Thursday, August 10, 2017

Aerodynamics Inc official thanks Western Nebraska Regional Airport (KBFF): 'It was a logical choice to land here,' Darwin Skelton, airport manager says of Embraer ERJ-145 emergency landing



SCOTTSBLUFF — An engine didn’t fall off. There wasn’t a crash. But an airplane did make an emergency landing at the Western Nebraska Regional Airport on Wednesday evening.

Aerodynamics Flight 217 safely landed in Scottsbluff about 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 9. Shortly after taking off in Denver, the 50-passenger jet lost power in one of its two engines.

“They were only about 20 miles away from here so it was a logical choice to land here,” said Darwin Skelton, airport manager.

The sound residents on the ground heard likely came from the engine as it stopped working. While the plane could have continued with only one engine, it was safer to attempt a landing.

“Their plane can fly on one (engine) but they don’t like to because it’s hard on them,” Skelton said.

Three crew members and 46 passengers arrived safely at the airport after the pilot declared an emergency. Skelton said an emergency was called in case something happened to the plane. The plane, however, landed safely and taxied over to the ramp where passengers deboarded and the task of accommodating crew and passengers began.

While airport staff worked to help passengers, Airport Board Member Matt Ziegler ordered and picked up pizza for the passengers.

“He bought close to a dozen pizzas, pop and water,” Skelton said. “No one left hungry.”

Passengers rented cars from Hertz and Enterprise. Several took a Denver Coach to continue their journey to Pierre, a five hour and 32 minute, 327 mile car ride away. Finding local accommodations was more difficult. Skelton said 13 or 14 hotels were called but only four rooms were available. Three people stayed at the Days Inn in Scottsbluff and one person stayed at the Monument Inn and Suites in Gering.

While the airport can handle large planes, Skelton said the landing strip could comfortably handle 757 or 767.

The aircraft was on its way to Watertown, South Dakota, with a stop scheduled in Pierre, South Dakota. Skelton said the plane will likely be in Scottsbluff for a while until repairs can be made.

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

SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (KNEP) - An official with the airline whose plane made an emergency landing in Scottsbluff Wednesday evening was very thankful for the local response.

Aerodynamics Incorporated Chief Operating Officer Mickey Bowman told NBC Nebraska he wanted to issue a ‘big Thank You’ to West Nebraska Regional Airport Director Darwin Skelton and all those who responded when their plane lost power to an engine between en route from Denver to Pierre, South Dakota.

Bowman says between two car rental companies and a shuttle bus, the 47 passengers were able to continue their travels following the emergency landing. He says repairs to the disabled aircraft will likely involve replacing the entire engine. “By the time we run through all the telemetry, then we have to source an engine, we have to ship it in,” says Bowman, “And in this case, since this is not in one of our normal maintenance positions we'll have to make sure we have everything we need, then send a team in, basically.”

Bowman says the computerized data is being sent to Rolls-Royce, the engine manufacturer, for analysis on exactly what failed and what will be needed to get the plane into the air. Bowman says the repair process is likely to take anywhere from 10 days to 2 weeks.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.knopnews2.com

Enplanements increase at Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport (KPKB): Three outbound flights were canceled in July

WILLIAMSTOWN — The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport saw more enplanements in July than the same month the previous year, the first time that’s happened since December.

Three-hundred and seventy-nine passengers departed from the airport aboard Via Air flights last month, compared to 330 last year. It’s the highest monthly total in 2017, and more than the first two months of the year — when Via was plagued by canceled flights due to maintenance issues — combined.

“They had just three cancellations outbound” for July, airport Manager Jeff McDougle said, adding four inbound flights were nixed as well. “I think it’s a step in the right direction.”

There had been no cancellations in August as of Wednesday.

Via’s reliability was a key draw last year when the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Authority recommended the Florida-based company to provide federally subsidized Essential Air Service for two years starting in October 2016. But regular maintenance and other issues caused numerous cancellations this year.

Despite that, McDougle said there has still been a demand for Via’s services. In addition to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the airline makes flights to Orlando and St. Augustine, Fla.

“The Florida markets are doing very well here,” McDougle said.

McDougle said Via recently started a fare sale as a way to entice customers back.

Fuel sales were up significantly in July, with the airport selling a little over 41,000 gallons, compared to 24,600 a year ago. McDougle said there were a variety of buyers, but a few more military sales than usual were made last month.

Because of the annual West Virginia Aviation Conference, the Wood County Airport Authority did not schedule a monthly meeting, during which McDougle usually reports the enplanement and fuel numbers, for August.

A special meeting or two are likely on the horizon as the authority reviews applications for a manager to replace McDougle when he retires this fall.

“We’re going through their resumes and starting to set up times for interviews,” he said.

McDougle said the authority received 24 applications for the job.

Original article  ➤ http://www.newsandsentinel.com

This is what a day with the Afghan air force looks like

Capt. Jawid Karimi does his preflight checks Wednesday. 


KABUL — It is a warm August morning here and Capt. Jawid Karimi, a pilot in the Afghan air force, is going over his flight plan for a training exercise. In quiet, steady English, Karimi and his American trainer decide how they’ll maneuver their single-engine Cessna 208 over a drop zone before jettisoning a small payload of sandbags and supplies.

