Sunday, October 22, 2017

Man fired laser at police helicopter, tried to drive away then crashed: Michael Alvarez was arrested in someone's backyard after a short foot pursuit

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 9, 2017

Fresno Man Indicted for Laser Strike on Fresno Police Helicopter

FRESNO, Calif. — A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment today against Michael Vincent Alvarez, 32, of Fresno, charging him with aiming the beam of a laser pointer at a Fresno Police Department helicopter, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, it is alleged that on October 22, 2017, just after midnight, Alvarez struck a Fresno Police helicopter several times with a powerful green laser. The laser caused visual interference of the Tactical Flight Officer and disrupted an air support response to a domestic violence call. Alvarez was driving a vehicle on Highway 99 when he allegedly pointed the laser at the helicopter and tracked and struck it. When ground units were called to apprehend Alvarez, he drove through the streets of Fresno at a high rate of speed, eluding officers for several miles until he crashed into the center divider at First Street and Floradora Avenue. Following the crash, Alvarez ran into a residential area, jumping several fences until he was arrested in a backyard. A green laser pointer that officers found inside the driver side door pocket of Alvarez’s vehicle had a danger warning on it.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Fresno Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Karen Escobar is prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Alvarez faces a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

https://www.justice.gov



FRESNO, Calif (KFSN) --  Early Sunday morning a Fresno Police Skywatch helicopter aircrew was helping officers on a call near Roeding Park when a man driving southbound on the 99 Freeway struck the helicopter with a green, high powered laser three separate times.

"It lights up the whole cockpit and of course if you're staring at it its immediately like looking into the sun or a welders arc so you have what happens is flash blindness and we lose our night vision for a bit," said Sgt. Larry Hustedde.

The suspect has been identified as 31-year-old Michael Alvarez.

"We're not talking about a kid pointing a laser, this guy really meant to do it at a police helicopter and thought he wouldn't get caught. He's on probation and had a warrant for car theft," said Hustedde.

After the flight officer recovered his vision from the laser he directed the pilot to the car with a searchlight and called for assistance from officers on the ground.

Officers say Alvarez began to lead them on a pursuit. He got off the freeway and began driving recklessly at a high speed near Downtown Fresno. Alvarez then crashed into a center divider near First and Floradora, disabling his car. He then began running into residential backyards but the flight officers were able to direct ground officers to him, who continued running and jumping fences until police officers tackled him.

Officers found the laser in the car as well as ammunition and a bb gun pistol.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://abc30.com

Great Lakes 2T-1A-2 Sport Trainer, N7GL, Hopewell Medical Acupuncture Center LLC: Accident occurred October 22, 2017 at Greene County–Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport (I19), Xenia, Ohio

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cleveland, Ohio

NTSB Identification: GAA18CA019
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, October 22, 2017 in Dayton, OH
Aircraft: GREAT LAKES 2T 1A 2, registration: N7GL

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

Aircraft on landing, went off the runway and flipped over.

Hopewell Medical Acupuncture Center LLC

http://registry.faa.gov/N7GL

Date: 22-OCT-17
Time: 20:05:00Z
Regis#: N7GL
Aircraft Make: GREAT LAKES
Aircraft Model: 2T1A
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: FERRY
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: DAYTON
State: OHIO




GREENE COUNTY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) -- A small plane flipped on its top Sunday afternoon at the Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport in Greene County.

Ohio State Highway Patrol investigators say it happened as the plane was landing on the runway. 

Investigators believe weather was a factor, potentially the strong winds blowing through Sunday afternoon.

The pilot was flying in from the Barnesville-Bradfield Airport in Eastern Ohio.

The pilot was not injured and was the only person on board the two seat, single-engine plane.

The plane has been removed from the scene. 

The Lewis A. Jackson Regional Airport reopened Sunday evening.

OSP has alerted the Federal Aviation Administration.

Officials tell Fox 45 federal investigators may respond to the scene.

Story and video ➤ http://fox45now.com

St. George, Washington County, Utah: Drone temporarily halts Life Flight rescue in Bear Claw Poppy Reserve

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A mountain biker on a trail near St. George was flown to the hospital after severely fracturing his leg in a bike crash Saturday. A drone being flown in the area temporarily prevented the responding medical helicopter’s arrival.

Shortly before 2 p.m., emergency personnel were dispatched on report of a man who crashed while mountain biking in the Bear Claw Poppy Reserve on the Green Valley Loop Trail.

The rider, a 22-year-old man, was riding with another man who called 911 immediately after the crash and guided responders to the location, St. George Fire Battalion Chief Robert Hooper said.

The rider was located off of the bike trails in an area that was inaccessible to the responding fire truck, so firefighters and EMTs made their way to the injured man on foot. The rider was found to have fractured his leg.

“We couldn’t even get our UTV anywhere close to where the men were located, and it even took a while on the phone with the other rider to actually identify where they were even located,” Hooper said.

Responders on scene, including Gold Cross paramedics, determined the rider’s inability to move coupled with the amount of hiking required to get him out necessitated a call to Intermountain Life Flight. A helicopter was launched and headed their way to assist.

“Due to the nature of the man’s injuries and the fact that the GPS coordinates fell within a range where assistance could be requested, we called on Life Flight to come out and help with the transport,” Hooper said.

