Thursday, February 23, 2017

Families File Lawsuit: Piper PA28R-200, N2806R; fatal accident occurred December 31, 2016 in Vienna, Johnson County, Illinois

Jasmine Linder of Barnes City, Iowa


 
Krista Green of Altoona, Iowa

Jordan Linder of Keswick, Iowa

Curt Terpstra



PELLA, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Two families filed a lawsuit two months after a New Year’s Eve plane crash killed four Iowans flying out of Pella. 

The families of a brother and sister who were on board are suing the estate of the pilot.

The suit, filed late Wednesday afternoon Marion County District Court, claims that the pilot, 34-year-old Curt Terpstra, was not qualified to be flying in stormy weather and should have never left the ground.

The Piper PA28R-200 left Pella for Nashville but made a stop in Missouri and slammed into the ground in southern Illinois. All four people on board were killed: Krista Green, 37, siblings Jordan Linder, 35 and Jasmine Linder, 26, and the pilot.

Attorney George LaMarca filed suit on behalf of the Linder families, claiming that Terpstra was not instrument certified and should not have been flying in bad weather at night.

KCCI obtained a copy of the National Transportation Safety Board Accident report showing that Terpstra had not flown for months. His last recorded entry was dated July July 24-26, 2016.

The logbook showed that the pilot had logged only 18.9 hours of night flight time and no flight time in instrument conditions.

“Marginal visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site with overcast clouds at 700 feet,” the accident report says.

A source and Terpstra never filed a flight plan and did not have an official Federal Aviation Administration weather briefing before taking off.

The manager of the Pella Airport was contacted on Wednesday, but he had no comment.

Source:   http://www.kcrg.com

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Springfield, Illinois 
Hartzell Propeller Inc.; Piqua, Ohio
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida

Lycoming Engines; Milliken, Colorado 


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

Curt Ryan Terpstra:http://registry.faa.govN2806R 

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA064 

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 31, 2016 in Vienna, IL
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28R-200, registration: N2806R
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 31, 2016, about 1745 central standard time, a Piper PA 28R-200 airplane, N2806R, impacted trees and terrain near Vienna, Illinois. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed during the impact. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Marginal visual meteorological conditions were reported near the accident site about the time of the accident, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Pella Municipal Airport, near Pella, Iowa at unknown and was destined for Nashville, Tennessee.

According to preliminary information, witnesses saw the airplane flying low and descend. A witness subsequently called 9-1-1 and a search was conducted by Johnson County Sheriff's personnel. The smell of fuel was present in the area identified by the caller. That smell led the Sheriff's personnel to the wreckage.

The 34-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) commercial pilot certificate with a single engine land rating issued on June 30, 2016. The pilot held an FAA third-class medical certificate, dated May 12, 2016, with no limitations. Copies of the pilot's logbook showed his last recorded entry was dated July 24/26, 2016. The logbook showed the pilot's recorded flight time was 312.9 hours of total time, 18.9 hours of night flight time, 13.7 hours of simulated instrument flight time, and no flight time in actual instrument conditions.

N2806R, a 1969 model Piper PA 28R-200, Arrow, serial number 28R-35293, was a single-engine, propeller-driven, retractable landing gear, semi-monocoque design, four-seat, low wing airplane. The engine was a 200 horsepower Lycoming IO-360-C1C engine, with serial number L-15630-51A. The propeller was a constant speed, two-bladed, Hartzell HC-C2YK-1BF model, with serial number CH40395B. A review of copies of excerpts from the aircraft logbooks revealed an annual inspection was completed on June 6, 2016. The airframe logbook entry on that date indicated that the airplane had accumulated 6,297.3 hours of total time and its tachometer read 2,766.3 hours. The excerpts indicated that the most recent altimeter, static, and transponder inspection was performed on June 22, 2016, the engine tachometer read 2,771.2 hours, and the airplane had accumulated 6,302.2 hours of total time at that date.

At 1753, the recorded weather at the Barkley Regional Airport (PAH), near Paducah, Kentucky, located about 18 nautical miles and 174 degrees from the accident site, was: Wind 220 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition overcast clouds at 700 feet; temperature 6 degrees C; dew point 4 degrees C; altimeter 29.91 inches of mercury.

According to preliminary information from FAA inspectors, there was no record of N2806R contacting the tower at PAH, or the tower at the Williamson County Regional Airport, near Marion, Illinois, or the air traffic control center.

The main wreckage came to rest about 43 degrees and .46 miles from the intersection of Crossroads Road and Old Metropolis Road. Broken branches, branches with linear separations, the upper portion of the rudder, a ground scar, and the engine were found in a debris path. The heading from the first found tree with broken branches to the main wreckage was 35 degrees magnetic. The upper portion of the rudder was found about 75 feet from that first tree with broken branches, the ground scar was about 90 feet from that tree, the engine and nose landing gear was about 105 feet from that tree, and the main wreckage was about 150 feet from that tree. The propeller hub and blades remained attached to its crankshaft. One propeller exhibited "S" shaped bending. There was no sign of fire in the debris path or wreckage.

