Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pilot shortage threatens small airports

Thief River Falls has enjoyed commercial air service since the early 1950s, and many airlines have come and gone over the years. All fell victim to the harsh economics of the airline business.

Now, a small, federally subsidized airline called Boutique Air, which began service last year, offers 18 round-trip flights every week to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

"It's been excellent," declared Thief River Falls Mayor Brian Holmer last week. "Our airport has really turned around."

But another economic headwind is threatening air service at regional airports throughout the state and across the country — a national shortage of airline pilots.

Some 14,200 pilots are expected to retire from the four biggest U.S. airlines by 2022, and fewer young pilots are entering the profession to fill the void, according the Regional Air Service Alliance (RASA).

With too few pilots to fly the aircraft, and with airlines curtailing use of planes with 50 seats or fewer that typically serve smaller markets, the future of regional air service appears challenged.

Only nine airports in Minnesota offer airline service, but even that capacity means "the community can access the world," said Cassandra Isackson, director of aeronautics at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. "It's also a way for the world to access that community."

While some communities like Thief River Falls are thriving due to niche services like Boutique Air, which flies eight-seat Swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 aircraft, other areas struggle to attract and retain airline service.

"If a community or a region doesn't have air service, it's not considered for economic development, a plant relocation or even a plant location," said William Swelbar, RASA's executive director and a research engineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The stakes are high: The U.S. airline industry drives $1.6 trillion in economic activity annually, about 5 percent of the nation's gross domestic product, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Brian Ryks, executive director/CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, says big hubs like MSP benefit from thriving smaller airports because outstate passengers can connect to domestic and international flights. Almost 72,000 airplane seats a week feed into MSP nonstop from small communities, making the airport eighth in the nation by this measure.

Ryks, who ran both the Duluth and St. Cloud airports earlier in his career, is familiar with the challenges facing smaller communities.

"I would lose a lot of sleep just trying to retain air service we had, and expanding it takes a tremendous amount of effort," he said. "When you have air service, you try to encourage people to use it, because if they don't, you lose it."

Shortage or not?

Richard Anderson, retired chief executive of Delta Air Lines, said in a February speech at the Economic Club of Minnesota that airlines are facing an "acute pilot shortage. There's a big demographic hole in our pilot base."

After the Sept. 11 terror attacks, airline service was cut back and the Great Recession also hampered pilot recruitment.

"The pilot shortage severely affects smaller regional airlines, where many pilots begin their careers and [where] you're paid less than the majors," said Kent Lovelace, a professor and director of aviation industry relations in the University of North Dakota.

Until 2014, annual pay for new first officers was about $25,000 at regional airlines, but Lovelace said compensation at the regionals has improved in recent years to around $60,000 a year with bonuses. "It's too early to tell whether that will generate more interest" in the profession, he said.

The average cost for a student's flight training at UND, a nationally known aviation program, is about $64,000 (not including room and board and tuition), which results in serious student loan debt for budding pilots.

For millennials considering aviation as a career, quality-of-life issues resonate, too. Airline pilots live out of a suitcase at work and often have erratic schedules.

Joe Hedrick, manager of the Thief River Falls airport, says he gave up studies to become an airline pilot. "I learned about the starting salary, and having to sleep in dingy hotel rooms and crash pads. None of that seemed attractive to me."

Structural changes 

But Anderson says the real reason regional airports don't succeed is because of simple economics.

The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the union representing pilots, says business decisions by the airlines affect service at regional airports — not a shortage of pilots. "We don't see a correlation between the two," said Capt. Paul Ryder, ALPA resource coordinator.

Ryder said regional airlines that offer competitive pay and benefits, work-life balance and "career progression" are hiring pilots. "The pilots are out there," he said.

Others claim that regulations are choking the pilot pipeline — a charge the pilots' union rejects.

Beginning in August 2013, the FAA required airline pilots (with some exceptions) to have a minimum of 1,500 flight hours in the cockpit before being hired as a first officer — up from 250 hours. The change followed the 2009 crash of a Colgan Air regional jet near Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 50 people.

The new regulations had "the effect of constricting and elongating the supply 'pipeline' of much-needed airline pilots," according to Flightpath Economics, a Colorado consulting firm.

At the time, Great Lakes Airlines served Thief River Falls, but it "lost a lot of pilots, and became very unreliable for us," Hedrick said, noting the airline stopped flying there for eight months in 2014. That year, just 734 passengers flew to and from the airport; nearly 10 times that many did so last year. (Figures from 2016 include service provided by both Boutique Air and Great Lakes.)

Last week, Digi-Key Electronics, which now employs about 3,200 people in Thief River Falls, announced that it was considering a $200 million expansion there that would create 1,000 jobs. "Having air service here makes it easier for their vendors, suppliers and employees," Hedrick said.

Thief River Falls, Bemidji, Brainerd, Chisholm/Hibbing and International Falls are eligible for subsidies under the U.S. Department of Transportation's Essential Air Service program, which was enacted following deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 to preserve service to smaller communities.

But there's talk that the Trump administration will eliminate most federal airport subsidies, including the Essential Air Service program.

The fate of the program is "political fodder," Swelbar said. "Everyone knows you're just one tweet away from a change. I'm hearing mixed messages from Washington about the program going forward."

Original article can be found here:  http://www.startribune.com

Bell 206B, Fly Hangar 13, LLC, N5743W: Accident occurred August 18, 2015 in Cresco, Howard County, Iowa

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa
Rolls-Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana 
Fly Hangar 13, LLC; Mico, Texas

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

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

Fly Hangar 13, LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N5743W

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA370
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 18, 2015 in Cresco, IA
Aircraft: BELL 206B, registration: N5743W
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The following is an INTERIM FACTUAL SUMMARY of this accident investigation. A final report that includes all pertinent facts, conditions, and circumstances of the accident will be issued upon completion, along with the Safety Board's analysis and probable cause of the accident.

On August 18, 2015, about 1330 central daylight time, a Bell 206B helicopter, N5743W, impacted terrain during an autorotation following a loss of engine power while maneuvering near Cresco, Iowa. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured. The helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Fly Hangar 13, LLC, Mico, Texas, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 aerial application flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported by the pilot at the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from an off airport location about 1320.

According to the pilot, he departed with 30 gallons of fuel and about 90 gallons of chemical to spray a soybean field near Cresco. About 5 minutes into the application and 3 to 5 feet above the soybeans, the pilot heard a loud screech for about 2 seconds and pulled up to gain altitude. The pilot then heard the low rotor RPM horn and noticed the main rotor RPM at 85 percent. The pilot initiated an autorotation to a waterway between two cornfields. Upon touchdown on the uneven terrain, the main rotor blades contacted and severed the tailboom, and the helicopter came to rest upright. The pilot shutdown and exited the helicopter. The helicopter was recovered from the accident site for further examination. 

