Sunday, December 24, 2017

Biggest seaplane graceful as a swan



The world's largest amphibious aircraft, the Chinese-made AG600, carried out its maiden flight on Sunday morning in Zhuhai, a coastal city in Guangdong province.

An AG600, piloted by four crew members, took off from the Zhuhai Jinwan Airport at 9:50 am and remained airborne for about an hour before returning.

A congratulatory letter sent by the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council was read out at a ceremony to mark the maiden flight, attended by Vice-Premier Ma Kai and Guangdong Party chief Li Xi, as well as hundreds of other officials and about 3,000 spectators.

The central government approved development of the AG600 in June 2009, with the work taken on by Aviation Industry Corp of China, the country's leading aircraft maker. Construction on the first prototype began in March 2014 and was completed in July 2016.

In April, the first ground taxiing test was successful. Earlier this month, the seaplane received the government's approval for Sunday's first flight.

The AG600 is one of the three large-size aircraft borne from the nation's ambitious effort to become a top-tier player in the global aviation sector, joining the Y-20 strategic transport plane, delivery of which to the Chinese Air Force began in July 2016, and the C919 narrow-body jetliner that is being flight tested.




The amphibious aircraft will mainly be tasked with performing aerial firefighting and maritime search and rescue. It can also be refitted to conduct marine environmental inspection, marine resources surveying and personnel and supply transportation, according to the manufacturer.

Powered by four domestically designed WJ-6 turboprop engines, the AG600 has a size roughly comparable to that of a Boeing 737 and a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 metric tons. These specifications have made it the world's largest amphibious aircraft, surpassing Japan's ShinMaywa US-2 and Russia's Beriev Be-200.

The aircraft can take off and land on both ground and water. It has an operational range of more than 4,000 kilometers and is capable of carrying 50 people during a maritime search-and-rescue mission.

To extinguish forest fires, it can collect 12 tons of water from a lake or sea within 20 seconds and then use the water to douse fires on an area of around 4,000 square meters, according to the company.

Huang Lingcai, chief designer of the AG600, said researchers overcame a lot of technological and technical difficulties when they designed the aircraft, such as those pertaining to its aerodynamic and hydrodynamic airframe and sea wave-resistant hull.

The company said the aircraft will be of great importance to the country's emergency rescue system and the building of a strong sea power, noting that tens of thousands of researchers and engineers from nearly 200 domestic institutes, universities and enterprises took part in the project.

The State-owned aviation giant also said 98 percent of the AG600's 50,000-plus components are supplied by Chinese companies, explaining the project has extensively boosted the nation's civil aviation manufacturing industry.

Leng Yixun, a senior project manager in charge of the AG600, said China has about 18,000 km of coastline, more than 6,500 islands and reefs and a rapidly expanding marine industry, therefore it urgently needs an aircraft capable of providing emergency-response support and conducting long-distance maritime search and rescue.

The AG600 boasts a longer operational range and a faster speed when compared with helicopters and ships. The seaplane's service will greatly improve China's capability to conduct maritime search and rescue, he said.

Zhang Shuwei, deputy general manager of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corp of China that assembled the seaplane, said the company has received orders for 17 AG600s from domestic users. Zhang said the model primarily targets domestic buyers, but also will tap the international market.

Next, the aircraft will continue to make flight tests and will start the certification process, the manufacturer said.

Story and photos ➤ http://usa.chinadaily.com

Penn Valley Airport (KSEG) 'vital' but it comes at a cost

James Taylor, general manager of Energy Aviation.



SELINSGROVE — Holiday travel is a time of big business for many public airports. But not at Penn Valley Airport, where the opposite is true.

“Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day we’re dead,” said general manager James Taylor. “Why? The bigger aircraft use Williamsport and Harrisburg during those times because we have only 4,760 feet of runway. The bigger jets can’t land here if the runway is not 5,000 feet in length. We do not have 5,000 feet, so the bulk of that traffic this time of year heads north or heads south.”

“The main goal of Penn Valley Airport is to provide service to the community,” said Bruce Witkop, chairman of the Penn Valley Airport Authority, which is comprised of nine local municipalities. “Any airport, especially Penn Valley Airport, is a tremendous asset. Airports are always the first responders when there is a crisis or there is a need, including flying organs in and out for transplants and medical procedures.

“It also enhances the ability of this area to service businesses. In the end, being able to grow businesses, which grows the economy, makes it better for everybody because that means jobs.”

A lot of people think Penn Valley is just a “hobby” airport, added Bob Garrett, CEO of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday. “But it serves a vital role in the Valley to already established businesses like National Beef. Their front office is in Kansas City. They can fly in using a company jet, do business here and fly home the same day if needed.”

Having an airport such as Penn Valley “helps us stay competitive,” Garrett said. “It’s critical to the Valley.”

“I can’t think of many businesses that don’t directly or indirectly benefit from having access to aviation,” Witkop said. “Time is money. And to be able to get to your appointments, to your customers to your vendors in a timely manner means everything.”

Snyder County Commissioner Peggy Chamberlain Roup said the airport “is vital to the area’s continued growth and economic development.”

“When businesses look to expand they ask about the area’s infrastructure,” Witkop said, agreeing with Roup. “If I am going to open a business, I’ll ask what the roads are like, what are the bridges like, what is the labor pool like and so on; just as important is what is the air transportation like? If I have to fly in and drive 40 miles to get to my new location, that costs me time and money. So having an airport like this in the Valley is something that gives us a tremendous advantage versus other geographical areas.”

“The Penn Valley Airport is a significant tool for Ritz-Craft,” said Myles Biggs, general manager of Ritz-Craft Systems Built Homes, based in Mifflinburg. Ritz-Craft has a Cessna CJ3 jet based at Selinsgrove.

“We have three operations besides Pennsylvania,” he explained, “in North Carolina and Michigan. We once had to drive to our out-of-state-operations and back to do business and that would take three days. Having the airport is like having a time machine. We can fly out, do business, and be back the same day.”

Having a jet at Penn Valley allows Biggs to visit a customer, pick them up in the morning, show them the home operation “and our team. We get them back to their family at dinnertime.”

Biggs firmly believes having the airport brings business to the area as well. “Not just businesses that are already here but those that fly in to do business.

“Saving time is our most valuable asset,” he said.

Big planes fuel venue

The future of Penn Valley airport requires big airplanes, jets and turbo props because they are the ones that use services and require a lot of fuel. This is what keeps the lights on and supports employees, Witkop said. “Utilitization and selling of fuel is what keeps the operation afloat.”

Most all twin engine aircraft, and all turboprop and jet aircraft file flight plans for instrument flying. Planes fly point A to B without the ability to see outside except to land. Pilots file instrument plans because they must get to the proper altitudes where the aircraft performs best (best speed and less fuel burn).

“Three out of the four instrument approaches into Penn Valley are not approved for nighttime use,” Taylor said. “The only one that is available can only be used if the wind direction favors this runway for use. If the weather is poor, or if the cloud cover is below 1,240 feet above the ground, we cannot use this approach. Often times, if we were permitted to go lower safely we could see the runway and land. For example, on one of the approaches into Williamsport airport, we can go all the way down to 250 feet above the ground to safely land.”

“Without the nighttime approaches into Penn Valley,” Taylor continued, “corporate users such as Weis, Ritz-Craft, NetJets, Sunbury Textiles, and our 135 charter operations cannot utilize the Penn Valley Airport if we are coming in after dark, and dark is at 5 p.m. now.”

