Friday, May 26, 2017

Sean Michael Fitzgerald: Convicted of operating plane while drunk

Sean Fitzgerald, right, with his attorney Patrick Fragel


GRAND RAPIDS, MI - A co-pilot pulled from a plane for being drunk was convicted Friday, May 26, of operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol, a potential 15-year felony.

Sean Michael Fitzgerald, 35, of Boca Raton, Florida, was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

He was arrested before a flight at Traverse City's Cherry Capital Airport.

The co-pilot was arrested last month at Traverse City's Cherry Capital Airport while prepping for a flight to Massachusetts.

He had a blood-alcohol level of 0.343 percent, more than four times the limit for motorists to be presumed intoxicated. The legal limit for pilots is 0.02 percent

His attorney had argued that he didn't actually fly the plane.

The incident occurred around 7 a.m. August 25th.

Ryan Fitzgerald is facing a 15-year felony in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.





Fitzgerald was in the cabin, preparing for a flight to Massachusetts, when pilot Manny Ramirez detected the odor of alcohol. He noted Fitzgerald slurring his words, too.

Traverse City police responded and took Fitzgerald off the plane.

Fitzgerald worked for private charter company, Talon, which fired him.

The plane was not ready to fly, and wheel chocks were still in place, but acting-U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said "that does not lessen the gravity of (Fitzgerald's) crime."

Fitzgerald told police that he had two beers at lunch the previous day.

He will be sentenced September 19th by U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker, who presided over the four-day trial.

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

Zenith Zodiac 601XLB, N619LD: Accident occurred August 12, 2016 in Ocean Shores, Washington

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


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

http://registry.faa.gov/N619LD

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA164
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 12, 2016 in Ocean Shores, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/25/2017
Aircraft: ZENITH CH601, registration: N619LD
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

The private pilot was conducting a local personal flight in an experimental, amateur-built airplane. The pilot reported that, during cruise flight, the voltmeter’s indications became erratic and that, shortly after, the airplane experienced a total loss of electrical power. The engine subsequently lost power, and the pilot conducted an emergency landing, during which the bottom of the fuselage contacted surrounding vegetation. The right wing then dipped, and the airplane impacted terrain. The pilot reported that, following the accident, he checked the battery’s charge, and it was 11 volts; however, the electrical system on the airplane required 12 to 13 volts for operation.

The pilot partially disassembled the airplane following the accident, and the engine, most of the flight instruments, the tachometer, and the interior components were not available for examination. Therefore, a thorough evaluation of the airplane’s electrical system was not possible. However, the battery examination revealed that it had a 10-volt charge, indicating that either a battery or charging system failure occurred. The fuel delivery system included two electronic fuel pumps connected in series with no mechanical or auxiliary pumps installed. Therefore, the loss of electrical power would have disabled both fuel pumps and resulted in fuel starvation and a loss of engine power. There was no other method to deliver fuel to the engine if the battery power was insufficient to power the fuel pumps.

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

A reduction in electrical power, which disabled both fuel pumps and resulted in fuel starvation and a loss of engine power.

On August 12, 2016, about 1000 Pacific daylight time, a Zenith CH601, N619LD, sustained substantial damage when it impacted the ground near Ocean Shores, Washington. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from Bowerman Airport (HQM), Hoquiam, Washington at 0900.

The pilot reported that he was in cruise flight when the voltmeter's indications became erratic. Shortly thereafter, the airplane experienced a complete loss of electrical power, followed by a loss of engine power. He immediately executed an emergency landing, and established the best glide speed at 70 mph. Prior to impact, the bottom of the fuselage contacted surrounding vegetation, the right wing dipped, and the airplane impacted the terrain.

The airplane was equipped with an Odyssey Extreme Series PC-680 battery which required a 14.4 charging voltage. In a phone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot stated that had checked the battery's state of charge after the flight, and the battery indicated 11 volts. He added that the electrical system on the airplane requires 12-13 volts for operation.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector examined the airplane's logbook, and the majority of the wreckage. The airplane logbook showed the last condition inspection occurred on September 20, 2015; an Experimental Airworthiness certificate for the purpose of Amateur Built was issued on May 20, 2016. The airplane was in Phase 1 operation test flight, and it was restricted to a 25-mile radius of HQM.

The engine, most of the flight instruments, the tachometer, interior components, and damaged canopy pieces were removed by the owner following the accident, and were not present for the examination. 

