Friday, April 7, 2017

Todd Dugan: New Pekin Municipal Airport (C15) manager plots course



PEKIN — The Pekin Municipal Airport has a new pilot at the helm charged with taking the facility in a more profitable direction.

Airport Manager Todd Dugan, 25, a native of Peoria, started the position on March 13. This is his first position as an airport manager since graduating from Southern Illinois University in December 2016. He received a masters of public administration, aviation administration specialization in 2016, and in 2014, received a degree in aviation management. He also minored in airport management and planning, marketing and environmental studies.

His salary as airport manager is $54,080.

Dugan said that when he went to school for aviation, he thought he would never live in his hometown again.

“So, when this opportunity came up I thought it was a great opportunity to come back home, be around my family,” said Dugan. “I’m expecting my first kid in June, so to be around family when we have the kid will be nice.

“When I was in school, one of our classes, you had to do an interview with somebody in the industry and the person I was assigned to was actually (Pekin Municipal Airport Manager) Clayton (Stambaugh). So I talked with him a few times. So when it opened up he let me know the position opened up and I applied right away.”

Dugan said he sees the airport as a place for community.

“I’d really just like to make it be a better place for the community, have events and stuff like that to show the community what the airport is like, what aviation can be,” said Dugan. “At my position at ISU, I was in charge of recruitment for the aviation department and I really liked showcasing aviation to kids.

“So if I can figure out a way to get kids out to the airport, get them an intro flight and stuff of that nature, I think would be really great. When you have a small community like this, they are lucky to have an airport because what it brings in is the stuff you don’t see. Like prison’s — prisons, a lot of them around the country are located near airports so they can get the inmates in and out quickly. That’s a couple hundred jobs to Pekin right there. The small aspect is the people coming by for fuel sales. And a lot of businesses want to be near an airport so they can get in and out quick.”

The airport will host the Pekin Pilots Association Wings & Wheels event on June 17. The event has food, airplane rides for children, a car and motorcycles show and more.

Dugan said the airport had a $30,000 deficit in operations last year, which he wants to bring down to zero. But, he said, the airport generates $3.1 million in economic gain in the community.

“Not a bad investment, but we do want to bring it closer,” said Dugan. “Part of that is marketability. I’m getting more people to stop in here on their cross country trips rather than other local small airports. And those community events — if you have nice events people will fly in for those.”

The airport currently has 25 tenants and it is at capacity. There is a waiting list for another 15 companies or individuals for hangar space. He said Federal Aviation Administration and the Illinois Department of Transportation approval is needed before additional hangars can be built.

That could happen in approximately four years, he said, and new hangars are in the airports’ five-year plan. Federal grants would pay 95 percent of the cost and the city 5 percent.

“We don’t want to go spend a half million dollars to $1 million on a hangar that’s going to get us $1,000 a month,” said Dugan. “We want to wait until the FAA is going to give us most of that and then build it so it makes the most economic sense.”

City Manager Tony Carson said he was impressed with Dugan’s education background and his interest in aviation.

“I believe that’s going to be a great asset to the airport going forward,” said Carson. “It’s just going to ensure that the projects we have in place — the lighting projects for one is some of the biggest expenses we’re going to be having going forward over the next year — someone to manage the projects, to make sure that the airport is efficiently run and available for all the users.

“... Our local businesses feel that this is important for us to have and airport that’s close by that they can come into very quickly in an efficient manner. It’s a great asset to any community to have a municipal airport.”

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

Incident occurred March 29, 2017 at Grand Forks International Airport (KGFK), North Dakota

Two airplanes belonging to the University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences hit each other on the ground at Grand Forks International Airport on Wednesday, March 29. Fortunately, no one was hurt, although both airplanes sustained damage. Both planes were Cessna 172 Skyhawks.

According to Chief Flight Instructor Jeremy Roesler, the incident happened on the “Charlie” ramp, the largest of the tarmac areas for UND aviation. The aircraft that caused the collision was being operated by a student pilot preparing for a solo flight. The engine and propeller had been started, and the student went to grab something from behind them, accidentally taking their feet off the the brake pedals, letting the airplane move forward into the other one.

A student and their flight instructor were outside their plane doing preflight checks, and the spinning propeller missed one of them by mere feet.

“It was a close call,” Roesler said.

