Saturday, September 23, 2017

Incident occurred September 23, 2017 in Newberg, Yamhill County, Oregon

NEWBERG, OR (KPTV) -   A pilot received minor injuries after the power glider he was operating crashed into a fence in Newberg.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue said the incident happened Saturday afternoon in a residential area.

The homeowner was home at the time and called 911.

The pilot of the power glider walked away with just minor injuries. No one on the ground was injured.

Original article can be found here ➤

Gering, Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska: Flying is a lifelong passion for pastor

GERING — Gary Hashley has pastored at Calvary Memorial Church in Gering for 10 1/2 years. If you can’t find him at he church he might be flying high above the community.

Hashley grew up deeply involved in the ministry as a missionary kid in Michigan.

“I was born into a ministry family. My parents joined a ministry in Michigan called the Rural Bible Mission when I was a month old,” Hashley said. “My dad’s ministry had us constantly moving. I went to five different schools between kindergarten and 12th grade and we lived in 13 different houses.”

Because of his parents’ ministry, Hashley came to faith early in life at the age of seven.

Growing up, Hashley had no intention or interest in becoming a pastor.

“When I went to Bible school out of high school I was still 17. I went to the Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I started training to be a missionary pilot,” he said. “That’s where my flying began. My idea was to be a pilot, serving missionaries. My own personal goal was Alaska.”

Hashley earned his private pilot’s license and was starting on his commercial and instrument license when God showed him that was not the plan.

“It’s easy to do, he ran me out of money, because flying has never been cheap,” Hashley said, chuckling.

After meeting his wife Rachel in college and then lacking the funding to continue his piloting education, Hashley joined his father in Michigan.

“So I joined the ministry. Rachel and I got married 40 years ago and I joined the ministry my folks were with and spent some years in that same children’s ministry still fighting back against being a pastor,” Hashley said. “That was never what I had in mind. And then, finally in 1981, I got tired of telling God no and finally told him yes and became the pastor of the first church I pastored in Langford, Michigan, in 1982.”

Hashley and his family later moved to La Grange, Wyoming, in 1995 so he could teach at Frontier School of the Bible.

During his time at Frontier, Hashley worked as the interim pastor at Calvary Memorial in 1996 and 97.

“I always dreamed of coming back some day and here we are,” Hashley said smiling.

Hashley took a sabbatical from flying during that time. However, after moving back to Scottsbluff, Hashley and some friends founded the Panhandle Flyers Club.

“I was out of flying for 30 years, back when it was ‘feed the children or go fly’ and groceries took a precedent,” Hashley said. “Since I’ve been back here we’ve formed a flying club in the area that owns a plane. By being a part of a flying club the expenses are shared to the point where I can afford to fly again.”

Hashley expressed his excitement about being part of the Panhandle Flyers.

“It’s a wonderful thing because we have a daughter and her husband and five kids in Laramie so it’s quicker to get to Laramie to see grandchildren,” Hashley said. “So we use it a lot to go see the kids and the grandchildren.”

Hashley talked about his favorite thing about flying.

“I guess I never tire at looking down at the wonder of God’s earth he created from any altitude,” Hashley said. “To see the mountains, to see the valleys and the rivers out here and the reservoirs, it’s just astounding. I just love looking down on God’s beautiful earth.”

As a child, Hashley had a fascination with planes.

“I went up with a pastor friend of my dads who was giving away airplane rides as Vacation Bible School prizes,” Hashley said. “As the missionary’s son I got to go along when they went to the airport and there was room to give me a ride. I must have been in fifth grade and I’ve been in love with airplanes ever since.”

Hashley also talked about the people who influenced him in the ministry.

“My dad and his devotion to ministry, like I say I was a month old when he joined the mission,” he said. “My dad and mom were missionaries my whole life. In Michigan, not in Africa or South America, but their devotion and willingness to serve God even when the pay was small just was really a great role model.”

Along with his dad, Hashley’s pastor was also very influential.

“My pastor in my high school years was named Paul Deal. Paul Deal was such an influence in my life,” Hashley said. “He was not only my pastor, he was my friend and when I became a pastor he became my mentor. I would call him with questions and doubts and frustrations and he was always there to help me.”

While talking about the struggles and joys of pastoring, Hashley mentioned his favorite part.

“People,” he said without hesitation. “I just love people. And in helping people and teaching God’s word, it gives me the opportunity to serve them, encourage them, support them and get close to them. I’ve heard a pastor say ‘I’d love to pastor if it wasn’t for the people.’ I thought ‘he wouldn’t be a pastor if it wasn’t for the people.’”

Hashley said if he could go back in time to give advice to his younger self, he’d say don’t fight what God wants.

“I probably would tell myself to not fight God about being a pastor,” he said. “Because I had a lot of reasons in my head why I didn’t want to be a pastor and now looking back on 35 years of being a pastor and I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

Original article can be found here ➤

Griffiss International (KRME), Rome, Oneida County, New York: Griffiss remains sky-high over drone testing at airport

Griffiss International Airport continues to play a critical role in positioning Central New York as a leader in the future of unmanned aerial systems. 

