Sunday, August 06, 2017

Former Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (KPHF) director didn't track airport gasoline usage, charged gas on credit cards

Patrick Kerstiens, an airport operations intern, unlocks the gas station pump at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on July 26th. 

NEWPORT NEWS — The gasoline tank inside the gates at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport has pumped more than 36,000 gallons of fuel for the airport's fleet of cars, trucks and vans since early 2015.

For about 10 percent of that usage, the airport has no records of who used the gas or what vehicle they filled up.

A Daily Press examination of the monthly meter reading sheets show that 36,197 gallons flowed out of the tank for the airport's vehicles between January 2015 and July 2017. But the related usage logs add up to only 32,658 gallons.

That means 3,539 gallons — about 122 a month on average — are unaccounted for. (These calculations exclude two and a half months when the meters were out of service.)

The airport's interim executive director and fire chief say former Executive Director Ken Spirito accounted for some of that difference. Spirito's contract with the Peninsula Airport Commission entitled him to free gas from the airport's supply on top of his $810 per month car allowance and $223,939 annual salary.

But Spirito did not record his gas usage on the handwritten log sheets, with no one being able to explain why he was exempt from a rule that other airport employees had to follow.

The Peninsula Airport Commission fired Spirito in May after state auditors discovered he had been using airport money for personal expenses, including paint and body work on his and other vehicles after accidents.

"Ken was an authority unto himself," said Sandy Wanner, the former James City County administrator now serving as the airport's interim executive director. "He was in charge, and he had the decision-making power to decide what would and wouldn't apply to that office. ... He was executive director, and he had a far-ranging authority."

Airport Fire Chief Dewain Starks said he and other airport firefighters saw Spirito filling up two different vehicles at the airport pump in the same week — the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee he drove home to James City County and another unidentified private car. "He has been seen at that ... pump with two different vehicles getting gas within one week," Starks said, adding that he witnessed it personally "three or four times."

A small aircraft passes behind the gas station pump at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on July 26. The pump station is designated for all airport fleet and grounds vehicles, with meters and a handwritten log is used to help keep track of the fill-ups.

Spirito declined to comment for this story. Former Newport News City Manager Jim Bourey, who was a member of the airport commission beginning in 2013, including a term as chairman in 2014, did not return a call seeking comment. Bourey resigned from his seat on the commission and then as city manager in the wake of the People Express loan controversy.

The recent state audit — which began in January after the Daily Press reported that the airport commission had guaranteed a $5 million line of credit for the short-lived People Express Airlines — found that Spirito "bypassed the log when he filled his personal vehicle with fuel." It also said the gas was not counted as taxable income.

Some airport firefighters noticed Spirito wasn't logging his gas usage, and thought "it's not right," Starks said.

Two airport employees are allowed to use free airport gas for airport take-home vehicles: Airport Police Chief Todd Rittenhouse drives a 2016 Ford Explorer back and forth to his home in Suffolk, and maintenance supervisor Tommy Moore drives a 2006 Ford 250 pickup truck back and forth to his home in the Williamsburg area.

Unlike Spirito, both men log their fill-ups, Starks said. Spirito "had his own key" for the airport's gas pump, he added. "I've tried to find out where that key came from," Starks said. "I can only assume that it was passed on from the prior administration," when Spirito took the airport's helm in January 2009.

This is a clipboard near the gasoline tank on the grounds of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport that employees use to log their gas usage.

Starks said he never mentioned his concerns to Spirito's boss, the six-member Peninsula Airport Commission.

"I didn't feel that was my responsibility," Starks said. "It wasn't my responsibility to understand his contract. That was their responsibility. I took the (meter) readings every month and turned in the sheets as they were filled out." As long as Spirito wasn't doing "anything unsafe," Starks said, he wasn't going to step in. "Who am I to question his actions? I didn't know if he was authorized to or not authorized to, and I wasn't going to challenge it."

Wanner said the commission was in the dark about the details of Spirito's gas usage — aside from the fact that his contract allowed him to fuel up at the airport for free. "Whether they were aware that he was or wasn't logging in and out — or what vehicles he was gassing up — they would not have known that on a daily, weekly or monthly basis," Wanner said. "That just never would have been brought to their attention."

The Daily Press analysis shows the disparity between the handwritten logs and actual gas metered usage continued after Spirito was put on paid administrative leave in early March — and after he was fired in May. There were 114 gallons of gasoline unaccounted for in March, followed by 104 gallons in April, 93 gallons in May, 14 gallons in June and 32 gallons in July.

There are other problems with the logs — illegible numbers, sometimes lacking decimals, and some lines not filled out — that could account for some of the disparity. Starks, at Wanner's urging, recently posted a sign reminding employees to "print legibly." He also said an airport shuttle bus driver apparently filled up a bus tank in May without logging 40 gallons.

But Starks said he couldn't explain why a significant disparity continued after Spirito's departure. "I don't know, because I've never been told that we've got that many gallons of gas not being accounted for," Starks said. "No one has ever brought it to my attention."

Though there's a surveillance camera near the gas pump, it focuses on a nearby airport gate, with Wanner saying there are no plans to shift that camera to more closely monitor the tank.

"I will take whatever rational steps are available to assure that the logs are being maintained and that the security of the pump is enhanced," Wanner said. "But the current camera has a very specific mission. I can't use that. And that has far more serious consequences if we don't monitor (the gate)."

Double dipping with credit cards?

In addition to Spirito's failure to log his gasoline usage, there are separate questions of whether he was "double dipping" on his gasoline reimbursements.

In a memo written in early 2013, Spirito gave five airport staffers — including himself — an allowance of up to $200 a month to be charged on their airport credit cards for gasoline at private stations such as Exxon, Shell and Wawa, the state audit found. The audit noted that the allowance was not reported to the IRS as income. It also noted that Spirito was getting free gas from two different places.

