Saturday, July 1, 2017

Skydive Suffolk at Suffolk Executive Airport (KSFQ), Virginia: Incident occurred July 01, 2017



SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Emergency crews have responded to a skydiving accident at Skydive Suffolk located at the Suffolk Executive Airport, Saturday afternoon.

According to a Suffolk city official, the emergency call came in at 3:56 p.m. An investigation found that the skydiver, a 29-year-old man, was executing an advanced jump and came in for a hard landing.

He was then airlifted by Nightingale to Sentara Norfolk General for non-life threatening injuries.

The following statement was released by Skydive Suffolk:

“The man that was injured today was a certified and trained skydiver who was using his own equipment at the time of the accident. We wish him a speedy recovery”

There is no other information at this time.

http://wavy.com

Beech A36 Bonanza, N221D, Moto Air Inc: Fatal accident accident occurred May 29, 2015 at Hale County Airport (KPVW), Plainview, Texas

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

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA245
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 29, 2015 in Plainview, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/05/2017
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N221D
Injuries: 3 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.

Before attempting to take off, the commercial pilot received weather information indicating that a severe thunderstorm was approaching the airport. Further, two witnesses reported seeing the storm approaching. Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane take off, make a left turn, and then head straight down. GPS data indicated that, after the airplane took off, it banked left, reached about 80 ft above ground level, and then descended and impacted terrain. One of the witnesses stated that they could not believe anybody would take off in the approaching storm. Another witness reported that she was “watching the storm clouds” and heard an engine at “full throttle” and then looked over and saw the airplane “traveling very fast” toward the ground.

Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A postaccident review of weather information established that a gust front associated with a squall line of an approaching severe thunderstorm was over the airport at the time of the accident. This weather situation was likely producing a combination of the following weather phenomenon near the accident site at the time of the accident; strong gusting winds, turbulence, low-level wind shear, reduced visibility due to blowing dust, heavy rain, hail, and lightning. The flight encountered these hazardous conditions during initial climb, which likely made the airplane difficult for the pilot to control and resulted in his loss of airplane control shortly after takeoff. Given the pilot had the current weather information and should have been able to see the approaching storm, he should not have taken off in such conditions. The pilot’s decision to take off with such hazardous weather conditions present resulted in the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s decision to take off ahead of an approaching severe thunderstorm, which resulted in an encounter with hazardous weather conditions that led to a loss of airplane control.


Paul Waller, his wife Tammy Waller, and their daughter Michele.




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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas
Continental Motors Inc; Mobile, Alabama
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

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

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

MOTO Air Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N221D

Paul and Michele Waller

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA245 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 29, 2015 in Plainview, TX
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N221D
Injuries: 3 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 May 29, 2015, about 2115 central standard time, a Beechcraft A-36 airplane, N221D, impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Hale County Airport (PVW), Plainview, Texas. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was being operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Night visual meteorological conditions existed at the accident site at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The flight departed PVW destined for Boerne Stage Field Airport, Boerne, Texas.

A handheld GPS was retrieved from the accident site, Figure 1 depicts its downloaded data. It was revealed that the flight departed from runway 22 about 2119, banked left, and then reached about 80 ft above ground level (agl) at a groundspeed of 86 knots before the recording stopped less than 1 minute later. See Figure 5 for a wreckage diagram. Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane take off to the southwest, make a sharp left turn, and then head straight down. One of the witnesses stated that they could not believe anybody would take off in the approaching storm. Another witness reported that she was "watching the storm clouds" and heard an engine at "full throttle" and then looked over and saw the airplane "traveling very fast" toward the ground.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument ratings. No pilot logbooks were made available for review. The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on October 13, 2014, with no limitations. On his medical certificate application, the pilot reported that he had about 950 total hours of flight time.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the six-seat airplane, serial number E927, was issued its original airworthiness certificate on September 30, 1976, and was registered to the pilot on April 13, 2011. According to aircraft maintenance records, the last annual inspection was completed on December 3, 2014, at a recorded tachometer time of 6,705.4 hours.

The engine was originally a Continental Motors IO-520-BB. The engine was converted to an IO-550-B-RA engine, serial number 578094, by RAM Aircraft under Supplemental Type Certificate SE10746SC-D when it was overhauled on August 11, 2011, at an engine total time of 2,471.7. The last logbook entry, dated February 18, 2015, indicated that the engine had accrued 621 hours since the overhaul and conversion.

Maintenance records indicated that the airplane was retrofitted with an Aspen Avionics EFD1000, which replaced all the primary flight instruments. The airplane was also equipped with a Garmin 430W, which combined GPS, navigation and communication information.