That was the upbeat assessment of Aviation Commissioner Russell O. Stark when he spoke at the Mohawk Valley EDGE board meeting this week.

The county airport was designated as a drone test site by the Federal Aviation Administration in late 2013. Since the, the official said, more than 1,100 flight operations have been conducted. There are seven such sites across the country.

Griffiss, with high-definition air traffic surveillance, state-of-the-art data collection and analysis capabilities, is the foundation for testing and certification of drone detect-and-avoid systems to meet future FAA standards and support the safe integration of commercial drones into U.S. airspace. 

The idea is to figure out how drones can safely operate in the air alongside piloted aircraft.

In 2016, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the creation of a 50-mile corridor customized for drones as an attempt to lure companies to Central New York. The corridor between the former Griffiss Air Force Base and Syracuse is going to cost $30 million, and is expected to be completed in 2018.

The test site at Griffiss, managed by the NUAIR Alliance, is undergoing expansion to cover 15,000 square miles of New York airspace, creating a world-class beyond-visual-line-of-sight test and development facility for the FAA and the drone industry. 

Additionally, Stark said the state is part of two specific initiatives.

Project UAS Secure Autonomous Flight Environment, also called U-SAFE, is being developed at the test site to further catalyze and expand the economic opportunities being created by this industry. It will create a low-altitude air traffic control system for safe drone operation, and will allow for testing of small UAS and commercial applications to include package delivery, railway and power line inspection, and precision agriculture and security applications, specifically surrounding airports. 

The U-SAFE project also establishes a new testing center for drone airworthiness and cybersecurity. Called NUSTAR, or National Unmanned Aerial System Standardized Testing and Rating, the center will offer independent performance and safety benchmark testing for drones and drone-related products. The hope is that the presence of NUSTAR will help draw industries involved in the production and use of drones to Central New York.

Stark said NUSTAR is similar to Underwriter Laboratories, or UL, which is a not-for-profit testing company that conducts safety and quality tests on a broad range of products, from fire doors to closed-circuit cameras.

“When they (New York state) decided to come into the ballgame, they came in a big way,” said the commissioner.

During his remarks Stark listed several drone accomplishments at Griffiss since 2013. They included:

In June, Griffiss simultaneously flew four remotely piloted machines from a command center on simulated missions for the first time. It was part of a job for NASA , which has contracted with the FAA test sites to further test and refine its unmanned aircraft systems traffic management technologies.

Aurora Flight Sciences successfully flew its Centaur optionally piloted aircraft in multiple pilotless flights from the airport. The flights marked the first time any large-scale, fixed-wing aircraft flew unmanned at any of the U.S. drone test sites.

A team led by Lockheed Martin Corp. has successfully tested a pair of unmanned aerial drones that its developers hope can be used to put out large fires without endangering the lives of pilots. Lockheed Martin used a helicopter drone to airlift and dump 24,000 pounds of water onto a controlled fire set at the airport.

DJI, a global leader in the production of small drones, held the finals of its 2016 SDK Challenge at Griffiss. Ten teams competed for a $100,000 prize to see whose software could best launch drones from the bed of a moving vehicle, guide them through a simulated disaster site to identify victims and return to land back on the vehicle.

“Pretty impressive for a little test site in Rome, New York,” said a smiling Stark as his presentation neared its end.

County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. spoke briefly after the commissioner.

He noted that drones were launched in July to survey flooding from the air when parts of the county were drenched by heavy rains in a short amount of time.

“You don’t see everything,” he said. “There’s a lot going on and it is a work in progress.”

Original article can be found here ➤

Piper PA-28R-201 Cherokee Arrow III, N1881H -and- Robinson R22 Beta, N404TB, aircraft/rotorcraft owned and operated by Tampa Bay Aviation: Accident occurred September 23, 2017 at Clearwater Airpark (KCLW), Pinellas County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida

N404TB   Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

N1881H  Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Clearwater Helicopters Inc

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA332A
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Clearwater, FL
Aircraft: ROBINSON HELICOPTER R22, registration: N404TB
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA332B 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation 
Accident occurred Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Clearwater, FL Aircraft: PIPER PA 28R-201, registration: N1881H 
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 September 23, 2017, about 1715 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-201 airplane, N1881H, and a Robinson R22 helicopter, N44TB, were substantially damaged when they collided in mid-air over the runway at Clearwater Air Park (CLW), Clearwater, Florida. The private pilot aboard the airplane received minor injuries, and the flight instructor and a pilot-rated student aboard the helicopter were not injured. Both aircraft were owned and operated by Tampa Bay Aviation. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both flights were operated under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as personal flights, and no flight plans had been filed. 