Fortunately, no one was harmed, although the solo pilot suffered from significant mental trauma following the incident,and the aerospace organization is concerned for their well-being, working to help them recover appropriately.

The rear airplane hit the tail of the parked Cessna, causing some damage, but had the propeller instead cut into the cabin, where fuel lines run down the sides of the plane, a more serious accident could have occurred.

“In my opinion,” Roesler said, “the most dangerous thing we do (at the airport) is the ramp.”

The Aerospace department has strict guidelines for students and instructors on the ramp, such as no running, no cell phone use, and no earbuds, but this incident shows an “unfortunate reminder,” as Roesler says, about the risk of aviation.

The two airplanes have been stored for insurance evaluation. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have classified the collision as an incident, but neither has released any report regarding the airplane fender-bender.

An aircraft incident, as described by the NTSB’s section 830, is any occurrence other than an accident, which is where serious damage and injury is caused, associated with the operation of an airplane, and could affect the safety of operations.

Original article can be found here:  http://dakotastudent.com

Piper PA-28-180, Green Castle Aero Club Ltd, N9179J: Fatal accident occurred April 07, 2017 in Oxford, Johnson County, Iowa

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa
Piper; Vero Beach, Florida 
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

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

Green Castle Aero Club Ltd: http://registry.faa.gov/N9179J 

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA147 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 07, 2017 in Oxford, IA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180, registration: N9179J
Injuries: 2 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 April 7, 2017, about 1507 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N9179J, collided with the terrain in Oxford, Iowa, following a loss of control. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot were both fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. The airplane was registered to Green Castle Aero Club LTD and was being operated by the CFI as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 training flight. Visual flight rules conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and a flight plan had not been filed for the local flight. The airplane departed the Green Castle Airport (IA24), about 1445.

A witness located about one mile east of the accident site stated he heard an engine popping and backfiring which drew his attention to the airplane. The airplane appeared to be heading south-southeast and it looked like it wasn't moving. The nose of the airplane then dropped and it entered a "downward spiral." He stated he did not hear the engine at this point. The airplane made eight or nine spirals before it stopped rotating and continued in a nose down descent. He lost sight of the airplane behind the hillside and shortly thereafter heard the impact followed by seeing black smoke. The witness stated he believes the airplane was spiraling in a clockwise rotation.

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.



Jim Spicer (left) and Terry Kroehn



CEDAR RAPIDS — Funeral services have been set for two men killed Friday in an airplane crash near Oxford.

A funeral Mass for James A. “Jim” Spicer takes place at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Ludmila Catholic Church, 211 21st Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids. Visitation is from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the church with a scripture service planned for 3 p.m.

A funeral service for Terry J. Koehn takes place at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 1701 Eighth St., Coralville. Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Lensing Oak Hill, 210 Holiday Road, Coralville.

Spicer, 53, of Cedar Rapids, and Koehn, 70, of rural Iowa City, were killed in the crash of a single-engine, 1965 Piper Cherokee 180 around 3:08 p.m. Friday, according to a statement issued by Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek.

Koehn was a longtime Coralville police officer and also was one of the people who ran the Green Castle Aero Club in Oxford. A full obituary is to be published Tuesday, according to the funeral home.

According to his obituary, Spicer was born Sept. 25, 1963, in Luverne, Minn. He served for six years in the National Guard and earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from North Dakota State University in 1986.

He went on to work for Interstate Power & Light, Alliant Energy and ITC Midwest, which brought him and his family to Cedar Rapids in 2008.

According to his obituary, Spicer enjoyed coaching baseball and officiating football. He loved cars, traveling, concerts, sporting events and flying.

He was a past president of the Mason City School Board and was a member of Knights of Columbus Council 5677.

He is survived by his wife, Laura; children Brian and Ashley; parents Mary Ann Hustad and Gene Spicer; and siblings Val Carmody and Melissa Spicer.

Interment for Spicer is at the Linwood Cemetery in Cedar Rapids. Arrangements are by Murdoch-Linwood Funeral Home in Cedar Rapids.

Pulkrabek said the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and medical examiner are continuing to assist the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board in investigating the cause of the crash, which remained unknown as of Sunday.

On Friday, Sgt. Brad Kunkel of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, said the plane took off from the Green Castle Airport, 2154 250th ST. NW, Oxford. The plane was on fire when authorities arrived at the scene at 2383 IWV Road SW.