The helicopter was equipped with a Rolls-Royce M250-C20J turbo-shaft engine, which features a 6 stage axial and 1 stage centrifugal compressor section that directs the diffused air via an external 180 degree compressor discharge tube system to the combustor. The hot gases from the combustor are then directed against a two-stage gas producer turbine and subsequently a two-stage power turbine before being exhausted. The RR M250-C20J produces 420 shaft horsepower.

The engine serial number (S/N) was CAE-832989, and the engine logbook revealed that the turbine assembly (S/N CAT-36021) was overhauled on February 6, 2013, at a time since new (TSN) of 10,745 hours, and cycles since new (CSN) of 11,210 cycles. At the time of the overhaul, new post-Service Bulletin (SB) Commercial Engine Bulletin (CEB) 1365 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th stage turbine wheels were installed. According to the operator, at the time of the accident, the engine had 11,797 hours TSN, and 1,052 hours since major overhaul. The helicopter was maintained in accordance with the manufacturer's inspection program. The most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on August 12, 2015, at a total airframe time of 12,008 hours.

On August 26, 2015, the helicopter and engine were examined at the operator's facility under the supervision of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors. Examination of the engine revealed the exhaust collector support was fractured 360 degrees forward of the turbine mating flange. The turbine section shifted about 2 inches. It appeared that the 3rd stage turbine wheel was missing about 4 to 5 blades. The engine was removed, crated, and shipped to Rolls-Royce for further examination. No preimpact mechanical anomalies were noted with the airframe.

On October 5, 2015, at the facilities of Rolls-Royce Corporation, Indianapolis, Indiana, the engine was examined and disassembled under the supervision of the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge. Disassembly of the engine revealed the 3rd stage turbine wheel (part number 23065818) was missing five airfoils (blades), several other airfoils were damaged, and portions of the shroud were also liberated. 

Rolls-Royce Corporation Materials Laboratory completed an examination of the 3rd stage turbine wheel. The findings from the 3rd stage wheel were the following:

"Five airfoils on the third stage turbine wheel cracked in fatigue, initiating from the trailing edge root area and progressing forward until final fracture occurred in overload. All five cracks initiated and progressed in high cycle fatigue. Two additional cracks were found in the trailing edge side of the wheel rim, consistent with thermal fatigue cracking."

In addition to the 3rd stage wheel, several other components were examined due to their damage noted during the disassembly. See Rolls-Royce Metallurgical Investigation Report found in the NTSB accident docket for this investigation.

In April 1999 (revised in April 2010), Rolls-Royce issued Commercial Engine Bulletin (CEB) 1365. The 'enhanced' power turbine section was developed by Rolls-Royce as a product improvement, designed to increase both power and fuel efficiency. SB CEB-1365 hardware was a major re-design of the 3rd and 4th stage turbine assembly, with the main differences between the pre- and post-SB CEB-1365 being different airfoil size, shape, tilt, lean, flow, and quantity of airfoils per stage for both turbine nozzles and wheels. 

The enhanced power turbine design was released for new production engines built after August 1999. It was then released as a customer option to field engines via Rolls-Royce SB CEB-1365 in November 1999. The modification applied to all M250- C20 series engines, with the exception of turbo-prop variants, and was to be complied with as a customer option. Release of enhanced power turbine to 250–B17F/2 turbo-prop variants occurred in August 2008, while release of all other turbo-prop applications was November 2009. The previous "non-enhanced" power turbine part numbers were discontinued from production in August 2009, and discontinued from Service/Spares orders in March 2013. Thus, the SB CEB-1365 enhanced power turbine is the only current production and service released hardware. 

On March 9, 2015, the FAA issued airworthiness directive (AD) 2015-02-22, which was prompted by investigations that revealed that not all 3rd stage and 4th stage turbine wheel blade failures were identified by the one-time inspections required by AD 2012-14-06, dated July 10, 2012. AD 2015-02-22 superseded AD 2012-14-06. The FAA mandated a repetitive visual inspection and fluorescent penetrant inspection (FPI) on post-SB CEB-1365 3rd and 4th stage turbine wheels for cracks in the trailing edges of the turbine blades, and triggered by hours since last inspection (HSLI). 

The AD compliance stated:

(1) Within 1,750 HSLI, remove the affected turbine wheels and perform a visual inspection and an FPI on the removed turbine wheels for cracks at the trailing edge of the turbine blades near the fillet at the rim.

(2) Any time the power turbine is disassembled, perform a visual inspection and an FPI on the affected turbine wheels for cracks at the trailing edge of the turbine blades, near the fillet at the rim.

(3) Thereafter, re-inspect every 1,750 HSLI.

(4) Do not return to service any turbine wheels that have cracks detected.

At the time of this interim report, Rolls-Royce is completing an evidence based root cause analysis (EbRCA) of the 3rd stage wheel. The details of the EbRCA will be available in the final NTSB factual report. 

Challenger II: Fatal accident occurred March 11, 2017 at Oakdale Airport (O27), Stanislaus County, California

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office: Fresno, California

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

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA077
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 11, 2017 in Oakdale, CA
Aircraft: SELTZER WILLIAM I CHALLENGER II CWS, registration: UNREG
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 March 11, 2017, about 1030 Pacific standard time, an unregistered experimental amateur-built Challenger II airplane, collided with a parked vehicle during landing at the Oakdale Municipal Airport (O27), Oakdale, California. The Commercial certificated pilot, sole occupant, was fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal local flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

The airport caretaker reported that the airplane departed from runway 10 and entered the left traffic pattern. He heard the airplane on downwind and stated that he didn't see the airplane on the final approach or landing, but heard an explosion, and responded to the accident site. 

Initial examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane landed in the runway safety area (RSA) leaving tire tracks about 200 feet in length in the dirt and gravel. The tracks veered left towards the visual approach slope indicator (VASI), continued over the taxiway and terminated where the airplane impacted a truck that was parked adjacent to a hangar. A postcrash fire insured. 

The airplane was recovered to a secured facility 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. 





In April 2011, Leon Shaeffer gives flight instructions to passengers Apryl Neal and her children, Chandler and Autumn, prior to taking off at the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 90’s annual Young Eagles Flight Rally at the Oakdale Airport.


Even as he made a career focused on the ground, as a floor-coverings installer, her father’s eyes were on the sky, Deb Flewelling said.