According to the flight instructor, the purpose of the flight was a flight review of the pilot-rated student. He indicated that he had never previously flown with the student pilot, but during the flight, both were wearing headsets. The student pilot proceeded to the hover practice area and executed multiple practice maneuvers. All radio calls were made during every turn while in the airport traffic pattern. The instructor performed all radio calls at each leg of the airport traffic pattern during the first approach; while the pilot-rated student made the radio calls at each leg of the airport traffic pattern during the second takeoff, and approach to the runway. In addition, prior to every turn, they scanned in all directions for traffic. While on a final approach, the instructor noticed a fixed-wing airplane on the base leg of the airport traffic pattern for runway 16, and he announced on the common traffic advisory frequency that they were using runway 34. They heard the pilot of the airplane say something unintelligible and then observed the airplane veer away, flying to the west. The instructor then allowed the student to continue the approach to runway 34, which terminated with a hover, touchdown, and then liftoff.

The helicopter returned to the crosswind leg of the airport traffic pattern where then turned onto base leg of the airport traffic pattern for runway 34. When the helicopter was 1 mile from the runway, the student pilot turned onto final approach to runway 34 and executed a steep approach. The flight instructor told the student to extend the flight path to the segmented circle. The helicopter came to a hover over runway 34, about 15 ft above the ground, when he heard a loud sound and felt the helicopter being pushed forward. The helicopter then began to spin, impacted the ground hard, and came to rest upright.

According to the pilot of the airplane, he was operating on the CLW common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF), and stated that between his first and second radio transmission he heard a heavy buzzing sound like a helicopter rotor with the words "34" barely distinguishable. The pilot scaned for air traffic and declared being on downwind via his radio. The pilot quickly turned to the base leg of the traffic pattern and decreased the engine power to descend. About that time he quickly scanned of the airport environment, focusing on the taxiway to runway 34, the line of trees ahead of, as well as to the back of the runway, and saw nothing unusual. He was confident his calls on the radio were heard. The pilot proceeded to land; about 2 seconds prior to the impact he saw the helicopter hovering "immobile," about 10 ft. above the runway. He recalled the tail was pointed towards the airplane and absolutely stationary. The pilot tried to avoid the helicopter, then heard a loud sound followed by the airplane inverting and sliding on its canopy. After the airplane came to a stop the pilot exited the airplane.

A review of a surveillance video showed the helicopter at a stationary hover over the runway 34 threshold. Shortly after, the airplane began climbing before colliding with the rear of the helicopter.

According to another pilot/witness that was approaching CLW, while about 2 miles west of the airport, he heard the radio call from the helicopter when it was on a 1-mile final at 500 ft. As he flew over CLW, he saw the accident outcome. He indicated that he was monitoring the CLW CTAF, and did not hear the pilot of the airplane announce his intentions.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the aircraft at the accident site and found that both the helicopter and airplane sustained substantial damage. Examination of the radio communication system in the airplane and helicopter did not reveal any anomalies.

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) -At least two people were injured when a helicopter collided with a plane that was making an emergency landing at Clearwater Airpark, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter, a Robinson R22 was hovering as the Piper PA-28 aircraft was landing on Runway 34. A collision occurred and the plane carrying two passengers flipped over.

Only the pilot was on the helicopter when he hit the plane.   Officials said two people were left with minor injuries, but their names and current conditions are unknown.

The Clearwater Fire Department is on the scene cleaning up a fuel leak.

Original article can be found here ➤

A helicopter and a small airplane collided Saturday afternoon at a Clearwater airport.

The collision happened at the Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

Zack Taylor said the helicopter was hovering over the runway when the plane approached. The plane's pilot did not make any radio calls as they made their way towards the landing.

The plane struck the back of the copter. The helicopter was able to make a safe emergency landing, but the plane lost part of a wing and flipped as a result of the collision.

The plane's pilot was taken to a local hospital for observation. The two people on the helicopter are speaking with officials.

Clearwater Fire Rescue was cleaning up the fuel spill.

Story and video ➤

CLEARWATER — Authorities released more details Monday about the crash involving a helicopter and airplane over the weekend at the Clearwater Air Park.

Just after 5 p.m. Saturday, a helicopter piloted by 32-year-old Joseph Bell was hovering about 20 feet above the runway when a fixed-wing plane tried to land, according to the city of Clearwater. The plane, with Maurycy J. Sokolowski as the pilot, collided with the helicopter. It tumbled about 500 feet and came to a stop upside-down.

Sokolowski, 48, was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with minor injuries. Bell and his passenger, Ronald Eugene Gonzalez, 58, were not hurt, according to the city.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will respond to investigate.

Original article ➤

As Securities and Exchange Commission investigates, Steve Down tightens connection to Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon

Last summer, supporters of the embattled Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville hoped a new era of stability and calm was at hand after Utah entrepreneur Steve Down bought much of the property out of bankruptcy.

But a year later, uncertainty is again at the museum’s door.

