Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rep. Abraham Uses Pilot License to Give Back to Constituents: Louisiana Republican helps children with cancer and with military training

Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham



The sky’s the limit for Rep. Ralph Abraham.

The Louisiana Republican is a pilot, a physician, a veterinarian, and a farmer. He also helps out with the Coast Guard and wants to climb Mount Everest next year.

Abraham, 62, got his pilot’s license after he graduated from vet school in the 1980s. He uses his plane to give back to his constituents in a unique way.

He’s been a member of Pilots for Patients for years. In his large 5th District, which covers much of northeastern and central Louisiana, cancer patients often have to travel long distances to receive treatment, and the nonprofit organization works to get them there quickly at no cost.

As Abraham puts it, patients are “fatigued either going to a chemo or a post-chemo, radiation, whatever … especially coming home after the treatments, energy levels are terribly low and we, hopefully, can just facilitate the healing process in that manner.”

The two-term congressman helps transport patients to the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

“For the parents, I think it’s actually a godsend where they don’t have to worry about the transportation,” Abraham said. “It’s just something very small [that] we do. I think we actually get as much or more benefit or blessing out of it as the patients.”

With his congressional schedule, Abraham doesn’t get to fly patients as often as he would like, but his plane is available in Louisiana for the organization.

He also tries to get airborne a couple of days a month to fly missions for Green Flag, a Civil Air Patrol program that uses manned planes to simulate unmanned drones and shoot real-time video for crew training in Fort Polk, Louisiana. 

“It just gives real-time, just phenomenal training to the men and women on the ground that are learning their skills and learning how to fight,” said Abraham, who served in the Mississippi National Guard from 1986 to 1989. “We’ve had soldiers come back from the wars overseas and tell us that our training was so realistic that once they got over there, the transition was minimal, if any. They could hit the ground running and help save lives of other soldiers.”

And, it doesn’t stop there.

Just this month, he got another opportunity to volunteer: this time helping out the Coast Guard.

“I got a call at daylight from the Coast Guard in Memphis, and they said that an aircraft had gone down in or around the Mississippi River and wanted me to go up because I am stationed close to that particular area,” he recalled.

Abraham and his co-pilot assisted sheriff’s deputies with the search.

The pilot was found and “I heard was he was doing good,” the congressman reported.

“The good thing is when we fly for a Green Flag  … we are considered airmen, we are considered part of the total force of the Air Force,” he said. “When I fly for the Coast Guard Auxiliary, we are considered Coast Guard when we are on active missions.”

He said he appreciates them letting him be “part of the family.”

As for climbing Everest, Abraham has already been in touch with people with whom he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2012, and they’re getting things lined up for next year.

“We are past, I think, the talking stage,” he said.

Source:  http://www.rollcall.com

Volunteer pilots offer flights to medical facilities

Matt Berkebile 


At a young age, Matt Berkebile became fascinated with airplanes. Now he uses his passion for flight to help West Texans access medical care.

Berkebile coordinates local efforts for Angel Flight South Central, a nonprofit that offers patients free flights to medical centers.

“The goal of the organization as a whole is that everybody would realize the facilities known for doing the best at what they do to treat people are truly available to everyone,” Berkebile said. “Our mission is: Travel wouldn’t be a determining factor in getting that treatment.”

Since he first volunteered nearly two years ago, Berkebile has completed about a dozen flights. He said some patients turn to Angel Flight after exhausting money on medical treatments.




“I was struggling to find a nonprofit organization I was genuinely interested in until now,” Berkebile said. “I’ve gotten to serve and do my hobby. It was a good fit.”

Angel Flight is based in Dallas and helps patients in Texas and its neighboring states. Midland is in the southwest region, which spans from Abilene to El Paso.

Justin Burris, a local volunteer pilot, said the organization has helped people living in small West Texas towns.

“Some people are in Presidio, and it’s a long drive to Midland to get on a plane to go somewhere,” Burris said. “Sometimes we pick up people in remote areas of Texas to give people access to places with better transportation like Midland or take them places.”

Volunteer pilots for Angel Flight donate their time and travel expenses. The pilots use small aircraft, such as the Mooney Ovation plane Berkebile rents from Floris Flight Services at Midland Airpark. The size of the airplanes allows pilots to reach county airports that are close to people seeking medical transportation, Berkebile said.

Shireen Pitassi, missions director for Angel Flight, speaks with patients to arrange flights with volunteers in their regions. She said an increasing number of patients have shown interest in the organization since she became an employee in 2001.

“We want to ease your pain,” Pitassi said. “They get the opportunity to fly, and we want to make it a pleasant experience for them. It’s like going to the movies to forget your problems. You’re up in the air and forget you’re going to cancer treatment.”

Berkebile said he has made a difference for people who need medical care not available locally. He became a licensed pilot seven years ago and hopes others who enjoy flying will consider volunteering with Angel Flight.

“They get their pilot’s license and might fly a little bit but then they get married,” Berkebile said. “They might have a plane sitting in the hangar. This organization serves the purpose to serve people medically. It gives them a reason to fly.”

Source:  http://www.mrt.com

Sonex, N315AL: Fatal accident occurred February 28, 2017 near Lawrence Municipal Airport (KLWM), Essex County, Massachusetts

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Boston, Massachusetts

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

Alan P. Lavender: http://registry.faa.gov/315ALN

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA117
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, February 28, 2017 in Methuen, MA
Aircraft: LAVENDER ALAN P SONEX, registration: N315AL
Injuries: 1 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 February 28, 2017, about 1302 eastern standard time, an experimental-amateur-built Sonex, N315AL, collided with a building in Methuen, Massachusetts, while on approach for landing at Lawrence Municipal Airport (LWM), Lawrence, Massachusetts. The sport pilot/owner/operator was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local, personal flight that was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot purchased 12 gallons of fuel about 1245 and departed in the airplane from runway 14, about 10 minutes later. The pilot informed the LWM air traffic control (ATC) tower that he would be remaining in the traffic pattern to practice takeoffs and landings. The pilot was subsequently cleared to make a "left-closed" traffic pattern and to report "mid-field downwind." The pilot acknowledged and reported the airplane's position when he was mid-field at an altitude of 1,400 feet above ground level (agl).