Meanwhile, responders became aware that a BMX rider in the area was flying a drone and called off Life Flight temporarily until they could speak to the man, explaining that the drone was preventing the helicopter from flying into the area or landing.

Once they were able to reach the drone operator and explain the situation, he immediately landed the drone to make way for Life Flight in the staging area.

“It was obvious he wasn’t trying to film the incident or was being negligent in any way,” Hooper said of the drone operator, “because he wasn’t even aware the rescue was going on, but once we talked to him, he landed and secured the drone so that Life Flight could continue.”

The injured rider was then loaded onto the helicopter and transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center for evaluation and treatment.

Located approximately 6 miles west of St. George, the Green Valley Loop is several miles long and begins at Canyon View Drive in Green Valley and ends at Navajo Drive in the Bloomington area of St. George; it is part of the Bear Claw Poppy Reserve.

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

State advances drone industry with planned testing corridor in Rome, New York



ROME, N.Y. >> Envisioning a day when millions of drones will buzz around delivering packages, watching crops or inspecting pipelines, a coalition is creating an airspace corridor in upstate New York where traffic management systems will be developed and unmanned aircraft can undergo safety and performance testing.

The unmanned aircraft traffic management corridor, jump-started by a $30 million state investment, will extend 50 miles west over mostly rural farmland from Griffiss International Airport, a former Air Force base in Rome that is already home to NASA-affiliated drone testing.

It will be equipped with radar and ground-based sensors to enable what Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo boasted would be “the most advanced drone testing in the country.”

The first segment of the corridor was launched last month by the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, a coalition of private and public entities and academic institutions in New York and Massachusetts created to establish Griffiss as a drone industry incubator.

The airport is one of seven places around the country designated by the Federal Aviation Administration as an unmanned aircraft systems test site. Other sites are in Virginia, North Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada and Alaska.

Testing at the airport now is restricted to a five-mile radius, in part because of Federal Aviation Administration rules that normally limit flying beyond the operator’s line of sight, except in special circumstances, such as disaster area surveys. That keeps companies like Amazon and Walmart from using drones for package delivery.

Companies will be able to use the corridor to test hardware in airspace where manned aircraft also fly. Part of the concept is to help NASA to test technology that will allow the FAA to create regulations opening the national airspace to a commercial drone industry.

“Clients will eventually be able to fly beyond the visual line of sight in the corridor testing their technology,” said Tony Basile, NUAIR’s vice president for operations.

In addition to supporting development of drone air traffic control rules and systems, NUAIR helps unmanned aircraft service companies demonstrate their wares to clients and provides drone pilot training to state forest rangers, law enforcement and others.

“We’re evaluating aircraft today, but the ultimate goal is, how do we operate in a beyond-line-of-sight capability,” said Glen Davis, safety director of AIROS, a General Electric venture company that was at Griffiss this week to test a 6-foot-long unmanned helicopter for pipeline and refinery inspections.

New York officials expect the Griffiss drone research initiative to help lure tech companies to central New York, which has suffered economically with the decline of manufacturing.

Cuomo has pledged up to $250 million under his Upstate Revitalization Initiative to foster growth of the unmanned aerial vehicle industry.

A key player in that initiative is Syracuse-based Gryphon Sensors, which used $5 million in state funding to develop a van equipped with radar to spot drones up to six miles away. Gryphon developed ground-based sensors and radars that track aircraft at the NUAIR test site.

Like self-driving cars, unmanned aircraft will ultimately need onboard sensors allowing them to detect and avoid obstacles including other aircraft, Basile said.

“Once technology has gotten to that point, the sensor systems used in this corridor will be repurposed to give additional coverage around airports or other places,” he said.

Basile said it will take about a year to design the corridor, install sensor equipment and begin flight testing.

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

Is America's airline industry headed for a major pilot shortage?




The aviation industry may have a major crisis on its hands, as the number of pilots needed to fly commercial airliners is dwindling.

Between 2017 and 2036, about 640,000 new pilots will be needed to fly commercial airplanes worldwide, according to data released by Boeing in late July.

Though most new pilots will be needed in the Asia Pacific region (253,000), North America alone will require 117,000 to operate the controls of airliners, according to the statistics. Additionally, Boeing also said both passenger and cargo air carriers will purchase more than 41,000 new aircraft, valued at $6.1 trillion.

As the demand for pilots grows, so does the retirement rate among current aviators operating commercial aircraft. For years, the retirement age was capped at 60 years old. That changed in 2007, when the “Fair Treatment for Experienced Pilots Act ” green-lighted airline pilots to fly until age 65.

“That created a short-term solution to the pilot shortage that was kind of pending,” Glenn Nevola, a captain at a major U.S. airline, told FOX Business. “And now, a lot of those guys have reached age 65 and will continue to do so over the next decade.”

Nevola’s airline alone will see more than 800 pilots reach the mandatory retirement age in about two to three years, which will create a staffing issue, he said.

Regional airlines have witnessed the effects of too few pilots to operate their aircraft.

In February 2016, Republic Airways filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing a “loss of revenue during the past several quarters associated with grounding aircraft due to a lack of pilot resources.” Earlier this year, The Seattle Times reported Horizon Air, the regional carrier that’s part of Alaska Air Group, cut more than 300 flights because it also lacked pilots.