The stabilator remained attached to its fuselage mounts and the stabilator's travel stops did not exhibit any witness marks consistent with repeated contact. The right side of the stabilator exhibited leading edge semicircular aft deformation consistent with the size of tree branches and skin separation at the inboard manufactured splice. Control continuity was established from the stabilator balance weight to the cockpit area. The stabilator trim tab remained attached to the stabilator with impact damage noted to the right hand outboard section. The stabilator trim rod remained attached to the trim tab as well as the trim barrel assembly. The stabilator trim was found to be in a full nose up trim setting. The stabilator trim wheel was found separated from its fuselage mount. Stabilator trim continuity was established from the separated trim wheel to the trim barrel. The vertical stabilizer remained attached to its forward fuselage mount. The rudder was separated from the vertical stabilizer. The rudder torque tube remained attached to its fuselage mount but was separated from the remainder of the rudder assembly. Control continuity was established from the separated rudder pedal assembly to the rudder torque tube. The rudder travel stops remained intact and exhibited no signs of repeated contact.

The fuselage was fragmented from the wing spar box forward to the engine. The rear bench seat remained, in part, attached to the fuselage. The left rear and right rear seat belts remained attached to their mounts and were found to be functional when field tested. No shoulder harnesses were installed in the rear seats. The pilot lap belt and shoulder harness was noted. The pilot's inboard seat belt mount was found separated from the fuselage at its fasteners. The copilot's lap belt and shoulder harness assembly were not located within the wreckage. Field test of the pilot's lap and shoulder harness found them to be functional. The pilot and copilot seats were found separated from their fuselage mounts and they exhibited downward deformation.

The instrument panel was destroyed. The attitude indicator and horizontal situation indication gyros were removed and disassembled. Disassembly revealed both gyros had witness marks consistent with a rotating gyro rubbing on its housing.
The engine control quadrant was found separated and it exhibited crush deformation. The landing gear selector was found in the "Down" position. The firewall and fuselage bottom skin was found was found separated from the remainder of the fuselage. The ruder pedal assembly was found separated from its mounts. The control yoke's "T" bar assembly was found fragmented and separated from its mounts as well as the control yoke shafts were found separated from "T" bar assembly. The fuel selector was found damaged and separated from its mounts. The fuel selector valve was noted to be in an "off" position.

About 78 inches of the inboard left wing remained attached to the fuselage spar box and rearward deformation damage was noted to the leading edge of the inboard section of the wing. The left wing's fuel tank was deformed and breached. Its pickup screen was found clear of obstructions. The remainder of the separated wing was found in the area of the main wreckage and its aileron remained, in part, attached to the wing. The aileron balance weight was found separated and the weight was not located within the wreckage. The flap was found in the "Up" position. It was fragmented and remained, in part, attached to its wing mounts. The aileron's bellcrank was separated from its mounts and the bellcrank remained attached to the aileron via the push pull tube. The bellcrank stops did not exhibit any signs of repeated contact. Control continuity was established from the aileron to the "T" bar chain and to the overload separation balance cable in the center fuselage area. The pitot head remained attached to the separated section of wing and its static hole was clear of debris. However, the pitot hole was found obstructed by a media consistent with wood.

The right wing was found separated from the fuselage at the spar box and was also separated at the flap and aileron seam. The flap remained attached to its wing and was found in the "Up" position. The aileron remained attached to its mounts and its aileron balance weight remained attached to the aileron. The right fuel tank was found deformed and breached. Its fuel tank pickup screen was found clear of obstructions. The entire length of the right wing exhibited rearward deformation. The aileron bellcrank and stops were found separated from their mounts and the stops did not exhibit any repeat contact witness marks. The aileron cables remained attached to the bellcrank but were found to be separated in overload by the wing root area. Aileron control continuity was established from the wing root to the bellcrank. The aileron push pull tube was separated from the bellcrank. The aileron balance cable was separated 50 inches from the cable's turnbuckle and the cable separation exhibited a broom straw appearance. The aileron drive cable was separated 12 inches from the cable's turnbuckle and the cable separation exhibited a broom straw appearance.

The engine had all of its accessories separated from the accessory gear box. All pushrods were found with bending deformation. The engine's sparkplugs were removed. The top spark plug for cylinder no. 1, no. 2, no. 4, and the bottom spark plug on cylinder no. 3 exhibited a normal condition. The remaining sparkplugs exhibited impact damage. The engine crankshaft was rotated by rotating the propeller by hand. Drivetrain continuity was observed when the accessory gearbox gears and valve train components moved in correlation to the crankshaft movement. A borescope examination of the cylinders did not reveal any anomalies. Each cylinder produced a thumb compression as the crankshaft was rotated. Both of the magnetos exhibited impact damage and could not be tested. The oil pickup screen condition was found clear and free of debris. The fuel servo was separated from its intake and its fuel screen was clear and free of debris. The fuel flow divider was disassembled. No anomalies were observed. The internal cavity of the divider had a glossy appearance and smell consistent with aviation gasoline. The separated engine driven was damaged and could not be tested. The electric fuel pump did not pump a fluid when electrical power was applied. Disassembly of the pump revealed its magnet had fragmented. The pump's shaft was rotated through an attached drill and the pump pumped a fluid when the drill was activated.

