Saturday, December 2, 2017

'We did not meet their expectations': Delta exit a surprise, Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport (KGRK) aviation director says

Delta Air Lines will cease operations effective Jan. 15 at the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport, bringing an end to nearly 12 years of service and leaving the area without direct access to an East Coast hub — unless travelers want to drive to Austin, Waco, Dallas or other airports farther away.

The company headquartered in Atlanta last week cited a sustained decline in air ridership as its reason for abandoning an interest in Killeen that it has continuously held since 2006.

The severing of Delta’s service is amid a backdrop of record profits in the airline industry, but those come as a result of increasingly cutthroat business tactics to remain competitive, according to the latest Federal Aviation Administration forecast highlights.

“The great recession of 2007-09 marked a fundamental change in the operations and finances of U.S. Airlines. Since the recession, U.S. airlines have fine-tuned their business models to minimize losses by lowering operating costs, eliminating unprofitable routes, and grounding older, less fuel-efficient aircraft,” the report said. “The U.S. airline industry has become more nimble.”

Delta declined to comment directly about the numbers behind its decision, but data furnished by the city of Killeen could be the best underlying indicator of what happened.


The Herald reported in February that last year’s inbound and outbound passenger activity was the weakest in more than a decade. Although the airport’s executive director has been consistent in conveying what plans are underway to correct problems, data depict a dire condition.

“This took us by surprise,” Matthew Van Valkenburgh, Killeen’s executive director of aviation, said in an email.

Even with November and December numbers left to report, 2017 is projected to extend a year-over-year slide in total passenger activity to four consecutive years. If the numbers hold, it would be the most anemic performance in more than 12 years.

It’s something airlines such as Delta are always watching, Van Valkenburgh said in August, and “if you don’t use it, you can very well lose it.”

The announcement made Monday by Delta, one of three airlines that serve the airport, will leave ticket holders scrambling to find alternative travel plans. American Airlines and United also use the Killeen airport.

The announcement comes just before December, when airline travel is typically at its highest. Although Delta will continue to provide flights for travelers into January, it is short notice for those who made plans long in advance.

George Hobica, founder and editor-in-chief of, said airlines can stop service from an airport without notice or explanation, which puts passengers holding tickets on that airline in a precarious position.

“They will get a refund on future flights, but may end up having to buy a much more expensive ticket on the remaining airlines,” he said in an email. “The only good news is that when a major airline abandons an airport it’s an incentive for a smaller airline like Spirit, Allegiant or Frontier to step in.”


For now, the financial effect of Delta’s departure on the airport is somewhat unclear, but it’s not looking good.

“Basic airline economics are simple,” Van Valkenburgh said. “Fill their seats and they make money. … Bottom line, unfortunately, is we did not meet their expectations.”

The estimated decrease in fiscal year 2018 revenue is $75,000-$105,000, but the exact number will vary depending on how long the airline is required to pay its contractual fees, he said. Until the end of the fiscal year, it is unknown what the impact will be on the Airport Fund.

Killeen City Manager Ron Olson, during an Aug. 1 budget presentation, told the council about the airport’s declining financial health, saying it was in the process of “bleeding itself dry.”

The city’s adopted 2018 budget shows a projected drop in total expenses of 29 percent, from $3.76 million to $2.66 million, but also a decrease in total revenue of 19 percent, from $3.17 million to $2.56 million.

The airport makes most of its money from rental cars (31 percent) and airport parking (23 percent), but air carrier operations and fees paid to load fuel into aircraft each make up 12 percent of the revenue pie. Landings fees are a separate 6 percent of the budget.

As of Thursday afternoon, city airport officials still had not been officially notified of Delta’s plans. The Herald confirmed the airline’s decision to leave directly with Delta.

The approximate income from American Airlines last year was $372,340; United brought in $128,274, and both remain committed to the market and community, Van Valkenburgh said, adding that he spoke to representatives of both airlines subsequent to the news from Delta.

The Waco airport, which has had just American Airlines since 2012, is on the hunt to regain United service, but the search certainly isn’t limited to that, according to Joel Martinez, Waco’s director of aviation.

“Both legacy and low cost carriers” are currently being sent information about the market with the hope of spurring interest, he said in an email.

That would mean steeper competition for Killeen, if successful.

When Van Valkenburgh was asked whether he sees a decline in the Killeen-area market, he acknowledged the drop in ridership and was aware of Austin’s draw to the south.

While domestic flights are “certainly healthy” within the United States, municipal airports have seen their share of struggles, Hobica said.

In 2007, the Salem, Oregon, airport had just one airline offering commercial flights. One year later, Delta pulled out, leaving travelers with no direct flights into the state’s capital. In 2011, Seaport Airlines tried to establish itself in Salem, but left just months later, according to the Salem Statesman Journal.

Similarly, United Airlines pulled out of Atlantic City, New Jersey, after just a few months. The airline had direct flights to Chicago and Houston, offering one flight to each city per day. Seven months later, it pulled out, leaving just Spirit Airlines.

Spirit bills itself as an “ultra-low cost carrier,” and contributed to the low airfare in America, Hobica said. More and more people, especially millennials, are willing to get in their cars and drive to cheaper flights. In Canada, many residents will drive from Toronto to Buffalo or from Vancouver to Seattle seeking cheaper flights.

With Austin and Waco just an hour away, and two Dallas airports about 2 ½ hours away, there are options for travelers.


Paul Ryder is the national resources coordinator for the Air Line Pilots Association and has been a commercial pilot for 13 years. He said pilots are often excited to fly to underserved markets and rural areas. While at one time, there might have been a shortage of pilots willing to fly to these smaller airports because of lower wages and less-than-ideal working conditions, that’s changed, as carriers saw the market negatively affected and made deliberate changes. Now, there’s a “healthy, sufficient number” of pilots.

Ultimately, however, business decisions made by individual airlines are about bringing the money, Ryder said.

“It’s always the goal to serve those communities. You want to help throughout the nation and throughout the world,” he said. “But you (have) to make business decisions. If the route doesn’t have sufficient traffic, we have seen airlines come in and out of service.”


Throughout the airport’s decline in ridership, officials have maintained that flying from Killeen is about the same cost or cheaper than competitors, but year after year, government data show the math doesn’t add up.

The latest available data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics show a continuing trend spanning more than a decade documenting higher than average airfare in Killeen.

Travelers in 2016 paid an average fare of $482 to fly from Killeen round-trip, which is about $200 more than Love Field in Dallas ($278) and $100 more than Austin ($372). Southwest Airlines is headquartered at Love Field (airport code DAL) and also flies from Austin (AUS); American’s base is Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).

Going back as far as 2006, the trend is typically the same — local prices exceeded competitors.

Van Valkenburgh said in August the airport is working on airfares with airlines to get closer to prices Austin and Dallas offer. Other core areas of improvement include: aircraft size to accommodate bags and people (airlines are downsizing fleets); working with airline schedulers to offer more flights in the Killeen market (filling current flights will help drive this); air service development to sustain and add flights; and upgrading airport equipment.

