Monday, June 5, 2017

Is China Ready for a Budget Air Travel Boom? AirAsia Is Betting on It

The Wall Street Journal
By Trefor Moss
June 5, 2017 5:48 p.m. ET


SHANGHAI—China’s growing ranks of middle-class consumers love to fly, putting the nation on track to surpass the U.S. as the world’s biggest airline market within the next decade.

But they won’t find many bargains. Budget airlines carry just 7% of domestic fliers in China, according to CAPA Centre for Aviation, an aviation-intelligence company, compared with two-thirds in neighboring India and Thailand.

Budget airline AirAsia AIRASIA +0.00% Bhd is aiming to change that, hoping to shake up China’s aviation sector by exporting its no-frills model to the region’s biggest air-travel market.

In a regulatory filing last month, it said it plans to open a unit in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province.

But the Malaysia-based carrier could experience a bumpy landing in China, as the country’s big state-run airlines— Air China , China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines —enjoy a stranglehold that limits the opportunities of low-cost competitors.

The incumbents command all the best landing slots and lobby against the awarding of operating licenses and slots to low-cost rivals, said Will Horton, a senior analyst at CAPA.

The government also tightly regulates aircraft purchases, limiting the expansion of potential rivals, he said, and airlines are barred from hiring pilots away from competitors to help them grow.

“It will take AirAsia a long time to build up and achieve its goals” in China, Mr. Horton said.

China’s aviation authority didn’t respond to questions.

Elsewhere in Asia, budget airlines are thriving. Low-cost carriers such as Indonesia’s Lion Air, India’s IndiGo and AirAsia have zoomed past full-service incumbents when it comes to securing domestic and regional market share.

Low-cost carriers typically drive down prices by stripping out services provided by full-service airlines, such as in-flight meals and entertainment, check-in baggage and airport lounges.

For example, Chinese budget carrier Spring Airlines is offering a $186 round-trip fare from Shanghai to Hong Kong in July, whereas full-service rival China Eastern Airlines charges $258 for the same route on the same dates.

But while Spring Airlines and several other Chinese low-cost carriers have emerged, regulations restricting both fleet expansion and the acquisition of good landing slots are holding them back. And no foreign airline, low-cost or otherwise, has ever managed to establish a Chinese base.

In its regulatory filing, AirAsia said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with local partners China Everbright Group, a state-run financial services company, and the Henan government. The parties have a year to strike a deal.

The Malaysian carrier already flies to 15 destinations in mainland China, but setting up a local base would help spur a boom in budget air travel, it said in the filing, and enable AirAsia to capitalize on surging Chinese demand. It didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Demand for air travel in China is growing strongly: Chinese people will take 1.3 billion flights in 2035, up from 483 million in 2015, the International Air Transport Association predicts, and China will eclipse the U.S. as the world’s biggest aviation market by around 2024.

Budget airlines are slowly gaining traction in China, said Andrew Cowan, chief executive of U-Fly Alliance, a grouping of low-cost carriers in China, Hong Kong and Korea, following 2014 reforms designed to encourage budget air travel.

Those reforms removed minimum-pricing rules, enabling low-cost carriers to undercut full-service competitors, Mr. Cowan said. The new rules also cut airport fees in provincial cities like Zhengzhou where budget airlines typically operate, and raised fleet-size caps.

Even so, AirAsia’s strategy of establishing a local unit is risky, Mr. Cowan said. U-Fly Alliance was established to enable non-Chinese members to use Chinese partner networks without the need to risk investing in a Chinese base, he said.

Although the budget carriers could dent the business of the state-owned airlines, Mr. Cowan says Beijing has at least one good reason to support budget airlines’ expansion. The government is investing heavily in dozens of new regional airports across China, he says; unless it wants them to sit empty, it will need low-cost airlines to move in and start using them.

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

AirLake Aviation at Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport (KOZS) purchases training planes from Australia

A combination of a great pricing deal from Australia and the ability to offer a new service was the catalyst for Downey to pull the trigger on the planes, despite not being able to physically inspect them before the purchase.





A Cessna 172 XP single-engine airplane manufactured in Wichita, Kan., sold to an individual in Arizona and then taken overseas to the Australian Outback has found a new home just 200 miles away from where it was first assembled.

John Downey, owner of AirLake Aviation at Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport, recently bought two planes from Australia as the 22-year veteran pilot looks to expand flight training to serve a niche for the entire region. Downey also provides pilot training, charter flights and banner flying services out of Camdenton.

The extra-horsepower Cessna was built in 1977 and was housed in Arizona until it was purchased by the Australian government in 1989 and then by Downey a couple of months ago.

Disassembled, the Cessna and a twin-engine Piper Seminole were shipped via barge from Australia to Long Beach, Calif., where they traveled by train to Missouri. From Kansas City, they were placed on a 50-foot wide flatbed trailer and hauled to the Camdenton airport.