In the first detailed interview he’s granted in Oregon, Down confirmed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in June notified The Falls Event Center -- the Down company that purchased the Evergreen assets out of bankruptcy -- that it had found evidence of wrongdoing and could launch an enforcement action.

Down denies he did anything wrong and remains confident the SEC will back off. He acknowledges, however, that his companies have suffered some significant setbacks, particularly in its fundraising from investors. By this spring, Down told The Oregonian/OregonLive, his companies had fallen $20 million short of expectations. The resulting cash bind prompted Down to sell two important planes out of the museum because he needed the money.

The latest twist in the saga came this week, when Down filed a $25 million lawsuit against two Oregon men, one of them a former museum insider, accusing them of launching a stealth campaign to sabotage his business.

In a lengthy interview, Down described his business, his financial philosophy and goals for McMinnville.

He says his diversified family of companies -- which includes a chain of sandwich restaurants, event centers for weddings and corporate meetings, a financial coaching firm and several others -- has made him wealthy.

He practices what he calls “cause capitalism.” Even Steven, his restaurant chain, provides a sandwich to a homeless shelter for everyone it sells, he said.

It’s apparently a winning formula for attracting investors. Down said he’s raised between $70 million and $80 million from 300 individual investors.

Down returned to his native Oregon last summer when his Falls Event Center emerged as the winning bidder for most of the buildings that house the Evergreen museum and adjacent real estate.

For just under $11 million, Down said, The Falls Event Center obtained property worth more than $110 million, in a bankruptcy sale. The deal also gave Down’s company all future revenue from the water park at the site.

In recognition of that, Down agreed to donate $70,000 a month to the museum. Down also agreed not to charge the museum any rent.

“That was a proud day for this Oregonian,” Down said. “I felt like I had saved the museum.”

Everything was proceeding as planned, Down said, until last spring. Someone stole data from their computer system, including lists of lenders and investors, he said. The cyber-thieves urged investors to steer clear of Down's organization, Down said.

Fundraising suddenly became much more difficult, he added.

In dire need of cash, he sold two aircraft out of the museum for nearly $3 million. This summer, two prized WWII planes -- a P-51 Mustang and a Corsair -- were packed up and shipped to new owners.

The move outraged some aviation buffs. One of them was Paul Peterson, who helped run an education program for high school students at the museum. The Mustang and Corsair were two of the most historically significant planes in the entire place, Peterson said, and here was Down selling them for fire-sale prices.

Peterson said the two planes are worth $6 million to $8 million in their current condition and would fetch $10 million or more if restored to flying condition.

Down’s cash crunch worsened after The Oregonian/OregonLive broke the news of the SEC investigation in July. Down said his detractors sent copies of the stories to all of his investors.

Down’s organization informed investors this summer that The Falls Event Center lost $8.5 million in the first half of 2017 on $2.5 million in revenue.

It’s not just the aviation museum feeling the impact of Down’s financial travails. The Falls Event Center owes the city of Beaverton more than $33,000 in unpaid utility bills. The company bought 14,000 square feet of ground-floor space at The Round, an office and condo complex. It intends to make the space into one of its event centers. But months after the purchase work has yet to begun.

None of this has deterred the Evergreen museum board from tightening its relationship with down. Earlier this month, the board signed a new 30-year lease with The Falls Event Center. Brandon Roben, the museum executive director, said the museum is not going to get a similar, rent-free deal from another owner.

Federal investigators began looking into Down’s organization last October. Down’s team didn’t inform company investors until Aug. 5.

“The reason we waited to advise private equity partners is because, quite honestly, we believed we had answered their (the SEC’s) questions so thoroughly that they would go away,” said John Neubauer, Down’s corporate general manager. “And even if they file charges, we are quite prepared and confident of being able to successfully defend ourselves in court, as the issues in the Wells letter we have already responded to and addressed - we believe - quite satisfactorily.”

But the SEC put Down on notice in June that it may not agree.  The agency, which declined to comment, could still refrain from taking any action, said Tung Yin, a law professor at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland.

“But this is the SEC saying in effect “we think you’ve done something wrong and we’re investigating it seriously,” Yin said. “It’s not good news. Other than getting a target letter from the U.S. Attorneys’ office, I can’t think of a worse letter to get.”

Down went on the attack this week.

The Falls Event Center sued Peterson and JW Millegan, a McMinnville hedge fund operator, in federal court on Thursday. The lawsuit claimed the duo launched a sustained campaign to disparage Down in hopes it would cause him to default on his debt, which would allow the defendants to buy the museum at a bargain price. He is seeking $25 million in damages.

Peterson and Millegan said Down’s accusations are untrue.

Peterson said he was told Friday to leave the museum campus.

Down, meanwhile, vowed to carry on. He said is working on a major refinancing deal that will allow him to begin work on a major four-star hotel on the museum grounds.

“We’ve got a lot of things in the pipeline,” Down said. “The big hotel is part of this.”

