Friday, May 19, 2017

Socata TB-20 Trinidad, N28070: Fatal accident occurred April 17, 2017 between Yuba Pass and Webber Lake, Sierra County, California

Bodies of Santa Rosa couple in Sierra plane crash found


Mark and Brenda Richard
~


The bodies of Brenda and Mark Richard, the Santa Rosa couple whose single-engine airplane went missing last month in the Sierra Nevada mountains, have been found, Sierra County Sheriff’s officials said Friday.

Sheriff Tim Standley said a recreational snowmobiler found a piece of the plane’s tail in the snow on Tuesday. Authorities confirmed the discovery early Wednesday and on Thursday found the bodies, in the separated cockpit buried in six to seven feet of snow.

Officials said the couple’s family have been notified of the discovery, in a remote area southeast of Yuba Pass in Sierra County.

“Our hearts go out to the Richards, to their friends who have called for information, to the family that have called in,” Standley said. “It’s a great tragedy.”

Undersheriff Robert Yegge said an autopsy to determine cause of death is underway.

The couple flew out of Truckee Tahoe Airport April 17 headed for Petaluma. At the time of their takeoff around 4 p.m., the temperature was 41 degrees with overcast skies and wind gusts exceeding 20 mph. A friend of the couple last month described Brenda Richard, 53, as a good pilot familiar with flying in the mountains.

The couple were in their white-and-blue single-engine Socata TB-20 Trinidad and were thought to have crashed in a 400-square-mile stretch of rugged backcountry in Sierra County, 18 miles northwest of Truckee. The general location of the plane was determined by radar and cellphone data. On April 23, after six days of unsuccessfully scouring the rough terrain, a search effort was called off.

Standley said it appears the plane struck a tree and split apart. He said he believes centrifugal force caused by the impact flung the cockpit and engine deep into powdery snow. Subsequent snowstorms encased the cockpit in icy, hard-packed snow, he said.

The tail portion of the plane that was found by the snowmobiler was located under a thick tree canopy, he said.

The area had been previously surveyed by rescue aircraft, but the wreckage would not have been visible due to the tree canopy, Standley said.

After the Sheriff’s Office received the report of the wreckage, Standley organized a party to search for the Richards. Standley said the team included those who had previously spent days last month searching for the plane.

The team, which included snowmobiles and specially equipped all-terrain vehicles, went out in snowy weather on Wednesday night. They found the plane by 2:30 a.m. but could not immediately find the cockpit, officials said.

On Thursday morning, a team went out with shovels to dig in the snow. The team found the cockpit and the couple, deceased, inside. Local investigators and federal agencies confirmed the bodies were that of Brenda, 53, and Mark, 54.

The Richards have four adult daughters, Lauren, Madeline, Ashley and Danielle, and a young grandchild, according to neighbors in Santa Rosa.

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




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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N28070

NTSB Identification: WPR17FAMS3 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 17, 2017 in Loyalton, CA
Aircraft: SOCATA TB 20 TRINIDAD, registration: N28070
Injuries: Unavailable

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 17, 2017, about 1600 Pacific daylight time, a Socata TB-20 Trinidad, N28070, departed Truckee-Tahoe Airport (TRK), Truckee, California. Since that time, the private pilot and one passenger have not been located, and the airplane is missing. Radar track data was lost when the airplane was about 16 nautical miles north of TRK, and is presumed to have crashed in remote mountainous terrain. The personal cross-country flight was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulator Part 91. There was no record that the pilot had filed a flight plan.

TRK airport operations personnel reported that about the time the airplane departed, lowering cloud bases were observed west of the airport, which would have been the direction of flight en route to O69. However, the pilot elected to depart to the north in an area where higher cloud bases existed.

Search and rescue efforts commenced the morning following the disappearance of the airplane, April 18th, and were subsequently suspended during the evening of April 23rd. To date the airplane has not been located, and an emergency locator signal has not been reported.

Mark and Brenda Richard
~

Authorities found a missing airplane, which crashed while carrying a married couple from Truckee to Petaluma, California, in mid-April, after receiving a tip from a citizen.

The plane was found on Tuesday in a remote area southeast of Yuba Pass in Sierra County, according to the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities found two occupants in the plane, later identified as 54-year-old Mark Steven Richard and his 53-year-old wife, Brenda Jane Richard. Both were reported missing on April 18 after they failed to land on schedule.

