Friday, March 10, 2017

Sheriff blasts Federal Aviation Administration for Super Bowl’s drone flights while county waits for approval

Grand Forks County Sheriff Deputy Lee Mewes



GRAND FORKS — The Grand Forks County sheriff wants to know why the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t approved a waiver for law enforcement to fly drones anywhere in the country while it took only weeks to give a company permission to fly drones during the Super Bowl’s halftime show.

“During the daytime, we can fly anywhere in the nation,” Sheriff Bob Rost said. “All of our pilots are FAA-certified pilots. They are not amateurs flying UAS.”

Grand Forks County is home to the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft Systems Unit, which is staffed by members of the Grand Forks Police Department, the Grand Forks County Sheriff’s Department, the UND Police Department and the Cass County Sheriff’s Department.

The unit has permission from the FAA to operate drones at night for three years in 18 counties in northeast North Dakota, though Rost said his department may be called to other parts of the country to assist agencies that may need drone support.

He gave the Dakota Access Pipeline protests as an example. The department was called to help, but it could not fly drones at night in central North Dakota.

Rost said his department has contacted the FAA numerous times but has not heard a response regarding the request.

Deputy Al Frazier planned to ask FAA Administrator Michael Huerta during a panel discussion in Dallas on unmanned aircraft to give priority to emergency responders when it came to approving waivers to fly drones for commercial purposes. Particularly, Frazier wanted the FAA to approve a waiver submitted by his agency more than six months ago to fly drones at night anywhere in the country.

Huerta did not speak during the panel, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory said, but an FAA speaker took Frazier’s information and promised to research the issue.

Rost called the delays “inordinate and inappropriate” and criticized the FAA for approving a request by technology giant Intel to fly 300 drones at the Super Bowl last month. The drones had LED lights that created illuminated designs for Lady Gaga’s performance.

Intel needed permission from the FAA to fly the drones above NRG Stadium in Houston, and Rost said in his statement it took less than six weeks to process and approve the flight.

The approval of the flight during Lady Gaga’s performance sends a message that “the Super Bowl halftime entertainment is more important than public safety,” Rost said.

“We’re talking a public safety issue versus a show,” he said. “It is hard for me to comprehend how public safety could be perceived as less important than the entertainment industry.”

Rost said he hopes the FAA will prioritize public safety, especially for law enforcement agencies that choose to go the extra mile, such as having their pilots FAA-certified.

“We are doing this thing the right way,” he said of the drone unit. “We just don’t joke around with it. It is a very serious thing for us.”

Source:  http://bismarcktribune.com

Police on lookout for drone thief


Prince George RCMP are asking for the public's help in tracking down a man suspected of stealing two drones from a Westgate electronics store.

He is described as Caucasian, about 60 years old, with a fair complexion and medium build. An image of the suspect from a security camera was released Thursday.

The incident at the 6300-block Southridge Avenue store was reported to RCMP on Jan. 4.

Missing are two DJI Phantom drones are worth $2,200 in total.

Anyone with information on where he could be found is asked to call Prince George RCMP at 250-561-3300 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

Tips can also be provided online at www.pgcrimestoppers.bc.ca, or by texting CRIMES using keyword "pgtips."

- Story, photo and comments: http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com

New Mexico drones to prowl Canadian skies



ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque’s Silent Falcon solar-powered drone will soon monitor agriculture, natural gas and forestry operations throughout Canada under a new partnership with a Vancouver firm.

Silent Falcon UAS Technologies announced the deal this month with Precision Vector Aerial Inc. of British Columbia. That company will exclusively use the Silent Falcon for all its air monitoring services, expected to begin this summer. Precision Vector will also help Silent Falcon sell its systems throughout Canada.

That could put at least 10 Silent Falcon systems, and possibly many more, in Canadian skies within five years, said Precision President and CEO Lorne Borgal. Silent Falcon’s long-range and long-flight-endurance capabilities make it ideal for Precision’s ground teams to fly drones beyond line of sight, he said.

“It is by far the most advanced and commercially viable unmanned aerial vehicle for (those) operations,” Borgal said. “Five hours airborne, 100-kilometer range, and the ability to map 6,000 acres in one flight symbolize what makes this a unique platform.”

The partnership could help blaze a new market for Silent Falcon in Canada and elsewhere because most commercial drones operating worldwide today are rotary-type craft made for short flights of less than one hour and up to three kilometers, said Silent Falcon CEO John Brown. As a result, using drones for things like surveying oil and gas pipelines, or monitoring crop health on farms of 2,000 acres and up, is only just beginning.

“It’s in those large, beyond-the-line-of-sight missions that we see the most opportunities, and that’s the market Precision Vector is focusing on,” Brown said. “That market is still very new.”