“I know he was in aviation more than 50 years,” she said of Leon Shaeffer, 78, the Modesto pilot killed Saturday morning at the Oakdale Airport in a fiery plane crash after a hard landing. “He loved being in the air. ... There was a freedom he found there.”

He was flying a single-engine Challenger II CWS that he’d purchased in December, Flewelling said. “He owned several planes during his adult life,” she said. “He had a longtime dream to fly the Challenger and came to the point where he realized it was now or never.”

Shaeffer lived in Modesto more than 60 years, had well more than 10,000 flight hours and used to be a flight instructor at the Modesto Airport, Flewelling said.

He was a top-notch pilot who loved introducing youth to aviation, said friend and fellow Experimental Aircraft Association member Kevin Benziger. “He was well into the high hundreds in the number of children he flew through our Young Eagles program,” Oakdale resident Benziger said.

Shaeffer never before had any incidents, Benziger said. “This is a shock to us,” he said of the reaction as fellow members of EEA Chapter 90 in Oakdale learned of his death. “I know it was a pretty devastating day for me Saturday.”

Witnesses told authorities they saw the Challenger heading east toward the airport shortly before 10:30 a.m. Saturday. They said it may have had engine trouble before it landed.

One witness said he saw the plane coming in slow before it landed near the runway’s edge. He said the plane bounced a few times, but then the pilot appeared to regain control. Then the witness heard the plane crash into a pickup parked near a hangar. The truck later was determined also to be Shaeffer’s.

A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman said Monday afternoon that determining cause of the crash could take 12 to 18 months but a preliminary report could be on the NTSB site by next week.

A March 2016 fact sheet by the Federal Aviation Administration said amateur-built and other experimental aircraft accounted for about 5 percent of total general aviation fleet hours over the previous five years but were involved in over 25 percent of fatal general aviation accidents.

“With the help of outreach, updated safety materials developed by the FAA and GAJSC industry participants, and new policies, this segment of the GA industry is showing improvement,” the FAA sheet said. “Loss of control remains the leading cause of fatal accidents involving amateur-built aircraft.”

There are a lot of reasons pilots fly kit-built aircraft, Benziger said. For one, “when you fly a certified aircraft, you cannot do anything to that aircraft. The FAA will not allow to you to alter it or even do maintenance – you have to be a certified technician to work on a certified plane.”

But with an experimental, or kit-built, or amateur-built – they all mean the same, he said – the pilot can make modifications. It’s that love of building, of working with your hands and creating something, that attracts a lot of people to kit-built aircraft, Benziger said.

“My father loved to fly and I don’t think it really mattered to him what he was flying,” Flewelling said, “but he always did have a fascination with experimental planes.”

Benziger said he doesn’t care for the term “experimental” because it sounds as though pilots are throwing together some pieces of wood, covering them with fabric and trying to get them into the air.

“You have to know what you’re doing,” he said. “With kit planes, you follow instructions and you get an FAA inspection along the way to ensure it’s being done correctly.”

And aircraft kits are exhaustively engineered, Benziger said, because no kit company wants to be accused of doing anything wrong.

Another lure of kit-built aircraft is cost, he said. “A lot of times with some of these experimental craft, is you were to buy a similar certified one, it would be 20 times the cost.”

Shaeffer is survived by his wife of 43 years, Danna, six children, 25 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, Flewelling said.

Read more here: http://www.modbee.com





A man was killed Saturday when the plane he was in collided with a pickup near a hangar following a reported “hard” landing at Oakdale Airport.

At about 10:30 a.m., witnesses said they saw the plane traveling east toward the airport.

Battalion Chief Eric DeHart of the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District said the plane is a Challenger II CWS, which he described as an “experimental plane.” He said it had been flying in the area for about 30 minutes before landing.

It was a single-engine plane, according to a news release from the Oakdale Police Department. Witnesses told police there may have been engine trouble prior to landing. The victim’s name is being withheld until officials can notify his family.

Johnny Freitas, a contractor working on a house on nearby Wren Road, said he saw the plane coming in slowly before making a landing he described as “a little hard.” He has been working to get his helicopter pilot’s license and had been watching planes come in and out while doing concrete work at the home over the past week.

“I noticed something odd about that plane … he was coming in slow,” Freitas said. “He landed very close to the edge of the runway when he came in, bounced a few times and then it looked like he had control, so I went back to work. Then I heard a bang, and that’s when we saw some smoke and jumped in the pickup and got over as fast as we could to try to help in any way we could, but it was too late.”

Freitas and another contractor, Cameron Abicht, drove up a dirt road to the airport and hopped a chain-link fence.

“Once we rounded the corner and got on the taxiway, that is when we felt the heat,” Abicht said. The plane and pickup were on fire. “Obviously you have two fuel tanks; stuff was popping and flying up in the air, there were flames everywhere.”

They saw the man moving and tried to get to him but the fire was too intense. A man who’d been working on his plane in the neighboring hangar used a fire extinguisher to no avail.

Firefighters with the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District arrived quickly on scene and kept the flames from extending into the nearby hangar.

As Freitas and Abicht waited to talk to authorities, they thought mostly about the man’s family and reflected on how his day started “enjoying the fruits of his labor” on a beautiful, sunny Saturday.

“It was something I could have gone without seeing,” Abicht said. “It was very, very sad, very surreal. I just feel bad for his family. That is the hardest part.”

Source: http://www.modbee.com





STANISLAUS COUNTY ( CBS13) — Authorities are investing  a fatal crash at the Oakdale Airport in Stanislaus County.

The pilot was trying to land his plane Saturday morning when he crashed, causing the plane to go up in flames. He did not survive. 

The coroner has not released the man’a identity. The only description given was he was an experienced pilot who has been using this airport for years.

”Witnesses indicated to police there may have been engine trouble prior to landing,” said Janeen Yates with the Oakdale Police Department. 

Upon landing, the Quad City Challenger II CWS crashed into a pickup truck and busted into flames near a hangar on the north end of a runway.

When police arrived, the plane and the truck were engulfed in flames. 

“You can see the rubber tires’ traction curve towards his truck, which was parked in front of his hangar,” said Don Gutridge, the caretaker at the Oakdale airport.

Witnesses told police it appeared that the plane’s engine may have malfunctioned and that the pilot was struggling.

“Witnesses heard the engine sputtering,” said Gutridge. “There were parts that were found around, but nothing on the runway. So it seemed like something was wrong mechanically.”

Following their initial investigation, Oakdale police still don’t know if the pilot made contact with the air traffic control.

“That’s unknown. I don’t know if there was any type of correspondence between the pilot and the air traffic controller,” said Yates.