From January through September 2016, 503,981 passengers boarded planes at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, according to Austin airport figures for one-way travel. During that same stretch of time in 2017, there were 546,957 passengers boarding. Part of that could be attributed to population growth, as Austin has had an increase of about 20,000 residents per year since 2005.

Delta also added three nonstop routes from Austin in 2017: to Seattle, Boston and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. The Austin airport added 17 nonstop routes in 2017, and will add another 13 in 2018, according to airport spokesman Derick Hackett.

The Killeen City Council is moving forward with several capital improvement projects at the airport using passenger facility charges ($1.3 million) and customer facility charges ($1.6 million). Projects using passenger facility charges include upgrades to the flight information and common use system ($750,000) and rehabilitating Terminal Access Road ($291,000). Projects using customer facility charges include covered parking for the rental car parking lot ($1 million) and car wash facility improvements ($600,000).

There is no negative impact to the Aviation Fund balance because the projects are fully funded with grants or facility charges, Van Valkenburgh has said.

He remained hopeful about airline service.

“Sustaining air service has always been our primary goal with increasing service next,” Van Valkenburgh said. “We continue to meet and talk to our airlines about our existing service and the possible routes the airlines could potentially add to Killeen.”

Read more here ➤

Cessna 177RG Cardinal, N2075Q: Incident occurred December 02, 2017 in Valley City, Barnes County, North Dakota

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; North Dakota

Aircraft engine failure. Landed on interstate.

Date: 02-DEC-17
Time: 23:29:00Z
Regis#: N2075Q
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 177RG
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

A small Cessna plane was headed from Fargo to Bismarck when the pilot realized he was going to have to land without his engine.

According to the North Dakota Highway Patrol the emergency landing happened just west of Valley City.

The pilot, Jerry Schauer of Bismarck, was able to safely glide the plane down on I94 in the westbound lanes around mile marker 280.

There was no injuries and no damage.

The FAA is looking into the incident.

Original article can be found here ➤

American Autogyro SparrowHawk, N481ZK: Fatal accident occurred December 02, 2017 in DeSoto County, Mississippi

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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hernando, MS
Accident Number: ERA18LA039
Date & Time: 12/02/2017, 1700 CST
Registration: N7481ZK
Aircraft: Kevin Leue Sparrow Hawk
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 2, 2017, about 1700 central standard time, an experimental amateur-built Sparrow Hawk gyroplane, N481ZK, impacted terrain near Eagles Ridge Airport (MS9), Hernando, Mississippi. The sport pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The gyroplane was destroyed by a postcrash fire, and was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the flight.

There were no known witnesses to the departure or accident. According to an individual who was hunting, about 1700, he heard a loud sound similar to a gunshot, but dismissed it as another hunter. He left the area about dusk, and while walking, spotted a grass fire. He walked to a nearby home to tell the homeowner to call 911 to report the fire. First responders who arrived to extinguish the fire subsequently observed the wreckage.

The wreckage was recovered from the accident site and retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: Kevin Leue
Registration: N7481ZK
Model/Series: Sparrow Hawk
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Amateur Built: Yes 
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: 
Observation Facility, Elevation: OLV, 402 ft msl
Observation Time: 1650 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting:  30.11 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Hernando, MS (MS9)
Destination: Hernando, MS (MS9)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.796667, -89.920833

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

Richard House, left, and Wayne House were killed in a crash in Hernando, Mississippi 
(Courtesy of the House family).

Richard House
Southaven, MS

Richard House, 43, passed away Saturday, December 2, 2017 as the result of an aircraft accident which also claimed the life of his father, Wayne House. Richard was a member of Christ Presbyterian Church, a pilot for Delta Airlines and a former pilot for Pinnacle Airlines. A graduate of Delta State University, he was a former member of the Army Reserve and enjoyed motorcycles. The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Wednesday at Christ Presbyterian Church in Olive Branch. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Christ Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends following the service. Survivors include his wife, Patti House; daughters, Mikayla House and Carmen House, all of Southaven, parents, Ray and Kathy Swilley of Hattiesburg; sister, Robyn Whitehead (Todd) of Nacogdoches, TX.

Wayne House

Wayne House, 70, passed away Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 as the result of an aircraft accident which also claimed the life of his son, Richard House. He was a retired band director from Southaven High School and currently worked for Amro Music. He was a graduate of Ole Miss and enjoyed motorcycles and flying. The family will receive friends from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. Wednesday at Christ Presbyterian Church in Olive Branch. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Christ Presbyterian Church. The family will receive friends following the service. Hernando Funeral Home has charge. Survivors include his daughter Robyn Whitehead (Todd) of Nacogdoches, Texas; daughter-in-law Patti House of Southaven; brother, Henry House of Clifton, Tenn.; grandchildren, Mikayla House, Carmen House, Emma Whitehead. He was preceded in death by his parents Henderson and Frances House and a sister Ellen Henderson. 

The two men who died in a weekend gyrocopter crash in DeSoto County were flying a small, hobbyist aircraft designed to make flight affordable for experienced enthusiasts, authorities said Monday.

Wayne House, 70, and his son, Richard House, 43, both of DeSoto County and originally from Hattiesburg, died when their aircraft crashed Saturday afternoon in the 4000 block of Malone Road in southeastern DeSoto County. They appeared to be bringing the craft in for landing, according to Deputy Alex Coker of the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department.

The victims were the only occupants of the two-seat craft, DeSoto County Coroner Jeffrey Pounders said. He said autopsies are being performed on the badly burned victims, who crashed in a wooded area. Initial reports were that there was a grass fire. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating. Coker said Monday there was no additional information pending the FAA findings.

It's unclear which man was piloting the gyrocopter, but Richard House was a commercial pilot. Pounders said House was a pilot for Delta Air Lines. House's Facebook page indicates he has been a Delta pilot since 2014. 

Coker said he wasn't sure if the pair were just flying around the county or were headed to a particular destination. 

A gyrocopter is a type of small aircraft also known as an autogyro, gyroplane or rotaplane. It uses an unpowered rotor for lift along with an engine-powered propeller for thrust. 

"They're usually a one- or two-seater," said Coker, an avid sky diver and co-host of the "Remote Survival" television show on the National Geographic Channel. "They're not commercial grade, by any means. It's more a hobbyist-type of smaller aircraft, something every person can own."

The Popular Rotorcraft Association says gyroplanes will not stall like airplanes, making them safer to fly at low speeds.

"Aerodynamically stable gyoplanes are much safer in turbulent winds," the association says on its website. "Landings are typically made at very low air speeds and can be made safetly in very short distances."

The association acknowledges that gyroplanes historically have a bad safety record because of pilots who taught themselves to fly in less stable designs.

"Today, pilots who fly more stable designs and earn they gyroplane pilot ratings with professional gyroplane flight instructors fly much safer," it added.

Original article  ➤

Two persons have died in the crash of an experimental gyrocopter in rural DeSoto County on Saturday evening, according to DeSoto County Coroner Jeff Pounders.

Pounders said Sunday that two individuals, one in his 40s and the other in his 70s, died when the light, experimental gyrocopter they were riding in crashed and burst into flames during impact.