Weather, nighttime concerns

Witkop and Taylor believe Penn Valley needs to be an all-weather airport, which means it has to have instrument approaches they can use. They can’t just come in here when it’s nice, bright and sunny. Businesses are 24/7 these days. And a critical part of that is night approaches.

Not having a night approach is hurting Weis Markets, Ritz-Craft, Sunbury Textiles, the big users here, Taylor said. “We are in a catch-22. As with any airport in the country, we can make a night approach happen but it is going to be incredibly costly. And probably not cost effective.”

And therein lies the challenge of the future: upgrading the facility. When money is tight. The airport reports an income of $62,700 and expenses of $106,100 or a $43,400 shortfall.

“All in,” Taylor said, “we have $62,700 annual income to run a $7 million asset. It’s an asset that has been proven to create a $3.9 million boost to the local economy — a figure provided by a PennDOT study on local impact.”

The financial struggles pose a real challenge, according to Witkop.

“The airport will be forced to use its emergency reserve funds to close the gap in operational expenses this next year, and continue to solicit donations from users and other support groups,” he said. “For years, the authority has had to search for private donations to balance our budget as the airport owners continue to help fund our operating expenses. The airport has hundreds of thousands of dollars of deferred maintenance that we need to address now.”

Creativity remains important in fundraising.

“We should not have to be out there begging for handouts,” said Taylor. “The value and economic impact created by the Penn Valley Airport is proven. We have to find new and innovative ways to increase support.”

Big obstacles

What is limiting a nighttime approach? Taylor and Witkop explained:

1. On the north end of the airfield is basically 500 feet of a mountain. But with today’s technology and available instrumentation, a precision approach could be designed for aircraft coming in from the north.

2. For aircraft coming in from the south, the FAA has determined that many trees, several power poles and (two) houses would have to be eliminated and/or relocated.

“What is limiting us from eliminating the obstacles or penetrations to the instrument flight paths? Money,” said Taylor. “We could receive a grant from the Bureau of Aviation to do the work but the Penn Valley Airport would have to come up with a 10 percent match for its local share.”

“The other challenge we have here,” Witkop said, “is not having enough hangar space. No one is going to bring in a corporate aircraft and not have a way to protect it. These jets are $2 to $5 million assets and they need to be housed at night, especially in the fall and winter when you have weather conditions like snow and ice. And so the airport needs to expand with more hangar space, especially for business and commercial aircraft. They won’t come here unless they have a place to put their aircraft.”

Limited funding

The challenge is in finding the funding to do that. There is very little funding available through governmental agencies directly. Most of it, if there is any at all, is 50 cents on the dollar, and it would cost $1.2 million for a 50,000-square foot hangar, according to research done by Taylor. “And the authority would have to match half of it,” he said.

“We have the space for a new hangar,” Witkop said. “What we don’t have are the financial resources to make that happen. That’s another part of the infrastructure we need here to have and hold businesses.

“Here’s the catch-22,” Witkop said. “If we build it, will customers come? We know for a fact that they won’t come unless we have that hangar space. Can I guarantee that we’ll fill the hangar that first day? Well, no. But we know it won’t happen without the hangar. Same thing with the night approach. Corporations look at the airport and say, “If I can’t guarantee I can get in here at night, I’ll go someplace else.”

Talk about challenges: “We are asked to run this place on pennies and nickels,” Witkop said.

Maintenance concerns

The airport is also in a situation of deferred maintenance, where things need to be fixed “yesterday,” Witkop added. “Our blue hangar has needed a roof for about 10 years and needs new overhead doors and that is $50,000-$60,000 in repairs. The doors are in a condition where they are absolutely unsafe and we are trying to find a way to patch them until we get enough money to do a proper repair. We need a new mower, which would cost $30,000. I don’t know where the money would come from because there is no grant money for those kinds of things.”

But what about the little guys with their Cessna 150 or Piper Cherokee? Does their presence help the bottom line? Taylor is passionate about helping the little guy, he said.

“What sets Penn Valley airport apart from every other airport on the east coast is we also cater to the small guys,” Taylor said. “We put the romance back in aviation. We encourage people to replace us as pilots. The pilot shortage is huge, it’s real and if no one is growing pilots, who is going to be flying these airplanes 15 years from now? I make little supporting these people but I know I need to support these people and I want to grow new pilots.

“The big guys buying jet fuel is my only source of income that is significant,” Taylor continued. “Little airplanes, I’d be lucky to make $250 in a month’s time putting gas in all our general aviation airlines and that $250 is just cost versus expense and not overhead. It does not pay the bills.”

It is becoming increasingly impossible to operate and grow this airport for the betterment of its users and the community without the additional help from our municipalities, Taylor said.

“Penn Township and Middleburg who are ‘owners’ of the airport have had budget shortfalls over the last two years and haven’t been able to contribute to the airport,” he said. “We have often talked about forming a committee seat on the authority made up of our largest corporate users with the hopes of them possibly picking up the shares that were not being funded by these two municipalities; and who would be better to sit in this chair besides the pilots who actually use this airport?”

Story and photo ➤ http://www.dailyitem.com

Smooth take off as new Muscat airport trials flight operations



Muscat -   An international flight consisting 200 guests on board Boeing 787 Dreamliner took off from the new Muscat International Airport as part of the trial on Saturday morning.

To make it look real, the 200 guests had even dummy passports and luggage for the 30-minute trip.  The trial followed the entire process including checking in, baggage handling, finding the boarding gate, emergency evacuation, boarding the flight and disembarking from the same.

The guests comprised high-ranking officials from ministries, travel agents, exchange house representatives, Public Authority for Civil Aviation and Oman Airports Management Company (OAMC) officials.

Sheikh Aimen bin Ahmed bin Sultan al Hosni, chief executive officer, OAMC said, “We plan to be among the top 20 airports in the world. The construction is almost over and the new Muscat airport will start its operations soon. We will have more trials in the coming days.”

Hosni said that the aim of the flight trial was to ensure that everything is in order before the commencement of actual operations. “These trials will be more than testing operations. We will use the valuable feedback from everyone to achieve the goal of emerging among top 20 airports in the world.”

He added that the tourism sector is witnessing a boom and the new airport will help to attract more airlines and travellers to the sultanate.

H E Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Salim al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications had earlier said that the trial will help the government to decide on the launch date of operations.

Story and photo gallery ➤ http://www.muscatdaily.com

Cessna 340, N247AT, registered to Aviation Transportation LLC and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred December 24, 2017 at Bartow Municipal Airport (KBOW), Polk County, Florida

John Shannon (left) with his plane.


John Shannon, Olivia Anne Shannon, Krista Clayton, Victoria Shannon Worthington and Peter Worthington, Jr.

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
RAM Aircraft L.P.; Waco, 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/N247AT




Location: Bartow, FL
Accident Number: CEN18FA061
Date & Time: 12/24/2017, 0717 EST
Registration: N247AT
Aircraft: CESSNA 340
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 5 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 24, 2017, at 0717 eastern standard time, a Cessna 340 airplane, N247AT, impacted terrain after departure from Bartow Municipal Airport (BOW), Bartow, Florida. The private pilot and four passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Aviation Transportation LLC and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident with a planned destination of Key West International Airport (EYW), Key West, Florida.

The pilot filed an IFR flight plan on a Garmin GPS device and received an IFR clearance from the Tampa air traffic control tower. The BOW air traffic control tower was closed at the time of the accident.

