Saturday, June 3, 2017

Big talk, but no big money in People Express deal

Ken Spirito was feeling frustrated. It was two weeks after the Peninsula Airport Commission kicked in $565,000 toward the multimillion-dollar cost of what would become People Express Airlines' third failed effort to start flying, this time out of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport.

"Continued lack of support from NN behind the scenes. Why can't anyone be positive?" Spirito, now the airport's former director, complained in an email to airport commissioners.

And six weeks later, even after People Express had repaid a $565,000 short-term loan from W.M. Jordan — it's not clear if that's where the commission money went — company chief executive John Lawson was feeling frustrated, too. His firm had just lost out on a project to build a new security checkpoint at the airport.

"I will be creating hundreds of new passengers for your airport with the Tech Center expansion. I have helped bring two new hangars to the Airport, and ALL our contracts were open bid where we were the LOW BIDDER and SAVED YOU MONEY. We invested $1,000,000 in Peoples Express that you introduced me to," he fired off in an email to Spirito. "What were you thinking?"

The failed effort to launch a start-up airline would involve a tight-knit, secretive circle of some of the Peninsula's most important power brokers, according to documents uncovered by a state audit, sparked by Daily Press reports that the commission used public funds to pay off a $4.5 million People Express debt owed to the politically connected financial powerhouse, TowneBank.

It was when all else had failed that Spirito, former Newport News City Manager Jim Bourey and TowneBank Peninsula board member Herbert V. Kelly Jr., a prominent local business lawyer, came up with the idea of a loan to People Express from TowneBank that would be guaranteed by taxpayer funds deposited with the airport commission, the audit found.

That guarantee, made to a company that told the commission its debts were already $240,000 more than its assets, would eventually require the airport to pay $4.5 million to TowneBank, in what state officials last week said was an unauthorized and illegal use of public money.

Desperate to find service to replace AirTran, which left the airport in 2012 cutting traffic by more than half, a group of Peninsula leaders listened hopefully to a pitch from from People Express founder Michael Morisi that he could make the airport a busy hub for a brand-new discount airline, employing 1,000 people.

Morisi bragged to local officials about $50 million in Wall Street financing that he said was just around the corner, according to the audit.

In March 2013, at Spirito's request, Lawson invested his first $300,000.

But in April, as Morisi continued to push for public support, he complained in an email to Spirito:

"We had meetings with several of the largest private investors in the area who were part of a group put together by former Mayor Joe Frank, the head of air service development, appointed by Mayor McKinley Price. Each of these men indicated a very strong desire to see us establish our headquarters here and begin service and expressed they would make personal investments ... With only one exception, these did not materialize."

Morisi's email mentions a March 28 phone call from Frank "indicating that he 'had $5 Million I could get.'"

"Unfortunately, today," the email continues, "Joe said he did not believe the community, through public funds, or the private business leaders would make any investment until after we acquire XTRA Airways."

XTRA Airways was an Idaho-based charter firm Morisi had agreed to buy, a purchase that he was trying to find money for to get planes for People Express, which was then little more than marketing company recently fined for illegally hawking discount air fares.

The purchase never went through, and Morisi and People Express were sued by a Chicago leasing firm for some $171,000 it had advanced to make the deal work.

Bourey's involvement stepped up in October 2013 with his appointment to the airport commission board. Just three months into his new job as Newport News city manager, Bourey emailed a number of Hampton Roads leaders to convene a meeting to discuss plans to increase air service at the airport.

Also that October, Lawson's firm lent an additional $985,000 to People Express, a loan that has never been repaid. Two months earlier, Lawson had won approval from the Newport News City Council for what he described at the time as a $200 million project to build Tech Center, a mixed-use development that would start with a Whole Foods-anchored shopping center.

In November 2013, Bourey drafted a letter to People Express' newly appointed chief executive officer, Jeff Erickson, saying that as city manager he was ready to recommend grants of local funds totaling $500,000 a year for five years, once it started operations.

That wouldn't be enough.

A new plan

At the start 2014, Erickson came up with a new plan to get People Express flying. He would hire three planes from Nevada-based Vision Airlines, which like XTRA had the federal certifications that allowed it to fly. But he needed $5 million to close the deal.

"I am not very confident in the NEW direction Pex has laid out in its plan," Spirito emailed to Bourey, using the shorthand for People Express.

Bourey apparently was.

"Our new City Manager Jim Bourey is taking a lead role now ... Capital fundraising efforts and operations planning are ongoing," Sam Workman, assistant director of the Newport News Economic Development Authority, emailed to Jackie Hudson, business manager at the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

"Our City Manager has been instrumental and very involved at a high level," Workman said in a later email to Hudson.

Bourey worked in the area Morisi had claimed as his expertise, trying to line up investors.

"I'm seeing Lawson at 4PM Thursday and (Riverside Health Systems President William B.) Downey at 10AM Friday," Erickson emailed to Bourey in early February 2014. "Thx for opening the door!!"

"Excellent, hope things go well!! I am working on some other folks as well," Bourey replied.

Three days later, in an email to former state Del. Alan Diamonstein, whose law firm soon would be advising TowneBank about the commission, Bourey wrote, "We are at a critical juncture with People Express ... Just that old money bugaboo. I plan to talk to a few folks in the community this week."

Financing a Vision Airlines deal was not the only worry. People Express wasn't paying the airport for rent, utilities, trash pickup and security badges, a sum that reached nearly $41,000 by the end of March 2014.

In May, one supplier filed to garnish People Express' bank accounts for nearly $65,000 it said it was owed. By then, the IRS had filed liens for $232,000 in unpaid taxes. A $50,546 balance due on the company's credit cards was still unpaid, more than a year after American Express sued for payment in Newport News Circuit Court. The sum is still unpaid.