“This one, the Cessna, because it was extra horsepower, they were actually developed for the Air Force. It was called the T-41. They made about 500 of them for the Army and Air Force and then started making them for the public,” Downey explained. “We’ve been working on them for about a month and a half. This one actually runs, but we’ve got to wait a little bit for the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and their paperwork.”

The Piper, built in 1981, was designed and primarily used to train pilots, but may have had a rather unusual use in Australia. Downey said when they received the Seminole it had several black boxes and a high frequency technology system he was unfamiliar with, theorizing it could have been used for GPS mapping or surveillance services.

The Seminole, still being assembled, is a twin-engine plane for a rather difficult flight training program that is significantly more advanced than a single-engine pilot license program. The twin-engine flight training program Downey is putting together will be the only one of its kind in the region.

“The only place people can get their multi-engine license is St. Charles or Overland, Kan., and they’re pretty expensive,” Downey said. “You don’t start out getting a pilot license for a double-engine. Most only have a single-engine (license). We’re offering a three-day course for about $2,700.”

On a normal day there’s no real difference in flying a single-engine versus a twin-engine airplane, Downey said. However, if one of those engines were to fail, especially during take off — the critical phase of flight — a significant problem would arise.

“If one of these engines fails there’s a whole lot of drag out there. The airplane is not going to fly right. If the propellers are still windmilling it’s like a big sheet of plywood,” Downey said of dual-engine planes. “If you lose the engine on a single, it basically becomes a glider and you get a little more latitude to bring it down in a field.”

A combination of a great pricing deal from Australia and the ability to offer a new service was the catalyst for Downey to pull the trigger on the planes, despite not being able to physically inspect them before the purchase.

“I wanted to expand the services, but when New Zealand went bankrupt the whole Australian economy took a dive, so we got these for 50-cents on the dollar,” he said. “We did have to pay to have them shipped and put together, but it was still a worthwhile investment.”

Downey said he relied on pictures and maintenance records, but once the planes were delivered reality sank in — as expected.

“What you see in pictures and print is a whole lot different than when you get them here. We had to replace some things, nothing major, the plastic pieces were like brittle. We had to put the wings and tail on, redo the interiors. They didn’t look anything like this,” Downey said. “It’s just kind of a cool story how they were built here, sent over there. Kind of full-circle now.”

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

Number of Guns Spotted at Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport (KMSP) Security Increasing

 Guns are a growing problem at Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport. In fact, more guns are being spotted at MSP's security checkpoints than ever before, according to Transportation Security Administration officials.

Here's the breakdown: TSA officers found 18 guns at MSP in 2014. That number jumped to 23 guns in 2015. A record 38 guns were found in 2016. And so far this year, 15 guns have already been spotted through mid-May, which is more than ever before.

Of those guns, the TSA said more than 80 percent were loaded. Of those, the vast majority had a round in the chamber.

"That stops everything, and it makes that passenger's day a whole lot worse," said Cliff Van Leuven, the federal director for the TSA in Minnesota.
MSP security checkpoint

There is a way to legally fly with a gun. According to the TSA, it needs to be checked in a hard-sided case with an unloaded magazine and ammunition in its original packaging. The case has to be locked, and the gun owner must let ticketing agents know they're traveling with it.

"Before you pack your bag, unpack your bag," Van Leuven said. "Make sure you know what's in there and then don't bring firearms through a security checkpoint."

The infraction can be a costly experience. Van Leuven said those who are caught with a gun at a security checkpoint can expect a $7500 fine from the TSA. They'll also be charged with a misdemeanor, and their gun will likely be confiscated as evidence.

Story and video:  http://kstp.com

Sonex, N255BZ: Accident occurred June 03, 2017 in Garfield, Whitman County, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N255BZ

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA119
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 03, 2017 in Garfield, WA
Aircraft: PAUL R SEIPT SONEX, registration: N255BZ
Injuries: 1 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 June 3, 2017, about 1130 Pacific daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Sonex airplane, N255BZ, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing 1 1/2 miles south of Garfield, Washington. The private pilot was the sole person on board and was not injured. The aircraft 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 not filed for the cross-country flight. The flight originated from Felts Field Airport, Spokane, Washington, at 1025 and was destined for Pullman Moscow Regional Airport, Pullman, Washington.

The pilot reported that while in cruise flight, at 4,000 feet mean sea level, he experienced a vibration followed by a loud bang. Shortly thereafter, the propeller separated from the airplane. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing to a paved road. 

During the landing roll, the airplane impacted a power pole guy wire and the left wing sustained substantial damage. 

The accident site was documented and the examination of the airplane revealed the propeller assembly and forward section of the crankshaft separated near the forward crankshaft bearing. The propeller and crankshaft section was witnessed falling into a field near the accident site. A search continues for the propeller assembly and crankshaft section. 