The bodies of the two men were burned beyond recognition. Firefighters were alerted to what was first reported as a grass fire, believed to have been caused by the crash.

"We know who they are, we just can't make a positive identification," Pounders said. "They were flying one of those experimental gyrocopters — we don't know exactly what happened. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) are both investigating the crash."

Pounders said according to the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department, the crash occurred around 5:30 p.m.

Emergency officials arrived on scene about 6:20 p.m. Pounders was called about 7:30 p.m.

The crash site is located near Cleveland and Malone Roads in a heavily wooded area.

The area has been cordoned off, due to the ongoing investigation.

Pounders said the bodies were burned so badly that a positive ID may be difficult and DNA as well as dental records may be instrumental in that identification.

Due to lack of positive identification, Pounders said he was not releasing the names of the two men, although family has been made aware of their demise.

As of Sunday afternoon, Pounders had still not talked with family members.

Although the DeSoto Times-Tribune has firsthand knowledge of the identities of the deceased, there is no official release of their names.

Out of respect for the families, the newspaper is not releasing the identities of the deceased at this time.

Pounders said he expects the names of the deceased will be released soon.

Original article can be found here ➤

Two men are dead after a gyrocopter crashed in DeSoto County Saturday. 

Wayne House, 70, and his son Richard House, 43, were both killed when the aircraft crashed coming in for a landing, according to DeSoto County Sheriff's Department spokesman Alex Coker. 

DeSoto County emergency responders were called to a grass fire around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. 

Love Volunteer Fire Chief Shawn Witt said his department responded to the area and had to hike to where the fire had spread.

"While checking the perimeter I saw a large fire and thought it was just some brush, but once I got closer I saw the propeller and one of victims," Witt said. "I immediately called (Federal Aviation Administration) and (National Transportation Safety Board) and checked for missing aircraft as this property was about 500 yards from Eagle Ridge airport/landing."

Around 6:20 p.m., the crashed experimental gyrocopter was found in the woods near the 4000 block of Malone Road, near Holly Springs Road and Cleveland Road.  Responders said the aircraft was a two-seater.  So far the cause of the crash has not been determined. Coker confirmed the FAA is involved in the investigation.

Original article can be found here ➤

Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport (KRKS) in running for airtankers

ROCK SPRINGS — The Rock Springs/Sweetwater County Airport could potentially house seven HC-130H aircraft to be used as airtankers to battle fires.

The airport submitted a letter to the U.S. Forest Service about two weeks ago, Airport Manager Devon Brubaker said.

“It’s very, very preliminary at this point,” he said.

If the airport is chosen, it could “result in quite a few jobs” and a lot of growth opportunities for the airport. Plus, it would help support firefighting capabilities in the area, Brubaker said.

The winning location could see an estimated 100 contracted positions open up. Three U.S. Forest Service and five U.S. Coast guard personnel would also be stationed at the base.

Airports in 11 states will be considered — Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon, Washington or Wyoming — “due to proximity of the majority of firefighting activity and representative training terrain,” she said.

The next steps for procuring the airtankers will begin in February 2018. It will include conducting a market survey of qualified locations. The site selection will be announced in October 2018.

Original article ➤

Boutique Air moves toward twin-turboprop aircraft in Cortez, Colorado: Airline reduces number of single-engine turboprop flights

One year after introducing a line of single-engine aircraft to the Cortez Municipal Airport, Boutique Air has increased its use of twin-engine airplanes.

When Boutique first started flying out of the Cortez airport in October 2016, it had two twin-engine King Air 350 planes in its fleet, but did not use them in Cortez, instead relying on the single-engine turboprop Pilatus PC-12 aircraft. The company started using the twin-engine craft for some Cortez flights toward the end of the year, according to airport manager Russ Machen, and by October of 2017, about 80 percent of all Cortez flights were performed by King Airs. The company also recently added two new King Airs to its fleet.

When the Cortez City Council first considered Boutique’s bid for air service in 2016, some Cortez residents said they were concerned the company’s single-engine aircraft might not be safe. Machen said the model has an excellent safety record, which includes use by air ambulance companies, but he has expressed a different concern about the Pilatus planes to Boutique. They don’t always have enough space for passengers’ baggage, he said.

“You’ve got a lot of hunters coming in with guns, and when they go back out, they’re going to have a cooler full of meat,” he said. “You load, during ski season, five, six, seven people and their ski equipment and whatnot, you could also have a problem there.”

Right now, the airline’s policy is to put bags that don’t fit on an airplane on a later flight to the same destination. But the King Air planes have more room, not only for baggage but also for passengers.

While Pilatus airplanes have the capacity to seat nine people, most of the ones in Boutique’s fleet have replaced the ninth seat with a restroom. The King Airs have enough room for both a ninth seat and a restroom.

In late fall of 2016 and early spring of 2017, Machen said, about 25 percent of flights from the Cortez airport were on King Airs. Starting in April, that number had grown to almost 70 percent. From July through September, 80 percent of the flights were on King Airs, although they decreased slightly in October.

“We’ve had a shift toward the King Air as our bulk supplier,” Machen said.

Although he said this is primarily a good thing for the airport, it did cause trouble in recent weeks, when some of the King Air planes experienced mechanical problems that resulted in long delays. Because the fleet contains only four King Airs, Machen said it’s harder to find replacements when one is in the shop.

The number of flights from Cortez has gone down since Boutique raised its ticket prices in August, reaching a low of less than 600 in October. But Machen said the number of tickets sold at the airport over the entire year is still nearly double what it was this time last year. He expects ticket sales to go up again for the holidays, especially since Boutique’s prices have gone down again recently.

In his presentation to council during the Nov. 14 budget hearings, Machen said the airport has received record high numbers in revenue this year, although it has also experienced higher maintenance expenses. Still, he expects the 2018 budget to be mostly a “carbon copy” of this year’s.

Story and photos ➤

Skydiving Santa's Medical Bills

Unfortunately ... G's skydiving mission to assist Santa in delivering Kristoff (a young girl's elf on the shelf) and a bag of Spalding volleyballs to the Tampa Bay Beach Bums volleyball tourney supporting the "Operation Santa" toy drive in Gulfport yesterday was interrupted by a tree and light pole. 

After giving us a HUGE scare as he hit the tree and pole ... with concerns that far more damage could have been done ... we have good news that G is now out of surgery, in good spirits and recovering in the hospital with release expected Tuesday.  

It appears that only his leg was broken (both Tibia & Fibula ... one of the worst breaks ever seen by medical personnel onsite) but over time, he expects to make full recovery. 

Please help the Tampa Bay Beach Bums in raising funds to cover his out-of-pocket medical expenses (currently anticipated at $12,500).

G is a great guy and beloved Beach Bum Original.

Please help him out however you can this holiday season! Thank you so much!! 


This campaign is trending ➤

A male skydiver was injured this morning attempting to land on Gulfport Beach in the 5000 block of Beach Boulevard S during a “Winter Wonderland” event.

The incident occurred at approximately 10 a.m. on Saturday, December 2, 2017.