The nose gear was bent to the right. The fuselage exhibited compression wrinkles in the top skin between the empennage and the cabin. The right wing was removed, and showed some outboard leading edge damage. The right elevator was significantly damaged. The skin below the horizontal stabilizer was wrinkled. The left aileron and wingtip sustained damage. The main landing gear was partially folded under the fuselage. 

The battery showed a 10-volt charge. The airplane was equipped with two Facet 12 volt electronic fuel pumps. Both pumps were connected in series; therefore, fuel to the engine had to pass through both pumps. There were no other mechanical or auxiliary pumps installed. The wire and connectors that remained in the fuselage were automotive type. All circuit breakers were observed in, and no overheated wiring or arcing was found.

The airplane was powered by a Continental O-200-A engine, serial number 72 JACH-A-48, and was installed on the airplane with about 250 hours since major overhaul. Initially, the engine was equipped with an external oil filter and an adapter on the oil cooler pad, but the pilot removed the filter assembly and installed the cooler pad cover on the engine case. The oil screen did not contain any metal particles. 

The carburetor was separated from the engine, and it appeared largely intact. Neither the carburetor bowl nor the accelerator pump contained fuel. The complete statement from the FAA inspector detailing the examination is appended to the accident in the public docket. 

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA164
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 12, 2016 in Ocean Shores, WA
Aircraft: ZENITH CH601, registration: N619LD
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 August 12, 2016, about 1000 Pacific daylight time, a Zenith CH601, N619LD, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain near Ocean Shores, Washington. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was activated. The local flight originated from Bowerman Airport (HQM), Hoquiam, Washington at 0900.

The pilot reported that he was in cruise flight at 2500 feet above ground level when he lost both electrical and engine power. The pilot immediately executed an emergency landing, and established the best glide speed at 70 mph. Prior to impact, the bottom of the fuselage contacted surrounding vegetation, the right wing dipped, and the airplane impacted terrain.

BLADE: Skip the traffic. Enjoy the view.



Business Insider
Madeline Stone


Getting to the Hamptons can be a real drag, especially over big holiday weekends like Memorial Day.

Blade, an aviation startup cofounded by former Sony and Warner Music Group exec Rob Wiesenthal and GroupMe cofounder Steve Martocci, aims to make it a little easier on you.

Blade uses an app to crowdsource flights on helicopters and seaplanes that you can book seats on in an instant. Rather than have you spend hours on a slow train or in a cramped car, Blade's flights promise to get you out to the Hamptons in under 40 minutes.

Though Blade started out with flights to the Hamptons, which remains its most popular destination, the startup has expanded to offer flights in many weekend getaway spots, including Nantucket, the Jersey Shore, and around different parts of Los Angeles. You can even snag a seat on a helicopter going to one of the New York area airports, a five-minute ride the company calls Blade Bounce.

Tickets range from $494 to $695 for a trip from Manhattan to the Hamptons, Blade's most popular destination. For a few hundred dollars more, you can do a custom charter flight to a destination of your choice, and you can even choose to fly on a faster aircraft if you'd like. A one-way ticket on Blade One, the company's private jet service from New York to Miami, costs about $2,200.

Socialites, celebrities, and elite business-people are catching on — Laura Prepon, Jon Hamm, and Olivia Palermo are just a few of the big names that have been spotted in one of Blade's luxury lounges in Manhattan. The company's investors include Kenneth Lerer, Discovery Communications' David Zaslav, Google's Eric Schmidt, IAC's Barry Diller, and iHeart Media's Bob Pittman.




Blade treated us to a trip to the Hamptons on a late summer evening in 2015. Here's how lots of wealthy New Yorkers will be getting out to the Hamptons this summer.

He added: "It was the golden age of aviation — the '60s to early '70's, the Jack Kennedy, Frank Sinatra era — when getting on a jet plane was a big deal and an adventure. Not everybody did it. And there was always a story attached to it."

The company has also introduced a weekend service that can take customers between Sag Harbor and Shelter Island by Riva-style boat, which costs $95 a seat, as well as partnerships for various events like Coachella.

In April, it announced a partnership with Delta Air Lines to streamline the transfer process for passengers flying in and out of New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. Delta passengers arriving to JFK, including from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and London, can arrange to be met on the jet bridge by Delta's Elite Services team, who will gather their checked luggage and bring them to an awaiting Blade car on the tarmac. That car then brings them to a Blade helicopter, which will get them to Manhattan in less than 10 minutes.