At 1302, the airplane was cleared to land, but the pilot never acknowledged the clearance. According to LWM ATC tower personnel, immediately after turning left onto the final approach leg of the traffic pattern the airplane, which was about 500 feet agl made a shallow s-turn maneuver to the left, then back to the right before it suddenly nosed over in a right turn and disappeared out of view.

Several witnesses driving on the nearby highway saw the airplane approach from the north, then make a sudden nose down "dive" before disappearing behind trees. Additional witnesses reported that they saw the belly of the airplane "engulfed in flames" and described the flames as "very bright red." In addition, one witness reported that fire was coming out near the propeller as the airplane descended.

Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane struck the roof of the three story condominium complex located approximately 1,600 feet from the approach end of runway 14. The airplane entered the attic and upper bedrooms of a residence in a nose-low attitude with the empennage partially protruding from the roof. Both wings remained attached and were bent aft approximately 45°. The engine separated and was found upright, 5 feet forward and to the left of the fuselage. It exhibited fire damage on its left side. The two-blade fixed P-Tip wood propeller blades separated 12 inches outboard from the propeller hub. The 17 gallon fuel tank was intact and mounted in its normal position aft of the firewall. It contained approximately 7 gallons of fuel. Fuel lines leading from the fuel tank were severed during the collision and were leaking when the fire department arrived on scene. The buildings fire suppression system activated.

The two-seat, single-engine, low-wing, tailwheel airplane was issued a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category on May 4, 2016. It was equipped with a Jabiru 3300L, six cylinder 120 horsepower reciprocating engine.

According to pilot logbook records, the pilot received his sport pilot certificate on May 21, 2014. He had logged a total of 28.4 hours as of October 8, 2016. Various maintenance was performed on the airplane during the months prior to the accident flight. In an email 2 days prior to the accident, the pilot reported that he completed maintenance and started the airplane with no issues, but elected not to fly because of the winds.

The weather conditions reported at LWM, at 1254, included: wind variable at 4 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 9,000 feet, temperature 13° C, dew point -2° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.35 inches of mercury.

The airplane was recovered and retained for further examination.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.



Al Lavender 





METHUEN — Emergency 911 calls released by the Methuen Police Department on Wednesday afternoon suggest the plane that crashed into a condominium Tuesday had caught fire in the air.

A woman driving on nearby Interstate 495 called 911 and said she saw the plane go down in flames.

Caller: I'm on (Interstate) 495 near Exit 46.

Dispatch: North or South?

Caller: Uh, North.

Dispatch: OK what's going on there?

Caller: We, um, we're on 495 and we just saw a plane crash on the side of the road, very close to the road.

Dispatch: OK, let me transfer you right over to the — do you know what town it crashed in?

Caller: Lawrence. It was heading toward the small airport that's down here.

Dispatch: OK, let me transfer you to Lawrence, don't hang up.

A Lawrence dispatcher picked up the line, and the caller restated her location.

Caller: We just saw a plane crash. It's a small plane headed toward the smaller airport, and it started catching on fire ... "

The recording released by police ends in the middle of the woman's sentence.

Another 911 caller on I-495 North also said he saw the plane in flames as it flew through the air.

Caller: I just saw a plane go down. It was on fire. It crashed what looked like right next to the Merrimack River.

Dispatch: By the Merrimack River?

Caller: Yeah, there was a red plane, um small passenger plane ...

Dispatch: OK, hang on I'm going to transfer you. Is it closer to the Lawrence line do you think?

Caller: I mean it looked like they were heading for the Lawrence airport.

Dispatch: OK, stay on the line. I'm going to transfer you over to Lawrence.

The dispatcher in Lawrence picked up, and the caller restated his location.

Caller: I was on the highway, I saw a plane go down near the Merrimack River, a small red plane, I was just south of exit 46 on 495 North.

Dispatch: It was a red plane?

Caller: Yes, a red plane, in the air, on fire, and it went down right near the Merrimack River. It looked like it was heading to the Lawrence airport.

Dispatch: OK, is it in the water or on the side?

Caller: I'm assuming, you know, hopefully they made it to the water but it —

Again, the recording of the call ends mid-sentence.

Inside the Prides Crossing condominium complex, a caller believed an explosion had occurred rather than a plane crash.

Dispatch: 911 where is your emergency?

Caller: Uh, Building 7, we just had an explosion that blew through the roof. It's at um ...

Dispatch: At what address?

Caller: 1 Riverview Boulevard.

Dispatch: What city?

Caller: Methuen

Dispatch: OK, hold on. Methuen's coming right on the line, sir. Do not hang up. Is everybody out of the building safe?

Caller: I can't tell that. I'm from another building.

A dispatcher from Methuen picked up and asked what the emergency is.

Caller: We had an explosion at Prides Crossing ...

Dispatcher: I have everyone started that way, sir. Are you injured?

Caller: No, I'm from another building, but now I can see flames coming from the roof.

Some chatter between the two dispatchers can be heard and the tape ends.

No one on the ground at the crash scene was injured. The pilot, former Newburyport Mayor Alan Lavender, 73, was killed.

An investigation into the crash is being conducted by National Transportation Safety Board officials, who are looking into "the pilot, the aircraft and the environment" to piece together what happened. 

Air safety investigator Aaron McCarter said he and the NTSB were going through a process of corroborating witness statements about the crash. He added that the NTSB has not yet been able to determine if there were any electronic devices aboard the experimental Sonex aircraft that could help identify the cause of the crash.

McCarter said the NTSB is “very interested in what witnesses have to say” and is asking for any witnesses or anyone who has photos or video of the crash to email witness@ntsb.gov.


Source: http://www.eagletribune.com






METHUEN -- A preliminary investigation into what caused a home-built plane to crash into a Methuen condominium complex is underway, with National Transportation Safety Board officials looking into the pilot, the aircraft and the environment to piece together what happened.

Representatives from the NTSB arrived at the scene around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday and have been in and out of the building, part of the Prides Crossing development in Methuen, ever since.

Air safety investigator Aaron McCarter held a press conference outside the building shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, saying that the NTSB is “just now getting started with our investigation.”

Around 1:20 p.m. Tuesday, a single-engine, two-seater experimental Sonex aircraft was on approach to runway 14 at Lawrence Municipal Airport, about a half-mile from the crash site. In addition to referring to unproven designs, the term "experimental" in aviation is used as a designation for home-built aircraft, even those based on well established designs.