And the Washington, D.C., law firm Hogan Lovells had won a promise from People Express and Morisi to pay $153,836 it was owed.

Bateman's dilemma

Hogan Lovells agreed to let People Express send $20,000 by wire on May 15, 2014, then make several payments over the next couple months to satisfy what it owed them.

TowneBank employee Terrie Spruill emailed bank executive Bert Bateman, a Newport News city councilman who was also serving as an airport commissioner, to tell him: "I just talked to Mr. Ogg, the attorney for Hogan Lovells, and he is supposed to email me a release ... I will let you know when I receive that email from the attorney or if you want me to speak directly with the member, I would be glad to do that as well."

Bateman asked her to reach out so that the matter could be resolved quickly. Asked about that exchange on Saturday, Bateman said that it is routine for bank staff to check with senior management about such liens.

Bateman had told auditors and the Daily Press that his only involvement with People Express was setting up a meeting between Bourey and Brian Skinner, TowneBank's Peninsula president, which eventually led to the airport commission's loan guarantee. Bateman sat in on the meeting, took notes and then decided he should recuse himself from the matter, he said. He shared his notes with another loan officer.

Records obtained by the auditors show that Bourey, Spirito and Jason Moulton, People Express' chief financial officer, were including Bateman on May 23 emails with financial information that later would be used to work out the loan and the guarantee, including a schedule of expected payments from the state of airport capital funds.

On the night of May 23 — five days before the meeting that Bateman scheduled — Bourey emailed Bateman to thank him for meeting "with us" that afternoon, not specifying where or with whom. Bourey says that he "really would like to push this as much as we can because the upside is so huge."

"I was pretty surprised as you that they are not in better position with revenues to get in the air. ... If it looks like they will not have a clear path to flying, we will cancel the Friday event. It is better to have that problem than the incredible black eye of failing," Bourey wrote.

Bateman told the Daily Press that Bourey was asking him general questions about financing options for People Express.

"I told him they were not bankable," he said.

In an email response that evening, he wrote to Bourey, "Jim, we are not venture capitalists."

He added that any funds serving as a surety on TowneBank credit is "convoluted and unprecedented at best. Red flags on PEX accounts have flown bc of garnishments (this is in the public domain already). Timeliness is another issue entirely. Brian and I will huddle on Tuesday. He has been briefed on this already."

Over the next few days, Bourey and Spirito tried to understand where People Express stood financially, eventually receiving a balance sheet on May 26 that showed the airline's debts exceed its assets by about $241,000. Meanwhile, invites were being emailed for an event announcing People Express' launch — the governor was coming.

Bateman said Bourey asked him to set up a meeting with TowneBank Peninsula president Skinner, Spirito, Kingston and People Express CEO Erickson. They met on May 28, 2014. Batemen said Skinner asked him to sit in because Skinner didn't know everyone.

"Before we walked in, I told Jim I couldn't be involved," Bateman said on Saturday. He says he was asked to take notes of the discussion and didn't participate.

"When it was done, Brian and I walked over to Sue Ivy's office, so he could hand off to her," Bateman says. "I walked out of there feeling like I had done my job and was no longer involved."

The auditors found an email from Bateman the next day to Sue Ivy, the loan officer assigned to handle the deal, and to lawyers representing the bank, People Express and the airport commission, as well as People Express executives Erickson and Moulton, laying out how a loan guarantee with the airport commission would work. Moulton emailed Bateman to talk about the loan terms.

Bateman says now he was simply circulating the notes he was asked to take at the meeting.

When Moulton emailed back to talk about loan terms, Bateman replied that Ivy was handling the matter.

A week later, on June 3, in response to a question from one of the bank's lawyers, Bateman detailed the Peninsula Airport Commission accounts that were to be used to secure the People Express loan. He copied colleagues at the bank, Spirito, Kelly and Kingston.

"That was just a question about the notes I took," he said Saturday.

The next day, Terrie Spruill — who had emailed Bateman about the law firm People Express owed money to — emailed Bateman at 11:42 a.m.: the bank had just received a garnishment summons for the airline, an IRS levy for $252,030.15. Bateman forwarded her email to People Express officials saying, "Help."

It wasn't until June 18 that the bank, People Express and the airport commission finally reached an agreement on a $5 million line-of-credit loan. One sticking point was Lawson's concern about when his company's loan would be repaid. At one point, W.M. Jordan's controller suggested boosting the guarantee to $6 million. Bourey kept pushing Lawson on the need to complete the deal and the businessman eventually agreed to let his company's loan be subordinated to the commission-guaranteed credit line. Bateman wasn't involved in any of this.

But on June 23, Moulton called to sound him out about surety bonds and letters of credit. Bateman emailed a summary to Skinner, Ivy and an executive at TowneBank's insurance affiliate.

"He just called me because he had my number and he had a general banking question," Bateman said Saturday. "I didn't think it had anything to do with the loan."

Grounded

Despite the hoopla over People Express' eventual launch — Bourey boasted that passenger traffic at the airport was up 25 percent — it was a rocky start.

With Vision's planes operating half full, the service was operating well below the level predicted in Morisi's glowing pitches to airports, economic development officials and investors suggested. An email from the airport's auditor noted that People Express' costs exceeded revenue by nearly $865,000 in July and more than $647,000 in August.

In mid-July, Spirito emailed Morisi that passengers were complaining about delays and sloppy operations, and that airline was charging them for services it never provided, such as sitting together.

In mid-September, an accident with a supplier's truck damaged one Vision plane, taking it out of service. Since Vision never delivered the third plane it promised, People Express was grounded. It never flew again.

In a long email to Erickson two weeks later, Bourey encouraged him to stay on, saying he should continue seeking investors.