The man, dressed in a Santa outfit, was attempting to land at the Tampa Bay Beach Bums Volleyball Tournament.

Many spectators witnessed the incident at the event. Witnesses reported that while attempting to land on the beach, the skydiver struck a pine tree and light pole on his approach to the beach.  Two other skydivers landed safely.

The man in this 30’s was assisted by bystanders then treated by paramedics and transported by ambulance to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with non-life-threatening injuries.

The man did experience a significant leg injury.

Additional information if/when available.

Story, comments and photos ➤

South Alabama Regional Airport (79J) runway repair completed quickly

The runway at South Alabama Regional Airport re-opened Thursday, significantly ahead of schedule.

Runway 29 was closed to allow for an airport improvement project to repair a bump.

The project consisted of milling the existing surface on each side of the bump.

The issue with the runway was that there was a bump where the old runway and the runway extension connected, which provided for a rough transition.

The bump was some 2.16 inches higher than it should be.

The cost of the project is around $135,000 with 90 percent being paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration, 5 percent by the Alabama Department of Transportation and 5 percent from local matching funds.

Local contractor Don Bullard, along with subcontractor Wiregrass Construction, completed the project in just a few days. It was expected to take 30 days to complete.

Michelle Conway of Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood said they milled on Monday and Tuesday and paved on Wednesday.

“Four pilots flew,” she said.

Among the pilots were John Roberts and South Alabama Regional Airport Authority Board member Donald Barton.

“There was not much to feel,” Roberts said.

“It didn’t throw you in the air,” Barton said.

Conway said everything went well and that they would do a final inspection and put up permanent markings in two-and-a-half weeks.

“FAA and ALDOT will do their inspection,” she said.

Original article ➤

North End area of Boston, Massachusetts: Christmas Parade Canceled as Organizer Abruptly Retires

Santa will not arrive by helicopter this year due to the cancellation of the North End Christmas Parade. The photo above is from the kickoff of the 2016 parade.

The North End Christmas Parade will take a year off in 2017 as a leader of the organizing group, North End Athletic Association (NEAA), was named in reports for the misuse of state resources. Longtime NEAA volunteer Robert “Teddy” Tomasone, is retiring as clerk magistrate from Somerville District Court amid the accusations, according to a court spokesperson.

NEAA officials said there was not enough time for someone else to take over this year’s North End Christmas Parade, but they are hopeful that the 46-year-old tradition will return next year.

The NEAA was one of two organizations named in reports that Tomasone allegedly worked on with his secretary during court time, resulting in a suspension and investigation. The other group named was the Committee for Better Government.

Tomasone’s charity work in the North End is well-known and he has received several awards for his years of community service. The NEAA organizes little league baseball and soccer programs for hundreds of local youths.

Santa arriving by helicopter is the highlight of the North End Christmas Parade, drawing thousands to the event that usually takes place in early December as part of local holiday festivities.

Story, comments and photo ➤

Mooney M20J, N201P : Incident occurred December 02, 2017 near Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport (KSGH), Clark County, Ohio

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

Aircraft landed in a field.

Date: 02-DEC-17
Time: 22:00:00Z
Regis#: N201P
Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Aircraft Model: M20J
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
State: OHIO

SPRINGFIELD — A small plane landed in a field this evening not far from a local airport.

The plane touched down around 5 p.m. in the area of Blee and West Jackson roads, near Ohio 72, according to a witness.

There were no reports of injuries, and it’s not clear why the pilot was not able to reach the nearby Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport at 1251 W. Blee Road four miles south of the city of Springfield.

Original article can be found here ➤

The heart of an airline: Inside Allegiant's new control center

LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — At the Allegiant ticket counter, the afternoon rush is about to begin. The folks checking in have no idea that much of the work that gets them to their destination happens miles away in Summerlin.

“Currently, we have 61 airplanes airborne. We use around 70 today. 292 flights, that equals roughly 36,000 passengers,” says Mike Wuerger, Allegiant’s Vice President of the Operations Control Center, as we look at a huge computer map showing every plane the airline has in the sky.

Wuerger runs what’s known as the “OCC.” We’re standing on what’s called the “bridge,” where the heads of the airline’s various control room sections are seated, looking out over banks of computers monitored by dozens of Allegiant employees.

This room is located at Allegiant’s Summerlin headquarters. It is highly secure and highly important for an airline that runs at least 300 flights a day.

“This is the heart of the airline. Everything starts and ends here,” says Angel Morales.

Morales runs dispatch, in charge of the flight plans for every Allegiant aircraft.

“Our job is how will the plane get from point A to point B,” he tells me as we stand by his bank of monitors.

Running an airline is a logistical symphony, coordinating 2,000 pilots and flight attendants, and also maintaining its more than 90 aircraft.

The airline says maintenance, which had triggered an FAA review last year, is a big priority, coming after a handful of mechanical issues over the past couple years that put the airline on the defensive. In 2016, the FAA said it found some minor issues, but no systemic concerns. Allegiant has said it is a safe airline to fly and getting safer.

“I think we're improving every day,” Wuerger says.

One way its improving is by ditching its aging fleet for newer planes.

By the end of next year, every aircraft will be a new Airbus that will virtually talk to mechanics.

“It downloads 2,700 different items and with the help of Airbus, it can tell us that down the road the next couple days, weeks, or months, that part needs to be replaced,” Wuerger says.

It is technology which makes the airline run smoothly like it was on the Thursday I was visiting. America, it turns out, was having pretty cooperative weather.

“Really good day so far. Running about 90 percent on time, pretty strong day coast to coast for us,” said Rick Barth, an operations control center manager.

It's not always like that. In September, a hurricane hit Florida, Allegiant's other hub.

Blake Kline was on duty.

“We had 42 planes we had to move out. And so we had to get the planes out of Florida, get the passengers out of harm's way,” says Kline, the OCC’s Senior Manager.

And they did.

Which here, is just another day.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

Ultralight aircraft: Fatal accident occurred December 02, 2017 near Rosecrans Memorial Airport (KSTJ), St. Joseph, Buchanan County, Missouri

DE KALB, Mo. — The Missouri State Highway Patrol on Saturday confirmed that a St. Joseph man was killed after an ultra-light aircraft crashed at mid-afternoon in a Buchanan County cornfield.

The patrol later identified the victim as 65-year-old Randal K. Reynolds. The agency's report said Reynolds was the lone occupant of the aircraft. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Richard Shelton of the Buchanan County Medical Examiner's Office, with the body taken to Meierhoffer Funeral Home.

Multiple agencies arrived on the scene of the crash in southern Buchanan County, in a cornfield just off Missouri Route JJ, about four miles south of St. Joseph and roughly five miles north of De Kalb.

The patrol, Buchanan County Sheriff's Office and the Buchanan County firefighters provided the first units to work the scene.

The single-engine ultra-light aircraft was completely destroyed, with firefighters extinguishing remaining flames from the crash soon after their arrival. A heavy smell of smoke and burned fuel hung in the air soon after the incident.