The Silent Falcon is homegrown technology that Brown and Colorado company Bye Aerospace launched in Albuquerque in 2010. The solar-powered drone is made with light-weight carbon fiber and designed to carry a broad range of sensors. It’s equipped with state-of-the-art communications technology for networked, real-time monitoring from the ground.



“It’s not just an aircraft, but an integral system to collect many kinds of data, from video and photos to hyperspectral imaging,” Brown said.

The company assembles the drones at a 5,000-square-foot facility in Albuquerque’s Southeast Heights. It’s targeting foreign markets now because Federal Aviation Administration regulations don’t yet permit commercial drones to fly beyond the line of sight in the U.S.

The company earned about $1 million in revenue annually in the last two years, but it now has nearly $20 million in new contracts in the pipeline, Brown said.

Precision Vector flew a demonstration flight for an Alberta gas pipeline company last year.

“The company had flown four other unmanned systems, but only the Silent Falcon was able to detect gas leaks,” Borgal said. “It’s the best UAV platform I could find for our operations.”

Source:  https://www.abqjournal.com

Around Fremont, Nebraska: Drone license

Vic Rader, owner of Vic’s Photography & Video in Fremont, recently has received a remote pilot license by the Federal Aviation Administration to operate drone aircraft.

In November, Rader passed an exam from the Federal Aviation Administration and now holds a remote pilot certificate.

For over 20 years, Rader has been a commercial licensed aircraft pilot, in single-engine and multi-engine aircraft.

Rader has been offering photography and video coverage for events such as weddings and commercial events for over 25 years in Fremont and the surrounding area. He also offers large screen projection and sound support services, portrait and aerial assignments.

Source:   http://fremonttribune.com

It’s Drone vs. Drone as Airspace Systems Takes Flight: Silicon Valley startup unveils mobile command center as market for defensive services heats up



The Wall Street Journal
By CAT ZAKRZEWSKI and  PATIENCE HAGGIN
March 9, 2017 7:30 a.m. ET


On a recent afternoon, a large white van parked outside The Battery, a private club for tech elites in San Francisco.

Passersby stared at the cumbersome vehicle on the busy city block, some snapping photos of the large antennas emerging from its trailer that suggested something out of a spy movie.

That wasn’t far off—the van acts as a new mobile command center for a Silicon Valley startup aiming to defend the skies against rogue drones. Airspace Systems Inc. wants to help federal agencies, sports stadiums, amusement parks and other businesses protect against drones that pose a threat.

After venture capitalists funneled millions into companies commercializing drones, a growing cadre senses opportunity in providing defensive services as well. In addition to Shasta Ventures-backed Airspace Systems, companies like Dedrone, D-Fend Solutions and DroneShield have arrived on the scene in recent years.

“There are probably just as many companies making counter-unmanned aircraft systems as there are making unmanned aircraft systems,” said Michael Blades, a senior industry analyst at research firm Frost & Sullivan.

One of the market leaders is Dedrone, which raised a $15 million Series B last month. Dedrone uses a combination of microphones, sensors and frequency scanners to detect drones, and then takes counter measures like catching them with nets or jamming their signals.

“Everybody who has a fence has a fence for reason, and the reason is to keep people out of his property,” said Dedrone Chief Executive Joerg Lamprecht. “And we believe that everyone who has a fence needs an aerial equivalent.”

The startup’s drones monitored the skies above several U.S. presidential debates last year, as well as this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Its customers include data centers, prisons, airports and nuclear power plants.

Airspace Chief Executive Jaz Banga, a serial entrepreneur, said the threat of rogue drones is on the rise.

He cited cases ranging from Islamic State’s increased use of drones to more mundane but intrusive domestic episodes. In Los Angeles, for examples, drones have recently been used by paparazzi to capture unauthorized images of celebrities.

Mr. Banga says counter measures are needed in cases of amateurs who don’t know how to pilot drones, drones that suffer mechanical failures and ones used by threatening or criminal actors.

Airspace uses machine vision to detect anomalous drones in the sky. Traditional air traffic-tracking technology like radar often isn’t effective to detect drones because they can be as small as some birds.

When an unwanted drone is detected, an Airspace drone is able to track and intercept it, shooting out a Kevlar-fiber net. Like a spider trapping a fly in its web, the Airspace drone snares the enemy drone and carries it away.

But like drones themselves, counter-drones are entering a highly regulated market.

Federal Aviation Administration rules prohibit capturing an aircraft from the sky. Many commercial customers and clients in local law enforcement have only relied on these vendors for “detect-and-alert” services.

Airspace’s Mr. Banga says the regulations were written with airplanes in mind, and his company’s approach of catching the drone in a net falls into a gray area because it doesn’t damage the drone.

“It’s undefined right now,” he said.