Maintenance records revealed that the airplane sustained paint damage in September 2014 after being flown into inclement weather. The pilot's damage report stated that he "flew into a building storm not visible or on XM weather."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 2058:58, the pilot filed an IFR flight plan on, and received weather information from ForeFlight.com. The weather information included conditions at the destination airport; the latest TAF; the latest METARs, SIGMETs, and AIRMETs along the flight route; notices to airmen; current severe thunderstorm watch and warning information; area forecasts; the convective outlook; PIREPs, and winds aloft information. Portions of that information are discussed below. For more weather information, see the Weather Study in the public docket for this accident.

The closest official weather station was PVW, located 1 mile from the accident site at an elevation of 3,374 ft msl.

At 2055, the PVW Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) reported wind from 100° at 4 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies below 12,000 ft agl, temperature 21°C, dew point 17°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.05 inches of mercury (inHg). Remarks: automated station with a precipitation discriminator, lightning distant (defined as beyond 10 miles but less than 30 miles from the center of the airport) west, temperature 21.1°C, dew point 16.6°C. 

At 2115, the PVW AWOS reported calm wind, 10 miles visibility, clear skies below 12,000 ft agl, temperature 21°C, dew point 16°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.09 inHg. Remarks: automated station with a precipitation discriminator, lightning distant west and northwest, temperature 21.1°C, dew point 16.0°C. 

At 2135, the PVW AWOS reported wind from 300° at 26 knots with gusts to 36 knots, 10 miles visibility, light rain, scattered clouds at 4,500 ft agl, scattered clouds at 6,000 ft agl, a broken ceiling at 6,500 ft agl, temperature 16°C, dew point 11°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.17 inHg. Remarks: automated station with a precipitation discriminator, lightning distant southwest through northwest, temperature 15.5°C, dew point 11.0°C.

The observations from PVW indicated visual flight rules ceilings at the surface at the time of the accident with no visibility restrictions. The sun set at 2051, and civil twilight ended at 2119, the approaching storm was visible as noted by a witness to the accident. 

PVW was the closest site with a National Weather Service (NWS) TAF. The TAF valid at the time of the accident, which was issued at 1820 and was valid for a 24-hour period beginning at 1900, indicated the following:

Wind from 060° at 10 knots, greater than 6 miles visibility, scattered clouds at 5,000 ft agl, and a broken ceiling at 25,000 ft agl. Temporary conditions of variable wind at 25 knots with gusts to 45 knots, 2 miles visibility, thunderstorms and heavy rain, and a broken ceiling of cumulonimbus clouds at 3,000 ft agl were forecast between 2100 and 0100.

The closest NWS Weather Surveillance Radar-1988, Doppler (WSR-88D) was from Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB), Lubbock, Texas, which was located 31 miles south of the accident site at an elevation of 3,282 ft. Figure 2 shows the LBB WSR-88D base reflectivity images for the 0.5° elevation scans initiated at 2115. The image shows lightning flashes and strikes associated with a squall line, which are indicated by small black dots, north and west of the accident site between 2100 and 2115. The figure shows the gust front's location, depicted by a red line. The gust front was moving eastward over the accident site at the accident time.

The first severe thunderstorm warning that included the accident site was issued at 2046 by the NWS Office in Lubbock, Texas. Another severe thunderstorm warning, which was valid for the accident site at the accident time, was issued at 2113; and a severe thunderstorm watch was issued at 1545 and was valid through 2300. Figure 3 shows the 2046 severe thunderstorm warning area outlined in red, the 2113 severe thunderstorm warning area outlined in green, and the severe thunderstorm watch area outlined in blue. The accident site is marked by the star in figure 3. The severe thunderstorm warnings reported 60 mph wind gusts and hail.

FAA Advisory Circular AC 00-24C, "Thunderstorms," issued in February 2013, is a training guide for pilots on thunderstorm hazards. Figure 4 shows a cross-section of a squall line thunderstorm from AC 00-24B depicting a shelf cloud, gust front, and its related cold air outflow. A gust front typically causes a sudden wind shift and increase in wind speed along with potentially moderate-to-severe turbulence up to 1,000 ft and occasionally to 3,000 ft agl. A sudden wind shift and gusty winds associated with a gust front can be seen at both PVW and LBB, when the gust front moves across those airports. Multiple surges of cold dense air are typical results in individual strong gusts. Gust fronts often extend up to 15 miles from the main precipitation core of the thunderstorm.




WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The main wreckage was located in a flat, grass field about 1,100 ft southeast of runway 04/22. The airplane came to rest on a magnetic heading of 130ยบ at an elevation of 3,609 ft. A postimpact fire had ensued.

Airframe

The airplane impacted terrain in about a 20°-nose-down attitude. Ground scars were consistent with a near vertical impact. The ground scars were also consistent with the landing gear being extended at the initial impact; however, fire damage precluded determination of the landing gear actuator position. A propeller blade fractured at impact and separated from the crankshaft, and the hub separated from the engine's propeller flange. The remainder of the airframe continued to travel on a southeasterly heading and impacted the ground about 100 ft from the initial impact.