The propeller hub and blades were removed from the engine and disassembled. The disassembly examination revealed that oil was found in the forward portion of the propeller dome. Both blades had their control knobs separated from their blade butts. Witness marks revealed the blades were in a cruise flight pitch range. No preimpact anomalies were observed during the disassembly examination.

The Jackson County Coroner's Office was asked to perform an autopsy on the pilot and take toxicological samples.

A cell phone was found in the wreckage it is being sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Recorder Laboratory to see if it contains data in reference to the flight.


Curt Terpstra



Curt Terpstra  (r)














Rotorway Talon A600, N220AF: Accident occurred March 14, 2015 in Indian Lake Estates, Polk County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida 
Rotorway; Phoenix, Arizona 
Bearing Manufacturer; Akron, Ohio

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

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N220AF

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA155
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 14, 2015 in Indian Lake Estates, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/13/2017
Aircraft: RICHARD FUIST ROTORWAY TALON, registration: N220AF
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot, who was the owner and builder of the experimental amateur-built helicopter, stated that he performed some adjustments to the main rotor blade track and balance and then adjusted the slider ball adjustment collar, located in the rotor hub on the swashplate assembly, on the morning of the accident flight. After making the adjustment, the student conducted an uneventful test flight in the airport traffic pattern, and he then decided to depart on his planned cross-country flight. While approaching to land at his destination, the student felt increasing left cyclic pressure, which increased as the helicopter descended. The student stated that he did not have any further recollection of the accident. A witness reported that the helicopter rolled left about 25 ft above ground level, impacted the ground, and then came to rest on its right side.

Postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed no evidence of preexisting mechanical malfunctions or anomalies. According to the helicopter kit manufacturer, cyclic stiffness and increased cyclic pressure can be caused by worn elastomeric bearings or an incorrectly adjusted slider ball collar. However, a detailed examination of the elastomeric bearings revealed that they were within manufacturer specifications for torsional stiffness and lateral bulge. Although a postaccident hover flight test conducted by the manufacturer showed that an overtightened slider ball adjustment collar can lead to increased left cyclic pressure, postaccident measurements taken by the pilot indicated that the slider ball adjustment was also within manufacturer specifications. The reason for the increased left cyclic pressure could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A loss of helicopter control following an uncommanded increased left cyclic pressure during landing for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the helicopter revealed no evidence of any mechanical malfunctions or anomalies.

On March 14, 2015, about 1400 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Rotorway 162F helicopter, N220AF, was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing near Indian Lake Estates, Florida. The student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed Winter Haven's Gilbert Airport (GIF), Winter Haven, Florida, at 1330. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The student pilot, who was also the owner and builder of the helicopter, stated that he had performed adjustments to the main rotor blade tracking and balancing on the morning of the accident. A hover test of the helicopter revealed no anomalies, but the pilot stated that during the subsequent flight around the airport traffic pattern, the lead/lag of the blades was "off the chart" according to his digital balancer. The pilot landed the helicopter and attempted to contact an acquaintance who was familiar with the helicopter make and model, but was not able to reach him. The pilot elected to make no further blade adjustments until he could consult his acquaintance, and instead chose to adjust the slider ball adjustment collar, located in the rotor hub on the swashplate assembly. He stated that he followed the kit manufacturer's maintenance instructions for the adjustment, and that during a test flight following the adjustment, "everything felt fine." The pilot then departed on a 24 nautical mile flight.

The pilot stated that he experienced no anomalies during the accident flight. While approaching to land at his destination, about 500 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot felt a left cyclic pressure that increased as the helicopter descended. The pilot could not fully recall the accident sequence, but a witness stated that the helicopter rolled to the left at an altitude of approximately 25 feet agl, the rotor blades impacted the ground. The helicopter then rolled over and came to rest on its right side.

Postaccident examination of the helicopter by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors revealed that it sustained substantial damage to the tail boom and fuselage. During the examination, the inspectors determined that the elastomeric thrust bearings exhibited an abnormal amount of wear. The inspectors confirmed cyclic control continuity from the cockpit to the rotor blades and traced collective control from the cockpit to the rotor blades through the swashplate, which did not display any abnormalities. Both main rotor blades remained intact: one blade was bent at a 45-degree angle and the other blade was bent opposite the direction of rotation.

The 1347 automated weather observation at an airport located about 22 nm west of the accident site included winds from 180 degrees at 15 knots with gusts to 20 knots; visibility 10 statute miles, a broken cloud layer at 4,000 feet; temperature 28 degrees C; dew point 16 degree C; and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

The pilot held a student pilot and FAA third-class medical certificate, which was issued in August 2014. He reported that he had accumulated about 55 total hours of flight experience, all of which were in helicopters. At the time of the accident, the pilot had accrued about 23 total flight hours in the accident helicopter make and model, with about 20 hours, including 16 hours of dual instruction in the two weeks that preceded the accident.

The two-place helicopter was equipped with a Rotorway RI600N 150 hp reciprocating engine, and was assembled by the student pilot from a kit with assistance from a mechanic. The helicopter was equipped with a two-blade main rotor and a two-blade tail rotor. The airworthiness certificate was issued in November 14, 2014. At the time of the accident, the helicopter had accumulated approximately 40 total flight hours; 15 hours of which involved hover taxi tests that were not documented in the pilot's personal flight logbook.

