Friday, October 13, 2017

Drunkard Turned United Flight Into a Pissoir, New Jersey Man Says

MORRISTOWN, New Jersey (Courthouse News Service) – Blaming United Airlines for boarding a passenger in a drunken stupor, a New Jersey man wants damages after he had to endure a cross-country flight soaked in the other man’s urine.

Daniel Card’s unsolicited golden shower occurred, according to the Oct. 11 complaint, as United Fight 1871 to Newark prepared to leave the gate from Los Angeles International Airport on June 12.

“As the flight was getting ready to take off, the passenger seated in 24E took out his penis, and aimed it at Card and proceeded to urinate all over Card’s leg, while Card was confined to his seat due to an imminent departure of the flight,” the complaint states, filed in Morris County Superior Court by attorneys at the Denville, N.J., firm Einhorn Harris Ascher.

Predictably, Card says, the same members of the flight crew who had no qualms about boarding a visibly drunken passenger made no effort to intercede.

“Shaken and disturbed by these events, Card attempted to wake the passenger from his drunken stupor to make him cease, but was unable to wake him due to the extent of the passenger’s intoxication,” the complaint states.

Adding insult to injury, Card says he had a hard time requesting a change of seat from United “to avoid the continued humiliation, assault and inhumane experience of sitting in urine-soaked clothes on a urine-soaked seat.”

Card did get a change of seat eventually, according to the complaint, but was “forced to endure the remainder of the flight to Newark, New Jersey, while remaining in his urine-drenched clothing.”

Risking the safety of everyone on the plane, Card says “United failed and refused to change the flight itinerary as a result of the assault.”

Representatives for United have not returned a request for comment.

Card notes that from the plane he managed to contact his father, who then relayed the matter to law enforcement. But for such intervention, he says, “no one would have intervened to contacted law enforcement.”

The FBI interviewed Card and his assailant in seat 24E once they deplaned in Newark, according to the complaint.

Aside from remembering that “he had consumed at least four Rum and Cokes while at the airport bar at Los Angeles prior to boarding,” the passenger had no recollection of the flight.

One minute he was at the LAX bar, according to the complaint, the next minute he was at Newark.

Card says “the passenger’s unresponsive state upon being seated should have been a clear indication to United of the passenger’s heavy intoxication.”

In addition to negligence and assault causes of action, Card alleges breach of contract and emotional distress.

He is represented by Timothy Ford with Einhorn, Harris Ascher, Barbarito & Frost.

Original article ➤

Luck Bros. litigation calls for halt of Plattsburgh International Airport (KPBG) project

PLATTSBURGH — A local construction company is suing Clinton County over a Project Labor Agreement that it says will kill opportunity for hundreds of locals to work on a project at Plattsburgh International Airport.

Luck Bros. Inc. filed paperwork with the Clinton County Clerk’s office Friday that aims to halt the $40 million project until that agreement is dropped.

The Plattsburgh-based company says the PLA, passed by the Clinton County Legislature Aug. 9, effectively bars hundreds of local construction workers, most of whom are not union members, from working on the project because it requires the winning contractor to hire two union workers for every one non-union employee.

According to the lawsuit, Luck Bros. wants the court to halt any current contracts or future bids on the project and to direct the county to draw up a new labor agreement on the grounds that it is unlawful.

Jeff Luck of Luck Brothers Construction could not be reached by press time.

Clinton County Administrator Michael Zurlo said the county had no comment on the lawsuit.


The county received $38 million from the state earlier this year for the airport improvements and also got money from the federal government for other projects there, for a total $40 million worth of work.

Upon strong encouragement by the state, the county spent $15,000 to study the worth of and then adopted a Project Labor Agreement.

It was conducted by Timothy Seeler, a downstate engineer who specializes in PLA evaluations, and it showed savings of about $3 million should a PLA be in place.

Under a Project Labor Agreement, the county does not have to follow the Wicks Law, which means only one main contractor — instead of four — is needed for all aspects of the job.

Costs tend to go up when more than one contractor is running a project, since there is more paperwork and can be construction delays.

While most of those agreements in the state call for a three- or four-to-one ratio of union versus non-union workers, the county was able to negotiate a two-for-one deal with area union leaders.

Non-union contractors could still bid for the job but had to hire the required union workers, if a Project Labor Agreement were approved.