“Witnesses reported that the airplane took a steep descent and disappeared behind the trees and subsequently crashed into this building through the third floor and the roof,” McCarter said.

In their investigation, McCarter said the NTSB would be examining “the man, the machine and the environment.”

That includes the pilot, former Newburyport mayor Al Lavender, who was killed in the crash, his training, qualifications and experience in the aircraft.

The NTSB will also examine the aircraft itself, the engineering of the plane – it has an Australian-made engine, for instance – and the environment, including air traffic control and the geography of the area.

“How all those three things fit together is part of a much larger, holistic process that’s going to take place after we leave here in three to four days,” McCarter said.

Most of the NTSB investigation will take place at its headquarters, far from the crash site, he said.

The NTSB is “very interested in what witnesses have to say” and is asking for any witnesses or anyone who has photos or video of the crash to email witness@ntsb.gov.

McCarter said he expects to be at the scene for up to four days. Part of that will include removing the plane from the building, where it remained Wednesday morning covered with a tarp and concealed behind a boarded-up window.

“It’s a complicated removal,” McCarter said, noting that “the floor, the beams and the attic are kind of holding it up.”

McCarter said a salvage company had been contacted and was expected to arrive Wednesday to do an assessment.

Resident Diane Klein-Peyser was able to return to her apartment Wednesday morning to grab more of her belongings. Wheeling a suitcase outside, she still appeared shaken by the incident.

“It’s just scary, it’s very, very scary,” she said. “That airport, we’ve had issues with (the airport) time and time again.”

Klein-Peyser said she spent Tuesday night with her sister in Marlborough following the plane crash, and was only able to get inside the building briefly that afternoon to grab a few belongings.

“It was get in, get out,” she said.

She had a bit more time in the building today.

“They told us to pack for a few days and we’ll see,” she said, unsure of when she would be allowed back into her home.

Klein-Peyser said she and her neighbors would come together to help those whose condos were directly hit by the plane.


Story and video:  http://www.eagletribune.com





METHUEN — A former Newburyport mayor died when his plane plunged into the roof of a Methuen housing development during an attempted landing Tuesday at Lawrence Municipal Airport.

A small fire broke out after the private plane crashed into two condos in the Prides Crossing complex around 1 p.m. Nobody was home at the time, and all other residents of the Riverside Boulevard building were able to get out safely, Methuen officials said.

The victim was former Newburyport Mayor Alan Lavender, 73, according to a Newburyport city councilor and an official briefed on the case.

City Councilman Robert J. Cronin described Lavender as “an avid outdoorsman” who was interested in experimental aircraft and planes from World War II. “He had a wealth of information about flying. He just enjoyed it,” Cronin said.

Lavender was elected mayor in 2001, and he had “a high moral compass,” Cronin said.

“He always tried to do the right thing. He tried to be something to everybody,” he said. “He worked hard, and he worked tirelessly for the community.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said the private plane was a Sonex aircraft making its final approach for a landing on Runway 14 at Lawrence Municipal Airport.

It was about a mile out from the airport, which is located in North Andover, when it crashed shortly after 1 p.m. The crash will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, officials said.

At the complex, the tail of a plane could be seen protruding from the roof of a multi-unit structure.

In airport radio traffic recorded by liveatc.net, the pilot could be heard talking calmly with the airport tower shortly after 1 p.m. as he headed toward the runway.

Just minutes later, the tower radioed a different pilot, saying, “I just heard the last airplane went down,” and asked the second pilot to “make a circle over there and see if you can find out exactly where he is.”

The plane hit a 12-unit building, and the 34 people who live there will not be able to return home Tuesday, according to Methuen officials.

Mark Holden, a Red Cross supervisor, arrived to see the plane sticking out of the roof and still smoking. By 3 p.m., he had talked to about 10 families who lived in the building, and he expected more to rush down to the complex as word spread.

Nancy Downey was on the first floor of the building when the plane crashed. She said she heard a loud boom, heard the smoke alarms going off, and stepped outside.

“It was raining insulation,” she said.

Vanessa Barone was home with her infant son, Enzo, when a loud noise startled her and woke the five-month-old from a nap.

“He woke up crying, but I didn’t think anything of it,” she said. “I just heard like a loud sound. I wasn’t sure what it was.”

She came outside soon after to see the first emergency vehicles arriving, and the tail of the plane sticking out of the roof of a building across the complex.

A seven-year resident of the complex, she said she had often joked nervously about the noise and sight of low-flying planes.

“I always joke with my husband that they’re going to crash into the building, but I never thought it would actually happen.”

It’s not the first time that a plane has crashed at the complex. In January 1999, four people were injured when a small, single-engine plane crashed after taking off from the airport across the river.

The plane flipped in midair, hit the ground, and skidded to a stop just three feet short of Prides Crossing, according to reports from the time.

A similar incident happened at the complex in 1991, Methuen Mayor Stephen N. Zanni said.

Methuen officials said one emergency caller reported that the plane might have been trying to land in a nearby pond, while another reported that the aircraft was headed straight down, potentially releasing fuel, Zanni said.

Methuen Fire Chief Tim Sheehy said at the scene that sprinklers in the building helped control the fire, limiting the damage as firefighters rushed into heavy smoke to douse the blaze.

“If somebody was home, it would have been a lot worse, obviously,” he said.

Zanni said the city would be looking into safety at the airport, citing the previous incidents. He noted that it had been many years since there had been such a crash.

“We want to make the residents secure,” he said. “We’re going to look at all factors that occurred here.”

Source:  https://www.bostonglobe.com

Methuen Police Captain Randy Haggar spoke to the press.






METHUEN, Mass. -- A pilot was killed Tuesday afternoon after a small plane crashed into an apartment building.

CBS Boston reports the crash happened just before 1:30 p.m. in the city of Methuen, about 30 miles northwest of Boston. There are no reports of any other casualties or injuries.

Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni did not identify the pilot, but said he was a former city councilor in Newburyport. CBS Boston later confirmed his name is Al Lavender, who served one term as mayor of Newburyport.

In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot was attempting to land the plane when it went down.

“A Sonex aircraft crashed in a residential area in Methuen, MA at about 1:25 p.m. today,” the FAA said. “The FAA will investigate and the NTSB will determine the probable cause for the accident.”