According to two fixed base operator (FBO) employees at BOW, the pilot requested that the airplane be towed from the hangar to the ramp. The pilot stated that he wanted a tow so that he did not have to taxi next to the other hangars because of reduced visibility and dense fog. About 0645, the five occupants boarded the airplane and the FBO employees towed it to the ramp.

The FBO employees stated that the pilot started the engines and that they watched as the airplane very slowly taxied toward the end of runway 9L. The fog limited their visibility to about 400 ft. They could no longer see the airplane in the dense fog, so they moved to an area on the ramp closer to the runway. The pilot contacted Tampa Approach at 0710 for his IFR clearance. The FBO employees heard an increase in engine noise consistent with an engine run-up, and about 0715, they heard the airplane take off but they could not see the airplane because of the dense fog. The engines "sounded strong and [were] operating at full power" during the takeoff. They heard two tire "chirps" on the runway, then the sound of the airplane was consistent with a climb. They then heard an explosion on the east side of the airport and drove toward the explosion to find the airplane on fire. One of the FBO employees recorded a video of the airplane taxiing on the ramp toward the runway and another video of the takeoff.

The video captured by the FBO employee was 46 seconds long. While recording the video, the employee was located near the middle of the ramp and about 1/2 mile from the end of runway 9L. The accident airplane is not visible due to the dense fog. The sound of the engines is audible. The video pans from right to left and appears to follow the sounds of the airplane during the takeoff roll. At 26 and 28 seconds, two distinct chirps are heard. The video ends while the engines are still audible.

A helicopter pilot based at BOW observed the airplane taxiing on the ramp toward the runway. He recorded a video of the airplane taxiing on the ramp in the dense fog. He heard the airplane take off about 12 minutes later. During the takeoff, he heard a 'pop' similar to an engine backfire and about 3 seconds later, heard the explosion near the end of runway 9L. He and a colleague drove to the accident site, where they found the airplane engulfed in flames and saw the FBO employees nearby. He estimated that the runway visual range at the time was 600 to 800 ft due to the fog.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/31/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1600 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot's logbooks were not located, and the pilot's instrument currency or proficiency could not be determined.

The mechanic who maintained the airplane stated that the pilot always flew with his feet flat on the floor and not on the rudder pedals. He also stated that the pilot never flew dangerously or recklessly. He added that the pilot's personal logbooks were always kept on the back shelf in the airplane.

The pilot's personal assistant stated that he always flew the airplane a couple of days before a flight with passengers. She stated that everyone she talked to described him as a good pilot and diligent with his pilot duties.

An acquaintance of the pilot, who also was the pilot's flight instructor in 2002, recounted flying the accident airplane with the pilot. He stated that the pilot mentioned an in-flight engine failure he experienced in the accident airplane. The pilot told him that he continued to his destination rather than making a precautionary single-engine landing because the logistics of diverting were too difficult. The acquaintance also stated that he and the pilot were supposed to fly the accident airplane together in early 2017. On the morning of the planned flight, he checked the weather conditions, which were about 1/4 mile visibility and 100 ft ceilings with dense fog. He told the pilot that they could not complete the flight because of the weather, and the pilot responded that, legally, they were allowed to fly under Part 91. The acquaintance had not talked to the accident pilot since that canceled flight.

A local airplane mechanic, who was a business acquaintance of the pilot, stated that he flew with the pilot one time and then refused to fly with him again. The acquaintance stated that he was not a safe pilot and took unnecessary risks.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N247AT
Model/Series: 340
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1973
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 3400214
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/02/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 6390 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1607.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-520-NcNB
Registered Owner: AVIATION TRANSPORTATION LLC
Rated Power: 335 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The mechanic who maintained the airplane stated that, 2 days before the accident, at the request of the pilot, he moved the co-pilot seat aft and adjusted the rear seats forward. He also stated that the accident airplane had a known autopilot issue; if the autopilot was engaged on the ground, it would command the elevator trim full nose-down. He understood this issue was a result of the autopilot's gyros not being level on the ground, which caused the autopilot to sense and attempt to compensate for a high pitch attitude. He stated that the accident pilot was aware of this autopilot issue.

The airplane logbooks did not reveal any past maintenance discrepancies or write-ups related to the autopilot or elevator trim.

One of the aforementioned BOW FBO employees reported that, on December 22, 2017, he received a fuel order from the pilot. He filled the airplane's tip tanks and auxiliary tanks with 100LL fuel; the nacelle tanks were already full. Later that day, he removed the airplane from the hangar; the pilot flew the airplane for about 30 minutes, then the employee towed the airplane back to the hangar.

A review of the left and right engine maintenance logbooks revealed entries for annual inspections that included an oil change and oil filter inspection and replacement on January 2, 2017, at 1,582.9 hours tachometer time. The previous two entries, dated December 20, 2015, and November 17, 2014, at 1,558.4 hours and 1,543 hours, respectively, noted an annual inspection was completed with oil and oil filter changes.

The oil filter found on the left engine at the accident site was marked with 1,543 hours tachometer time and dated January 6, 2014. When questioned about the discrepancy, the mechanic stated that the oil was actually not changed on either engine during the two previous inspections as noted in the logbooks and that the entries were not accurate. The mechanic stated that he planned to change the oil and replace the filters during the next annual inspection, which was due in January 2018.

The logbooks also revealed that the most recent IFR certification for the transponder and pitot static system was completed on June 20, 2014. To fly in IFR conditions the system must be inspected and certified every 24 calendar months.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBOW, 125 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0715 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 295°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR): 600 ft
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Heavy - Fog
Departure Point: Bartow, FL (BOW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: KEY WEST, FL (EYW)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 0716 EST
Type of Airspace: Class E 

The automated weather observation station at BOW reported consistent weather conditions from 0635 to 0715, which included visibility less than 1/4 mile, fog, an overcast cloud layer at 300 ft, temperature 56°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.18 inches of mercury.

An area forecast discussion was issued for the region by the National Weather Service (NWS) that identified widespread shallow fog. An NWS dense fog advisory was in effect for Polk County, Florida. A center weather advisory was in effect for the accident area and advised of ceilings below 500 ft agl and visibilities below 1 mile in fog and mist. An AIRMET for IFR conditions was in effect for the accident area.

There was no evidence that the pilot obtained a preflight weather briefing from a recorded source. 

Airport Information

Airport: BARTOW MUNI (BOW)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 124 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09L
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 4 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 5 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 27.946389, -81.773889 (est) 

The accident site was located on airport property about 190 yards east-northeast of the departure end of runway 9L and 10 ft south of taxiway delta (figure 1).

Figure 1 – Aerial View of Accident Site

The debris path was about 230 ft long and oriented northeast. The beginning of the debris path was defined by several ground impact craters in a line perpendicular to the debris path and the main wreckage. The middle impact crater contained pieces of the airplane's nose cowling and baggage door. Immediately to the right was the left engine's propeller. To the left of the middle crater was the right engine's propeller. A portion of the left wing tip fuel tank was found on the far right side of the initial impact area, and a portion of the right wing tip fuel tank was found on the far left side of the initial impact area. The main wreckage came to rest upright and oriented southeast about 30 ft from the initial impact craters. The fuselage was mostly consumed by fire and the empennage remained mostly intact with significant thermal damage. Both engines separated from the airplane and came to rest near the main wreckage. Airplane debris was found on the taxiway northeast of the main wreckage. The nose landing gear was separated from the airplane and found about 200 ft northeast of the main wreckage.