As viewed from the initial impact point looking south, the main cabin door separated from the fuselage and came to rest left of, and about 162 ft from, the main wreckage. The separated nose landing gear was found near the initial impact point and 152 ft from the main wreckage. The separated left main landing gear (MLG) was found left of the main debris path and about 74 ft from the main wreckage. The separated right MLG was found right of the main debris path and about 90 ft from the main wreckage. The postimpact fire consumed major portions of the fuselage, empennage, and wings. 

The flap actuator housings were consumed by the postimpact fire, which precluded their measurement.

Engine 

The engine was examined on-scene by the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge and an engine manufacturer representative. The engine crankcase remained intact; however, the engine sustained extensive thermal damage due to the postimpact fire. The crankshaft was rotated by hand, and continuity was established between the crankshaft, camshaft, connecting rods, and associated components. All six cylinders were examined using a borescope, and no anomalies were noted. All cylinders produced compression when the crankshaft was rotated, and all rocker arms and valves operated normally.

The right and left magnetos rotated by hand and produced a spark on all six posts during impulse coupling operation. The ignition harness sustained significant impact and thermal damage; however, the ignition harness produced a spark on the upper spark plugs for the Nos. 1, 3, and 5 cylinders. The remaining ignition leads could not produce a spark, consistent with thermal damage. All spark plugs displayed normal operating and wear signatures.

Thermal damage was noted on all the fuel and oil system components. There was no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

The separated propeller sustained significant impact damage. All the propeller blades displayed leading-edge polishing, chordwise scratches, leading-edge gouging, and twisting deformation consistent with being under power at the time of impact.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The South Plains Forensic Pathology, P.A., Lubbock, Texas, conducted an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death for the pilot was attributed to "blunt force injuries of head, neck, torso and extremities."

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The toxicology results were negative for all tests.




NTSB Identification: CEN15FA245
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 29, 2015 in Plainview, TX
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N221D
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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

On May 29, 2015 about 2115 central standard time (CST), a Beechcraft A-36, N221D, impacted terrain on the airfield at Hale County Airport (PVW), Plainview, Texas. The commercial certificated pilot and two passengers on board were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Moto Air Inc. and operated by a private individual on a visual rules flight plan under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident, with an intended destination of Boerne Stage Field Airport (5C1), Boerne, Texas.

According to a witness statement, the airplane was observed with the engine at "full throttle traveling very fast" headed toward the ground. The witness reported a storm was arriving over the airfield at the time of the accident.

The 2115 recorded weather observation at PVW, included calm winds, visibility 10 miles, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point 16 degrees C; barometric altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather station located just northwest of PVW recorded 5 minute observations with winds at 2115 from 006 degrees at 0 knots gusting to 2 knots. At 2120, winds were recorded from 301 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 45 knots.

Storm damage at Lehigh Valley International Airport (KABE), Allentown, Pennsylvania










At least one small plane overturned late Saturday afternoon at Lehigh Valley International Airport as a thunderstorm with wind gusts up to 64 mph tore through the region.

Airport Executive Director Charles Everett, in a brief interview, said, "We are currently in the process of assessing," before saying he'd have to call back.

There were tree limbs down on or near another plane and reports of structural damage in the terminal in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, freelance photographer Chris Post said. But any possible damage to the terminal wasn't evident, Post said later.

Trees were down along roads near the airport, freelance photographer Mike Nester said.

Sustained winds of 41 mph were recorded between 3:51 and 4:51 p.m. in addition to the gusts, according to the National Weather Service. An inch and a half of rain fell within two hours at the airport, the weather service said.

PPL Electric Utilities was reporting more than 9,000 customers without power, while Met-Ed showed just 50 out in Northampton County, according to the companies' outage pages.

Rain was very heavy in the Easton area, but the winds did not appear to be as strong.

http://www.lehighvalleylive.coml

Loss of Control in Flight: Piper PA-23-250, N44HJ, fatal accident occurred July 01, 2017 in Chatsworth, Murray County, Georgia

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida
Hartzell Propeller; Montgomery, Alabama


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/N44HJ 

Location: Chatsworth, GA
Accident Number: ERA17FA222
Date & Time: 07/01/2017, 1644 EDT
Registration: N44HJ
Aircraft: PIPER PA23
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 1, 2017, about 1644 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-23-250 airplane, N44HJ, was destroyed during an in-flight breakup near Chatsworth, Georgia. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned and was being operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Moton Field Municipal Airport (06A), Tuskegee, Alabama, about 1500, and was destined for McMinn County Airport (MMI), Athens, Tennessee.