"The study says we will save $3 million, so why not do a PLA?" Legislature Chairman Harry McManus (D-Area 1, Champlain) said in early August, before the vote that OK'd the measure.

"The state is saying, 'We gave you $38 million. A PLA will save you $3 million. Are we going to continue to invest in Clinton County if they don't want to do this?'" he said.

"We are at an economic-development peak right now in the county, and we want to continue to partner with the state."

Original article can be found here ➤

Hugh Andrew Shawgo and Michael Clayton Norton: Men Accused of Flying Methamphetamine, Heroin to Northwest Montana

Hugh Shawgo

Two Libby men are facing federal drug charges after allegedly flying meth and heroin from Spokane to Northwest Montana for distribution.

Hugh Andrew Shawgo and Michael Clayton Norton were charged earlier this month in U.S. District Court with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and forfeiture.

Shawgo was also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and Newton has been accused of operating as an airman without a certificate.

Shawgo pleaded not guilty to all charges in U.S. District Court in Missoula during an arraignment on Oct. 12. Norton will be arraigned on Oct. 24.

According to court documents, the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force began investigating Shawgo for criminal distribution in August 2017. Shawgo has an extensive criminal history, including three previous criminal possession convictions in Washington and Idaho going back to 1997. In September 2015, he was convicted of operating a meth lab in Montana. Norton was previously convicted of drug possession in Flathead and Lake counties.

On Sept. 13, detectives witnessed Shawgo driving to the Lincoln County Airport near Libby. At the time, agents believed he was going to fly to Spokane to pickup drugs for distribution in western Montana.

Later that same day, Shawgo called an inmate at the Lincoln County Jail and during the conversation, which was recorded by law enforcement, he said that he had a “big ball of brown” and that he was going to fly back to Libby that night. “Brown” is a nickname for heroin.

At approximately 8:15 p.m., detectives witnessed a small plane land at the Lincoln County Airport. Shawgo and Norton were placed under arrest without incident. During a search of the aircraft, law enforcement found one pound of meth, two bags of heroin, $900 in cash and a gun.

During an interview with law enforcement later, Shawgo said that Norton often flew him from Spokane to Libby to move drugs.

If convicted of any of the drug-related charges, both men could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Story and comments ➤

Two men who prosecutors say flew drugs from Spokane into northwest Montana to sell have been charged with federal felonies.

Hugh Shawgo, 44, pleaded not guilty to drug conspiracy and possession charges, as well as possession of a firearm in a drug trafficking case, during his arraignment hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court in Montana.

Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch ordered that Shawgo remain in custody pending further court hearings.

Michael Norton, who faces the same drug charges as Shawgo,as well as a felony for flying with an airman’s certificate, was released from custody shortly after his and Shawgo’s arrests, and is scheduled to appear in court later this month.

In a federal complaint filed after Shawgo and Norton’s arrests in September, Special Agent Troy Casper with the Department of Homeland Security said the two men were caught after their plane landed at the airport in Libby, and that investigators found the drugs on board.

Casper said the Northwest Montana Drug Task Force and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office had been investigating Shawgo since August for allegedly distributing methamphetamine in western Montana.

Shawgo has a 2015 conviction for operation of a drug lab in Cascade County and other felony drug convictions in Washington and Idaho.

On Sept. 13, two sheriff’s detectives saw Shawgo driving to the airport outside Libby, which they believed he used to travel to Spokane to pick up meth to bring back to Montana. About an hour later, Shawgo allegedly called a woman being held at the Lincoln County jail saying they had just landed in the Spokane area, and called again later saying he was driving through Spokane with a “big ball of brown,” which according to Casper’s report was a reference to heroin.

That evening, officers were at the airport when a plane registered to Norton landed, and both he and Shawgo were taken into custody. In an interview with detectives, Shawgo allegedly said there was a pound of meth, a half ounce of heroin and a gun on the plane.

After obtaining a search warrant for the plane, detectives said they found the pound of meth on board, as well as packages containing various pills, a pistol, two plastic bags with heroin inside and around $900.

Original article can be found here ➤

You might find a great deal at the Pittsburgh International Airport (KPIT) lost-and-found auction

Some items were lost; some were abandoned. All of them will be up for grabs at Pittsburgh International Airport on Saturday.