“[There are] airlines I’ve talked to who have given up contracts or not bid on contracts because they know they won’t have the staffing to support it. So it’s been an issue for the regional airlines for a year or two now,” Kenneth Byrnes, an associate professor of aeronautical science and chair of the flight training department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, told FOX Business. He added that carriers are hiring as quickly as possible.

Next to retirement, the cost of flight training is a major factor contributing to the lack of new pilots. The average estimated cost of flight instruction ranges between $5,000 and $9,000 depending upon the type of certificate (license) one is seeking, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). However, airline pilots need to obtain multiple certificates as well as separate training requirements, including an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate, which requires a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time.

“It’s very difficult to reduce the cost because the training requirements set by the FAA are very prescriptive, and then a lot of us go above and beyond those training requirements,” Byrnes said. “We need to find a way as an industry, with collaboration with the FAA, to look at the training rules a bit, to make sure that how we’re training pilots is still the best way in this century to train them.”

However, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), the world’s largest pilot union representing more than 58,000 pilots at 33 U.S. and Canadian airlines, said a pilot shortage does not exist.

“We currently have more fully qualified pilots in the United States than there are positions available,” the ALPA told FOX Business in a statement. “However, we do need to make sure we have an adequate future supply of qualified pilots … We are fully committed to doing what it takes to keep the pilot pipeline strong and our skies safe. But as we work to address this long-term pilot availability issue, we should not allow special interests in Washington, D.C., to weaken pilot qualification requirements and make our skies less safe.”

WHAT IS BEING DONE?

In an effort to quell the trend, some airlines have increased wages in hopes of attracting more people to the profession. The national average salary for an airline pilot today is $113,700, according to Glassdoor.com.

In the past two years, starting wages at regional airlines have doubled, which has enticed more people to become airline pilots, according to Byrnes.

Also, airlines have begun to implement better benefits programs for pilots as well, Nevola said.

“At our airline it’s a 16% contribution to a pilot’s 401(k), regardless if that pilot contributes a dime or not,” he explained. “And that’s pretty consistent with the other couple major carriers. And that’s because the pensions were taken away after 9/11—the regular, defined benefit plans that we had. So the unions were able to negotiate higher company matches or company contributions into the 401(k).”

Air carriers also have created their own programs to attract pilots to their own airlines. JetBlue has pilot gateway programs which provide aspiring aviators the chance to become first officers with the airline. One path -- called Gateway Select  -- provides students with a “multi-phase training sequence” over four years at a cost of about $125,000, and allows students to earn money while participating in the program.

“It’s the best time ever to be a pilot in this country because your path is fairly clear,” Byrnes said, adding that “You’re going to have a job as long as you’re professional, and the return on investment is tremendous.”

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

Incident occurred October 22, 2017 at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (KPIE), Pinellas County, Florida

CLEARWATER — A piece of metal broke off a jet leaving St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport Sunday morning, but the aircraft turned around and landed safely about 8:40 a.m., according to investigators.

A Learjet 45 mid-size jet with two people on board took off from the airport on its way to Cape May County Airport in New Jersey, but a crew member reported a computer problem, according to Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Upon landing, air traffic controllers noticed the missing piece, she said.

A witness saw the piece, about 4 feet by 5 feet, break off about 8:30 a.m. Bergen said the fragment, which landed about four miles north of the airport, was a part of an engine cover.

Matthew Addison of Clearwater, a 35-year-old account manager, was just getting home from his morning run when he saw the white sheet of metal break off from the plane.

Addison said he hoped it was just a piece of cardboard or paper that happened to be in the sky at the same time.

"I started to realize, this is actually a piece of the airplane," he said.

He said the plane was flying low and heading north, away from the airport, as if it had just taken off. Addison watched the engine cover spin and fall near the Eddie C. Moore Softball Complex. He called 911, and Clearwater Police Department officers found it in the street.

Addison later saw police in a parking lot near the Best Buy on Drew Street after they had found the engine cover.

He said he was relieved to see another witness talking to police and pointing towards the sky.

"I'm not insane. I wasn't hallucinating," he said he thought to himself. Addison said the edges of the piece were jagged, as if it were ripped off.

Bergen said the FAA was still investigating the incident.

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

SHA Glasair, N8EL: Accident occurred October 22, 2017 at Santa Maria Public Airport (KSMX), Santa Barbara County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Aircraft on landing, nose gear collapsed and went off the side of the runway.

http://registry.faa.gov/N8EL

Date: 22-OCT-17
Time: 18:15:00Z
Regis#: N8EL
Aircraft Make: SHA GLASAIR
Aircraft Model: GLASAIR
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: SANTA MARIA
State: CALIFORNIA




Authorities were called to the Santa Maria airport for a report of a small airplane crash after it went off the runway Sunday morning. 

Santa Maria Fire says rescue 61 and engine 4 responded. 

Two people were onboard the aircraft, and no injuries were reported. 

Officials say the crash was likely from landing gear failure. 