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





Washington State Patrol responded to an emergency landing of an aircraft off of State Route 27 south of the town of Garfield just after before noon on Saturday.

Trooper Jeff Sevigney said the plane had to make an emergency landing because of mechanical issues.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration database, the fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft is registered to a man from Richland, Washington. 

The Federal Aviation Administration report says the plane is amateur-built.

Luckily, no injuries were reported.

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

Cessna S550 Citation IIS, N123FF: Incident occurred June 04, 2017 at Sugar Land Regional Airport (KSGR), Houston, Texas

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N123FF

Aircraft on taxi went off the taxiway into the grass.

Date: 04-JUN-17
Time: 20:08:00Z
Regis#: N123FF
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C550
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
City: HOUSTON
State: TEXAS

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, N622MD: Incident occurred June 02, 2017 in Denton County, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

http://registry.faa.gov/N622MD

Aircraft during flight, experienced radio failure when struck by lightning over Denton, Texas. Landed without incident in Monroe, Louisiana.

Date: 02-JUN-17
Time: 18:15:00Z
Regis#: N622MD
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA46
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
City: DENTON
State: TEXAS

Cessna 172S Skyhawk, N387SP, TJC LLC: Incident occurred June 03, 2017 at John C. Tune Airport (KJWN), Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

TJC LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N387SP

Aircraft on landing, went off the runway and struck taxiway lights.

Date: 03-JUN-17
Time: 13:55:00Z
Regis#: N387SP
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: INSTRUCTION
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: NASHVILLE
State: TENNESSEE

Cirrus SR22, N231WM, A. Davtian MD Medical Services Inc dba: Incident occurred June 04, 2017 at McCarran International Airport (KLAS), Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Las Vegas, Nevada

A. Davtian MD Medical Services Inc dba: http://registry.faa.gov/N231WM

Aircraft on landing, struck the propeller.

Date: 04-JUN-17
Time: 22:28:00Z
Regis#: N231WM
Aircraft Make: CIRRUS
Aircraft Model: SR22
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: LAS VEGAS
State: NEVADA

Cessna 210F, N1854F: Accident occurred June 02, 2017 at Anoka County–Blaine Airport (KANE), Minnesota

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N1854F

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA212
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 02, 2017 in Blaine, MN
Aircraft: CESSNA 210F, registration: N1854F
Injuries: 1 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 June 2, 2017 about 1911 central daylight time, a Cessna 210F, N1854F, sustained substantial damage during landing at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport (ANE), Blaine, Minnesota. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The flight was departing at the time of the accident with Park Rapids, Minnesota, as the destination. 

The pilot reported that the airplane's landing gear did not fully retract when he raised the gear handle during the takeoff climb. The pilot reported that he attempted to lower the landing gear using emergency procedures without success for about an hour while he circled over Coon Lake, Minnesota. He returned to ANE and continued to fly right hand patterns over the airport at 2,500 ft above ground level for about an hour to burn off more fuel, and to continue trying to lower the landing gear using emergency procedures. The ANE tower controller confirmed that the main landing gear were in a partially retracted position, and that the nose wheel was in the down position.

The pilot conducted a full flap landing to runway 18. As the airplane settled onto the runway, the main landing gear retracted into the landing gear bay. The airplane veered off the runway and the right horizontal stabilizer was substantially damaged as the airplane skidded to a stop. 

Piper PA-28RT-201, N2887Q, Kindlund Construction Company: Incident occurred June 03, 2017 at Cherry Capital Airport (KTVC), Traverse City, Michigan

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan

Kindlund Construction Company: http://registry.faa.gov/N2887Q 

Aircraft on landing, gear collapsed.

Date: 03-JUN-17
Time: 18:17:00Z
Regis#: N2887Q
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA28
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: TRAVERSE CITY
State: MICHIGAN

Cessna 337G Super Skymaster, N53657: Accident occurred June 04, 2017 at Orange Municipal Airport (KORE), Franklin County, Massachusetts

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Windsor Locks, Connecticut

Updated from June 04, 2017:  Aircraft landed gear up.

http://registry.faa.gov/N53657

Date: 04-JUN-17
Time: 17:45:00Z
Regis#: N53657
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C337
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: ORANGE
State: MASSACHUSETTS

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Windsor Locks, Connecticut

http://registry.faa.gov/N53657

Aircraft landed gear up.

Date: 04-JUN-17
Time: 17:45:00Z
Regis#: N53657
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: C337
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: ORANGE
State: MASSACHUSETTS

Bellanca 17-30A Viking, N9610E: Incident occurred June 04, 2017 at Magic Valley Regional Airport (KTWF), Twin Falls County, Idaho

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boise, Idaho

http://registry.faa.gov/N9610E

Aircraft landed gear up and struck the propeller.