According to a family member, the pilot and his family were returning home after a week-long trip. The line service technician at 06A stated that the airplane arrived at the airport about 1000 and the pilot requested fuel. After the airplane was serviced with about 45 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel, the pilot and the passengers boarded the airplane. The pilot then unsuccessfully attempted to start the engines, and after about 5 to 7 minutes, the service technician asked if he needed assistance. The pilot responded, "no we're good…she [the airplane] does this when the engines get too hot." The pilot tried to start the engines a few more times before one of the airport tenants offered the pilot use of a battery charger. The airplane was towed into a hangar and the charger was connected. The pilot and his family decided to get something to eat while they waited for the battery to charge. Upon returning, the pilot was able to start both engines and the flight subsequently departed.

According to air traffic control and radar information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was not receiving radar services nor was he in communication with air traffic control while en route or at any time during the accident flight. Radar data revealed a target consistent with the accident airplane heading northeast at altitudes between 3,500 and 5,000 ft mean sea level (msl) when it encountered a boundary of advancing thunderstorms from the northwest. As the airplane neared the southern edge of the convective system, it turned east, then back to the north before turning east again, and radar contact was lost.

Witnesses in the area reported that, as the thunderstorm approached, it was not raining but they could hear thunder in the distance. As they continued to watch the thunderstorm, they heard a loud "boom" followed by pieces of the airplane and personal belongings falling out of the clouds. Shortly thereafter, one of the witnesses stated that they watched as the airplane came "tumbling and spinning" out of the sky. They continued to watch the airplane until it was out of view and then called the local authorities. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/26/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/30/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 362 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model), 270 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

The pilot, age 55, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land. He held a third-class FAA medical certificate, issued May 26, 2015. At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 400 total hours of flight experience and no flight experience within the previous 6 months. The certificate expired for all classes after May 2017.

There was no evidence that the pilot had completed the requirements for operation under BasicMed. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that the last entry was dated May 23, 2017. The total time entered was 362 flight hours. His total actual instrument experience was recorded as 2 hours, and he recorded 51 hours of simulated instrument experience.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N44HJ
Model/Series: PA23 250
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:1966 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 27-3303
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/03/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3180 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5446 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TIO-540-J4A5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 310 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The airplane was manufactured in 1966. It was powered by two Lycoming IO-540-J4A5 engines each rated at 250 horsepower. The engines were each equipped with a Hartzell three-bladed, controllable-pitch propeller. The most recent annual inspection was completed on January 3, 2017, at a tachometer time of 5,446 hours.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: DNN, 708 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1655 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 900 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1400 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots / 18 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 20°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 20°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Heavy - Thunderstorms - Rain
Departure Point: Tuskegee, AL (06A)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Athens, TN (MMI)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1500 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

There was no record of the pilot receiving a preflight weather briefing from an official, access-controlled source.

An Area Forecast that included the state of Georgia was issued at 1345 by the Aviation Weather Center (AWC). The portion of the Area Forecast for Georgia forecast for the accident time scattered clouds at 3,500 ft msl, scattered clouds at 5,000 ft msl, isolated rain showers and thunderstorms with moderate rain, possibly severe storms, and cumulonimbus clouds with tops to FL450 (45,000 ft msl).

An Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) was located at Dalton Municipal Airport (DNN), Dalton, Georgia, about 7 miles west of the accident site at an elevation of 708 ft msl.

At 1635, DNN reported wind from 350° at 19 knots with gusts to 35 knots, 4 statute miles visibility, heavy rain at the airport and a thunderstorm between 5 and 10 miles from the airport, scattered clouds at 1,000 ft above ground level (agl), scattered clouds at 3,000 ft agl, a broken ceiling at 3,600 ft agl, temperature 26°C, dew point temperature 22°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.09 inches of mercury. Remarks included lightning more than 10 miles away to the west through northeast.

At 1655, DNN reported wind from 020° at 8 knots with gusts to 18 knots, wind direction variable between 346° and 056°, 2 statute miles visibility, heavy rain at the airport and a thunderstorm between 5 and 10 miles from the airport, scattered clouds at 900 ft agl, a broken ceiling at 1,400 ft agl, an overcast cloud base at 2,300 ft agl, temperature 20°C, dew point temperature 20°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury. Remarks included lightning more than 10 miles away to the west through east.

SIGMETs

There were no non-convective Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET) advisories active for the accident location at the accident time.

At 1555, the AWC issued the following Convective SIGMETs applicable to Georgia, which were valid for two hours (see figure 1).


Figure 1. Boundaries of convective SIGMETs 60E and 61E issued at 1555 (Red dot denotes accident location).

One hour earlier, at 1455, the AWC issued the following convective SIGMET, which was valid for two hours (see figure 2).