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

Aerotek Pitts S-2A, N67PN: Fatal accident May 26, 2017 near Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (KSBM), Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Aviat Aircraft, Inc.; Afton, Wyoming
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N67PN

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA197
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 26, 2017 in Sheboygan Falls, WI
Aircraft: AEROTEK PITTS S 2A, registration: N67PN
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 May 26, 2017, about 1230 central daylight time, a Aerotek Pitts S 2A biplane, N67PN, impacted terrain during a descent near Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. The pilot and pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the impact. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (SBM), near Sheboygan, Wisconsin, about 1210.

According to initial information from a flight instructor at SBM, about 1210 he and some students were listening to the common traffic advisory frequency and they heard the pilot of a Bonanza report that the Bonanza was on a straight in final for runway 13. The flight instructor, in part, stated:

As the [B]onanza passed on the low approach we watched a red colored biplane depart [runway] 13.

We noticed that he rotated before [runway] 04/22 and made a sharp left turn to the north about abeam the [Falls very high frequency omni-directional range navigation aid]. 

The turnout was low to the ground and approximately 45 degrees or [greater] clearing the trees to by 50 to 100 feet. 

The biplane departed the area to the west/southwest at a lower than normal altitude.

According to a friend of the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to perform a fly-by over Road America near Plymouth, Wisconsin, which was located about 6 nautical miles and 285° from SBM.

A witness who worked nearby reported that about 1230 she noticed the familiar sound of a biplane as she sat down on a patio. 

The witness, in part, further stated:

A second later, the plane sound abruptly ceased - this sudden silence caught my attention and I rose to see what was happening. 

The plane was traveling eastbound, was parallel to the horizon, but yet no sound was emitted from the engine. 

That is, no engine buzzing, sputtering, catching, whirring - no sound. 

The plane remained traveling forward while parallel and without losing altitude for between one and five seconds - before the plane stopped making any forward progress. 

This is when the nose of the plane dipped down so the plane was completely vertical and began spiraling clockwise until it made contact with the ground. 

When the plane hit the ground, a light grey/brown cloud of dust and/or smoke arose. 

There was no dark colored or continuous smoke to suggest a fire.

The witness subsequently called 9-1-1.

The rear seated 66-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating. He also held commercial pilot privileges in single-engine land and single-engine sea airplanes. He held type ratings on McDonnell Douglas DC-9 airplanes and Boeing 757, 767, and 777 airplanes. The pilot held an FAA first-class medical certificate issued on April 20, 2017, with a limitation to wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported on the application for that medical certificate that he had accumulated 16,300 hours of total flight time and 150 hours of flight time in six months before the application.

The flight instructor that sold the accident airplane to the pilot reported that the pilot's Pitts S 2A check out training consisted of ground and in-flight instruction. The instruction, in part, included Lycoming engine operation with Bendix fuel injection, fuel system operation, management of fuel from the top tank, range and endurance planning, start-up procedures both cold and hot method, leaning procedures, weight and balance, normal and aerobatic loading, proper trimming of the airplane, P factor, torque and gyroscopic forces, slow flight, angle of attack control, stall recognition, stall prevention, stall recovery power on and off, how to recognize the incipient spin, recovery from normal upright, inverted, accelerated, crossover, and flat spins by the normal recovery method, the power on method, and the emergency maneuver recovery method, upset recovery, engine out approach and landing, in-flight power loss recovery, and emergency landing field determination.

The front seated pilot-rated passenger, age 19, held an FAA private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. He was issued an FAA third-class medical certificate on June 15, 2015, with no limitations.

N67PN was a 1981 model Aerotek Pitts S 2A factory-built, tandem two-seat, single-engine, fixed gear tailwheel biplane. It was equipped with a 200-horsepower aerobatic Lycoming AEIO-360-A1E engine, with serial no. L-20565-51A. A three-bladed MT propeller, model MTV-9-B-C/ C188-18b, serial no. 140237, was installed in accordance with supplemental type certificate no. SA00457DE. The airplane had a 24-gallon fuselage fuel tank with a usable fuel capacity of 23 gallons.

The airplane was based at the Burlington Municipal Airport (BUU), near Burlington, Wisconsin. A fuel receipt showed that the owner purchased 11 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline (avgas) at BUU on May 25, 2017, at 1535. The distance from BUU to SBM was about 68 nautical miles.