Date: 05-JUN-17
Time: 00:17:00Z
Regis#: N9610E
Aircraft Make: BELLANCA
Aircraft Model: 1730
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: TWIN FALLS
State: IDAHO

Boeing B75N1 Stearman, N218DL: Accident occurred June 03, 2017 at Alexander Memorial Airport (GA2), Williamson, Pike County, Georgia

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

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA330
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 03, 2017 in Williamson, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/14/2017
Aircraft: BOEING B75N1, registration: N218DL
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 of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that he was performing a wheel landing on a turf runway. He recalled that he was too aggressive and too early moving the stick forward during the touchdown and landing roll. The airplane’s tail lifted, the nose pitched down, and the propeller stuck the ground. The airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer and the rudder.

Per the National Transportation Safety Board Pilot Aircraft Accident Report, the pilot reported that the accident could have been prevented “by not being so early moving the stick forward in a taildragger during a wheel landing.”

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident 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 pilot’s aggressive and early forward stick application during the landing roll, which resulted in his failure to maintain pitch control and a subsequent nose-over.

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

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/N218DL


NTSB Identification: GAA17CA330
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 03, 2017 in Williamson, GA
Aircraft: BOEING B75N1, registration: N218DL
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 of the tailwheel equipped airplane reported that he was performing a wheel landing on a turf surface runway. He recalled that he was too aggressive and too early moving the stick forward during the touchdown and landing roll. The airplane's tail ascended, the nose pitched down and the propeller stuck the ground. The airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the vertical stabilizer and the rudder.

Per the National Transportation Safety Board Pilot Aircraft Accident Report, the pilot reported that the accident could have been prevented, "by not being so early moving the stick forward in a taildragger during a wheel landing."

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



A Boeing B75N1 Stearman flipped on landing at the Candler Field Museum Vintage Days at Alexander Memorial Airport on Saturday, June 3, 2017. 

The pilot was not injured.

Learjet 45, N95VS, Velocity Aircraft LLC: Incident occurred June 04, 2017 at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (KFLL), Broward County, Florida

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Velocity Aircraft LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N95VS

Aircraft landed and blew out tires. Damage to be determined.

Date: 04-JUN-17
Time: 19:05:00Z
Regis#: N95VS
Aircraft Make: LEARJET
Aircraft Model: 45
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: FORT LAUDERDALE
State: FLORIDA

Piper PA-28-235, N9238W: Accident occurred June 04, 2017 at Big Bear City Airport (L35), San Bernardino County, California

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

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA354 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 04, 2017 in Big Bear, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/07/2017
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N9238W
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 pilot reported that, during the landing flare, the airplane encountered a “sudden massive gust of wind” that pitched the nose up. He pushed the yoke forward, but the wind shifted to a tailwind, and the airplane “slammed” onto the runway. Subsequently, the left main landing gear collapsed, the airplane veered right off the runway, and it then came to rest nose down.

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.

The automated weather observation system at the airport reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 260° at 4 knots. The pilot landed on runway 26. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing and a subsequent loss of directional control.

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

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/N9238W

NTSB Identification: GAA17CA354
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 04, 2017 in Big Bear, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N9238W
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 pilot reported that, during the landing flare the airplane encountered a "sudden massive gust of wind" that pitched the nose up. He pushed the yoke forward, but the wind shifted to a tailwind and the airplane "slammed" onto the runway. Subsequently, the left main landing gear collapsed, the airplane veered right off the runway and came to rest nose down.

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.

The automated weather observation system at the accident airport reported, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 260° at 4 knots. The pilot landed on runway 26. 

Note: The accident airport is at an elevation of about 6752 ft., with a calculated density altitude about the time of the accident of 9211 feet.

Cessna T182T Turbo Skylane, N6259T, RHYS Vineyards LLC: Accident occurred June 02, 2017 at San Carlos Airport (KSQL), San Mateo County, California

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: GAA17CA315
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 02, 2017 in San Carlos, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/2017
Aircraft: CESSNA T182, registration: N6259T
Injuries: 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.

The pilot reported that, during the landing flare in gusting crosswind conditions, the “pilot side wheel briefly touched down” and then “a wind gust pushed the plane down,” which resulted in the nose gear impacting the runway hard. He added that he subsequently heard “a snapping popping bang under my feet” and that the airplane bounced. He further added that, when the airplane settled back to the runway, it skidded to the right off the runway.
The firewall sustained substantial damage.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
An automated weather observation station at the airport recorded that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 280° at 13 knots. The pilot reported that the landing was on runway 30.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's incorrect landing flare, which resulted in a hard, bounced landing.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Jose, California

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

RHYS Vineyards LLC

c/o Benchmark Capital

http://registry.faa.gov/N6259T


NTSB Identification: GAA17CA315
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 02, 2017 in San Carlos, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA T182, registration: N6259T
Injuries: 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.