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

Delta Air Lines, McDonnell Douglas MD-88, N963DL: Incident occurred October 22, 2017 at McGhee Tyson Airport (KTYS), Alcoa, Blount County, Tennessee

http://registry.faa.gov/N963DL


A plane flying from Atlanta to Cleveland Sunday morning was forced to make an emergency landing in Knoxville following the failure of one of its engines. 

The plane, a McDonnell Douglas 88 model operated by Delta Airlines, was forced to land in Knoxville just before 9:30 a.m. after its right engine began to make rumbling and screeching noises.

USA Today - Tennessee Network Sports Columnist Joe Rexrode was aboard the plane on his way to cover Sunday's matchup between the Tennessee Titans and the Cleveland Browns. Rexrode said that the engine trouble began around 15 or 20 minutes after the plane had taken off in Atlanta and that the smell of burning oil was overwhelming in the cabin. 

"Basically, there was this awful sound, you could just tell that the right engine was out," Rexrode said. "It was just screeching and the plane rumbled really heavily and you just knew it was gone. That was followed by the smell. "

Delta flight 1474 left Atlanta just before 9 a.m. and was scheduled to reach Cleveland by 10:30 a.m. The plane was carrying 139 passengers and six crew members, according to Delta Air Lines spokesperson Anthony Black. The crew received a system notification that one of the engines was experiencing trouble, Black said, and elected to shut the engine down and land in Knoxville at about 20 minutes after 9 a.m.

Rexrode said that in addition to the screeching and rumbling coming from the plane's engine, the plane began to shake in a way the he knew was not turbulence. 

"I’ve flown hundreds of flights, and I’ve never had anything like this happen," he said.

"For a few minutes in there, it was just really scary, because you felt like we didn’t have power in the plane and it was just really rumbling, and not like turbulence," he added.

McGhee Tyson Airport spokesperson Caitlin Barraf said that the plane landed safely and that the airport's Public Safety crew was there to assist the plane's crew and passengers after it landed. No injuries were reported and a response team from Delta is handling the situation. 

Story and video ➤ http://www.knoxnews.com

Southern Airways to host launch party at South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field (KELD)

Southern Airways will host its official launch party and takeoff ceremony for its air service in El Dorado from 5 until 7 p.m. on Tuesday at South Arkansas Regional Airport at Goodwin Field.

The public is invited to attend. RSVPs are required.

In a soft-launch in May, Southern began offering daily flights between Goodwin Field and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, starting with one flight a day and ramping the service up to three daily flights.

Southern is the Essential Air Service provider for El Dorado, Hot Springs and Harrison.

“We are the new hometown airline of El Dorado and are excited about the reliable service that we bring to the residents, businesses and visitors to this community,” said Stan Little, chairman and chief executive officer of the Memphis-based airline.

Southern flies nine-seat turbo-prop planes, one of which is parked overnight at South Arkansas Regional Airport.

Jonathan Estes, manager of South Arkansas Regional Airport, said Southern is proving to be a low-cost, reliable solution that supports the flying needs of the community, including local business and industry, and out-of-towners.

The launch party will feature food, live entertainment and an opportunity to win a trip for two to Florida.

Read more here ➤ http://www.eldoradonews.com

Zenith CH701, N56553: Fatal accident occurred November 06, 2015 near River Acres Airport (FD70), Okeechobee County, Florida

At the controls is John Bubel. 

 John Bubel


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

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N56553



NTSB Identification: ERA16FA033
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 06, 2015 in Okeechobee, FL
Aircraft: ZENITH CH701, registration: N56553
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 6, 2015, about 1135 eastern standard time, an experimental light-sport Zenith CH701 amphibious airplane, N56553, impacted the ground in Okeechobee, Florida. The private pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was privately owned and operated, and the personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Homestead General Aviation Airport (X51), Homestead, Florida, destined for River Acres Airport (FD70), Okeechobee, Florida.

According to the owner, the airplane was based at X51 and had not been flown since early 2012; the airplane's last condition inspection was performed during November 2011. The pilot was flying the airplane to FD70 to facilitate a condition inspection and some cosmetic repairs to the airplane before listing it for sale for the owner.

A private pilot, who witnessed the accident from about 1/4 mile south of the accident site, stated that he saw the airplane flying about 100 ft above the ground. It was "flying erratically," and "rocking back and forth." He then heard a loud "snap" sound, which was immediately followed by one or both wings folding up and back about 45°. The airplane entered a steep, "60-degree nosedive" and descended below his field of view. The witness added that he heard the engine during the entire accident sequence and did not note any power interruptions.

A second witness, who saw the accident from about 1/4 mile east of the accident site, stated that the airplane was "tilting its wings," as if the pilot was acknowledging people on the ground below, when the right wing "folded up 90 degrees, like when you park airplanes on an aircraft carrier."

A third witness, who was working on a rooftop about 1/4 mile north-northwest of the accident site, stated that he saw the airplane descending in an approximate 30° nose-down angle and rolling right "wing over wing." The airplane completed four or five revolutions before he lost sight of it, and he then heard the sound of an impact.

A fourth witness, who was located about 3/4 mile east of the accident site, reported that the airplane was flying west and passed overhead at an altitude about 600 to 700 ft. The engine sounded like it was "cutting in and out of power." He saw the airplane circle then slow, and the wings rocked back and forth before the airplane descended from view.