Phones, laptops, jewelry, a saxophone and cars -- including a BMW -- are among the items that will be auctioned off from the airport's lost and found department.

"One of the biggest questions we get is, 'What about the cars? Why do people leave them? And the answer is, a lot of times, we don't know," airport spokesman Bob Kerlick said.

Old airport equipment will also be available at the auction, which will be held at the heavy equipment building on Cargo Road at 10 a.m. Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

Story and video ➤

Balony Kubicek Spol Sro BB85Z, N2469L, Heart of Texas Hot Air Balloon Rides: Fatal accident occurred July 30, 2016 in Lockhart, Caldwell County, Texas

Poor Piloting Decisions, Lack of Medical Requirements, Led to Fatal Texas Balloon Crash

​WASHINGTON — (Oct. 17, 2017) The National Transportation Safety Board Tuesday called on the Federal Aviation Administration to remove its medical certification exemption for commercial balloon operators, saying it contributed to a July 30, 2016, balloon crash that killed 15 passengers and the pilot.

The board found that the balloon pilot’s “pattern of poor decision-making” led to the balloon striking power lines and then crashing to the ground. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s impairing medical conditions and medications that likely affected his decision-making.

“The pilot’s poor decisions were his and his alone,’’ said NTSB Chairman Robert L. Sumwalt during the board meeting. “But other decisions within government, dating back decades, enabled his poor decision to fly with impairing medical conditions, while using medications that should have grounded him.”

Investigators found that depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the combined effects of multiple central nervous system-impairing drugs likely affected the pilot’s ability to make safe decisions.

The investigation also found that the balloon pilot should have cancelled the sight-seeing flight because of deteriorating weather conditions and, once in the air, should not have climbed above the clouds. The pilot’s decision to then attempt to land in reduced visibility conditions diminished his ability to see and avoid obstacles and resulted in the balloon impacting power lines.

Currently, the FAA exempts commercial balloon pilots from medical certification. This eliminated the potential opportunity for an aviation medical examiner to identify the pilot’s potentially impairing medical conditions and medications. Had a medical certificate been required, the FAA would also have had an opportunity to identify the pilot’s history of drug- and alcohol-related traffic offenses.

The investigation also found fault with the FAA’s oversight of commercial balloon operators.

The board Tuesday approved two recommendations to the FAA. It called on the agency to remove the medical certificate exemption for commercial balloon operators and urged it to find ways to better provide oversight of balloon operators.

“Today’s recommendations, if acted on, will help to bring the safety standards closer to those that apply to powered flight,’’ Sumwalt said. “Balloon pilots, their passengers, and their passengers’ loved ones deserve no less.’’

The abstract of the NTSB’s final report, that includes the findings, probable cause and safety recommendations is available online at The final report will be publicly released in the next several days.

The webcast of the board meeting for this investigation is available for 90 days at

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.


Paige and Lorilee Brabson in the hot air balloon before it plummeted.

When balloon pilot Alfred “Skip” Nichols crashed his nine-story-tall hot air balloon into power lines near Lockhart in July 2016, the deadliest hot air balloon crash in modern American history did more than kill 16 people. It upended the lives of countless family members and loved ones. 

The toll on Patricia Morgan’s family was particularly grim: she lost both her daughter and her granddaughter, who had booked the flight as a mother’s day gift. Both women left behind children of their own.

“Everything has changed,” she said. “This is the most horrific time of our lives. My great grand-daughter lost her mother and her grandmother. It’s been a rough road.”

Morgan’s pain was compounded when a National Transportation Safety Board investigation found that Nichols, the pilot, had ingested a “witch’s brew” of prohibited medications, ranging from Valium to oxycodone, and had a lengthy criminal history involving drunken driving and drug offenses.

Story and comments ➤

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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas 
Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Alfred G. Nichols: 

NTSB Identification: DCA16MA204
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 30, 2016 in Lockhart, TX
Aircraft: KUBICEK BB85, registration: N2469L
Injuries: 16 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 traveled in support of this investigation and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 30, 2016, about 0742 central daylight time, a Balony Kubicek BB85Z hot air balloon, registration N2469L, crashed into a field after striking high voltage powerlines near Lockhart, Texas. The 15 passengers and pilot onboard were fatally injured and the balloon was substantially damaged due to impact forces and post-crash fire. The flight was operating under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a sightseeing passenger flight.