Other companies are avoiding regulatory challenges by focusing primarily on detection. A sports stadium may detect a drone in its airspace, follow its signal to find the pilot, and confront the pilot on the ground. When a prison security team detects a drone, officers can determine whether it has dropped a parcel and where it can be picked up. Celebrity clients may want to be notified of an unwanted drone’s presence so they can close their blinds.

“When you have to spend money on something that is a cost item, some people will be progressive, but most people are more likely to drag their feet on it,” said Bilal Zuberi, a partner at Lux Capital who has spoken with several counter-drone startups but not invested in any. “It’s very early-stage for these companies, both in terms of technology and business traction.”

It might take a major catastrophe involving a drone before commercial businesses take note, predicted Anthony Albanese, president of drone detection provider Gryphon Sensors LLC, a subsidiary of defense contractor SRC Inc.

Rob Coneybeer, a managing director at Shasta Ventures who invested in Airspace, said it’s still early days for the industry. That contributed to Airspace’s recent decision to make its command centers mobile.

“It’s an opportunity for these people to try this out and see how it works,” Mr. Coneybeer said.

Original article can be found here:  https://www.wsj.com

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Over $100,000 in hash oil equipment found in Chico after Florida search warrant




CHICO, Calif. - The Butte County Sheriff's Office arrested a Chico man Wednesday after figuring out his involvement in a drug trafficking incident that was discovered by Homeland Security and the Hernando County Sheriff's Office in Florida. 

According to the Butte County Sheriff's Office, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office in Florida, along with the United States Homeland Security Investigations Unit, served a search warrant at a hangar and twin-engine airplane at the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport on February 27 and 28. 

Officials said located inside the twin-engine airplane was approximately 200 pounds of processed marijuana. Their investigation revealed that Aaron Andrus of Chico and Joshua Overton of Florida flew the plane and marijuana from a hangar at the Chico Municipal Airport to Florida. 



On March 2, members of the Butte County Sheriff's Office Special Enforcement Unit (SEU) served a search warrant at a Chico Municipal Airport hangar, where the twin prop airplane originated, at the request of Florida authorities. Officials said items were found inside the hangar that were consistent with drug trafficking. 

Soon after the search of the Chico airport hangar, Joshua Overton turned himself into Florida authorities and promptly bailed out. His bail was set at $41,000. On March 7, Aaron Andrus turned himself into Florida authorities and promptly bailed out. His bail was also set at $41,000. Andrus returned to his Chico home on March 7. 




On March 8, members of the Butte County Sheriff's Office Special Enforcement Unit, with the assistance of Butte Interagency Narcotic Taskforce members, a Federal Aviation Administration Special Agent, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigation members, served a search warrant at Andrus' home on the 2800 block of Alamo Avenue in Chico. 

Officials said during the search of the property, a commercial CO2 lab, used in the manufacturing of marijuana hash oil, was discovered along with a 7-foot tall rotary evaporator used to assist in the further refining of hash oil. SEU members estimated the lab components cost in excess of $100,000 and were capable of producing multiple pounds of hash oil in a single run. 




Officials added that several quarts of hash oil/glycerin mix were found on the property which is used to fill marijuana vape pen cartridges. A total of 88 marijuana plants were also removed from the property and destroyed. 

Based on the evidence located at his home, Andrus was arrested for manufacturing a controlled substance and maintaining a place for manufacturing. Andrus was transported to the Butte County Jail where his bail has been set at $115,000. 

Source:  http://www.krcrtv.com

Wag-Aero/Sport Trainer, N24188: Accident occurred March 09, 2017 in Henderson County, North Carolina

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; Charlotte, North Carolina

http://registry.faa.gov/N24188

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA183
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, March 09, 2017 in Hendersonville, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/07/2017
Aircraft: JOHNSON JERRY WAG AERO/SPT TRAINER, registration: N24188
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 reported that he attempted to land on his private airstrip but that he “landed long” due to “gusty crosswind conditions.” Upon touchdown, a wind gust lifted the right wing, which resulted in the right wheel lifting off the ground. He added that he then performed a go-around, and that, due to the “high angle of attack” while attempting to clear trees and power lines, he did not have visibility out of his front windscreen. Subsequently, the airplane struck a tree and two power lines. The airplane descended, impacted the ground, and was consumed by a fire started by the severed power lines. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, fuselage, and empennage.

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

The automated weather observation system located about 7 nautical miles from the accident site, about the time of the accident, reported wind from 190° at 14 knots, gusting to 19 knots. The pilot landed to the southwest.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot’s unstabilized approach and failure to attain the proper touchdown point while attempting to land in gusting crosswind conditions, which resulted in an attempted go-around and collision with trees and power lines. 