The airplane impacted the ground in a residential area and was destroyed by a postcrash fire.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 62, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot's logbook was not recovered from the accident site. According to the pilot's family representative, the pilot's logbooks were likely destroyed during the accident and no documentation regarding his flight experience was available.

The pilot reported 2,000 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate, which was issued on June 2, 2006.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-engine, two-seat, kit-built, high-wing, amphibious airplane was issued a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental light-sport aircraft category on December 13, 2007. It was powered by a Rotax 912ULS, 100-horsepower engine, equipped with a three-blade Warp Drive composite propeller assembly.

According to information obtained from FAA airworthiness records and maintenance logbooks, the airplane was purchased by the owner during February 2008. Its most recent condition inspection was completed on November 24, 2011. At that time, the airplane's Hobbs meter indicated 62.1 hours, and the engine, which was installed in November 2010, had been operated for 100.5 total hours since new.

The owner and his family reported that, during May 2010, while on a flight to Key Largo, Florida, the airplane's engine overheated and lost power, and the owner performed an off-shore forced landing in saltwater. The airplane was subsequently disassembled and washed with freshwater. The engine was replaced and the airplane was transported to the accident pilot's hangar at FD70 where it was reassembled by the accident pilot. It then underwent the November 2011 condition inspection, which was performed by an airframe and powerplant mechanic at the Indiantown Airport (X58), Indiantown, Florida.

In early 2012, the owner flew the airplane from X58 to X51 where it remained and was not flown until the day of the accident.

According to the owner, on the day of the accident, the airplane departed with about 15 gallons of fuel in each left and right wing fuel tank.

According to an FAA inspector, there was no record of a special flight (ferry) permit requested or issued for the accident flight.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1135, the weather conditions reported at Okeechobee County Airport (OBE), which was located about 4 nautical miles north of the accident site, included wind from 90° at 9 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 4,000 ft, a temperature of 28°C, a dew point of 21°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.16 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

All major portions of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. Two windscreen fragments, including one that was about 18 inches by 11.5 inches, were found on the ground about 150 ft northeast of the initial ground scar, opposite the airplane's direction of travel.

The airplane came to rest inverted. The cockpit and cabin were consumed by a postcrash fire. Both wings and the landing gear were severely fire damaged. Ground scars and debris were located on a heading about 260°. The fuselage and right wing came to rest about 39 ft from an initial ground scar, just east of a concrete driveway. There were impact and scraping marks across the driveway.

The left wing was separated; however, it was located next to the fuselage and extended to about 61 ft from the initial ground scar. The upper surface of the left wing was generally intact and minimally distorted from impact. The inboard section of the left wing was consumed by fire. The two bolts that attached the left wing to the fuselage contained melted material from the spar; however, both were still bolted to the fuselage. The upper surface of the right wing was generally intact and minimally distorted from impact; however, the wing tip leading edge was deformed consistent with ground contact. The deformation was angled about 30° from the leading edge aft and outboard. The two bolts that attached the right wing to the fuselage contained melted material from the spar; however, both were still bolted to the fuselage.

Due to the condition of the wreckage, flight control system continuity was not established. The steel tubes, including the "Y" portions of the yoke for the flaperons and elevator control, were located but severely fire damaged. All aluminum components were absent. The two flaperon pushrods from the main control to the aileron bellcranks were attached. All bolts and nuts attached to the steel portions of the control system were present. The steel portions of the elevator control were present, with all bolts and nuts attached. The aluminum portions were not present. The rudder hinge bolts were present. The rudder cables were attached to the rudder pedals. The left rudder cable was attached to the left rudder control horn. The attaching hardware at the right rudder control horn had melted and the cable was separated.

All portions of the airplane's wing struts were located. One or more portions of the struts contained bends, impact damage, fire damage, corrosion, and/or separations; however, all their respective attachment bolts and nuts were in place and secure. The wing struts were removed and forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory, Washington, DC, for further examination.

The engine was severely impact- and fire-damaged. Most accessories, including the carburetors, were impact-separated and fire-damaged. The No. 3 cylinder was fractured in several locations and fragmented during removal from the crankcase. The engine was partially disassembled at the accident site. The crankshaft could not be rotated and the engine was subsequently further disassembled and inspected at a maintenance facility under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The main bearings, crankshaft, and connecting rods were intact and displayed no evidence of oil starvation. The camshaft lobes were in good condition and did not exhibit any gouges, grooves, or wear. Examination of the respective cylinder heads, valves, and pistons did not reveal any preimpact mechanical anomalies.

The propeller hub remained attached to the engine. One of the composite propeller blades was broken at the root. The blade was located in the debris path and exhibited impact damage at the tip and chordwise scratches along most of its leading edge. The remaining two propeller blades were fire-damaged.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, District 19, Fort Pierce, Florida, performed an autopsy on the pilot. According to the autopsy report, the cause of death was "multiple blunt trauma injuries." Toxicological testing performed on specimens from the pilot by a local laboratory were negative for alcohol and drugs.