In October, as Spirito was pressing Erickson to turn over more than $100,000 of passenger fees the airline had collected on behalf of the airport and was required by federal law to turn over, Bourey complained to the People Express CEO that "I am pretty frustrated to learn from Brian at TowneBank that you plan to furlough employees tomorrow. Here I am pumping up People Express on WAVY yesterday. We have got to be in the loop."

Ivy, the TowneBank loan officer, emailed Spirito to say that People Express reported that it was bringing in a financial adviser from the investment bank Raymond James and Associates.

Spirito replied, "The person (People Express) is referring to is in no way close to doing anything with them."

Bourey, meanwhile, was emailing suggestions to Erickson about how to persuade people who had put money into People Express to invest even more. He could tell them, Bourey suggested, that without investing more, they risked losing the money they'd already bet on the airline.

Relations between the airline executives and Spirito were growing strained.

In November, Spirito ordered People Express to leave the airport because of the unpaid bills and passenger fees it had not turned over. Morisi sent an email complaint to Bourey, and added: "Jim, we will fly again. I am working two paths and have high confidence."

"Mike ... I am about to go into the PAC meeting," Bourey replied, asking if the company planned to pay the passenger fees it was supposed to hold for the airport with money meant to cover bills at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

"I need something positive to work with," he added.

Time to pay

In late November, when People Express missed payment of interest due on its TowneBank loan, Bourey ordered Spirito to pay, with a copy to airport lawyer and TowneBank director Kelly.

Kelly said he approved, but Spirito said, "I cannot feel comfortable." He added in a follow-up email, "I was never given authority by the board to make P&I (principal and interest) payments."

Kelly replied, "I share your frustrations but we need to do this ... no approval by the Commission is necessary."

Two months later, TowneBank told People Express it was in default and had 15 days to start flying and pay interest owned on its debt. That same day Bourey emailed Spirito about his upcoming annual performance evaluation, noting, "What I would like to do is a memo documenting ... the many successes you and the airport have had this past year."

On Feb. 18, 2015, the commission turned over to the bank $4.2 million drawn from three bank accounts — $3.2 million from state airport funds, just under $300,000 from the account holding a federal grant meant for marketing and revenue subsidy for People Express, and $693,000 from an account holding money Peninsula cities and counties had contributed to a regional air service committee that was supposed to be used to match the federal grant.

In March, Morisi, upset by a comment from Spirito in the Daily Press criticizing People Express, emailed Bourey to complain — and to note:

"Jim what I have not seen yet is any media coverage about the $5M provided to PEX, so congratulations on keeping that quiet."

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

Cessna 177B Cardinal, N34462: Accident occurred June 03, 2017 at Abel Island Airpark (IA23), Guttenberg, Clayton County, Iowa

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

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA317
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 03, 2017 in Guttenberg, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA 177, registration: N34462
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that, during final, “all seemed normal until [he] felt the plane drop.” He added that he heard the stall warning horn chirp and added full power “[too] late.” The left wing sheared off after impacting a street sign, and the airplane came to rest on the left side of the runway.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation station located about 12 miles north of the accident airport revealed that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 210° at 9 knots. The airplane was landing on runway 17.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain an adequate approach path, which resulted in the left wing impacting a street sign.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N34462

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA317
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 03, 2017 in Guttenberg, IA
Aircraft: CESSNA 177, registration: N34462
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The pilot reported that during final "all seemed normal until [he] felt the plane drop". He added that he heard the stall warning horn chirp and added full power "[too] late". The left wing sheared off after impacting a street sign and the airplane came to rest on the left side of the runway.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

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


A review of recorded data from the automated weather observation station located about 12 miles north of the accident airport reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was 210° at 9 knots. The airplane was landing on runway 17.



CLAYTON COUNTY (KWWL) -  William Swartz of Davenport walks away from a plane crash Saturday after trying to land.

Authorities say Swartz was flying a Cessna Cardinal in the Abel Island area and hit pole.

He was trying to land in windy weather near the grassy airport during the collision.

The pole damaged a wing, but he was still able to land.

Swartz tells KWWL, he owns a home on the island.






Crews responding to a plane crash on Able Island near Guttenberg.

Witnesses say the plane was flying low and hit a pole and spun.

Clayton County Sheriff's Deputies along with the Guttenberg Police, ambulance and fire department are currently on scene.

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

Aeronca 7BCM (L-16A), N7620B, registered to American Airpower Heritage Flying Museum and operated by Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force: Accident occurred April 30, 2016 in Tyrone, Fayette County, Georgia

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N7620B

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia

Commemorative Air Force; Peachtree City, Georgia



NTSB Identification: ERA16LA172 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Tyrone, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/25/2017
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7BCM, registration: N7620B
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The airline transport pilot was conducting a revenue sightseeing flight with one passenger onboard. During cruise flight, while the airplane was level at 3,000 ft mean sea level, the engine began to lose power. The pilot applied carburetor heat with no improvement; the engine speed remained at 2,000 rpm. He then turned the carburetor heat off and checked the magnetos and noted no significant change in performance. He then reapplied carburetor heat with no improvement; the pilot left the heat on for the remainder of the flight. The airplane would not maintain altitude, so he conducted a forced landing in a grass field. After touchdown, the airplane nosed down in high vegetation, and the main landing gear collapsed. The airplane sustained structural damage to the forward fuselage and engine firewall.

Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation, and there was sufficient fuel onboard at the time of the accident. Although the weather conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to serious carburetor icing at glide power, the pilot applied carburetor heat twice, which should have melted any existing ice, but power was not restored. Therefore, the investigation could not determine the reason for the partial loss of engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A partial loss of engine power during cruise flight for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

On April 30, 2016, about 1057 eastern daylight time, a Champion 7BCM, N7620B, was substantially damaged following a partial loss of engine power and forced landing to a grass field in Tyrone, Georgia. The airline transport pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a revenue sightseeing flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight from Atlanta Regional Airport – Falcon Field (FFC), Peachtree City, Georgia originated about 1040.

