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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N44HJ 

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.

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.


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.

Unregistered Rainbow Aircraft (Pty) Ltd., Aerotrike: Fatal accident occurred March 09, 2015 in Chesnee, South Carolina

Kelly Lee Easler, 50  





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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; West Columbia, South Carolina

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

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

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

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA219
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 09, 2015 in Chesnee, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/26/2016
Aircraft: RAINBOW AIRCRAFT (PTY) LTD AEROTRIKE, registration: Unreg
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor.

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

The pilot and passenger were conducting a local demonstration flight in the weight-shift-control trike. The pilot was seated in the rear seat and was controlling the wing by hand from cables attached to the control bar, and the passenger was seated in the front seat and had his hands on the control bar. The passenger reported that, during takeoff and when the trike was about 100 ft above ground level, it veered right, which the pilot corrected. The trike then suddenly banked right toward a tree line about 50 yards away. At that time, the passenger released the control bar. The pilot attempted to correct, but while in a climb attitude with the engine running, the bottom of the trike contacted a treetop. The trike descended but remained suspended in the tree. The pilot told the passenger that he did not believe the tree would support them, and he subsequently attempted to jump to a nearby limb but fell, which resulted in his sustaining fatal injuries. The passenger remained in the trike and was rescued 2 hours later. According to the passenger, he and the pilot had only sustained cuts and scratches as a result of the collision with the tree.

Postaccident examination of the trike revealed no evidence of a flight control or engine malfunction; the engine was started with no discrepancies noted. Further, the passenger did not detect any engine issues during the flight. He reported that he believed that the right veer was consistent with a wing stall. Although the trike was not equipped with a control bar for the rear seat, the passenger indicated that the pilot moved the control bar in the correct direction with the cables; therefore, it is unlikely that the lack of a control bar at the rear-seat position contributed to the failure of the pilot to maintain lateral or bank control.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain lateral or bank control during takeoff, which resulted in collision with, and subsequent suspension from, a tree. Contributing to the pilot’s fatal injuries was his attempt to jump out of the trike to a nearby tree limb.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 9, 2015, about 1807 eastern daylight time, an unregistered Rainbow Aircraft (Pty) Ltd., Aerotrike weight-shift aircraft, veered right after takeoff from a private airstrip and collided with a tree, near Chesnee, South Carolina. The private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The weight-shift aircraft, owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal, local flight, was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the occurrence.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was initially notified of the accident when it occurred but the aircraft was reported to be an ultralight aircraft; therefore, an investigation was not initiated. The NTSB was subsequently informed on May 21, 2015, that the aircraft did not meet the eligibility requirements of an ultralight aircraft specified in 14 CFR Part 103, and an investigation was initiated.

The passenger stated that he had purchased the weight-shift aircraft from the owner/pilot-in-command (PIC) whom he has known for about 20 years but had not completed paperwork for the transaction. He indicated that the PIC flew the aircraft to the airstrip landing there about the same time as he arrived, which was about 1745. After landing, the engine was secured and the PIC immediately told him to get in. When he got into the aircraft the PIC told him "don't resist what I do"; indicating he was just feeling the motion of the controls. The PIC told him the engine was running good and the aircraft was flying good. He (passenger) sat in the front seat with direct access to the control bar, and the PIC was in the rear seat controlling the wing by hand from the cables attached to the control bar.

The passenger further reported that prior to takeoff, an engine run-up was performed, which included checking the magnetos reporting everything was OK. The flight departed from the airstrip on the first takeoff to the southwest and the flight proceeded over a field north of the airstrip. The flight returned and a full-stop landing was performed to the northeast oriented runway. The PIC taxied to the end of the runway near the buildings, turned around, and again departed to the southwest, but performed a left traffic pattern and landed to the southwest performing a full-stop landing. The PIC taxied to the end of the runway, turned around, and began the third takeoff to the northeast. When the flight was about 100 feet above ground level (agl), or about the height of tree tops, with a small breeze, he reported the aircraft went to the right a little bit which the PIC corrected. The aircraft then suddenly/very quickly went to the right flying towards a tree line about 50 yards away. At that time he opened his palm and the PIC moved the control to the right, in order to correct to the left, but while in a climb attitude with the engine running, the bottom of the aircraft contacted the top of a tree. The aircraft leveled off and then descended 10 feet into the tree before being wedged into the tree, coming to rest about 50 to 60 feet agl. He (passenger) felt a solid thud when the aircraft stopped and thought the aircraft was secure, but the PIC told him to get out of the aircraft as he did not feet the tree would support the weight of the aircraft and occupants, saying "it will never hold by that." The passenger reported the PIC jumped from the aircraft to a nearby limb above the aircraft, catching it by his left arm, but slipped and fell to the ground. He yelled to him but there was no answer. He also yelled for help, and reported numerous cars drove past the airstrip. Although the leaves were off the trees, the PIC remained on the ground for about 20 minutes before someone saw them and stopped.