Toxicological testing performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for alcohol. Amlodipine, a non-impairing prescription medication normally used to treat high blood pressure, was found in urine and blood specimens.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Wing Struts Examination

Examination of the wings' front and rear struts was performed by an NTSB senior metallurgist. The strut pieces had been exposed to fire and the exterior paint was charred and missing in several locations. When handled, copious quantities of corrosion deposits would exit the open areas of all the struts. Each strut was manufactured from two pieces of tubing welded together within a surrounding sleeve. The tube end construction differed from sample engineering drawings available from the kit manufacturer; the tube ends on the accident airplane were shaped and welded to form closed tube ends instead of the round, open tube ends depicted on the manufacturer's drawings.

The left wing struts were separated at multiple locations. Visual and magnified optical examination found that the wall thickness of the forward tube of the left wing had been reduced to knife edges by internal corrosion which extended for significant lengths beyond the location of both separations.

The right wing struts were separated at the inboard ends and bent and deformed in several locations. Magnified optical examination found the separations to be consistent with overstress fractures after significant bending/buckling deformation. Longitudinal sectioning of the aft strut tube at the separation revealed significant internal corrosion and localized wall loss at portions of the separation.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Handheld GPS

A Garmin GPSMAP 276C was recovered at the accident site; it was examined and downloaded at the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory. The data extracted included 81 track logs; however, there was no data recorded on the date of the accident.

Zenith Service Letter / Notification

After the accident, ZenAir, the kit manufacturer for Zenith Aircraft, issued a Service Letter (SL)/Notification, which included an inspection of wing strut assemblies for internal corrosion. The SL specifically recommended that the wing struts be removed from the airplane and inspected for rust within the next 50 hours, and then annually on a continuing basis.




NTSB Identification: ERA16FA033 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, November 06, 2015 in Okeechobee, FL
Aircraft: ZENITH CH701, registration: N56553
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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

On November 6, 2015, about 1135 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built, light-sport Zenith CH701 amphibian airplane, N56553, operated by a private individual, was destroyed when it impacted the ground in Okeechobee, Florida. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed Homestead General Aviation Airport (X51), Homestead, Florida, destined for River Acres Airport (FD70), Okeechobee Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airplane was issued a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental light-sport aircraft category on December 13, 2007. It was powered by a Rotax 912ULS, 100-horsepower engine, equipped with a three-blade Warp Drive composite propeller assembly.

According to the owner, the airplane was based at X51 and had not been flown since about the time of its last annual condition inspection, which was performed during November 2011. The pilot was flying the airplane to FD70 to facilitate a condition inspection. He was also going to perform some cosmetic repairs to the airplane and then list it for sale.

A private pilot, who witnessed the accident from about 1/4 mile south of the accident site, stated that he observed the airplane flying about 100 feet above the ground. It was "flying erratically, and "rocking back and forth." He then heard a loud "snap" sound, which was immediately followed by one or both wings folding up and back about 45 degrees. The airplane entered a steep, "60-degeee nose dive" and descended below his field of view. The witness added that he heard the engine during the entire accident sequence and did not note any power interruptions.

A second witness, who observed the accident from about 1/4 mile east of the accident site, stated that airplane was "tilting its wings," as if the pilot was acknowledging people on the ground below, when the right wing "folded up 90 degrees, like when you park airplanes on an aircraft carrier."

A third witness, who was working on a rooftop about 1/4 mile from the accident site, stated that he observed the airplane descending in about a 30-degree nose down angle and rolling right "wing over wing." The airplane completed four or five revolutions before he lost sight of it, and he then heard the sound of an impact.

The airplane impacted the ground in a residential area. All major portions of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. The cockpit and cabin were consumed by a postcrash fire. The engine, both wings, and landing gear were severely fire damaged. Ground scars and debris were located on a heading of about 260 degrees. The airplane came to rest inverted. The fuselage and right wing came to rest about 39 feet from an initial ground scar. The left wing was separated; however, it was located next to the fuselage and extended to about 61 feet from the initial ground scar. It was noted that a windshield fragment that was about 18 inches by 11.5 inches was found on the ground, about 150 feet northeast of the initial ground scar.

The front center section wing attach bolt for both wings was present. The structure surrounding each respective bolt was absent. All portions of the airplane's wing struts were located. One or more portions of the struts contained bends, impact damage, fire damage, corrosion, and/or separations; however, all their respective attachment bolts and nuts were in place and secure. Initial examination of the engine did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. The airplane was retained for further examination. The wing struts were removed and forwarded to the NTSB Materials Laboratory, Washington, DC, for further examination.

A handheld global positioning system receiver was recovered from the accident site and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, DC, for download.

The pilot reported 2,000 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA third-class medical certificate, which was issued on June 2, 2006.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, N43576: Fatal accident occurred April 25, 2016 near Boone Inc Airport (NC14), Watauga County, North Carolina

Retired Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Chappell.

Steven Cox Berry, right, died May 29, 2016, due to injuries sustained in the April 25, 2016 plane crash on the Boone Golf Course. Berry is the second fatality registered in the plane crash that also took the life of former State Highway Patrol Trooper Ben Chappell of Boone.



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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper; McKinney, Texas

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N43576




NTSB Identification: ERA16FA169
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Boone, NC
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N43576
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 25, 2016, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N43576, was destroyed after a collision with trees and terrain while conducting a go-around at Boone Inc. Airport (NC14), Boone, North Carolina. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. The rear seat passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned, and the personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from NC14 about 1255.