$2.5M more for drones

Two NASA task orders, valued at up to $2.5 million, have been received by Griffiss International Airport. 

The orders, which are to be completed over the next year, have separate objectives but both are related to the integration of commercial drones into the U.S. airspace. The work will include unmanned aerial vehicle demonstrations, flight simulations and data collection.

NASA is developing an air traffic management system for drones and has contracts with the federally designated unmanned aerial system testing sites, like the one at the county airport.

As part of the first order, the Griffiss test site will be required to perform state-of-the-art vehicle demonstrations across one or more operating environments identified by the space agency. 

The second one requires the implementation of hardware and software solutions to collect data needed for drone traffic management research. The major activity for this task order will be a series of flight demonstrations featuring actual and simulated operations.

“These two NASA task order awards are further indication that the work we and our test site partners are performing here in Oneida County for NASA and the unmanned aerial system industry has not gone unnoticed,” said county Aviation Commissioner Russell Stark.

Demonstration dates have yet to be set.

“Our test site at Griffiss International Airport continues to be a catalyst for technological advancement and the epicenter for crucial research for the unmanned aerial system industry,” said County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “These additional task orders are proof positive of our productive partnership with NASA and a testament to the vital work we are accomplishing together.”

The task order is the latest of several Griffiss test site developments.

Three weeks ago Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was at Griffiss to announced that NASA and NUAIR, manager of the drone test site at the airport, had formalized their partnership to develop the unmanned traffic corridor between Griffiss and Syracuse and build the National UAS Standardized Testing and Recording test facility. The agreement will also give the opportunities to advance research and development in critical technologies such as communication, navigation, and large-scale drone traffic management. according to NASA officials.

The NUSTAR test facility that is intended to operate as a testing service that certifies the cybersecurity and airworthiness of small civilian drones. Currently, standards are lacking for drone airworthiness and certification. NUSTAR will also support the FAA’s mission to develop a sense-and-avoid system.

Original article can be found here ➤

Sean Michael Fitzgerald: Drunken pilot sent to prison

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - A co-pilot pulled drunk from a plane at the Traverse City airport was sentenced to one year, one day in federal prison.

Sean Michael Fitzgerald, 35, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.34 percent when the pilot, Manny Ramirez, delayed the chartered flight heading to Massachusetts.

"This is simply intolerable behavior," U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker said Friday, October 13th.

Fitzgerald was "lucky" he could walk with such a high alcohol level, the judge said.

He said airline customers should be able to expect pilots haven't been drinking. He hoped the sentence would deter others.

"We have zero tolerance for pilots that are drunk," Jonker said.

Fitzgerald, who lives in New Jersey, was arrested by Traverse City police around 7 a.m. on Aug. 25, 2016, at Cherry Capital Airport while he prepared for the flight. His company, Talon, fired him.

His blood-alcohol level was more than four times the limit for motorists to be presumed intoxicated.

The limit for pilots is 0.02 percent.

Fitzgerald was convicted of operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol.

The co-pilot had a blood-alcohol level of 0343 percent before flight leaving Traverse City was grounded.

His attorney, Larry Willey, waged a novel defense: He said his client, though he was in the plane's cabin, preparing for flight, was not actually operating the aircraft.

The three passengers hadn't boarded, the plane wasn't ready to take off, and Ramirez wasn't going to let Fitzgerald fly.

The judge ordered Fitzgerald to self-surrender to prison within 10 weeks. It gives him a chance to appeal based on the definition of "operating" that Jonker provided jurors.

Airport director Kevin Klein said Fitzgerald put many at risk, and hurt the public's perception of his airport and the airline industry.

"It has long been an industry standard that pilots have the awesome responsibility to keep the public safe and not let their performance be compromised by alcohol," he said, reading a letter to the judge.

He said the effect of alcohol would have been "amplified" at high altitudes and pressurized conditions.

Fitzgerald showed "his lack of concern for the welfare of his passengers and crew on board the Bombardier Challenger aircraft and those aircraft and passengers flying at Cherry Capital Airport," Klein said.

He called the behavior "disgraceful," and said Fitzgerald's blood-alcohol level was "one of the highest for a pilot convicted of this crime, if not the highest."