According to the pilot, the airplane was level at 3,000 feet above mean sea level when the engine began to lose power. He selected carburetor heat and no improvement was observed; the engine speed remained at 2,000 rpm. Carburetor heat was then turned off. The magnetos were checked and there was no significant change in performance noted. Carburetor heat was re-applied with no improvement; the pilot left it on for the remainder of the flight. The airplane would not maintain altitude, so the pilot configured the airplane for a forced landing in a field. After touchdown, the airplane nosed down in high vegetation and the main landing gear collapsed. The pilot and passenger exited the airplane and were assisted by first responders.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The airplane came to rest upright. Structural damage to the engine firewall and forward fuselage was evident. The main landing gear was collapsed under the airframe. The fuselage-mounted fuel tank contained an adequate amount of fuel. An initial cursory examination of the engine revealed no evidence of a mechanical failure.

The wreckage was recovered to the operator's facility for additional examination. The examination was conducted by two FAA inspectors and the NTSB investigator-in-charge. The engine was found intact and still attached to the airframe by the engine mount. External examination of the engine case and cylinders revealed no evidence of rupture or breach. All four top spark plugs were removed. The electrodes were normal in wear when compared to a Champion Check-A-Plug chart. The electrodes were coated with a thin layer of black soot. The engine was turned through manually using the propeller. Suction and compression were observed on all cylinders and valve action was correct. The carburetor was removed and disassembled. The fuel bowl was clean and free of contaminants. No water was noted. The bowl contained a small amount of clean fuel that was light blue in color. All carburetor components were normal in appearance. The air intake to the carburetor was unobstructed. The magnetos were turned manually and produced a spark at all leads. The ignition harness was normal in appearance with no fraying or cuts noted.

According to the 1053 weather observation at FFC, located about 7 miles south of the accident site, the temperature and dew point were 79 degrees F and 63 degrees F, respectively. According to the carburetor icing probability chart in FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35 (Carburetor Icing Prevention), dated June 30, 2009, the temperature/dew point at the time of the accident was in the area of serious icing at glide power.

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA172
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Tyrone, GA
Aircraft: CHAMPION 7BCM, registration: N7620B
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On April 30, 2016, about 1057 eastern daylight time, a Champion 7BCM, N7620B, was substantially damaged following a partial loss of engine power and forced landing at Tyrone, Georgia. The airline transport pilot and one passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the Commemorative Air Force under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a revenue sightseeing flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight from Atlanta Regional Airport (FFC), Peachtree City, Georgia originated about 1040.

According to the pilot, the airplane was level at 3,000 feet above mean sea level when the engine began to lose power. The pilot selected carburetor heat and no improvement was observed; the engine speed remained at 2,000 rpm. Carburetor heat was then turned off. The magnetos were checked and there was no significant change in performance noted. Carburetor heat was re-applied with no improvement; the pilot left it on for the remainder of the flight. The airplane would not maintain altitude, so the pilot configured the airplane for a forced landing in a hay field. After touchdown, the airplane bogged down in high vegetation and nosed down, collapsing the main landing gear. The pilot and passenger exited the airplane and were assisted by first responders.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The airplane came to rest upright. Structural damage to the engine firewall and forward fuselage was evident. The main landing gear were collapsed under the airframe. The fuselage-mounted fuel tank contained fuel. A cursory visual examination of the engine revealed no evidence of a mechanical failure.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer, C-GZSW, Smile Makers Inc: Fatal accident occurred June 02, 2017 in Gravenhurst, Muskoka Region, Ontario, Canada

Seasoned pilot Ted Dirstein in one of his favorite places -- the cockpit of an airplane. Dirstein was killed on June 2nd when the plane he and a Stratford man were traveling in crashed near Muskoka Airport. 



BRACEBRIDGE – The aviation community is in shock after a seasoned local pilot lost his life in a plane crash that shut down Highway 11 near the Muskoka Airport on Friday, June 2.

Ted Dirstein, 66, of Bracebridge, and Allan Metiver, 48, of Stratford, Ont. were killed when the amphibious plane they were traveling in crashed near the Muskoka Airport on June 2 causing local OPP to close the highway in both directions between Doe Lake Road in Gravenhurst and Highway 118 in Bracebridge until just after 7 p.m. The southbound lanes had reopened just before 6 p.m. but a tractor-trailer jack-knifed while trying to turn around, forcing police to close the lanes again.

According to Peter Rowntree, the regional senior investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, who attended the site of the wreckage on Saturday, the aircraft was returning to the airport shortly after take-off around 5 p.m. when it crashed.

He said the left wing of the small plane struck the side of Highway 11 before bouncing and coming to rest in a lightly brushed area at the side of the roadway destroying the aircraft on impact.

Rowntree said there was no evidence of an explosion or a fire following the crash.

Dirstein was currently working out of the Lake Central Air Services facility, located at the Muskoka Airport, as a flight trainer.

Lake Central Chief Operating Officer Jim Hodgson said he has been greatly affected by the death of his friend of more than 30 years.

“We were very close friends both at work, as well in our personal lives. So this is a very difficult time for me as well as my staff,” said Hodgson on Monday.

An experienced pilot with a long list of accolades, Dirstein’s obituary indicates he recently served as a test pilot for the Expedition airplane developed and built in Parry Sound.

He is survived by his wife Karen and daughters Laurelea and Karina.

“It has been a very hard few days for friends and family and continues to be a struggle each and every hour,” his daughter Laurelea posted on Facebook. “It blows me away how fast my best friend, and father, was taken from me,” she writes.

Along with flying, Dirstein is remembered as a passionate off-road motorcycle rider and an avid snowmobiler.

A post by Jordan Elliott on the Lake Effect Slayers snowmobile club Facebook page reads, “To one of our mentors, a father, husband, friend, champion, a fellow slayer.... someone who we could all look up to. You will be missed Ted.”