The pilot reported that, during the landing flare in gusting crosswind conditions, the "pilot side wheel briefly touched down" and then "a wind gust pushed the plane down," which resulted in the nose gear impacting the runway hard. He added that he subsequently heard "a snapping popping bang under my feet" and the airplane bounced back into the air. He further added that, when the airplane settled back to the runway, it skidded to the right off the runway.

The firewall sustained substantial damage.

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

An automated weather observation station, at the accident airport, about the time of the accident, recorded wind 280° at 13 knots. The pilot reported that the landing was on runway 30.

Robinson R44 II, N7091F, Don Oppliger Trucking Inc: Fatal accident occurred June 03, 2017 in Dimmitt, Castro County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas
Robinson Helicopter Company; Torrance, California 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
  
Don Oppliger Trucking Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N7091F

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA209
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, June 03, 2017 in Dimmitt, TX
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER COMPANY R44 II, registration: N7091F
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On June 3, 2017, about 1750 central daylight time, a Robinson R44 II single-engine helicopter, N7091F, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Dimmitt, Texas. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries, and the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to Don Oppliger Trucking, Inc, Clovis, New Mexico, and operated by a private individual under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a flight plan was not filed for the local flight. The flight departed a private helipad near Farwell, Texas, about 1300.

According to the pilot's business personnel, the pilot departed on a routine flight to check and observe crop fields, business facilities, and other business-related assets. The pilot did not return from the flight and a search was initiated. The helicopter accident site was located about 0800 on June 4, 2017, by business personnel. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Examination of the accident site revealed the helicopter came to rest on its right side in a wheat field (wheat crop was about 3 inches tall). Three ground scars, consistent with the main rotor blades, were observed adjacent to the main wreckage. Fragmented plexiglass was scattered between the ground scars and main wreckage. Separated sections of the main rotor blades were located within a 75-foot diameter of the main wreckage, and the main rotor blades were fragmented, bent, deformed, and remained attached to the rotor hub. The lower forward fuselage was crushed aft and upward. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit flight controls to the swashplate and tail rotor system. Drivetrain continuity was established from the engine to the main transmission and tail rotor systems. 

The closest National Weather Service reporting site was from the Clovis Municipal Airport (CVN), Clovis, New Mexico, located about 32 miles west of the accident site. At 1735, the CVN site reported winds from 200 at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 10,000 feet, scattered clouds at 12,000 feet, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 14 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of Mercury.

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

Donald "Don"  Oppliger
1949-2017



Donald "Don" Oppliger, 68, of Amarillo, TX, died Sunday, June 4, 2017, in Dimmitt, TX. 

Don was born April 7, 1949, in Columbus, NE, to Edward and Edna Oppliger.

He graduated from Columbus High School in Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska.

He married Joi Christopher on Aug. 14, 1976, in Blair, NE. 

Don owned and operated the Don Oppliger Companies, which include feedlots, farms, and ranches spread across roughly 150,000 acres in Texas, New Mexico, and Nebraska.

He began his business in 1980 with rented farmland in Hereford and quickly began expanding it with the purchase of a 15,000 head feedlot in Farwell.

Don then acquired a 35,000 head feedlot in Clovis, NM, in 1991 and later purchased his first Nebraska farm in Lincoln County, NE, on which he built at 55,000 head feedlot, which he later expanded to 70,000 head. 

In the last decade, Don acquired multiple ranches across Eastern and Western Nebraska and additional farmland and feedlots in Nebraska and Texas. 

His integrated and diversified operations also included a dairy and a trucking company. 

Despite the complexity of the operation, Don somehow managed to track the many details of his businesses in his head and a small notepad he kept in his shirt pocket.

He loved cattle and enjoyed checking on his many pastures and feedlots from the cockpit of his plane or helicopters. 

Aside from attending Nebraska Cornhusker games, farming and flying were his favorite hobbies. 

"People say he died doing what he loved," Ben Oppliger said.   "That's really true." 

Although Oppliger was a successful and wealthy landowner, he also was down-to-earth and always willing to make time for a visit, said Joe Herrod, who owns property neighboring Oppliger's west of Sutherland.

Outside of the industry, few people knew he was such a large operator, Herrod added. 

"He was a wonderful neighbor, just an aw-shucks kind of guy," he said.  "It's really a shame." 

He was preceded in death by a son, Grant Oppliger; and a sister, Lori Prill.

Survivors include his wife, Joi Oppliger, of Amarillo; a son, Benjamin Oppliger and wife Katie, of Amarillo; a granddaughter, Madison Oppliger, of Amarillo; three sisters: Rita Peters and husband Don of Elkhorn, NE; Diane Thompson and husband Joe, of Lincoln, NE; and Phyllis Olson and husband Ralph, of Columbus, NE.

THE FAMILY WILL RECEIVE FRIENDS from 6-7pm Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at the funeral home. 

