Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee, N8648N, True North Aviation: Fatal accident occurred December 07, 2016 in Port Alsworth, Alaska

• Port Alsworth walks in memory of four who died in Lake Clark plane crash 

Four Port Alsworth residents died last December when a plane crashed into Lake Clark. The community gathered this week to remember those who died and to support their surviving friends and family.

Scott Blom and the two youngest Blom children, Zach and Kaitlyn, passed away in a plane accident December 7, 2016.


Kyle Longerbeam, 25, was piloting a Piper PA-28 Cherokee that crashed after leaving Port Alsworth.


The Port Alsworth community gathered Thursday for a walk and bonfire in memorial to those who died in a fatal airplane crash one year ago.

Scott Blom and his two children, Zach Blom, 13, and Kaitlyn Blom, 14, were on their way to Anchorage, where Tanalian School was competing in the Mixed Six Volleyball State Championship. Private pilot, 25-year-old Kyle Longerbeam rented the single engine Piper PA-28 Cherokee from Lake Clark Air to make the trip.

The four took off from Port Alsworth the morning of December 7, 2016, but they never arrived in Anchorage. Authorities believe that the plane went down in Lake Clark, killing all onboard. The plane and bodies were not recovered.

The loss was devastating to the tightknit community of about 150 people. The community came together Thursday in remembrance.

“They were all outdoor people,” said Matthew Grossman, a teacher at Tanalian School who helped organize the memorial. “As a student, I remember Zach, he always wanted to be outside rather than in the classroom. So we thought of a community walk—just to remember, to share stories, to celebrate their life.”

Caleb Alsworth is a ninth grader at Tanalian School and president of the student council. He said that as students have processed the tragedy of losing classmates this year, they’ve done it together.

“It’s definitely hard. There is grieving and it’s sad, but we have hope that we’re going to see them again. We know that they’re in heaven right now and we’re going to see them when our time comes. But we’ve all been there for each other and been with each other and really went through it all together,” said Alsworth.

Grossman said Longerbeam and the Bloms’ passing has left a big hole in the community. The memorial walk was also an expression of support for the family they left behind.

Conditions on the day of the crash were reported to be limited visibility, but the National Transportation and Safety Board has not determined an official cause of the accident.

http://kdlg.org

Four (4) souls missing and presumed to have sustained fatal injuries:

Pilot Kyle Longerbeam, 25

Scott Blom, 45, and his children, Kaitlyn Blom, 14, and Zach Blom, 13.

Scott Blom (back, second from left),  and his children Zach (front in the orange jacket) and daughter Kaitlyn (front, right).


Kyle Longerbeam


The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

http://registry.faa.gov/N8648N



Location: Port Alsworth, AK
Accident Number: ANC17FA010
Date & Time: 12/07/2016, 0935 AKS
Registration: N8648N
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 7, 2016, about 0935 Alaska standard time, a wheel-equipped Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N8648N, impacted the open waters of Lake Clark shortly after takeoff from the Port Alsworth Airport (PALJ), Port Alsworth, Alaska. The noninstrument-rated private pilot and three passengers are missing and presumed to have sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was not recovered and is presumed to have sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to a private individual in Port Alsworth, and the pilot had rented the airplane for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 visual flight rules cross-country personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's point of departure, but instrument meteorological conditions were reported along the flight's anticipated route. The flight departed PALJ about 0930 with a destination of Merrill Field Airport (PAMR), Anchorage, Alaska. No flight plan was filed for the flight.

During a telephone conversation with a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator on December 8, a friend of the pilot and passengers reported that the three passengers were part of a family traveling to Anchorage to meet up with other family members. They were originally scheduled to travel on a scheduled air carrier flight on the day of the accident, but canceled their reservations and elected to fly to Anchorage with the pilot instead. Another family member departed for Anchorage aboard the scheduled air carrier flight.

A pilot who was completing a flight from Anchorage to PALJ about the time of the accident reported speaking with the accident pilot a couple minutes after the accident airplane departed from PALJ. He told the accident pilot that the tops of the clouds were about 2,000 ft and that, from his perspective, it looked open at Miller Valley, which is located about 10 miles northeast of PALJ along the northern shore of Lake Clark. The accident pilot replied, "looking good under here, I'm gonna keep going." No further radio transmissions were received from the accident pilot.