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

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) – UPDATE (4/8): The Johnson County Sheriff's Office has identified the victims of Friday's plane crash near Oxford.

The victims were Terry Koehn of rural Iowa City and James Spicer of Cedar Rapids.

The airplane was a single engine, 1965 Piper Cherokee 180. The FAA and NTSB have custody of the airplane and are handling the investigation.

Koehn is listed as one of the Green Castle Aero Club’s board members.

Koehn's family sent TV9 this statement:

"Terry gave much to his family, community, and church, and especially enjoyed time he spent with his grandson, Liam."

Authorities haven't released who was flying the plane yet, but if it had been Koehn-- his son Aaron told TV9 he doubted the crash had been caused by pilot error. Koehn’s son told TV9 his father was an experienced and meticulous flyer.

TV9 has also reached out to Spicer's family. They declined to comment.

As of Saturday afternoon, authorities were still investigating the scene. The FAA had yet to release any preliminary data on the crash.
Johnson County deputies were expected to have more details, later Saturday evening.

UPDATE (4/7): Two people are confirmed dead after a plane crash in Johnson County. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office tells TV9 they aren't releasing the victims' identities until family is notified.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened just after 3:00 pm Friday at 2383 IWV Road SW and that the plane took off from Green Castle Airport in Oxford.

It's not known where the plane was headed or what caused the plane to crash.

The agencies that responded included the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, the Iowa State Patrol, Tiffin Fire Department, Oxford Fire Department and the Johnson County medical examiner. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are expected to join the investigation.

ORIGINAL STORY (4/7): A plane has crashed in a rural area of Johnson County just west of Iowa City.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office confirms the plane went down south of Interstate 80 shortly after 3:00 pm Friday. It is unclear the type of plane, where it was headed or how many people were onboard or if anyone was hurt.

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



The Johnson County Sheriff's Office has identified two people who were killed in a plane crash Friday afternoon.

Terry Koehn, 70, of rural Iowa City, and James Spicer, 56, of Cedar Rapids, were killed in the crash in rural Johnson County.

The incident occurred around 3 p.m., according to a news release.

The airplane was a single engine, 1965 Piper Cherokee 180.  The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Bureau have custody of the airplane.

Koeh and Spicer were the only passengers aboard the single-engine plane that took off from the Green Castle Airport, Johnson County Sheriff Sgt. Brad Kunkel said at the scene Friday afternoon. The airport is a small, private airfield in Oxford, about 15 miles northwest of Iowa City, near Kent Park.

The Johnson County Joint Emergency Communication Center received a report of the crash shortly after 3 p.m. Friday near 2383 IWV Road SW in Oxford, Kunkel said.

The plane was on fire when officials arrived, and the blaze was extinguished by both the Oxford and Tiffin fire departments.

The sheriff's office and the Johnson County Medical Examiner will continue assisting federal agencies with the case.


Original article can be found here:   http://www.press-citizen.com






OXFORD — Two people are dead after a single-engine airplane crashed into a field near Oxford in rural Johnson County Friday afternoon.

Sgt. Brad Kunkel of the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said authorities responded to the crash site after a call was received at 3:08 p.m. by the Johnson County Joint Communications Center.

Kunkel said the plane, which took off from the Green Castle Airport in Iowa City, was on fire when authorities arrived to the scene at 2383 IWV Road SW. The destination of the plane is unknown and there are no known radio calls from the plane before the crash, Kunkel said. The sheriff’s office is working with Iowa State Patrol in conjunction with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration to investigate.

Officials are not releasing the identities of those killed in the crash, pending notification of family members. Kunkel said autopsies are to be performed.

First responders included the Oxford and Tiffin fire departments.

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





Officials are investigating a plane crash in rural western Johnson County on Friday afternoon, but they are releasing few details

The Johnson County Joint Emergency Communication Center received a report of the crash at 3:08 p.m. Friday near 2383 IWV Road SW in Oxford, Sgt. Brad Kunkel said in a news release.

The identities of the passengers and their injuries are not being released at this time, Kunkel said. The type of plane, where it flew out of and where it was headed are also not being released, Kunkel told the Press-Citizen by phone.

The Johnson County medical examiner is at the scene.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office and Iowa State Patrol are investigating the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will also assist in the investigation.

A Press-Citizen reporter and photographer are at the crash site.