SERVICES will be at 1pm Thursday, June 8, 2017, at Polk Street United Methodist Church with Dr. Burt Palmer, senior pastor and the Rev. Kevin Deckard, associate pastor, officiating.

Burial will follow at 4pm, in Farwell Cemetery in Farwell, TX. Sign the online guestbook at www.boxwellbrothers.com 

Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors 2800 Paramount Blvd. Amarillo, TX 79109 (806) 355-8156


Don Oppliger, whose massive agribusiness the Oppliger Companies is headquartered in Amarillo, was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday in Castro County. He was 68.

Documents from the Castro County Sheriff’s Office said they were called just after 8 a.m. Sunday by the Parmer County (N.M.) Sheriff’s Office after they were notified by an employee of one of Oppliger’s ranches concerning a helicopter crash in the southwestern area of Castro County.

Authorities discovered a crash site in a wheat field about a half mile south of the 200 block of County Road 623. Castro County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety conducted an investigation of the scene and identified Oppliger has the pilot of the helicopter.

He was pronounced dead at the scene by Castro County Justice of the Peace Oreda Campbell, and an autopsy has been ordered.

No other people were believed to be with Oppliger at the time of the crash.

The investigation into the crash in ongoing and is being conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Oppliger started his business career in 1980 when he rented farmland in Hereford that grew corn from the Frito-Lay Company, and then expanded it with a 15,000 head feedlot in Farwell, according to the Oppliger Companies website. The cattle-feeding operation thrived under the watch of Oppliger, who relocated it to the Texas-New Mexico border.

Oppliger then acquired a 35,000 head feedlot near Clovis, N.M., in 1991, as well as more irrigated farmland to supply the new lot, before expanding again to Lincoln County, Neb., in 1998 with a 55,000 head feedlot that he later expanded to more than 70,000.

In the last decade, the Oppliger Companies have acquired multiple ranches across western Nebraska, additional farmland in Nebraska and Texas, and two feedlots located near our larger farming operations.

The company currently operates 10 locations across the Texas Panhandle, eastern New Mexico and Nebraska, including locations in Texline, Dalhart, Farwell and Dimmitt.

The company’s website says it has more that 55,000 acres of irrigated farmland and is headquartered in downtown Amarillo on Polk Street.

Attempts to reach the Oppliger Companies for comment went unreturned.

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec, N21WW, operated by Air America Inc: Fatal accident occurred June 03, 2017 in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Juan, Puerto Rico
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida
Hartzell Propeller; Piqua, Ohio

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

Air America Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N21WW





NTSB Identification: ERA17FA195
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Saturday, June 03, 2017 in San Juan, PR
Aircraft: PIPER PA23, registration: N21WW
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious, 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On June 3, 2015, about 1418 Atlantic standard time, a Piper PA-23-250, N21WW, operated by Air America Inc., was destroyed during impact with water and a reef, and a subsequent postcrash fire, shortly after takeoff from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (TJSJ), San Juan, Puerto Rico. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries, two passengers were seriously injured, and one passenger was fatally injured. The on-demand air taxi flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Benjamin Rivera Noriega Airport, (TJCP), Isla de Culebra, Puerto Rico.

According to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the flight was cleared for an intersection takeoff on runway 8 from taxiway S5. Runway 8 was 10,400 feet long and the intersection takeoff at S5 allotted approximately half of the runway length. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported an engine failure and no further communications were received from the accident flight. The airplane subsequently turned left an impacted shallow water and a reef located about .75 mile abeam the departure end of runway 8.

According to the pilot's written statement, about 100 feet above ground level, he retracted the landing gear and noted that the airplane did not seem to be climbing or accelerating like normal. He verified that the magnetos and fuel pumps were on, and that the throttle, mixture, and propeller levers were in the full forward position. He also noted that all the engine instruments were in the green arc normal operating range. The airplane then yawed left and the pilot noticed that the left engine rpm was less than the right. The pilot subsequently turned left with the yaw to return to the airport, but was unable to maintain altitude. He also attempted to avoid a populated beach and ditched in shallow water.

Examination of the wreckage following recovery to a hangar revealed that both wings separated during impact. The right wing exhibited leading edge impact damage and buckling at the outboard section. The right flap and right aileron had separated from the wing and were also recovered. The right engine remained attached to the wing and the right propeller remained attached to the engine. The two propeller blades appeared undamaged and not in a feathered position. The valve covers, spark plugs, oil filter, and vacuum pump were removed from the right engine. The spark plug electrodes were intact and the vacuum pump vanes and drive coupling were also intact. When the propeller was rotated by hand, crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The fuel injector servo and magnetos were also removed. The fuel injector servo screen was absent of debris. Fuel was recovered from the fuel line to engine driven pump, the engine driven fuel pump, the fuel line to the fuel servo, and in the fuel servo. The fuel was consistent in odor to 100 low lead aviation gasoline. The left magneto did not produce spark when rotated by hand, consistent with saltwater immersion. The right magneto produced spark at five of the six leads. The right flow divider attach bolts were found loose. Two of the flow divider lines had separated consistent with impact and one line was found loose and its B-nut was removed by hand with two turns. The fuel injector nozzles were unobstructed. The left engine oil filter element and left engine oil suction screen were absent of metallic contamination.