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot reported that he attempted to land on his private airstrip, but "landed long" due to "gusty crosswind conditions". Upon touchdown, a gust of wind lifted the right wing, which resulted in the right wheel lifting off the ground. He then performed a go-around, and reported that due to the "high angle of attack" while attempting to clear trees and power lines, he did not have visibility out of his front windscreen. Subsequently, the airplane struck a tree and two power lines. The airplane descended impacting the ground, and was consumed by a fire started by the severed powerlines. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, fuselage and empennage.

The FAA inspector reported that the pilot stated there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The automated weather observation system about 7 nautical miles from the accident site, about the time of the accident, reported the wind at 190° at 14 knots, gusting to 19 knots. The pilot landed to the southwest.




EDNEYVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) — A plane caught fire after crashing upon landing in Henderson County.

It happened off of Lanning Road in Edneyville. The Edneyville fire chief said it started when the pilot tried to land but clipped a tree and power lines.

The fire chief said the 84-year-old pilot was not injured, but the aircraft was destroyed. The fire has been extinguished.

The fire chief said the pilot has many small airplanes and has been flying for years at his small airport.

News 13 crews report power lines are still energized and can heard buzzing

Story and video:   http://wlos.com

Piper PA-25-235 Pawnee, Aerial Banners Inc., N223AB: Incident occurred March 09, 2017 at Albert Whitted Airport (KSPG), St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida

Aerial Banners Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N223AB

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Tampa, Florida 

Aircraft during banner tow operations, banner became tangled in gear. On landing gear collapsed. 

Date: 09-MAR-17
Time: 17:24:00Z
Regis#: N223AB
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA25
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: BANNER TOW
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SAINT PETERSBURG
State: FLORIDA




ST. PETERSBURG — A 27-year-old pilot escaped injury on Thursday afternoon when authorities said her single-engine aircraft skidded off the runway at Albert Whitted Airport.

The pilot was identified by police as Erica Crawford. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue said the plane — which was used to pull banners — skidded off the runway just before 12:30 p.m., collapsing its landing gear.

The pilot was the only person on the plane. No other details were released.

Source: http://preps.tampabay.com

Glasair Sportsman GS-2, N237PM: Accident occurred March 09, 2017 at Trenton-Robbinsville Airport (N87), Mercer County, New Jersey

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

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA182
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, March 09, 2017 in Robbinsville, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/22/2017
Aircraft: PEDERSEN BJARNE MARTIN SPORTSMAN GS-2, registration: N237PM
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, during the landing roll, the airplane veered off the runway to the left. He added that he applied rudder inputs and full power to arrest the veer but was unsuccessful. The airplane continued to veer off the runway and impacted a tree. 

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. 

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

An automated weather observation located about 10 miles northwest of the airport reported that, about 7 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 280° at 14 knots, gusting to 21 knots. The airplane was landing on runway 29. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll in gusting wind conditions. 

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N237PM

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA182
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, March 09, 2017 in Robbinsville, NJ
Aircraft: PEDERSEN BJARNE MARTIN SPORTSMAN GS-2, registration: N237PM
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, during the landing roll, the airplane veered off the runway to the left. He added that he applied rudder inputs and full power to arrest the veer, but was unsuccessful. The airplane continued to veer off the runway and impacted a tree.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. 

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


A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation located about 10 miles north west of the accident airport reported that, about 7 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 280° at 14 knots, gusting to 21 knots. The airplane was landing runway 29.



ROBBINSVILLE, N.J. (WPVI) --  Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Mercer County that left a pilot injured.

It happened before 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Trenton Robbinsville Airport on Sharon Road.

Police say the pilot of a single engine plane was trying to land and lost control.

The plane ended up in a wooded area adjacent to the runway.

Video from Chopper 6 HD showed one wing partially separated from the plane's fuselage.

The pilot, who was alone in the plane, was taken to the Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton with injuries described as minor.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating the crash.


Story and video:  http://6abc.com

ROBBINSVILLE -- A small plane crashed into a wooded area near a runway while trying to land at Robbinsville Airport Thursday afternoon, police said.

The pilot, identified only as a 79-year-old man, was the only person on board and had injuries to his face in the 1:10 p.m. crash, police spokesman Lt. Michael Polaski said.

He was out of the plane when first responders arrived at the scene and was taken to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton for treatment.

Polaski said the pilot was approaching the airport from the west in a home-built plane when he suddenly lost control and crashed south of the landing strip. The runway runs parallel to Sharon Road.

The plane is a Sportsman GS-2 registered to Bjarne Martin Pedersen, of New York, N.Y., Federal Aviation Administration records show.

Police said they could not confirm if Pedersen was the pilot.

The plane is manufactured in kit form by Glasair Aviation, and then assembled by the owner, the company says.