Story and photo gallery:  http://www.press-citizen.com 










IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - UPDATE: The Johnson County Medical Examiner has arrived on the scene of a small plane crash west of Iowa City.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened just after 3:00 pm Friday at 2383 IWV Road SW. The Office says it will not release the names or injuries of those involved.

ORIGINAL STORY: A plane has crashed in a rural area of Johnson County just west of Iowa City.

The Johnson County Sheriff's Office confirms the plane went down south of Interstate 80 shortly after 3:00 pm Friday. It is unclear the type of plane, where it was headed or how many people were onboard or if anyone was hurt.

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

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, Park City Aviation, N123SB: Fatal accident occurred April 07, 2017 near Mahlon Sweet Field Airport (KEUG), Harrisburg, Linn County, Oregon

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

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

Park City Aviation LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N123SB 

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 07, 2017 in Harrisburg, OR
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46-310P, registration: N123SB
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

On April 7, 2017, about 1046 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-46-310P, N123SB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Harrisburg, Oregon during an instrument approach to Mahlon Sweet Field Airport (EUG), Eugene, Oregon. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Park City Aviation, LLC as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules plan had been filed for the cross-country flight that originated from Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California at 0727.

Preliminary weather report indicated that the airplane was landing in strong wind conditions, moderate to severe turbulence, and low level wind sheer with precipitation and mountain obscuration due to clouds/mist/precipitation. Several witnesses located near the accident area reported they observed the airplane flying at a treetop level.

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.


John Zitting, wife Karen Zitting and son John “Brendan” Zitting of Thousand Oaks. The family, along with pilot Mark Aletky of Acton, died in a small plane crash in Oregon on Friday.




The brother of a man killed in a small plane crash Friday along with his wife and their teenaged son in Oregon recalled the Thousand Oaks family Sunday as fun-loving go-getters with a zest for life and pursuing their dreams.

John A. Zitting, 42, his wife, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their 17-year-old son, John “Brendan” Zitting, died in the tragic crash just before 11 a.m. Friday in a field near an airport about 2 miles north of Harrisburg, Ore., according to Linn County sheriff’s officials.

“We were definitely not expecting this because (John Zitting) lived life to the fullest, he loved to travel and see new places, loved the ocean,” said brother Mark Zitting, 34, of Heber City, Utah, by phone. “He had a yacht and they spent a lot of time on the ocean when they could. They were all great examples and good people. They were definitely way too young to go.”

Also killed was Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, a certified pilot hired by the Zitting family to fly them from Van Nuys to Eugene, Ore., in a single-engine, six-seat 1984 Piper PA-46-310P, sheriff’s officials said. All four occupants were pronounced dead at the scene.

Aletky was an “excellent pilot” who started flying in the 1980s, got his commercial license and flew charter and private jets all over the country for various companies, said long-time friend Jay, who declined to give his last name and works at the Whiteman Airport-based Rotor FX company, where Aletky functioned as a chief pilot for more than a decade.

Jay said he probably received more than 100 calls in the last two days at Rotor FX, which offers flight training with airplanes, helicopters and drones as well as aerial tours, regarding Aletky’s death. The experienced pilot was friendly, well liked and well respected, he said.

He was “probably the best tour pilot in Los Angeles,” Jay said. “He just had that personality. He connected with people, loved flying people around and showing them around the city. He did thousands and thousands of tours over the years.”

Aletky, who is survived by a wife, three children and two grandchildren, had fairly recently passed his medical exam, which is required by the Federal Aviation Administration of commercial pilots every two years, Jay said.

To qualify for insurance, Aletky also had received specialized training in the Bay Area to fly the specific plane he flew the Zittings in, Jay said. Aletky was recently hired to fly the plane for John Zitting’s company, TruNorthe LLC, to shuttle people between offices, Jay said.

On Friday, the tight-knit Zitting family had flown up to Oregon so that Brendan, a senior at Westlake High School in Thousand Oaks, could tour the University of Oregon. He was days away from celebrating his 18th birthday, his uncle said.

While Brendan had already been accepted into a university in Arizona, he was still exploring his options, Mark Zitting said.

“Brendan was a great student, top of his class, on the swim team,” he said. “He was a very smart, fun, young man to be around and know.”

Brendan, who was noticeable for his great stature, was skilled with computers and was making his own computer game programs, said Karen Zitting’s brother, Arthur Blackmore, by phone from a suburb of Salt Lake City. Brendan was interested in studying computer science, he said.