The patrol's Troop H headquarters in St. Joseph said the Buchanan County Communications Center received a report at about 2:59 p.m. of a small aircraft that had crashed in the farm field, just west of Route JJ.

The patrol and the sheriff's office continue to investigate the circumstance of the crash. The patrol added the Federal Aviation Administration was not summoned for the probe, since the craft contained no formal registration number.

"It's my understanding, I'm not perfectly clear on this, but it's my understanding that the nature of the aircraft, it's configuration, since it was a homemade ultralight aircraft it did not have a tail number, or anything like so they would not be responding to the scene," Sgt. Jacob Angle, Missouri State Highway Patrol, said.

Original article ➤

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — A 65-year-old man died on Saturday after the ultralight plane he was piloting crashed near St. Joseph.

Around 3 p.m. Saturday, members of the Mo. State Highway Patrol, Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department, and emergency rescue personnel responded to the crash site in a field just west of Route JJ, approximately 4 miles south of St. Joseph.

Randal K. Reynolds, 65, of St. Joseph, the pilot and lone occupant of a single engine ultralight aircraft, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The investigation into what caused the crash is ongoing.

Original article can be found here ➤

BUCHANAN COUNTY, Mo. -- A 65-year-old man was killed Saturday after a single-engine ultralight aircraft crashed in a field in Buchanan County.

Randal K. Reynolds, of St. Joseph, was the only occupant of the aircraft.

The crash happened around 3 p.m. Saturday about four miles south of St. Joseph, west of Route JJ.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol, Buchanan County Sheriff's Department and emergency rescue personnel responded to the crash, according to a news release from the MSHP.

Reynolds was pronounced dead at the scene.

The MSHP and the Buchanan County Sheriff's Department will continue investigating.

Original article can be found here ➤

ST. JOSEPH, MO (KCTV) -  A small plane crashed and killed one person near St. Joseph today. 

According to Missouri State Highway Patrol, the crash happened just before 3 p.m. near JJ Highway, 4 or 5 miles south of St. Joseph. 

They described the plane as being a "homemade ultralight" type of aircraft.

The plane crashed in a field just west of the road. 

The only person inside, 65-year-old Randal K. Reynolds from St. Joseph, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office are investigating. 

Original article can be found here ➤

BUCHANAN COUNTY, Mo. -- One person is dead after a small aircraft crashed in a cornfield Saturday afternoon. 

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, emergency crews were called to the field about five miles south of St. Joseph on State Highway JJ on a reported crash. 

The Highway Patrol says a small homemade aircraft was destroyed in the crash and one person had died. No other injuries were reported. 

The identity of the victim has not yet been released pending family notification. 

Law enforcement is still processing the scene as the investigation continues. 

Original article can be found here ➤

(BUCHANAN COUNTY) One person was killed in an ultralight aircraft crash in Buchanan County, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

The crash happened in a field near State Highway JJ.

Emergency crews were called out to the scene around 3:00 p.m. Saturday.

The identity of the victim has not been released.

Original article can be found here ➤

Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (KFLG) to add Los Angeles flight

Pulliam Airport Director Barney Helmick stands on the apron at the airport.

The Flagstaff Pulliam Airport will begin offering a nonstop flight to and from Los Angeles International Airport on May 5, 2018.

The route will only fly Saturdays and will be a seasonal addition for American Airlines to determine if the Flagstaff market can support the additional flight, city spokeswoman Jessica Drum said in a press release.

The flight will utilize American Airlines’ 70-seat plane, which includes a first-class section.

The flight will depart from LAX on Saturday at 2 p.m. and arrive in Flagstaff at 3:30 p.m. It will then depart Flagstaff at 4 p.m. and arrive in Los Angeles at 5:43 p.m., Drum said.

Airport Director Barney Helmick said he and the city have been working to add a flight to L.A. for the past seven years. Horizon Air previously offered a flight to Los Angeles from Flagstaff, but it had a stop in Prescott, which made the flight less popular for travelers and more costly for the airline, Helmick said.

“L.A. is a great connection for some of our international visitors,” Helmick said. “This gives them another option instead of having to connect through Phoenix or take a bus. It’s time and money for tourists and our industry people.”

The airport has nearly doubled in users in the last 10 years, Helmick said. In 2007, about 38,000 passengers departed from the airport. This year, Helmick estimates more than 70,000 people will depart from Flagstaff.

So far, American Airlines has scheduled the test service to run from May through September 2018, Helmick said. The airline needs to fill 75 percent of the seats to consider making the flight a permanent addition, he said.

“It is critical for us to prove that we are a market that deserves more,” Helmick said.

Economic Vitality Director Heidi Hansen said the city has been working to market the airport locally by encouraging people to “fly Flagstaff first.”

“It started to instill confidence in the community that the service in Flagstaff is reliable and time-saving,” she said.

Since the marketing campaign began, Hansen said the airport has seen a 6 percent increase in enplanements.

Growth in the city, university and the business community make Flagstaff a prime city for more flights, Hansen said. California is Flagstaff’s second-biggest target audience for tourism, following cities within Arizona.

Hansen said the Los Angeles flight is just the beginning of some service expansions at the airport, which have included discussions with various airlines about adding service to other major cities in nearby states.

Original article can be found here ➤

Piper PA-23-150 Apache, N1270P: Fatal accident occurred June 19, 2016 near Hayward Executive Airport (KHWD, Alameda County, California

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:


After multiple taxi tests of the twin-engine airplane, the airline transport pilot departed on a local personal flight. About 70 minutes later, the airplane was about 10.5 nautical miles southeast of the airport, and the pilot requested a landing clearance. Witnesses heard one of the airplane's engines "backfiring" as the airplane proceeded northwest towards the airport, and the pilot reported to an air traffic controller that he was having trouble with his left engine and could not maintain altitude. The pilot told the controller that he was going to land in a field next to a railroad track, and the airplane then turned about 45° to the left. A witness about 1/2 mile from the accident site saw the airplane in a wings-level descent for a few seconds before it suddenly rolled into a steep left bank. Security cameras showed the airplane descending with a rapidly increasing left bank angle until it impacted a building, and a postcrash fire erupted.

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the left engine's propeller was feathered, and the left engine-driven fuel pump and carburetor contained trace amounts of water and displayed a white powdery residue, consistent with long term exposure to water contamination. The left wing's inboard and outboard fuel tank caps displayed rust around their circumferences, and the caps did not form a seal when inserted into the fueling portholes, which indicated that both fuel tanks were susceptible to contamination from rain water. Examination of the right engine showed that all four intake camlobes were worn nearly concentric in shape, and the corresponding tappet faces displayed spalling. Worn camlobes can lead to a degradation in engine performance.

The failure of the left wing's fuel cap seals, evidence of water contamination in the fuel system, and the feathered left engine indicate that it is likely the pilot feathered the left engine in response to a power loss resulting from water contamination. Although a witness reported heavy rainfall in the winter that preceded the accident at the airport where the airplane was based, the investigation could not determine when or how water was introduced into the fuel system. The high speed taxi tests conducted by the pilot before the accident flight suggest he may have been aware of a problem with the airplane before departure, but the reason he conducted the taxi tests is unknown.