The two elastomeric bearings and the thrust blocks were submitted to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for detailed examination. A review of the bearings showed no anomalous wear scar patterns on any of the bearing surfaces; however, microscope images revealed the presence of elastomer extrusion at the inside and outside diameter surfaces. The thrust blocks did not display any wear scar patterns within the counter bores and associated sleeves. The bearings were subsequently sent to the manufacturer and evaluated for torsional stiffness and lateral bulge under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The torsional stiffness between both bearings measured approximately 9.84 lbf-inch/degree. The highest lateral bulge measurement for the bearings was 0.0190. According to the manufacturer's specifications, the torsional stiffness should measure between 10 – 13 pounds of force (lbf) inch/degree and the lateral bulge should be less than 0.040 inches.

According to the bearing manufacturer, the functional test results on the accident bearings were consistent with the results of new bearings. The manufacturer further stated that a blackened appearance of the outer surface resulting from micro-scaled extrusion will show during the first 23 flight hours under normal thrust loads and oscillations, but "has no affect upon function."

According to the maintenance manual, the slider ball adjustment collar can produce a feedback through the cyclic controls if the collar is not correctly adjusted. This will cause the cyclic to travel in any one direction independent of any input from the pilot. A representative of the kit manufacturer stated that if the slider ball adjustment collar set screws are not secured, the shaft will overtighten the collar during flight, which may increase cyclic pressure. Following the accident, the manufacturer performed a hover test flight to determine the impact of an overtightened adjustment collar on control function. The pilot experienced hard left cyclic pressure during the hover test.

After the accident, the student pilot measured the slider ball adjustment collar at the request of the NTSB investigator-in-charge. He initially verified that the set screws were tight and then marked the position of the adjustment collar with a black pen. The student pilot then loosened the set screws and tightened the collar until it was "snug." He marked the collar position again with a black pen and then loosened the set screws and the adjustment collar. He noted that the black marks were approximately one half inch apart, consistent with the kit manufacturer's maintenance instructions.

Cessna 182H Skylane, N1839X; Fatal accident occurred December 26, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Sevier County, Tennessee

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Nashville, Tennessee
Continental Motors, Inc.; Mobile, Alabama

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

Joseph D. Starling:   http://registry.faa.gov/N1839X

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA073
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, December 26, 2016 in Gatlinburg, TN
Aircraft: CESSNA 182, registration: N1839X
Injuries: 3 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 26, 2016, about 1602 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182H, N1839X, was destroyed when it collided with mountainous terrain during descent for landing to Gatlinburg Pigeon Forge Airport (GKT), Sevierville, Tennessee. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airplane departed Keystone Airpark (42J), Keystone Heights, Florida, about 1300.

Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed the airplane was receiving visual flight rules flight-following services and was at 9,500 feet when the pilot requested a descent for landing at GKT. At 1554, the controller approved the descent and issued an altimeter setting. Radar data depicted a descent on a ground track of about 340 degrees, directly toward GKT, between 130 and 150 knots groundspeed.

At 1558, about 20 miles from GKT, the airplane descended below the minimum vectoring altitude of 8,000 feet. The airplane continued its descent on the same ground track and about the same speed. At 1602, the radar target was at 5,400 feet, and abeam the peak of Mt. Conte (elevation 6,500 feet) when the radar target disappeared.

At that time, the controller issued the airplane a radio frequency change to the GKT common traffic advisory frequency and terminated radar services. No reply was received from the accident airplane and no further attempts to contact the airplane were made.

The wreckage was located by helicopter at an elevation of 5,400 feet in steep, mountainous terrain about the same position as the last radar target.
The wreckage was examined at the accident site by an FAA inspector. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene; however, because of the hazardous conditions at the site, a brief photo-documentation of the wreckage was performed before it was recovered by helicopter for a detailed examination at a later date.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He was issued a third-class medical certificate on December 3, 2013, and he reported 12 total hours of flight experience on that date.

The pilot was issued his private pilot certificate on April 1, 2014, with 45.3 total hours of flight experience. On April 27, 2016, the pilot reported to his insurance carrier that he had accrued 272 total hours of flight experience, 219 hours of which were in the accident airplane.

The four-seat, single-engine, high-wing, fixed-gear airplane was manufactured in 1964, and equipped with a Continental O-470-R series, 230-horsepower reciprocating engine. According to the airplane's maintenance records, the most recent annual inspection was completed on October 5, 2015, at 2,595 total aircraft hours.

At 1615, the weather reported at GKT; located 15 miles north of the accident site, included few clouds at 4,600 feet and calm wind. The temperature was 18 degrees C, the dew point was 13 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.30 inches of mercury.

Airmen's meteorological information (AIRMET) Sierra was in effect along the airplane's route of flight for mountain obscuration. Satellite imagery showed instrument flight rules conditions with cloud tops between 6,000 and 7,000 feet in the area surrounding the accident site and southward.

At 1545, about the time the airplane passed overhead, the weather reported at Macon County Airport (2,034 feet elevation), Franklin, North Carolina, about 25 miles south of the accident site included scattered clouds at 700 feet, a broken ceiling at 1,200 feet, and an overcast cloud layer at 2,400 feet. The visibility was 4 statute miles in fog.