Among the comments, those who knew Dirstein described him as “Calm, cool and collected. One super cool dude who has been there, done that and did it well,” and as being “always happy to lend a hand no matter the time.”

Visitation was held at Reynolds funeral home in Bracebridge on Wednesday, June 7 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. and again from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. A celebration of life will be held in August with details to be announced at a later date. 

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




Investigators have a lot of work in front of them, as they try to piece together what caused an amphibious plane to crash Friday afternoon in Gravenhurst.

Two men died when the plane crash-landed following takeoff from Muskoka Airport, near the Gravehurst-Bracebridge town line, at about 5:10 p.m. Friday.

Ted (Edward) Dirstein, 66, of Bracebridge, and Allan Metivier, 48, of Stratford, died in the crash. The lake aircraft came down in a ditch mere feet from the northbound lanes of Highway 11, just south of the Highway 118 interchange.

Lead investigator Pete Rowntree of the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said his crew has an idea what happened, but isn't yet sure why.

"It certainly looks like it was trying to get back to the airport and aerodynamically stalled and crashed into the ground," he said. "It looks like they took off and for whatever reason they turned around immediately to come back to the airport, so we'll assume that there was something wrong."

Rowntree added his team is not aware of any radio calls from the plane to indicate any issues prior to crash.




The aircraft was removed from the scene late Saturday night and brought to the TSB's facility in Richmond Hill. Investigators will be able to look at the aircraft in more detail, exploring the engine, flight controls and fuel system. They'll also look at aircraft and pilot records, as well as weather conditions at the time of the crash.

It's still very early in the investigation, Rowntree said. It will likely be at least a month before they have the answers they are looking for. In that time, the TSB will also determine whether or not to conduct a full investigation that leads to a public report, or a Class 5 investigation, a more low-key scenario, where an explanation letter is provided to the next of kin and a report the coroner's office.

"We've got a lot of work cut out for us, trying to comb through the wreckage and seeing if we can find any discrepancies," Rowntree said. "It was fairly severe and extensive damage to the aircraft. There's a lot of damage. We've got to sort through that damage and see if there was anything that was pre-existing prior to the accident."

Highway 11 was shut down in both directions for about two hours immediately after the crash Friday. Southbound lanes were the first to re-open, around 7:15 p.m., while it was nearly midnight before both northbound lanes were cleared.

Given where the plane crashed, and what time of day the crash occurred, investigators have been inundated with witnesses providing information on the incident, which Rowntree and his colleagues are following up on.

http://www.nugget.ca



UPDATE: Bracebridge OPP have released the names of the two people killed in Friday's plane crash.The occupants of the aircraft have been identified as Ted (Edward) Dirstein, 66, of Bracebridge, and Allan Metiver, 48, of Stratford, Ont.


BRACEBRIDGE – Details are starting to come to light surrounding the fatal aircraft crash Friday night that killed two passengers and tied up traffic along Highway 11.

Peter Rowntree, the regional senior investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said in an interview Saturday the amphibious aircraft had departed Muskoka Airport at around 5 p.m. but soon after takeoff, the plane returned to the airport and crashed during the turn.

“When it crashed, the left wing struck just the side of the highway …and the aircraft bounced and came to rest,” the inspector said in a video interview. “It was a fairly significant impact so the aircraft is destroyed.”    




Bracebridge OPP stated at around 5 p.m. they had closed Highway 11 in both directions between Doe Lake Road in Gravenhurst and Highway 118 in Bracebridge for an “incident with a plane.”

OPP have reopened the southbound lanes around 5:50 p.m. but the northbound lanes remained closed for a time. Both sides had to be closed again at 6:33 p.m. when a tractor trailer jack-knifed trying to turn around in the southbound lanes at the scene blocked traffic.

The north and southbound lanes were re-opened at 7:15 p.m.

Rowntree said there was no evidence of an explosion or a fire following the crash.

“It is just a very severe crash,” he said.  

District of Muskoka chair John Klinck has expressed his condolences to the family of the two people.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the victims’ families and our condolences go out to the Muskoka Airport community of tenants, businesses and staff,” John Klinck said in a press release Saturday morning. “We are also grateful to our first responders for their dedication and professionalism in this emergency situation.”

The district operates the Muskoka Airport, which re-opened its runways late last night following the accident investigation by the Transportation Safety Board.

Safety board officials were combing through the wreckage Saturday afternoon.

“So we are looking at things like the engine, flight controls … looking for any discrepancies in those items,” Rowntree said. “We always look at man, machine and the weather.”

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

Cessna Skycatcher C162, N7027F, registered to 7027 Foxtrot LLC, operated by Air Associates Inc: Accident occurred April 12, 2016 at Lee's Summit Municipal Airport (KLXT), Missouri

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N7027F

NTSB Identification: GAA16CA192
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 12, 201
6 in Lee's Summit, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/01/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA AIRCRAFT CO E162, registration: N7027F
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The flight instructor reported that the student pilot flared high and the airplane bounced on touchdown. Subsequently, the airplane veered to the right during the landing roll and the flight instructor took the flight controls and added power to abort the landing, but the airplane continued off the runway to the right. The right elevator struck a taxiway sign during the runway excursion, which resulted in substantial damage to the elevator.

The flight instructor did not report any mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 flight instructor's failure to maintain directional control during an aborted landing, which resulted in a runway excursion and collision with a taxiway sign.

SpaceX Launches Previously Used Cargo Capsule for First Time: Recycled rockets and spacecraft regarded as key to slashing cost of access to space



The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor
Updated June 3, 2017 8:37 p.m. ET


Elon Musk’s SpaceX for the first time launched a refurbished cargo capsule that had been used on a previous mission, a major stride toward eventually reusing spacecraft carrying astronauts.