The building was on fire following the crash, police said. All residents were able to safely escape the 12-unit building. No one was home in the apartment where the plane came to a rest.

One woman on the first floor said parts of her ceiling came crashing down on her when the plane hit the building.

Vera Kimball lives in the condominium complex, and said she heard “a big and loud noise, nothing like I ever heard before.” 

“Then all of a sudden all the smoke alarms went off, and I went outside my back, and stuff was coming off the roof,” Kimball said. “It was the insulation.”

“We just got out, we automatically got out,” she continued. “We smelled smoke. You couldn’t stay in, because the noise from the smoke alarms. They all went off the 12 units. And then we came out, and they wouldn’t let us go back.”

The tail of the plane could be seen sticking out of the roof of the three-story complex.

Rich Ward was driving on Interstate 495 South when he saw the plane in flames in the air.

“I’ve never witnessed anything like that in my life. I can’t get it out of my head,” Ward told CBS Boston.

Keith Lontine lives less than a mile from the apartment building. He told CBS Boston he did not see flames coming from the plane before it crashed.

“I watched it fall out of the sky,” said Lontine.

Lotine said he regularly watches aircraft landing at Lawrence Municipal Airport.

“I did not hear the impact. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know if I was seeing things,” Lotine said. “I was looking for smoke, I ran right up to the building, I didn’t see any smoke right away. Then all of a sudden, I seen people running out of the building, I heard sirens, and I just knew.”

Vincent Aprea, an experienced pilot who flies in the area, said the Sonex aircraft is known to have problems with the engine overheating.

“The Sonex aircraft is designed as a motor glider,” said Aprea. “It’s designed to take off, fly like a conventional airplane, and then with the power off, meaning the motor shut down, glide to a landing.”

The plane was described as an “experimental” aircraft.

In 1999, a plane with four people on board lost power after takeoff and crashed in the same apartment complex. The plane came to a rest against the building and no one was seriously injured.

Source:  http://www.cbsnews.com





METHUEN (CBS) – The pilot killed when he crashed into a Methuen condominium has been identified as the former city councilor and mayor of Newburyport.

Al Lavender was killed in a Tuesday afternoon crash on Riverview Blvd. in Methuen.

Lavender previously served as a Newburyport city councilor and was also mayor from 2000-2003.

“He was a kind, gentle person,” said current Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday.

Holaday said she was surprised to learn following the crash that Lavender was a pilot. Holaday added that Lavender was an avid boater in Newburyport.

Lavender was attempting to land at Lawrence Municipal Airport Tuesday around 1:30 p.m. when he crashed into the roof of Pride’s Crossing Condo Complex.

“Our community has suffered a tremendous loss today and our thoughts and prayers are with the Lavender family,” Holaday said.















Authorities are investigating after a small plane crashed into a multi-condo building in Methuen, Massachusetts, killing the pilot, a former mayor of Newburyport.

It happened on Riverview Boulevard, across the Merrimack River from the Lawrence Municipal Airport, around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

Methuen police and FAA officials say the 60-year-old male pilot was the only person on board the single-engine Sonex aircraft, which originated from Lawrence Municipal Airport, at the time of the crash and died at the scene.

The plane was on a one-mile final approach to Lawrence Municipal Airport when it crashed into a condo at Prides Crossing on Riverview Boulevard, the FAA added.

Although the name of the deceased pilot has not been officially released by investigators pending next-of-kin notification, Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday said Alan "Al" Lavender, who served as Newburyport's mayor from 2002 to 2003 and as a city councilor for eight years before that, was killed in Tuesday's crash.

Holaday called Lavender's death "a big loss for our city."

"He was such a caring and giving person," she said, adding that he encouraged her to first run for city council and eventually for the mayor's job.

The condo complex was the site of another small aircraft crash in 1999.

No residents were injured in the crash, which was contained to the building's attic, according to Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni.

The FAA will investigate and the NTSB will determine a likely cause for the crash, according to officials.

Skies were partly cloudy with calm winds and a 10-mile visibility at the time of the crash, meteorologist Michael Page said.

Source:  http://www.nbcconnecticut.com

Eurocopter EC-130B-4 (AS-350B-4), Maverick Helicopters, N864MH: Accident occurred February 26, 2017 at McCarran International Airport (KLAS), Las Vegas, Nevada

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

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

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Las Vegas

Mustang Leasing LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N864MH

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA167
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Sunday, February 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/07/2017
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER EC130, registration: N864MH
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot of the helicopter reported that, during the hover-taxi for departure in the ramp area, he was monitoring another helicopter that had just departed and then “brought [his] eyes inside [the helicopter]” to switch a radio frequency. As the pilot looked back outside, he observed “the nose of a big plane taxiing” from behind another parked airplane to his left. Subsequently, the pilot abruptly applied aft cyclic to stop the helicopter’s forward momentum, and the Fenestron struck the ramp.

The pilot returned to the ramp area without further incident.

The Fenestron sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's abrupt cyclic/pitch attitude control movement, which resulted in a Fenestron ground strike.

The pilot of the helicopter reported that during the hover taxi for departure in the ramp area, he was monitoring another helicopter that had just departed and then "brought [his] eyes inside [the helicopter]" to switch a radio frequency. As the pilot looked back outside, he observed "the nose of a big plane taxiing" from behind another parked airplane to his left. Subsequently, the pilot abruptly applied aft cyclic to stop the helicopter's forward momentum and the Fenestron struck the ramp. The pilot returned to the ramp area without further incident.

The Fenestron sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation.

Southwest Airlines, Boeing 737-700, N7751: Incident occurred February 27, 2017 at Eppley Airfield (KOMA), Omaha, Nebraska

Southwest Airlines Co: http://registry.faa.gov/N7751A

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Lincoln, Nebraska 

Flight SWA1426,  aircraft on short final struck birds.  Landed without incident.  No injuries.  Damage unknown to wings and gear.