Figure 2. Boundaries of convective SIGMETs 54E issued at 1455 (Red dot denotes accident location). 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:  N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.711389, -84.728056

The wreckage was scattered over a large area of very dense vegetation. The debris path was about 1 mile in length, oriented on a heading about 030° magnetic. The first components located along the debris path were fragments of the fuselage. Additional components located along the debris path included fragments of the right and left wing assemblies. The left engine remained attached to a section of the left wing assembly and the right engine was separated from the right wing and located at the end of the debris path. The fuselage came to rest near the wings. The fuselage, cockpit, cabin section, empennage, and engines sustained heavy impact damage. Examination of the wings and the horizontal stabilizers revealed fractures that were consistent with overstress.

Examination of the airframe and both engines revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Division of Forensics Sciences, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Decatur, Georgia, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was noted as multiple blunt force trauma.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified 12 (mg/dl, mg/hg) ethanol in blood, which was consistent with postmortem production. Amlodipine was detected in the liver. Amlodipine is a calcium channel blocker heart medication used in the treatment of hypertension.

Additional Information

Spatial Disorientation

According to the FAA's General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, a pilot's sight, supported by other senses, allows a pilot to maintain orientation while flying. However, when visibility is restricted (i.e., no visual reference to the horizon or surface detected), the body's supporting senses can conflict with what is seen. When this spatial disorientation occurs, sensory conflicts and optical illusions often make it difficult for a pilot to tell which way is up.

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3) described some hazards associated with flying when visual references, such as the ground or horizon, are obscured:

The vestibular sense (motion sensing by the inner ear) in particular tends to confuse the pilot. Because of inertia, the sensory areas of the inner ear cannot detect slight changes in the attitude of the airplane, nor can they accurately sense attitude changes that occur at a uniform rate over a period of time. On the other hand, false sensations are often generated; leading the pilot to believe the attitude of the airplane has changed when in fact, it has not. These false sensations result in the pilot experiencing spatial disorientation.

FAA Advisory Circular AC 60-22, Aeronautical Decision Making, stated, "Pilots, particularly those with considerable experience, as a rule always try to complete a flight as planned, please passengers, meet schedules, and generally demonstrate that they have 'the right stuff.'" One of the common behavioral traps identified was "Get-There-Itis." The text stated, "Common among pilots, [get-there-itis] clouds the vision and impairs judgment by causing a fixation on the original goal or destination combined with a total disregard for any alternative course of action."

FAA Advisory Circular AC-00-6B, Aviation Weather, described thunderstorms and turbulence associated with them. The publication stated in part:

A thunderstorm is a local storm, invariably produced by a cumulonimbus cloud, and always accompanied by lightning and thunder, usually with strong gusts of wind, heavy rain, and sometimes with hail. The advisory circular further stated in part: Turbulence is present in all thunderstorms. Severe or extreme turbulence is common. Gust loads can be severe enough to stall an aircraft at maneuvering speed or to cause structural damage at cruising speed. The strongest turbulence occurs with shear between updrafts and downdrafts. Outside the cumulonimbus cloud, turbulence has been encountered several thousand feet above, and 20 miles laterally from, a severe storm.

The FAA Aeronautical Information Manual, Turbulence Reporting Criteria Table, stated in part:

Severe: Turbulence that causes large, abrupt changes in altitude and/or attitude. It usually causes large variations in indicated airspeed. Aircraft may be momentarily out of control.


Extreme: Turbulence in which the aircraft is violently tossed about and is practically impossible to control. It may cause structural damage.

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA222
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 01, 2017 in Chatsworth, GA
Aircraft: PIPER PA23, registration: N44HJ
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

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

On July 1, 2017, about 1644 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-23-250 airplane, N44HJ, was destroyed during an inflight breakup near Chatsworth, Georgia. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated at Moton Field Municipal Airport (06A), Tuskegee, Alabama and was destined for McMinn County Airport (MMI), Athens, Tennessee. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to family members, the pilot and his family were returning home after a weeklong trip. Witnesses at the departure airport recalled servicing the airplane earlier that morning. The line service technician at 06A stated that the airplane arrived about 1000 and requested fuel. After the airplane was fueled with about 45 gallons of aviation gasoline, the pilot and the passengers boarded the airplane. The pilot then unsuccessfully attempted to start the engines and after about 5-7 minutes the service technician asked if he needed assistance. The pilot responded, "no we're good…she (the airplane) does this when the engines get too hot." The pilot tried to start the engines a few more times before asking the service technician if he had a battery charger. The technician told the pilot that he did not have a battery charger and offered the use of the airport vehicle to charge the battery. The pilot connected battery cables from the vehicle's battery to the airplane's battery and again tried start the engines, with no success. One of the field tenants offered the pilot use of a battery charger. The airplane was towed into a hangar and the charger was connected. The gauge on the charger displayed that the battery would take 2 hours to charge. The pilot and his family decided to get something to eat while they waited for the battery to charge. When the pilot and his family returned, they boarded the airplane and both engines were started; he taxied to the runway and departed about 1500.