Dropping cargo from a low-flying, slow-moving transport plane is normally a routine operation, but for the U.S. military it is also an important milestone in the Afghan air force’s long road to self-reliance.

In June, Karimi, a 33-year-old who divides his time between being a pilot and a lawyer, helped conduct the first and so far only Afghan-led supply drop from a Cessna 208. The mission — to an outpost in Paktika province — earned him a blurb in an American PowerPoint slide used to showcase the Afghan air force’s progress.

The United States started to seriously put together the Afghan air force only in the past three years, just as the main contingent of NATO troops in the country was leaving. Now, the fledgling group of pilots and planes is one of the key programs the Pentagon wants to invest in as it considers sending more troops to its longest-running war.



On Wednesday, Karimi taxied out onto one of the runways of Hamid Karzai International Airport. Next to him in the co-pilot’s chair was U.S. Air Force Maj. Garrett Roberts. The American officer helped his Afghan counterpart run through some of his pre-takeoff checklists and adjust one of the flight displays before easing up into the sky.

The C-208, also known as a Cessna Caravan, is a staple for skydivers in the United States. In Afghanistan, a fleet of two dozen aircraft is used to move supplies and troops — including the wounded and the dead — throughout the country. It can hold eight people and three stretchers and lumbers along at around 150 mph. With little night training, the Afghans fly the C-208, along with most of their aircraft, only during the day, which makes them easier targets for Taliban antiaircraft fire.

The Cessnas, with their ability to airdrop supplies and land on dirt airstrips, will become increasingly important for the Afghans as their largest helicopter fleet of Russian Mi-17s succumbs to age and maintenance issues. The old Soviet helicopters are slated to be replaced by approximately 150 American UH-60 Black Hawks in the coming months — a switch that will bench the country’s most reliable aircraft fleet and require dozens of pilots to be retrained on the new, more complicated U.S. aircraft.

The fleet of helicopters and Cessnas, and in some cases the Afghans’ four larger C-130 cargo planes, are integral to getting supplies to Afghan forces that are cut off from resupply by ground, U.S. military officials said. In places such as Helmand province, Afghan troops are often completely surrounded by Taliban insurgents and mines.

After a 15-minute flight, Karimi approached a training airfield in Logar province. As he lined up to land, two Afghan A-29 Super Tucanos flew in from the south to train with their heavy machine guns. Karimi landed and taxied to the end of the runway as the thud of the guns rolled off the surrounding hills.

The A-29s are the Afghans’ main attack plane and started combat missions last year. With a dozen or so aircraft and a rudimentary targeting method, the single-engine A-29s are capable only of attacking positions that are planned roughly 48 hours in advance, said one U.S. military trainer who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment freely about the matter. The planes are further constrained by Afghanistan’s summer heat — especially in the south — forcing the air force to limit their time in the air, because of spiking oil temperatures, during some of the most violent months of the year.

The A-29s are supplemented by roughly two dozen MD-530 two-seater attack helicopters. The bubble-shaped aircraft also have some difficulty in the heat and at high altitudes and lack weapons heavier than their 2.75-inch rockets. While the MD-530s can respond faster than the A-29s — often within hours — the Afghans still don’t have the ability to respond to sudden ambushes or surprise offensives. For that, they rely heavily on U.S.-led air power — much of which has accounted for the majority of airstrikes in Afghanistan in the past two years.

The A-29s and MD-530s also use only unguided munitions, increasing the likelihood of civilian causalities. A recent U.N. report partially attributed a spike in civilian airstrike deaths to the increasing frequency of missions by the Afghan air force.

On the ground in Logar, Karimi briefed a small crew of American trainers about his resupply approach. He planned on making three passes, meaning three drops. From the air, he communicated with two U.S. Air Force Joint Tactical Air Controllers, or JTACs, who marked the target area with an orange “T”; ideally Karimi would get his cargo within 30 meters of the marked area. In a real-life scenario, the U.S. JTACs would be replaced with Afghan Tactical Air Controllers, or ATACs, who would help guide Karimi into the drop zone.

The Afghan controllers are a part of a year-old training program that is quickly becoming more important as the Afghans take on more air missions. For security reasons, the U.S. Air Force would not give out how many ATACs are in the field. Often though, the U.S. military trainer said, the ATACs who have completed their three-week training program are assigned to other tasks, despite their unique skills, when they return to their units.

Karimi’s first two drops landed about 50 meters away from the target. “I think they’re using a different measuring stick,” Roberts joked. On the third and last pass, the cargo got within 20 meters of the target. A public affairs officer aboard flashed a thumbs up and looked relieved.

Story, video and comments  ➤ https://www.washingtonpost.com

Schumer asks JetBlue to expand service to new cities out of Syracuse Hancock International Airport (KSYR)

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer asked JetBlue Airways today to consider expanding its routes out of Syracuse Hancock International Airport, and suggested the region could support new direct flights between Syracuse and Boston.

Schumer, D-N.Y., made a public plea to the discount airline that he helped attract to Upstate New York in 2000 and Syracuse in 2001, saying there's more room for growth at underserved airports like Hancock.