Story, photo gallery, comments:

Jack Brooks Regional (KBPT), Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas: Amid Harvey’s flooding, airport became base for rescue operations

When Harvey’s flood waters inundated Port Arthur and surrounding communities, crews from across the country converged on the Jack Brooks Regional Airport and set up a rescue operation of an unprecedented scale.

From Aug. 30 to Sept. 10, records show 2,300 flight operations occurred at the Jack Brooks Regional Airport, said Manager Alex Rupp. That’s more than double the average for the first half of the year, Rupp said. And it may not include all flights.

As airplanes and helicopters buzzed over the area, some flights weren’t logged, meaning the number of total “flight operations” could be more than the 2,300 number. Buses and cars transported evacuees and first responders, too.

“It was 24/7 for four or five days,” Rupp said. “Time runs together, but I know at one time we had so many aircraft on the ground that we had to shut down a taxiway to park aircraft … Our level of activity was tremendously increased.”

Rupp said the airport sold 100,000 gallons of jet fuel from Aug. 30 to Sept. 10, which is about 20 percent of what the facility would sell in an average year. Some of those sales include repeat purchases from the same aircraft, he said.

A number of the airplanes were military C-130s or helicopters, but private and commercial pilots also flew evacuees out of Jefferson County, said Rupp and Nederland Fire Chief Gary Collins.

Rupp and Collins said some of the crews who flew into or conducted operations out of the airport included: The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Colorado Task Force One, National Guard units from multiple states, the Coast Guard, the U.S. Army, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“You name it, they were there,” Collins said.

Operations roughly broke down into a few categories: humanitarian aide, search and rescue, observation and evacuations. Crews even set up a mobile hospital in a parking lot, Rupp said.

With such a large operation at the airport, staff received significant help from volunteers, many of whom were affiliated with Nederland High School. From laundry to cooking, volunteers performed a wide array of tasks, said Brian Swindel.

“People just got in there and got after it,” said Swindel, one of the volunteers.

Volunteers showed a “selfless call to duty,” he said.

For his part, Swindel used a party bus to shuttle evacuees dropped off by helicopters at the airport’s older Jerry Ware Terminal to the newer terminal used for commercial flights.

First responders and crews at the airport also didn’t have a way to shower, Swindel said. So, he shuttled people to Powerhouse Gym in Port Neches, which opened their facility for first responders to use.

First responders also needed somewhere to wash their clothes. So, volunteers at the airport collected dirty laundry, split it up amongst themselves and washed it in their own homes, Swindel said.

Rupp said volunteers also obtained air mattresses and cots for crews based at the airport to use.

“It was just such an awesome thing to see everybody working together,” Swindel said. “It didn’t matter whether you had a high income or what you did on a daily basis, you just assumed your role and got to work.”

Relatively unaffected by flooding, the Jack Brooks Airport served as an invaluable resource for emergency operations, Collins said.

It’s unclear exactly how many evacuees moved through the airport, but Collins estimates the number to be 4,000 to 4,500 people. Some left the airport in buses or cars. Many left by air.

“For a lot of these people, you could tell that they didn’t know what they were going to do,” Swindel said. “Literally everything they had worked for was under water … It was just kind of surreal.”

At one point, buses weren’t able to leave the airport because of rising floodwaters, Collins said. As a result, evacuees were placed on the buses, which had air conditioning and small TVs, until an airplane arrived.

Environmental Protection Agency trailers remain parked at the airport. Some, minor repairs need to be made to the facility, but airport operations are mostly back to normal, Rupp said. The airport, however, largely escaped the wrath of Harvey.

“If you look at the devastation that occurred in other areas, we were relatively unscathed,” he said.

Original article can be found here ➤

Cessna TR182 Skylane, N4777T: Fatal accident occurred September 23, 2017 near Thief River Falls Regional Airport (KTVF), Pennington County, Minnesota

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fargo, North Dakota

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Moy Wing:

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA361
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Thief River Falls, MN
Aircraft: CESSNA TR182, registration: N4777T
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

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

On September 23, 2017, about 0745 central daylight time, a Cessna TR182 airplane, N4777T, impacted terrain about 3 nautical miles west of Thief River Falls Regional Airport (TVF), Thief River Falls, Minnesota. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed. The flight had just departed from TVF and was en route to Rawlins Municipal Airport (RWL), Rawlins, Wyoming. 

Several witnesses, who spoke to the pilot in days preceding the accident, stated that he had flown the same passengers from RWL to TVF on September 17 and returned to RWL the same day. The pilot inquired with the local fixed base operator (FBO) about obtaining a local area sectional chart. The pilot flew back to TVF on September 22 to retrieve the passengers. After landing at TVF the pilot described the flight as "terrible" because he flew at 1,500 ft above ground level (agl), under a cloud layer. 