An Investigator with the NTSB came up from Phoenix. He will return Sunday morning with a team from the FAA. They will now take the lead into investigating the cause of the fatal crash.

Story and video:  http://sacramento.cbslocal.com









National Transportation Safety Board and  Federal Aviation Administration will be conducting the investigation into the cause of a single-engine aircraft crash that claimed the life of the pilot on Saturday morning, March 11.

Oakdale Police received multiple 911 calls regarding an aircraft that had crashed and was on fire at the Oakdale Airport. 

Oakdale Police along with Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, Stanislaus Consolidated Fire and Oak Valley Ambulance responded and arrived on scene at approximately 10:30 a.m. and discovered a small single-engine aircraft was fully engulfed in flames along with the pickup that it had collided with. 

The plane crash occurred in front of the western-most hangar on the north side of the runway.

Witnesses indicated to police there may have been engine troubles prior to the crash.

The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene.

The pilot’s identification is pending notification to the immediate family.

The body was released to the Stanislaus County Coroner’s Office.

Source:   http://www.oakdaleleader.com

Cessna 172P Skyhawk, N52445: Fatal accident occurred September 11, 2015 in Riegelwood, Columbus County, North Carolina

Gene Alcon Pierce 




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

Additional Participating Entities
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina 
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 
Cessna/Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N52445

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA351
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 11, 2015 in Riegelwood, NC
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N52445
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 11, 2015, about 1510 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N52445, collided with terrain near Riegelwood, North Carolina. The non-certificated pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions existed along the route of flight around the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed from a private grass airstrip in Bolton, North Carolina, at 1500 with a destination of Henderson Field Airport (ACZ), Wallace, North Carolina.

According to the owner of the departure airstrip, a mechanic/pilot and the accident pilot arrived from ACZ to pick up his airplane for repairs. After they landed, he recalled that his mechanic exited the accident airplane from the right seat. The mechanic/pilot then entered his airplane and prepared it for departure. The owner of the private airstrip then watched as the mechanic/pilot departed in his airplane first, followed by the accident airplane. He also noted that the accident airplane sounded "fine" as it departed, and noted that after takeoff it turned to the left and did not follow his airplane.

About 45 minutes later, after the mechanic/pilot landed at ACZ, he called the private airstrip owner and asked if the accident pilot had departed. The airstrip owner said that he departed "right after you." The owner of the airstrip went on to say that the mechanic/pilot told him he was "going back up" in an attempt to find his friend. An hour had passed and the mechanic/pilot called the airstrip owner to see if the accident airplane had returned, as he had been unable to locate him. The airstrip owner told him that the airplane had not returned.

The mechanic/pilot contacted the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) and reported the missing airplane. According to AFRCC, an active emergency locator transmitter signal was received at 1815. A search ensued and the wreckage was found in a field about three nautical miles northeast of the departure airstrip at 0030 the following day.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 76, did not hold a pilot certificate. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot had first applied for a medical certificate in 1973. At that time, he reported 3 hours of flight experience. On his next and last application, dated 01/18/1979, he reported 6,800 total hours of flight experience. He reported no medical conditions and no medications to the FAA. In 1979, he received a second-class medical certificate with a requirement to have available glasses for near vision. That certificate expired for all classes in 1981. No flight records or flight logbooks were located for the pilot after the expiration of his last medical certificate.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, high-wing, fixed landing gear airplane, was manufactured in 1981. It was powered by a Lycoming O-320-D2J engine and equipped with a McCauley model DES1C160 fixed-pitch propeller. Review of maintenance logbook records showed an annual inspection was completed on March 26, 2008, at a recorded tachometer reading of 5,005 hours, airframe total time of 10,527 hours, and engine time since major overhaul of 1,407 hours. The tachometer time observed at the accident site was 5,031.98.

According to FAA records, the airplane was issued a "Special Flight Permit" for maintenance due to the airplane not having a current annual inspection. The ferry permit was issued on December 5, 2012. A review of a maintenance invoice revealed that the airplane was flown from Wilmington International Airport Wilmington, North Carolina, (ILM) to ACZ in April 2015.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The recorded weather at ILM, located 20 nautical miles from the accident site, at 1453, included winds from 100 degrees at 10 knots; 10 statute miles visibility, few clouds at 6,000 feet, and 8,000 feet scattered. A temperature of 28 degrees Celsius (C), dew point temperature 22 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.82 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Wreckage debris and broken tree limbs were scattered for about 600 feet along an approximate 150-degree magnetic heading, emanating from a cluster of scraped and broken trees. A separated section of the outboard left wing and an outboard section of the left aileron were along the beginning of the debris path. A ground scar about 30 feet-long and 4 feet-wide was observed on the ground, about 50 feet southeast of the initial cluster of broken trees. The fuselage and empennage were located about 550 feet southeast of the ground scar.

Examination of the left wing revealed it remained attached to the main wing spar. Approximately 5 feet of the outboard wing was fragmented, and the remainder of the wing was buckled forward. The flap was in the up positon and the inboard section of the aileron remained attached to the wing. The aileron control cable was traced from the aileron to the cockpit controls, and continuity was confirmed. The fuel tank was breached and the fuel cap was locked and secure.

Examination of the right wing revealed that it remained attached to the main wing spar. The entire span of the wing was buckled. The flap was in the up position and aileron remained attached to the wing. The aileron control cable was traced from the aileron to the cockpit controls and continuity was confirmed. The fuel tank was breached and the fuel cap was secure.

The empennage was attached to the fuselage with the vertical stabilizer attached. The rudder was attached to the vertical stabilizer at all attach points, and the rudder control cables were attached to the rudder horn. Rudder control continuity was established from the rudder to the cockpit. The horizontal stabilizer structure and elevators were still attached to the empennage. Elevator control continuity was confirmed from the control surface to the cockpit. The elevator trim tab was observed in the 5-degree nose up position.

The fuselage came to rest flat on the belly of the airplane. The cabin, cabin roof, and cabin floor showed crush damage, and the cabin door was separated. The instrument panel was crushed with most instruments and avionics separated from their mounts. The control yoke and rudder pedals were crushed within the cockpit. The engine power controls were damaged and the positions could not be determined. The engine start and magneto switch was found separated with the key absent and the orientation of the switch in the "both" position. The attitude indicator and the directional gyro were found crushed and separated. The readings were unreliable.

The engine was separated from the firewall with sections of the engine mount bent and attached. The propeller, oil filter, exhaust muffler and portions of the intake and exhaust tubing were separated from the engine. The engine was partially disassembled to facilitate the examination. The engine crankshaft was rotated using a tool inserted in the vacuum pump drive pad, and continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. 