Saturday’s blastoff of the Falcon 9 rocket carrying the unmanned Dragon capsule went off like clockwork, rising from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on schedule at 5:07 p.m. local time. Neither the rocket nor the previously flown capsule, filled with roughly three tons of supplies and experiments destined for the international space station, experienced any technical problems.

The capsule initially flew and came back from the orbiting laboratory in 2014.

The latest feat by Southern California-based Space Exploration Technologies Corp. followed by two months the closely held company’s historic accomplishment of launching, returning and vertically landing the major portion of a used booster to cap off two separate trips to space.

Slightly more than five years ago, SpaceX became the first corporate entity to link up a spacecraft with the orbiting space station.

Ultimately, Mr. Musk and many other space experts consider reusable rockets and spacecraft key to slashing the cost of access to space and stepping up launch tempos.

Over the years, a major challenge confronting SpaceX was ensuring that water didn’t leak into returning Dragons as parachutes guided them to gentle splashdowns. A still unanswered question is how many times a capsule’s heat shield—attached to the bottom of the pear-shaped vehicle and designed to withstand fiery returns through the atmosphere—can be reflown safely.

The recycled Dragon featured a new heat shield and replacement parachutes.

Three minutes after liftoff, the main engines stopped firing as planned, the first stage separated and then the engine powering the second stage ignited. Less than eight minutes after blastoff, the Falcon 9’s first stage touched down vertically at its landing site near the launchpad. The capsule is scheduled to arrive at the space station on Monday.

The launch had been scrubbed Thursday due to weather. Scientific cargo on board includes mice that are part of an effort to study loss of bone density in space, along with hundreds of fruit flies for biological experiments and seeds intended to grow in microgravity. Another experiment aims to test a new, flexible type of solar array that is supposed to unfurl like a mat.

Saturday’s blastoff also moves SpaceX closer to shifting management and worker resources to producing just a single variant of the Dragon capsule—intended to routinely start carrying humans into orbit before the end of the decade.

The same generation of spacecraft will be used in the future to also ferry cargo into orbit. Building, testing and reflying identical versions of the spacecraft is expected to reduce factory time and expenses for SpaceX, though it isn’t clear at what point federal space officials will sign off on recycling Dragons that carry astronauts. In the long run, company officials have said, they foresee potentially dozens of such repeat missions.

Company engineers continue to modify Falcon 9 rockets to increase their load capabilities and make them easier to reuse. Dragon capsules also have been optimized for reuse. Company officials hope to reduce refurbishment time, including cutting down on structural inspections, as they become more proficient at flying used spacecraft.

The blastoff marked SpaceX’s 11th successful cargo launch, and it is likely to give the company and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration a boost as both sides ramp up efforts to certify Dragons for human spaceflights. NASA’s now-retired space shuttle fleet also was designed to launch repeatedly, though refurbishing the shuttles between missions proved substantially more complex, expensive and time-consuming than envisioned.

In addition to focusing on flying refurbished rockets and Dragon cargo capsules, SpaceX’s technical experts are engaged in detailed discussions with their NASA counterparts about whether the agency will need to grant certain waivers from safety standards to authorize transporting astronauts to the orbiting space station. One of the biggest hurdles, according to agency and industry experts, relates to the hazards of flying through portions of space cluttered with tiny meteors and leftover debris from previous missions by countries and commercial entities.

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

Beech 65-A90-1 King Air, N7MC, registered to and operated by Saint Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District: Fatal accident occurred April 19, 2016 near Slidell Airport (KASD), St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

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

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA158
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 19, 2016 in Slidell, LA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/13/2017
Aircraft: BEECH 65 A90 1, registration: N7MC
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 airline transport pilot and commercial copilot were conducting a mosquito abatement application flight. Although flight controls were installed in both positions, the pilot typically operated the airplane. During a night, visual approach to landing at their home airfield, the airplane was on the left base leg and overshot the runway's extended centerline and collided with 80-ft-tall power transmission towers and then impacted terrain. Examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Both pilots were experienced with night operations, especially at their home airport. The pilot had conducted operations at the airport for 14 years and the copilot for 31 years, which might have led to crew complacency on the approach . Adequate visibility and moon disk illumination were available; however, the area preceding the runway is a marsh and lacks cultural lighting, which can result in black-hole conditions in which pilots may perceive the airplane to be higher than it actually is while conducting an approach visually.

The circumstances of the accident are consistent with the pilot experiencing the black hole illusion which contributed to him flying an approach profile that was too low for the distance remaining to the runway. It is likely that the pilot did not maintain adequate crosscheck of his altimeter and radar altimeter during the approach and that the copilot did not monitor the airplane's progress; thus, the flight crew did not recognize that they were not maintaining a safe approach path. Further, it is likely that neither pilot used the visual glidepath indicator at the airport, which is intended to be a countermeasure against premature descent in visual conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The unstable approach in black-hole conditions, resulting in the airplane overshooting the runway extended centerline and descending well below a safe glidepath for the runway. Contributing to the accident was the lack of monitoring by the copilot allowing the pilot to fly well below a normal glidepath.

 
Wayne Fisher, co-pilot and Donald Pechon, pilot.


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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Saint Tammany Mosquito Abatement District; Slidell, Louisiana

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

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

Mosquito Abatement District: http://registry.faa.gov/N7MC




NTSB Identification: CEN16FA158
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 19, 2016 in Slidell, LA
Aircraft: BEECH 65 A90 1, registration: N7MC
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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 19, 2016, about 2115 central daylight time, a Beech 65-A90-1 airplane, N7MC, collided with towers suspending high-power transmission lines while attempting to land at Slidell Municipal Airport (ASD), Slidell, Louisiana. Both pilots were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Saint Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 public aircraft operations flight . Night visual meteorological conditions existed at the airport at the time of the accident, and the flight was operating on a visual flight rules flight plan. The local flight originated about 2000.