According to information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was not receiving radar services, nor was he in communication with air traffic control (ATC) while en route or at any time during the accident flight. Radar data revealed a target consistent with the accident airplane heading northeast when it encountered a boundary of advancing thunderstorms from the northwest. Further review of the radar data showed that as the airplane penetrated the thunderstorm radar contact was lost.

According to witnesses, they watched as a thunderstorm approached, it was not raining at the time but they could hear the thunder in the distance. As they continued to watch the thunderstorm they heard a loud "boom" followed by observing pieces of the airplane and personal belongings falling out of the clouds. Shortly thereafter, one of the witnesses stated that they watched as the airplane came "tumbling and spinning" out of the sky. They continued to watch the airplane until it was out of view and then called the local authorities.

The wreckage was scattered over a large area that included very dense vegetation. The debris field was about 1 mile in length, oriented toward 030° true. The first components located along the debris field were fragments of the fuselage. Additional components located along the debris path included fragments of the right and left wing assembly. The left engine remained attached to a section of the left wing assembly and the right engine was separated from the wing and was at the end of the debris path. The fuselage came to rest near the wings. The fuselage, cockpit, cabin section, empennage and engines were destroyed.

The wreckage was recovered from the site and retained for further examination.


Kinsley Wilson

    
Austin Day  

Two children who were killed in a plane crash Saturday were “happy kids” who had a “wonderful life,” their great aunt, who lives in Corinth, said.

Betty Burrell said she and her husband Bill practically raised the children, Austin Day and Kinsley Wilson, who died in the plane crash in Georgia.

The children’s mother, Melody Loveless, also lives in Corinth.

Kinsley loved attending Corinth Elementary School and lived with Burrell on County Road 715 in Corinth.

Austin lived in Alcorn County until last August when he went to stay with his grandmother, who lived outside of Chattanooga, Tenn.

The children, who were both 10, grew up in Alcorn County. They also went to Alcorn Central Elementary School before Kinsley was transferred to Corinth city schools and Austin moved to Tennessee.

The children’s grandmother, Mary Jo Yarbrough, and her husband, the pilot, Dexter Lee Gresham of Etowah, Tenn., were also killed in the crash.

The last time the Burrells saw the children was June 26 at the Iuka airport. They drove Kinsley to the airport to meet Austin, Gresham and Yarbrough, who is Burrell’s sister-in-law, to take a vacation trip to Mobile, Ala.

On the way to the Iuka airport, Kinsley said she was going to get her driver’s license when she turned 16 in six years. Kinsley said she was going to drive Burrell everywhere then.

At the airport, Austin asked if he could stay with Burrell and Bill, whom he called nanny and papaw. He said he wanted to stay behind and help papaw at the shop.

But it was thought best that Austin go on the trip because he had not seen his sister since Christmas, but they were close and talked on the phone often. Kinsley missed her brother “terribly,” Burrell noted.

“Now I’ve lost both of them,” Burrell said.

The crash happened on the way back from Mobile to Etowah, Tenn. where Yarbrough lived. They were going to go to Dollywood when they got back to Tennessee.

Kinsley was born at Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth, and Austin was born in Memphis because he was premature at 6 months. He weighed 1 pound, 15 ounces at birth.

Burrell and her husband are the children’s great aunt and uncle but were more like grandparents to them. They were both “real good kids,” she said. She and her husband made sure they had “plenty.”

Kinsley was a “whiz” on computers, and both of the children were smart, she said. Kinsley turned 10 the day before they left on the trip.

Burrell talked to Austin and Kinsley the day before the crash and heard they were having a good time on the trip. Kinsley said they had seen the dolphins, the Naval ship, museums and went swimming.

Burrell tried to call Saturday but did not get an answer, and law enforcement told her about the crash Sunday.

The children had flown before and enjoyed it, she said. The vacation trip had been planned for awhile. The children did not get to see each other over spring break because they were off at different times.

Coping with the loss of the children is hard, Burrell said. Her grandchildren are calling her regularly to check on her, and people are stopping by to make sure she and her husband are OK. They are getting a lot of support from their church, North Corinth Baptist Church.

It will be difficult in the coming weeks as the children come back home to be laid to rest in Bethlehem Baptist Cemetery in Alcorn County where other family members are buried.

They are just taking it “day by day” and praying, said Burrell, who referred to the “good Lord.”

Corinthian Funeral Home will be handling the arrangements.

Dexter Lee Gresham, 55, his wife, Mary Jo Yarbrough, 61





MCMINN COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — Neighbors of a McMinn County couple who were killed in a Georgia Plane crash, say they were kind people and they are saddened to hear about their death.

Carl Hicks remembers his neighbor Mary Jo Yarbrough.