 David Starling, his 8-year-old son Hunter, and Kim Smith.
~


Three people died in a plane crash headed from north Florida to Tennessee just after Christmas last year. Now, the Federal Aviation Administration may be found culpable in their deaths, if a recent suit filed against them is found to have merit.

David Starling, 41, his 8-year-old son Hunter and 42-year-old Kim Smith died when the Cessna 182H Skylane aircraft Starling was flying crashed into an unnamed ridge in the Great Smoky mountains. The trio is from Bradford County and they were going on vacation.

First Coast News has learned surviving family members have filed papers with the Federal Aviation Administration arguing air traffic controllers failed to monitor the flight and are to blame for the crash.

Reports released since the crash say weather conditions in the area were poor and suggest the pilot wasn't flying with the correct instrumentation. The family was flying in a Cessna 182H Skylane aircraft when they went down. They were headed from Keystone Heights to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the day after Christmas.

Kim Smith's adult son says he didn't like the idea.

"Mom told me they were thinking about it," says Garrett Smith. "I told her I wished they'd just drive."

In new documents filed with the Federal Aviation Administration, Smith claims the air traffic controllers failed to monitor the plane's altitude. The claim says when the plane went off radar it was below the minimum allowed altitude - flying at 5,400 feet abeam Mounte Conte, which was almost 1,200 feet higher.

It says an air traffic controller failed to ask the pilot if he could see the terrain in sight or had appropriate flight instruments for the conditions and was required to do so. This matters because the pilot wasn't using a radar. Starling was instead flying under Visual Flight Rules - permissible when weather conditions are good and a pilot can fly a plane with the naked eye.

The filing says after the plane disappeared from radar - and had likely crashed in the Great Smokey Mountains - an air traffic controller asked the plane to switch to the local airport frequency.

It says the tower never got a response from the plane and made no additional attempts to contact it. The first hint of disaster came from an emergency locator beacon.

Lieutenant Colonel Evan Gardner runs the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, a small but important group that coordinates efforts to find lost civilian planes all over the country.

"The g-force of the crash caused [the emergency beacon] to go off and the satellite picked it up," Gardner says.

When trying to find the lost plane, Gardner says his group uses any tool they can get their hands on. "Our primary tool is actually Google Earth," he explains. "We go in and make overlays so we can track all of the resources."

From a small room, a group of four to six airmen activate and coordinate planes, helicopters and search teams anywhere in the U.S. They work multiple cases at the same time.

Last year, this unit investigated 8,000 emergency beacons - only 10 percent end up with someone in distress.

Major Sarah Hendrick worked the Starling case. "Our radar forensics and our cell phone forensics were our most useful pieces of information for this particular investigation," she says. Hendrick combined the final radar blip of the plane with signals from Smith and Starling's cell phones.

"It was a very dangerous location too because of the terrain," she explains. "It was mountainous and there were no trails that led directly to where we believed the aircraft to be."

She dispatched a civil air patrol surveillance plane and specially trained park rangers. New reports filed with the Federal Aviation Administration say a helicopter ultimately found the crash site.

"I wish I would have known so we could have fished one more time or I could have talked to her a little bit more," Garrett says of his mother. He traveled to Tennessee after the plane went missing and he hadn't heard from his mother.

In his filings with the FAA, he says failures by controllers to provide radar assistance and keep the plane clear of the mountain caused or contributed to his mother's death.

"Not a day goes by I don't think about her or talk to her," he says. "Mom and I were best friends by far."

The National Transportation Safety Board has not released their final report on the crash. We reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration for a comment on the claim filed but they haven't gotten back to us. The plane was taken from the mountainside for further investigation.

Source:  http://www.firstcoastnews.com

Cirrus SR22 G2, N358CD: Accident occurred February 19, 2015 at Blue Grass Airport (KLEX), Lexington, Kentucky

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

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N358CD

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Louisville, Kentucky

Continental Motors, Inc.; Mobile, Alabama 

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA134
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, February 19, 2015 in Lexington, KY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/13/2017
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N358CD
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot reported that he conducted a preflight inspection and engine-run-up with no anomalies noted. The pilot then taxied the airplane to the runway and began the takeoff roll for his planned personal cross-country flight. The airplane lifted off the runway and climbed to about 200 ft above ground level, at which point, the engine “backfired” several times, followed by a partial loss of power. The pilot chose to discontinue the flight, retarded the throttle to idle, and initiated a descent to land on the remaining runway; however, the pilot was unable to stop the airplane, and it overran the runway and collided with the precision approach path indicator lights and a snowbank. 