When the airplane failed to arrive in Anchorage, family members and friends of the passengers reported the airplane overdue. An alert notice was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at 1501 on December 7, and an extensive search was launched. According to the airplane's owner, the airplane was equipped with a 406 MHz emergency transmitter locator, but no signal was received by search personnel.

On December 8, about 1530, searchers located personal items floating about 11 miles northeast of the airport in Lake Clark that were later positively identified as belonging to the occupants of the airplane. Also recovered were three airplane landing gear wheel assemblies, a co-pilot (right side) seat, and cargo from the airplane. The rest of the airplane was not located, and it is presumed to have sunk in Lake Clark.

The official search was suspended by the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and the Alaska State Troopers on December 12, 2016. Family friends and volunteers continued to search for the missing airplane.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 25, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/01/2013
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: (Estimated) 257.2 hours (Total, all aircraft)
  
Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/08/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 32 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot, age 25, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. His most recent third class medical certificate was issued on February 1, 2013, and contained the limitation, "must wear corrective lenses."

A logbook belonging to the pilot was recovered from the waters of Lake Clark during the search for the airplane. The last entry, dated November 9, 2016, was for a flight in the accident airplane. The total flight time listed in the logbook was 257.2 hours. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N8648N
Model/Series: PA 28-180 180
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1971
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-7105149
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/15/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2152.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:  LYCOMING
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A4A
Registered Owner: ALSWORTH GLEN R
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None 

The airplane was manufactured in 1971 and equipped with a Lycoming O-360 series engine. The airplane was not equipped or certified for flight into known icing conditions. No airframe or engine logbooks were located for the accident airplane. 




Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAIL, 192 ft msl
Observation Time: 0953 AKS
Distance from Accident Site: 32 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 20°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Temperature/Dew Point:  -16°C / -17°C
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1200 ft agl
Visibility:   10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 16 knots/ 22 knots, 360°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Port Alsworth, AK (TPO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: ANCHORAGE, AK (MRI)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time:  AKS
Type of Airspace:  Class G

The closest official weather station was at PALJ, located about 8 miles southwest of the accident site. PALJ used Aviation Paid Weather Observers (A-Paid) who are individuals trained by the National Weather Service and/or the FAA and stationed in locations where the NWS has determined that it is necessary to take weather observations to help provide NWS forecast responsibilities. A-Paid observers are certified by the NWS to take surface observations (that is, hourly reports of temperature, dew point, estimated cloud cover, estimated visibility, pressure, weather, and wind direction and speed) using equipment provided by the NWS. These observers are compensated for their work on a per-observation basis. Between December 5 and December 7, there were a total of four observations taken by the A-Paid observer at PALJ. The only observation from the day of the accident was timestamped 1459 and stated in part: wind from 140° at 5 knots, 7 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 500 ft above ground level (agl), temperature 3°F, dew point 0°F, and altimeter setting 30.18 inches of mercury.

Iliamna Airport (PAIL), Iliamna, Alaska, was the next closest official weather station, located 40 miles southwest of the accident site. PAIL had an Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS); the reports were supplemented by air traffic controllers.

At 0911, a METAR from PAIL reported in part: wind from 360° at 13 knots with gusts to 23 knots, 10 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 1,100 ft agl, temperature of -3°C, dew point temperature of 1°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.17 inches of mercury.

At 0953, a METAR from PAIL reported in part: wind from 360° at 16 knots with gusts to 22 knots, 10 miles visibility, overcast ceiling at 1,200 ft agl, temperature of -3°F, dew point temperature of 1°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.16 inches of mercury.

The closest official upper air sounding to the accident site was from King Salmon, Alaska, (PAKN), located 124 miles southwest of the accident site at an elevation of 46 feet.

The 0300 PAKN sounding indicated a conditionally unstable layer between the surface and 750 feet with a stable layer from 750 feet through 3,250 feet. An inversion (increase in temperature with height) was located immediately above the surface to 2,488 feet and this inversion would have kept any clouds that formed below the inversion in place if the background wind environment was relatively light. With the relative humidity greater than 80% from the surface to 10,000 feet, the complete Rawinsonde Observation program (RAOB) indicated that clouds were likely from the surface through 10,000 feet. Moderate or greater icing conditions were indicated by RAOB in the cloud cover between 750 feet and 6,500 feet. A detailed meteorology study is located in the public docket for this accident. 