"We ... noted numerous receipts in which (Spirito) was reimbursed for gas obtained from various gas stations and question why he was being reimbursed for gas when his employment agreement states that he was to use the (airport-) supplied fuel facility," the audit said.

A spreadsheet created by the airport's finance office shows Spirito charged $5,328 in gasoline on his airport credit card — or about $100 a month — since January 2013. (The four other employees in the plan charged a bit more in gas, averaging about $145 a month.)

In his March 2013 memo, Spirito told employees that the "purpose for the allowance is to off-set your fuel costs for various business travel in Hampton Roads and other local areas." The memo said employees must submit receipts for their fuel purchases, that they can't exceed the monthly limit, and that they would be reimbursed separately for approved travel "beyond the immediate Hampton Roads area."

But Spirito didn't explicitly bar those employees from charging the airport for personal gas usage.

That wasn't good enough for the commission. In its May 15 letter of termination, the airport commission took Spirito to task for the monthly gas allowances — which amounted to up to $2,400 a year for each of the five employees — "with no requirement that it be tied to business travel."

"You have hidden employee compensation in the fuel expense account, also exposing these employees and the (Peninsula Airport Commission) to back taxes, additional filing obligations and possible interest and penalties," the board wrote to Spirito.

On April 24, Wanner suspended the program, "pending review of its purpose and tax implications." He told the four other employees that past airport W-2 forms were being reissued and they would have to submit amended tax returns for 2013 through 2016.

The IRS' criminal investigative division is one of three agencies — along with the Virginia State Police and the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General's Office — looking into "past business operations" at the airport. The IRS would not say whether the gas use is included in its investigation.

How the system works

The airport's gasoline tank, which sits next to the fire station west of the old terminal building, holds 1,300 gallons of unleaded fuel. It services a fleet of more than 30 airport vehicles — including vans, shuttle buses, pickup trucks and cars — as well as lawn mowers and power equipment. It also services cars and trucks owned by outside vendors, including Rick Aviation, Atlantic Aviation, American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Flight International, with each entity having a separate key for the pump.

Between Jan. 1, 2015 and July 31, 2017, the airport gas tank has pumped more than 56,000 gallons, the meter records show. More than 36,000 gallons — or 64 percent of the total — was used for the airport fleet and equipment; the rest went to the outside firms.

At the end of each month, Starks reads the meters and changes out the log sheets, then hangs them back on clipboards just inside the fire station's doorway. For the private companies, an airport finance official compares the logs and meters to ensure they match up. Starks said they typically line up pretty well, with slight discrepancies for rounding errors. "There has been the occasion where the employees aren't paying attention and have grabbed the wrong clipboard," he said. But that doesn't happen too often, he said, because "I run a pretty tight ship."

But the finance office doesn't compare the meters and log sheets for the airport's own gas usage, even though that accounts for nearly two-thirds of the tank's gasoline usage. "We did it for (the vendors) because they are being invoiced," Wanner said. "Since we are not invoicing ourselves, that's the reason they don't do the same for the (airport) meters."

Hugh Barlow, with the Peninsula Airport Commission's annual auditor, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP, did not return phone calls seeking comment on whether this process was adequate to ensure the gas usage was being properly tracked and controlled.

It would be nice, Wanner said, if the airport could buy a newer system used by many cities and counties. Instead of depending on handwritten logs, the data — such as the vehicle, mileage and amount of gas pumped — is entered electronically at the pump. "Then there's no question of who pumps what," Starks said.

"I don't have the resources to install a new system at this time," Wanner said. But, he added: "We will improve our record keeping on gasoline."

Original article can be found here ➤

Rhode Island Airport Corporation, faced with antagonism, says closing Westerly State Airport (KWST) is a ‘real option’

WESTERLY — Stymied for two years in its effort to remove trees it says are a hazard for aircraft, and reeling from a steady barrage of criticism, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation says it will consider all possible solutions to balance the desires of residents with the needs of pilots who use Westerly State Airport, including possibly closing the facility.

News that RIAC and town officials had recently discussed closing the airport is drawing responses ranging from alarm to skepticism.

Foremost among the alarmed is Shirlyne Gobern, Block Island’s interim town manager.

“That would be devastating to the island,” Gobern said.

Block Island depends on flights to the airport, provided by New England Airlines, to take people in need of medical attention to Westerly. Plumbers, electricians, and other service providers fly to the island.

“It’s a lifeline ... my heart is racing talking about it,” Gobern said.

Closure of the airport would have a discernible negative effect on the local economy, said Lisa Konicki, president of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce.

“The Westerly airport is integral to the local economy. Closure would have a dramatic negative affect on the town of Westerly in terms of jobs and business-support services, as well as recreational activities,” Konicki said.

In addition to the services cited by Gobern, Konicki said the airport gives local restaurants the ability to fly meals to the island, serves as a center for aviation lessons, is used by recreational pilots, and recently became host to both skydiving and helicopter-tour businesses. Summer residents and business people also use the airport, Konicki said.

Last year, RIAC, the state agency that manages the airport, reported that an economic impact analysis revealed that its five general-aviation airports have a direct and indirect impact on the state economy of more than $200 million, including 1,500 jobs. Of the total economic impact, Westerly State Airport’s contribution was pegged at $16 million annually and almost 100 direct and indirect jobs.

Looking for answers

In May, a RIAC senior vice president, Alan R. Andrade, told Town Manager Derrik M. Kennedy that the quasi-public agency would consider closing the airport.

“Given the amount of negative attention and consternation the airport seems to bring to each and every Town Hall meeting, the best solution may be to close the airport. Please know that closing the airport is a real option for RIAC,” Andrade wrote in a May 24 email to Kennedy.