The crash also caused a fuel spill at the scene, police said. The Robbinsville Fire Department also responded.

Federal aviation authorities were notified of the crash and are investigating, police said.

Story and photo gallery: http://www.nj.com

Grob G120TP, CAE USA, N196TP: Accident occurred March 07, 2017 at Abbeville Municipal Airport (0J0), Henry County, Alabama

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Birmingham, Alabama 
CAE USA; Dothan, Alabama
Rolls-Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana 
German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation

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

CAE USA:  http://registry.faa.gov/N196TP

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA125
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 08, 2017 in Abbeville, AL
Aircraft: GROB AIRCRAFT AG G120TP-A, registration: N196TP
Injuries: 2 Serious.

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 March 8, 2017, about 1340 central standard time, a Grob Aircraft AG G120TP-A, N196TP, was substantially damaged during a forced landing while maneuvering at Abbeville Municipal Airport (0J0), Abbeville, Alabama. The flight instructor and a pilot receiving instruction sustained serious injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by CAE USA, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a company visual flight rules flight plan was filed and activated. The local flight originated about 1304 from Dothan Regional Airport, Dothan, Alabama.

The flight instructor stated that a preflight inspection was performed and no discrepancies were reported. The flight departed with about 1/2 capacity fuel load and flew near Lake Eufaula where in accordance with the operator's upset recovery training checklist, the crew awareness system circuit breaker was pulled. The pilot receiving instruction performed the maneuvers, and at the conclusion, the flight instructor took the controls and flew to 0J0, where he intended to demonstrate a practice power off procedure terminating with a low pass. The flight instructor entered the maneuver (high key) at 2,400 feet, with the power lever at flight idle and the condition (propeller) control at low, and maintained 100 knots while turning crosswind and downwind. He lowered the landing gear and at the low key position (abeam the landing threshold), the airplane was 1,200 feet above ground level. 

The pilot receiving instruction stated that he smelled fuel, and the flight instructor turned onto the base leg of the traffic pattern, though he did not smell fuel at that time. They both then noted a vapor from the right side of the engine, followed by a puff of white smoke. The flight instructor noted a total loss of engine power, with a resulting 10 knots decrease in airspeed and corresponding increase in descent rate, though there was no audible annunciation. The pilot receiving instruction attempted to restart the engine and he advanced the power and condition levers full forward, but the engine did not respond. While over trees unable to reach the runway, the flight instructor maintained controlled flight until the airplane collided with trees, then the ground. Both pilots exited the airplane, and after notifying the operator of the accident, they walked to the airport and were taken to a hospital for treatment.

The wreckage was secured for further examination. In addition, onboard devices that recorded flight and engine related data were retained and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for read-out.




A Grob G120TP airplane used to train Army fixed-wing flight students crashed Wednesday afternoon near the Abbeville airport.

Two people were on board – an instructor pilot and an Army flight student -- and were transported to Flowers Hospital via Medevac with injuries not believed to be life threatening, according to a spokesperson for the plane owner, Army contractor CAE.

According to CAE spokesperson Chris Stellwag, the plane experienced "an engine issue" that led to the incident. The crash is being investigated by Army Safety Center personnel from Fort Rucker. 

The plane is believed to be one of six used by Army contractor CAE to train fixed-wing students at its new facility at the Dothan Regional Airport. The company held a formal grand opening ceremony for its 79,000-square-foot facility Monday, but has been training Army and Air Force student pilots there for some time.

The Grob is one of two airplane types used for training at CAE and is used to train students in “upset” recovery.

Story and photo gallery: http://www.dothaneagle.com




ABBEVILLE, Ala. (WTVY) — A plane crashed in a wooded area near the Abbeville Airport.

A plane used for training military pilots crashed in a wooded area near the Abbeville Airport March 7, 2017.

The plane is a Grob 120TP used by CAE USA, a military training company that just held it's grand opening at the Dothan Airport Monday.

Two people, an instructor and student, were on board. CAE spokesperson described injuries as "minor".

CAE USA issued the following statement:

At approximately 2:00 p.m. Central Standard Time, a CAE-owned Grob G120TP aircraft used for United States Army Fixed-Wing Flight Training experienced an engine issue causing a hard landing near Abbeville, Alabama.

The Fort Rucker Emergency Operations Center has been notified and a full safety investigation will be conducted to determine the cause of the incident.

Story and video:  http://www.wtvy.com

Cessna 180J Skywagon, N52108: Incident occurred March 08, 2017 in Chandler, Arizona

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Scottsdale, Arizona 

http://registry.faa.gov/N52108

Aircraft on taxi, gear collapsed.  