Airport Information

Airport: PORT ALSWORTH (TPO)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 280 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing:  None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: Unknown
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  60.297222, -154.117222 (est) 

The airplane is presumed to have sustained substantial damage during impact with the open waters of Lake Clark shortly after takeoff. Due to the depth of the lake, about 500 ft in some locations, there are no search and recovery efforts planned at the time of this report. 

Medical And Pathological Information

To date, the remains of the pilot have not been located; therefore, no pathological or toxicology information exists. At the time of his last medical examination, the pilot reported no medical concerns, and no significant issues were identified by the aviation medical examiner.

Blom Family 
Back row:  Sam, Julie, Scott, Josh
Front row: Zach, Kaitlyn


Lyle Longerbeam

NTSB Identification: ANC17FA010 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, December 07, 2016 in Port Alsworth, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180, registration: N8648N
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On December 7, 2016, about 0935 Alaska standard time (AST), a wheel-equipped Piper PA-32-180 airplane, N8648N, is presumed to have sustained substantial damage during impact with the open waters of Lake Clark shortly after takeoff from the Port Alsworth Airport, Port Alsworth, Alaska. Of the four occupants on board, the non-instrument rated private pilot and three passengers are presumed to have sustained fatal injuries, and all remain missing. At the time of the accident instrument meteorological conditions were reported in the area. The airplane was registered to a private individual in Port Alsworth, and it had recently been rented to the accident pilot for the 14 CFR Part 91 visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the airplane's point of departure, but reduced visibility conditions were reported along the flight's anticipated flight route, including low-lying ice fog over Lake Clark. The accident flight originated at the Port Alsworth Airport, Port Alsworth, about 0930, en route to the Merrill Field Airport, Anchorage, Alaska, the flight's final destination for the day. No flight plan was filed for the flight.

According to the owner, the missing airplane was equipped with a 406 MHz emergency transmitter locator (ELT), but no signal was received by search personnel.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chief on December 8, a family friend of both the pilot and passengers reported that four family members were originally scheduled to fly to Anchorage on a scheduled air carrier on the day of the accident. The friend explained that on the morning of the accident, three of the four passengers canceled their reservations on the scheduled air carrier, and they elected to fly to Anchorage with the accident pilot instead, while the other family member departed for Anchorage aboard the scheduled air carrier's flight. 

When the airplane failed to arrive in Anchorage, concerned family members and friends of the passengers called the NTSB's Alaska Regional Office to report the airplane overdue. Consequently, an alert notice was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on December 7, at 1501, and an extensive search was launched. Search operations were conducted by personnel from the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska Air National Guard, Alaska State Troopers, Civil Air Patrol, as well as many Good Samaritan pilots. 

On December 8, about 1530, searchers located personal items floating in Lake Clark that were later positively identified as belonging to the missing occupants. Also recovered were three airplane landing gear wheel assemblies, a co-pilot (right side) seat, as well as cargo from the missing airplane. The rest of the airplane has not yet been located, and it is presumed to have sunk in the deep waters of Lake Clark. 

The official search was suspended by the Lake Clark National Park and Preserve and the Alaska State Troopers on December 12, 2016. Family friends and volunteers continued to search for the missing airplane. 

The closest weather reporting facility was at the Port Alsworth Airport, Port Alsworth, Alaska, about 10 miles south of the debris location. At 1453, a weather observation from the Port Alsworth Airport was reporting, in part: Wind, 150 degrees (true) at 04 knots; visibility, 7 statute miles; cloud and sky conditions, 500 feet overcast; temperature, 3 degrees F; dew point, 0 degrees F; altimeter, 30.18inHg. Remarks: "EST PASS CLOSED." 

A pilot operating in the area at the time the airplane disappeared reported speaking with the accident pilot during the descent phase of his flight from Anchorage to Port Alsworth. He stated that he spoke with the accident pilot a couple minutes after the pilot departed the Port Alsworth Airport and he told him the tops of the clouds were about 2,000 feet and from his perspective, it looked open at Miller Valley. The accident pilot replied "looking good under here, I'm gonna keep going." No further radio transmissions were received from the accident pilot.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-360 series engine.

A detailed wreckage and engine examination is pending recovery of the airplane.

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