittsford cabin.

"There's insulation hanging from trees, there's just little tiny pieces that are maybe the size of a shoebox," she said.

Miller and her dad went out early Thanksgiving morning to search after hearing news reports that her neighbors reported a possible crash nearby the night before. A Civil Air Patrol plane had been searching the area, as well, going off tips of a low-flying plane, described as a white Cessna 172 with maroon trim.

Reporter Tyler Dumont: You actually saw something?

Mike Solari: I saw the plane, well, I saw a plane go overhead.

Solari lives on Sugar Hollow Road not far from the crash scene.

Tyler Dumont: Anything come to your mind at that time?

Mike Solari: No, it was just lower than normal, that's about all I can say.

WCAX News was there as rescue crews and Vermont State Police troopers arrived soon after the plane was found. Authorities confirmed shortly after that the pilot-- the only person on board-- was dead. 

Late Thursday afternoon, they identified the pilot as Norman Baker, 89, of Windsor, Massachusetts. Police say Baker was an experienced pilot who had been flying since he was 13 and they have no reason to believe he was unfit in any way.

Officials say Baker was headed to the Middlebury State Airport over 20 miles away from Pittsford. In a statement, the FAA said: " ... the pilot was flying on visual flight rules and was not receiving air traffic control service. A concerned friend or relative reported that the Cessna departed from Pittsfield Municipal Airport in Massachusetts at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday... and was scheduled to arrive in Middlebury two hours later."

"I get the feeling that they were probably coming home for the holidays," Miller said. "And I feel really bad for whoever it is, their family, and my thoughts are with them."

The NTSB says it is sending an investigator to the crash scene to determine what happened.

Original article can be found here ➤

PITTSFORD, Vt. (AP) - A pilot found dead after a small-plane crash in Vermont has been identified as an 89-year-old Massachusetts man who had been flying planes his entire life.

Police say Windsor, Massachusetts, resident Norman L. Baker was the only person on the four-passenger plane, which had been reported missing. Baker had been flying from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to Middlebury, Vermont, 125 miles north.

The 1966 Cessna plane is believed to have crashed Wednesday in Pittsford, Vermont, 25 miles south of Middlebury. The crash site was discovered Thursday by a landowner walking in a wooded area of his property.

Police say the plane was heavily damaged and the pilot was found dead nearby. They say the pilot had done the trip successfully about 20 times and they don't know why he crashed this time.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Original article ➤

PITTSFORD, Vt. - Update:  Vermont State Police say the pilot from a missing plane was found dead.

Authorities say the missing plane was found on the east side of Route 7 in Pittsford on Thursday.

According to police, the plane was heavily damaged, there weren't any other passengers on the plane. 

Vermont State Police and the Pittsford Police Department are searching for a possible missing plane in the area of Sugar Hollow Road.

Police say they received information Wednesday night about an overdue aircraft headed to Middlebury from Massachusetts. Earlier in the day, State Police said the Pittsford Police Department received a report of a small aircraft flying low. Police say the caller indicated they heard a loud noise, but did not see the plane crash or any sign of wreckage.

Original article ➤

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