Publicity about the case "had a negative impact estimated to be $4.5 million ... meaning the incident has led to negative perceptions about the operating of the airport and the safe operation of aircraft at (Cherry Capital Airport)," he said.

Fitzgerald said he wanted to apologize to everyone. He said he is getting treatment for alcohol abuse.

"It's been embarrassing. The worst 14 months of my life."

Ryan Fitzgerald is facing a 15-year felony in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.

Advisory sentencing guidelines called for a prison term ranging from eight months to 14 months.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Clay West disputed the notion that no one was put at risk by Fitzgerald's actions.

"Trial testimony established the risk of Fitzgerald's actions to ground crew and others at the airport even if on this occasion the flight never left the ground."

He said Talon had to fly another pilot in to replace Fitzgerald at significant cost, while its customers were delayed three hours.

The judge ordered Fitzgerald to pay $5,500 in fines. He will be on supervised release for three years. During that time, he fly a plane or drive any type of vehicle for hire.

He said Fitzgerald is an "intelligent, well-spoken, still-young man" who can turn his life around.

Original article can be found here ➤

Michael Giardino: Rochester native chosen to lead Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport (KPHF)

The Peninsula Airport Commission appointed a retired Navy commander who has been running a much larger airport in Rochester, N.Y., as the new executive director of Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on Friday.

Michael A. Giardino, currently director of aviation at the Monroe County Airport Authority, will take over Nov. 6 from interim executive Sandy Wanner.

Wanner has been running the airport since March, when the commission put then-Executive Director Ken Spirito on leave while state auditors investigated the commission’s repayment of a $4.5 million debt owed by People Express Airlines to TowneBank.

The commission fired Spirito in May after the auditors reported he had used several thousand dollars of airport funds to cover personal expenses.

Giardino’s salary will be $160,000. Spirito’s was $223,939.

The contract the commission signed with Giardino includes a lower car allowance than Spirito received and tighter language about expenses and the airport credit card, Wanner said. Records assembled for the audit found Spirito's travel bill approached $80,000 over the three years before his firing.

The state audit found that a loan guarantee that required the commission to pay off People Express’ debt was arranged secretly and without enough care to investigate the risks and legality of the deal. It found that Spirito had made purchases totaling $321,947 without following state and commission procurement rules. Those purchases included a $116,057 video wall, $98,421 of equipment for a new restaurant after canceling the longtime concessionaire’s lease and $40,000 for a customized van used for airport marketing.

Giardino has been aviation director in Rochester since 2012. He worked as village manager for Brockport, N.Y., taking up that job after his last naval post as executive officer at Naval Air Station Key West.

A graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport, with a degree in meteorology, he earned two Defense Meritorious Service Medals for service in Afghanistan and an Air Medal and Humanitarian Service Medal for 110 rescues off rooftops, flooded farmlands and backyards after Hurricane Floyd.

He is currently out of the country, but in a prepared statement said he is looking forward “to openly assess and aggressively address the community’s air travel needs.”

Wanner said he believed Giardino wanted to move from the larger airport because of a desire to settle in Hampton Roads.

Rochester is served by seven airlines that tie the city to 18 airports in 14 different metro areas. Newport News is currently served by two airlines.

One of Giardino’s first jobs after taking over in the upstate New York city was to nail down a agreement to keep six airlines at the airport for a period of up to seven years. The agreement included a commitment by airlines to cover any part of the airport’s operating expenses that the airport couldn’t out of its parking and concessionaire lease revenue. At the time the airport and airlines signed that agreement, Giardino estimated it represented a $17 million commitment by the airlines.

Peninsula Airport Commission Chairman George Wallace said he is confident that Giardinio will help the airport exceed the expectations of state officials and Peninsula communities.

In response to the audit, and demands from Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne, the commission has tightened its procurement, travel and expense policies and underwent training in state conflicts of interest and freedom of information rules. The state, meanwhile, is withholding half the roughly $2 million a year the Newport News airport would normally be entitled to receive until the airport recovers some $3.5 million of state funds it used to repay the $4.5 million People Express debt to TowneBank.

Meanwhile, York County’s Board of Supervisors has voted to take a seat on the Peninsula Airport Commission, and named vice chairman Jeff Wassmer to the commission. The 1946 General Assembly act that created the commission allows York, James City County and Williamsburg to appoint commissioners.