A hotel employee spoke to pilot and passengers on the morning of the accident. The pilot was in the hotel lobby around 0530 checking the weather conditions and planning the flight. The passengers did not eat breakfast and expressed concern about the turbulence to be expected during the flight. The employee drove the three men to TVF about 0715. 

At 0701, the automated weather observation system (AWOS) at TVF reported wind from 340° at 6 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, overcast clouds at 400 ft agl, temperature 50°F, dew point 48°F, and altimeter 29.95 inches of mercury; remarks – pressure rising rapidly. 

At 0801, the AWOS at TVF reported wind from 310° at 7 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, overcast clouds at 400 ft agl, temperature 50°F, dew point 48°F, and altimeter 29.98 inches of mercury. 

A witness who was about 1 mile southwest of the accident site stated that he heard the airplane overhead and the airplane's engine was "screaming" before he heard the impact. 

The accident site was located in a harvested wheat field next to a dirt road. The wreckage debris path began with a ground impact mark, which contained broken green glass from the right wing navigation light, and continued on a heading of 060° for about 200 yards. All the major airplane components were found at the accident site. 

The wreckage has been retained for further examination.

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

Moy Wing
Born: Aug. 21, 1948
Died: Sept. 23, 2017

A wonderful loving father, brother, son, husband and friend, Moy Wing, celebrated 69 years of life. He exemplified generosity, grace, love, passion, loyalty and friendliness to all he encountered.

Moy came to Rawlins with his parents, Moy Kong (Charlie) Wing and Chin (Momma) Wing, as a child. He worked alongside his siblings in the family businesses at the Wing’s Cafe and the Ramada Inn.  He was a long-standing and respected member of the business community and most recently enjoyed working at Fremont Motors and Mountain West Motors.

Moy loved supporting the local community and was an enthusiastic member of the Shriners, Masons and Lion’s Club known for his extra fluffy pancakes at the annual fundraisers. He was also an active member of the Rawlins-Carbon County Airport Board and an avid outdoorsman who loved Wyoming, always referring to it as “God’s Country.”

Moy is lovingly remembered by his three girls, Kerri (Bob), Krista (John) and Sonjia, along with their mother Shirley. Moy is predeceased by his sisters, Toa and Sue (Jim), and survived by his brothers, Gene (Lois) and Quong; sister Me (Jerry); grandchildren, John and Ariane; nieces, nephews, other relatives and long-time companion Sue.

The Jacoby Funeral Home will host a celebration of life at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept., 30, 2017, at the Masonic Lodge No. 5, Fifth and Pine streets, in Rawlins. Condolences and tributes can be offered at the online memory book located at   In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Conservation Fund at, the Wyoming Wildlife Federation at or the Civil Air Patrol at

Zach Ostertag

Brian Duke

MINNESOTA — Federal authorities continue to investigate the cause of a plane crash that claimed the lives of three Rawlins residents Saturday. The Minnesota Highway Patrol responded early Saturday morning to a plane crash near Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

According to a news release from the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, the victims were identified as Moy Wing, 69, Brian Duke, 27, and Zach Ostertag, 26. Ostertag, an auto mechanic, was attending an Arctic Cat seminar on specialized vehicles in Thief River Falls when the event occurred.

The three men were pronounced dead at the scene.

NTSB confirmed the plane went down at Center Avenue Northeast and 130th Street Northeast, roughly 70 miles from the Canadian border. Following the crash, law enforcement blocked off 130th Street, which was near the wreck, so officers could investigate the scene.

National Transportation Safety Board Public Affairs Officer Keith Holloway confirmed Tuesday the wreckage was moved to a secure facility and still being investigated by the FAA and NTSB.

Holloway said the onsite investigation had fully been completed.

“It’s possible a report could be filed early next week,” Holloway said. “It usually takes a week for the lead investigator to release a report following the incident.”

FAA officials identified the plane as a small Cessna 182. FAA records show Wing earned his private pilot’s certification in 2009, but was not instrument-qualified, meaning he should only fly when skies are clear and visibility is high. According to weather reports for Saturday morning, the skies in the area were overcast with a 10-mile visibility range.

The NTSB could not confirm whether a flock of birds caused the plane to crash, and remains under investigation.

Investigators collected wreckage Sunday afternoon, as traffic re-opened in the area of 130th and Center, west of the Thief River Falls Regional Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene; the Saturday crash of a Cessna TR182 Skylane, piloted by 69 year old Moy Wing, with passengers 27 year old Brian Duke and 26 year old Zach Ostertag also on board. All three men were from Rawlins, Wyoming – Duke and Ostertag employed by Mountain West Motors, Incorporated; an Arctic Cat / Textron Dealership also in Rawlins. 

The plane went down just before 8am Saturday, shortly after take-off in low ceilings with a heavy overcast. Pennington County Sheriff Ray Kuznia saying he believes Wing was returning to the airport when the aircraft began to lose altitude, crashing into the field of wheat stubble, the aircraft disintegrating into debris and fire on impact, scattering wreckage; an aircraft wing coming to rest on the county road.