Date: 28-FEB-17
Time: 03:00:00Z
Regis#: N7751A
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: B737
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
Flight Number: SWA1426
City: OMAHA
State: NEBRASKA

Piper PA-28-181 Archer III, N309PA: Accident occurred February 27, 2017 at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (KDVT), Arizona

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Scottsdale 

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


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


Bird Acquisition LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N309PA

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA166
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 27, 2017 in Phoenix, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/15/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N309PA
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The flight instructor reported that, during an introduction to soft-field takeoffs lesson, upon switching to the tower frequency, he and his student received the updated wind and altimeter setting. He noted that the wind was a “rear quartering crosswind” and that “I have done these before so thought I would be fine, though in retrospect [it’s] been a long time since I have done [a takeoff] with similar conditions.” During the takeoff, he held the yoke back with right aileron, and as the airplane began to lift off, he reduced back pressure on the yoke. After becoming airborne, the airplane drifted to the right and then settled back on the runway. He added more right aileron, rudder, and “back elevator,” which reduced his forward visibility. The airplane became airborne again about 45 knots and drifted to the right of the runway centerline. He reduced power, landed, and came to a stop off the right side of the runway. The airplane was taxied back to parking with no further incident. 

A postaccident examination revealed that the airplane sustained substantial damage to the rear carry-through wing spar.

The chief flight instructor reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
The flight instructor reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 300° at 10 knots. The airplane was departing from runway 7R.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The flight instructor’s incorrect control inputs while taking off with a known quartering tailwind, which resulted in a loss of directional control and runway excursion.

Bellanca 14-19-2 Cruisair Senior, N9842B: Incident occurred February 27, 2017 in Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona

http://registry.faa.gov/N9842B

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Scottsdale

Aircraft on landing, gear collapsed. 

Date: 27-FEB-17
Time: 19:24:00Z
Regis#: N9842B
Aircraft Make: BELLANCA
Aircraft Model: 14-19
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: MESA
State: ARIZONA

















AIRCRAFT:    1958 Bellanca 14-19-2; N9842B; sn 4094

ENGINE - M&M, S/N:   Continental O-420-K   sn 48414-8-K

PROPELLER – M&M, S/N:  McCauley 2A34C66-NP S-90AT-12   sn 744057

APPROXIMATE TOTAL HOURS (estimated TT & TSMO from logbooks or other information):

ENGINE:   2121 TT   1152 SMOH  as of 2/12/2017          

PROPELLER:    Unk TT  142 SMOH  as of 2/12/2017

 AIRFRAME:    2121 TT  as of 2/12/2017

OTHER EQUIPMENT:  King KY97A, King KT76A

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  Gear collapsed on landing.

 DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:    Damage includes, but not limited to, prop strike, belly, both flaps, lower cowling.

LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:   Air Transport, Phoenix AZ

REMARKS:  Sold AS IS/WHERE IS.  Airframe & Engine logs date back to 1975, no prior logs available. AIRCRAFT HAS BEEN DISASSEMBLED.


Read more here: http://www.avclaims.com/N9842B.htm

Bell 407, owned by GM Leasing of Broussard, Louisiana, and operated by Westwind Helicopters of Santa Fe, Texas, N1371: Fatal accident occurred February 27, 2017 in Chauvin, Louisiana

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

Analysis 

The commercial pilot was repositioning the helicopter from an offshore oil platform to the operator's home base in visual meteorological conditions. When the helicopter did not return as expected, the operator initiated a search; the helicopter wreckage was found in a shallow marsh area just off shore. No radio distress calls were received from the pilot, and the skid-mounted emergency float system was not deployed. Onboard flight-following equipment recorded a straight flight path tracking directly to the intended destination with a gradual descent just prior to impact.

Accident flight data extracted from the helicopter's engine control unit did not show any faults with the engine. Detailed examinations of the helicopter's airframe, drive system, and flight controls did not reveal any preimpact anomalies. Examination and full teardown of the engine did not reveal any anomalies and indicated that the engine was operating at the time of impact.

Airframe deformations were consistent with a slightly nose-low and left-skid-down attitude at the time of impact; therefore, it is unlikely that the pilot experienced a loss of control. Given the absence of mechanical anomalies, the fact that the pilot did not make a distress call or activate the emergency float system, and the helicopter's relatively straight recorded flight path, it is likely that the helicopter was operating normally at the time of impact. Further, toxicology testing and autopsy findings did not indicate any evidence of pilot impairment. It could not be determined why the pilot failed to recognize the helicopter's descent and maintain a proper altitude above the water. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain proper altitude resulting in a collision with water for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information. 

Findings

Aircraft
Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Enroute
Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) (Defining event)

Matthew Masashi Kawamura, 26, of Enterprise, Alabama


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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Westwind Helicopters; Santa Fe, Texas 
Rolls Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana 

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


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms
  
GM Leasing Company LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N1371


Location: Chauvin, LA
Accident Number: CEN17FA112
Date & Time: 02/27/2017, 1033 CST
Registration: N1371
Aircraft: BELL 407
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries:  1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Positioning 

On February 27, 2017, about 1033 central standard time, a Bell 407 helicopter, N1371, was destroyed when it impacted marshy water 15 miles southwest of Houma, Louisiana (HUM). The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The repositioning flight was operated by Westwind Helicopters under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area and a company flight plan was activated. The flight originated at 1014 from offshore oil platform South Timbalier ST37, Gulf of Mexico.

Before the accident flight, the helicopter had completed a 14 CFR Part 135 passenger flight from HUM to ST37, dropping off 2 passengers. The passengers reported that the flight to ST37 was normal. According to the operator, the pilot was to return the helicopter to HUM for a minor repair of an engine cowling fastener. The pilot was the only person on board for the approximate 30-minute flight to HUM.

The helicopter was equipped with an on-board flight tracking system (Sky Connect). After takeoff from ST37, six flight path data points were recorded at 2-minute intervals and showed the helicopter on a northwest heading. Sky Connect data showed the flight path of the helicopter flying direct toward HUM on a northwest heading. Sky Connect Flight Path Data Points:

1 Heading 207 degrees, altitude 108 feet, ground speed 8 knots (ST37 Departure)

2 Heading 337 degrees, altitude 728 feet, ground speed 148 knots

3 Heading 336 degrees, altitude 699 feet, ground speed 144 knots

4 Heading 336 degree, altitude 486 feet, ground speed 144 knots

5 Heading 336 degrees, altitude 548 feet, ground speed 150 knots

6 Heading 336 degrees, altitude 374 feet, ground speed 148 knots (Last Recorded Point)


Figure. Sky Connect Flight Path

The figure shows the helicopter's altitude, heading, and ground speed; ST37 is located at the right of the figure. The last Sky Connect data point was at 1024, indicating an altitude of 374 ft and ground speed of 148 knots. Sky Connect issued an "Overdue" alarm at 1033. At 1103, company flight monitoring personnel dispatched a search helicopter, and the wreckage was found at 1135 about 15 miles south-southeast of HUM.