At 1153, the recorded weather at SBM was, wind 160° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky condition clear, temperature 16° C, dew point 13° C, altimeter 29.86 inches of mercury.

The airplane came to rest inverted on plowed terrain. The airplane's heading was about 300° magnetic and it was about three nautical miles and 266° from SBM. There was no post impact ground fire. There were depression witness marks under the nose, upper wing, and rudder. The airplane remained intact. The engine compartment, fuselage, upper wings, and empennage exhibited crushing and buckling consistent with the ground impact. The engine compartment exhibited rearward crushing. The outboard sections of two propeller blades were visible outside of the lower engine cowling and one propeller blade was covered by the cowling. The leading edges of the upper wings exhibited rearward crushing. The right lower wing exhibited minor damage. However, about 3/4 of the outboard section of the left lower wing trailing edge was buckled in the direction towards its landing gear. The canopy frame was found under the inverted fuselage and the canopy was found fragmented on the ground. No baggage or ballast was found in the aft baggage area.

A postaccident examination of the wreckage was conducted. The fuselage fuel tank exhibited impact damage. Separations in flight control tubes were consistent with first responder actions and with overload. Flight control continuity was established from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. A fitting on the electric fuel pump was removed, power was applied to the pump, and the pump emitted a blue liquid consistent with the smell of avgas. The other fitting on the electric fuel pump was removed, air pressure was applied to the fitting, and air was heard escaping from a broken valve fitting on the gascolator. The gascolator fitting was sealed with thumb pressure, air pressure reapplied to the electric fuel pump fitting, and air was heard escaping from the inside of the fuselage fuel tank.

The airplane was lifted during its recovery and the propeller blades were found separated from their hub. The curved back of each propeller did not exhibit any chordwise abrasion. Sections of wooden ribs were found embedded in the ground scar under the upper wing leading edges. Examination of the engine revealed that a thumb compression was observed at all cylinders when the engine was rotated by hand. The propeller governor was separated from the engine case and its control cable remained attached. The engine control cables were traced from the cockpit to the engine. Three of the top sparkplugs were removed. The top no. 1 sparkplug was separated from its threaded base, its electrode was bent, and the electrode exhibited a normal appearance in reference to a Champion Check-A-Plug chart. Using the same chart, the top no. 2 sparkplug exhibited a normal appearance and the top no. 3 and no. 4 sparkplugs exhibited a worn out-normal appearance. Sparkplug wires were cut to remove the magnetos for testing. Both magnetos produced a spark at the end of all leads when the magnetos were rotated. The fuel screen within the fuel servo was inspected and it did not exhibit any debris. A blue colored liquid consistent with the smell of avgas exited the servo when the screen was accessed. The fuel distribution valve was disassembled and a liquid sheen consistent with the smell of avgas was observed within the valve. A liquid consistent with the smell of avgas exited a port on the engine driven fuel pump when its lever arm was manipulated by hand.

The Sheboygan County Coroner was asked to arrange for autopsies to be performed on the pilot and pilot-rated passenger and to take toxicological samples.

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





Phil Smecko



October 24, 1997 - May 26, 2017

Filip J. “Philip” Smecko, 19, of Janesville passed away unexpectedly on Friday May 26, 2017, in a single engine plane crash near Sheboygan, WI. He was born in Chrzanow, Poland on Oct. 24, 1997, the son of Marta Smecko. Philip graduated from Milton High School in 2016. He was previously employed at Famous Footwear in Janesville. His passion in life was flying. His dream was to become a commercial pilot and fly the Airbus for the airlines one day to Poland where he was born and around the world. At his young age of 19, he had already received his instrument rating and was halfway through obtaining his Commercial rating when this incident happened. His passion for flying was so strong he turned down a football scholarship to a Division 2 university. Philip also enjoyed track and field and playing football for Milton High School where his football team was Badger Conference champions two years in a row, 2014 and 2015. Philip had the honor of starting both years as defensive end and made some game changing plays. His favorite event in track and field was 110 yard high hurdles. Those who saw him run always commented how he ran with such ease and stepped over the hurdles like a deer. He qualified at the WIAA sectional track meet for 2015. He was an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing. Spending time with family and friends was important to him, as well as being a wonderful role model to his younger siblings, Joey and Olivia. Philip will be remembered for always having a smile on his face, and flexing his muscles for all to see.