Compression and suction were observed on all four cylinders. Oil was observed in the engine. The oil cooler and associated hoses were impact-damaged. Both magnetos were impact-damaged and remained attached to the engine. The left magneto case was fractured and could not be operated. The right magneto was rotated by hand and produced spark from all four electrode towers. The carburetor was impact-damaged and partially separated from the engine. The float bowl was separated and empty. The brass floats were crushed, and the carburetor fuel inlet screen was not located.

The propeller was separated from the crankshaft and one blade was bent aft about 5 degrees, exhibited blade twisting, and leading edge abrasions on the span of the blade. The other blade was curved forward about 5 degrees at about 2/3 span, and exhibited leading edge abrasions.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Raleigh, North Carolina, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was recorded as multiple blunt force trauma. The autopsy was limited by the degree of damage to the body, but evidence of previous 3-vessel coronary artery bypass grafting, ongoing coronary artery disease, and extensive scarring in a very enlarged heart were identified.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot, with negative results for carbon monoxide, drugs, and alcohol.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA351 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, September 11, 2015 in Riegelwood, NC
Aircraft: CESSNA 172P, registration: N52445
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 September 11, 2015, about 1510 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N52445, collided with terrain shortly near Riegelwood, North Carolina. The non-certificated pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions existed along the route of flight around the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed a private grass airstrip in Bolton, North Carolina, at 1500 with a destination of Henderson Field Airport (ACZ), Wallace, North Carolina.

According to the owner of the departure airstrip, his mechanic/pilot and the accident pilot arrived from ACZ to pick up his airplane for repairs. After they landed, he recalled that his mechanic exited the accident airplane from the right seat. The mechanic/pilot then entered his airplane and prepared it for departure. The owner of the private airstrip then watched as the mechanic/pilot departed in his airplane first, followed by the accident airplane. He also noted that the accident airplane sounded "fine" as it departed, and noted that after takeoff it turned to the left and did not follow his airplane.

About 45 minutes later, after the mechanic/pilot landed at ACZ, he called the private airstrip owner and asked if the accident pilot had departed. The airstrip owner said that he departed "right after you." The owner of the airstrip went on to say that the mechanic/pilot told him he was "going back up" in an attempt to find his friend. An hour had passed and the mechanic/pilot called the airstrip owner to see if the accident airplane had returned, as he had been unable to locate it. The airstrip owner told him that the airplane had not returned.

The mechanic/pilot contacted the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) and reported the missing airplane. According to AFRCC, an active emergency locator transmitter signal was received at 1815. A search ensued and the wreckage was found in a field about 3 nautical miles northeast of the private departure airstrip at 0030.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that it was scattered over an area about 200 yards in length, on an approximate 150-degree magnetic heading. The initial impact point was identified as a cluster of scraped and broken trees. A separated section of the outboard left wing and a section of the left aileron were along the beginning of the debris path. A ground scar about 30 feet long and 4 feet wide was observed on the ground about 50 feet southeast of the initial impact point. The fuselage and empennage were located about 550 feet southeast of the ground scar along the debris path. The engine was broken away from the firewall and located along the debris path. The propeller was broken off of the crankshaft flange and also located along the debris path.

Cessna 177RG Cardinal, N1542H: Accident occurred October 08, 2015 near Red Oak Municipal Airport (KRDK), Montgomery County, Iowa

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa 

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

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N1542H

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA032
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 08, 2015 in Red Oak, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/06/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 177RG, registration: N1542H
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The private pilot stated that, during an en route climb to cruise altitude, the engine began to vibrate and the engine fuel flow decreased. The pilot initiated a return to the departure airport during which the airplane was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot performed a forced landing to a cornfield, resulting in substantial damage. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 3 cylinder intake pipe was loose and missing its attachment bolts. Review of maintenance logbooks showed that the No. 3 engine cylinder intake pipe gasket was replaced about 400 flight hours before the accident. It is likely that the bolts were improperly torqued at the time of replacement.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The improper torque of the engine’s No. 3 cylinder intake pipe bolts, which resulted in the separation of the pipe and a partial loss of engine power.

On October 8, 2015, at 1320 central daylight time, a Cessna 177RG, N1542H, experienced a loss of engine power during cruise flight after departure from Red Oak Municipal Airport (RDK), Red Oak, Iowa. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field during an attempted return to RDK. The airplane sustained substantial damage on impact with terrain during the forced landing. The private pilot and a passenger were uninjured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight that was not operating on an instrument rules flight plan that had been filed but not activated. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight originated from RDK and was destined to Jonesboro Municipal Airport (JBR), Jonesboro, Arkansas.

The pilot stated that after departing from RDK the airplane began to vibrate while climbing through 3,000 feet mean sea level (msl) for a filed cruise altitude of 7,000 feet msl. The pilot leveled the airplane at 3,000 feet msl and the indicated fuel flow was 12 gallons per hour (gph) when it should have been 16 gph. The fuel flow was "diminishing rapidly" so the pilot attempted to return to RDK but the airplane was losing altitude and had "minimal power" while flying at the airplane best glide speed. At 1,500 feet above ground level he lowered the landing gear, extended full flaps, and turned into the wind so as to land on a cut bean field that was below the airplane. The airplane touched down and then rolled into a corn field.

Damage to the airplane included inward crushing of the right wing leading from mid-span, outward, and the left horizontal stabilizer leading edge.

The airplane was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A1B6D, serial number L-13859-51A, engine.

Examination of the airplane by Federal Aviation Administration Inspectors from the Des Moines Flight Standards District Office revealed the number three engine cylinder intake pipe came loose and was completely missing bolts. Also, seven of the eight bolts holding number three cylinder on were broken loose. The number three engine cylinder intake bolts were unable to be located for examination.

An engine logbook entry dated February 9, 2012, at a tachometer time of 3,070 hours and an engine time since major overhaul (SMOH) of 957.2 hours, stated, "…Replaced #3 intake gasket." The engine underwent its last annual inspection dated April 5, 2015, at a tachometer time of 3,377 hours and an engine time SMOH of 1,258.2 hours. The last engine logbook entry was dated August 19, 2015, at a tachometer time of 3,430.3 hours, for an engine oil and engine filter change. All of these maintenance entries were signed by the same airframe and powerplant mechanic.