Travelers between Syracuse and Boston have the option of only one direct flight per day, offered by American Airlines. JetBlue offers one-stop service from Syracuse to Boston through JFK Airport in New York City.

Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said a new direct route to Boston would boost competition among airlines in Syracuse and open a gateway to the south and west through connections in Boston.

"A new JetBlue flight from Syracuse to Boston is a win-win: for JetBlue, who can expand their strong brand in Upstate New York, and for Central New York families and businesses who would greatly benefit from having more flight options," Schumer said.

"Hancock Airport is undergoing a rapid transformation, so now is the time for JetBlue and other airlines to jump in and take advantage of that need for service," Schumer added, referencing a $45 million renovation that began this year.

Data from the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority shows that many travelers drive from Syracuse to Boston to catch flights to long-distance destinations in the south and west, Schumer said.

The senator said recent JetBlue expansions in other Upstate cities (including non-stop flights from Buffalo to Los Angeles) prove there is strong demand in the region.

An office inside a modified RV will enroll travelers in the federal program that provides faster clearance at airport security checkpoints.

In 2015, JetBlue agreed to start seasonal daily non-stop flights from Syracuse to Fort Lauderdale after Schumer helped convince the airline to re-open a route it had discontinued in 2009 during the Great Recession.

JetBlue began the new Syracuse-Fort Lauderdale service with a one-day introductory fare sale, charging $79 for one-way tickets between the two cities. 

Original article and comments ➤ http://www.syracuse.com

Daytona Beach Police Department to use drones for search and rescue



DAYTONA BEACH — Police are gearing up to add drones to their fleet, and their chief insists they will be used for search and rescue and emergency management purposes.

Spying will not be part of it, he said.

“It’s not to surveil people,” Capri told a room full of reporters Thursday morning. “It’s to save lives.”

The new drone program, which Capri calls the “unmanned aviation system,” is launching in conjunction with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which will provide police with the requisite training and certifications needed to use the devices.

One sergeant and four police officers are undergoing training at Embry-Riddle, said Capri, who called unmanned aircraft technology “the future of law enforcement.”

Joseph Cerreta, an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle, said the university started implementing unmanned aircraft technology in its curriculum in 2011 and called it a “very fast-moving technology” that requires a lot of training so that operators can keep up with the advances.

Police hope to roll out the program by the beginning of next year.

It was too soon Thursday to predict how much of the department’s budget will be dedicated to the aviation unit, Capri told reporters.

“I don’t care what it costs,” Capri said. “You can’t put a price on human life.”

Daytona police join their neighbors to the south — Daytona Beach Shores — in implementing a drone program. As of March, that city’s police agency was training eight officers on how to operate the unmanned aircraft, which was used by the city spot damage to tall buildings in the wake of Hurricane Matthew last October.

A drone was donated to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office earlier this year and Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he has been looking to expand the program. Sheriff’s office spokesman Andrew Gant said the drone is mostly being used in a “training setting” and as far as he knew hasn’t been deployed on any active calls.

“We are exploring its potential for a variety of uses, particularly search-and-rescue scenarios,” he said.

Chief Mark Strobridge, a spokesman for the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, said his agency hasn’t gone beyond the discussion stages when it comes to using drone technology.

Cerreta said ERAU students successfully used the technology during and after a tornado tore through Elk City, Oklahoma. The lessons learned there will apply easily to Daytona Beach, where not only tornadoes happen, but also hurricanes.

“We completely immerse our students with this technology,” Cerreta said.

One of the university’s assistant professors with deep knowledge on the subject of drone technology is former Daytona Beach police officer Anthony Galante, who will be overseeing much of the training.

Privacy issues are a major concern, he said, and those doing the training won’t overlook teaching the pertinent lessons regarding protecting people’s basic rights.

“That’s on everybody’s mind,” Galante said. “That’s a huge issue.”

He added that the devices will not record anything at any time except when they are being used to take crime scene photos. In those cases, a warrant has already been served in the event those crime scene photos are taken on private property.

Otherwise, the drones will serve like “eyes in the sky” and will only provide a livestream feed to those operating it. They won’t be recording, Galante said.

Story, photo gallery and video ➤ http://www.news-journalonline.com

Federal Aviation Administration Orders Checks, Repairs to Some Propeller Planes With Lycoming Engines: United States air-safety regulator says there have been reports of severe engine failures stemming from defecting connecting rods



The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor
Aug. 10, 2017 8:37 p.m. ET


U.S. air-safety regulators have ordered swift inspections, and if necessary replacement, of components of Lycoming engines on nearly 800 propeller-powered aircraft, warning that part failures can result in total power loss.

The mandatory safety directive issued Thursday is unusual because it covers a wide range of recreational aircraft models, and requires extensive checks and modifications to begin within the next 10 flying hours without any opportunity for normal public comment.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it acted in the wake of five reports of severe airborne Lycoming engine failures stemming from defective connecting rods, metal parts that link pistons with crankshafts. A spokesman for Textron Inc., Lycoming’s parent company, said it wasn’t aware of any injuries or deaths resulting from these uncontained failures—instances in which internal ruptures cause parts to suddenly shoot out of engines.