RIAC needs an understanding of “what the town wants for an airport,” Andrade said, adding that RIAC has historically tried to maintain the airport as it currently exists in accordance with policies it consents to when receiving grants from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“To do so requires impacts to private property surrounding the airport. This approach has painted RIAC as being problematic and inconsiderate to the community. Please know that we will do whatever the town asks of us, but I need an answer soon. We are under pressure from the FAA to address the known hazards that currently exist to the existing runway approach surfaces,” Andrade wrote.

Trees on private property in the approach zones to the airport’s four runways must be removed, RIAC says. The corporation took easements to gain perpetual access to property owned by several residents to remove the trees, but the tree-clearing project was put on hold in February when a Superior Court judge granted an injunction sought by property owners to temporarily stop the project. The property owners’ underlying case, in which they claim RIAC misused the eminent domain process, is pending.

Last week a RIAC spokeswoman, in a statement to The Sun, reiterated Andrade’s comments. Patti Goldstein said Andrade was communicating with Kennedy in support of RIAC President and CEO Iftikhar Ahmad’s approach of working with local communities “to engage the elected officials and the community in constructive communication to balance their needs with those of the pilot community. We have had some discussions with Mr. Kennedy relative to obstruction removal versus continuing the discussion in the courts. We want to make it clear that RIAC is open to all their suggestions, even if it means closing the airport.”

Ahmad started his job in October.

Kennedy said he recently met with RIAC officials to gain a better understanding of the corporation’s plans for the airport and surrounding area and will soon report his findings to the Town Council and see how the council wants to proceed.

“The airport has tremendous value to the town and its business, tourist, and residential communities as well as to Block Island and its residents. Closing the airport would have an immediate, negative economic impact on the town and our sister community, Block Island, as the airport is a vital lifeline to the island,” Kennedy said.

Significant blow

Bill Bendokas, who owns New England Airlines, said RIAC’s references to closing the airport might be exaggerations.

“I think the comments you’ve heard are more of almost a knee-jerk reaction. I think RIAC is frustrated because they are trying hard to be good neighbors,” he said.

Contrary to popular opinion, Bendokas said the airport is not used solely by Watch Hill property owners or guests of the Ocean House but instead by a broader segment of the region’s population. Closing the airport would be a significant blow to the region’s economic structure, he said.

“It’s a way of life for a lot of people to get to and from Block Island. It’s the lifeblood of a part of the community carried back and forth through that airport,” Bendokas said.

Gregory Massad, the attorney for property owners who obtained the tree-clearing injunction, said his clients are not intent on having the airport closed.

“I don’t think it’s anything that my clients have sought. I think the issue is the economic viability of that airport in its historic place. My clients want it to remain a small airport for local flights but it’s turned into a place with different types of planes and increased activity,” Massad said. The agency, he said, “is trying to fit more and more into a small little airport.”

Massad contends that the tree-clearing project would allow for new types of landings, which he says would lead to an intensified use or expansion of the facility. RIAC has consistently denied Massad’s assertion, saying, instead, that the trees must be removed in order for the FAA to allow the airport to continue in its current configuration.

Massad said his clients’ case is continuing, and he will soon seek a judge’s permission to amend the original complaint to add claims for financial damages arising from the taking of the easements through eminent domain, and for other damages arising from RIAC’s actions.

Local control?

Mario Celico, Town Council vice president, said that rather than the town telling RIAC what it wants, the agency should clearly communicate its future plans for the facility with town officials. While closing the airport “would be terrible because it contributes to the economy of our community,” Celico said it might be appropriate for town officials to study the possibility of the airport becoming a municipal endeavor.

“Is it possible for us to have a municipal airport that the town controls completely? That way we’d still have a link to Block Island, which I think is critical,” Celico said.

The town’s Comprehensive Plan, which sets out development and preservation goals and priorities, seems to capture the tension surrounding the airport.

“The airport has the potential for a larger role in the economy although proximity to residential areas presents challenges to any expansion of services,” a section of the plan reads.

A revision of the Comprehensive Plan is underway. Gail Mallard, chairwoman of the citizens advisory committee working on the revision, said the committee had not yet signed off on any potential revisions to the sections of the plan pertaining to the airport. “We have had a number of neighbors of the airport attend our meetings to express their concerns about the airport,” she said.

For RIAC and the town and its residents to coexist will require communication and compromise, said Konicki. In 2014 RIAC cleared a swath of trees on the chamber’s town-owned office property on Route 1. The chamber expressed opposition to the project and asked instead if the trees could be trimmed periodically. RIAC refused the trimming request, but Konicki said the corporation communicated regularly and did not interfere with chamber operations during its business hours.

RIAC provided wood chips that the chamber requested for a walking path and agreed to assist the chamber’s promotional activities by displaying a tourist magazine at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick.

“I understand that residents have had negative experiences communicating with RIAC, but the Chamber has not. While we definitely do not always get what we want, we are appreciative of this valuable resource and understand the need to compromise to support safety and preserve the present level of operations,” Konicki said.

Original article and comments ➤

Mooney M20TN Acclaim Type S, N608MR, Premier Aircraft Sales Inc: Accident occurred April 20, 2015 in Lakeland, Polk County, Florida

Similar Previous Accident
A review of the NTSB database revealed an accident involving a similar airplane and engine that occurred on May 10, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas (NTSB accident number CEN14LA234). In that case, the pilot also advanced the throttle lever while operating in the airport traffic pattern and the engine stopped producing power. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed no anomalies, and the reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA234
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 10, 2014 in San Antonio, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2014
Aircraft: MOONEY AIRPLANE CO INC M20TN, registration: N563JK
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 reported that he intended to practice takeoffs and landings, and he completed the first takeoff and landing without incident. While on the base leg of the landing pattern after the second takeoff, the pilot pushed the throttle forward, and the engine stopped producing power. He was unable to regain engine power, so he made a forced landing into a small clearing, which resulted in substantial damage and a serious injury. The postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The fuel-injected engine was shipped to the manufacturer for further examination and an engine run, during which the engine demonstrated the ability to produce rated horsepower.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination and testing of the engine revealed no anomalies.