Philip is survived by his mother, Marta Smecko; father, John Smecko; brother, Joey; sister, Olivia; step brother, Johnny; grandparents, Joseph and Czeslawa Antoszuk; and several aunts; uncles; cousins; other family members, and friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Margaret and Joseph Smecko.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m.. on Saturday, June 3, 2017 ,at NEW LIFE ASSEMBLY OF GOD, 2416 N. Wright Rd., with Rev. Aaron White officiating. Visitation will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at NEW LIFE ASSEMBLY OF GOD. You will be terribly missed by everyone who had the pleasure to have you in their lives. You were, and will forever be loved. Fly high, my sweet Philip.

Whitcomb-Lynch Funeral Home & Cremation Services
21 S. Austin Rd.
www.whitcomb-lynch.com


http://www.gazettextra.com







Phil Smecko, a 2016 Milton High School graduate, competed on the Red Hawk football and track and field teams.


Phil Smecko 

A 2016 Milton High School graduate was killed in a plane crash Friday near Sheboygan.

According to a news release from the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office, authorities received a call at 12:33 p.m. from a witness indicating a plane had crashed in a farm field in the area of County Highway O and Willow Road.

The plane was an Aerotek Pitts S-2A, the release said. Passenger Philip Smecko, 19, of Janesville, and pilot Dennis D. Hall, 67, of McHenry, Ill., died in the crash.

Deputies, along with emergency personnel from the Town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Department, Town of Sheboygan Falls First Responders and Orange Cross Ambulance, responded, the release said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the sheriff's office, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board and no details are available at this time.

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




TOWN OF SHEBOYGAN FALLS, Wis. (WBAY) - The Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office has released the names of two people killed in a small plane crash Friday.

The victims are identified as:

Pilot: Dennis D. Hall, 67, McHenry, Ill.
Passenger: Filip J. Smecko, 19, Janesville, Wis.

The sheriff's office says the biplane crashed in a farm field along Willow Road off County Highway O around 12:30 p.m.

A witness reported it to 911.

The sheriff's office says the plane was an Aerotek Pitts S-2A, which is a two-seat, single-engine biplane designed for aerobatics. The sheriff's office does not believe it was from Sheboygan County.

The FAA tells Action 2 News it was notified by local authorities and will be sending a team to investigate.


The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation, which is routine for all plane crashes.

Story and video:  http://www.wbay.com



UPDATE: Authorities said pilot and a passenger were killed. The plane is registered to a man in Burlington, Wis. 

Deputies are investigating a deadly crash in Sheboygan Falls Friday.

At 12:33 p.m., the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office received a call from someone saying they saw a plane crash near CTH O and Willow Road.

They responded and found that a plane had crashed in a field at N6217 Willow Road. 

"There were no surviving individuals," Sergeant Matthew Spence with the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office said. 

Deputies are unsure how many people were aboard the plane, but do not believe it was from Sheboygan County. 

The plane was an Aerotek Pitts S-2A Fixed Wing Single-Engine aircraft. 

The crash remains under investigation.

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











Law enforcement is investigating a fatal plane crash in Sheboygan County, which reportedly happened around noon Friday.

The Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release that there “were no surviving individuals” on the plane, but did not specify how many people were on the plane.

The sheriff's department received a 911 call from a witness who saw the plane crash near Sheboygan Falls near County Highway O and Willow Road.

Deputies believe the plane is not from Sheboygan County, and the sheriff's department is investigating along with the FAA.

Story and video:   http://www.tmj4.com

Cessna 177A Cardinal, N30462, Green Falcons Inc: Accident occurred May 26, 2017 at Plainwell Municipal Airport (61D), Allegan Countym, Michigan

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

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

NTSB Identification: CEN17CA218
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 26, 2017 in Plainwell, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 177, registration: N30462
Injuries: 1 Minor, 3 Uninjured.

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

During a local orientation flight, the pilot turned to final approach with “a little too much altitude,” but the pilot did not perform a go-around. The airplane landed long down the runway, overran the end of the runway, and impacted a ditch, which damaged the forward fuselage. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's improper approach to landing and his failure to perform a go-around, which resulted in a runway overrun.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

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

Green Falcons Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N30462


NTSB Identification: CEN17CA218
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 26, 2017 in Plainwell, MI
Aircraft: CESSNA 177, registration: N30462
Injuries: 1 Minor, 3 Uninjured.