According to the pilot's logbook, since purchasing the airplane about 10 months before the accident, he had accumulated about 19 hours of flight time in the airplane of which 1.4 hours were in the 90 days preceding the accident. Additionally, the majority of his recent flight experience involved single-engine airplanes, thus the pilot's lack of total and recent experience in the airplane make and model suggest that he may not have been prepared to manage an inflight loss of power in a twin-engine airplane.

Factoring in the reported 11-knot surface wind, radar data indicated that the airplane's airspeed dropped below the airplane's minimum control airspeed with an engine inoperative (Vmc) after it turned into the inoperative engine near the end of the flight and remained there for the remainder of the descent. Therefore, it is likely that the airspeed decayed to the point where the pilot was unable to counteract the asymmetrical thrust produced by the right engine, which led to the rapid left roll seen in the security camera images, further loss of altitude, and impact with the building. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: 

The failure of the left engine due to water contamination and the pilot's subsequent failure to maintain single-engine minimum control airspeed, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's lack of total and recent flight experience in the accident airplane make and model, which reduced his capacity to manage an inflight loss of power.


Engine out control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Airspeed - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Fuel - Fluid condition (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Total experience w/ equipment - Pilot (Factor)
Knowledge of procedures - Pilot (Factor)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Fuel contamination
Fuel related
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Loss of engine power (partial)

Robert Pursel
January 23, 1956 - June 19, 2016
Robert's passions were his family, flying his airplane and spending time in Maui.

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California
Lycoming Engines; Phoenix, Arizona
Piper Aircraft Company; Chino, California

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hayward, CA 
Accident Number: WPR16FA126
Date & Time: 06/19/2016, 1149 PDT
Registration: N1270P
Aircraft: PIPER PA 23-150
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On June 19, 2016, about 1149 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-23-150, N1270P, was destroyed after colliding with a commuter railcar wash building during an approach to land at Hayward Executive Airport (HWD), Hayward, California. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight departed HWD about 1035.

According to a witness, the pilot completed a series of high speed taxi tests for about 25 minutes before he departed on the accident flight. A witness stated that he observed the accident airplane complete the taxi tests on runway 28L on the morning of the accident flight. The airplane was subsequently refueled at a self-serve fuel kiosk and then taxied to the airport run-up area. The witness remarked that the engines did not sound "synchronized" during the run-up.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar data was plotted using a third party mapping program that featured a satellite view of the terrain. The data showed the airplane depart HWD to the south before it transitioned east over a mountain and then north. The airplane completed a reverse course during its return flight to HWD. According to an Air Traffic Control report furnished by the FAA, at 1145:06, the pilot contacted HWD tower for a landing clearance about 10.5 nautical miles (nm) southeast of the airport. The pilot was instructed to proceed to a straight in for runway 28L and to advise the controller when he was three-miles from the airport, on final approach. At 1147:30, and about 6.5 nm from the airport, and while approaching several grass fields to his right, the pilot notified the tower controller that he was experiencing "difficulty" with his left engine and could not maintain altitude. At the request of the controller, the pilot reported that he was the only person onboard and had approximately sixty gallons of fuel remaining. Seconds later, he informed the controller that he would "not be able to make it to the airport." The controller then asked the pilot if he observed any landing sites in his field of vision. At 1148:51, the pilot informed the controller that he could see a field near a set of Bay Area Rapid Transit commuter train tracks, which is where he planned to attempt a forced landing. Seconds before the pilot reported the landing site to the controller, a witness, who was about one-half mile east of the accident site, observed the airplane enter a steep left bank turn, to a westerly heading. According to the radar and map data, the airplane passed beyond the grass fields at about 1148:33 and seconds later it entered an approximate 45° left turn. The airplane subsequently disappeared from the witnesses view and approximately 30 seconds later he heard the accident, which was immediately followed by a plume of dark smoke.

Nearby surveillance video showed the airplane enter a slight left wing low attitude, which gradually increased as the airplane traversed a set of railroad tracks. The forward fuselage and right wing impacted the east wall of a small building. A mist covered the right wing, empennage, and tail, as they fell to the ground and a postcrash fire ensued.

Eyewitness Interviews

A total of three eyewitnesses were interviewed; two of which observed the airplane flying inbound to land and another that observed the airplane moments before it impacted the rail yard.

The first witness (Witness 1 on the map) was located near the airplane's inbound leg, approximately 9 nautical miles from HWD. Witness 2, was located approximately 10 miles from HWD in proximity of the airplane's outbound leg. Witness 3, was located one half mile from the accident site in a nearby graveyard. Please refer to the map below for a graphical depiction of the witness locations.

Witness 1 reported that she heard the airplane and an abnormal sound from inside her home. She went outside and observed an airplane approaching her house from a group of hills located to the east. The airplane appeared to be losing altitude and the engine made a "sputtering sound," which she also described as "cutting out." The sound repeated when the airplane reached her property and again seconds later after it passed her home.

Witness 2 stated that he was working in his yard all morning and initially observed a red and white colored airplane on a southeastern heading at approximately 1,750 ft. He never observed any smoke, but heard a sound that resembled an engine "backfiring." The airplane subsequently made a left turn and proceeded eastbound and disappeared behind a group of hills. About 30 minutes later he observed the same airplane northeast of his house flying towards the airport. The witness reported hearing more sounds that resembled an engine "popping" and "backfiring." He added that he did not observe any smoke, foreign object debris, or fluids coming from the airplane, but further remarked that the engine "backfiring" sounds were much louder during the airplane's inbound leg.

According to Witness 3, he observed an airplane flying abnormally low over a group of houses before noon on the day of the accident. The witness stated that he observed the airplane in a wings level descent for a few seconds before it suddenly entered a steep left turn, with the right wing approximately 70o to the horizon. The airplane then disappeared behind a residential area. Approximately 10 seconds later he heard a loud impact sound; shortly thereafter plumes of smoke emerged from the airplane's direction.. He added that he may have been downwind of the accident because he smelled fuel burning. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/13/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/15/2015
Flight Time: 2191 hours (Total, all aircraft), 17 hours (Total, this make and model), 1.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

According to the flight instructor who administered the pilot's most recent flight review, the flight was conducted in March 2015 in the pilot's BE60 airplane and included two simulated left engine failures. The first simulated engine failure took place during an instrument landing system approach. The instructor failed the left engine during the approach, and the pilot completed the engine out procedure and continued the approach successfully. During the simulated engine failure, the instructor noted the pilot's yaw control as "good" and his descent as "smooth and right on." A subsequent simulated engine failure took place at 5,000 ft when the flight instructor reduced the left engine manifold pressure to 13 in Hg. He then asked the pilot to complete a 45° turn and hold his altitude, but the airplane was unable to accommodate the altitude demand due to the combination of a low power setting and higher than standard rate turn. During both simulated engine failures, the pilot successfully kept the airspeed above minimum controllable airspeed (Vmc). 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N1270P
Model/Series: PA 23-150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1955
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 23-300
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/15/2015, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3501 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 17 Hours
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4076 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1955 and registered to the pilot on September 2, 2015. The airplane was powered by two Lycoming O-320-A, normally-aspirated, direct drive, air cooled, 150 hp engines. The family provided the original aircraft logbooks, which were comprised of service information that spanned from May 1986 to July 2015. An initial record in the earliest engine and airframe logbooks stated that the first three entries had been re-constructed as the logbooks were lost. A review of the logbooks revealed that the airplane's most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on July 15, 2015 at which time the left engine had accumulated a total of 4,051 flight hours, and the right engine had accumulated 4,059 flight hours.