Wassmer said the airport has a significant impact on York County, and the supervisors felt the county needed to be more involved. He said he knows people involved with the airport through his business in Newport News, and noted that he has a pilot’s license and sometimes uses the private portion of the airport.

Wassmer emphasized accountability on the commission, and said its business must conducted in the open and with the public in mind.

Moving forward, Wassmer said the new director and new commissioners would hopefully provide stability to eventually increase traffic. He also said the county may want to fill its seat with someone other than an elected official further down the road.

Original article can be found here ➤

Oberg Murphy Rebel, N734R: Accident occurred October 12, 2017 in Fort Collins, Larimer County, Colorado

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

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Location: Fort Collins, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA013
Date & Time: 10/12/2017, 1040 MDT
Registration: N734R
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel related
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 12, 2017, about 1040 mountain daylight time, an amateur-built Murphy Rebel airplane, N734R, was substantially damaged during the forced landing to a field near Fort Collins, Colorado. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, sustained minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight that departed Vance Brand Airport (KLMO), Longmont, Colorado, about 1000.

According to a statement from the pilot, while en route at an altitude of 9,000 feet the engine started "sputtering" and lost power. He attempted to restore power by switching fuel tanks and adjusting the throttle but was unsuccessful. During the forced landing to a field the airplane nosed over resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage and vertical stabilizer.

The pilot stated that he did not use carburetor heat following the loss of engine power. He stated that he misunderstood the conditions which carburetor ice could form, believing it to be in visible moisture and clouds, like structural wing icing. He further stated that carburetor heat was only for instrument conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board Investigator in Charge examined the airplane following the recovery to a secure facility. The examination of the airplane, including the engine and fuel system, revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

The closest routine aviation weather report, taken at 1156, recorded a temperature of 52°F and a dewpoint temperature of 39°F. A review of the carburetor icing probability chart, located in the Federal Aviation Administration's Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, dated June 30, 2009, revealed that the airplane was operating in an area favorable for the formation of serious carburetor icing at any power setting. In addition, weather computer model soundings taken around the time of the accident supported a favorable environment for carburetor icing at the operational altitude of the flight. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/20/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/30/2017
Flight Time:  341.1 hours (Total, all aircraft), 18.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 226.2 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: RUSSELL E OBERG
Registration: N734R
Model/Series: MURPHY REBEL
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2015
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 734R
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/20/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1700 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 18.1 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E2D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFNL
Observation Time: 1056 MDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / 4°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 120°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Longmont, CO (KLMO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Longmont, CO (KLMO)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1000 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None

Latitude, Longitude:  40.640000, -105.130000 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN18LA013
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 12, 2017 in Fort Collins, CO
Aircraft: RUSSELL E OBERG MURPHY REBEL, registration: N734R
Injuries: 1 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 October 12, 2017, about 1058 mountain daylight time, an amateur-built Oberg Murphy Rebel airplane, N734R, was substantially damaged during the forced landing to a field near Fort Collins, Colorado. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, sustained minor injuries. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight.

According to a statement from the pilot, while en route the engine started "sputtering" and lost power. He attempted to restore power by switching fuel tanks but was unsuccessful. During the forced landing to a field the airplane nosed over resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage and vertical stabilizer.

A small airplane crashed just before 11 a.m. Friday in a field northwest of Fort Collins, east of Overland Trail near the road's intersection with U.S. 287.

David Moore, spokesman for the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, said only one person, a male pilot, was on board at the time of the crash, and he was out of the plane, conscious and breathing with no apparent injuries when first responders arrived to the scene.

The plane ended up on its top. It was an experimental aircraft called a Murphy Rebel, and it crashed under unknown circumstances, said Allen Kenitzer, public affairs officer for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The Murphy Rebel appears to be an aircraft kit for assembly that can be purchased from Murphy Aircraft Manufacturing.

The product is described on, which prices the full Rebel assembly kit at $24,650.

"The Rebel is an all aluminum, side-by-side, high wing, taildragger with several engine options, long range cruising capability and more leg, head, and shoulder room than you'll find in any comparably priced aircraft kit," the website says of the plane.

The crash was visible from U.S. 287, about 100 yards north of the roadway, Moore said.

The cause of the plane crash is not yet determined. Witnesses reported seeing a plane in distress, according to Poudre Fire Authority social media updates.