All three men died at the scene.

With the collection of wreckage the are reopened to traffic Sunday afternoon.

Autopsies have been ordered, with more information expected to be released in the days and weeks to come.

Original article can be found here ➤

THIEF RIVER FALLS, MN (Valley News Live) Three people have been confirmed dead after a small plane crashed in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. They have been identified as 69-year-old Moy Wing, 27-year-old Brian Duke, and 26-year-old Zach Ostertag, all of Rawlins, Wyoming.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 7:50 Saturday morning that a small Cessna 182 aircraft had crashed in a field near the intersection of Center Avenue Northeast and 130th Street Northeast.

While there are no confirmed witnesses of the crash, neighbors heard the plane hit the ground, which they at first though was a gunshot sound or someone slamming a car door closed.

One neighbor VNL spoke to was one of the first two on scene. Donna and Les Cota could see the explosion of the plane from their home. The couple couldn’t tell what had exploded, as they didn’t see the plane’s descent, but Les Cota grabbed a fire extinguisher and drove towards the flames.

Cota and another neighbor both arrived at the crash to find the plane in pieces and burning. The two men called the authorities and attempted to put out pieces of burning clothing and material with the extinguisher, but realized it would be best left to the responding fire department.

Cota says he approached what appeared to be a pile of clothing on fire in an attempt to extinguish it and found it to be one of the passengers of the plane. The bodies of the three passengers were found at varying distances from the final resting place of the main portion of the plane’s wreckage.

Though no one saw the actual crash, Cota explained that from markings in the field, it looked as though the plane may have hit the ground once, bounced, and then came to rest further down the field.

Sheriff Ron Kunzia of the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says, while they don’t know what lead up to or caused the crash, that the plane may have been attempting to return to the Thief River Falls Airport shortly after take-off.

Drivers passing by said there was a low cloud ceiling around the time the plane crashed Saturday morning, and said that large flocks of geese often pass through the area, which can be a safety hazard for planes.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office closed off 130th Street NE to protect the crash scene until the Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and Cessna Textron Aviation arrive Sunday to conduct an investigation.

Story and video ➤

A small plane crashed just a few miles west of a regional Minnesota airport, killing all three people on board.

The Cessna TR182 Skylane went down around 7:50 a.m. Saturday morning at Center Avenue Northeast and 130th Street Northeast in Thief River Falls, the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said.

That's just a few miles west of the Thief River Falls Regional Airport, though authorities haven't said if the plane had taken off from or was landing there.

The three people on board were killed: 69-year-old Moy Wing, 27-year-old Brian Duke and 26-year-old Zach Ostertag, the sheriff's office said. All of them were from Rawlins, Wyoming.

According to FAA records, there is a Moy Wing from Rawlins that owns two Cessnas, including a 1981 TR182 model. Wing was a member of the Carbon County Airport Board in Wyoming.

It's unclear if that's the one that crashed Saturday. A search on Flight Aware only comes up with a Cuba-to-California flight from two years ago. And a look at recent flights to and from the Thief River Falls Airport does not show either of the aircraft registered to Wing.

According to Facebook, both Duke and Ostertag work at Mountain West Motors in Rawlins. Ostertag was married, while Duke was engaged. 

The Pennington County Sheriff's Office said the FAA has been notified, and the case is under investigation.

Original article can be found here ➤

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. -- Employees of Mountain West Motors Inc. in Rawlins, Wyo., gathered Saturday afternoon, Sept. 23, at the outdoor sports store to mourn the loss of their co-workers and friends.

Three men were killed shortly before 8 a.m. when their Cessna TR182 Skylane crashed in a stubble wheat field outside Thief River Falls.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office identified the men as Moy Wing, 69, Brian Duke, 27, and Zach Ostertag, 26, all of Rawlins.

Social media indicated both Duke and Ostertag were mechanics at Mountain West, but the Herald was unable to verify if Wing also was employed there.

“We’re a small town in Wyoming, and everybody’s devastated right now,” said a Mountain West employee who spoke briefly to the Herald. “We’re just all finding out. It just happened this morning. We’re honestly all in shock right now.”

A Facebook post from Ostertag dated Wednesday, Sept. 20, announced “3 more days, I’m ready to go home.” He replied to a friend’s post that we was training for “Arctic Cat and Textron snow and dirt machines.”

Arctic Cat Inc., a major manufacturer of snowmobiles, ATVs and other off-road vehicles, is located in Thief River Falls.

The scene

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release it received a 911 call shortly before 8 a.m. that a plane was down near the intersection of Center Avenue Northeast and 130th Street Northeast, an area southwest of town and about 2½ miles west of the Thief River Falls Regional Airport.

Emergency responders found the three men dead at the scene, the news release said.

A stretch of gravel road at 130th Street was blocked off Saturday afternoon as about a half-dozen uniformed officers and others continued to investigate the scene. From a distance, wreckage appeared to cross the roadway with debris scattered about 100 yards into the field.