Date: 08-MAR-17
Time: 19:18:00Z
Regis#: N52108
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C180
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
City: CHANDLER
State: ARIZONA

Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP, N6027Z: Incident occurred March 08, 2017 at Page Field Airport (KFMY), Fort Myers, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: South Florida 

http://registry.faa.gov/N6027Z

Aircraft went off the runway into the grass onto a closed taxiway. 

Date: 08-MAR-17
Time: 14:12:00Z
Regis#: N6027Z
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
City: FORT MYERS
State: FLORIDA

JetBlue, Embraer E190: Incident occurred March 08, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: South Florida

JetBlue Airways Corporation, flight JBU2014,  on final, engine nacelle sustained birdstrike damage.  No injuries.

Date: 08-MAR-17
Time: 20:37:00Z
Regis#: JBU2014
Aircraft Make: EMBRAER
Aircraft Model: E190
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase: APPROACH (APR)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: JETBLUE
Flight Number: JBU2014
City: FORT LAUDERDALE
State: FLORIDA

Pitts S-2A, Tail Wheel Flyers of South Florida LLC, N1230S: Accident occurred March 08, 2017 at North Palm Beach County Airport (F45), West Palm Beach, Florida

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 


Tail Wheel Flyers of South Florida LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N1230S

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fort Lauderdale, Florida

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA181
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 08, 2017 in West Palm Beach, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/07/2017
Aircraft: AEROTEK PITTS S-2A, registration: N1230S
Injuries: 1 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 tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that, after completing 12 to 13 touch-and-go landings on a grass runway in crosswind conditions, he planned to complete a full-stop landing. He added that, during the landing roll, the airplane “departed the runway to the right” into marshy terrain and nosed over.

The vertical stabilizer and rudder sustained substantial damage.

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

According to a Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Safety Inspector, a few hours after the accident, he examined the grass runway and found no abnormalities with the surface.

The nearest automated weather observation station, located 12 nautical miles from the accident airport, about the time of the accident, recorded wind from 190° at 7 knots. The pilot reported that he landed on runway 26 left. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll in crosswind conditions.




The pilot of a tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that after 12 to 13 touch-and-go landings on a grass runway in crosswind conditions, he planned to complete a full stop landing. He added that during the landing roll, the airplane "departed the runway to the right" into marshy terrain and nosed over. 

The vertical stabilizer and rudder sustained substantial damage.

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

According to a Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Safety Inspector, a few hours after the accident he inspected the grass runway and found no abnormalities with the surface.

The nearest automated weather observation station 12 nautical miles from the accident airport, about the time of the accident, recorded wind 190° at 7 knots. The pilot reported that he landed on runway 26 left.

United Airlines, Boeing 737-900, N34455: Incident occurred March 08, 2017 at Tampa International Airport (KTPA), Florida

United Airlines Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N34455

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Tampa, Florida 

Flight UAL164,  aircraft on departure struck birds at the nose gear. No injuries. 

Date: 08-MAR-17
Time: 13:30:00Z
Regis#: N34455
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: B737
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: UNITED AIRLINES
Flight Number: UAL164
City: TAMPA
State: FLORIDA

Eurocopter EC.130-B4, Air Methods Corp, N134LN: Incident occurred March 08, 2017 at Glasgow Municipal Airport (KGLW), Kentucky

Air Methods Corp: http://registry.faa.gov/N134LN

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Louisville, Kentucky

Rotorcraft, during shutdown struck the door with the rotor blade.  

Date: 08-MAR-17
Time: 17:20:00Z
Regis#: N134LN
Aircraft Make: EUROCOPTER
Aircraft Model: EC130
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
City: GLASGOW
State: KENTUCKY

McDonnell Douglas MD-83, Ameristar Jet Charter, N786TW: Accident occurred March 08, 2017 at Willow Run Airport (KYIP), Ypsilanti, Michigan

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

Federal Aviation Administration /  Flight Standards District Office: Detroit, Michigan 

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N786TW

NTSB Identification: DCA17FA076
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Ameristar Air Cargo, Inc.
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 08, 2017 in Ypsilanti, MI
Aircraft: MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD80, registration: N786TW
Injuries: 1 Minor, 115 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 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 March 8, 2017, about 2:52p.m. eastern standard time (EST), Ameristar Air Cargo Inc. flight 9363, a Boeing MD-83, N786TW, ran off the end of runway 23L after executing a rejected takeoff at Willow Run Airport (YIP), Ypsilanti, Michigan. All 109 passengers and 7 crewmembers evacuated the airplane via emergency escape slides. One passenger was reported to have received a minor injury. The airplane sustained substantial damage (no postcrash fire occurred). The airplane, which had been flown into YIP 2 days before the accident, was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 as an on-demand charter flight and was destined for Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), Dulles, Virginia. Daytime visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.


