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Mooney International Corporation; Kerrville, Texas
Continental Motors Inc.; Mobile, Alabama
Hartzell Propeller; Piqua, Ohio
Orscheln Products; Moberly, Missouri

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Premier Aircraft Sales Inc:

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA191 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 20, 2015 in Lakeland, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/20/2017
Aircraft: MOONEY M20TN, registration: N608MR
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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

The commercial pilot fueled the airplane with 20 gallons of fuel before departing on the 1-hour cross-country flight. While on final approach to the destination airport, the pilot advanced the throttle lever; however, the engine did not respond. The pilot attempted to restore engine power but was unsuccessful and subsequently conducted a forced landing to a small clearing. The airplane impacted terrain, trees, and a gate before coming to rest about 1 mile short of the runway and was largely consumed by postcrash fire.

Based on the minimal rotational damage to the propeller and propeller assembly, it is likely that the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power before impact. Due to the significant postcrash fire it was unlikely that the loss of engine power was the result of fuel exhaustion.

Postaccident examination of the airframe and engine, including the fuel and ignition systems, revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or abnormalities that would have precluded normal operation. Although functional testing of the engine-driven fuel pump and the throttle body was precluded due to thermal damage, disassembly of the units revealed no anomalies.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined due to thermal damage and because postaccident examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.


On April 20, 2015, about 1440 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20TN, N608MR, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power on approach to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Florida. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was owned by Premier Aircraft Sales, LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and an instrument rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from Stuart Airport (SUA), Stuart, Florida about 1340, with the intended destination of LAL.

In a written statement, the pilot stated that the airplane was on final approach with the landing gear and flaps extended, and that the engine's manifold pressure was indicating about 12 inches. As he advanced the throttle, the engine did not respond. The pilot attempted to troubleshoot the problem to restore engine power but was unsuccessful and subsequently conducted a forced landing to a clearing. The airplane impacted terrain, trees, and a gate about 6,000 ft from the runway 27 threshold at LAL; the forward fuselage, including the cockpit area, was consumed by a postcrash fire.

A fuel receipt indicated that, on the morning of the accident, the airplane was fueled with 20 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel before departure from SUA.


According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate issued August 25, 2003, with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane; and a private pilot certificate with a rating for glider. He held a third-class FAA medical certificate, which was issued in May 2013, with the restriction, "must have available glasses for near vision." His most recent flight review was conducted in May 2014. According to the pilot's logbook, he had 5,735.4 total hours of flight experience, of which 32.7 hours were in the 90 days preceding the accident, and 12.4 hours were in the 30 days preceding the accident.


According to FAA records, the airplane, serial number 31-0132, was issued an airworthiness certificate on March 2, 2015. It was powered by a Continental Motors TSIO-550-G5B, 310 hp reciprocating engine, serial number 1010446, which drove a Hartzell PHC-J3YF-1RF three-blade-model F7498 propeller. The airplane was new and had not yet received a 100-hour or annual inspection; however, it had undergone a new airplane inspection as required by the manufacturer.


The 1433 recorded weather observation at LAL included wind from 280° at 8 knots, visibility 5 miles, thunderstorms and light rain, scattered clouds at 1,600 ft above ground level (agl), overcast clouds at 2,600 ft agl, temperature 22°C, dew point 19°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.88 inches of mercury.

The 1450 recorded weather observation at LAL included wind from 360° at 6 knots, visibility 10 miles, thunderstorms and light rain, scattered clouds at 1,600 ft agl, overcast clouds at 3,300 ft agl, temperature 22°C, dew point 21°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.89 inches of mercury.


The airplane wreckage was moved before the investigative team's arrival; however, photographs revealed that the airplane was engulfed in flames shortly after impact. A video taken by the pilot immediately after he exited the airplane showed fire beginning predominantly forward of the wings but engulfing the wings within a few seconds of the start of the recording.

The initial impact point was indicated by three tire markings in the grass, corresponding to each of the airplane's three landing gear, which extended about 20 ft. The tire marks ended, and the airplane subsequently impacted a palm tree about 5 ft agl, then a 15-ft-tall archway over an entrance gate before impacting another tree and the ground. The debris path extended about 200 ft on a heading about 060° from the initial impact point, and the airplane came to rest on a heading about 260°.

The forward fuselage exhibited extensive thermal damage. The empennage was intact and not affected by the postcrash fire. The engine remained attached to its mounts and the firewall; however, all of the mounts displayed varying degrees of impact damage.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange and the propeller spinner was secured to the hub. The spinner exhibited no rotational scoring or signature marks around its circumference. The three propeller blades remained attached to the hub. One blade exhibited leading edge gouging, one blade tip was bent aft, and the other blade exhibited chordwise scratching and was bent aft about midspan.

Engine Observations

Examination of the engine revealed extensive thermal damage to the rear accessory pad and top of the engine. The turbo controller was not observed and was presumed to be destroyed by the postimpact fire. The No. 5 cylinder exhibited impact damage on the cooling fins. All spark plug leads remained attached to their respective plugs and to their respective magnetos. The fuel injector lines remained attached. Portions of the lubrication line system were thermally destroyed. No external anomalies were noted.

The crankshaft was rotated by hand at the propeller flange, and thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders except No. 5 as a result of impact damage that restricted movement of the valves. Crankshaft continuity was observed from the propeller flange aft to the crankshaft gear bolts and the accessory end. Camshaft continuity was also confirmed. Removal of the oil pump housing cap revealed that the oil pump gears were intact with no signs of hard particle passage throughout the housing. The oil filter was in place and safety-tied. The oil filter was removed and cut open for examination. The filter element was thermally damaged but otherwise unremarkable.