Cessna P210N Silver Eagle, TD Whitton Construction Inc., N9824G: Accident occurred November 19, 2015 near Harris Ranch Airport (3O8), Coalinga, Fresno County, California

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

Additional Participating Entities:  
Federal Aviation Administration; Fresno, California 
Rolls-Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana 

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

TD Whitton Construction Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N9824G

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA031
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, November 19, 2015 in Coalinga, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 210, registration: N9824G
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

On November 19, 2015, about 1400 Pacific standard time, a Cessna P210N, N9824G, experienced a partial loss of engine power and was substantially damaged during a forced landing near the Harris Ranch Airport (3O8), Coalinga, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a flight plan was not filed. The proposed cross-country flight, which was originating at the time of the accident, was destined for Shafter-Minter Field (MIT), Shafter, California.

In a written report submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that during the takeoff roll he advanced the power to 70 psi torque, and rotated at 70 knots (kts); he then lowered the nose to maintain his target climb speed. The pilot stated that when the airplane reached about 200 to 300 feet above ground level the engine experienced a partial loss of power; he did not observe any abnormal fuel system indications. The pilot then advanced the throttle and condition levers, however, there was not sufficient power to climb and maintain altitude. During the forced landing, the airplane impacted multiple power lines, before making a gear up, soft field landing to an open dirt field. The airplane came to rest in an upright position, with substantial damage to its undercarriage and left wing.

On January 7, 2016, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC, accompanied by two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness aviation safety inspectors, a Rolls-Royce field technician performed an examination on the subject engine, a Rolls-Royce model 250-B17F/2. The technician's examination revealed that the compressor intake exhibited crushing damage to the compressor front support, however, the compressor could still be rotated by hand. Rotational continuity from the compressor to the gas-generator turbine and starter/generator was confirmed. There was no evidence of rotational damage to the compressor blades. Soil was present around the front of the engine and compressor intake, but there was no evidence of foreign object ingestion by the compressor. The compressor bleed valve was operated manually. The poppet valve cycled easily by hand and exhibited radial movement. Additionally, N2 drive continuity was established from the power turbine to the sun gearshaft. Rotation by hand was smooth and quiet. Visual examination of the 4th stage power turbine revealed no evidence of damage to the turbine blades.

A visual examination of the gas-generator turbine revealed no evidence of abnormal combustion, turbine failure or thermal degradation of the turbine. Rotational continuity was verified from the compressor to the turbine.

Compressed air was applied to the engine control pneumatic system via the Pc air fitting. A soapy water solution was liberally applied to the pneumatic system's tubes and fittings in order to check for air leaks. A minor air leak was noted at the Pc air filter, and a larger air leak was found on the propeller overspeed governor Py air inlet B-nut. This leak produced an approximate 1" bubble every ten seconds. As observed, according to the technician, this leak was not significant enough to affect engine performance. A similar leak was also discovered on the impact-damaged Py line connecting the propeller overspeed governor to the propeller/power turbine governor.

Fuel was present in the fuel spray nozzle supply line, fuel pump filter bowl, and the fuel supply line fitting at the firewall. The fuel spray nozzle was disassembled and examined. The internal filter screen was free of debris.

Compressed air was applied to the aircraft's fuel system, which resulted in a flow of clean fuel from the fuel supply line to the engine-driven fuel pump.

The airframe oil tank contained ample clean oil. The #1 magnetic chip detector was removed and examined, and found free of any ferrous debris.

The technician concluded that based on his examination, there was no evidence of a mechanical engine failure. (Refer to the Rolls-Royce Field Observation report, which is appended to the docket for this investigation.)

On February 18, 2016, under the supervision of an FAA airworthiness aviation safety inspector, the airplane's propeller governor (serial number 16251527), was examined and functionally bench tested by a Woodward Inc. technician at the Woodward facility in Rockford, Illinois. The technician reported that the unit was test run in accordance with a production Acceptance Test Plan. The results revealed that there were no anomalies during the testing of the unit that would have caused the reported loss of engine power.

On February 18, 2016, under the supervision of an FAA airworthiness aviation safety inspector, the airplane's overspeed governor (serial number 16222036), was examined and functionally bench tested by a Woodward Inc. technician at the Woodward facility in Rockford, Illinois. The technician reported that the unit was installed on a test stand and run to production acceptance test limits. Tests revealed that the pressure for the set point of the overspeed limiter was 3.0 psid, approximately 0.2 psid below the minimum range of the manufacturer's test specifications. The test point was run at a nominal differential pressure of 4.0 psid, and the speed was 4,769 rpm, which indicated that overspeed occurred at 113.60% instead of 113.58%. All other data points were within acceptance test point limits. Woodward stated that none of the shifts in data support a conclusion that the overspeed governor could cause a loss of power. (For both of the above tests, refer to the Woodward Inc. Investigation Report, which is appended to the docket for this investigation.)

The investigation failed to reveal what precipitated the reported loss of engine power.

Cessna 150F, N8185F: Fatal accident occurred September 12, 2015 in Atco, Waterford Township, Camden County, New Jersey


David S. Sees


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

Additional Participating Entities
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 
Continental Motors, Inc.; Mobile, Alabama

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

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary -  National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
 
David S. Sees: http://registry.faa.gov/N8185F


NTSB Identification: ERA15FA352

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 12, 2015 in Atco, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/08/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 150, registration: N8185F
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

The student pilot was conducting a local flight that consisted of traffic pattern work and landings and then several orbits in the area. After completing the orbits, the student flew near a friend's house, where he executed a left, 360° turn while flying at a low altitude despite being counseled against doing so by his flight instructor and the instructor's son, who was also a pilot. The instructor reported that the student had a habit of "making low passes." The student's friend waved to him, and he waved back, and then the friend and another witness noticed the airplane's bank angle increase while the airspeed was slowing. According to GPS data, while the airplane was flying about 58 mph, which is about the stall speed with the airplane at gross weight with the flaps retracted and a bank angle of about 20°, its nose pitched down, consistent with a stall/mush. Witnesses reported hearing the engine rev-up, hesitate briefly, then respond during the uncontrolled descent, but they reported it was "too late." The airplane impacted a wooded area, and its propeller cut some trees, consistent with the engine developing power at the time of impact.

Examination of the airplane revealed that the flaps were retracted, and there was no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction of the flight controls for roll, pitch, or yaw. It is likely that the student, while maneuvering and turning the airplane while waving, which would have increased his workload, was unable to appropriately divide and prioritize his attention and allowed the airplane to exceed its critical angle of attack near its stall speed at too low of an altitude to recover.

Although toxicological evidence indicated that the pilot had used three sedating and/or impairing substances (amitriptyline, tetrahydrocannabinol, and diphenhydramine, the last two of which were at very low levels), the investigation could not determine whether they contributed to the accident or affected the student's aeronautical decision-making.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The student pilot's improper decision to intentionally maneuver at low altitude while waving to people on the ground, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 12, 2015, about 1130 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated Cessna 150F, N8185F, collided with trees and terrain near Atco, New Jersey. The student pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was being operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed about the time of the accident near the accident site, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated about 1104 from Camden County Airport (19N), Berlin, New Jersey.