The flight controls exhibited impact and thermal damage but did not reveal any preimpact anomalies. The wing flap position could not be determined due to the extensive damage. The elevator trim tab was found beyond its full up limit. The elevator trim cable exhibited tension overload separations near the actuator and the other side of the cable was intact in the aft fuselage area. The elevator trim actuator was found at 2 ¼ inches, which was beyond the full length of travel (1.9 inches). The round hole in the trim tab surrounding the actuator rod was damaged and pushed aft by the rod end and bearing. The damage on the rod end matched the damage to the hole. The trim cable and chain on the top side of the actuator sprocket was pulled during the examination to test its functionality. When the cable was pulled, the actuator retracted and the trim tab lowered from its full-up position.

The landing gear actuator and the left and right main landing gear were all retracted.

Two attitude indicator gyros and one directional gyro were disassembled and examined. All three gyros exhibited rotational scoring inside the housings and along the circumference of the gyros. An electric turn-and-bank indicator gyro was disassembled and examined; it also exhibited rotational scoring.

The two vacuum pumps were separated from the engines and sustained significant impact damage. The right engine vacuum pump drive remained attached to the right engine and was melted by the postimpact fire. The left engine vacuum pump was separated from the engine, and the pump body and drive were intact. A portion of the vacuum manifold, which consisted of one of the end caps but no flapper valves, was found in the wreckage.

The left engine was separated from the airframe and was identified based on the data plate and maintenance records. The crankshaft was completely fractured at the nose oil seal and the propeller flange remained attached to the propeller hub. The crankshaft fracture surface displayed tearing, shear lips, and discoloration consistent with an overstress separation on impact. The top sparkplugs displayed a normal worn appearance with no signs of lead or carbon fouling. The bottom sparkplugs were examined via a lighted borescope with no anomalies noted. The return line from the fuel pressure regulator to the fuel pump remained in place and, when removed, residual fuel poured from the pressure regulator. The pump was disassembled, and the pump vanes were intact with no anomalies noted with the internal components.

The fuel manifold valve remained secured to the top of the engine and the fuel lines remained attached to the housing. The fuel lines remained secured to their nozzles and the upper deck reference line remained secured to the nozzles. The nozzles were free of obstructions. The fuel manifold screen was clear of contaminants and residual fuel was observed in the housing. The No. 2 intake inner valve spring was fractured. Residual oil was observed in each rocker cover. The cylinders were inspected and documented utilizing a lighted borescope. The No. 3 exhaust valve displayed two areas of green discoloration; otherwise, the pistons, valves, and valve seats were unremarkable. Manual rotation of the crankshaft was not possible due to impingements on the crankshaft and camshaft at the front of the crankcase and the oil sump, respectively. Sand and dirt from the accident site were embedded in the right exhaust slip joint area. The exhaust riser system on the aft end of the engine was crushed forward.

The left propeller hub remained intact and the piston was compressed aft. All three blades remained attached to the hub, but they were free to rotate in the hub, indicative of pitch change link fractures. The blades were labeled 1, 2, and 3 according to their hub location and for identification purposes only. Blade 1 was missing its counterweight, was bent aft slightly, and exhibited overstress signatures. The leading edge exhibited some light gouging and the cambered side exhibited chordwise scrapes and paint erosion. Blade 2 exhibited a small twist toward low pitch, paint erosion on the cambered side and leading edge gouges. The counterweight remained attached to the blade shank. Blade 3 was missing its counterweight, showed signs of overstress, and exhibited light chordwise paint erosion aft of the deice boot but was otherwise unremarkable.

The right engine was separated from the airframe and was identified based on the data plate and the maintenance records. The crankshaft was fractured at the nose oil seal and the propeller flange remained attached to the propeller hub. The crankshaft fracture surface displayed tearing, shear lips, and discoloration consistent with an overstress separation on impact. The engine sustained thermal damage.

The left magneto was separated from the engine and the ignition leads were separated from the harness cap. The right magneto remained in place and did not rotate with manual manipulation of the housing. The ignition harness remained secured to the right magneto and each terminal remained secured to their respective sparkplugs. The left magneto harness cap was removed and replaced with the right ignition harness cap from the left engine. Rotation of the drive shaft resulted in a spark from each lead in firing order during the audible snap of the impulse coupling. The right magneto was removed and the thermally damaged leads were cut near the harness cap. The magneto produced a spark from each of its leads in firing order when the drive shaft was manually rotated and the impulse coupling snapped.

The top sparkplugs were removed from the cylinders and all displayed a normal worn condition with no signs of lead or carbon fouling. The bottom sparkplugs were examined via a lighted borescope with no preimpact anomalies noted. The engine-driven fuel pump was separated from the engine; the mounting flange and drive coupling were displaced to one side and the metal was smeared in the same direction. The fuel manifold valve screen was free of obstructions and residual fuel was observed in the housing.

The cylinders remained attached to the crankcase with no external signs of operational distress. The cylinder rocker covers were removed and all of the valve springs remained intact. The cylinders were inspected and documented utilizing a lighted borescope. The pistons, valves, and valve seats were unremarkable. A tool was fitted to the backside of the crankshaft and partial crankshaft rotation was achieved, with continuity confirmed to the front of the engine and to the connecting rods. Impingements on the crankshaft and camshaft were noted at the front of the crankcase and the oil sump, respectively, which prevented full crankshaft rotation. The exhaust riser system was deformed forward on the aft end of the engine.

The right propeller hub remained intact and the spinner dome was crushed aft over the hub. All three blades remained attached to the hub, but they were free to rotate in the hub, indicative of pitch change link fractures. The blades were labeled 1, 2, and 3 according to their hub location and for identification purposes only. Blade 1 was missing its counterweight, was bent aft slightly, and exhibited overstress signatures. The leading edge exhibited gouging and the cambered and face sides displayed chordwise scrapes and paint erosion. Blade 2 exhibited a small twist toward low pitch, paint erosion on the cambered side, and light leading edge gouges. Blade 3 was missing its counterweight and exhibited overstress signatures. The blade exhibited light chordwise paint erosion aft of the deice boot, but was otherwise unremarkable. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the District Medical Examiner, 10th Judicial Circuit of Florida, Winter Haven, Florida, completed an autopsy on the pilot, which attributed the cause of death to blunt impact. The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicology testing, which revealed 20 mg/dL of ethanol in muscle, ibuprofen in the muscle, and no ethanol detected in the kidney. The toxicology samples exhibited putrefaction.

Ibuprofen is in a class of medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug and are not considered impairing.

After absorption, ethanol is uniformly distributed throughout all tissues and body fluids; therefore, the finding in one tissue but not another is most consistent with post-mortem production.

Tests And Research

Weight and balance

The airplane's maximum gross takeoff weight was 6,390 lbs. The weight at the time of the accident takeoff was about 6,495 lbs, about 105 lbs over the maximum takeoff weight (figure 2). Due to the excessive weight, the airplane was outside of its center of gravity moment envelope (figure 3).


Figure 2 – Calculated Weight and Balance

Figure 3 – Center of Gravity Moment Envelope 

Additional Information

Spatial Disorientation

According to FAA Safety Team literature, pilots flying under both instrument and visual flight rules are subject to spatial disorientation and optical illusions that may cause a loss of aircraft control. Sight, supported by other senses, allows a pilot to maintain orientation while flying. However, when visibility is restricted (i.e., no visual reference to the horizon or surface detected) the body's supporting senses can conflict with what is seen. When this spatial disorientation occurs, sensory conflicts and optical illusions often make it difficult for a pilot to tell which way is up.