The couple departed at about 4 p.m. on April 17 from the Truckee Tahoe Airport in a small four-seat Socata TB20 Trinidad with tail No. N28070. They were scheduled to land at the Petaluma Municipal Airport, but they never arrived, Sierra County Sheriff’s deputies said in a previous news release.

Early the next morning, authorities with the Office of Emergency Services in California notified Sierra County deputies that the plane was overdue. 

Investigators with the Civil Air Patrol and the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center conducted radar analysis and traced the couple’s cellphones. They narrowed the search to an area near Yuba Pass Road, between Webber Lake and Jackson Meadow. The area is about 22 miles northwest of Truckee.




Authorities said they extensively searched the area with the help of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as other agencies in California.

Neighboring agencies from Nevada also helped in the search. But the search was later suspended after authorities failed to find the missing plane.

John Clausen, 58, who works as a sales representative for Granite Chief in Olympic Valley, Calif., often spends his time hiking and skiing in the Tahoe-area.

The former sports photographer said he was enjoying several hours riding around in his snowmobile when he came across torn pieces of the plane. He walked around the area and found that a large portion of the plane was still intact, he said.

“I didn’t look inside to see if there was anyone there,” Clausen said.

He said he felt surprised that a small plane would even survive a crash in the rugged mountainous area. He found the plane between Yuba Pass and Webber Lake—the same general area where authorities believed the plane had crashed.

“There was no way anyone could have found it because of the thick forest and the deep snow,” Clausen said. “My first thought was, ‘Wow!’”

Clausen said the trailhead where he was riding his snowmobile “easily had 2 to 3 feet of snow.” And the area where he found the plane was covered in even more snow.

“It was like finding a needle in the haystack,” he said. “I was not looking for it. I was just enjoying several hours of snowmobiling.”

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




May 19, 2017 – On Tuesday, April 18, 2017 the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office initiated a search effort based on a report of an overdue aircraft reported as traveling from Truckee to Petaluma California the previous day. The overdue aircraft was reported to have been occupied by Brenda Jane Richard, age 53 (Reported Pilot) and Mark Steven Richard age 54 (Reported Passenger), a married couple both of Santa Rosa California.

An extensive search was performed by members of the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office Search & Rescue Team as well as numerous agencies from throughout the state, in addition to neighboring agencies from Nevada providing mutual aid to the extensive search effort. The search was later suspended with no evidence of the missing aircraft discovered.

On Tuesday, May 16, 2017 the Sierra County Sheriff’s Office responded to a citizen report of an airplane crash in a remote area south/east of Yuba Pass in Sierra County. Upon locating the crash site, the Sierra County Sheriff's Office was able to determine the crashed airplane was that of the missing aircraft from the April 18, 2017 search effort.

A subsequent investigation by the sheriff’s office as well as federal agencies confirmed two occupants on board the aircraft. Both occupants were found deceased and later identified as Brenda Jane Richard and Mark Steven Richard. The family of the couple has been notified. The Sierra County Sheriff's Office extends our deepest condolences to the friends and family of Mark & Brenda Richard.

Original article can be found here: https://yubanet.com

Rockwell S-2R Thrush Commander, Faunce Ag Aviation, N4191X: Fatal accident occurred June 06, 2016 in De Smet, Benewah County, Idaho

Gregory R. Faunce
~


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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington
Honeywell Aerospace; Phoenix, Arizona

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

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

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

Gregory R. Faunce: http://registry.faa.gov/N4191X

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA120 
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Monday, June 06, 2016 in De Smet, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/16/2017
Aircraft: ROCKWELL S2R, registration: N4191X
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.

During an aerial application flight to apply fungicide to a wheat field, the pilot was flying the airplane from west to east making a spray pass along the south edge of the field, which was bordered by powerlines. About 660 ft. from the west end of the field where the pilot started his spray pass, a set of guy wires originated from the top of one of the utility poles that supported the powerlines, extended about 65 ft. into the field, and ran directly perpendicular to and in line with the airplane's flight path. However, the pilot failed to maintain clearance with the guy wires, and the airplane's outboard right wing impacted the wires. The airplane subsequently veered right and impacted the powerlines, crossed a road that bordered the field on the south, and collided with a stand of trees. The airplane came to rest within the stand of trees about 490 ft. southeast of the initial impact point with the guy wires. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Given that the sun was very close to the horizon and would have been almost directly in the pilot's eyes as he attempted to avoid the guy wires, it is likely that sun glare contributed to his difficulty in maintaining clearance from the wires. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadequate visual lookout, which resulted in his failure to maintain clearance from guy wires during an aerial application flight. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's reduced ability to see the guy wires due to sun glare.



HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 6, 2016, about 0745 Pacific daylight time, a Rockwell International S-2R restricted-category agricultural airplane, N4191X was substantially damaged during a collision with guy wires, powerlines, and trees while engaged in an aerial application flight about 3 nautical miles (nm) west of De Smet, Idaho. The airplane was owned and operated by Faunce Ag Aviation Inc., Tekoa, Washington. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed a private airstrip near Tekoa at about 0700. 

According to a witness whose residence was located about 700 ft. east of the accident site, she was watching the pilot spray the field that was located immediately north of and across the road from her house. The pilot was making spray passes in the west and east direction, parallel to a powerline that bordered the south side of the field. The witness stated that she saw the airplane flying south along the west side of the field; the airplane turned left until it was heading east and began a spray pass on the south edge of the field, next to the powerline. The witness reported that, shortly thereafter, she observed downed powerline wires, followed by the sound of the airplane's impact with terrain. The witness stated that she did not see the airplane collide with the wires. 

In a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the owner of the property being sprayed stated that the pilot had been applying a fungicide to the wheat field when the accident occurred. The property owner stated that the pilot had sprayed this field for the past 25 years, that he thought the pilot was very familiar with the environment, and that the pilot had never had any issues while spraying the field in the past.

In an interview with a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector, a family member of the pilot who was familiar with the operation reported that the accident occurred on the pilot's fourth load of the morning. The amount of chemical the pilot departed with was not determined during the investigation. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating and a second-class airman medical certificate issued on January 12, 2016, with the following limitations: "Not valid for night flying or by color signal control. Not valid for any class after January 31, 2017."

According to operator-supplied records and the pilot's airman medical application, at the time of the accident, the pilot had accumulated 10,109 hours flight time of which, 7,124 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. The pilot's personal flight logbook was not provided to the IIC during the investigation.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-seat, low-wing, fixed-gear, tailwheel-equipped airplane, serial number 1956R, was manufactured in 1974. It was powered by a Garrett TPE331-6-252M engine, serial number P-03069C, rated at 715 horsepower. The most recent annual inspection was performed on November 6, 2015, at a total airframe time of 9,944 hours and an engine total time of 9,888.7 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total of 167.1 flight hours since its last inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0753, the weather reporting facility at the Pullman/Moscow Regional Airport (PUW), Pullman, Washington, located about 24 nm south of the accident site, reported wind calm, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 23° C, dew point 13° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.92 inches of mercury.

At the time of the accident, the sun was about 13.8° above the horizon. Additionally, the sun's lateral position was about 20° to the left of the heading of the airplane's eastbound spray run over the field.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On the day following the accident, the NTSB IIC and the FAA inspector surveyed the accident site. Physical evidence showed that the airplane initially impacted a set of guy wires about 660 ft. west of where the airplane entered the field on its spray run: the guy wires were directly in line with and perpendicular to the airplane's flight path. The guy wires were secured to the top of one of the utility poles that supported the powerline bordering the south side of the field. The guy wires descended to the ground on about a 45° angle and were anchored in the field about 65 ft. north of the utility pole. After impacting the guy wires, the airplane collided with and went through the powerline wires, crossed a county road, and impacted a stand of fir trees. The airplane came to rest within the stand of trees about 490 ft. southeast of the initial impact point with the guy wires. An outboard section of the airplane's right wing, about 30 inches in length, was located about 160 ft. east-southeast of the first point of impact with the guy wires. Additionally, yellow and black paint chips, which were consistent with the wing's paint scheme, were located about 100 ft. southeast of the guy wires. 

The airplane was severely fragmented and deformed by impact forces. With the exception of about 7 ft. of the inboard section of the forward spar, the right wing was observed separated from the fuselage and destroyed. Additionally, the left wing was observed completely separated from the fuselage and destroyed by impact forces as was the aft fuselage from the cockpit to the forward section of the empennage. The entire empennage separated due to impact forces and was located about 20 ft. south of the main wreckage. The engine remained attached to the fuselage at its mounts. The cockpit was crushed and deformed. With the exception of the outboard section of the right wing, the entire wreckage was located within about a 50-ft radius of the main wreckage site.