There were no reported witnesses to the accident. There were no radio or distress calls heard from the helicopter, and the helicopter's Sky Connect emergency button was not activated. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Private
Age: 28, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification:  Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/29/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/12/2016
Flight Time:  2265 hours (Total, all aircraft), 123 hours (Total, this make and model), 2193 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 140 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 51 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument ratings. He was hired by Westwind Helicopters on July 17, 2016. His total flight time as of February 27, 2017 was 2,266 hours, all of which was in light helicopters. His total flight time in the accident helicopter make and model was 120 hours. He had flown 140 flight hours in single-engine helicopters in the 90 days before the accident. According to pilot training records provided by the operator, the pilot was current and qualified in offshore Part 135 flight operations. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued in June 2016 with no limitations. 




Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BELL
Registration: N1371
Model/Series: 407 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 1997
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 53182
Landing Gear Type: Emergency Float; Skid;
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/16/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5250 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 680 Hours
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 9135 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: ALLISON
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 250-C47
Registered Owner:  GM LEASING COMPANY LLC
Rated Power: 650 hp
Operator: Westwind Helicopters
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Westwind Helicopters leased the helicopter, serial number (S/N) 53182, from GM Leasing in April 2015. It had a total airframe time of 9,146.8 hours at the time of the accident. The helicopter was equipped with an Allison 250C47B turbo shaft engine (S/N CAE847222) with a total time of 15,510.6 hours. According to maintenance records provided by the operator, the most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on February 16, 2017, at 9,125.5 airframe hours.

Maintenance records indicated compliance with all required scheduled maintenance inspections, applicable service bulletins, and applicable airworthiness directives. A review of the maintenance logbooks by the NTSB IIC did not reveal any uncorrected scheduled or unscheduled maintenance actions. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HUM, 15 ft msl
Observation Time: 0950 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 156°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 21°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2200 ft agl
Visibility:  5 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots/ 17 knots, 150°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: GOM ST37, GM (ST37)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: Houma, LA (HUM)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1014 CST
Type of Airspace: Class E

At 0950, the weather observation at HUM included wind from 150° at 12 knots gusting to 17 knots, visibility 5 statute miles with haze, scattered clouds at 1,000 ft and a broken ceiling at 2,200 ft, temperature 24°C, dew point 21°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of mercury.

The search pilot reported that the conditions in the area of the accident site included 5-7 miles visibility with ceilings above 700 ft about 1130. 



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: 29.310278, 90.546389

General

The wreckage was found in shallow marsh waters south of Timbalier Bay, about 15 miles south-southeast of HUM. The wreckage was recovered and transported to a salvage facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The recovered portions included the main fuselage, tailboom, the main rotor drive system, main rotor blades, engine, tail rotor blades and tail rotor gearbox, and landing gear with skid-mounted float assembly.

Detailed examinations of the recovered components were conducted under the supervision of the NTSB investigator-in-charge. The FAA, Westwind Helicopters, Rolls Royce, and Bell Helicopter participated in the airframe examinations at Southern Aircraft Recovery on March 2-3, 2017. The Rolls-Royce engine was examined under the supervision of the FAA on March 3, 2017, at Arrow Aviation, Broussard, Louisiana. The Engine Control Unit (ECU) was transported to Triumph Engine Controls in West Hartford, Connecticut, for data extraction. The following are summaries of the examinations.

Airframe

The airframe was destroyed by impact forces upon water contact, breaking into several pieces. Airframe deformations were consistent with a slightly nose low and left skid down orientation at the time of impact. The left forward Dzus fastener on the engine cowling that was reported loose at the ST37C platform was missing, and the cowling mounting hole was found fractured. The left side of the helicopter exhibited more damage than the right side, including doors, landing gear, and cockpit and nose area. The tailboom remained connected to the aft fuselage and the aft fuselage was separated from the aft engine firewall bulkhead. The tailboom was relatively intact with two slight bends to the left. The vertical fin exhibited a tail rotor strike to its bottom surface, consistent impact forces occurring after the tail rotor gearbox departed its mounting location.

The skid-mounted float system was not deployed.

Rotors

All four main rotor blades exhibited spar and afterbody damage consistent with impact forces, but no spar fractures were observed. The top blade surface balance pocket weights located near the blade tips' leading edges were all intact, remaining firmly attached to the blade spars. The bottom blade surface balance pocket weights located near the blade tips' trailing edges had all departed from their mounting pockets in the blades afterbody surfaces.

All four main rotor yoke arms were significantly damaged from impact forces, exhibiting delamination and fractures of the composite yoke flexure structure. All hub bearings were damaged consistent with overtravel. Up-stops and down-stops were significantly damaged, consistent with impact forces.

Both tail rotor blades remained connected to their respective yoke arms. Both blades were relatively intact with one blade exhibiting trailing edge blade tip skin delamination consistent with impact forces.

No pre-impact anomalies were found in the main or tail rotor systems and the damages found were consistent with rotation at impact.

Flight Controls and Hydraulics

The cockpit area was destroyed by impact forces. The helicopter was equipped with single controls at the pilot's station. The vertical tunnel where four vertical flight control tubes transit was found fractured consistent with impact at top and bottom surfaces. All four control tubes exhibited overload fractures at the top of the vertical tunnel and the right cyclic pitch control tube was found fractured in overload about 1 ft from the bottom of the tube. The cyclic was intact and remained connected to the control system. Cyclic movement revealed corresponding movement of the vertical control tubes. The collective was fractured at its cast base, consistent with impact forces. The collective jackshaft was intact but displaced due to extensive cockpit damage. Control linkages to the main rotor servos were found intact. All three main rotor servos and mounting support structures were intact, including intact nut and locking tabs at the spool valve wire drive to spool control lever connections.

Tail rotor control system fractures were found at various locations due to airframe impact damage. The tail rotor pitch control was found intact.