The engine oil dipstick was present; the oil level was about 7 quarts, within the normal operating range, and the oil appeared normal in color and was free of contaminants. The propeller governor remained attached to the front side of the engine, and the cable remained secured and attached to the propeller lever.

Ignition System

The ignition wiring was thermally destroyed. The magnetos were secure on their mounting pads. The pressurization lines to the magnetos were secured in place but were destroyed by fire. The ignition harness was destroyed; however, the terminal leads to the sparkplugs were secured and in place. All spark plugs were secured and in place. The top spark plugs were removed and the cylinders were inspected with a borescope. All cylinders appeared normal in color and no abnormalities were noted within the cylinder barrels, intake valves, or exhaust valves. The sparkplugs appeared to be in new condition with little-to-no combustion deposits on the electrodes or insulators. During crankshaft rotation, the magneto impulse couplings were audibly observed. Removal of the vent plug on each magneto revealed the distributor gears were intact and the left magneto showed signs of thermal distress. The magnetos were removed for further testing. The shafts and gear rotated freely by hand. Removal of the ignition harness from the distributor towers did not show any signs of arcing or cracking.

Turbocharger System

The left and right turbochargers were manufactured by Hartzell. The slope control was not located during the examination and was presumed to have been destroyed by postcrash fire. The manifold pressure, upperdeck, and oil lines remained in the area of the slope controller. The wastegate actuator lines were secured to their respective locations. The wastegate actuator operated as intended with no anomalies noted when compressed air was applied. No foreign object debris-related damage was noted on either turbocharger's impeller, and the impellers could be rotated by hand. The oil lines to and from both turbocharger bearings were intact and secured to their respective fittings.

Engine Fuel System

The supply line to the fuel pump was attached and secured to the inlet. The inlet, outlet, and vapor return lines were attached and finger-tight, with numerous threads engaged. The upper-deck reference was also secured to the fuel pump. The mixture control remained attached to the mixture lever and the lever remained secured to the mixture shaft, at the full-rich position, as found. The engine-driven fuel pump remained attached and secure and the drive coupling was intact. The housing bolts were intact and safety-wired; however, there was considerable thermal distortion of the housing.

The throttle body was intact and attached to the intake plenum, and the throttle control cable was attached to the throttle lever, which was attached to the throttle shaft. There were no signs of binding. The manifold pressure lines and upper-deck pressure lines remained secured to the throttle body. The inlet fuel line and the fuel line from the fuel metering unit to the manifold valve were secured.

The fuel manifold valve was in place and sustained thermal damage; all fuel injector lines remained attached to the fuel manifold valve. The fuel injection lines remained secured to their respective fuel injection nozzles. The upperdeck reference lines were in place around the fuel injection nozzles. All fuel injection nozzles were free of debris.

The fuel selector valve was found in the left tank position and the fuel gascolator stem was down. The selector valve was removed and air was blown through the engine line; the valve operated normally through all settings. The fuel supply lines remained attached to the firewall. The fitting on the inlet and outlet lines to the boost pumps remained secured and in place. The electrical wiring was thermally destroyed. The engine controls were located, and the throttle and mixture levers were in the full forward position. The gascolator was removed and exhibited extensive thermal damage. The unit was disassembled and the screen was unobstructed.

Right Wing

The right wing exhibited impact crush damage and thermal damage outboard of the landing gear well. The flap was impact separated and segmented into two pieces, and the thermal damage extended from the root outboard to 70 inches from the wing tip. The aileron remained attached at its attach points. The pushrod that connected the aileron bellcrank to the aileron was not located; however, the fracture ends displayed soot damage on the fracture surface. The fuel cap was not located. The fuel system vent tube remained in the wing and the area around the vent tube was thermally damaged. Compressed air was applied to the vent tube and air was noted exiting the vent tube system into the fuel tank. The fuel tank was compromised and destroyed by postcrash fire. The landing gear remained attached, was observed in the extended position, and was thermally damaged.

Left Wing

The left wing was separated into three sections. The outboard section began at the inboard hinge of the aileron and extended to the wing tip. The segment was devoid of thermal damage, was impact-damaged, and the aileron remained attached. The middle section was cut during recovery and exhibited minimal thermal damage, mostly on the inboard portion of the section. The middle section also contained the fuel cap, which was found secure and in place, and the fuel vent, which was bent approximately 15° about 5 inches from one end. The vent tube was removed from the fuel tank fitting. Air was applied to one end of the tube; however, air flow through the tube was restricted. A light was attached to one end and light was visible from the other end of the tube. No debris was observed exiting the tube when air was applied. The inboard section of the wing was about 5 ft in length, was thermally damaged, and remained attached to the fuselage; however, it was cut to facilitate transport. The fuel tank was destroyed by postcrash fire. The main landing gear was detached at the top of the gear strut and, according to recovery personnel, was located along the debris path. The landing gear did not exhibit any thermal damage. The flap was separated into two sections and appeared to have been cut for transport. The speed brake remained attached and was found in the retracted position.


The cockpit exhibited extensive thermal damage. The flight control column was destroyed; however, elevator continuity was observed from the area near the control column to the elevator. Aileron continuity was observed from the area near the control column to the fracture points along the segmented sections of the aileron tube. The cockpit and seats exhibited extensive thermal damage. The front seats were equipped with AMSafe inflatable seatbelts; however, the pilot did not recall the seat belts inflating. The bruising on the pilot's torso was consistent with an uninflated shoulder harness. The squibs for the AMSafe system seatbelt and shoulder harness were located and were thermally damaged. The buckles were not located for the front seats. The seats were co-located with their attach points; however, the seats were not securely attached due to thermal damage.


The empennage aft of the cargo compartment was intact and exhibited no thermal damage. Measurement of the flap barrel indicated that the wing flaps were in the fully extended position. The elevator trim measured 1.75 inches, which correlated to a slightly nose-up trim setting. The right and left horizontal stabilizers remained attached at their respective attach points. The right horizontal exhibited minor crushing at the leading edge root. The left horizontal stabilizer counterweight was not located. Rudder continuity was confirmed from the rudder to the rudder pedals and to the nosewheel steering.