No catastrophic mechanical anomalies were noted with the engine or airframe that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Office of the Medical Examiner, Spokane, Washington. The cause of death was attributed to blunt force trauma.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Laboratory conducted toxicological testing on the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol; ibuprofen was detected in cavity blood. Testing for cyanide was not performed.

Ibuprofen is a medication in the nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug class that is commonly used for treating pain, fever, and inflammation. 

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA120
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Monday, June 06, 2016 in De Smet, ID
Aircraft: ROCKWELL S2R, registration: N4191X
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 June 6, 2016, about 0745 Pacific daylight time, a Rockwell International S-2R, restricted category agricultural airplane, N4191X, was substantially damaged follow a collision with powerlines and subsequent impact with trees while engaged in aerial application about 3 nautical miles west of De Smet, Idaho. The airplane was owned and operated by Faunce Ag Aviation Inc., Tekoa, Washington. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the airplane, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was being operated in accordance 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed a private airstrip near Tekoa at an undetermined time. 

According to a witness whose residence is located about 800 feet east of the accident site, she was watching the pilot spray the field located immediately north and across the road from her house. The witness stated that he observed the airplane banking and coming around for its next pass on the south side of the field to the east, which was bordered by powerlines. The witness reported that shortly thereafter she observed downed powerlines, followed by the sound of the airplane's impact with terrain. The witness revealed that she did not actually see the airplane collide with the wires.

A National Transportation Safety Board aviation accident investigator arrived at the accident site about 1845 on the day of the event. The investigator's initial assessment of the accident site revealed that the airplane had collided with a four-strand set of powerlines, which ran parallel and bordered the south side of the field that was being sprayed. It was further revealed that subsequent to colliding with the powerlines while heading east, the airplane then impacted various trees on the south side of the road that ran parallel to the powerlines on a heading of about 140 degrees. As a result of the collision with the trees and impact forces, the airplane came to rest partially on its left side on a heading of about 320 degrees, and about 300 feet south of the powerlines. There was no postcrash fire. 

The airplane was recovered to a secured location for further examination.

Cessna 172H Skyhawk, N1664F: Incident occurred May 19, 2017 near Rowan County Airport (KRUQ), Salisbury, North Carolina

http://registry.faa.gov/N1664F




CHINA GROVE — A Charlotte pilot made an emergency landing Friday in a field near the Deal Estates subdivision in China Grove without any damage to the plane or injury to himself or his passenger.

Allen McGee said the engine on the Cessna 172H Skyhawk blew as they were heading to Rowan County from Will Grove in Charlotte. He is co-owner of the plane and has flown the route before.

“The engine has a hole big enough to stick your fist through,” he said, describing the only damage to the plane.

McGee was convinced they wouldn’t be able to make it to Rowan County.

“I said a five-second prayer. That’s all I had time for,” he said.

The plane landed in the field, located along Lentz Road and Fred Lane, around 1 p.m.

McGee saw the tall grass, slowed the airplane down, pulled the flaps in and tried to avoid a house and power lines. He used the tall grass to slow the plane down, he said. He saw tire impressions in the grass and figured it had been left by a farmer so he knew there were no stumps in the field and he could make a soft landing.

He’s garnered 300 to 400 hours of flying. He’s had his license for a year and has been practicing for just these types of landings. His passenger who also co-owns the airplane was also his instructor. The plane is registered to Daniel Knall of Salisbury.

McGee explained that, because there was no damage to property or the plane and no injuries, it did not require contacting the Federal Aviation Administration.

Vonni  Gilmore, 15, was outside when she saw the airplane fly really low. She heard the engine make a “clanky” noise and “looked up and it was coming this way,” she said as she pointed toward some houses.

She saw the plane make a circle and go back around, but never saw it land. She assumed the pilot flew low and pulled up.

“I could tell it was pretty close,” Gilmore said.

Bostian Heights Fire Department and Rowan Rescue personnel responded.

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



ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. -- A small plane carrying a pilot and a passenger diverted to a farm field near China Grove due to engine problems Friday afternoon.