After completing a planned mosquito abatement application flight, the pilots radioed their intention to land at ASD. The accident pilots were flying a visual pattern to runway 18, and another company airplane was behind them conducting a practice GPS approach to runway 18. When the pilot of the other company airplane radioed that they had crossed the GPS approach's final approach fix, the accident pilot radioed that they were on the left base leg and were number one to land at the airport. Seconds later, the pilots of the other company airplane saw a blue arc of electricity, followed shortly after by a plume of fire. The accident pilots could not be reached on the radio, and the company pilots notified emergency personnel. The airplane was located in a marsh about 0.6 nautical mile north-northwest of the approach end of runway 18.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Pilot

The left seat pilot, age 59, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. In addition, he held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single-engine and instrument airplane. He was issued a second-class medical certificate, dated February 18, 2016, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision. On his medical application, the pilot reported that he used hydrochlorothiazide and irbesartan.

As of December 11, 2015, the pilot reported accruing 6,825 hours of single-engine total time with 50 hours logged in the preceding 6 months and 952 hours of multiengine total time with 15 hours logged in the preceding year. His flight time in the Beech C90 was 15 hours with 5 hours logged in the preceding year. He estimated that he had 7,762 total hours with 1,135 hours of night time, 10 hours of actual instrument time, and 305 hours of simulated instrument time. He reported his last biennial flight review occurred in February 2014.

Company records showed that the pilot flew the accident airplane for 7.4 hours in 2015 and 5.7 hours in 2014. On July 1, 2015, the pilot was approved by the aerial operations supervisor to act as pilot-in-command for the accident airplane and a Britten-Norman BN-2T airplane, N717MC.




Copilot

The copilot, age 68, who was in the right seat, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings in airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane and helicopter. He also held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single-engine sea and a flight instructor certificate for airplane single and multiengine, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane and helicopter. He was issued a second-class medical certificate, dated July 14, 2015, with the limitation that he must have available glasses for near vision. On his medical application, the copilot reported that he used diltiazem, losartan, pravastatin, metoprolol, etodolac, pantoprazole, sildenafil, and warfarin.

As of February 25, 2016, the pilot reported accruing 4,310 hours of single-engine total time with 50 hours logged in the preceding 6 months and 5,910 hours of multiengine time with 105 hours logged in the preceding year. His flight time in the Beech C90 was 627 hours with 59 hours logged in the preceding year. He estimated that he had 18,163 total hours with 4,619 hours of night time, 2,199 hours of actual instrument time, and 431 hours of simulated instrument time. He reported that his last biennial flight review occurred in February 2014.

The copilot was also the department's aerial operations supervisor. He had worked for the Saint Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District for 31 years. According to other company pilots, although the copilot was the more senior pilot, he was seated in the right seat and would have been performing copilot duties.

Both pilots had flown the accident airplane together on April 4, 7, 8, 11, and 18, 2015, for a total of 6.9 hours. Each flight ended in a night landing to ASD. On the forms for each of the flights, the area for "comments and/or mechanical problems" was blank.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The low-wing, twin engine airplane was manufactured in 1968. It was powered by two 550-shaft- horsepower Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-20 turboprop engines. Each engine drove a three-blade, variable-pitch, full-feathering Hartzell HC-B3TN-3B propeller. The airplane was operated as a public aircraft operations flight by the Saint Tammany Parish of Louisiana for mosquito abatement purposes.

The airplane's most recent inspection was a combined Phase I through IV and annual inspection recorded on December 1, 2015, at an airframe total time of 15,189.6 hours. On that date, the left engine had accrued 9,676.6 hours since new and 1,638.4 hours since overhaul. The right engine had accrued 7,413 total hours since new and 1,248.5 hours since overhaul. Airplane forms filled out before the flight showed that the airplane had logged 15,207.1 total hours.

The airplane was originally manufactured as a US Army U-21D. It remained in military service until 1995 when it was sold to a civilian company. In 1998, the airplane was registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a Beechcraft 65A90-1 and issued a special airworthiness certificate for restricted use for the purpose of agriculture and pest control. The airplane was acquired by the Saint Tammany Parish in June 2012. The airplane was equipped with a radar altimeter and had controls installed in both pilot seats.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 2053, the ASD automated weather reporting facility reported calm wind, visibility 10 miles, clear sky, temperature 68° F, dew point 64° F, and a barometric pressure of 30.09 inches of mercury .

Astronomical data from the US Navy Observatory indicated that the moon rose on the day of the accident at 1730 and set the following morning at 0541. The moon disk illumination was 94%.

COMMUNICATIONS

The accident pilots were communicating on the airport's common traffic advisory radio frequency (CTAF), which was not recorded. The pilots in the company airplane who were also on the CTAF reported no distress calls before the accident.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

ASD is located 4 miles northwest of Slidell, Louisiana, and is a publicly owned, nontowered airport that is open to the public. The airport is at an elevation of 28 ft mean sea level. It has a 5,002 ft long, 100 ft wide asphalt runway aligned with 18/36. Runway 18 has a displaced threshold with a published landing distance of 4,057 ft. It is lit with medium-intensity runway lighting and runway end identifier lights, which are preset to low intensity between the hours of dusk and dawn. There is precision approach path indicator lightning (PAPI) located on the left side of the runway, configured for a 3.0° glideslope.

The other company pilots reported that the airfield lighting was illuminated and that the PAPI operated normally.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane initially impacted two 70- to 80-ft-tall towers that suspended high-power transmission lines . The lines generally ran on a heading of 150°/330° and, due to their height, were not required to be illuminated. Ceramic isolators were shattered on the northern pole, and the top guide wire was damaged on the southern pole. A portion of the airplane's lower chemical tank and left wing tip were found directly beneath the poles. The airplane's debris path followed a 175° heading in marshy terrain for about 555 ft.