Contributing to these phenomena are the various types of sensory stimuli: visual, vestibular (organs of equilibrium located in the inner ear), and proprioceptive (receptors located in the skin, muscles, tendons and joints). Changes in linear acceleration, angular acceleration, and gravity are detected by the vestibular system and the proprioceptive receptors, and then compared in the brain with visual information.

In a flight environment, these stimuli can vary in magnitude, direction, and frequency, resulting in a sensory mismatch that can produce illusions and lead to spatial disorientation.

LAKELAND -- There will be two memorial services for the five people who died in a plane crash on Christmas Eve at the Bartow Municipal Airport.

Both services will be held on January 6th

1st service at 10:30 a.m. for pilot, daughters, daughter's husband

2nd service at 4 p.m. for family friend Krista Clayton

Both services will be held on January 6th, at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lakeland where four of the five people who died in the crash attended.

The first service will be held at 10:30 a.m., honoring the lives of the pilot, John Shannon and his daughters, Olivia and Tori, and Tori’s husband, Peter Worthington Jr.

The second service will be held at 4 p.m. at the church for family friend Krista Clayton, who also died in the crash.

BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) — A medical examiner in Polk County performed autopsies Wednesday on the five victims who died in a Christmas Eve plane crash in Bartow.

The examiner ruled that 24-year-old Olivia Shannon, 26-year-old Victoria Shannon-Worthington, 27-year-old Peter Worthington and 32-year-old Krista Clayton died from blunt force trauma. The medical examiner says all four passengers’ manners of death were ruled accidental.

The cause of death for the pilot, 70-year-old John Shannon, has not been released pending a toxicology report.

Deputies say all five were killed when the small plane they were on crashed shortly after taking off from the Bartow Municipal Airport Sunday morning. The group was planning on spending Christmas Eve in Key West and was expected to return Sunday night.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says he believes it was too foggy to take off. Visibility in the area was near-zero at the time.

Federal Aviation Administration records show that John Shannon was instrument rated, which means he was trained to fly without seeing the horizon, relying only on the instruments on-board if needed.

Investigators are still trying to figure out why the plane went down.

Story and photos:  http://wfla.com



Visibility just after 7 a.m. Sunday, December 24, 2017 at the Bartow Airport at the time of a plane crash was less than a quarter-mile because of fog. 


Unfortunately, there is still a lot we don't know about what caused a plane crash in Bartow on Christmas Eve that killed all five people on board, four were from the same family. 

Almost immediately after the crash, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the heavy fog over the area during take-off was likely a factor. Around the time of the crash, a National Weather Service observation reported visibility at the Bartow airport to be less than a quarter-mile because of fog.

But in the days since, several friends of the pilot, prominent Lakeland lawyer John Shannon, have told 10News they believe something else must've happened.

Ron Pennekamp, the senior pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Lakeland and a close friend of Shannon's, called the 70-year-old a "master pilot," adding that he'd even flown with him on one occasion during which he landed in heavy fog.

"I don’t think it's fog, honestly, I really don’t," Pennekamp told 10News on Monday. "I don’t think he would’ve taken off if he thought he would put his family in jeopardy.”

It's now up to the NTSB and FAA to determine what caused the crash.

In the video, watch 10News reporter Josh Sidorowicz hop into a flight simulator at the Sim Center in Clearwater with a commercial pilot and 10News aviation expert Mark Weinkrantz to learn how pilots operate in low visibility conditions.

With the simulator set to the Bartow Municipal Airport and the level of visibility just as it was at the time of the crash—less than a quarter-mile—Weinkrantz noted it's nearly impossible to see just a few hundred feet ahead from the cockpit.

"You can’t see your hand in front of your face," he said. "We can take off in commercial airlines with just a few hundred feet of runway visible because we have much more sophisticated instruments in the cockpit and runways up to a higher specification for guidance.” 

Even for an instrument-rated pilot, Weinkrantz said, the instruments are really for flying in the sky, not take-off.

Weinkrantz also noted the lack of center-line lighting down the middle of the runway at the Bartow airport and the lack of lighting at the end of the runway. The lighting, he says, can help a pilot maintain directional control.

It's possible, Weinkrantz said, that because Shannon couldn't gauge where he was in relation to the end of the runway, he might've pulled up too quickly, which would've changed the pitch of the plane too dramatically, causing it to fall back down.

"Bartow is not that sophisticated of an airport," Weinkrantz said. "As you’re going faster and faster, you might only be able to see one or two lights right out ahead of you, but without those lights, you’re hoping to see those white stripes in a gray sky and that’s hard to do.”

According to data from the National Weather Service, 440 people on average are killed each year in plane crashes due to weather conditions like fog.  According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, most general aviation accidents involve some kind of pilot error and while there are many factors that can contribute to this, bad weather is the number one culprit, the New York Times previously reported.

Story and video   http://www.wtsp.com



Krista Clayton,  daughters, Lila (age 3)  and Lucy (18 months).

The family of Krista Clayton is hoping to raise money to pay for funeral costs and a memorial service: https://www.gofundme.com


Krista Kathleen Clayton
August 13, 1985 ~ December 24, 2017 (age 32)

Krista Clayton passed away on Christmas Eve in a tragic accident when a plane carrying herself and four friends crashed in Bartow, Florida. She was 32 years old.

Krista was born in Westerly, Rhode Island and raised in nearby Charlestown. She attended the University of Rhode Island where she double-majored in secondary education and communications, and from which she graduated with honors. During and after high school she made friends in her many extracurricular activities, which included mentoring, tutoring, coaching, with participation in track and field, soccer, and basketball. She worked as an elementary and secondary school teacher in both Rhode Island and Florida, most recently at Jewett Academy, where she demonstrated by untiring example her commitment to her students' education and to improving their lives overall. 

She loved to travel and relished every opportunity to do so; this love guided her across the globe. She studied abroad in Oxford, England, toured Europe, and in addition to visiting nearly every country in Southeast Asia she taught English in South Korea. In all of these places, and wherever she went, she had a knack for quickly acquiring lifelong friends. The lessons she learned from her travels were in turn imparted to her students. 

From the moment they were born, Krista's two daughters, Lila, aged 3 years, and Lucy, 18 months, were the twin stars of her life. Every second was dedicated to them, and she found endless joy in teaching them, reading to them, taking them to the park, and encouraging their creativity in arts and crafts.

Hers was an undiminished optimism, a giving nature, and an incandescent spirit with enthusiasm for life in its every variety. Krista touched the hearts of all who met her. She will be sorely missed.

Krista is survived by Lucy and Lila Rachlin; her parents, Susan and Phillip Clayton; her five siblings, Phillip, Matthew, Bonnie, Mary Grace and Michael; and her fiancé, Marc.

There will be a service held at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lakeland, Florida on January 6th at 4:00 p.m., followed by a celebration of life at a venue as yet to be determined. There will also be a memorial mass for Krista at St. Vincent De Paul Church in Westerly, Rhode Island on January 13th at 10:00 a.m., followed by a celebration of life at a venue as yet to be determined. Please revisit this page for updates as more details are solidified.

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

Pilot John Shannon, 70, and his two daughters Victoria, 26, and 
Olivia, 24



A 70-year-old Lakeland attorney killed in a small plane crash on Christmas Eve is remembered as kind and enthusiastic.