Postaccident test runs of the engine with a new set of magnetos and the original ignition harness revealed that the likely cause of the loss of engine power was related to the ignition harness. Subsequent examination of the ignition harness revealed the presence of radial carbon tracks on the sleeves of 8 of the 12 terminals on the harness. The harness and its terminal wells were in generally dirty condition, which likely resulted in spark plugs erratically misfiring. Although one of the engine’s magnetos internal mechanisms was damaged, the damage was likely the result of the engine misfiring. According to an engine manufacturer service bulletin (SB), the ignition harness spark plug terminals should be removed, inspected, and cleaned at each annual inspection. The engine logbook indicated that the spark plugs were “cleaned, gapped, and inspected” during the last annual inspection, which was completed about 14 flight hours before the accident. However, the logbooks did not note compliance with the SB or whether the ignition harness spark plug terminal, and not just the spark plugs, had been inspected and/or cleaned. Given the generally dirty condition of the ignition harness spark plug terminals, it is likely that maintenance personnel did not properly inspect and clean the ignition harness terminals in accordance with the SB.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
Maintenance personnel's failure to properly inspect and clean the engine ignition harness spark plug terminals, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power during an attempted takeoff.




On February 19, 2015, about 1440 eastern standard time, a Cirrus SR22 airplane, N358CD, was substantially damaged during a runway overrun while attempting to depart from Bluegrass Airport (LEX), Lexington, Kentucky. The private pilot and both passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that was destined for Oakland County International Airport (PTK), Pontiac, Michigan. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 and was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he did not observe any abnormalities with the engine during any of the five individual flights that he completed in the accident airplane about one week prior to the accident. The pilot reported that both the preflight inspection and subsequent engine run-up did not present any anomalies on the day of the accident. The pilot then taxied to runway 22 and began a takeoff roll. The airplane's initial climb appeared normal until it reached approximately 200 feet above ground level (agl). The engine "backfired" several times, which was immediately followed by a partial loss of power. The pilot elected to discontinue the flight, retarded the throttle to the idle position, and initiated a descent to land on the remaining runway. The pilot stated that he had "too much energy" to stop the airplane before it overran the end of the runway and collided with the precision approach path indicator lights and a snowbank. According to a police report, the pilot stated that the airplane touched down near the approach end of runway 04.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector interviewed a witness who was in his office, which was located about midfield on runway 22/4, at the time of the accident. According to the witness's recount, he did not observe any anomalies as the airplane began its climbout. However, once the airplane was "abeam his office window" and approximately 200 feet agl, the witness heard the engine surge, which was followed by a reduction in power and multiple loud "pop" sounds. The airplane then entered a nose-low attitude and began to descend. The witness observed the airplane begin a landing flare from approximately 30 feet agl. During the airplane's subsequent touchdown attempt, it bounced three times and then overran the runway.

The 1454 recorded weather observation at LEX included wind from 280 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 15 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, overcast clouds at 3,400 feet, temperature -14 degrees C, dew point -23 degrees C; barometric altimeter 30.31 inches of mercury.

The four-seat, low wing, fixed-gear airplane was manufactured in 2004 and powered by a Continental Motors IO-550-N27, 310-horsepower reciprocating engine. According to the maintenance records, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was performed on December 5, 2014, at a total airframe time of 3,700 flight hours, 14 flight hours before the accident. At the time of the inspection, the engine had accumulated 1,598 total flight hours since its last overhaul, which took place on December 18, 2009 at 2,116 hours, total time in service. A 500-hour magneto inspection was completed at the time of the annual inspection.

According to the engine logbook, the ignition harness was replaced with a factory new unit on August 24, 2009, approximately 100 hours before the engine was overhauled. The logbook entry that pertained to the airplane's most recent inspection stated that the spark plugs were "cleaned, gapped, and inspected" and the engine was inspected in accordance with the manufacturer's maintenance manual. The ignition harness inspection and cleaning requirements were included in a service bulletin, but not in the manufacturer's maintenance manual. The most recent inspection logbook entry did not reference the service bulletin nor did it indicate that the ignition harness spark plugs terminals had been cleaned.

The airplane was equipped with an Avidyne multi-function display (MFD) that was capable of recording airplane and engine performance data to a compact flash card. The compact flash card was removed and successfully downloaded. The data contained recorded engine parameter data and GPS coordinates for the accident flight. The data were recorded at a rate of once every 6 seconds, and did not include altitude or airspeed; however, the airspeed was computed using time and the airplane's GPS-derived location. According to the data, the airplane began a takeoff roll at 1437:12 at which point the engine rpm increased from 1,470 rpm to 2,460 rpm, on its rise to takeoff power. In the 18 seconds that followed, the engine maintained 2,400 – 2,700 rpm, which corresponded to a fuel flow of about 30 gallons per hour (gph).

After the airplane passed the first third of the runway, the engine rpm, fuel flow, and cylinder exhaust gas temperatures (EGT) began to decline simultaneously; however, a precise rate of decline could not be captured due to the rate at which the data was recorded. The fuel flow decreased to 3 gallons per hour in the 12 seconds that followed the power reduction. The engine rpm and cylinder EGTs continued to decline as the airplane reached the departure end of the runway. At 1438:12 the engine rpm leveled out at approximately 450 rpm for about 12 seconds, when the airplane came to rest. The rpm then decreased to 0 rpm and the fuel flow was reduced to 0 gph almost simultaneously.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the spark plugs and ignition harness functioned normally when field tested, and electrical continuity was established through the magneto switch and primary leads. The magnetos had been timed to approximately 22 degrees below top dead center (BTDC), consistent with the manufacturer's specification. Both magnetos were subsequently field tested, but only the right magneto produced a spark at the ignition leads.