Officials say a Cessna 172H Skyhawk didn't have enough power to get to Rowan County Airport, the intended destination. 


The plane safely landed in a farm field off of Lentz Road.


Neither individuals in the airplane were injured and there were also no damages to the aircraft, officials say.


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

Incident occurred May 19, 2017 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (KRDU), Morrisville, North Carolina

MORRISVILLE, North Carolina (WTVD) --  American Airlines flight 1889 bound from Charlotte to Hartford, Connecticut, made an emergency landing in Raleigh on Friday.

The plane diverted to Raleigh-Durham International Airport because of a strong electrical smell onboard, Raleigh-Durham International Airport (KRDU) spokesman Andrew Sawyer said.

Upon landing, the crew requested medical assistance for nine people on board.

Three people were taken to area hospitals and six more were checked out on scene but declined further treatment.

It wasn't immediately clear how many passengers were on board.

Original article can be found here:  http://abc11.com

Toevs Titanium Explorer, N556XT: Fatal accident occurred July 15, 2016 in Whitewater, Butler County, Kansas

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Wichita, Kansas

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N556XT


James Lee "Farmer Jim" Toevs
~

Location: Whitewater, KS
Accident Number: CEN16LA266
Date & Time: 07/15/2016, 1900 CDT
Registration: N556XT
Aircraft: Toevs Titanium Explorer
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The sport pilot was conducting a local flight in the gyroplane that he and his wife had built. Witnesses saw the gyroplane start a turn, the nose of the gyroplane pitch up, and then the gyroplane descend and impact the ground. A postimpact fire ensued and destroyed the gyroplane. A postaccident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation; however, the examination was limited by fragmentation due to impact damage and heat damage due to the postimpact fire.

The pilot had an undiagnosed adrenal tumor and was being treated for hypertension, depression, and chronic pain. However, it is unlikely that any of these conditions or treatments contributed to the abrupt loss of control in this accident.

The reason for the sudden pitch up and then descent and impact with terrain could not be determined during the investigation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The loss of aircraft control for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Findings

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

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

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On July 15, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, an amateur-built experimental Titanium Explorer gyroplane, N556XT, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Whitewater, Kansas. A post impact fire ensued. The sport pilot was fatally injured. The gyroplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. No FAA flight plan had been filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight that originated from Newton City/County Airport (EWK), Newton, Kansas, about 1830.

According to witnesses interviewed by Kansas Highway Patrol officers and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the gyroplane was flying at a low altitude. The gyroplane started a turn, its nose pitched up, and then it descended and impacted the ground. One witness described hearing engine noise.

A review of FAA air traffic control radar data did not reveal any primary or secondary radar targets consistent with the accident gyroplane. The gyroplane was not in communications, nor was it required to be in communications, with air traffic controllers. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private; Sport Pilot
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/05/2012
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/17/2016
Flight Time:  53.65 hours (Total, all aircraft), 53.65 hours (Total, this make and model), 0.5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

The pilot, age 61, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating and a sport pilot certificate with a rotorcraft gyroplane rating. He was issued his gyroplane rating, after passing the practical test in the accident gyroplane, on June 17, 2016. He also held a repairman certificate with an "inspection light sport – rotorcraft gyroplane" rating issued on August 24, 2011.

The pilot's most recent third-class airman medical certificate was issued on November 5, 2012, without limitations. At that time, the pilot reported having 110 hours total flight time.

Copies of the pilot's "Pilot Flight Record and Log Book" and "Ultralight/Recreational Sport Pilot Log Book" were reviewed. The Pilot Flight Record contained entries dated between January 20, 1973, and April 14, 1976. These entries showed about 80 hours of flight time and experience in an Aeronca Champ 7AC, and a Cessna 150, a 172, and a 177. The Ultralight/Recreational logbook contained entries dated between November 20, 2010, and July 14, 2016. These entries illustrated about 54 hours of flight time and experience in a "gyroglider" and the Titanium Explorer.



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: Toevs
Registration: N556XT
Model/Series: Titanium Explorer
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: TX007
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/31/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 175.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: 914UL
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

According to FAA records, the gyroplane, an experimental Titanium Explorer (serial number TX007) had been manufactured by the pilot and his wife in 2015. It was registered with the FAA on a special airworthiness certificate for experimental operations. It was powered by a 100-horsepower Rotax 914UL engine. The engine was equipped with a 2-blade, Bolly Optima composite propeller.