Elizabeth Cory, a public affairs spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Administration, said the crash is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board. No updates would be available until next week, she said, adding that investigations can take several months to more than a year to complete.

The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, Thief River Falls Police Department, St. Hilaire Fire and First Responders, Thief River Falls Area Ambulance, Thief River Falls Fire Department and Minnesota State Patrol all responded to the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

Three men from the state of Wyoming were found dead Saturday morning in the wreckage of a single-engine plane that crashed overnight near Thief River Falls, in northwestern Minnesota.

The Pennington County Sheriff's Office said it responded to a 911 call just before 8 a.m. Saturday. All three occupants, identified as Moy Wing, 69; Brian Duke, 27, and Zach Ostertag, 26; are from Rawlins, Wyo.

Authorities described the small plane as a Cessna 182. Thief River Falls is about 70 miles from the Canadian border — and 940 miles from Rawlins.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

Ostertag, an auto mechanic, was attending an Arctic Cat seminar on specialized vehicles in Thief River Falls, according to his Facebook page. On Friday afternoon, he posted a picture of two Textron certificates — one for factory ATV/ROVs and another for factory snowmobiles — along with binders and some merchandise.

Later that night, Ostertag posted a video of a lightning storm in the area. It remains unclear when exactly the plane took off, but a calendar he recently posted on Facebook indicated that he expected to return home Saturday.

Duke and Ostertag both worked at Mountain West Motors Inc., an Arctic Cat dealership and auto body garage in Rawlins. When reached by phone Saturday, a worker at the shop declined to comment beyond, "We're still trying to piece together what happened. Everyone is walking around in shock."

According to FAA records, pilot Wing was issued a private pilot's certification in 2009.

Original article can be found here ➤

Nothing can substitute pilot training and experience to ensure safe skies

By Capt. Rick Dominguez, opinion contributor

Capt. Rick Dominguez is the executive administrator of Air Line Pilots Association, International.

Airline passengers and shippers expect and demand safe air transportation — and they’ve found it in U.S. air travel. Since the passage of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Extension Act of 2010, the United States has not had a single fatality due to an accident on a passenger airliner. But those who oppose this regulation will stop at nothing — including jeopardizing the traveling public —to weaken these standards in the upcoming FAA reauthorization.

For all of us, experience matters in our careers and families. Whether it’s your first day working in Washington after winning a seat in Congress or your first time as a parent dropping off your child at school, we’ve all felt the difference between doing something for the first time and going through an event we’ve already encountered.

The same applies for airline pilots— experience counts when operating complex equipment in a changing airspace. Airline pilots evaluate our environment and our aircraft using our senses. We learn to use the physical experience of being at the controls of the aircraft to ensure safe operations, not only for our current flight but for future trips. For airline pilots as well as members of Congress, experience is cumulative — It’s amassed over time, and there are no shortcuts or substitutes.

The data overwhelmingly support the importance of airline pilot experience. A recent RAND presentation on military pilots showed that those with the most experience performed at the highest levels. Conversely, the lack of experience threatens safety. For example, in its investigation of the Colgan Flight 3407 crash near Buffalo, N.Y., the National Transportation Safety Board noted the pilots’ lack of flight experience in winter conditions. Tragically, the first officer can be heard on the cockpit voice recorder lamenting her lack of winter flying experience just before the plane goes down.

When, at the direction of Congress, the FAA reviewed the Colgan accident and 30 others, it found that shortcomings in airline pilot qualification and training had played a role. The regulations that resulted improved the training pilots receive for, among other things, flying in adverse weather and icing, recognizing and recovering from upsets and stalls and mentoring other crewmembers. The rules also updated pilot certificate and type rating requirements.

In the 20 years prior to the congressional action, more than 1,100 passengers lost their lives in airline accidents in the United States. Since lawmakers acted, that number has been reduced to zero. While the pilot training and experience rules are not the only improvement that occurred during this time, the new set of regulations was by far the most comprehensive.

Despite the fact that well-trained and experienced pilots save lives, some critics of this valuable training are working to overturn these rules in the FAA reauthorization. The Regional Airline Association has accused the president of the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, of distorting the facts about what they know all too well — experience and training matters.

Experience also matters in how members of Congress, regulators, and passengers evaluate their arguments. The public will decide who is credible, but when Capt. Tim Canoll, who is ALPA’s president and a 27-year airline pilot with thousands of hours of commercial and military flight experience including landing F/A-18 Hornets on U.S. Navy aircraft carriers, speaks out on aviation safety, his word carries serious weight when compared to those calling to rollback safety.

The record of U.S. passenger airline fatalities since these safety rules were put in place speaks for itself. Airline pilots will not relent in our drive to block any effort to weaken the rules that mean well-trained and experienced pilots will continue to be part of the safest era in history for U.S. airlines.

Original article and comments ➤