Neither Lycoming nor the Federal Aviation Administration identified the specific aircraft models, but the company’s engines power the majority of U.S. recreational, or general aviation, aircraft. Over the past two months the company voluntarily issued safety bulletins alerting customers and spelling out repair procedures. The Federal Aviation Administration directive, however, is mandatory.

The number of affected engines could grow globally, according to industry officials, because the Federal Aviation Administration order covers only U.S.-registered aircraft and foreign regulators are still assessing how many more planes may need inspections and repairs.

The total also could change because engines include those manufactured or rebuilt in Lycoming’s factory, as well as those refurbished elsewhere. It may be difficult to identify or track down some of those refurbished or overhauled engines, according to industry officials.

A Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman didn’t have any comment and didn’t elaborate on the safety directive.

The hazard stems from substandard bushings provided by a subcontractor and installed on connecting rod assemblies over a 15-month period spanning 2015 and 2016, according to Lycoming. The company projects seven out of 100 bushings will need replacement.

Lycoming has a long history of serious safety hazards stemming from manufacturing missteps. Between 2002 and 2006, the company and the Federal Aviation Administration worked to resolve fracture-prone crankshaft issues and other problems that ultimately subjected more than 7,000 propeller-powered aircraft to federal safety mandates, recalls and temporary groundings.

The earlier problems also involved substandard parts provided by a subcontractor—which spread throughout Lycoming’s manufacturing and inventory chain—and eventually required novel inspection procedures to spot problems. In 2012, the Federal Aviation Administration was still striving to pin down the overall engines affected.

On Thursday, Lycoming said its quality-control system identified the “difficult to detect” problem with connecting rods, and the company has worked with distributors to purge suspect parts and “develop a method for identifying suspect bushings.”

Lycoming said the latest safety hazards are “unrelated to any Lycoming authorized design change,” and are separate from connecting rod safety hazards previously identified by Australian and New Zealand aviation authorities.

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

Beech C23, N9352S: Accident occurred August 29, 2016 at Simsbury Airport (4B9), Hartford County, Connecticut

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Enfield, Connecticut

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N9352S

NTSB Identification: ERA16CA308
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 29, 2016 in Simsbury, CT
Aircraft: BEECH C23, registration: N9352S
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The student pilot reported that he was preparing for his private pilot check ride and after about 90 minutes of flying, he approached the airport and entered the traffic pattern for runway 21, a 2,205 ft-long runway. While established on "short final," he elected to perform a go-around because he was not "comfortable" with the approach. On the second landing attempt, the airplane floated past the intended touchdown point, before landing on the runway, and the student pilot was unable to stop the airplane before it went off the departure end. Subsequently, the airplane struck a perimeter fence and an embankment, which resulted in the nose landing gear collapsing and substantial damage to the fuselage and left wing. The student pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The winds reported at an airport 4 miles east of the accident location were from 320 degrees true at 7 knots.

Acro Sport II, N6214C: Accident occurred August 09, 2016 at Winterset Municipal Airport (3Y3), Madison County, Iowa

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

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA316 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 09, 2016 in Winterset, IA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/06/2017
Aircraft: SCHABACKER KONRAD J ACRO SPORT II, registration: N6214C
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The commercial pilot was landing the airplane during a cross-country flight. The pilot reported that, during the landing roll, the airplane veered left. The pilot straightened the airplane and added power to go around, but the airplane again veered left, traveled off the side of the runway, and impacted two airplanes parked on the ramp. A postaccident examination of the airplane confirmed the pilot’s report that there were no mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control of the airplane during the landing roll, which resulted in an on-ground collision with two parked airplanes.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N6214C

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA316
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 09, 2016 in Winterset, IA
Aircraft: SCHABACKER KONRAD J ACRO SPORT II, registration: N6214C
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On August 9, 2016, at 1600 central daylight time, an amateur-built Schabacker Konrad J Acro Sport II, N6214C, collided with two parked airplanes following a loss of control while landing at the Winterset Municipal Airport (3Y3), Winterset, Iowa. Neither the airline transport pilot (ATP) pilot nor the airplane owner/pilot rated-passenger were injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The aircraft was registered to the pilot-rated passenger and it was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Mason City Municipal Airport (MCW), Mason City, Iowa, at 1340.

The airplane owner had recently purchased the airplane and had the pilot fly the airplane because the airplane owner did not hold an endorsement to fly tailwheel equipped airplanes. The pilot had a total flight time of 2.5 hours in the accident airplane.

The pilot reported they overflew the airport, checked the windsock, and noted the wind was calm so they decided to land on runway 32. Shortly into the landing roll, the airplane began to veer to the left. The pilot straightened the airplane and added engine power to initiate an aborted landing. The airplane once again veered to the left and traveled down an embankment before it collided with two unoccupied parked airplanes on the ramp which were: N601FA, an Aerostar 601P, and N31EG, a Piper PA-23-250.

The pilot reported the local wind was calm at the time of the landing. The winds recorded at Des Moines International Airport, Des Moines, Iowa, located about 22 miles northeast of 3Y3, were from 150 degrees at 6 knots.