The hydraulic manifold was found intact and the hydraulic reservoir was full of hydraulic fluid. Both the pressure line to the manifold and the rotor brake hydraulic line were found fractured, consistent with overload forces. The bypass pop-out buttons for both the pressure and return lines were not extended. The hydraulic pump remained attached to the main transmission, but the elbow pressure fitting was found fractured consistent with impact forces.

No pre-impact anomalies were found in the flight control or hydraulic systems.

Drive System

The mast was intact and the chip detectors were clean. The main KaFlex driveshaft exhibited flexure fractures at both forward and aft locations consistent with overload at impact. The KaFlex outer diameter exhibited minimal rotational signatures. The transmission end KaFlex coupling could not be rotated by hand. The top case of the transmission was removed, revealing significant magnesium corrosion from the transmission case between the planetary and ring gear teeth, preventing rotation of transmission gearing. All observed gears were intact. Transmission mounting to the airframe was secure. The fore/aft pylon elastomeric restraints were both damaged. The left restraint was found fractured consistent with overload impact forces and the right restraint was bent.

The forward steel short shaft under the engine remained connected to the engine end, but the aft spline coupling separated from the oil cooler shaft due to airframe impact deformations just forward of the oil cooler. The tail rotor driveshaft was found intact from the oil cooler to the most aft tail rotor driveshaft segment. Rotation of the driveshaft was inhibited due to crushing of the oil cooler fan shroud against the oil cooler fan. The last tail rotor driveshaft segment exhibited a fractured coupling attachment ear, consistent with overload impact forces on the tail rotor gearbox. Three of the four gearbox studs were found fractured. The right forward stud was found intact and a small piece of tail rotor gearbox casting material was found fractured, consistent with overload forces. The mounting spot faces on the gearbox support casting did not exhibit fretting, consistent with instantaneous fracture of the three studs. The tail rotor gearbox rotated by hand with moderate resistance.

No pre-impact anomalies were found with the drive system.

Fuel System

The airframe fuel filter canister contained water and fuel with a heavy fuel smell, consistent with water immersion. The paper filter was relatively clean with water droplets in the paper element folds. The main fuel cell exhibited breaches consistent with airframe impact damage. Several fuel line breaks were observed, consistent with impact damage. The fuel valve was found in the closed position.

Engine

The helicopter had been submerged in salt water for about 3 days before examination and was torn away from the airframe during the impact sequence. Both engine mounts had torn away at the airframe end and remained attached to the engine case. A section of airframe material remained attached to the engine by interface fuel and oil lines. Overall, the engine exhibited minimal impact damage with all modules and engine accessories in their normal respective positions. The fuel filter bypass button was found extended. Beginning corrosion was noted to the accessory gear box, consistent with salt water submersion. The exhaust stack remained attached to the engine and displayed minor impact damage. The stack was impacted with extending down and into the fourth stage turbine wheel area. The mud was removed from the stack. A small bag containing chip detector removal tools was found in the mud. Following a visual examination, the engine was given a fresh water rinse to remove the mud. 

Engine Disassembly

Before disassembly, neither the N1 nor N2 drive trains could be rotated by hand. The compressor module was externally normal in appearance. One impeller blade leading edge exhibited foreign object debris impact damage, with a tear about ¼-inch inboard from the tip and deflection of the blade tip in the direction opposite rotation. Multiple impeller blades displayed deflection and slight bending of the blades in the direction opposite of rotation. The impeller shroud displayed areas of rotational scoring from contact with the impeller, with corresponding rub damage noted to the impeller blades near the knee area. The diffuser vanes were in position and undamaged. The scroll was undamaged. The bleed valve remained in position but displayed a fracture in the center port of the bypass line, consistent with impact forces near the port.

The accessory gearbox displayed corrosion; however, no visible impact damage was noted. Separation of the gearbox case and cover revealed heavy internal corrosion of both the case and the cover. All internal gearing was in position and other than corrosion coating, the gearing was all visually normal and undamaged. The oil pump and piccolo tube were both in position and visually undamaged.

The turbine module remained in normal position and exhibited no visible damage. The thermocouple harness was in position and all probe tips were normal with no evidence of excessive temperatures. Removal and separation of the turbine module revealed water and mud throughout the gas path. Separation of the gas producer rotor showed that the stage one and stage two nozzles and wheels were visually normal and undamaged. Disassembly of the power turbine rotor revealed that the stage three wheel and nozzle were visually normal and undamaged. The stage four nozzle exhibited rotational scoring in the blade track of the stage four wheel with corresponding rub damage noted to the wheel's outer rim knife seals. The exhaust collector support was in proper position displaying no evidence of damage.

The outer combustion case remained in position and displayed minor impact denting on the right shoulder area. Both left and right compressor air discharge tubes remained in position and were properly seated on both the forward and aft ends. Removal of the outer combustion case and the combustor liner revealed no evidence of excessive streaking or temperature.

N1 shafting, to include the spur adapter gear shaft and the turbine to compressor coupling, were visually normal and undamaged. Both the turbine splined adapter and compressor splined adapter were in position and visually normal. N2 shafting, consisting of the power turbine inner shaft, power turbine outer shaft and power turbine to pinion gear coupling, were normal in appearance.

The CEFA filter was removed and examined. Removal of the oil filter bowl revealed evidence of an oil/water mix. The filter was visually normal and free of debris. Removal of the fuel filter bowl revealed clear, clean liquid with the odor of jet fuel. The fuel filter and bowl were clean and free of debris.

All engine main bearings were visually normal. All balls and/or rollers were visually normal and exhibited no damage. The hydromechanical unit (HMU) remained in position and displayed no external damage. The main drive shaft was in position and visually normal. The fuel nozzle was visually normal and the nozzle screen free of debris. The engine control unit (ECU) was placed into a fresh water rinse at recovery. Visual examination of the ECU revealed no evidence of case damage or water intrusion. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Terrebonne Medical Examiner's Office, Houma, Louisiana, performed an autopsy of the pilot on February 28, 2017. The cause of death was blunt trauma.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing of the pilot. No drugs, ethanol, or carbon monoxide were detected. 

Tests And Research

The ECU was transported to Triumph Engine Controls in West Hartford, Connecticut, for data extraction. The accident fight data did not show any faults with the engine. The operator reported that the normal airspeed for a return flight from offshore is typically about 120 knots. The Sky Connect data showed ground speeds between 144 and 148 knots.