According to the student pilot's flight instructor, who was also the manager of 19N, he talked briefly to the student on the morning of the accident, but the student did not indicate his intentions for the flight. Sometime later, he observed the airplane being taxied and then departing.

According to data downloaded from an onboard GPS device, after departure, the student performed a full-stop landing to runway 05, followed by two full-stop landings to runway 23. He then returned to the approach end of runway 23, departed the traffic pattern, and flew about 4 nautical miles northeast of 19N, where he flew multiple orbits near a residential area at varying altitudes, averaging about 500 ft (about 400 ft above ground level [agl]). After he flew the orbits, he proceeded east of the airport, at which point, while flying about 400 ft above a residential area, the airplane turned left 360° with the groundspeed slowing during the turn; the last recorded groundspeed value was 58 mph.

Two witnesses (one of whom was a long-time friend of the pilot), who were located immediately adjacent to the accident site, noticed the airplane when it was in a left bank flying in a northeasterly direction between 100 and 150 ft above the tops of 70-ft-tall trees (they initially reported the airplane was flying in a southeasterly direction). They waved to the pilot, and he waved back. They reported that the airplane's bank angle then became steeper, followed by the airplane's nose pitching down. They then heard the engine rev-up, hesitate, then respond, but they reported that it was "too late." They heard the impact and called 911, and then ran to the site. They stated that first responders arrived quickly. Regarding the low pass, they indicated that the pilot would typically fly over, orbit, and then depart the area. None of the witnesses saw any smoke trailing the airplane nor did they see any parts separate while in flight.

The property owner where the airplane crashed reported the only sound his wife heard was associated with the impact.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The student pilot, age 65, was issued third-class medical and student pilot certificates in March 2010, April 2012, and July 3, 2014; all three certificates contained a limitation to wear corrective lenses. On the application for his last certificate, he listed a total flight time of 115 hours. His last solo signoff in a Cessna 150 airplane was dated August 1, 2015.

A review of the pilot's logbook revealed two entries in 1998. The next entry was dated March 8, 2010, which was 2 days after he purchased the airplane. The pilot flew consistently in 2010, but he only flew three times in 2011 and once in December 2012. The next logged flight was on August 1, 2015, which was a 0.9-hour-long dual flight in the accident airplane, and it was the only logged flight for 2015. The pilot logged a total flight time of about 69 hours, about 67 hours of which were in the accident airplane.

Additional flight time was logged in a black notebook located in the wreckage, but some pages of the notebook were missing. The first logged flight was February 25, 2013, and ended with a tachometer time of 6,159.3 hours, and the last logged flight was September 5, 2015, and ended with a tachometer time of 6,206.0 hours. Between these dates, the pilot accrued 46.7 hours. In the last 90 and 30 days, he logged 5.4 and 2.2 hours, respectively, all of which were in the accident airplane. Based on the time provided on his medical application (115 hours) and the student pilot's subsequent logged time (15.3 hours), the student pilot's estimated total flight time was 130.3 hours, 128.3 hours of which were in the accident airplane.

The student pilot's friend reported flying with the pilot in the accident airplane. The friend reported that, during one flight, the pilot performed a low pass over the same area where the accident occurred, although he could not recall the altitude. He reported that the pilot orbited twice and then returned to 19N.

According to the student pilot's instructor, who was formerly a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated pilot examiner (DPE), he conducted the pilot's last 90-day flight check on August 1, 2015. During that flight, the pilot only performed traffic pattern work. He also indicated that he knew that the pilot had a habit of "making low passes" and, being a former DPE, he had numerous talks with the pilot about the hazards of performing low passes. He indicated that his son, who is a pilot for a major US airline, also had a discussion with the pilot about his tendency to perform low passes and maneuver at low altitudes. The instructor indicated that he had not contacted an FAA flight standards district office about the low-pass issue and that he had last discussed the issue with pilot about 1 month before the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1966 by Cessna Aircraft Company. It was powered by a 100-horsepower Continental O-200-A engine and was equipped with a fixed-pitch McCauley 1A100/MCM 6950 propeller. According to FAA records, the pilot purchased the airplane on March 6, 2010.

A review of the maintenance records revealed that the airplane's last annual inspection was performed on August 1, 2015. The recording tachometer time at that time was 6,202.3 hours, and the recording tachometer time at the time of the accident was 6,206.4 hours.

According to the stalling speed chart in the Owner's Manual, the airplane's stall speed at gross weight with flaps up and 20° of bank is 57 mph calibrated airspeed (CAS) and with the same weight and flap position but with 40° of bank, the stall speed is 63 mph CAS.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1154, South Jersey Regional Airport, Mount Holly, New Jersey, which was located about 10 nautical miles north of the accident site, reported wind variable at 6 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 2,600 ft, scattered clouds at 3,800 ft, broken clouds at 11,000 ft, temperature 25°, dew point 19° C, and altimeter setting 29.79 inches of mercury.

FLIGHT RECORDERS

The airplane was equipped with a Garmin Aera 500 portable GPS. It was shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorder Division for readout. A Garmin GPS 12 faceplate was located in the wreckage, but the internals were not observed.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was moved from the accident site with FAA approval but without NTSB consultation on the day of the accident and taken to 19N where it was secured. The recovery involved mechanically cutting the airplane to allow it to be loaded into a trailer.

The airplane crashed in a wooded area behind and near residences at an elevation of 116 ft and damaged several trees. Damage to a tree was noted about 44 ft agl. Closer examination of the tree trunk, which was 9 inches in diameter, revealed gray colored paint transfer marks on the smooth cut surface oriented on about an 18° angle from vertical. A second tree, located about 21 ft from the base of the first tree, exhibited damage about 22 ft agl. Further examination of the tree revealed scars along its trunk to ground level and black-colored transfer marks on the smooth cut surface. The airplane's resting position was oriented on a magnetic heading of 328°.

Following removal of the wreckage from the recovery trailer, extensive structural damage either by impact or during the recovery process was noted. The engine remained attached to the engine, and the propeller remained attached to the engine.

Examination of the fragmented cockpit revealed that both seats were separated from the seat tracks, but both seats were recovered. The pilot's lapbelt was found unbuckled, and both ends remained attached to the structure, but the webbings of the dual shoulder harness, which was unbuckled, were cut. Impact damage was noted to the pilot's seat, and damage was noted to the seat pin locking hole that was sixth from the front. An aft seat stop was in place on the outboard seat track. The fuel selector was positioned to "on," and the airspeed indicator was indicating 110 knots. Examination of the pilot's control yoke revealed that the GPS mount was attached, and the left grip was fractured. The throttle was extended about 1/4 inch, and the mixture, carburetor heat, and primer controls were full in. The flap selector was in the middle position, and the ignition switch was in the right position; the key was bent right. The oil temperature was off-scale low, the oil pressure was 0, and tachometer indicated 0 rpm.