A postaccident examination of the landing gear and brakes was conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector. The inspector reported that he did not find any anomalies that would have prevented the pilot's ability to maintain directional control of the airplane. In addition, the pilot reported that there was no mechanical failure/malfunction of the airplane.

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA316
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 09, 2016 in Winterset, IA
Aircraft: SCHABACKER KONRAD J ACRO SPORT II, registration: N6214C
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On August 9, 2016, at 1600 central daylight time, an amateur-built Schabacker Konrad J Acro Sport II, N6214C, collided with two parked airplanes following a loss of control while landing at the Winterset Municipal Airport (3Y3), Winterset, Iowa. Neither the airline transport rated pilot nor the private pilot on board were injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The aircraft was registered to the private pilot and it was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Mason City Municipal Airport (MCW), Mason City, Iowa.

MD Helicopter 369E, N155NR, State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division: Accident occurred June 17, 2016 in Brainerd, Crow Wing County, Minnesota

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

NTSB Identification: GAA16LA325 
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Friday, June 17, 2016 in Brainerd, MN
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/06/2017
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369E, registration: N155NR
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

The commercial pilot reported that, during an aerial observation flight near known thunderstorms, the right center windscreen shattered. The pilot sustained multiple facial lacerations, but he was able to land the helicopter near a highway without further incident. The pilot reported that he did not see anything strike the windscreen and found no evidence of a bird strike.

Examination of the helicopter revealed that debris from the windscreen substantially damaged two of the main rotor blades and the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer. Examination of the windscreen and its frame revealed evidence of cracking that originated in the center of the windscreen and propagated outward, consistent with impact forces from outside the helicopter.

DNA from samples taken from portions of the windscreen matched DNA from a Western Kingbird; however, given the extent of the damage to the windscreen, the small size of the Western Kingbird, and the pilot’s statement, it is likely that this DNA was due to a previous bird strike and did not result in the failure of the windscreen. Therefore, the reason for the windscreen failure could not be determined. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The failure of the helicopter’s windscreen for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information, which resulted in substantial damage to the main rotor blades and horizontal stabilizer.

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

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

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

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

State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division

http://registry.faa.gov/N155NR

NTSB Identification: GAA16LA325
14 CFR Public Aircraft
Accident occurred Friday, June 17, 2016 in Brainerd, MN
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369E, registration: N155NR
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

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

On June 17, 2016 about 1400 central daylight time (CDT), an MD Helicopters Inc., 369E, N155NR, sustained a windscreen failure in flight, 20 miles south of Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, Minnesota. The helicopter was registered to the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division and operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) public use local flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and company VFR flight following was in effect.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration Inspector who responded to the accident, the right front windscreen failed in cruise flight for unknown reasons. The inspector reported that the pilot sustained facial lacerations but he was able to land the helicopter next to a highway, and shutdown without further incident. The observer on board did not sustain any injury. A post-accident examination of the helicopter by the inspector revealed gouges in the main rotor blades and the horizontal stabilizer. When asked by the inspector, the pilot stated that he did not see anything strike the windscreen and that there wasn't any evidence of a bird strike.

Bell 206-L4 LongRanger IV, N435AE: Accident occurred April 25, 2016 at Memorial Hermann Heliport (1TE6), Memorial City, Texas



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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Air Evac EMS, Inc.; O'Fallon, Missouri
Bell Helicopter; Ft. Worth, Texas

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

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

Registered to Helifleet 2015 LLC
Operated by Air Evac EMS Inc doing business as Methodist Air Care

http://registry.faa.gov/N435AE



NTSB Identification: CEN16LA168
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Houston, TX
Aircraft: BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON CANADA 206 L4, registration: N435AE
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

On April 25, 2016, about 1845 central daylight time, a Bell Helicopter 206L4, N435AE, was substantially damaged during an emergency landing following a loss of directional control shortly after takeoff from the Memorial City General Hospital Heliport (8TS4), Houston, Texas. The pilot and two medical crewmembers onboard were not injured. The aircraft was registered to Helifleet 2015, LLC, and operated by Air Evac EMS, Inc. doing business as Methodist Air Care under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as a positioning flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. The intended destination was the Victoria Regional Airport (VCT), Victoria, Texas.

The pilot stated that the helicopter was initially oriented on a west heading. After lifting off, he turned to a south heading so that the helicopter would be oriented into the prevailing wind as he departed the area. About 75 feet above ground level, as the pilot translated toward the east from behind the south building and into the prevailing wind, the nose of the helicopter began yawing to the right. He applied full left pedal; the helicopter may have made one full rotation at that time while moving back toward the helipad. The rotation stopped with the helicopter on a west heading; however, the low rotor speed warning subsequently sounded and the helicopter began rotating rapidly to the right. The pilot lowered the collective and attempted to maneuver back to the helipad. About 25 feet agl, he applied collective but the helicopter landed hard.