Additional Information


After the accident, the operator implemented a Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) program to install Flight Data Management (FDM) equipment in all company aircraft to capture flight data, cockpit audio, and imagery on all flights.



NTSB Identification: CEN17FA112 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 27, 2017 in Chauvin, LA
Aircraft: BELL 407, registration: N1371
Injuries: 1 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 February 27, 2017, approximately 1033 central standard time, a Bell 407 helicopter, N1371, owned by GM Leasing of Broussard, Louisiana, and operated by Westwind Helicopters of Santa Fe, Texas, was destroyed when it impacted marshy water about 15 miles southwest of its home base of Houma, Louisiana (HUM). The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area and a company flight following plan (via Sky Connect) was activated. The repositioning flight was being conducted under the provisions of Federal Code of Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from Gulf of Mexico (GOM) oil platform South Timbalier (ST37) at 1014.

The helicopter had just completed a Part 135 passenger flight from HUM to ST37, dropping off 2 passengers. The passengers reported that the flight to ST37 was normal. After completion of the passenger flight, the pilot was to return the helicopter to HUM for a minor repair of an engine cowl fastener. According to Sky Connect information, the helicopter departed ST37 at 1014 with the pilot as the only person on board for an approximate 30-minute flight back to HUM. Sky Connect data showed the flight path of the helicopter flying inbound toward HUM on a northwest heading. There were a total of 6 Sky Connect flight path points that were received in 2-minute intervals.

Available Sky Connect Flight Path Points:

1 Heading 108 degrees, altitude 267 feet, ground speed 80 knots (ST37 Departure)

2 Heading 337 degrees, altitude 728 feet, ground speed 148 knots

3 Heading 336 degrees, altitude 699 feet, ground speed 144 knots

4 Heading 336 degree, altitude 486 feet, ground speed 144 knots

5 Heading 336 degrees, altitude 548 feet, ground speed 150 knots

6 Heading 336 degrees, altitude 374 feet, ground speed 148 knots (Last Recorded Point)

The last Sky Connect data point was at 1024 (N29.291 latitude / W 90.521 longitude). Sky Connect issued an "Overdue" alarm at 1033. Westwind flight monitoring personnel dispatched a search helicopter at 1103 from the HUM base and the helicopter wreckage was sited at 1135 in shallow marsh waters of South Timbalier Bay, about 15 miles SSE of HUM (N29.310278 latitude / W90.546389 longitude).

There were no radio or distress calls heard from the helicopter.

All of the major helicopter wreckage was found within an approximate 100-foot radius in 4-foot deep water. Lighter airframe debris were found floating away from the main helicopter wreckage.

The helicopter was recovered to Southern Aircraft Recovery, Baton Rouge, Louisiana were it was examined under the supervision of the NTSB, with representatives from the FAA, Westwind Helicopters, Rolls Royce, and Bell Helicopter.


During the examination, no mechanical anomalies were discovered with the helicopter airframe, drive system, or flight controls. Examination and teardown of the engine did not reveal any anomalies. A review of the maintenance logbooks revealed that the scheduled maintenance was up-to-date, did not show any outstanding items, and all applicable service bulletins were accomplished. A review of the pilot training records showed that the pilot was qualified and current in the Bell 407.


The Engine Control Unit (ECU) which had been recovered was placed into a fresh water rinse at recovery. Following the rinse, a visual examination of the ECU revealed no evidence of case damage or water intrusion. Due to the unit having been submerged in salt water the ECU will be shipped to Triumph Engine Controls in West Hartford Connecticut for possible engine data query.





GALVESTON – The family of a man who perished in a helicopter crash in Louisiana on February 27, 2017 has pursued legal action against his former employer and the company that built the aircraft.

In a lawsuit filed against Westwind Helicopters, Inc. and Bell Helicopter on October 27, 2017 in the Galveston County Court at Law No. 1, California residents Sammy and Barbara Kawamura assert that each company contributed to the death of their son, Matthew.

Joining the younger Kawamura’s estate as a co-plaintiff is Ashley Fletcher, also of California, the mother of his young son.

Court documents explain that Matthew Kawamura piloted a Bell 407 helicopter which “dropped out of the sky and crashed” near Houma, Louisiana. According to the complaint, the flight in question originated from the Gulf of Mexico oil platform South Timbalier and was to return to Houma for repair of an engine cowl fastener.

A component of the aircraft killed Matthew Kawamura, the suit says.

Westwind, which employed the decedent at the time of his passing, purportedly maintained, repaired, and inspected the helicopter prior to the aforementioned flight. Bell is faulted for not properly designing and assembling the aircraft.

A jury trial is requested.

Attorney Jason A. Itkin of the law firm Arnold & Itkin LLP in Houston serves as the plaintiffs’ lead counsel.

Galveston County Court at Law No. 1 Case No. CV-79882

https://setexasrecord.com


A 26-year-old pilot was killed this afternoon after the helicopter he was flying crashed into a bayou in southern Terrebonne Parish, authorities said.

Authorities identified the pilot as Matthew Kawamura of Enterprise, Ala.

Members of the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff's Office Water Patrol responded to the crash, which occurred shortly after 12:52 p.m. in Bayou Barre, a waterway that feeds into a lake by the same name about 10 miles south of Montegut, Sheriff's Office spokesman Maj. Malcom Wolfe said.

Investigators pronounced Kawamura dead shortly after recovering his body at the scene, Wolfe said.

There was wreckage and debris from the downed aircraft in the waters where deputies recovered the pilot's body, Wolfe said.

Authorities said there were no other passengers on board the aircraft, which flew for Westwind Helicopters Inc.

Westwind, based in Santa Fe, Texas, provides personnel transportation for offshore oil and gas operations, charter services and power line and pipeline patrols throughout the Gulf Coast. The company's fleet is comprised of Bell series helicopters such as the 206 and 407, the firm's website says.

Westwind operates bases in Houma, Abbeville, Cameron and Venice, as well as Santa Fe and Rockport, Texas.

"Westwind is working in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board regarding the ongoing investigation," the company said in a statement Monday. "Everyone at Westwind offers their deepest condolences to the family and friends of our pilot, and we are keeping those affected in our prayers during this difficult time."

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating, Wolfe said.

Source:  http://www.houmatoday.com