John Zitting met his wife Karen through acquaintances while they were both living in northern Utah and they started their life together there. John Zitting owned a construction company in Utah, Diamond Z Construction, with his wife assisting him with the business. The family moved to Southern California and John Zitting started TruNorthe LLC, a Simi Valley-based construction management company, about seven years ago. His wife helped out with this business in addition to working as an esthetician, Mark Zitting said.

“They put everything they had into what they did; whether it was traveling or working, they were nonstop,” Mark Zitting said.

Karen Zitting, one of 12 siblings, was a family-oriented woman who was “very loved” by those who knew her, touching lives with her positive and fun-loving personality, her brother said.

She was “just one of those people you always enjoyed having around,” Blackmore said.

John Zitting was also one of 12 siblings, his brother said. Just two days before the crash, Mark Zitting said he saw his brother in Long Beach for coffee during a spring break trip to Southern California.

“We were just talking about life. ... And how busy it is and Brendan going to college. ... How time flies,” he said. “We definitely didn’t talk about death.”

The Zittings also had a small dog named Leno, who was a part of the family for many years and whom they all adored, Mark Zitting said. He said he believes Leno was being cared for by a friend at the time of the plane crash and will now be taken in by a family member.

Funeral arrangements for the family were still pending as of Sunday morning.

“John was not only my brother but my role model from the day I was born,” Mark Zitting added Sunday via text message. “He will be extremely missed and never forgotten by many. They were as sweet and beautiful as a family can be.”

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





Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports the victims of a plane crash that occurred on April 7, 2017, have been identified.Harrisburg Plane Crash

Investigators have learned that a 1984 Piper PA-46-310P, registered to Park City Aviation LLC from Park City, Utah was piloted by Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, from Acton, California. The plane is a single-engine, six-seat plane, and was based out of Van Nuys, California. The plane left Van Nuys yesterday at approximately 7:22 a.m., enroute to Eugene, Oregon.


Aletky was hired by Park City Aviation for the flight and was a certificated pilot.


Investigators learned the plane was flying on instrument and was approaching the Eugene Airport. Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road, which is approximately two miles north of Harrisburg. It is unknown at this time why the plane continued north past the Eugene Airport.


The Linn County Sheriff’s Office 9-1-1 Center received the call at 10:53 a.m.


It was discovered that John A. Zitting, 42, hired Aletky to fly him, his wife and their son, to Eugene. John Zitting was found in the front passenger seat. Seated behind the pilot was Zitting’s spouse, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their son, John Brendan Zitting, 17, was seated behind his father. The Zitting family is from Thousand Oaks, California.


All occupants of the plane died in the crash.


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived on scene yesterday at 4:40 p.m. to assist with the investigation. Linn County Sheriff deputies were also assisted by the Harrisburg Fire Department.


The wreckage is scheduled to be removed this weekend.


Autopsies on Aletky and John Zitting are being conducted today and the investigation is on-going as to the cause of the crash.


• Audio: 911 dispatch tape of plane crash discovery:  https://www.linnsheriff.org



Officials in Linn County, Oregon, have identified a family of three from Thousand Oaks and a pilot from Acton who died in a small plane crash on Friday.

John A. Zitting, 42, his wife Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their 17-year-old son, John Brendan Zitting, died in the 10:53 a.m. crash in a field near an airport about two mile north of Harrisburg, Oregon, Linn County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement Saturday.

Also killed was Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, a certified pilot hired by the Zitting family to fly them from Van Nuys, California to Eugene, Oregon in a single-engine, six-seat 1984 Piper PA-46-310P, sheriff’s officials said.

“Investigators learned the plane was flying on instrument and was approaching the Eugene Airport,” according the Linn County Sheriff’s Office statement. “Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road.”

The aircraft flew past Eugene Airport prior to the crash, authorities said. It was unclear why.

All four occupants of the airplane were pronounced dead at the scene.

The Oregonian reported that the family was on their way to a college scouting trip for John Brendan Zitting, a high school senior, at the University of Oregon.

In a 911 dispatch tape released by the sheriff’s department, a man who identified himself as Loren Later reports discovering the grisly scene.

“A small aircraft just crashed into a field,” the witness reported as he made his way to the crash scene to try to help with coworkers after seeing the airplane fall from the sky from a nearby office.