The gyroplane was maintained under a condition inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that a condition inspection had been completed on May 31, 2016, at an airframe total time of 175.8 hours. When the accident occurred, the gyroplane had been flown about 40 hours since the condition inspection, and had accumulated about 217 hours total time. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest official weather observation station was Newton City/County Airport (EWK), Newton, Kansas, located about 10 nautical miles northwest of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 1,533 ft mean sea level (msl). The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for EWK issued at 1856, reported, wind 090° at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky condition, scattered clouds at 4,700 ft, broken clouds at 5,500 ft, temperature 28° C, dew point temperature 20° C, and altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KEWK, 1532 ft msl
Observation Time: 1856 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 295°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4700 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 20°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 5500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 90°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Newton, KS (KEWK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Newton, KS (KEWK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1830 CDT
Type of Airspace:  Class G 



Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  37.993056, -97.106667 (est) 

An FAA inspector responded to the accident scene. The accident site was located in a vegetated field, at an elevation of 1,385 ft msl. The gyroplane came to rest in a nose low attitude, on its left side. It was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire. Several larger components separated during the impact and were located within a radius of 50 to 60 feet surrounding the main wreckage and impact point.

The fuselage, engine, main rotor, and empennage were all accounted for at the accident site. The cockpit instrumentation and gauges had separated from their cockpit locations and did not convey reliable readings. Some instruments and gauges were impact and fire damaged.

After it was removed from the accident site, the wreckage was examined further, by an investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The rudder control cable was continuous from the aft pulley forward to the rear seat rudder pedals. Push-pull tubes were continuous from the aft pedals forward. Both tubes separated at the forward pedals. Signatures were consistent with impact damage and overload separation.

The empennage was impact-damaged, and the rudder had separated from the vertical stabilizer. The fuselage was impact- and fire-damaged and fragmented into multiple pieces.

The main rotor consisted of two blades, - the yellow-spot blade and the non-spot blade. The yellow-spot blade was broken into multiple pieces along the span consistent with impact damage. The outboard portion of the blade exhibited exposure to heat and fire. The non-spot blade was broken into two pieces. The outboard portion was found imbedded in the ground. The inboard portion of the blade was fire damaged.

The propeller and hub exhibited impact and separation damage at all three blade hubs. The propeller blades were charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire. The engine exhibited impact damage and exposure to heat and fire. No anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operations.

The flight control tubes were continuous from the control stick aft to the mast and keel. The control tubes were continuous up to the control rod scissor arms. The two control arms between the scissor arms and the mast head were separated with signatures consistent with impact damage and overload separation. No anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operations. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Regional Forensic Science Center – Sedgwick County, Kansas, performed an autopsy of the pilot on July 16, 2016. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries… include[ing] thermal injuries" and the report listed the specific injuries. The examination identified a tumor in the right adrenal gland. In addition, there was evidence of a previous surgery on the skull.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy. Carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed. Tests were negative for ethanol. Amlodipine and norfluoxetine were detected in the blood and kidney at unspecified levels. Tests detected dihydrocodeine at 0.019 ug/mL in the lung and 0.009 ug/mL in the cavity blood; fluoxetine at 3.598 ug/mL in the kidney and 0.313 ug/mL in the cavity blood; and hydrocodone at 0.138 ug/mL in the lungs and 0.04 ug/mL in the cavity blood.

Amlodipine is used to treat high blood pressure and is not generally considered impairing. Dihydrocodeine is a metabolite of hydrocodone and norfluoxetine is a metabolite of fluoxetine. Hydrocodone is a potentially-impairing prescription medication used to manage severe pain. Usual blood levels that result in pain control and psychoactive effects in novice users are between 0.01 and 0.05 ug/mL. According to the pilot's wife, he had been using hydrocodone for several years to treat chronic low back pain. Fluoxetine is used to treat a multitude of mood disorders and can be approved for use by pilots through a special issuance medical certificate.

The pilot had reported no chronic medical conditions and no chronic medication use to the FAA during his last airman medical certificate examination in 2012. The pilot's wife reported that, when he was in his 20's, the pilot sustained a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident that required surgery. She reported that he had fully recovered from his injuries related to this accident. She was not previously aware of the adrenal tumor.