Poudre Fire Authority and LCSO personnel responded the scene, and the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will assist with an investigation of the accident, Kenitzer said.

No details of the aircraft's flight path or takeoff location were immediately available, both Moore and Kenitzer said, and will be released later by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Hazardous materials technicians with Poudre Fire Authority stopped a fuel leak on the plane. There is no threat to public safety at this time, Poudre Fire Authority said via social media.

Original article can be found here ➤

LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. — No one was injured after a plane crashed into a field northwest of Fort Collins on Friday morning, the Poudre Fire Authority said.

The crash happened just before 11 a.m. north of U.S. 287 and North Overland Trail Road, officials said.

The plane ended on its roof and several emergency responders were at the scene after people reported the plane was in distress.

The pilot was the only person on board the plane, an experimental aircraft called a Murphy Rebel, and was not injured. The name and age of the pilot weren’t released.

It’s not known where the plane originated or where it was going.

A hazardous materials crew was brought in to stop a fuel leak from the plane.

The cause of the crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Original article can be found here ➤

KUSA - No one was injured after a plane crashed in a field north of Fort Collins Friday morning.

The plane, which ended up north of US 287 and North Overland Trail, was seen on its roof. A photo tweeted by Poudre Fire Authority showed a large emergency responder presence in the area.

The pilot was the only person inside the plane at the time. There’s no word yet on what caused the crash. A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration says the plane was an experimental aircraft called a Murphy Rebel. 

Poudre Fire Authority tweeted that a hazardous material team helped stop a leak coming the plane. 

"No threat to public health at this time," the tweet reads. 

Original article can be found here ➤

No one was injured in a plane crash that drew attention north of Fort Collins on Friday morning.

Calls came in for a plane in distress just before 11 a.m. Friday after a small fixed-wing aircraft crashed in a field by mile marker 352 on U.S. Highway 287, near Overland Trail.

The plane's pilot was its sole occupant and was reportedly uninjured, according to Poudre Fire Authority.

According to PFA, hazardous materials technicians stopped a fuel leak at the scene and there's no threat to public health.

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the cause of the crash.

Original article can be found here ➤

Tornado at Aurora State Airport (KUAO) damages planes

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two airplanes were flipped over at the Aurora State Airport when a tornado touched down there around 3:40 p.m. on Thursday. On Friday, the National Weather Service confirmed a second tornado northeast of Salmon Creek near Mount Vista happened about 35 minutes earlier.

The National Weather Service issued the tornado warning for Clackamas County and surrounding areas and it expired at 4:15 p.m. Officials said the tornado was an EF-0 with estimated peak winds of 65-70 miles per hour.

The Aurora Fire Department said the 2 planes flipped after the storm broke their tie downs. Other planes appeared to have moved from their original spots, but were not damaged.

Tish Ness was in an office near the hangars at the time and said rain was coming down sideways in sheets amid intense thunder and lightning. She could hear the sign on top of the building shaking.

Bruce Bennett, the president of Aurora Aviation, was flying from California when the storm hit.

“it had to be really, really intense. Really focused,” Bennett said. “It flipped 2 aircraft on their back and actually, those airplanes were chained down, it broke the chains, bent the wings… So, immensely destructive.”

Thankfully Bennett had enough fuel and time to circle a safe distance around until it passed.

A large tree broke in half on Boones Ferry Road near the airport, taking down several power lines with it. The road is currently blocked from Cessna Street to Arndt Road while PGE crews work on the power lines.

Smith Gardens, which is northeast of the airport, also took a hit. Greenhouses and the main office were damaged. Many trees and other debris were blown around the greenhouse area.

An employee from LifeFlight, which is located near the Aurora airport, told KOIN 6 News she did not see the tornado but there were fast-moving clouds and about 2 minutes of marble-sized hail.

Todd Gary with the Canby Fire District told KOIN 6 News at 4:20 p.m. that as he spoke it was clear and calm, but at 4 p.m. there was strong rain, wind and it was very dark.

“We could see the clouds definitely making a huge turn,” Gary said.

He said there were no 911 calls for help so far.

Students at Molalla High School were asked to shelter in place when the tornado warning was issued. The noticed was lifted but their homecoming parade was delayed to 4:30 p.m.

The National Weather Service said there was also some storm damage in Salmon Creek, Washington around 3 p.m. They could not confirm whether a funnel cloud or tornado was to blame and the damage was minor.