According to a witness at the approach end of runway 31, his attention was drawn to the airplane because it was "very fast" as it approached the airport for landing. The airplane disappeared from his view and shortly after, he saw a plume of smoke on the adjacent golf course. Another witness, who was in a house on a hill on the right side of the departure end of runway 31, stated that the airplane was climbing out and the left wing was low when it collided with a pine tree. She said that the airplane seemed as if it was attempting to gain altitude but collided with another pine tree before impacting the golf course. Witnesses on the golf course reported that they watched the airplane climb and stated that it was "bobbling" up and down before hitting the top of a stand of pine trees. The airplane nosed down and impacted the golf course; a postimpact fire ensued. The witnesses on the golf course saw two occupants exit the airplane and assisted them before the local authorities arrived. Neither the pilot or the surviving passenger could recall the events of the accident flight.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 68, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, and a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate issued July 2, 2015, with a limitation for corrective lenses. On the pilot's application for that medical certificate, he reported 604 total hours of flight experience. The pilot could not recall his flight experience and his logbook was not recovered; therefore, his total flight experience at the time of the accident and his experience in the accident airplane make and model could not be determined.

The pilot-rated passenger, age 44, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a private pilot certificate with ratings for multi-engine land, and an FAA second-class medical certificate with no noted limitations. On the pilot-rated passenger's most recent application for a FAA medical certificate, he reported a total flight experience of 2,600 hours. The pilot-rated passenger succumbed to his injuries 34 days after the accident, and his logbook was not recovered; therefore, his total flight experience at the time of the accident could not be determined.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-engine airplane was manufactured in 1974 and was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-K1A5 engine equipped with a Hartzell HC-C2YK-1, controllable-pitch propeller. A review of maintenance logbook records showed an annual inspection was completed on June 16, 2015, at a recorded airframe total time of 7,718.5 hours and an engine total time of 4,073 hours. Further review of the airplane records revealed that the engine was overhauled on August 27, 1992. The last maintenance was performed on January 31, 2016, at which time the engine had accumulated about 2,255 hours since overhaul.

The airplane was owned by the pilot and based at NC14.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1255, the recorded weather at Watauga County Hospital Heliport (TNB), Boone, North Carolina, about 1 mile north of the accident site, included wind from 330° at 4 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 6,000 ft above ground level, temperature 21°C, dew point 6°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The airport's runway was oriented on 13°/31° and measured 2,700 ft in length and 40 ft in width. The runway surface was asphalt and there were 25 ft trees about 150 ft from the runway 31 departure end.




WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane initially impacted a stand of 75-ft-tall pine trees. Parts of the left wing and freshly cut branches were observed throughout the stand of pine trees. A wreckage path extended from the trees, continued on a magnetic heading about 310° and extended about 126 ft to the main wreckage, which came to rest on a golf course. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the rudder and vertical stabilizer, and the left and right stabilators. The outboard section of the left wing was fragmented along the wreckage path. The right wing was located with the main fuselage and it was consumed by fire. A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit, cabin, and baggage area. The instrument panel and avionics were destroyed by fire. No useful information was obtained from the instrumentation or avionics equipment. The engine control levers were not attached to the quadrant and were impact and fire damaged.

Both control yokes were impact separated, broken and fire damaged. The T-bar with aileron sprocket and chain were examined. The aileron and stabilator cables were attached. The rudder pedals were pushed forward against the forward bulkhead. The firewall was severely impact damaged. The engine mount was attached to the firewall, and the engine was attached to the mount. The nose landing gear was attached to the mount. The nose gear steering rods were bent and impact separated from the steering horn.

The flap control handle and bracket were attached to the fuselage floor and exhibited a flaps-retracted position. The flap operating torque tube was attached to its location in the fuselage and was also in the retracted position. The fuel selector valve was located and the selector valve arm was positioned in the right tip tank detent position. The fuel selector displayed impact and fire damage and the internal fuel filter was melted. All switches and circuit breakers were impact and fire damaged.

Examination of the empennage revealed that the vertical fin with left and right stabilator sections was attached by the floor pan of the fuselage and impact and fire damaged. The rudder was attached to the vertical stabilizer at its hinge points. The rudder sector control cables were attached. Movement was noted going forward to the cabin area. The rudder trim position could not be determined. The stabilator control cables and trim control cables were attached and traced forward to the cabin area. Control cable continuity was traced forward to the flight control "T"-bar assembly. All cables exhibited postimpact fire damage.

The left wing was separated from the fuselage. Both fuel tanks were breached and destroyed. All lower wing skins were destroyed by ground fire. The flap was attached at the inboard end. The outboard section was impact and fire damaged. The aileron was destroyed. The aileron control sector was bent and twisted. Both aileron cables were attached. Cable continuity was traced to the control chains in the forward cabin area. The left main landing gear assembly was attached to the main wing spar and fire damaged. The stall warning vane was destroyed.

The right main landing gear was destroyed by postimpact fire. The right flap and aileron were destroyed by impact and fire. The primary and balance cables were attached. Control cable continuity was traced through all cable breaks from tension overload to the forward cabin area. Both cables were found attached to the aileron control chain.