“Is anybody in there? Yeah, there’s people in here,” Later is heard saying. “Four people.”

“Nobody is conscious,” he said. “We’re checking to see if there’s a pulse or anything... four people, no pulse.. there’s nobody that appears to be alive.”

“The cockpit is really smashed up. The windshield has got blood splattered on it,” the witness reported.

He added that the weather conditions at the crash scene were “brutal.”

The aircraft was based out of Van Nuys Airport, and the pilot worked for Park City Aviation, officials said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived on scene Friday afternoon to join the investigation into the cause of the crash, sheriff’s officials said. Authorities planned to remove the wreckage sometime over the weekend.

Source:  http://www.dailynews.com

A construction management company executive, his wife and their 17-year-old son along with the 67-year-old pilot died when their small plane crashed on a college scouting trip to the University of Oregon, officials said Saturday. 

The family from Thousand Oaks, California, was headed to Eugene with their son, who is a high school senior, because he was considering attending the university, a family friend told The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The Linn County Sheriff's Office identified them as  John A. Zitting, 42, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and John Brendan Zitting, 17.

Mark Gregory Aletky of Acton, California, was the pilot of the 1984 Piper PA-46-310P that crashed Friday morning in a field near Harrisburg.

The single-engine, six-seat plane known popularly as a Piper Malibu, is based out of Van Nuys, California, and is registered to Park City Aviation LLC in Park City, Utah.

The plane left Van Nuys at 7:22 a.m. Friday, the sheriff's office said.

Investigators learned the plane was flying on instrument and was approaching the Eugene Airport, the sheriff's office said in a news release.

Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road, about two miles north of Harrisburg.

"It is unknown at this time why the plane continued north past the Eugene Airport," the news release says, adding that the Linn County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center received a call about the crash at 10:53 a.m.

The wreckage is scheduled to be removed this weekend.

Autopsies on Aletky and John Zitting are being conducted Saturday. John Zitting was found in the front passenger seat of the plane. Karen Zitting was seated behind the pilot. Their son was seated behind his father.

Zitting is president of TruNorthe LLC, a construction management company.

TruNorthe's director of human resources, Tara Harris, described John Zitting as fun, entertaining and a hands-on leader.

"He was very well liked, well loved," Harris said. "I've had a lot of bosses, and I really didn't care when their birthday was. Everybody cared about his birthday. We had a party."

Zitting had recently been traveling a lot in an effort to grow TruNorthe, Harris said. The company now employs about 30 people. Six or seven were hired in the past couple of weeks, Harris said.

Zitting was excited to have bought a plane and hired a pilot, said Harris, who met Mark Aletky when he dropped off paperwork at the office. Aletky was a full-time employee of TruNorthe, Harris said.

"They were great people," said Sean Sullivan, marketing director for TruNorthe.

"His son was going off to college and that's why they were going to Oregon," Sullivan said, adding that the younger Zitting, a senior at West Lake (California) High School was also considering the University of Arizona and other schools. The son was the couple's only child.

Zitting started TruNorthe in 2010, Sullivan said. While it is based in Park City, Utah, Zitting primarily worked out of the company's Burbank, California, office.

"John by trade was a builder. He built homes, hotels, chalets," in Utah and Wyoming, Sullivan said.

Aletky was a professional drummer in California before deciding at age 45 that he wanted to be a pilot, embarking on a second career in which he rose in qualifications to the point where he flew Lear jets, said his son Joseph Aletky.

Joseph Aletky said his father had attended a training course in northern California specific to the Piper PA-46-310P. He also said his father had experience in flying aircraft in a wide variety of situations and, in a profession that measures experience in time in the aircraft, "had thousands and thousands of hours."

Aletky, 30, said his father, who also has worked as a flight instructor, started teaching him how to fly when he was a boy. He said he knew he was biased in his opinion of his father's flying abilities.

But, "Out of all the pilots I've met, he was extraordinary in his ability. I know if any situation would arise, he would be the guy to meet that."

Aletky, one of the pilot's three children, said he was perplexed by what he has read thus far about the crash.

"I can't understand it. We've had things happen in the air. We've dealt with it. He's not the type to panic. He takes things by the reins and makes sure what needs to get done gets done."
A National Transportation Safety Board investigator, meanwhile, plans to interview three witnesses Saturday who saw an airplane plummet to the ground.