John Shannon was piloting a Cessna 340 when the plane crashed shortly after takeoff at Bartow Municipal Airport in Polk County.

“He was one of the really nice guys and everybody liked him … he was very popular,” said Lydia Lowell-Sherman, a former Fort Myers High School classmate.

Shannon received his pilot license while attending Fort Myers High School in 1965.

Shannon’s passengers included his two daughters, his son-in-law and a family friend, according to the Associated Press.

They were identified as: 24-year-old Southeastern University student Olivia Shannon, 26-year-old Baltimore teacher Victoria Shannon Worthington, 27-year-old University of Maryland law student Peter Worthington Jr. and 32-year-old Lakeland teacher Krista Clayton.

The family was headed to the Florida Keys for the Christmas holiday.

“This is just such a tragedy. It’s just awful,” Lowell-Sherman said.

Investigators believe fog played a role in the crash, but those who knew Shannon say he would have never put the lives of his family in danger.

“As long as John was flying, pilot errors to me sound just a little iffy, because he really seemed to know what he was doing with the plane and everything,” Lowell-Sherman said.

Shannon’s brother, Jerry Shannon, was vacationing in Montana when the crash took place.

“Those little girls were just starting life, that’s a huge tragic loss they’re gone so early,” Jerry Shannon said.

Story and photos ➤ https://www.winknews.com

John Hugh Shannon, 70, a Lakeland Co. attorney was killed in a Sunday morning plane crash at Bartow Municipal Airport. Also killed were two of his daughters, his son-in-law and a family friend.
Credit johnhughshannon.com/


LAKELAND, Fla. – Pastor Ron Pennekamp not only considered John Shannon a personal friend, he watched his two daughters grow up in the church, presided over the wedding of one, and mentored their close family friend who was also a parishioner at the same church.

Shannon, his daughters, son-in-law, and family friend were all killed when the Cessna 340 twin-engine plane Shannon was piloting crashed Christmas Eve morning shortly after taking off from the Bartow Municipal Airport.

"You get news like that and the first thing you think is 'it cant be true, you must be talking about someone else,'" Pennekamp said as he sat in an empty sanctuary on Christmas morning filled with grief.

Pennekamp is the senior pastor at St. Paul Lutheran in Lakeland where Shannon, his two daughters, and close friend Krista Clayton attended.

"He was more than just a parishioner, he was a personal friend," Pennekamp said of their 13 year friendship, admiring Shannon's commitment to not only those he knew in the church but outside of it in the community.

"He would talk to people, find out what was going on, and he always influence and that’s really the mark of a good leader.

Olivia Shannon, 24, a student at Southeastern University and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, a school teacher in Baltimore, grew up in the church, Pennekamp said.

"I’ve never seen a father more committed to his kids," he said. "The kids took priority."

Just a few months ago, Shannon asked Pennekamp to preside for his daughter Victoria's wedding. She married Peter Worthington, a law student, in Baltimore.

This would've been their first Christmas together as a married couple.

"It was a fantastic wedding, a lot of joy," Pennekamp said. "That’s probably the hardest thing about thinking about this is just the dreams that were there for Pete and for Tori and all those things are going unrealized."

While he adored his family, Pennekamp was just as familiar with Shannon's love of flying, having been a passenger of his on several occasions.

"He’s a master pilot and I’ve flown through fog with John, he’s instrument-rated," Pennekamp said, recalling one particular instance when they two returned from having dinner in Valrico.

"He turned on his instruments, turned on his landing lights and we came out of the fog just above the ground and we were right on target. So I don’t think its fog, honestly I really don’t. I don’t think he would’ve taken off if he thought he would put his family in jeopardy.”

Close family friend Krista Clayton was also on board. Pennekamp says he's been in regular contact with Clayton's finance and two young daughters, even opting to spend Christmas Eve with them rather than attending mass.

They, like so many others now, are working through shock to find peace.

"We’re going to mourn but we’re not going to mourn without hope," Pennekamp said

Story and video:  http://www.wtsp.com


BARTOW (FOX 13) - John Shannon was a Marine Corp veteran and ran an independent law firm in Lakeland for the last 36-years.  The 70-year-old was an accomplished pilot, very active with the Citrus Center Kiwanis Club, and the President of the Lakeland Republican Club.

On their Facebook page, RCL posted:

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of our organization's president, John Shannon, who died in a small plane crash at Bartow Airport early this morning. John, his two daughters, one son-in-law and a family friend were are all killed during takeoff on their way to spend the day in the Florida Keys. John was looking forward to serving as our president again in 2018, and had already scheduled several of the speakers for our first few meetings of the new year. We are deeply saddened by John's loss, and hope that you will join us in extending your thoughts and prayers to all of the Shannon family's friends, associates and family. Rest in peace, John, you will be greatly missed.

Governor Rick Scott also reacted to the news, tweeting
@FLAnnScott and I are heartbroken to hear of this tragedy. We are praying for the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families.

“All of them, everyone who was on that plane was a member here,” said Associate Pastor Andy Ritchie with St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lakeland. 

At Christmas Eve mass, the holiday joy was mixed with heartache. 

Ritchie fondly talks to FOX 13 News about how Shannon was known for his baking, his kindness and his skills in the courtroom. 

“He was always 100 M.P.H, go, go, go, but very positive and very uplifting,” he said. 

In 2014, Shannon ran for the Florida House of Representatives.  In a campaign ad posted on YouTube he talks about his children.  “What I’m most proud of are the daughters that I’ve raised on my own.” 

According to Olivia Shannon’s Facebook page, the 24-year-old attended Southeastern University. 

26-year-old Victoria Shannon-Worthington lived in Baltimore teaching fourth grade language arts in the city.  She was married to Peter Worthington Jr.  On his Facebook page, the 27-year old says he was a law student at the University of Maryland.  This would have been Peter and Victoria’s first Christmas as a married couple.

Family friend, Krista Clayton was also killed in the crash.  The 32-year-old worked at the Jewett School for the Arts in Winter Haven.  On the website, Clayton is listed as teaching elementary gifted. 

The Lakeland woman leaves behind a husband and their two children, an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old. 

“She has a daughter who has some special health concerns,” said Ritchie.  “I always just saw her as an extremely loving mom, very much into the day to day in and outs of life.”

Story and photos ➤  http://www.fox13news.com

 Victoria Shannon Worthington and Peter Worthington, Jr.

BARTOW — A twin-engine Cessna 340 crashed shortly after take-off Sunday morning at Bartow Municipal Airport, killing the pilot, local attorney John Hugh Shannon, and four others, authorities said.

The other victims: his daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, a student at Southeastern University and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, a schoolteacher for the Baltimore school district; Worthington’s husband, Peter Worthington, 27, a law student at University of Maryland; and family friend Krista Clayton, 32, teacher at Jewett School of the Arts. She has two children, an 18-month-old and 3-year-old.

The plane took off at approximately 7:15 a.m. on the main runway in dense fog and was airborne for a short time before it plummeted to the ground at the north end of the airport near Ben Durrance Road, said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The plane burst into flames on impact, he said. “The only thing you can say is, nobody suffered.”

It’s too early in the investigation to know if weather was a factor in the crash, Judd said, adding, “Nobody should have attempted to take off” in such conditions.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration have been notified and will investigate how the crash occurred.

A flight plan filed by the pilot indicated the Cessna was headed for Key West, said Cindy Barrow, executive director of the Bartow Airport.