The engine remained attached to the firewall by the upper engine mount tubes. The upper mount tubes were impact damaged and the lower tubes were separated.

The engine was removed, suspended from a lift, and partially disassembled to facilitate the examination. The propeller was removed and the engine was rotated using a tool inserted in the vacuum pump drive pad. Continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. Compression and suction were confirmed at all six cylinders. The interiors of the cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope and no anomalies were noted.

The fuel injector servo was impact separated from the engine and was fire and impact damaged. The fuel inlet screen was removed; it was fire damaged and a small amount of debris was observed inside. The fuel regulator section was disassembled and the rubber diaphragms were fire damaged.

The flow divider remained attached to the engine. The unit was partially disassembled and no debris was observed in the interior. The engine-driven fuel pump remained attached to the engine and was fire damaged. Both magnetos remained attached to the engine and were heavily fire damaged. The upper spark plugs exhibited light gray coloration and undamaged electrodes. The lower spark plugs were a combination of Champion REM38E and REM40E. The lower spark plugs exhibited undamaged electrodes. The Nos. 3, 5 and 6 spark plug electrodes exhibited gray coloration.

The Nos. 1, 2 and 4 electrodes were oil contaminated. The ignition harness was destroyed by fire. The starter and alternator remained attached to the engine and were impact damaged. The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine and was fire damaged. The drive coupling was partially melted and the pump could not be rotated by hand. The pump was partially disassembled and the carbon rotor and vanes were intact.

Oil was observed in the engine. The oil dipstick indicated about 9 quarts. The engine oil filter media was charred. No debris was observed between the folds of the filter media. The oil coolers remained attached to the engine cooling baffles. The left oil cooler was fire and impact damaged. The right oil cooler was undamaged. The oil cooler hoses were destroyed by fire.



ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The FAA Airplane Flying Handbook, Chapter 8, "Approaches and Landings," states, "To land within a short-field or a confined area, the pilot must have precise, positive control of the rate of descent and airspeed to produce an approach that clears any obstacles, result in little or no floating during the round out, and permit the airplane to be stopped in the shortest possible distance."

The handbook defines a stabilized approach as one that "permits the airplane to reach the desired touchdown point at an airspeed that results in minimum floating just before touchdown; in essence, a semi-stalled condition. To accomplish this, it is essential that both the descent angle and the airspeed be accurately controlled."

The handbook further describes the characteristics of a stabilized short field landing approach, stating:

[Short-field landing] procedures generally involve the use of full flaps and the final approach started from an altitude of at least 500 feet higher than the touchdown area.

An excessive amount of airspeed could result in touchdown too far down the runway threshold or an after-landing roll that exceeds the available landing area.

The handbook further states that go-arounds, or rejected landings, should be performed whenever landing conditions are not satisfactory. It also states,

The go-around maneuver is not inherently dangerous in itself. It becomes dangerous only when delayed unduly or executed improperly. Delay in initiating the go-around normally stems from two sources:

1. Landing expectancy or set – the anticipatory belief that conditions are not as threatening as they are and that the approach is surely terminated with a safe landing,

2. Pride – the mistaken belief that the act of going around is an admission of failure – failure to execute the approach properly. The improper execution of the go-around maneuver stems from a lack of familiarity with the three cardinal principles of the procedure: power, attitude, and configuration.



NTSB Identification: ERA16FA169
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, April 25, 2016 in Boone, NC
Aircraft: PIPER PA32, registration: N43576
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

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

On April 25, 2016, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N43576, was destroyed after a collision with trees, terrain and post-crash fire in Boone, North Carolina. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. The rear seat passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was originating at the time of the accident from Boone Inc. Airport (NC14), Boone, North Carolina.

According to a witness at the approach end of runway 31, he stated that the airplane was approaching at a high rate of speed prior to landing. He said that he did not see the airplane touchdown, but shortly after he saw a plume of smoke on a golf course. Another witness that was in a house on a hill on the right side of the departure end of runway 31, stated that when she saw the airplane, the left wing was low and it collided with a pine tree. She said that the airplane seemed as if it was attempting to gain altitude but collided with another pine tree before descending and "crashing into the golf course." Witnesses on the golf course reported that they watched the airplane climbout; they stated that the airplane was "bobbling" up and down before hitting the top of a stand of pine trees. The airplane nosed down and collided on the golf course before bursting into flames. The witnesses on the golf course observed the occupants exit the airplane and assisted them before the local authorities arrived.

Examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane initially impacted a stand of 75-foot-tall pine trees. Parts of the left wing and fresh cut branches were observed throughout the stand of pine trees. The airplane continued on the wreckage path until it came to rest on a golf course. The debris path was orientated on a magnetic heading of about 310 degrees and extended about 126 ft. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the rudder and vertical stabilizer, the left and right horizontal elevator. The outboard section of the left wing was fragmented along the wreckage path. The right wing was located with the main fuselage and it was consumed by fire. A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit, cabin, and baggage area. The instrument panel and avionics were destroyed by fire. The airplane was retained for further examination.

At 1255, surface weather observation for NC14, about .50 miles northwest of the accident site, included wind from 330 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 statute miles. The temperature was 21 degrees Celsius (C), the dew point was 6 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 30.11 inches of mercury.