AIRCRAFT:   1993 McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 / MD-83  SN# 53123   N786TW 

ENGINE(S):   Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 Engine #1 SN# 717829  ESN 717829 Records
Pratt & Whitney JT8D-219 Engine #2 SN# 725926  ESN 725926 Records
APU  SN# 381276
  
APPROXIMATE TOTAL HOURS (estimated TT & TSMO from logbooks or other information):

Hard Time Status Report                                                       
ESN 717829 Engine Disks Current Time
ESN 725926 Engine Disks Current Time
                                                            
ENGINE(S): Engine #1 SN# 717829   63,384.9 TTSN / 32,999 cycles since new (see current time sheet)
Engine #2 SN# 725926  34,202.2 TTSN / 37,176 Cycles since new (see current time sheet)

AIRFRAME:  41,008.6 TTSN / 39,472 Cycles since new                      

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  On 3/8 the aircraft experienced a rejected takeoff and ran off the end of the runway, through a perimeter fence, across a perimeter road and came to rest across a drainage ditch.  

DESCRIPTION OF DAMAGES:  All gear sheared off with nose gear damaging the fuselage, flaps, leading edge slats, fuselage structure, undetermined FOD to both engines, thrust reverser damage, numerous dings, dents, scrapes.
                   
LOCATION OF AIRCRAFT:   Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan           

REMARKS:  Aircraft placed on jacks and shoring. 

Jacks are not included in sale. 

Aircraft must be removed from the airport by end of June unless other arrangements are made with the airport. 

Logs and records have been palletized for collection. 

Emergency slides and elevators removed and retained by NTSB, future status unknown.   

Sold as is – where is, no warranty or guarantee of any kind.     


Read more here:  http://www.avclaims.com/N786TW.htm



VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, MI - The charter plane that went off the runway on March 8 while carrying the University of Michigan basketball team has been removed from its landing place in a nearby field.

Crews could be seen working to move the plane with cranes on Saturday, March 11, and the plane was gone - except for a few large pieces and track marks in the ground - on Sunday, March 12.

The MD83 operated by Ameristar Jet Charter Inc. went off the runway, crashed through a security fence, went over a service road and into the field about 3 p.m. March 8 at the Willow Run Airport in Van Buren Township as a windstorm hit the state.

None of the 109 passengers and seven crew members aboard the aircraft suffered serious injuries, but a few people suffered bumps and bruises. One Michigan player, Derrick Walton Jr., required stitches, but the incident didn't slow him or the rest of the team down - they won the Big Ten Tournament on Sunday.

The Wolverines won their fourth game in four days in Washington D.C.

The tournament may now be over, but the moving of the plane does not signal an end to the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the incident, said NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss.

"It just means that they have documented the accident scene and are now able to continue their work," Weiss said in an email Sunday.

It could take investigators as long as a year, or more, to develop a complete report on the incident, Weiss previously said.

Weiss was unable to provide further details on the cause or circumstances of the crash.

High winds and a possible power outage were reported at the airport that day.

Stacy Muth, vice president of operations for Ameristar, said the plane's flight was delayed by about 13 minutes because a power outage in part of the airport delayed the process for getting necessary paperwork to the crew.

In addition, high winds with peak wind gusts up to 63 mph, were recorded at Willow Run Airport the day of the crash, before a power outage turned off the recording system, according to a meteorologist at the National Weather Service.

The high winds caused the air traffic control tower at the airport to evacuate and send control to the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, said Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Cory said the Detroit airport frequently takes over air traffic control for the space. 

Story, video and photo gallery:  http://www.mlive.com


NTSB Issues Investigative Update on Rejected Takeoff, Runway Excursion

WASHINGTON (March 22, 2017) — The National Transportation Safety Board issued an investigative update for the March 8, 2017, rejected takeoff and runway excursion at Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan.

All 109 passengers and seven crewmembers evacuated Ameristar Air Cargo Inc., flight 9363 via escape slides after the Boeing MD-83 came to rest about 1,000 feet past the end of runway 23L. One passenger sustained a minor injury during the evacuation.

This update does not provide probable cause for the accident and does not contain analysis of information collected thus far in the NTSB’s ongoing investigation. As such, no conclusions regarding the cause of the incident should be made from this preliminary information.

The following facts are provided as an investigative update:

• Parties to the investigation include the Federal Aviation Administration, The Boeing Company and Ameristar Air Cargo, Inc.

• Both pilots held airline transport pilot certificates with DC-9-series type ratings (this rating includes the MD-83).

• The pilot-in-command, who was the Ameristar chief pilot, was in the right seat and was providing differences training to the captain, who was in the left seat and was the pilot flying the aircraft.

• The Ameristar chief pilot had 9,660 total flight hours, with 2,462 hours in DC 9 series airplanes. The captain (flying pilot) had 15,518 total flight hours, with 8,495 hours in DC-9-series airplanes.