Examination of both wings revealed extensive full-span chordwise crushing to the leading edges. Both flaps and ailerons remained attached. The left wing was fractured about 5 ft inboard from the tip, and the right wing was also fractured at the juncture of the flap/aileron. Semicircular indentations were noted on the leading edges of both wings. Examination of the left wing primary fuel vent, vent drain hole, and both fuel tank outlet fittings revealed no obstructions.

Examination of the elevator and aileron flight control cables revealed continuity from the cockpit attachment point to the control surface except where they were cut during recovery. The right arm of the forward elevator bellcrank was bent and fractured, but the control cable remained attached. The left arm of the aft rudder bellcrank exhibited bending overload, and the right rudder cable exhibited tension overload near the aft bellcrank. The rudder flight control cables aft of the baggage compartment were cut. The elevator trim pushrod was pulled from the elevator's lower surface attachment point, and the elevator trim tab actuator was extended 2.0 inches as measured from the housing to the center of the rod attachment bolt, which equates to 10° tab trailing edge up (the maximum tab trailing-edge-up limit is 10°).

Examination of the flap control system revealed that the flap actuator remained attached inside the wing. No threads were noted extended at the actuator, consistent with the flaps being retracted. Both flap push/pull rods remained connected to their respective flap bellcrank and flap attachment points, and the flap control cables exhibited evidence of tension overload at each wing root.

Examination of the fuel supply and vent system revealed that the left fuel supply tube was cut at the pilot seat area and that the right fuel supply tube was fractured at the wing root. Continuity was noted from the left and right fuel supply lines at the cut and fractured locations, respectively, through the fuel selector valve to about 7 inches forward of the valve where the tube was bent and fractured. Continuity was noted from the fractured line forward of the fuel selector to the fuel strainer inlet fitting, which was fractured. The outlet fitting of the fuel strainer was fractured, and the fuel strainer bowl, which was safety-wired, was fractured at the bottom. Following removal of the bowl, corrosion and organic material was noted inside; the fuel screen was clean. No obstructions were found in the flexible fuel supply line from the fuel strainer to the carburetor. The crossover fuel vent line was noted to be bent and deformed in several places but remained connected to the right fuel tank. The flexible hose at the right tank fitting had slices on the upper surface, and the flexible hose was cut/torn at the left tank attachment point.

The empennage was structurally separated, but the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, both elevators, elevator trim tab, and rudder remained attached to their respective attachment points. Impact damage was noted to both horizontal stabilizers and to the vertical stabilizer, which was bent 90° to the right. The forward vertical stabilizer attachment points remained attached to the horizontal stabilizer, and the right aft vertical stabilizer attachment point was fractured consistent with overload. The left aft vertical stabilizer attachment pulled out of the aft spar of the horizontal stabilizer.

Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft continuity. Valve train continuity could not be confirmed during rotation of the crankshaft because the four bolts attaching the crankshaft gear to the crankshaft were sheared. During hand rotation of the propeller, crankshaft rotation was noted to the aft end of the crankshaft and connecting rod, and piston movement was noted.

Examination of the propeller revealed that the No. 1 blade was bent aft about 10° beginning about 10 inches from the hub. The outer third span of the blade exhibited "S" bending of the trailing and leading edges of the blade with curling of the blade tip. The No. 2 blade was bent aft about 45° beginning 8 inches from the hub, and the leading edge near the tip was twisted toward low pitch.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Gloucester County Medical Examiner's Office performed a postmortem examination of the pilot. The cause of death was reported to be "multiple injuries." The only finding of natural disease was a 3/8-inch scar in the midsection posterior wall of the left ventricle.

NMS Labs, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, conducted forensic toxicology testing of specimens from the pilot, and no positive findings were reported. The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, also performed forensic toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. According to the FAA toxicology report, the results were negative for carbon monoxide and volatiles; testing for cyanide was not performed. Unquantified amounts of amitriptyline, diphenhydramine, nortriptyline, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC/marijuana) and tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (marijuana) were detected in the liver specimen. An unquantified amount of diphenhydramine was detected in the blood below the lower end of the therapeutic range. The blood also contained 0.126 ug/ml or ug/g amitriptyline, 0.065 ug/ml or ug/g nortriptyline, and 0.046 ug/ml tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid. No THC was detected in the blood.

Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that causes sedation, which is more pronounced when initiating the drug or increasing the dose. Commonly marketed with the name Elavil, its usual therapeutic levels are between 0.0050 and 0.2000 ug/ml. Nortriptyline is an active metabolite also available by prescription with the trade name Pamelor. These medications may also be used to treat insomnia and as adjunct medications in the treatment of chronic pain. Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms and as a sleep aid. It is available over the counter with the trade names Benadryl and Unisom. Diphenhydramine carries the following Federal Drug Administration warning: "may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery). Compared to other antihistamines, diphenhydramine causes marked sedation; this is the rationale for its use as a sleep aid. Altered mood and impaired cognitive and psychomotor performance may also be observed. In fact, in a driving simulator study, a single dose of diphenhydramine impaired driving ability more than a blood alcohol concentration of 0.100%." Tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid is the major metabolite of THC, the active component in marijuana. Both diphenhydramine and THC may have hangover effects when their levels in the blood are very low or undetectable.







































NTSB Identification: ERA15FA352 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 12, 2015 in Atco, NJ
Aircraft: CESSNA 150F, registration: N8185F
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 September 12, 2015, about 1119 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150F, N8185F, registered to and operated by a private individual, collided with trees then terrain following in-flight loss of control near Atco, New Jersey. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was destroyed, and the student pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The last departure location and time were not determined.

Earlier that day, the pilot and airplane were observed at Camden County Airport (19N), Berlin, New Jersey, and also at the Ocean City Municipal Airport (26N), Ocean City, NJ, although the last departure point was not determined.

Witnesses near the accident site, who were friends with the pilot, reported observing the airplane flying over their property in a southeasterly direction between 100 and 150 feet above the tops of trees estimated to be 70 feet tall. The airplane was in a left bank, and one witness waved to the pilot who waved back using his hand. The witness reported the left bank angle then became steeper, followed by the nose pitching down. While descending, the engine was heard to rev up. The airplane contacted trees then the ground adjacent to a house.