Throttle and Mixture Cable

The as found positions of the throttle and mixture cable were noted at the accident site. The cables and their respective assemblies were then sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C. for further examination. Both control assemblies exhibited significant heat damage; however, no pre-existing binding or obstruction to operation was observed on either of the controls. The throttle cable position was measured at 3.75 inches, which correlated to 74% open. According the airplane manufacturer, the full-closed (idle) position would measure 1.3 inches, and the full (open)-throttle position would measure 4.620 inches. The mixture cable position measured 6.70 inches, about 57% rich. According to the manufacturer, the full idle-cutoff position would measure 5.35 inches, and the full-rich mixture position would measure 7.70 inches. The throttle control cable could not be easily moved, likely due to heat damage to the liner. The mixture control release rod was bent and unable to be moved, likely due to thermal damage.

Magnetos and Fuel System Component Examination

The ignition and fuel system components were examined at the manufacturer's facility under NTSB oversight. The magnetos could not be functionally tested due to thermal damage. Rotation of the drive shafts resulted in a coinciding rotation of the distributor gears (as observed through their respective housing ports). Disassembly of the magnetos revealed that the internal timing of each magneto was correct. The internal wires sustained thermal damage and some components were corroded. The cam follower opened and closed the points appropriately during drive shaft rotation.

The engine-driven fuel pump sustained thermal damage that precluded functional testing. The pump was disassembled and no pre-accident anomalies were noted with the internal components. The mixture control shaft o-ring was in place, but was thermally damaged.

The throttle body was disassembled and no pre-accident anomalies were noted with the internal components. The o-rings were in place.

The fuel manifold valve was disassembled and the diaphragm was intact with the plunger secured. The screen was clear with no debris or obstructions noted.

A test was conducted with an exemplar engine-driven fuel pump on an exemplar engine. The mixture control shaft o-ring was omitted to induce a known leak from the engine-driven pump. During priming operation, fuel was observed leaking from the mixture control shaft. The exemplar engine was started and run throughout production test parameters (idle to full power) with no misses or engine stumbling noted.

Throttle Body

The throttle body could not be functionally tested due to thermal damage; however, the manufacturer provided a new, exemplar throttle body for testing purposes. The valve's o-rings were removed to simulate a leak in the throttle body assembly. The assembly was then connected and bench-tested on a fuel test stand and subsequently attached to an exemplar engine and tested under the supervision of NTSB personnel. The throttle body operated within the acceptable range of a new unit and no anomalies or hesitations were noted.

Similar Previous Accident

A review of the NTSB database revealed an accident involving a similar airplane and engine that occurred on May 10, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas (NTSB accident number CEN14LA234). In that case, the pilot also advanced the throttle lever while operating in the airport traffic pattern and the engine stopped producing power. Postaccident examination of the engine revealed no anomalies, and the reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA191 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 20, 2015 in Lakeland, FL
Aircraft: MOONEY INTERNATIONAL CORP M20TN, registration: N608MR
Injuries: 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On April 20, 2015, about 1440 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20TN, N608MR, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power while on final approach to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Florida. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument rules flight plan was filed. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight had departed from the Stuart Airport (SUA), Stuart, Florida, about 1340.

The airplane was removed prior to the investigative team's arrival; however, photographs provided to the investigative team revealed that the airplane came to rest near the aft end of a boat, that was on a trailer. The airplane forward of the aft baggage compartment bulkhead, was engulfed in flames. A video, taken by the pilot immediately after exiting the airplane, revealed fire beginning predominately forward of the wings but engulfing the wings within a few seconds of the start of the recording. The accident flight path was oriented on a 060 degree heading and the debris path began with three tire marks, approximately 20 feet in length and 200 feet to the west of the main wreckage resting point. The airplane became airborne, impacted a palm tree about 5 feet agl, as evidenced by an imbedded pitot tube in the tree trunk, impacted an archway over an entrance gate that was about 15 feet in height, struck another palm tree, and then impacted the ground coming to rest on an approximate heading of 260 degrees. The accident location was about 6,100 feet and 76 degrees from the runway 27 threshold, the intended landing runway.

According to the pilot, he had been vectored around some weather and was at 2000 feet above mean sea level (msl). He was given clearance to descend to 1600 feet msl and was placed on the final approach course at the final approach fix for the RNAV runway 27 approach. In order to configure for landing he reduced the power, extended the landing gear, and extended the flaps to the 33 degree flap setting. Once he was established at his planned approach speed, he utilized the veneer knob, on the throttle, to add power; however, the engine failed to respond. He then utilized the throttle lever and applied full power; however, the engine did not respond. He switched fuel tanks, checked his magneto switch, and fuel pump in an attempt to get the engine to respond; however, none were successful. Due to his configuration he elected to make an off airport landing and turned the airplane to the right, towards a vacant field. He further stated that the time from the first attempt to apply power and the accident was less than a minute.

Postrecovery examination revealed that the airplane was thermally damaged forward of the baggage compartment aft bulkhead. Impact damage was consistent with the airplane impacting the ground in a right wing, nose down attitude. The left wing was segmented into three sections and the right wing was segmented into two sections about midspan. Examination of the propeller blades revealed that the engine was not under power at the time of the impact and that the propeller was most likely windmilling. Examination of the fuel vents revealed that there was no obstruction to the fuel venting system. Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft and camshaft continuity from the propeller flange to the rear accessory pad, and thumb compression was noted on all cylinders, except for Cylinder No. 5 which had sustained impact damage.

A fuel receipt located at a fixed base operator at SUA revealed that, on the morning of the accident, the airplane was fueled with 20 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. According to the pilot, the 20 gallons was a "top off" and would have provided him with full fuel tanks. The engine was retained for further examination.