The investigator also will work to continue gathering data on the plane, pilot and circumstances surrounding the crash, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

Three witnesses interviewed by The Oregonian/OregonLive on Friday gave a similar version of events preceding the crash: A low-flying plane suddenly flipped on its side then traveled traveled straight down until it was out of sight. Strong winds buffeted the area at the time.

The investigator for the NTSB, which is the agency that will determine the cause of the crash, expects to be in the Harrisburg area until Sunday, Knudson said. More than one tablet computer was recovered from the site, he said, and they will be shipped to the NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C., for inspection because one of them likely was used for navigation.

In addition to looking at weather conditions at the time of the crash, the investigator will want to know what weather information was available to the pilot prior to departure and how current the information was. In general, the investigator will want to know the pilot's pre-flight planning, he said.

"We'll try to understand what happened to pilot three days prior," he said, a routine part of a crash investigation, searching for "anything that could have affected the pilot's ability to safely operate that aircraft (such as) sleep, rest cycle."

Also, the pilot's license will be considered, along with hours of experience, recent flying experience, medical certification and medical records.

The aircraft will be examined along with its maintenance records, Knudson said. "Was there sufficient fuel?" he said, posing another area the NTSB would consider. The fact there was no post-crash fire was "helpful," he said, as no instrumentation was destroyed.


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



Mark Gregory Aletky, 67, of Acton, California, was identified Saturday as the pilot of a 1984 Piper PA-46-310P that crashed Friday near Harrisburg, killing Aletky and three passengers, the Linn County Sheriff's Office announced Saturday.

The sheriff's office said John A. Zitting, 42, hired Aletky to fly him; his wife and their son, to Eugene. John Zitting was found in the front passenger seat. Seated behind the pilot was Zitting's spouse, Karen Blackmore Zitting, 37, and their son, John Brendan Zitting, 17, was seated behind his father. The Zitting family is from Thousand Oaks, California.

The single-engine, six-seat plane is based out of Van Nuys and is registered to Park City Aviation LLC in Park City, Utah. Aletky was hired by Park City Aviation for the flight and was a certificated pilot.

The plane left Van Nuys at 7:22 a.m. Friday en route to Eugene, the sheriff's office said.

The sheriff's office said in a news release that investigators learned the plane was flying on instrument and was approaching the Eugene Airport.

Witnesses in Harrisburg described seeing the plane flying north at a low altitude when, for unknown reasons, it suddenly turned and crashed into a grass field just west of Peoria Road, which is approximately two miles north of Harrisburg.

"It is unknown at this time why the plane continued north past the Eugene Airport," the news release says, adding that the Linn County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center received a call about the crash at 10:53 a.m.

The wreckage is scheduled to be removed this weekend.

Autopsies on Aletky and John Zitting are being conducted today and the investigation is on-going as to the cause of the crash.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator, meanwhile, plans to interview three witnesses Saturday who saw an airplane plummet to the ground.

The investigator also will work to continue gathering data on the plane, pilot and circumstances surrounding the crash that was reported to 911 shortly before 11 a.m. Friday, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

Three witnesses interviewed by The Oregonian/OregonLive on Friday gave a similar version of events preceding the crash: A low-flying plane suddenly flipped on its side then traveled traveled straight down until it was out of sight. Strong winds buffeted the area at the time.

The investigator for the NTSB, which is the agency that will determine the cause of the crash, expects to be in the Harrisburg area until Sunday, Knudson said. He said more than one tablet computer was recovered from the site and those will be shipped to the NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C., for inspection because one of them likely was used for navigation.

In addition to looking at weather conditions at the time of the crash, the investigator will want to know what weather information was available to the pilot prior to departure and how current the information was. In general, the investigator will want to know the pilot's pre-flight planning, he said.

"We'll try to understand what happened to pilot three days prior," he said, a routine part of a crash investigation, searching for "anything that could have affected the pilot's ability to safely operate that aircraft (such as) sleep, rest cycle."

Also, the pilot's license will be considered, along with hours of experience, recent flying experience, medical certification and medical records.

The aircraft will be examined along with its maintenance records, Knudson said. "Was there sufficient fuel?" he said, posing another area the NTSB would consider. The fact there was no post-crash fire was "helpful," he said, as no instrumentation was destroyed.