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

During a local orientation flight, the pilot turned final approach with "a little too much altitude", but the pilot did not perform a go-around. The airplane landed long down the runway, overran the end of the runway and impacted a ditch, which damaged the forward fuselage. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.



PLAINWELL, MI -- Four people were on board when a plane crashed near Plainwell Municipal Airport and two were taken to a hospital with minor injuries, police say. 

A plane attempting to land at the airport crashed before 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 26, when it "ran out of runway" at the airport, Allegan County Sheriff's Office Cpt. Scott Matice said. 

One of the runways at the airport is just east of U.S. 131. A Cessna plane was observed in the ditch near the highway following the crash, where it came to rest, Matice said. 

The two people who were injured suffered minor injuries such as bumps and bruises, Matice said. Two other occupants were checked out at the scene and not transported to a hospital, he said. 

Plainwell Middle School students were involved in the incident, Plainwell Schools said in a message posted on the school's web site Friday afternoon. 

Plainwell Middle School Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) students were on a field trip at the airport, the school said.

Students on the plane had "minor scrapes and bruises," according to the school, and parents of students directly involved have been contacted. 

The crash did not impact traffic on any roads, he said. No other planes were involved, he said. 

Investigators contacted the Federal Aviation Administration about the crash, he said. 

The plane is a fixed wing, single-engine Cessna registered to Green Falcons Inc. of Wyoming, according to the FAA database. It has a valid certificate, according to the FAA. 

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





GUN PLAIN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A small plane crashed off the end of a runway near Plainwell Friday, resulting in a scary ending to a field trip for a group of sixth-graders.

The Cessna 177A crashed at the west edge of the Plainwell Municipal Airport just feet away from the northbound lanes of US-131 in Gun Plain Township around 1 p.m.

The pilot, who suffered a nose injury in the crash, overshot the runway, plowed through a fence and landed nose-down in a ditch, according to Ginger DeVillers with the West Michigan Flight Academy.

Three sixth-grade students from Plainwell Community Schools’ STEM program were on board the plane when it crashed. While DeVillers told 24 Hour News 8 at the scene that none of the students were injured, a later release from the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office said both the pilot and one of the students were taken to the hospital for minor injuries and the two other students were treated at the scene and released.

“We’ve been doing this for four years at the Plainwell schools and we’ve had an awesome record, and we had a pilot just went off the end of the runway, and all the kids are safe, they’ve all been checked out by paramedics,” DeVillers said.

Authorities have not released the names of the pilot or students involved in the crash, which the FAA is investigating.

There have been two other plane crashes in recent years involving the Plainwell Municipal Airport. On Sept. 23, 2011, a Holland man was killed when his small plane hit a FedEx truck on northbound US-131 just west of the airport’s runway. On May 21, 2009, two men died in a small plane crash at the airport.

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

Diamond DA20: Incident occurred May 25, 2017 at Georgetown Municipal Airport (KGTU), Williamson County, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Aircraft on landing, went off the side of the runway. 

Date: 25-MAY-17
Time: 15:05:00Z
Regis#: N616DC
Aircraft Make: DIAMOND
Aircraft Model: DA20
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: GEORGETOWN
State: TEXAS

Pitts Special S-1C, N440JK: Accident occurred May 25, 2017 at Grenada Municipal Airport (KGNF), Mississippi

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi

http://registry.faa.gov/N440JK

Aircraft on landing, ground looped.

Date: 25-MAY-17
Time: 16:45:00Z
Regis#: N440JK
Aircraft Make: EXPERIMENTAL PITTS
Aircraft Model: SPECIAL S1C
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: GRENADA
State: MISSISSIPPI

Cirrus SR22-G3 Turbo, C-GGSR: Incident occurred May 25, 2017 at Abilene Regional Airport (KABI), Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

Aircraft on landing.  Went off the runway and struck a light.

Date: 25-MAY-17
Time: 20:59:00Z
Regis#: CGGSR
Aircraft Make: CIRRUS
Aircraft Model: SR22
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: ABILENE
State: TEXAS

ICE Air: How U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deportation flights work




(CNN)It's the first flight for many people who file onto these planes. But it's not a happy occasion.

Guards patrol the aisles. The passengers are handcuffed. And all of them have one-way tickets.

Planes chartered by ICE Air Operations, the division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement that coordinates the transportation and deportation of detained immigrants, fly more than 100,000 people back to their home countries every year.