U.S. Calls Off Search for Marines After Osprey Plunges Into Sea: Officials say 23 people were rescued after the tilt-rotor aircraft crashed off Australia’s east coast, but three remain missing

The Wall Street Journal
By Mike Cherney and  Gordon Lubold
Updated Aug. 6, 2017 5:05 a.m. ET

SYDNEY—The U.S. military called off a search-and-rescue mission for three Marines missing after their Osprey aircraft went down in waters off Australia’s east coast, military officials said.

The search was called off about 3 a.m. local time Sunday, with operations shifting to a recovery effort, according to a statement from the Third Marine Expeditionary Force. The families of the three missing service members have been notified.

The MV-22 Osprey was carrying 26 military personnel when it went down about 4 p.m. Saturday. The tilt-rotor aircraft was assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, and it had launched off the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, Marine officials said. The aircraft was conducting scheduled operations when it crashed into the water, officials said.

The Bonhomme Richard’s small boats and aircraft responded immediately, according to Marine officials, and 23 people were rescued.

The recovery and salvage operation could take months, according to the military statement, and the circumstances of the incident are being investigated.

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said Saturday she had briefed U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the matter and offered Australia’s assistance. “Our thoughts are with the crew and families affected,” she said.

An Australian navy survey ship, the HMAS Melville, was heading to the search area from its northeast Australian port of Cairns to assist the U.S.-led salvage effort, Ms. Payne said Sunday. An Australian navy diving team was also preparing for deployment.

U.S. President Donald Trump was also briefed on the situation, White House officials said.

After the crash, Japan’s Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera made a request for the U.S. military to stop flying Ospreys—which are stationed at a U.S. military base in Japan’s southern island prefecture of Okinawa—in the country.

“We’re not getting much clear information and I think there are voices of concern domestically in Japan so we will ask them to refrain” from flying the aircraft in Japan for now, Mr. Onodera said Sunday.

The latest incident follows an accident July 10 in which a KC-130 refueler prop plane reportedly experienced a problem midflight and went down in Mississippi, killing 15 Marines and one sailor.

The MV-22 Osprey has a history of mishaps since its early stages of development, associated with more than 30 deaths over the years.

In January, an MV-22 Osprey experienced what is known as a “hard landing” during a raid in Yemen, seriously injuring one service member. The plane only experienced minor damage, but due to the sensitive nature of the risky operation, the plane was destroyed, a loss of about $170 million.

Before that, the Osprey experienced another mishap in December 2016 when an MV-22B had another hard landing in shallow water off the coastline of Okinawa, Japan.

Overall, the Marine Corps has had eight “Class A” flight mishaps over the course of 190,000 flight hours as of July 31 for fiscal 2017 for all aircraft. A Class A mishap is defined by the loss of life, damage of $1 million or more or the total loss of an aircraft.

Since the Osprey was fielded in the Marine Corps in 2007, its safety record and the public perception of its capabilities have improved.

Corps officials said the Osprey has a “slightly better Class-A” mishap rate than other planes, like the F-18A-C Hornet jet fighter and CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter.

—Chieko Tsuneoka contributed to this article.

Original article can be found here ➤

NW-Freedom, N2854L: Fatal accident occurred August 06, 2017 at Trinca Airport (13N), Green Township, New Jersey

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allentown, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:
Lester Lydzinski:

NTSB Identification: ERA17FA265
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, August 06, 2017 in Green Township, NJ
Aircraft: LESTER LYDZINSKI NW-FREEDOM, registration: N2854L
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On August 6, 2017, about 1025 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built NW-Freedom, N2854L, was substantially damaged while attempting to depart from Trinca Airport (13N), Green Township, New Jersey. The non-certificated pilot was fatally injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the local, personal flight. The weight-shift-control aircraft was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot's son, the pilot was the owner-builder of the aircraft, and he had custom-built the airframe himself. He purchased the wing separately from its manufacturer. On the day of the accident, the pilot and a friend transported the aircraft by trailer to 13N, where he planned to fly it for the first time. The pilot had previously received some flight instruction, and had conducted a solo flight in other similar aircraft. On the day of the accident, he initially performed two ground test runs on the turf runway, and then took off. After takeoff, the aircraft drifted slightly to the left, corrected toward the right "a little too much," then drifted left again. About 50 ft above the ground, the wing "collapsed" with its tips rotating aft. The aircraft then descended and impacted the runway. The engine ran continuously for the entire flight, which lasted about 30 seconds.

The pilot's son recalled that while preparing the aircraft for flight, the pilot had some difficulty with one of the cables that ran down the center of the wing (the "cross bar restraint cable" according to the manufacturer's instructions). He said that two people could pull the cable in place easily, but it was difficult for one person to pull. The pilot had used a "ratchet strap" to pull the cable into place.

The aircraft impacted the left edge of runway 24, about 500 ft before the departure end. All major components were accounted for at the scene. The wing, constructed of fabric and aluminum tube, was found partially folded toward its storage position, and separated from the fuselage at its mounting brackets. The right wing strut was fractured about 18 inches below its attachment point to the leading edge. Blue paint transfer, consistent with the color of the propeller, was present on both sides of the fracture. Both flight control frame down tubes were buckled about 12 inches from their upper end. The right washout strut was found out of its installation hole, connected to its bungee cord. The aft flying wires were severed, the left wire was found entangled with propeller leading edge strip material. Both arms of the mast, which connect the wing to the fuselage, were bent toward the left and contained several blue paint transfer marks consistent with the color of the propeller. The cross bar restraint cable remained intact and attached to its forward mounting location. The aft end of the cable was free, and not attached to the "baily block hook" located at the rear of the wing keel tube. The fabric webbing handle used to pull the cable into place was separated from one of its two mounting points, and a 2-inch-long tear was present in the center of the webbing, about ½ inch from its loose end. The other end of the webbing remained attached to its mounting point, with short tears in the center on either side of the mount.