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


Investigators are still searching for the cause of a plane crash that killed four people Friday morning in a farmer's field off of Peoria Road about one mile outside of Harrisburg.

The field, owned by Leon Kropf, is located about 10 miles north of the Eugene Airport and sits directly under the final approach for pilots landing at the airport.

The Piper PA-46-310P Malibu crashed at 11:02 a.m. A 911 call to the Linn County Sheriff's Office alerted deputies, as well as the Harrisburg Fire Department. Both agencies responded.

According to Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley, employees at Knife River Corp., about two miles away, called 911 after the noise of the engine drew their eyes skyward, where they noticed the plane flying north at about 600 feet. One employee said he watched the plane go down.

"It just kind of twisted a little bit and then it went in," Riley said.

Riley also said the witnesses did not observe the plane struggling to fly. But the crash happened on a day when southerly winds in the valley near the airport were gusting to 21 and 30 mph.  

"It hit the ground hard about 30 yards from where it came to rest," he said.

According to the aviation tracking service FlightAware, the plane, bearing the tail number N123SB, had taken off from Van Nuys airport in California at 7:22 a.m., bound for Eugene. The log last shows the aircraft traveling at 58 knots at about 1,800 feet at 10:50 a.m. 

Riley said investigators with the National Transportation Safety Bureau and the Federal Aviation Administration began their investigation Friday evening, when they removed the bodies and searched for next of kin. The names and residences of the victims were not released on Friday.


Story, video and photo gallery:   http://democratherald.com





HARRISBURG — Four people were killed on Friday in a plane crash north of Harrisburg, Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley said.

Harrisburg firefighters and Linn County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash that occurred in a field near Cartney County Park, about a mile north of Harrisburg, around 11 a.m. Friday.

The plane crashed about 10 miles north of the Eugene Airport during a time when gusty winds were prevalent in the area.

At 10:54 a.m. Friday, wind speeds near the Eugene Airport had reached about 21 miles per hour with 30 mph gusts, according to the National Weather Service.

The Eugene Airport control tower first reported that a small plane approaching the airport had crashed north of the airport at about 10:50 a.m.

Eugene Airport spokesman Casey Boatman said the plane was initially reported as a Piper Malibu. A Piper Malibu is a single-engine plane that can carry up to six people.

Linn County sheriff’s deputies are on the scene investigating the crash and are being assisted by the Harrisburg Fire Department, Riley said. Motorists in the area have been asked to find alternate routes.

Riley said 911 received a call from someone who reported either seeing the plane heading to the ground or having already crashed.

He estimated the plane struck the ground about 30 yards from where it came to rest.

Riley said he did not know where the plane came from or where it was headed.

Authorities are investigating if the cause of the crash was weather-related or mechanical, he said.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were on the way to the scene.

Story, video and photo gallery:   http://registerguard.com





HARRISBURG, Ore. - Four people died in a small plane crash in a field off Peoria Road north of Harrisburg on Friday, the Linn County Sheriff's Office said.

The crash happened around 11:02 a.m., the sheriff's office said.

"We have discovered a small single engine plane that has crashed," Sheriff Bruce Riley said at the scene. "We can confirm that there are 4 deceased in the wreckage. We have secured the scene, we've notified FAA and NTSB, and they are en route to conduct their investigation."

There is no word yet on where the plane was coming from nor where the plane was headed. 

Investigators will use the plane's registration number to determine who owned the plane, as well as its flight plan, crew and passengers.

"At this point, we do not know what the cause of the crash is, whether it is weather related or mechanical difficulties," Sheriff Riley. "It's too early to tell that at this point." 

The plane crashed in a field off Peoria Road about a mile north of Harrisburg, the sheriff said.

Sheriff's deputies and firefighters are on scene. Motorists are asked to avoid the area.

Story, video and photo gallery:  http://kval.com











Four people died after a plane crashed in a field off of Peoria Road about one mile outside the city of Harrisburg on Friday morning, according to a Linn County Sheriff’s Office news release.

The crash happened at about 11:02 a.m., and deputies and the Harrisburg Fire Department responded to the scene.

Sheriff Bruce Riley asked motorists to find an alternate route to travel around the area.

Wind gusts of up to 60 mph were reported throughout the Willamette Valley floor on Friday morning, and Marys Peak had a gust of 91 mph at about 9:10 a.m. 

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