The left wing exhibited leading edge impact damage and buckling at the outboard section. The left flap remained attached to the wing. The left aileron had separated and was also recovered. The left engine remained attached to the wing and the left propeller remained attached to the engine. One propeller blade appeared undamaged and the other blade was bent aft, but both blades were not in a feather position. The valve covers, spark plugs, oil filter, and vacuum pump were removed from the left engine. The spark plug electrodes were intact and the vacuum pump vanes and drive coupling were also intact. When the propeller was rotated by hand, crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The fuel injector servo and magnetos were also removed. The fuel injector servo screen was absent of debris. Fuel was recovered from the fuel line to the engine driven fuel pump, the engine driven fuel pump, the fuel line to the fuel servo, the fuel servo, and in the flow divider. The fuel was consistent in odor to 100 low lead aviation gasoline. The fuel inlet hose B-nut at the fuel servo was not tight. The magnetos did not produce spark when rotated by hand, consistent with saltwater immersion. Five of the six fuel nozzles were unobstructed and one was obstructed.

Review of the cockpit revealed that the landing gear and flaps were in the retracted position. The seatbelts and shoulder harnesses remained intact. The master switch was in the off position and the left and right fuel pumps were in the on position. The left magneto switches were in the on position and the right magneto switches were in the off position. Underwater photographs provided by law enforcement revealed that the right throttle lever was forward, while the right mixture and propeller levers were midrange. The left throttle lever was midrange while the left propeller and mixture levers were forward. However, the preimpact positions of the levers could not be verified as the wings separated during impact. The left engine fuel selector was found positioned to the left inboard main fuel tank position and the right engine fuel selector was found positioned to the right outboard main fuel tank. The crossfeed switch was found midrange and fragmented. Measurement of the rudder trim jackscrew corresponded to a neutral rudder trim position. Measurement of the stabilator trim jackscrew corresponded to full nose-up stabilator trim position, but damage was present near the jackscrew and its trim indicator cable had separated. Control continuity was confirmed from rudder to the rudder pedals in the cockpit. Continuity was also confirmed from the stabilator to the cockpit area. Aileron continuity was confirmed from the respective aileron bellcranks, through the separated wing roots, to the cockpit area.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate, with ratings for airplane single-engine and airplane multiengine. The pilot's most recent FAA first-class medical certificate was issued on December 14, 2016. The pilot reported a total flight experience of approximately 1,200 hours; of which about 200 hours were in multiengine airplanes and of those about 20 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

The six-seat, low wing, tricycle retractable gear airplane was manufactured in 1975. It was powered by two Lycoming IO-540, 250-horsepower engines, each equipped with a Hartzell controllable pitch full-feathering propeller. According to maintenance records, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on November 16, 2016. At that time, the airframe had accumulated 9,087.3 total hours of operation and the engines had accumulated 695.3 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had flown about 95 hours from the time of that inspection, until the accident.

The recorded weather at TJSJ, at 1421, was: wind from 070 degrees at 17 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 2,400 feet, scattered clouds at 4,000 feet, scattered clouds at 7,000 feet; temperature 31 degrees C; dew point 24 degrees C; altimeter 29.98 inches of mercury.



SAN JUAN — Puerto Rican authorities have identified a girl who died in a small plane crash as 15-year-old Molly Wrede from Atlanta.

The U.S. commonwealth’s emergency agency said Sunday that two friends of the girl remained hospitalized with various injuries. It identifies them as 48-year-old Scott Ellyson and his 14-year-old daughter, Casey Ellyson, of Georgia.

Twenty-two-year pilot Jose Diaz of Puerto Rico also was also injured in Saturday’s crash of an Air America plane off the coast of Piñones, east of San Juan. It had just taken off from the capital’s international airport on a flight to Culebra island.

The three survivors were rescued by people who were swimming or sunbathing on a nearby beach and went to the crash site in kayaks.

The accident cause is currently under active investigation, according to authorities.



ATLANTA — Ironically, the school Molly Wrede went to was located on Ponce de León Avenue.

And one of the major cities in Puerto Rico where she died on Saturday afternoon has a city named after the famous Spanish explorer and conquistador Juan Ponce de León.

Wrede had been a part of The Paideia School community for most of her life. Her older sister also attends the same exclusive Atlanta private school, and each of Wrede’s parents work at the school.

On Monday, the same close-knit community was mourning the death of Molly, who died in a plane crash while visiting Puerto Rico with her best friend Casey Ellyson. Molly recently completed ninth grade, according to the school’s headmaster. She was only 15 years old.