The fuselage came to rest in a cornfield alongside the runway at the end of a wreckage path about 25 feet long and oriented on a heading about 170° magnetic. It was located about 40 feet away from the wing. The forward frame was fractured and bent in several locations. The front (pilot's) seat was separated from the fuselage. The aft seat remained attached. The 12-gallon fuel tank was separated from the fuselage, and was about half full. The ballistic airframe parachute system was intact and was not activated. The four-stroke, two-cylinder engine was largely undamaged, and rotated smoothly. Two of the composite propeller blades were fractured and splintered along their span, the third blade was fractured at the hub and not found. An 8-inch section of flying cable sheathing was found embedded in one blade.

The aircraft maintenance records were not located. The Hobbs meter read 26.6 hours. The pilot's son recalled that the aircraft had been inspected at one time, but he did not recall any further maintenance details.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the pilot did not possess an airman or medical certificate.

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Lester Lydzinski, 63, of Clifton, has been identified as the man killed in Sunday's plane crash in Sussex, according to New Jersey State Police.

Lydzinski's ultralight aircraft crashed in Green Township on Sunday morning near Trinca Airport around 10:30 a.m. CPR was administered to Lydzinski at the scene of the crash, according to emergency transmissions, but was unsuccessful. Lydzinski was pronounced dead at the scene, according to New Jersey State Police Sgt. Jeff Flynn.

Lydzinski was the only person on the plane at the time of the crash.

Lydzinski was piloting a NW-Freedom, which is a light sport aircraft, state police Lt. Ted Schafer said. The Federal Aviation Administration's public registry indicates that the plane is classified as experimental and categorized as amateur-built. The state police were unable to confirm whether or not the plane was built by Lydzinski, built by someone else or if Lydzinski purchased it from someone.

Schafer said planes like Lydzinski's are common in the airspace above Sussex County, as are small aircraft like Cessnas and gliders that typically fly from Blairstown Aiport in Warren County.

Police said Lydzinski's plane is weight-shift controlled, meaning that a pilot uses their weight to control the height and direction of the plane.

On Sunday, Pete Sklannik, manager of the Trinca Airport, said data and accident effects were collected by the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Once the NTSB arrives on the scene, they will do their part to actually analyze the machinery that is associated with the ultralight aircraft," Sklannik said.

The plane had been approaching the 2,000-foot runway surrounded by cornfields on what appeared to be an ideal day for flying, the airport manager said. It was unclear whether the pilot intended to land, maneuver or circle around.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, according to Federal Aviation Administration's public information officer Arlene Salac.

NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said the agency is still in the "very early stage" of the investigation. Williams said the probe could take as long as a year as investigators work to determine a cause for the crash.  

Investigators began their on scene investigation by documenting the crash site, examining the aircraft and taking a preliminary look at the plane's engine. \Williams said they would begin to contact witnesses to the crash beginning today.

A report of the preliminary findings will be available on the NTSB website sometime next week.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

Pete Sklannik, Trinca Airport Manager, addresses the media at the scene of an aircraft crash which resulted in the death of the pilot at Trinca Airport in Green Township on Sunday, August 6, 2017. 

GREEN -- A small aircraft crash at Trinca Airport in Green has left one man dead, state police said.

The accident was reported at about 10:25 a.m. Sunday, New Jersey State Police Sgt. Bill Cisko said.

"The pilot was unfortunately declared dead at the scene of the accident," Cisko said. "Paramedics were attempting to revive him when state police arrived, but they were unsuccessful."

Cisko described the aircraft as a NW-Freedom with one occupant. More details will be released once the family of the deceased has been properly notified.

The crash occurred on airport grounds, Cisko said. No other injuries have been reported.

"As of right now, we have no idea what caused it," he said. "The matter is being investigated by both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board."

In addition to state police, Cisko said that paramedics from Saint Clare's Hospital, the Green Fire Department, the Allamuchy/Green First Aid Squad, the Andover Police and the Sussex County Prosecutor's office were all reported at the scene of the accident.

GREEN -- One person was killed Sunday morning when a small plane crashed at Trinca Airport, authorities said.

New Jersey State Police said the pilot was pronounced dead at the scene of the 10:25 a.m. crash and no other passengers were on board.

Airport manager Pete Sklannik described the plane as a ultralight aircraft.

"They're considered experimental aircraft. They're not in the same category as a fixed-wing aircraft, like a Cessna," Sklannik told NJ Advance Media.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. 

No cause had been announced as of 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

It was the second plane crash in New Jersey in a 12-hour span.

On Saturday night, a small plane crashed in Franklin Township, Hunterdon County, sending three people to area hospitals. 

Trinca Airport is owned by Green Township and access to the entrance was blocked off by police following the crash.

Sklannik said the airport is popular with pilots of ultralight planes.

Story, video and photo gallery  ➤

GREEN TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The pilot of a small plane was killed when the aircraft crashed at an airport in Sussex County, New Jersey Sunday morning.

The NW-Freedom amateur-built aircraft crashed at the end of the runway at Trinca Airport in Green Township just before 10:30 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The pilot was pronounced dead on the scene, according to New Jersey State Police.

No passengers were on board at the time of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the cause of the crash, which remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Story and video ➤

GREEN TOWNSHIP, New Jersey (WABC) -- State police say a pilot was killed when a small plane crashed near a New Jersey airport.

The accident happened at about 10:25 a.m. Sunday at Trinca Airport in Green Township, Sussex County.

The Federal Aviation Administration says a NW-Freedom amateur-built aircraft crashed at the end of the runway.

Only the pilot was on board.

It's not clear if the plane had taken off from that site or if it was headed to the airport when it went down.

The pilot, whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the crash.

Trinca Airport is a public use airport owned by Green Township and located three nautical miles southwest of the central business district of Andover.