A set of new magnetos, furnished by the manufacturer, were installed and timed to 22 degrees BTDC and a set of test leads were attached to the disconnected primary leads to bypass the magneto switch. The ignition harness was not replaced. A subsequent engine test run revealed that the engine ran smoothly on both magnetos. When the right magneto was selected the engine lost approximately 20 rpms, but continued to run smoothly. Once the left magneto test lead was selected, the engine lost power and began to backfire.

All 6 fuel injectors were cleaned after an inspection showed that some of the injectors were contaminated and restricted. The injectors were reinstalled and another engine run was attempted; however, the engine still lost power and backfired when the left magneto was selected. The airplane was secured until the engine could be re-run with new spark plugs and a new ignition harness.

A follow-up engine run was completed with a new set of spark plugs installed and a subsequent engine-run revealed that the engine lost approximately 200 rpm when the magneto switch was moved from BOTH to LEFT, but the engine did not backfire as it did during previous tests. After the ignition harness was replaced, the engine dropped only 20 rpm when the left magneto was selected and did not backfire.

The ignition harness and magnetos were submitted to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination. An examination of the ignition harness revealed the presence of radial carbon tracks on the sleeves of 8 out of 12 terminals on the harness. The sleeves exhibited pitting, discoloration and flat spots consistent with wear contact. Black deposits were observed on the sleeve surfaces, including the areas that sealed against the spark plug insulator. Each terminal spring was covered in black deposits and several of the springs and sleeves were bent. Multiple leads displayed wear damage, and in one case the damage extended to the underlying metal braid.

Examination of the right magneto revealed that 11 teeth were fractured and two teeth were cracked. The left magneto exhibited 9 fractured teeth and one partially fractured tooth. A set of teeth from the right distributor gear were deliberately fractured under impact loading conditions and the resulting impact signatures were consistent with those observed in the teeth that had been previously fractured in both magnetos. Laboratory testing showed that each distributor gear had a Fourier-transform infrared spectrum consistent with the specific material prescribed by the magneto manufacturer.

Champion Aerospace Aviation Service Manual, AV6-R, dated August 2014, stated that if the terminal well in the spark plug became dirty with moisture or other foreign material, current could track through the dirty terminal well to ground on the shell, which could result in an erratic misfire of the spark plug. This condition was known as connector well flashover. The service manual further stated that spark plugs with dirty terminal wells should be replaced with serviceable units.

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority Airworthiness Bulletin (AWB) 17-005, Issue 3, dated October 2014, listed a number of potential causes for nylon distributor gear failures, including propeller strikes, kick back during start-up events, and any other event that can cause shock on the gear train driving the distributor gear.

According to Service Bulletin (SB) SB-643B, published by Continental Motors, Inc. on April 6, 2005, all ignition harness outlet plates, covers, or cap assemblies should be cleaned and inspected in concurrence with the 500 hour magneto inspection. Any damaged parts, including those that were broken, brittle, cracked or burned, must be replaced. The SB required that all ignition harness spark plug terminals be removed, cleaned, and inspected during each 100 hour, annual inspection, or progressive maintenance inspection.

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA134 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, February 19, 2015 in Lexington, KY
Aircraft: CIRRUS DESIGN CORP SR22, registration: N358CD
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 19, 2015, about 1440 eastern standard time, a Cirrus SR22 airplane, N358CD, was substantially damaged during a runway overrun near Bluegrass Airport (LEX), Lexington, Kentucky. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that attempted to depart LEX at 1440 and was destined for Oakland County International Airport (PTK), Pontiac, Michigan. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. 

In his written statement, the pilot reported that he completed a preflight and engine run-up before departing LEX. The airplane lifted off the runway and, about 200 feet above ground level (agl), the engine "backfired" several times, which was followed by a partial loss of power. The pilot subsequently pulled the power back to idle and attempted to land the airplane on the remaining runway. The airplane overran the end of the runway and collided with the precision approach path indicator lights, which resulted in substantial damage to the wings. The pilot's statement was corroborated by multiple witnesses. 

A postaccident examination was conducted by the engine manufacturer under the supervision of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. An engine test run with new magnetos revealed no anomalies when either the right or both magnetos were selected. When the magneto switch was turned to the left position the engine produced only partial power as evidenced by several cylinder misfires. The engine was test run again after the magneto switch was bypassed, which produced the same result. The examination also revealed a significant amount of contamination on three of the fuel injectors. The engine was test run again after each injector was cleaned; however, the engine still produced only partial power when the left magneto was selected. The ignition harness was tested using an ignition lead tester and no anomalies were identified. 

The airplane and engine were retained for further examination at a later date.

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N4666R: Accident occurred January 20, 2015 near Helena Regional Airport (KHLN), Montana

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

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA087
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 20, 2015 in Helena, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/23/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-140, registration: N4666R
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot reported that a preflight inspection and engine run-up revealed no anomalies; however, during the initial climb after takeoff, the engine was not developing full power. The pilot initiated a shallow left turn back to the runway, but the airplane was not able to maintain altitude or airspeed and subsequently impacted a house. 

A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation, and the reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
Loss of engine power after takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any evidence of an anomaly that would have precluded normal operation.