The main wreckage came to rest about 0.6 nautical mile northwest of runway 18's approach end. The main wreckage consisted of the metal hopper tank frame, the upper portion of the fuselage, cockpit instrumentation, inboard left wing, outboard right wing, left horizontal, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and the left engine with its propeller. A postimpact fire consumed a majority of the cabin structure. The airplane's nose was generally aligned with 350° magnetic, and the fuselage was inverted.

Flight control continuity was confirmed to all surfaces. The flaps were in the retracted position. The elevator and rudder trim positions could not be determined due to impact damage. The fuel selector position could not be determined. The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was still attached to the airplane, and the antenna and was found in the "armed" position, but it was thermally damaged. The company pilots in the other airplane reported that they did not hear any ELT beacon.

Both pilots' restraint hardware remained latched; the webbing was consumed by fire. The left fuel flow gauge read 400 pounds per hour and the right fuel gauge read 250 pounds per hour. The cockpit instrumentation was impact and thermally damaged and was largely unreadable. The right inlet turbine temperature gauge read about 700°. The left propeller speed read about 1,100 rpm.
The right engine was impact-separated and found upright. Its propeller remained attached to the engine. Two of the three blades displayed S-bending with nicks on their leading edges. Examination of the left propeller blades found one blade almost completely consumed by the postcrash fire. Another blade was partially consumed and displayed curling with a rearward bend. The third blade was curled and bent rearward. No anomalies were detected with the airframe and engine.

A thermally damaged SD card was recovered from the airplane's ADAPCO Wingman GX system and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board laboratory for data extraction. Due to the damage sustained in the accident, the chips on the card were not recoverable.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Pilot

The St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy showed no natural diseases that could have posed a potential hazard to flight safety.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. Testing was negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. The following drugs were detected:

Ibuprofen detected in urine
Irbesartan detected in urine
Irbesartan detected in blood

The pilot had previously reported the use of irbesartan, which is used to treat high blood pressure, to the FAA. Ibuprofen is a nonnarcotic analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent and is available in prescription and nonprescription forms.

Copilot

The St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office conducted an autopsy on the copilot. Although the autopsy did note several chronic medical conditions, there did not appear to be any natural diseases that posed an immediate hazard to flight safety.

The FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the copilot. Testing was negative for ethanol and 15% carbon monoxide was detected in blood from the heart. The following drugs were detected:

Diltiazem detected in urine
Diltiazem detected in blood (heart)
Metoprolol detected in urine
Metoprolol NOT detected in blood (heart)
Rosuvastatin detected in urine
Rosuvastatin detected in blood (heart)
Warfarin detected in urine
Warfarin detected in blood (heart)

The copilot had previously reported all of the detected medications except the rosuvastatin to the FAA. Rosuvastatin is a prescription medication used to reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides levels.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The FAA's Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A), dated 2008, Chapter 10, "Night Operations," states the following:
Night Illusions

A black-hole approach occurs when the landing is made from over water or non-lighted terrain where the runway lights are the only source of light. Without peripheral visual cues to help, pilots will have trouble orientating themselves relative to Earth. The runway can seem out of position (downsloping or upsloping) and in the worse case, results in landing short of the runway. If an electronic glide slope or visual approach slope indicator (VASI) is available, it should be used. If navigation aids (NAVAIDs) are unavailable, careful attention should be given to using the flight instruments to assist in maintaining orientation and a normal approach. If at any time the pilot is unsure of his or her position or attitude, a go-around should be executed.

Approaches and Landings

To fly a traffic pattern of proper size and direction, the runway threshold and runway-edge lights must be positively identified. Once the airport lights are seen, these lights should be kept in sight throughout the approach. Distance may be deceptive at night due to limited lighting conditions. A lack of intervening references on the ground and the inability of the pilot to compare the size and location of different ground objects cause this. This also applies to the estimation of altitude and speed. Consequently, more dependence must be placed on flight instruments, particularly the altimeter and the airspeed indicator.

The altimeter and VSI [vertical speed indicator] should be constantly cross-checked against the airplane's position along the base leg and final approach. A visual approach slope indicator (VASI) is an indispensable aid in establishing and maintaining a proper glidepath.

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA158
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 19, 2016 in Slidell, LA
Aircraft: BEECH 65 A90 1, registration: N7MC
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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

On April 19, 2016, about 2115 central daylight time, a Beech 65-A90-1 airplane, N7MC, collided with towers suspending high power transmission lines, while attempting to land at the Slidell Municipal Airport (KASD), Slidell, Louisiana. Both pilots were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Saint Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District as a public use flight. Night visual meteorological condition prevailed for the flight, which operated on a visual flight rules flight plan. The local flight originated about 2000.

After completing a planned mosquito abatement aerial application flight, the accident pilots radioed their intentions to land at KASD. A company airplane was also in the area and flew the GPS approach to runway 18 for practice, while the accident airplane flew a visual pattern. When the pilots of the other company airplane radioed that they had crossed the GPS approach's final approach fix, the accident pilots radioed that they were on a left base and were number one to land at the airport. Seconds later, the company pilots of the other airplane saw an arc of electricity followed shortly by a plume of fire from the ground. The accident pilots could not be reached on the radio, and emergency responders were contacted.

The airplane was located in a marsh about 0.6 nautical miles north-northwest of approach end of runway 18. The initial point of impact was damage to two towers suspending high power transmission lines. These two towers were between 70-80 feet tall and were located 200 yards north of the main wreckage. The airplane's left wing tip and a portion of the aerial applicant tank were found near the towers.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

At 2053, an automated weather reporting facility located at KASD reported a calm wind, visibility 10 miles, a clear sky, temperature 68° F, dew point 64° F, and a barometric pressure of 30.09 inches.