At the time of its most recent service, the left engine had accumulated approximately 1,955 hours since its engine's most recent overhaul as indicated by a recent entry in the engine logbook. Although records of the left and right engine overhauls could not be located in the available aircraft records, a logbook entry stated that the right engine had accrued 1,957 hours since major overhaul at the time of the last 100-hour inspection. The logbooks did not contain any record of a camshaft lobe inspection or camshaft replacement.

The airplane hobbs meter was not recovered and the airplane total time at the time of the accident was computed using the right engine tachometer time. Based on the pilot's 17 hours of accumulated time in the airplane after he purchased it, the airplane's total time was estimated to be about 4,076 hours, at the time of the accident.

According to records furnished by a refueling station at HWD, the pilot had purchased fuel from their self-service facility 11 times in the previous 10 months. The records showed that the pilot last purchased fuel for the accident airplane in September 2015, in the amount of 23.4 gallons. A witness reported seeing the pilot taxi to the airport's self-serve fuel kiosk; however, the fuel history did not show a record of the pilot purchasing fuel on the day of the accident. According to the fuel service facility, they did not receive any reports of water contamination from customers who obtained 100 low lead aviation grade gasoline from their self-service fuel kiosk on the day of the accident.

The pilot's logbook showed that he flew the accident airplane on May 1, 2016, which correlates to a fuel purchase in the amount of about 15 gallons of 100 low lead gasoline that took place the same day at Nut Tree Airport (VCB), Vacaville, California. Prior to that, the pilot purchased about 28 gallons of 100 low lead gasoline on September 27, 2015.

Textron Lycoming Service Bulletin SB301B – Valve Maintenance Procedures

A service bulletin was issued by Textron Lycoming on February 18, 1977 entitled "Service Bulletin No. 301B" (SB301B). The service bulletin contained maintenance procedures and service limitations for intake and exhaust valves.

Textron Lycoming Service Instruction SI1009AZ – Recommended Time Between Overhaul Periods

According to "Table 1" of service instruction SI009AZ, the recommended time between overhaul period for the Lycoming O-320 engine is 2,000 hours. The service instruction further states that "all engines that do not accumulate the hourly period of TBO specified in this publication are recommended to be overhauled in the twelfth year."

PA-23 Emergency Procedure for Feathering a Propeller

A procedure to feather the propeller of an inoperative engine was included in the airplane's aeronautical flight manual (AFM). According to the AFM,

Throttle "CLOSED".
Mixture control "IDLE CUT-OFF".
Ignition switches "OFF".
Electric fuel pump (if in use) "OFF").
Main valve "OFF".

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HWD, 52 ft msl
Observation Time:1152 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 330°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 8°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots, 280°
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: HAYWARD, CA (HWD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: HAYWARD, CA (HWD)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1035 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

The 1152 recorded weather observation at HWD included wind 280° true at 11 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 27° C, dew point 8° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.06 inches of mercury.

According to a representative of APP Jet Center, he reported that the airport received significant levels of rain during the winter of 2016. In February, the rain levels resulted in an overflow of the airport's drainage ditch.

The investigation was unable to confirm if the airplane was parked outside between the time it was purchased and the accident flight.

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation:52 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  37.605556, -122.035278

Initial examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane came to rest at the base of a fiberglass railroad car wash building, about 5 nm southeast of HWD. All major structural components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, which was contained within an area about 35 ft long and 25 ft wide. The main fuselage came to rest inverted on a heading of 095° magnetic and was destroyed by fire. With the exception of some thermal damage, the empennage was in one piece and remained connected to the fuselage through the airplane's rudder control cables. The right wing was destroyed by fire and its corresponding engine was inverted and covered in soot. The left wing was co-located with the main wreckage in a near vertical position, at rest against the southeastern end of the building and exhibited an odor of fuel near the left wingtip. Both sets of propeller blades remained attached to their respective hubs; the left engine propeller blades were in the feathered position and did not display any damage. The right engine propeller blades were in a low pitch position and displayed nicks, gouges, and tip curling.

Airframe Examination

Left Wing

Left aileron control continuity was confirmed from the left aileron bell crank to the wing root where the cables had been cut by recovery personnel. The rubber seal to the inboard left tank fuel cap was rusted and the cap did not form a seal inside the fuel tank ring when installed. The fuel cap rubber seal to the left outboard tank displayed some corrosion and did not form a seal when installed in the fuel tank ring. The left fuel selector valve displayed ¾ inches of space between the lever and the valve. According to the manufacturer, this position is consistent with an auxiliary tank setting. A trace amount of fuel was drained from the left engine gascolator into a plastic container that had been cleaned and dried. The fuel odor and appearance resembled 100LL aviation grade gasoline; however, a SAR-GEL fuel purity test indicated that the fuel was contaminated with water. The left wing fuel boost pump was not recovered.

Right Wing

The right wing bell crank was damaged by fire, but remained intact and attached to the primary aileron and balance cables. The right aileron cable was continuous from the bell crank to the chain, which had fracture signatures consistent with overload separation.

The right wing fuel boost pump was disassembled and the gasket and internal components displayed carbon coloring consistent with exposure to fire. The pump was void of fuel and the fuel screen was found free of debris.


One arm from the control T bar assembly separated at the T section and the assembly was damaged by fire; however, the remaining three sprockets were intact. A portion of elevator control tube remained attached to the tube stem.

Continuity of the rudder assembly was traced from the rudder torque tube through a control cable located on the right side of the airplane to the rudder flight control surface. A rudder control cable on the opposing side was traced from the rudder to the cockpit; however, the cable had separated from the torque tube arm, which had separated from the torque tube.

The flap actuator measured approximately 20 inches, which is consistent with partial deployment of the flaps. According to the airplane manufacturer, an actuator measurement of 18.35 inches corresponds with a full flap extended position and 25.50 inches corresponds with a full flap retracted position. While the flap actuator rod displayed significant fire damage on the fore and aft ends, the intermediate section was shiny in appearance with only some blue discoloration. 

Elevator continuity was traced from the elevators to a fractured control tube near the aft fuselage.


The rudder trim jackscrew displayed approximately 1 inch of exposed threads. According to the manufacturer, this measurement is consistent with a neutral trim position.

The elevator trim displayed approximately 17 threads, which correlates to a near full nose up trim position. However, the elevator trim cables were loosely fixed to the trim drum, which indicates that the trim jackscrew may have moved during the accident sequence.