And with President Trump vowing to increase deportations, it's possible that number will climb.

Who flies on ICE Air? Where do deportation flights go? And how much do they cost?

Planes chartered by ICE Air have deported hundreds of thousands of people.

Last year, more than 110,000 people were removed from the United States on flights chartered by ICE Air.

ICE Air Operations also deported more then 5,800 people on commercial flights in fiscal year 2016.

The aircraft also fly domestically, transporting immigration detainees.

Sometimes, ICE Air flies immigrants to detention centers across the United States. Other times, it transports them to cities near the border, where they might be bused across and deported.

Domestic flight destinations include a number of major US cities, including Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Denver, Salt Lake City, Miami and Chicago. 

Flights also regularly land at airports in small cities that are ICE Air hubs or near immigration detention centers.

While its elaborate route map looks like a page from a commercial carrier's in-flight magazine, there's at least one way ICE Air's flights are different from many domestic flights.

Passengers do get a free meal onboard.

Most international ICE Air flights travel to Central America.

ICE deported people to 185 countries last year. A snapshot of ICE Air's top deportation destinations paints a picture of recent immigration trends. The majority of immigrants who were repatriated on charter flights last year headed to Central America.

Nearly a third of ICE's 240,255 deportees last year were from three countries in that region -- Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- where experts say growing violence and economic problems have helped fuel a wave of immigration.

ICE Air is only one of the ways the United States deports people.

Take Mexico, for example, the country where the US deported the largest number of people last year.

Of the people ICE deported to Mexico in 2016, just over 10% left on flights coordinated by ICE Air. The other removals occurred via bus or on foot, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE Air charters a range of different planes.

The agency's five charter contracts provide up to 10 aircraft for routine flights, each capable of carrying a maximum of 135 detainees, according to ICE.

For missions deemed high-risk because they involve the transportation of serious criminals, including violent offenders, ICE Air sometimes uses small jets.

It's not cheap.

Transporting deportees to their home countries cost an average of $1,978 per person last year, according to ICE.

A chartered flight costs about $7,785 per flight hour, ICE says. That covers the cost of not only the aircraft and fuel, but also a pilot, flight crew, security personnel and a nurse onboard.

A 2015 report from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General criticized the agency for flying detainees on flights that weren't full, concluding that ICE Air could have saved more than $41 million by optimizing flight capacity.

In its response to the assessment, ICE said looking at the number of empty seats on planes wasn't the correct way to measure the efficiency of ICE Air.

"Delaying the removal of individuals in order to fill empty seats incurs costs that may exceed the cost of empty seats," ICE said at the time, noting that it cost about $122 per day to house a detainee in immigrant detention.

"It makes no fiscal sense to delay a large group of detainees to fill a small number of vacant seats."

More people are flying on ICE Air this year.

About 47% more people were deported on ICE Air flights in February compared to the same month last year. But we're not seeing a Trump bump -- yet.

In fact, more people were deported on ICE Air in the last full month of Obama's presidency than in Trump's first full month in power. And so far, Trump appears to be deporting fewer people than his predecessor.

Still, it's possible we'll see the numbers grow in the future given the Trump administration's vow to deport more people.

In its latest budget proposal, the White House asked for an additional $1.5 billion to expand efforts to detain, transport and deport undocumented immigrants.

Story and video:  http://www.cnn.com

Bellanca 7ECA, N787MW: Fatal accident occurred September 03, 2016 in Moss Hill, Liberty County, Texas

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


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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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

Patrick J. Falterman: http://registry.faa.gov/N787MW 

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA346
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 03, 2016 in Moss Hill, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/13/2017
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7ECA, registration: N787MW
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private pilot and a passenger were conducting a local flight and performing aerobatics. Witnesses observed the pilot conducting "flybys" and "tricks" in the area. One witness reported observing the airplane complete "flips and spins" for about 10 minutes before the accident. Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed to the left and entered a near- vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane then impacted the river. A post-accident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure or malfunction.

According to a friend, the pilot was competent in spins and had received instruction in aerobatic maneuvers. However, the lack of a formal logbook training record with respect to aerobatics, the investigation could not determine the pilot's level of proficiency in such maneuvers.