“She worked in her garden all of the time. She loved them. Working in her garden. Working flowers,” Hick said.

Yarbrough and her husband Dexter Lee Gresham lived in a home in Etowah.

Officials at the McMinn County Airport say the couple rented a hanger there. They left from the airport a week ago. On Saturday, Yarbrough and Gresham were killed in a plane crash in Murray County, Georgia, along with Yarbrough’s two grandchildren, Austin Day, 10, and Kingsley Wilson,10. Wilson and Day are from Mississippi. Hicks enjoyed having Yarbrough and Gresham as neighbors.

“They were good people.They were hard workers. Had good personalities. Very helpful,” Hicks said.

He’s glad he got to know them.

“You couldn’t ask for a better neighbor,” Hicks said.

Hicks didn’t know what to think when he heard they were killed in the plane crash.

“I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. It is just something you don’t expect,” he said.

When the couple would go on vacation, Hicks made sure to look after their property.

“I kept an eye on it when they were gone. And they did the same for me. If I was going to be gone. They would keep an eye on my place,” he said.

Whether it is mowing the grass, or helping out. Hicks and other neighbors plan to lend a hand to the couple’s relatives.

“I am going to do whatever it takes to see if they are taken care of,” Hicks said.

Officials at the Corinthian Funeral Home in Mississippi say they are planning the service for the two children. NTSB is still investigating the crash.


https://wdef.com




July 03--UPDATE: A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot of the plane was flying from an airport in Auburn, Ala., to somewhere in Tennessee when it crashed Saturday.

According to the Murray County, Ga., Sheriff's Office, Dexter Lee Gresham filed a flight plan with the McMinn County, Tenn., Airport on June 26, five days before the crash. This was where the owners normally kept the plane, located close to their home in Etowah, Tenn.

A spokesperson for the McMinn County Airport was not sure when specifically the pilot took off last week. The flight plan said they were flying to Mobile, Ala. But a spokesperson for that airport could not immediately find a record of that plane landing or taking off from Mobile.

The plane itself was registered to Mary Jo Yarbrough. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Piper PA-23 Aztec was built in 1966. Yarbrough registered the twin-engine plane in 2013.

Workers for Lycoming, a Williamsport, Pa., company, made the engine.

The NTSB will lead the investigation, with the FAA assisting. Generally, the FAA looks at whether a pilot broke any regulations. The NTSB, meanwhile, determines the cause of a crash.

In this case, the crash occurred near a thunderstorm, which can wreck havoc on a small plane like the Aztec because of the swirls of intense wind.

The NTSB typically releases a preliminary report within 7-10 business days of the plane crash.

ORIGINAL STORY: Murray County Coroner Jason Gibson released the identities of the four people who died in Saturday's plane crash:

* Dexter Lee Gresham, 55, of Etowah, Tenn.

* Mary Jo Yarbrough, 61, of Etowah, Tenn.

* Austin Day, 10, of Corinth, Miss.

* Kinsley Wilson, 10, of Corinth, Miss

Day and Wilson were Yarbrough's grandchildren, Gibson said.

The crash happened at approximately 4:45 p.m Saturday.

The plane is believed to have disintegrated in the air, and the crash site is located near Piney Hill Road and Old Highway 411.


http://www.timesfreepress.com







CHATSWORTH — Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board combed over a wide field of debris Sunday from Saturday’s airplane crash in the Ramhurst area but could offer little in the way of answers.

Four people died Saturday when a twin-engine 1960s-era Piper PA 23 aircraft came apart in midair during a severe storm around 4:44 p.m. Officials had not released the names of those who died in the crash or any information on where the flight took off or was heading.

Eric Alleyne, air safety investigator for the NTSB, said finding out what caused the plane to come apart and crash in the area between Ramsey Road and Piney Hill Road will take time. He said airplanes such as the one in Saturday’s crash don’t have the sophisticated telemetry “black boxes” seen in larger passenger craft.

“This is the first part of the process and it will take time,” Alleyne said after examining larger pieces like the passenger compartment and cockpit in a yard in the 1100 block of Piney Hill Road. “All we know is that the plane broke up in flight, and you can see the pattern of debris consistent with that.”

Alleyne said the debris path began near Ramsey Road, a half mile south of where the bodies of four people were found. He said the plane was flying from the south to the north, but witnesses who came to the site Sunday could be heard telling officials they had seen the plane flying before the crash to the north near Old Federal Road and it appeared to be fine. Alleyne said it will take many pieces to come together before a full picture of what happened can be determined.

“We will take a look at everything,” he said. “It could be six months to a year before we know exactly what happened. We will look at the pilot’s record and maintenance records of the aircraft. As we gather more and more evidence, we will get a better picture of what happened. Right now, I don’t know.”