“She was a sweet, caring young woman, and I will always remember her smile,” teacher Eddy Hernandez told a television station in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Hernandez, who taught Molly in French, said she loved to sing and dance. She also wore No. 7 for the junior varsity volleyball team and ran track at the school, located on Ponce de Leon Avenue.

Wrede’s best friend, Casey Ellyson a Paideia sophomore, was also injured in the crash, along with her father, Scott, authorities said.

The plane’s pilot, Jose Diaz, 22, of Puerto Rico also was also injured when the Air America plane crashed off the coast of Piñones, east of San Juan. It had just taken off from the capital’s international airport on a flight to Culebra island.

The three survivors were rescued by people who were swimming or sunbathing on a nearby beach and went to the crash site in kayaks. The crash remains under investigation.

Two other members of the Ellyson family were in a separate plane and were not injured.

Classmates, teachers and friends gathered at Wrede’s former private school called Paideia on Sunday after learning of Molly’s death. Funeral arrangements were pending late Monday.

According to the school’s website, tuition for highschool students at Paideia costs between $23,214 to $23,463 per year.  The Paideia School is an independent school located at 1509 Ponce De Leon Avenue NorthEast in downtown Atlanta. It enrolls children ages three through 18.




We're learning more about a small plane crash that killed an Atlanta teenager in Puerto Rico. 

Molly Wrede, 15, was a rising sophomore. She was vacationing with schoolmate Casey Ellyson and Ellyson's family when the small plane went down in a ball of fire. A beach goer captured the horrific scene off the coast of Pinon, East of San Juan.

The school's headmaster talked with us about the JV Volleyball player who had a great sense of humor.

"It's been a very difficult weekend here.  Most young people have not had the death of a friend or colleague and it hits them possibly even harder than it hits adults," Headmaster Paul Bianchi reflected.

In an unusual twist, both of Molly's parents work at the Paideia School.  Her older sister is also a rising senior there.

Eddy Hernandez taught Reed French.

"She was a serious student, a good student, very diligent, hardworking and what brings a smile to my face is that she had a wonderful sense of humor," Hernandez remembered.

The three survivors, Paideia student Casey Ellyson, her father Scott Ellyson who is CEO of East West Manufacturing Company in Metro Atlanta and the pilot all suffered severe burns. Mr. Ellyson and Casey are in intensive care tonight.  Police say the three were rescued by nearby swimmers and sunbathers who were on the beach at the time.

Mr. Bianchi says there will be a memorial service for Reed Thursday on the Northeast Atlanta campus.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating what caused the crash.

SAN JUAN — A teenage girl from the United States mainland who was visiting Puerto Rico with her relatives died Saturday afternoon when a small plane crashed off the island’s north coast, authorities said.

The pilot and two other American tourists were hospitalized with severe burns, police spokeswoman Maria del Pilar Bon said.

The unidentified girl was about 15 years old, and her body was recovered underwater, Ports Authority spokesman Juan Carlos Hernandez said. He said officials did not immediately know the victims’ state or hometown.

The plane had departed the island’s main international airport and was headed to the popular nearby island of Culebra east of Puerto Rico when it malfunctioned, Hernandez said.

It plunged into the ocean near a crowded beach in the community of Piñones, east of the capital of San Juan. Several people swam to the crash to help save those aboard before a fire erupted at the site. One witness told reporters that he could not unbuckle the seatbelt of the girl who died.

The plane is owned by Air America, a Puerto Rico-based charter flight company, Hernandez said. The company offers flights within Puerto Rico and to nearby Caribbean islands.

The director of rescue at the island’s emergency management agency said scuba divers have been dispatched to the plane crash site in the ocean to rescue the injured and retrieve the dead. Nino Correa said four people apparently were on board the flight when it crashed on Saturday.

The plane crashed Saturday afternoon near a crowded beach in the community of Pinones east of the capital, San Juan. Several people swam to the crash to help save those aboard before a fire erupted at the site.


Authorities said they did not immediately have further details. Witnesses told reporters that one of the tourists injured is a young girl who apparently was travelling with her parents.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rican authorities have identified a girl who died in a small plane crash as 15-year-old Molly Reed from Atlanta.

The U.S. territory's emergency agency said Sunday that two friends of the girl remained hospitalized with various injuries. It identifies them as 48-year-old Scott Ellyson and his 14-year-old daughter, Casey Ellyson, of Georgia.

Twenty-two-year pilot Jose Diaz of Puerto Rico also was also injured in Saturday's crash of an Air America plane off the coast of Pinones, east of San Juan. It had just taken off from the capital's international airport on a flight to Culebra island.

The three survivors were rescued by people who were swimming or sunbathing on a nearby beach and went to the crash site in kayaks.

The accident's cause is under investigation.