(In this NTSB graphic, one of two elevators of the MD-83 involved in the March 8, 2017, rejected takeoff and runway excursion at Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan, is diagrammed. The elevators are the primary means of controlling the airplane’s pitch.)

• Post-accident examination revealed movement of the control column in the cockpit appeared normal; the control columns were free to move, and the elevator control tabs moved as commanded. However, when investigators tried to move the elevator surfaces by hand, the left elevator moved normally, but the right elevator was jammed in a trailing edge-down position (airplane nose down). Upon further inspection, the right elevator geared tab inboard pushrod linkage was found damaged which restricted movement of the right elevator surface but allowed movement of the control tab. After the damaged components were removed, the elevator could be moved by hand.

• Examination of the flight data recorder data indicates that during the taxi and take-off roll, the left elevator moved normally, but the right elevator did not move. During takeoff roll, the left elevator began a large airplane nose-up movement (consistent with rotation) at an airspeed of about 152 knots and continued for five seconds to about 166 knots. There was no change in the airplane pitch attitude during this time. The airplane data then are consistent with the takeoff being rejected.
 The maximum recorded airspeed was about 173 knots.

• Review of previous flight data showed normal movement of both the left and right elevator surfaces. The airplane flew to Ypsilanti two days before the accident.

• The flight and cabin crewmembers indicated in post-accident statements that all slides except for the forward right door deployed correctly. The slide was removed from the airplane and will be examined by investigators at a future date.

No further updates are planned for this investigation. The docket for the investigation will be opened to the public prior to release of the final report. NTSB investigations generally take 12 to 18 months to complete.

The preliminary report for the investigation is available online at https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf









































VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, MI - The air traffic control tower at Willow Run Airport was evacuated due to high winds when a plane carrying the University of Michigan basketball team, staff and band members aborted its takeoff.

The charter jet went off a runway, through an airport security fence, across a service road and crashed into a field. Some of the 109 people aboard the aircraft sustained minor injuries.

Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the Willow Run control tower was evacuated due to high winds and air traffic control at the airport was transferred to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

She said that flights take-off and land at airports without control towers all the time and there are no regulations that link takeoff and landing with a tower.

"The pilot was in contact with Detroit approach control, which handles the airspace above that airport all the time," Cory said in an email.

Cory said sending air traffic control - which reports wind conditions to the planes - to Detroit Metropolitan Airport is standard procedure in these situations.

"This also happens when the tower is closed at night or for other staffing, which is normal procedure," Cory said. "Detroit approach handles that airspace 24/7, and today, pilots are talking to Detroit within seconds of take-off because that facility handles the airspace above Willow Run."

The pilot and the airline use whatever information is given as they see fit, with the pilot as the ultimate authority on the decision to fly, she said.

The incident, which occurred shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 8, at the airport in Van Buren Township, remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The Michigan basketball team released a statement that, "After attempting to take off in high winds, takeoff was aborted and, after strong braking, the plane slide [sic] off runway."

"The plane sustained extensive damage but everyone on board was safely evacuated and is safe," the statement said.

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss was unable to provide further details.

Much of southeast Michigan suffered power outages Wednesday as high winds knocked down trees and power lines. The Willow Run Airport may have suffered one as well.

Stacy Muth, vice president of operations for Ameristar Jet Charter Inc., which operates the MD83 involved in the incident, said the plane's flight was delayed by about 13 minutes because a power outage in part of the airport delayed the process for getting necessary paperwork to the crew.

Muth said the cause of the slide-off is unknown.

"The pilot and crew have said they did exactly what they were trained to do," Muth said.

She said the company was grateful no one was seriously injured and Michigan was still able to win its basketball game Thursday.

Alex Manion, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said records show the service's Automated Weather Observing System at Willow Run Airport stopped receiving data due to a power outage about noon Wednesday and did not receive it again until after 8 p.m. that evening.

It was not immediately clear if another weather observation system exists at the airport, but Cory said there are many redundancies to assure backups their system.

Cory referred further specifics on the matter to the NTSB.

Detroit Metro Airport saw peak wind gusts at 68 mph. Ypsilanti, specifically the Willow Run Airport, saw peak wind gust at 63 mph, and Ann Arbor saw peak wind gusts at 62 mph, all between 10 a.m. and noon Wednesday, Manion said.

At 2:53 p.m. Wednesday, Ann Arbor recorded gusts of 53 mph and Detroit Metro Airport recorded gusts up to 51 mph, he said. That is about the time when the aircraft carrying the team attempted takeoff.

The plane on Thursday remained in the field where it came to rest. Officials were at the scene working to assess exactly what happened.

Source:  https://www.mlive.com