Toxicological testing on the pilot was positive for cocaine and its metabolites; cocaethylene, a metabolite formed when cocaine is ingested with alcohol; and levamisole, a drug commonly used to "cut" street cocaine, in urine. Cavity blood was positive for methamphetamine and its metabolites. The absence of cocaine in the pilot's blood suggested distant usage. Accordingly, the acute effects of the drug had likely dissipated. The level of methamphetamine in the pilot's blood sample was low. As a result, the presence of any residual effects of the drug could not be determined. Based on the available information, the investigation was unable to determine whether the pilot was impaired, if at all, at the time of the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's loss of control attempting to recover from a low-level aerobatic maneuver. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to attempt the low-level maneuver which significantly reduced any margin for error.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 3, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, a Bellanca 7ECA airplane, N787MW, impacted the Trinity River while performing low-altitude aerobatic maneuvers near Moss Hill, Texas. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from a private airstrip in Cleveland, Texas, at an undetermined time.

Witnesses observed the pilot conducting "flybys" and "tricks" in the area. One witness reported observing the airplane complete "flips and spins" for about 10 minutes before the accident. Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed to the left and entered a nearly vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane impacted the river in a nearly vertical, nose-down attitude and came to rest inverted and partially submerged in the river.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot's initial logbook entry was dated March 14, 2015; it was denoted as an "orientation flight" and was conducted in the accident airplane. His primary flight training was completed in the accident airplane, as well as Cessna 152 and 172 airplanes. The pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on July 13, 2015. He received a tailwheel airplane endorsement on July 14, 2015. The logbook also contained a stall awareness/spin competency endorsement dated January 5, 2016. The logbook did not contain any entries that specifically noted instruction in aerobatic maneuvers. However, a friend of the pilot's family stated that the pilot had received instruction and was competent in basic aerobatic maneuvers.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records revealed that the current owner purchased the airplane in November 2014. The exact airplane total time could not be determined because the recording tachometer was damaged consistent with impact forces.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest inverted and partially submerged in the Trinity River about 1/3 mile south of Highway 105. A small beach area was located along the bank of the river immediately south of the highway overpass. Both river banks were lined with low trees in the immediate vicinity of the accident site.

A post-accident examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a pre-impact failure or malfunction. A detailed summary of the airframe and engine examinations is included with the docket material associated with this accident case.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of the pilot was conducted at Forensic Medical Management Services in Beaumont, Texas. The pilot's death was attributed to blunt force injuries sustained in the accident.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted forensic toxicology report stated:

No Carbon Monoxide detected in Blood (Cavity);
No Ethanol detected in Vitreous;
2.067 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Urine
0.049 (ug/ml, ug/g) Benzoylecgonine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Cocaethylene detected in Urine
Cocaethylene NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Cocaine detected in Urine
Cocaine NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Ecgonine Methyl Ester detected in Urine
Ecgonine Methyl Ester NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
Ibuprofen detected in Urine
Levamisole detected in Urine
Levamisole NOT detected in Blood (Cavity)
0.032 (ug/ml, ug/g) Methamphetamine detected in Blood (Cavity)
Methamphetamine detected in Muscle

Benzoylecgonine and ecgonine methyl ester are inactive metabolites of cocaine; cocaethylene is a metabolite that is only formed when cocaine is co-ingested with ethanol. Levamisole is commonly used to cut street cocaine. Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter analgesic commonly marketed with the names Advil and Motrin. Methamphetamine is available by prescription for the short-term treatment of narcolepsy and obesity, but is also commonly available on the street.


Patrick Falterman (right), 26, of Tarkington, was the pilot of a Bellanca 7ECA that crashed September 3rd, 2016 in Moss Hill, Texas. His passenger, Zach Esters, 25, of Lafayette, Louisiana was on board the plane. Both young men were killed.









NTSB Identification: CEN16FA346
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 03, 2016 in Moss Hill, TX
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7ECA, registration: N787MW
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 September 3, 2016, about 1900 central daylight time, a Bellanca 7ECA airplane, N787MW, impacted the Trinity River about one-third mile south of Highway 105 near Moss Hill, Texas. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Cleveland Municipal Airport (6R3), Cleveland, Texas, at an undetermined time.


Witnesses reported observing the pilot completing several low altitude maneuvers before descending and impacting the river. Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying over the river at low altitude. The airplane pitched up and entered a steep climb. As the airplane reached the top of the climb, it yawed to the left, subsequently entering a near vertical descent and gradual left turn. Shortly before impacting the river, the gradual left turn reversed abruptly into a right, descending turn. The airplane came to rest inverted and partially submerged in the river.