Engine Examination

Left Engine

Mechanical continuity of the engine was confirmed from the propeller throughout the valve train to the accessory section when the propeller was rotated by hand. Thumb compression and suction were established on each of the engine's four cylinders and the valve train moved in the proper firing order. An examination of each cylinder's internal combustion chamber revealed no evidence of foreign object ingestion or detonation.

A magneto synchronizer confirmed the magneto breaker points opened at 25o below top dead center. Both the left and right magnetos were timed within 1o of each other. The magnetos were then removed from their respective mounting pads to facilitate a magneto examination. Hand rotation of each drive produced spark at each of the four plug leads.

The top and bottom spark plugs were secured in their respective position and undamaged. As each plug was cross-checked against the Champion Spark Plug "Check-A-Plug" chart AV-27, the plugs were oil-soaked, but displayed coloration consistent with normal operation.

The carburetor was attached to the engine accessory case at the mounting flange, and the throttle/mixture controls were secured to their respective controls arms at the carburetor. The carburetor fuel screen was free of debris and the carburetor floats were intact. Trace amounts of residual fuel were discovered in the carburetor fuel bowl and in the accelerator pump. A subsequent SAR-GEL water indicating paste test confirmed the presence of water contamination in both cavities. A white powdery residue was observed on the accelerator pump plunger, consistent with corrosion.

Disassembly of the left engine driven fuel pump revealed trace amounts of residual fuel, which exhibited an odor and appearance of 100LL aviation gasoline. A subsequent SAR-GEL test confirmed that the pump had been contaminated by water. The internal chambers to the fuel pump exhibited significant corrosion signatures consistent with long term exposure to water. Additionally, the pump valves and backing plate displayed a white powdery substance consistent with corrosion.

Right Engine

The right engine and accessories displayed significant fire damage. Mechanical continuity of the engine was established from the crankshaft through the valve train to the accessory section when the propeller was rotated by hand. Thumb compression and suction was achieved for each cylinder; however, a borescope inspection revealed that the intake valve rocker arm for each cylinder displayed little movement as the valve train was rotated. The exhaust rocker arms moved normally and the pushrods did not exhibit any bending.

An internal examination was achieved by drilling holes through the top of the engine case material in-line with the rotational plane of each connecting rod. Subsequent inspection of the camshaft with a lighted borescope revealed that the intake camlobe for cylinder nos. 3 & 4 were concentric in shape, consistent with long term wear. The intake camlobe for cylinder nos. 1 & 2 had been worn approximately 90% and had formed a nearly concentric shape. The corresponding tappet faces displayed significant spalling on the subject camlobes.

Both magnetos remained attached to their respective mounting pads. Magneto to engine timing could not be established and the magnetos could not be functionally tested as they had been thermally damaged due to postcrash fire.

The top spark plugs were secured in their respective positions and had been thermally damaged. Although undamaged, the ground electrode wear could not be determined as each plug displayed a varying amount of coloration due to the thermal effects of the post impact ground fire.

Medical And Pathological Information
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Oakland, California. The autopsy report indicated the cause of death as "extensive blunt trauma."

A toxicological test on specimens recovered from the pilot was performed by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory. A carboxyhemoglobin saturation test revealed no evidence of carbon monoxide in the pilot's cavity blood. The pilot's toxicology results were negative for ethanol, but positive for ibuprofen in his urine.

Tests And Research

Radar Data

FAA radar data captured the airplane's position, altitude, and airspeed, at a sampling rate of approximately 5 seconds. According to the data, the airplane departed on a local flight at approximately 1035. During its return to HWD, the pilot initiated a descent from approximately 2,000 ft, at a rate of about 450 ft per minute (fpm). From the beginning of his approach to the time of impact, the airplane's rate of descent fluctuated between 450 fpm and 700 fpm. As the airplane began its left turn in its final movements of flight, the airplane's groundspeed was recorded at 59 knots (about 68 mph) at an altitude of 375 ft mean sea level (msl). The airplane never exceeded this groundspeed during its subsequent descent to impact. Additionally, the airplane's groundspeed reached a minimum of 52 knots (60 mph), at an approximate height of about 225 ft msl (about 173 feet above ground level), which was approximately 20 seconds before the last radar return and about the time of the accident.

The manufacturer's published minimum control speed (Vmc single engine) is 85 mph.

Additional Information

According to the Airplane Flying Handbook, published by the FAA,

Vmc is defined as the "Minimum control speed with the critical engine inoperative." Marked with a red radial line on most airspeed indicators. The minimum speed at which directional control can be maintained under a very specific set of circumstances outlined in 14 CFR part 23, Airworthiness Standards.

Engine inoperative flight with wings level and ball centered requires large rudder input towards the operative engine. The result is a moderate sideslip towards the inoperative engine. Climb performance will be reduced by the moderate sideslip. With wings level, Vmc will be significantly higher than published as there is no horizontal component of lift available to help the rudder combat asymmetrical thrust.

The publication further remarks that a single engine failure in a twin engine airplane will result in "high drag, large control surface deflections required, and rudder and fin opposition due to sideslip."

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA126
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 19, 2016 in Hayward, CA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 23-150, registration: N1270P
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 June 19, 2016, about 1149 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-23-150, N1270P, was destroyed after colliding with a rail car wash building during an approach to land at Hayward Executive Airport (HWD), Hayward, California. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to the pilot and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight departed HWD at 1035. 

According to HWD air traffic control personnel, the pilot contacted the facility for landing about 9 nautical miles (nm) southeast of the airport. After issuing instructions and advising the pilot to expect a straight in approach for runway 28L, the pilot reported a loss of power to his left engine and stated that he would not be able to reach the airport. The tower controller suggested a road as a possible landing site, but the pilot elected to attempt a forced landing to a field near a group of rail tracks. A witness, who was about one half mile east of the accident site, observed the airplane enter a steep left banking turn to a westerly heading. Approximately 10 seconds later he heard the accident, which was immediately followed by a plume of dark smoke.

Nearby surveillance video showed the airplane enter a left wing low attitude, which gradually increased as the airplane traversed a set of rail tracks. The forward fuselage and right wing impacted the east wall of a small building. A mist covered the right wing, empennage, and tail as they fell to the ground and a postcrash fire ensued. 

Initial examination of the accident by the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane came to rest at the base of a fiberglass rail car wash building about 5 nautical miles from HWD. All major airplane sections were accounted for at the accident site, which was contained within an area 35 feet long and 25 feet wide. The main fuselage came to rest inverted on a heading of 095 degrees magnetic and was destroyed by fire. With the exception of some thermal damage, the empennage was in one piece that remained connected to the fuselage through the airplane's control cables. The right wing was destroyed by fire and its corresponding engine was inverted and covered in soot. The left wing was co-located with the main wreckage in a near vertical position, at rest against the southeastern end of the building. An odor of fuel was detected near the left wingtip. Both sets of propeller blades remained attached to their respective hubs; the left engine blades were in the feathered position and were not damaged. The right engine propeller blades were in a low pitch position and displayed nicks, gouges, and tip curling. A wreckage examination will take place at a later date.