The paved helipad (30 feet by 30 feet, concrete) was surrounded by a grass area and a paved access driveway. The area outside of the perimeter driveway was bordered by buildings and parking structures to the north, west and south. A small parking area, power lines and an eight-lane roadway were located immediately east of the helipad. The helicopter came to rest upright on the grass area surrounding the helipad. It was oriented on a south heading about 15 feet southeast of the helipad. The landing skids had collapsed. The aft end of the tail boom was partially separated approximately halfway between the stabilizers and the tail rotor.

A postaccident examination conducted by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction. After release of the helicopter by the NTSB, the operator performed an engine test run. No anomalies were reported.

Engine torque and main rotor speed data was recovered by the operator from a Turbine Tracker unit on-board the helicopter; no other parameters were available. Thirty seconds of data were provided. During the initial 20 seconds, the engine torque peaked from about 20% to nearly 40% consistent with a pretakeoff hydraulic systems check. Over the final approximately 10 seconds of data, the torque increased as the main rotor speed decreased. The torque increased to a maximum of about 121% as the rotor speed decreased to minimum of about 92% before both recovered toward 100%.

The engine control system incorporated a fuel control and governor to provide fuel metering. With the throttle in the full open position, the fuel control unit would meter the fuel flow to maintain the desired engine speed set by the pilot. In addition, the fuel control unit restricted the maximum fuel flow to limit the maximum engine speed. The helicopter was also equipped with a low rotor speed warning system that provided a "low rotor RPM" caution light and an audible tone when the rotor speed decreased to 90% +/- 3%.

The engine run-up checklist noted that the GOV RPM switch is to be set at 100% in preparation for takeoff. The before takeoff checklist noted that the throttle is to be full open, and the rotor (Nr) and engine (N2) speeds are to be verified at 100%. The flight manual stated that the engine torque may not exceed 100% for takeoff (5 minutes), with a transient of 105% permitted for no more than 5 seconds. The maximum continuous torque limitation is 75%. The rotor speed limitation (power on) was 99% to 101%, with the minimum transient (5 seconds) of 95% and the maximum transient (5 minutes) 104%.

Loss of tail rotor effectiveness (LTE) is caused by the tail rotor not providing adequate thrust to maintain directional control and is usually caused by either certain wind azimuths while hovering or by an insufficient tail rotor thrust for a given power setting at higher altitudes. The result is an uncommanded yaw; to the right in helicopters with counterclockwise rotating rotor systems. Pilots are cautioned to be alert to changing wind conditions, which may be experienced when flying along ridge lines and around buildings. LTE is not related to an equipment or maintenance malfunction and may occur in all single-rotor helicopters at airspeeds less than 30 knots.





NTSB Identification: CEN16LA168
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Houston, TX
Aircraft: BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON CANADA 206 L4, registration: N435AE
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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

On April 25, 2016, about 1845 central daylight time, a Bell Helicopter 206L4, N435AE, was substantially damage during a precautionary landing following a loss of directional control shortly after takeoff from the Memorial City General Hospital Heliport (8TS4), Houston, Texas. The pilot and two medical crewmembers onboard were not injured. The aircraft was registered to Helifleet 2015, LLC, and operated by Air Evac EMS, Inc. doing business as Methodist Air Care under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as a positioning flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. The intended destination was the Victoria Regional Airport (VCT), Victoria, Texas.

The paved helipad (30 feet by 30 feet, concrete) was surrounded by a grass area and a paved access driveway. Outside of the driveway perimeter, the area was bordered by buildings and parking structures on the north, west and south sides. A small parking area, power lines and an eight-lane roadway were located immediately east of the helipad.

The pilot stated that the helicopter was initially oriented on a west heading. After lifting off, he turned to a south heading so that the helicopter would be oriented into the prevailing wind as he departed the area. About 75 feet above ground level, as the pilot translated toward the east from behind the south building and into the prevailing wind, the nose of the helicopter began yawing to the right. He applied full left pedal; the helicopter may have made one full rotation at that time while moving back toward the helipad. The rotation stopped with the helicopter on a west heading; however, the low rotor speed warning subsequently sounded and the helicopter began rotating rapidly to the right. The pilot lowered the collective and attempted to maneuver back to the helipad. About 25 feet agl, he flared and applied collective in an attempt to soften the landing; however, a hard landing resulted.

The helicopter came to rest upright on the grass area surrounding the helipad. It was oriented on a south heading about 15 feet southeast of the helipad. The landing skids had collapsed. The aft end of the tail boom was partially separated approximately halfway between the stabilizers and the tail rotor.

Ginny B, N349E: Accident occurred April 02, 2016 near Stallone Airport (9NJ5), South Harrison Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey

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

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA153
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 02, 2016 in South Harrison Township, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/06/2017
Aircraft: BUTTERHOF ANTHONY J GINNY B, registration: N349E
Injuries: 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 sport pilot/mechanic reported that the accident flight was the first flight in the experimental, amateur-built airplane after he installed an overhauled engine. About 30 minutes after takeoff, the engine experienced a sudden and total loss of power and would not restart. The pilot then conducted a forced landing to a grass field, and the airplane nosed over. 

The pilot and another mechanic subsequently performed a condition inspection of the airplane and found that fuel had leaked from the gascolator between the glass cup and metal frame. They also found that the gascolator bale clamp was not safety-wired, which allowed the clamp to loosen and subsequently relax the seal between the glass cup and the metal frame and the fuel to leak.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot/mechanic's failure to safety-wire the gascolator bale clamp, which resulted in a fuel leak and subsequent total loss of engine power.