Several pieces of the craft were not found Sunday morning. At least one engine and the rudder of the tail were not part of the recovered wreckage, which will be taken to Griffin in an attempt to reassemble the craft, Alleyne said.

The path of the crash led from Ramsey Road across a wooded area and creek, over a low-lying field, across Piney Hill and ended with the fuselage and passenger compartment on a hill on the north side of the road. Murray County officials were using drones to fly over areas which were not easily accessible in the wooded areas south of where the cabin was found searching for more debris.

“Witnesses have told us they heard a loud boom and saw parts falling from the sky,” Alleyne said. “It takes time, and as we get parts collected and collect more evidence, we will have answers.”

Sheriff Gary Langford said on Saturday that the victims were believed to be from Tennessee.

http://www.daltondailycitizen.com



MURRAY COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -  UPDATE: NTSB and FAA officials are investigating a deadly plane crash in Murray County, Georgia.

Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford said four people died in the crash that happened on Piney Hills Road at 4:44 p.m.


Langford told Channel 3 it was a Piper PA-23 that went down. 


Officials said the victims are from Tennessee. Right now, it's unclear which airport the plane was coming from and where the four people were heading to on Saturday.


At the time of the crash, Langford said the conditions included heavy rain, strong wind, and lightning.


"Most of the people are telling us that the plane did come apart in mid-air and from what we've found at the scene, that's evidently what had happened," Sheriff Gary Langford of the Murray County Sheriff's Office said.


He said the wings and engine were separated from the plane. The cockpit was the only part of the plane still intact. 


Langford said this is the second crash he's responded to in his time as sheriff. He said the debris from the crash spans a five mile radius.


"We've got a debris field. We've got some from south of this area where we're at now. We've got some from the east of it. Some from the north of it. The debris area is pretty big," Sheriff Langford said.


Right now, investigators are not releasing the identities of the victims.


http://www.wrcbtv.com



Four people died in a plane crash Saturday afternoon in Ramhurst, Georgia, Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford confirmed. 


Two females and two males were killed in the incident involving a Piper PA-23. 


"At the time this happened there was a heavy storm, rain, heavy wind, had lightning...at this point we just don't know what happened," Langford told reporters at a news conference near the scene of the crash. 


The crash happened at approximately 4:45 p.m.


Langford said it's believed the plane disintegrated in the air, and the crash site is located near Piney Hill Road and Old Highway 411. 


It's unclear where the plane left from and where it was going, Langford said, adding that authorities are not yet releasing the plane's tail number.


"So far we have not found a flight plan," Langford said.


The Federal Aviation Administration is on its way to investigate the crash along with the National Transportation Safety Board. 


http://www.timesfreepress.com




MURRAY COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -  NTSB and FAA officials are investigating a deadly plane crash in Murray County, Georgia.


Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford said four people died in the crash that happened on Piney Hills Road at 4:44 p.m.


Langford told Channel 3 it was a twin-engine Piper PA-23 that went down. 


Officials said the victims are from the Tennessee area. Right now, it's unclear which airport the plane was coming from and where the four people were heading to on Saturday.


At the time of the crash, Langford said the conditions included rain, strong wind, and lightning.


"Most of the people are telling us that the plane did come apart in mid-air and from what we've found at the scene, that's evidently what had happened," Sheriff Gary Langford of the Murray County Sheriff's Office said.


He said the wings and engine were separated from the plane. The cockpit was the only part of the plane still intact. 


Langford said this is the second crash he's responded to in his time as sheriff. He said the debris from the crash spans a five mile radius.


"We've got a debris field. We've got some from south of this area where we're at now. We've got some from the east of it. Some from the north of it. The debris area is pretty big," Sheriff Langford said.


Right now, investigators are not releasing the identities of the victims.


http://www.wrcbtv.com



CHATSWORTH, Ga. — Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford says a small plane crashed in Chatsworth, killing 4 on board.


According to the sheriff, the plane was a twin-engine out of Tennessee and it came down near Piney Hill Road.


Deputies arrived around 5:30 pm.


The Sheriff's Office contacted the Federal Aviation Administration.


Langford says there was heavy rain in the area before the crash.


http://newschannel9.com




CHATSWORTH, Ga. -- Authorities confirm there were fatalities from a small plane that crashed during the Fourth of July Weekend in northwest Georgia.

According to Murray County Sheriff Gary Langford, the twin-engine plane crashed on Piney Hill Road in Chatsworth, roughly 90 miles north west of Atlanta. Langford said that there were fatalities with the crash, and now believe there were four victims.


According to a spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration, witnesses reported seeing a Piper PA23 go down around 4:45 p.m. The spokesperson initially said that witnesses reported seeing the plane "explode in the air," but later said that information didn't appear to be correct.


At this time, investigators are in the process of combing through the wreckage and have only found one of the plane's engines. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.