Story and video ➤

CANBY, Ore. (KOMO) -- A tornado touched down in Clackamas County Thursday afternoon, damaging two small aircraft and a nearby nursery but no one was hurt.

Reports firsts came in from the town of Aurora -- including spotters at the Aurora Airport, at 3:39 p.m., the National Weather Service reports. A rare Tornado Warning was issued for the area, which has since expired.

The tornado was rated an EF-0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale -- the lowest rung on the scale -- with estimated winds of 65-70 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Video from the airport in Aurora showed at least two planes flipped over in the strong winds. An airport employee told KATU-TV there was a heavy rain squall that came through and wind so strong it was shaking their building. No one was hurt there.

There have also been reports of wires and some trees down, but no homes were damaged. More damage was reported at Smith Gardens, where multiple glass greenhouses and their main office were damaged.

A team with the National Weather Service is on its way to the area to survey the damage and will have more details on the tornado this evening.

The storm comes on the 55th anniversary of the great Columbus Day Storm that brought triple-digit wind gusts to Northern Oregon. 

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

'Rare, rare bird' joins fleet at World War II aviation museum in Colorado Springs

The newest exhibit at the National Museum of World War II Aviation is overweight and underpowered.

It's a warplane that was outgunned by nearly everything in the sky during the war. Next to its shiny blue Navy cousins, even its dull paint job seems out of place.

But the two-seat Douglas Dauntless - soon to be on display at the museum near the Colorado Springs airport - has a resume no aircraft can match: It's the tubby little bomber that sank the Japanese fleet at Midway, turning the tide in World War II.

"This was a workhorse," said Alan Wojciak, with Westpac Restorations.

It's also one of three of its kind left on Earth that can still rumble into the air.

The bomber's path to Colorado Springs is a long one. It was designed in the 1930s and built in Oklahoma. From there it was sent to Michigan for pilot training.

It's one of weird forgotten chapters of World War II. With the Japanese threatening the West Coast and Germans on the East, the Navy went inland to train. On Lake Michigan, the Navy rebuilt a pair of paddle-wheel steamers - creatures of the 19th century - to serve as mock carriers for training.

The plane that now resides in Colorado Springs was dumped into the lake by a student pilot and subsequently rammed by the side-wheeler USS Sable before it sank to the bottom. There it stayed until 1994, when it was rescued from the depths by aviation enthusiasts.

The wrecked plane was added to the collection of billionaire and premiere collector Jim Slattery, who has put several planes from his fleet into the museum's care.

Recently restored in California and flown to Colorado for its final touches, the plane is a salute to World War II, with vacuum tube radios, a primitive radar and a telescope sight that protrudes from the windshield.

"It's got a big, fat wing, it's a great bombing platform," Wocjiak said.

The planes proved their bombing prowess when an outnumbered American force took on the largest Japanese battle fleet ever assembled at Midway Island on June 4, 1942.

The dive bombers, designed to descend on targets at a 70-degree angle, unleashed a torrent of accurate bombs onto the crowded decks of four Japanese aircraft carriers. All four sank.

The Japanese fleet was all but eliminated as a threat, dooming that nation to defeat in the war.

The Dauntless, though, never got much credit for the pivotal victory. More than 5,900 were made, but the Navy ordered the Curtiss Helldiver to replace it in 1940 - a year before America went to war.

In a 2011 article, the Smithsonian's Air and Space Magazine described Dauntless as "sluggish enough to make its crews spend at least a few of their flight hours daydreaming about its replacement."

Wojciak said many of the insults aimed at the plane are undeserved. It's solid as a rock and as tough as a battleship, he said.

"It's rugged and easy to fly," he said.

Bill Klaers, who runs Westpac and oversees the aviation museum next door, said it also has a quality the sleek fighters in the collection don't possess.

"That's a rare, rare bird," he said.

The Dauntless joins a fleet of Navy planes at the museum, including the Grumman Avenger torpedo bomber, the F4U Corsair fighter and the F7F Tigercat twin-engined fighter.

But the rarity of the Dauntless means it gets star treatment.

Like the other planes at the museum, it will be flown.

But Wojciak said flying one of the three Dauntless bombers left in the air is daunting.

"We baby it," he said.

Original article can be found here ➤