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

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

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N349E







NTSB Identification: ERA16LA153
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 02, 2016 in South Harrison Township, NJ
Aircraft: BUTTERHOF ANTHONY J GINNY B, registration: N349E
Injuries: 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.

On April 2, 2016, about 1530 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Ginny B, N349E, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in South Harrison Township, New Jersey. The pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight from Alloway Airfield (NJ02), Alloway, New Jersey. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, who also held an airframe and powerplant (A&P) certificate, the flight was the first since he overhauled and installed a Continental O-200 engine. The pilot took off about 1500, and headed north from the airport. About 30 minutes later, the engine experienced a sudden and complete loss of power, and the pilot could not get it restarted. The pilot then completed a forced landing to a grassy field, where the airplane nosed over. The airplane's wing spar, vertical stabilizer, and right wing struts were substantially damaged.

The pilot and another A&P rated mechanic subsequently performed a conditional inspection on the airplane, where they found that fuel had leaked from the gascolater between the glass cup and the metal frame. They also noted that the bale clamp was not safety-wired, which allowed it to loosen and relax the seal between the gascolator glass cup and its metal frame.

Hughes 369D, N510PA, Olympic Air Inc: Accident occurred November 03, 2015 in Sedro-Woolley, Skagit County, Washington

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

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA021
14 CFR Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 03, 2015 in Sedro-Woolley, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/06/2017
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369D, registration: N510PA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

The commercial pilot reported that, while conducting longline operations, the helicopter lost engine power. The pilot entered the helicopter into an autorotation and attempted to land at the bottom of a hill on flat terrain, but the helicopter touched down on a slope; the tailboom, followed by the skids, impacted the side of a hill, and the helicopter then came to rest on its side. 

During postaccident examination of the airframe and engine, debris was found throughout the fuel system. The start pump was removed, and the fuel bypass valve inlet port screen was found covered with a brown, spongelike debris. Normal operation is with the start pump off (except when using alternate fuel mixtures or emergency fuels). 

When the start pump is not in use, fuel passes through the fuel bypass valve inlet port screen. The debris located on the fuel pump bypass valve inlet port screen, throughout the inside of the pump, and embedded in the centrifugal pump prevented the pump from producing sufficient fuel flow, which starved the engine of fuel and resulted in the power loss. Although the operator reported that it monitored for fuel contamination in the accident helicopter and its other company helicopters in accordance with the helicopter manufacturer’s maintenance procedures, these procedures did not require that the fuel bypass valve inlet port screen be checked unless a cockpit warning indication light was activated. The light had not activated in the accident helicopter; therefore, the operator had not checked the screen. Following the accident, the helicopter manufacturer revised its procedures to require that the screen be checked whenever fuel contamination was identified.

Testing of the debris was consistent with naphthenates, which are surfactants that reduce the surface tension between the fuel and free water and allow the two liquids to mix. Refinery processing should remove all traces of naphthenic acid and its corresponding metal salts; however, in some refining processes, small amounts of the naphthenates can get carried through with the jet fuel, which can lead to microbial growth in the fuel. About 1 month before the accident, the operator found microbial growth in company fuel and treated the fuel with a microbiocide to destroy biological growth. However, there is no evidence that the microbiocide used by the operator contributed to the dissolution of the naphthenates, and the reason for the separation of naphthenates from the fuel could not be determined. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of naphthenate fuel contamination, which blocked the fuel flow through the start pump. 

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Renton, Washington
MD Helicopters; Mesa, Arizona
Boeing; Mesa, Arizona
Rolls-Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana
Olympic Air, Inc.; Shelton, Washington

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

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

Olympic Air Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N510PA

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA021
14 CFR Part 133: Rotorcraft Ext. Load
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 03, 2015 in Sedro-Woolley, WA
Aircraft: MD HELICOPTER 369D, registration: N510PA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On November 3, 2015, at 1130 Pacific standard time, an MD Helicopters 369D, N510PA, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Sedro-Woolley, Washington. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Olympic Air was operating the helicopter as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 133 external load flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The pilot departed from Arlington Municipal Airport, Arlington, Washington, about 0700.

According to the pilot, he was conducting longline operations using a 50-foot line to gather cedar pieces. After completing work at an initial jobsite, he flew to the second jobsite. Between jobs, the helicopter was refueled. Before beginning the second job, a safety briefing was conducted. The pilot then completed about 30 to 40 slings and as he was positioning the helicopter to lift a load from a slope, the helicopter suddenly lost engine power and he entered an autorotation. The pilot attempted to land at the bottom of a hill because of the flat terrain, but the helicopter touched down on the slope and the tailboom impacted the side of a hill, followed by the skids. The helicopter came to rest on its right side. Prior to the loss of engine power, the pilot did not receive any warning lights during the flights.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator, the FAA representative, and representatives from MD Helicopters, Rolls-Royce, Boeing, and Olympic Air examined the helicopter following its recovery from the accident site.