NTSB Identification: CEN16LA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 15, 2016 in Whitewater, KS
Aircraft: Toevs Titanium Explorer, registration: N556XT
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 15, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, an amateur-built Toevs Titanium Explorer autogyro, N556XT, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain near Whitewater, Kansas. A post impact fire ensued. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight which originated from Newton City/County Airport (EWK), Newton, Kansas, about 1800.

According to witnesses interviewed by the Kansas Highway Patrol, the autogyro started a turn, the nose pitched up, and then it descended and impacted trees. At least one witness described hearing engine noise. The autogyro impacted the ground and was destroyed by the post impact fire.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who traveled to the accident site, the autogyro impacted the ground in a nose low attitude. Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

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

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Wichita, Kansas 

http://registry.faa.gov/N556XT

Location: Whitewater, KS
Accident Number: CEN16LA266
Date & Time: 07/15/2016, 1900 CDT
Registration: N556XT
Aircraft: Toevs Titanium Explorer
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 15, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, an amateur-built experimental Titanium Explorer gyroplane, N556XT, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Whitewater, Kansas. A post impact fire ensued. The sport pilot was fatally injured. The gyroplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. No FAA flight plan had been filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight that originated from Newton City/County Airport (EWK), Newton, Kansas, about 1830.

According to witnesses interviewed by Kansas Highway Patrol officers and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the gyroplane was flying at a low altitude. The gyroplane started a turn, its nose pitched up, and then it descended and impacted the ground. One witness described hearing engine noise.

A review of FAA air traffic control radar data did not reveal any primary or secondary radar targets consistent with the accident gyroplane. The gyroplane was not in communications, nor was it required to be in communications, with air traffic controllers. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private; Sport Pilot
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/05/2012
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/17/2016
Flight Time:  53.65 hours (Total, all aircraft), 53.65 hours (Total, this make and model), 0.5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

The pilot, age 61, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating and a sport pilot certificate with a rotorcraft gyroplane rating. He was issued his gyroplane rating, after passing the practical test in the accident gyroplane, on June 17, 2016. He also held a repairman certificate with an "inspection light sport – rotorcraft gyroplane" rating issued on August 24, 2011.

The pilot's most recent third-class airman medical certificate was issued on November 5, 2012, without limitations. At that time, the pilot reported having 110 hours total flight time.

Copies of the pilot's "Pilot Flight Record and Log Book" and "Ultralight/Recreational Sport Pilot Log Book" were reviewed. The Pilot Flight Record contained entries dated between January 20, 1973, and April 14, 1976. These entries showed about 80 hours of flight time and experience in an Aeronca Champ 7AC, and a Cessna 150, a 172, and a 177. The Ultralight/Recreational logbook contained entries dated between November 20, 2010, and July 14, 2016. These entries illustrated about 54 hours of flight time and experience in a "gyroglider" and the Titanium Explorer.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: Toevs
Registration: N556XT
Model/Series: Titanium Explorer
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: TX007
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/31/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 175.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: 914UL
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

According to FAA records, the gyroplane, an experimental Titanium Explorer (serial number TX007) had been manufactured by the pilot and his wife in 2015. It was registered with the FAA on a special airworthiness certificate for experimental operations. It was powered by a 100-horsepower Rotax 914UL engine. The engine was equipped with a 2-blade, Bolly Optima composite propeller.

The gyroplane was maintained under a condition inspection program. A review of the maintenance records indicated that a condition inspection had been completed on May 31, 2016, at an airframe total time of 175.8 hours. When the accident occurred, the gyroplane had been flown about 40 hours since the condition inspection, and had accumulated about 217 hours total time. 

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest official weather observation station was Newton City/County Airport (EWK), Newton, Kansas, located about 10 nautical miles northwest of the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 1,533 ft mean sea level (msl). The routine aviation weather report (METAR) for EWK issued at 1856, reported, wind 090° at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky condition, scattered clouds at 4,700 ft, broken clouds at 5,500 ft, temperature 28° C, dew point temperature 20° C, and altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KEWK, 1532 ft msl
Observation Time: 1856 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 295°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4700 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 20°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 5500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 90°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Newton, KS (KEWK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Newton, KS (KEWK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1830 CDT
Type of Airspace:  Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  37.993056, -97.106667 (est) 

An FAA inspector responded to the accident scene. The accident site was located in a vegetated field, at an elevation of 1,385 ft msl. The gyroplane came to rest in a nose low attitude, on its left side. It was charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire. Several larger components separated during the impact and were located within a radius of 50 to 60 feet surrounding the main wreckage and impact point.