The passenger waited in the aircraft for about 2 hours before being rescued. He indicated that there was 1 limb beneath the limb that the PIC jumped for, and that limb was about the diameter of a person's wrist. At the time of the accident it was still daylight, with about 45 minutes to 1 hour before sunset occurred. He indicated that with respect to the right veer, at that time the PIC did not say anything and he did not recall the airspeed. He also indicated he did not perceive of an engine issue at any time during the flight. With respect to the right veer, he believed the wing stalled.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The PIC seated in the rear seat, age 50, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land rating issued November 11, 1990, and an endorsement for sport pilot with weight-shift control land issued November 17, 2006. His last third class medical certificate with no limitations was issued March 29, 1996; it expired on March 31, 1998. On the application for the last medical certificate he listed a total time of 150 hours.

The front seat occupant, age 44, was issued a student pilot certificate on July 3, 2014. On the application for the last medical he listed a total time of 73 hours. Two prior examinations were performed in November 2011 and April 2005. He indicated verbally having flown a Cessna 152, accruing between 50 and 55 hours between 2005, and 2011 or 2012.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat weight-shift aircraft manufactured by Rainbow Aircraft (Pty), Ltd., was marked in part with "Aerotrike", and, "To be used for instruction only"; no serial number was evident. It was equipped with a Rotax 503 engine, and a 10 gallon fuel tank. The flight and engine instruments consisted of a tachometer, altimeter, airspeed indicator, exhaust gas temperature, 2 cylinder head temperature gauges, and a digital tachometer and hour meter which indicated 0271. It was not equipped with a GPS receiver or engine monitor. The aircraft was equipped with a single control bar for the front seat, with no provision for a control bar at the rear seat.

According to the passenger who purchased it, no maintenance records were available.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A surface observation weather report taken at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport (SPA), Spartanburg, South Carolina, at 1815, or approximately 8 minutes after the accident indicates the wind was from 190 degrees at 5 knots, the visibility was 10 statute miles, and clear skies existed. The temperature and dewpoint were 19 and 2 degrees Celsius, respectively, and the altimeter setting was 30.20 inches of Mercury. The accident site was located about 021 degrees and 10 nautical miles from SPA.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The private airstrip consisted of a single grass/dirt runway oriented on a magnetic heading of 066/246 degrees. The runway is about 1,875 feet long.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

As determined by the passenger using Google Earth, the accident site was located at 35 degrees 03 minutes 50.84 seconds North latitude and 081 degrees 53 minutes 11.29 seconds West longitude. That location when plotted was located about 086 degrees and 817 feet from the approach end of the east-northeast oriented runway.

Before NTSB initiated an investigation, the wreckage was removed from the tree and recovered to the passenger's address where the passenger reported the engine was subsequently run with no issues noted. The wreckage was later examined by several FAA inspectors.

According to the FAA inspectors that examined the wreckage, no identifying markings were noted on it except the engine data plate and, "For flight instruction only" which was installed on the right gear support frame. The wing, which had been removed and was in a zipper bag was removed for examination. The wing/canopy was intact except for tears on both sides and a tear at the right leading edge. Two of those tears are the same on both sides and appear to have come from a support cable that was attached to rear portion of the wing/canopy. After landing in the tree the wing forward support tube failed from the weight of pilots and trike, which allowed the wing/canopy to fall back toward the engine. A small 1/16 inch cable attached to the rear on both sides of the wing/canopy became tangled in the propeller and the rotation of this cable tore the wing/canopy and finally broke the cable. This cable was still attached at the point of these tears. One propeller blade exhibited leading edge damage that is consistent with the cable wrapping around the blade. The other tear was on the right wing/canopy at the leading edge. The main spar tube was broken at this tear consistent with tree contact. All other control cables where intact.

The trike portion of the aircraft had damage to the left gear support tube and the main vertical tube (wing attach), which exhibited rearward bending damage. The fuel level was just below the 5 gallon mark. The Rotax 503 engine was started and ran to produce sufficient power for flight. A copy of the FAA inspector statements are contained in the NTSB public docket.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A postmortem examination of the pilot was not performed, only an external examination was performed. According to the Investigative Report, the cause of death was listed as, "Internal injuries secondary to fall from tree."

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens of the pilot by NMS Labs, located in Willow Grove, PA. The results were negative in the femoral blood specimen for barbiturates, cannabinoids, salicylates, acetone, ethanol, isopropanol, and methanol. A copy of the toxicology report is contained in the NTSB public docket.

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

According to the passenger, as a result of the collision with the tree the pilot sustained only cuts and scratches and was talking after coming to rest. The passenger stated that he felt the aircraft was secure in the tree, but the pilot advised him to get out of the aircraft as he did not feel the tree would support the weight of the aircraft and them. The passenger was subsequently rescued from the aircraft that remained suspended in the tree, and sustained minor injuries (scratches) as a result of the collision.