Examination of the airframe and engine revealed contaminants throughout the fuel system, including the engine fuel filter. All warning lights functioned normally. Removal of the start pump showed the fuel bypass valve inlet port screen(the port used when the start pump is off) was covered with a brown, sponge-like debris (normal operation is with the start pump off except when using alternate fuel mixtures or emergency fuels). When the start pump is not in use, fuel passes through the fuel bypass valve inlet port screen. The debris was submitted to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for testing and identification.

The debris from the fuel bypass valve inlet port screen was examined using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) with a diamond attenuated total reflectance (ATR) accessory in accordance to ASTM E1252-98 (American Society for Testing Materials E1252-98: Standard Practice for General Techniques for Obtaining Infrared Spectra for Qualitative Analysis and American Society for Testing Materials). The debris was then examined by scanning electron microscope (SEM) and quantitative energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) in accordance with ASTM E15081. The FTIR and EDS examinations indicated that the unknown material was consistent with potassium naphthenate, a surfactant.

On January 12, 2016, the start pump was examined and tested at Globe Motors Inc. in Dothan, Alabama. The start pump was tested on a test bench with the contaminant in place. The electrically driven centrifugal fuel pump was tested in the non-powered and powered state, the pump demonstrated intermittent fuel flow from the discharge port; the pressure drop was erratic, and did not meet the defined performance parameters. The contamination was removed from the fuel bypass valve inlet port screen, and the start pump was retested. In the powered state, the fuel flow was intermittent and did not meet defined performance parameters. Disassembly of the start pump revealed debris internal to the pump and centrifugal impeller.

According to the operator, the company first identified fuel contamination in a company helicopter engine fuel filter on October 7, 2015. The operator reported that samples were retrieved from every refueling vehicle in its ground fleet, and some growth was noticed in a vehicle fuel tank, but not in the filters. All fuel sources were then treated with Biobor, a micro-biocide used in fuel to destroy microbial growth. This fuel was then supplied to company helicopters. For several years, the operator had been changing the engine fuel pump filter every 100 hours instead of the prescribed 300 hours due to contaminants. 

MD Helicopters, Inc. (MDHI) maintenance procedures at the time of the accident required that the fuel bypass valve inlet port screen be checked if the FUEL FILTER cockpit warning light was activated. Because the light had not activated, the operator did not check the start pump screens. Following the accident, the helicopter manufacturer revised their maintenance procedures to require that the screens be checked when fuel contamination is identified.

During the examination of the helicopter, the main rotor blades were examined and cracking of the blade root fitting sealant, between the root fitting and airfoil, was observed on one of the blades. Although unrelated to the accident circumstances, one of the inboard sections of the main rotor blade was submitted to the Materials Laboratory for a detailed examination due to a previous event involving a blade root fitting disbond and its inspection procedures. 

MDHI Maintenance Manual No. CSP-HMI-2 requires 100 hour inspections of the upper and lower root fittings for "…cracked adhesive/paint around the periphery of the root fitting." If the condition is found, the root fittings are to be inspected for disbonding. The root fitting inspection involves loosening (not removing) the outmost bolt and attempting to insert a 0.004 inch thick Mylar shim in the adhesive bond line between the root fitting and the blade doubler. The disposition of the blade is determined by the ability or inability of inserting the shim. 

For the accident main rotor blade, visual inspections found cracked or missing paint around the entire periphery of the lower root fitting. The paint was intact around the upper root fitting. Magnified examination of the periphery of the lower fitting and area of missing paint near the outboard tip of the fitting revealed that the bond line was visible, however no gap was visible. The remaining bond line was hidden from direct view by the paint. The outermost bolt was then loosened, and a gap became visible, but a 0.004 inch thick feeler gauge could not be inserted. During the loosening and probing, more paint flaked off exposing more of the bond line. It was also noted that in some locations a fillet formed by adhesive squeezed out during manufacture partially hid portions of the bond line gap. Following loosening and removal of all bolts, the gap enlarged. In this condition, the 0.004 inch thick feeler gauge would easily slide into the exposed portions of the gap. At the two outermost bolt locations, the gauge would penetrate all the way to the bolt holes (about 1 inch). At the outermost bolt, the gap was estimated to be between 0.012 inch and 0.014 inch wide. Following these observations, MDHI and the blade manufacturer stated they would revise the main rotor blade inspection procedures to address the findings from this investigation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to Chevron Global Aviation's publication-Aviation Fuels Technical Review, naphthenic acid and its corresponding metal salts can be present as naturally occurring materials in the crude oil or as residual refinery treating materials. Refinery processing should remove all traces of these materials. However, in some refining processes, small amounts of the naphthenates can get carried through with the jet fuel.

Following the accident, nearby workers tried to assist the pilot in evacuating the helicopter. He was unable to egress due to his headset cord. Once he removed his headset, he was able to egress from the helicopter. Following a prior accident, MD Helicopters had issued Operational Safety Notice 2015-001, Helmet Communication Cord Connection that notes, "In the event of an accident an attached communication cord may impede the occupants' ability to egress from the aircraft…Use of an intermediate "pig-tail" communication cord can help to mitigate this safety hazard."