The crash has shut down the airport’s main runway, leaving two runways open.

Autopsies will be conducted later this week to positively identify the victims and determine the exact nature of their deaths, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Shannon, 70, was well-known in Polk, having practiced law since 1975, primarily in the area of personal injury and death. In 2014, he made an unsuccessful bid for the Florida House of Representatives, representing District 40, losing to Colleen Burton in the Republican primary.

Retired Polk Circuit Judge Charles Curry said news of his former law partner’s death came as a shock.

“He was a heck of an attorney and a good guy,” he said. “I’ll certainly miss him.”

John Liguori, a friend of John Shannon’s and a fellow lawyer, said Shannon was a skilled pilot who talked recently of flying to the Keys to spend Christmas with two of his three daughters.

“He was looking forward to taking everybody down there, he loved to fly,” Liguori said. “That’s a serious plane. You’ve got to be a serious pilot to fly those.”

Liguori remembered Shannon as a hard-charging lawyer and former Marine who was sentimental enough to bake cookies as Christmas presents.

“He was quite a character, he was one of those guys that shouted at the devil,” Liguori said. “He was a Marine, and he practiced (law) as if he was still in the Marine Corps.”

John Shannon served as current president of Citrus Center Kiwanis and had a heart for his community, Joe Childs, a past president of the Kiwanis club, said in an email. “John was an accomplished pilot, loved his family and served his church and community in a variety of ways. He will be deeply missed.”

The entire 10th Judicial Circuit has lost a “big brother” in Shannon, said Rusty Franklin, a Bartow lawyer. “God, family, country, community ... those things were more important to John. He was a Marine and a patriot. This just rips your heart out. I’m ready for this year to be over with.”

Southeastern University spokeswoman Dana Davis said the school community was saddened by the sudden death of Olivia Shannon. “Our entire Southeastern community is saddened by the news and we’re praying for her family.”

Olivia Shannon was in her junior year at Southeastern, studying to be a teacher.

“She had the promise of being an exceptional teacher,” said Karen Ingle, Shannon’s instructor and wife of Kent Ingle, the university’s president. “She took her lessons seriously. She embraced learning. I was just shocked (to learn of her death). She will be missed.”

Story and photos ➤ http://www.theledger.com


BARTOW, Fla. — A Florida lawyer and four others were killed at sunrise Christmas Eve in a plane crash in dense fog.

John Shannon, 70, of Lakeland, Fla., was piloting a twin-engine Cessna 340 that went down just after takeoff around 7:15 a.m. ET Sunday from Bartow Municipal Airport about 50 miles southwest of Orlando, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

The plane caught fire after the crash and was fully involved by the time rescue crews arrived, Tina Mann, Polk County Fire Rescue spokeswoman, said in a statement.

"There was no chance of survival," Judd said. "When you look at the crash, the only thing that you say is, 'Nobody suffered.' "

Shannon was making a 45- to 60-minute flight for day trip to the Florida Keys, the sheriff said. Also killed were his two daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, a student at Southeastern University in Lakeland, and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, a Baltimore teacher; his son-in-law, Peter Worthington, 27, a University of Maryland law student; and a family friend, Krista Clayton, 32, a teacher in Lakeland.

The Worthingtons had arrived Saturday in Florida for the Christmas holiday, and John Shannon had filed a flight plan to go to Key West, said Carrie Horstman, a sheriff's office spokeswoman. No family members were able to be reached for comment.

“This is a tragedy at any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve,” Judd said.

John Shannon, who graduated in 1975 from Samford University school of law in Homewood, Ala., had been a member of the Florida Bar since 1975, according to state records. The Republican ran for state representative in 2014, but lost in the primary to Colleen Burton, who still holds the office.

He had a private pilot's license since Oct. 4, 2010, with an instrument rating that allows a pilot to fly solely by referring to flight instruments in clouds or low visibility, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

Around the time of the crash, a National Weather Service observer reported visibility at the Bartow airport to be less than a quarter mile because of fog.

A photographer who was trying to capture the fog at sunrise was recording video that shows the crash, Judd said.

"He said, 'I couldn't believe that they were taking off in this fog,' " the sheriff said. "There was not one sign of the aircraft that was, obviously, was soaked in a very dense, very heavy fog at the airbase." Barstow airport is the former Barstow U.S. Air Force base that closed in 1961.

The private plane crashed just north of the airport toward the end of a runway. It left the hangar at 6:30 a.m., before the sun rose, and took off east into heavy fog, Judd said.

"Our heart breaks," Judd said. "You know, certainly, we wish we could rewind this and if we could, I would wrestle him to the floor to keep him from getting into this airplane this morning," Judd said.

Last year 386 people were killed in 213 fatal general aviation accidents, an average of fewer than two per crash, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Fewer than 10% of these types of plane crashes result in four or more deaths.

General aviation excludes commercial flights and civilian air transport for hire and often involves planes with fewer than 10 seats.

More than 9 in 10 plane-crash deaths occur in general-aviation accidents, according to the NTSB. Although the number of general-aviation deaths increased slightly from 2015 to 2016, the number of fatal accidents was down by nearly 20, so the fatal accident rate fell lower than 1 per 100,000 flight hours for the first time in 50 years.

But traffic accidents account for far more transportation deaths, 95% of total transportation deaths, the agency said. In 2016, highway deaths totaled 39,339, up more than 5% from the previous year.

In Florida, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating Sunday's plane crash.

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


Lakeland attorney John Shannon and his two daughters were among five people killed in the crash of a twin-engine plane at the Bartow Municipal Airport Sunday morning.

According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the Cessna 340 crashed at the end of a runway near Ben Durrance Road, about 7:15 a.m.. Officials say the plane was starting to take off in fog that provided little or no visibility.  

Witnesses said a large fire erupted at the end of the runway when the plane crashed.  There were no survivors.

"When you look at the crash, the only thing you can say is that nobody suffered," Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said. It's believed all the victims died on impact or immediately afterwards.

At a Sunday afternoon news conference, Judd announced that the crash killed the pilot, Shannon, 70; his daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, a student at Southeastern University in Lakeland; Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26, a school teacher in Baltimore, MD; her husband, Peter Worthington, 27, a law student at the University of Maryland; and family friend, Krista Clayton, 32, a teacher in Polk County. 

Clayton leaves behind two children, a three-year-old and an 18-month-old. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families. This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve. We are providing all of our resources to assist them with anything they need to help them get through this horrific tragedy."

Judd said he has personally known John Shannon, the President of the Republican Club of Lakeland, for years. Shannon had filed a flight plan this morning to fly to Key West for an apparent Christmas Eve day trip.

Judd said an airport employee captured video of the plane taking off. The employee was reportedly taking photos of the thick fog at the airport at the time. 

The airport, which was once a U.S. Air Force Base known as Bartow Air Base, is located off of U.S. Highway 17 near Spirit Lake Road.

Story and photo ➤ http://wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu



Five people died after a twin-engine plane trying to take off in heavy fog crashed at the end of a runway at an airport in Central Florida, causing a "huge fire," authorities said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said there were "no survivors" of the crash at Bartow Municipal Airport in Bartow, Florida.

"I have reviewed some footage, and clearly no one should have tried to a takeoff from this airport at 7:15 this morning," Judd said during a press conference this morning. "The airport was totally socked in with fog."

In a statement, officials tentatively identified the five killed as: John Shannon, 70, the plane's pilot; Shannon's daughters, Olivia Shannon, 24, and Victoria Shannon Worthington, 26; Worthington's husband, Peter Worthington Jr., 27; and family friend Krista Clayton, 32.