East Missoula pilot Robert Brunson




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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: FSDO-05 Helena, Montana

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

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


http://registry.faa.gov/N4666R


NTSB Identification: WPR15LA087 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 20, 2015 in Helena, MT
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-140, registration: N4666R
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 20, 2015, at 1220 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N4666R, experienced a loss of engine power during takeoff from the Helena Regional Airport (HLN), Helena, Montana, and subsequently impacted a shed and a house. The flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot was not injured; the passenger/owner sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage throughout its structure. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that was destined for Missoula, Montana. No flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that he performed a thorough preflight inspection, which included checking the flight controls, and fuel and fuel sumps; no discrepancies were noted. After the engine started, and while it was warming up, he contacted ground control for a clearance to taxi to the active runway for departure. The ground controller cleared him to taxi the airplane to runway 27, where he commenced with an engine run-up. During the takeoff roll, the airplane rotated at 65 mph. During the climb out, he stated that it was quiet; the engine was not developing full power. The pilot stated that there was no safe place to land straight ahead, and as the engine was still running, he decided to turn back for the airport. The pilot stated that they were about 350-400 feet above the ground, and the engine was developing 2,300 rpm when he made a shallow left turn to return to the airport. The airplane could not maintain altitude or airspeed, and it collided with a house.

The owner/passenger reported that he purchased the airplane about 2 weeks prior to the accident. An annual inspection had taken place in August 2014. On January 16, 2015, the owner called Executive Aviation, a fixed based operator (FBO), and requested that the airplane be topped off with aviation fuel; the airplane was refueled with 26.3 gallons of fuel with the majority of the fuel placed in the right fuel tank. The owner stated that the airplane had been tied down outside on the tarmac since August and had accrued about 2.19 hours since the annual inspection.

An officer from the Helena Police Department reported that the airplane struck power lines, a tree, a propane tank, and came to rest in a shed and adjacent house.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that both of the airplane's wings had separated from the airframe. Both wings' fuel tanks were breached in the accident sequence, blue colored liquid was near the right wing pooled in the snow.

An engine inspection was performed on April 28, 2015, at Helena Aircraft, under the supervision of an FAA inspector. A visual inspection of the engine revealed no obvious damage to the engine. 

The engine remained attached to the engine mount, and the airframe. The fuel strainer screen, electric fuel pump screen, and the air filter contained no obstructions. The top spark plugs were removed, and manual rotation of the engine produced thumb compression in all cylinders in firing order. The magneto switches were turned on, and the spark plug leads produced spark at each cylinder when the engine was manually rotated; magneto-to-engine timing was also established and within manufacturer specification limits. The spark plugs were placed on a spark plug test bench, the top No. four, and bottom No. two did not fire.

The carburetor functionally checked, and appeared to function normally when the throttle and mixture were manipulated. The carburetor was removed with partial soot identified in the throat area. The accelerator pump functioned properly; however, the retaining cotter pin was not present. The carburetor bowl was empty.

The fuel selector was selected to the right fuel tank inside the cockpit. The right main fuel tank filler port was placarded to allow auto gas; there was no fuel inside the fuel tank.

A detailed report is attached to the factual docket for this accident.




















NTSB Identification: WPR15LA087
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, January 20, 2015 in Helena, MT
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-140, registration: N4666R
Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 20, 2015, at 1220 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N4666R, experienced a loss of engine power during takeoff from the Helena Regional Airport (HLN), Helena, Montana, and impacted a shed and a house. The private pilot was not injured, the passenger/owner sustained minor injuries; there were no ground injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that was destined for Missoula, Montana. No flight plan had been filed.

According to the owner of the airplane, he had purchased the airplane about 2 weeks prior to the accident. The owner reported that the annual inspection had taken place in August 2014. On January 16, 2015, the owner called Executive Aviation, a fixed based operator (FBO), and requested that the airplane be topped off with aviation fuel; the airplane was refueled with 26.3 gallons of fuel. The owner stated that the airplane had been tied down on the tarmac since August and had accrued about 2.19 hours since the annual inspection. He reported that the preflight inspection and run-up seemed normal. The airplane rotated at 65 miles per hour (mph), and during the climb out, the engine started to "sag, until nothing." The engine had been running and then quit. He stated that the pilot attempted to maneuver away from houses, but they were headed toward the ground.

According to the pilot, he performed a thorough preflight inspection, which included checking the flight controls, and fuel and fuel sumps; no discrepancies were noted. They turned on the engine and while it was warming up, he contacted ground control for a clearance to taxi to the active runway for departure. The ground controller cleared him to taxi the airplane to runway 27, where he commenced with an engine run-up. The pilot reported no problems with the run-up. He stated that the airplane rotated at 65 mph. During the climb out, he stated that it was quiet; the engine was not developing full power. The pilot stated that there was no safe place to land straight ahead, and as the engine was still running, he decided to turn back for the airport. The pilot stated that they were about 350-400 feet above the ground and the engine was developing 2,300 rpms when he made a shallow left turn to return to the airport. According to the pilot, the airplane could not maintain altitude or airspeed, and it impacted a house.

An officer from the Helena Police Department reported that the airplane struck power lines, a tree, a propane tank, and came to rest in a shed and adjacent house.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that both of the airplane's wings had separated from the airframe.