The fuselage, engine, main rotor, and empennage were all accounted for at the accident site. The cockpit instrumentation and gauges had separated from their cockpit locations and did not convey reliable readings. Some instruments and gauges were impact and fire damaged.

After it was removed from the accident site, the wreckage was examined further, by an investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The rudder control cable was continuous from the aft pulley forward to the rear seat rudder pedals. Push-pull tubes were continuous from the aft pedals forward. Both tubes separated at the forward pedals. Signatures were consistent with impact damage and overload separation.

The empennage was impact-damaged, and the rudder had separated from the vertical stabilizer. The fuselage was impact- and fire-damaged and fragmented into multiple pieces.

The main rotor consisted of two blades, - the yellow-spot blade and the non-spot blade. The yellow-spot blade was broken into multiple pieces along the span consistent with impact damage. The outboard portion of the blade exhibited exposure to heat and fire. The non-spot blade was broken into two pieces. The outboard portion was found imbedded in the ground. The inboard portion of the blade was fire damaged.

The propeller and hub exhibited impact and separation damage at all three blade hubs. The propeller blades were charred, melted, and partially consumed by fire. The engine exhibited impact damage and exposure to heat and fire. No anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operations.

The flight control tubes were continuous from the control stick aft to the mast and keel. The control tubes were continuous up to the control rod scissor arms. The two control arms between the scissor arms and the mast head were separated with signatures consistent with impact damage and overload separation. No anomalies were noted that would have precluded normal operations. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Regional Forensic Science Center – Sedgwick County, Kansas, performed an autopsy of the pilot on July 16, 2016. The autopsy concluded that the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries… include[ing] thermal injuries" and the report listed the specific injuries. The examination identified a tumor in the right adrenal gland. In addition, there was evidence of a previous surgery on the skull.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens that were collected during the autopsy. Carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed. Tests were negative for ethanol. Amlodipine and norfluoxetine were detected in the blood and kidney at unspecified levels. Tests detected dihydrocodeine at 0.019 ug/mL in the lung and 0.009 ug/mL in the cavity blood; fluoxetine at 3.598 ug/mL in the kidney and 0.313 ug/mL in the cavity blood; and hydrocodone at 0.138 ug/mL in the lungs and 0.04 ug/mL in the cavity blood.

Amlodipine is used to treat high blood pressure and is not generally considered impairing. Dihydrocodeine is a metabolite of hydrocodone and norfluoxetine is a metabolite of fluoxetine. Hydrocodone is a potentially-impairing prescription medication used to manage severe pain. Usual blood levels that result in pain control and psychoactive effects in novice users are between 0.01 and 0.05 ug/mL. According to the pilot's wife, he had been using hydrocodone for several years to treat chronic low back pain. Fluoxetine is used to treat a multitude of mood disorders and can be approved for use by pilots through a special issuance medical certificate.

The pilot had reported no chronic medical conditions and no chronic medication use to the FAA during his last airman medical certificate examination in 2012. The pilot's wife reported that, when he was in his 20's, the pilot sustained a brain injury in a motor vehicle accident that required surgery. She reported that he had fully recovered from his injuries related to this accident. She was not previously aware of the adrenal tumor.

James Lee "Farmer Jim" Toevs
~






NTSB Identification: CEN16LA266
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 15, 2016 in Whitewater, KS
Aircraft: Toevs Titanium Explorer, registration: N556XT
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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 15, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, an amateur-built Toevs Titanium Explorer autogyro, N556XT, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain near Whitewater, Kansas. A post impact fire ensued. The private pilot was fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight which originated from Newton City/County Airport (EWK), Newton, Kansas, about 1800.

According to witnesses interviewed by the Kansas Highway Patrol, the autogyro started a turn, the nose pitched up, and then it descended and impacted trees. At least one witness described hearing engine noise. The autogyro impacted the ground and was destroyed by the post impact fire.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector who traveled to the accident site, the autogyro impacted the ground in a nose low attitude.