Autopsies will be conducted later this week to determine the official causes of death.

Judd called the crash "a horrific tragedy" in a statement Sunday afternoon.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Shannon, Worthington, and Clayton families. This is a tragedy any time, but it is so much worse because it happened on Christmas Eve. We are providing all of our resources to assist them with anything they need to help them get through this horrific tragedy," the statement reads.

Judd said earlier that he personally knew at least one person on the plane.

"I have known him for years and years and years," he said.

The NTSB and the FAA are investigating the crash.

As Polk County Fire and Rescue personnel headed to the crash site they had trouble spotting the wreckage, according to radio transcriptions reviewed by ABC News.

In one dispatch, a firefighter described the limited visibility.

"Engine 461, Battalion 4, we're on scene now at the air base ... it's really foggy. We're unable to see it from our location, I'm going to try to make it out onto the airfield," the first responder radioed.

Once Polk County Fire and Rescue members found the plane wreckage, they reported the plane was "fully engulfed" in flames.

The airport once served as the Bartow Army Air Field during World War II, according to its museum's website.

After the war, the complex functioned as a "flight school training cadets for military service" before it was turned over to the city of Bartow, the website says.

Story and photo ➤  http://abc7ny.com


Four people died after a twin-engine plane trying to take off in heavy fog crashed at the end of a runway at an airport in central Florida, causing a "huge fire", authorities said.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said there were "no survivors" of the crash at Bartow Municipal Airport in Bartow, Florida. His office said in an earlier statement that "there are several deaths."

The FAA said in a statement that four people were on board the Cessna 340 plane when it crashed Sunday morning.

"I have reviewed some footage, and clearly no one should have tried to a takeoff from this airport at 7:15 this morning," Judd said during a press conference this morning. "The airport was totally socked in with fog."

The identities of those on the plane will be released later, the sheriff said, adding that he personally knows at least one person on the plane.

"I have known him for years and years and years," he said.

The NTSB is investigating the crash, and Judd said his officers were assisted in their response by the county fire department.

"We were assisted by Polk Fire Rescue, which put out the fire. We know upon impact that there was a huge fire,” the sheriff said.

Judd added, "I am not a plane crash investigator but from all indications the plane was in the air and came back to the ground. And no there was no survivors, no chance of anyone surviving.”

As Polk County Fire and Rescue personnel headed to the crash site they had trouble spotting the wreckage, according to radio transcriptions reviewed by ABC News.

In one dispatch, a firefighter described the limited visibility.

"Engine 461, Battalion 4, we're on scene now at the air base... it's really foggy. We're unable to see it from our location, I'm going to try to make it out onto the airfield," the responder radioed.

Another dispatch also discussed the foggy conditions.

"I do see Polk County Fire units, unfortunately on the runway the fog is so low we can't see anything on the runway and are investigating and we did not see or come across any pilots or planes on the runway at this time," the transcription said.

Once Polk County Fire and Rescue member found the plane wreckage, the plane was "fully engulfed."

In one Polk County Sheriff's Office tweet, the sheriff asked for the community to remember the victims.

"This is an absolutely horrific tragedy, especially on Christmas Eve. Please keep these victims and their family members are in your prayers."

The airport once served as the Bartow Army Air Field during World War II, according to its museum's website.

After the war, the complex functioned as a "flight school training cadets for military service" before it was turned over to the city of Bartow, the website says.


Story and photos ➤ http://abcnews.go.com





BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) — Authorities say five people died when a small plane crashed shortly after taking off in heavy fog at Bartow Municipal Airport on Christmas Eve morning.

A Polk County Fire Rescue spokesperson said five people were killed in the twin-engine plane crash.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd -who knows a person who died in the crash-  refused to release details about how many people were killed and said the victims have not yet been identified.

Judd said the plane crashed at the end of the airport’s main runway at 7:15 a.m. after attempting to take off in heavy fog.

“Clearly, no one should have tried a takeoff,” said Judd.

Judd said that a helicopter pilot with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office happened to be in a nearby hangar and heard the plane starting to take off and then heard the plane crash to the ground.

“This is a very sad situation,” said Judd and added that he knew one person on the plane.

Judd speculated that the people on the plane were leaving to attend a holiday celebration.

“It is a tragedy any day of the week. It is an exceptional tragedy on Christmas Eve,” said Judd. “Our hearts go out to the family.”

He said a video exists that shows the plane crashing. Judd said he watched the video and it clearly indicated that no one should have been flying.

“There was no chance of survival,” Judd said. The plane caught fire after crashing. “The only thing you can say is nobody suffered.”

WFLA Storm Team Meteorologist Ed Bloodsworth said around the time of the crash, weather data at the airport was reporting zero visibility of less than 300 feet because of the fog. The weather data is from the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) which is located at the airport.  The Tampa Bay area was under a dense fog advisory until 10 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

Deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and firefighters with Polk County Fire Rescue responded to the scene. Firefighters were dispatched at 7:18 a.m.. They had to drive carefully to the scene because of dense fog in the area. Firefighters arrived on scene at 7:31 a.m. and had the fire under control at 7:44 a.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration said that the plane was a Cessna 340.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration will investigate the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is conducting the death investigation. Once local authorities release the names and conditions of those on board, the Federal Aviation Administration will release the aircraft registration information.

The Bartow Municipal Airport is the former location of a U.S. Air Force Base and is also referred to as the Bartow Air Base. It is located just off of US 17 near Spirit Lake Road.

The cash happened near the PCSO Aviation Unit Hangar, which is on Ben Durrance Road. The Polk County Mosquito Control Office is also nearby.

WFLA Storm Team Meteorologist Ed Bloodsworth said around the time of the crash, weather data at the airport was reporting zero visibility because of the fog. The weather data is from the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) which is located at the airport.  The Tampa Bay area was under a dense fog advisory until 9 a.m.



Story and video ➤ http://wfla.com







BARTOW, Fla. -- Investigators likely will consider dense fog as a contributing factor for a plane crash at Polk County's Bartow Municipal Airport that killed four people.

The twin-engine plane went down just after takeoff around 7:15 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 24, Sheriff Grady Judd said, with emergency operators receiving a call minutes later.

Around the time of the crash, a National Weather Service observation reported visibility at the Bartow airport to be less than a quarter-mile because of fog.

"There was no chance of survival," Judd said. "When you look at the crash, the only thing that you say is, nobody suffered."

An emotional Judd said he was able to review video footage of the crash. He told reporters he personally knew of at least one person onboard.

"Our heart breaks. You know, certainly we wish we could rewind this and if we could, I would wrestle him to the floor to keep him from getting into this airplane this morning," Judd said.

The Polk County fire dispatch earlier confirmed four people were killed, but Judd would not validate that figure.

The plane crashed just north of the airport toward the end of a runway near Ben Durrance Road.

























Polk County Sheriff's Office · This Christmas Eve morning, we were prepared to upload photos of our agency members buying & wrapping donated gifts & toys to deliver to kids all over the county, which took place all week. Instead, we regret to inform you that we are on the scene of a twin-engine plane crash at the Bartow Airbase, with several deaths. We will conduct the death investigations. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration, who are enroute, will investigate the cause of the crash. Polk County Fire Rescue is also on the scene. 

We don't have a lot of information to release at this time, but please join us in praying for these victims and their families.


Be safe, everyone.