Monday, April 23, 2018

Bellanca 7GCBC, N8737V, registered to United Aerial Advertising of Delaware Inc: Accident occurred April 23, 2018 at Aeroflex-Andover Airport (12N), Sussex County, New Jersey

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Saddle Brook, New Jersey 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Location: ANDOVER, NJ
Accident Number: WPR18LA125
Date & Time: 04/23/2018, 1550 EDT
Registration: N8737V
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 23, 2018, about 1550 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 7GCBC, N8737V, was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power and loss of control, followed by impact with water near Aeroflex-Andover Airport (12N), Andover, New Jersey. The airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to United Aerial Advertising of Delaware Inc., Wilmington, Delaware. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight, which was being operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, was originating at the time of the accident.

According to a witness who observed the entire accident sequence, after making the first takeoff and experiencing a loss of engine power on initial climb, the pilot made a 180° turn, returned to the airport and landed. After trouble shooting and general maintenance having been performed on the engine, the engine was run at various power settings with no anomalies noted. The witness stated that the pilot attempted to make a second takeoff, however, during initial climb the airplane appeared to stall after experiencing a loss of engine power, followed by the left wing dropping. He was able to recover the airplane to a wings-level attitude, but subsequently impacted water in a flat, belly-flop type attitude. The pilot was rescued by first responders after having successfully egressed the airplane. He was then transported to a local hospital.

The airplane was recovered from the lake and moved to a secured location for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BELLANCA
Registration: N8737V
Model/Series: 7GCBC NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 12N, 583 ft msl
Observation Time: 1554 EDT 
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / -6°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Unknown
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots, 200°
Lowest Ceiling: Unknown
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.38 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Departure Point: Andover, NJ (12N)
Destination: Andover, NJ (12N) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 41.011944, -74.735556 (est)

ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — A single-engine plane that crashed into Lake Aeroflex at Kittatinny Valley State Park on Monday morning is expected to be pulled out of the water sometime today, authorities say.

The pilot, identified by Chief Eric Danielson of the Andover Township Police Department as John Wells, was taking off from the airstrip at Aeroflex-Andover Airport, located within the park, when he crashed into Lake Aeroflex at approximately 11:50 a.m. The lake borders the runway of the airport.

The plane, identified by the Federal Aviation Administration as a two-seat Bellanca CH7A, landed in the middle of the 119-acre lake and was completely submerged within minutes, eyewitnesses said.

"This was a single-engine plane with no other passengers," Danielson said. "The pilot was able to get himself out of the plane and start swimming."

Wells was rescued by police who were able to row out to the pilot and take him to the shore. He was then airlifted from a nearby helipad to Morristown Medical Center where he was treated for back and ankle injuries, Danielson said.

Once the pilot was out of harm's way, efforts began to remove the plane from the water.

Dive teams from Picatinny Arsenal and Jefferson Fire Department Co. No. 2 attempted over the course of several hours to attach a line to the plane so that it could be hauled to shore with the use of a tow truck parked nearby.

At about 7 p.m., Danielson said salvage operations had to be terminated for the day.

"There was some trouble stabilizing the plane, and two of the divers were starting to show signs of hypothermia," Danielson said, adding that workers were also running out of daylight. "Safety is our top priority, so we decided to call it off."

Danielson said a professional salvage team would be called out to remove the plane today.

Justin Leyman, of Wantage, said he was unloading some fishing gear from his truck when he saw the plane fly overhead.

"I heard the engine cut out when it was about halfway across the lake," Leyman said. "I watched it make a sharp left bank and then come down in the water."

The plane landed "belly-down" as opposed to taking a nose dive, Danielson said.

"We're glad the pilot is all right, that was the main thing," Danielson said. "Now we just have to get this plane out of the water."

As the pilot had just taken off from the airstrip with a full tank of gas, Andover Township Fire Department Capt. Kyle Wilson estimated that 30-40 gallons of fuel were on the plane at the time of the crash.

Wilson noted that the fuel may spill into the water when it is pulled to the surface.

Larry Hajna, spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Protection, said the department's Borough of Emergency Response had been called to the scene and would continue to monitor the situation.

A statement issued by the Federal Aviation Administration indicated that the cause of the crash is currently unknown and the incident will remain under investigation.

Andover Township Police Department, the Andover Township Fire Department, the Lakeland EMS squad, New Jersey State Park Police, New Jersey State Police, representatives from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and paramedics from Saint Clare's all responded to the scene throughout the course of the day.

The National Transportation Safety Board has also been notified of the crash.

ANDOVER TOWNSHIP — A light, single-engine plane ran off the runway at Aeroflex-Andover Airport and plunged into Lake Aeroflex on Monday morning, authorities said.

The 49-year-old pilot, the only occupant of the Citabria plane, was able to extricate himself and was swimming to shore when he was rescued by township police, authorities said.

His name has not been released, said Larry Hajna, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection which manages the lake. He said the pilot complained of back and neck injuries.

The airport was closed down late Monday afternoon and not expected to reopen until Tuesday at 4:24 p.m.

Federal Aviation Administration records show the plane, manufactured by Bellanca, is registered to United Aerial Advertising of Delaware, Inc. The company is involved in towing advertising banners, authorities said.

A first responder on scene said the plane took a few minutes to sink. Police grabbed a rowboat from the shore and paddled out to the pilot, the first responder said.

A township police dispatcher confirmed the pilot was rescued from the lake and flown by helicopter to Morristown Medical Center. The incident was reported at 11:50 a.m. Monday.

The plane remains in the lake, said FAA spokesman Jim Peters, who added it is the responsibility of the plane owner to remove it from the lake. Once the plane is out, FAA investigators will examine it to reach a decision on cause of crash.

Citabria planes, which seat two people and are m, are used for flight training and personal reasons, authorities said.

The dispatcher said he did not immediately know whether the pilot was landing or taking off at the time.  

Hajna said the accident happened close to the shore.

Winds were reported as light at Andover today with few clouds in the area, making for an ideal flying day for recreation pilots.

The picturesque airport in Kittatinny Valley State Park is laid out between two lakes: the larger Lake Aeroflex to the north and Gardners Pond to the south. Runway 21 is to the north is 21, and runway 3 south. There is also a grass strip adjacent to the paved runway used for taking off and landing.

Aeroflex Lake is a popular spot for fishing and kayaking, surrounded by trails used heavily on weekends.

The small non-towered airport is used by a close-knit aviation community where several plane owners keep their smaller single-engine aircrafts.

The runway, 1,981 feet long and 50 feet wide, is ideal for tailwheel planes such as the iconic yellow Piper J-3 Cub. Several of those models can be spotted parked at the field. Tailwheel airplanes are often used for banner towing operations.

The FAA was notified. New Jersey State Forest Service, Andover Police, Andover fire, EMTs, and New Jersey Park Police were also involved, Hajna said.

The public airport and lake are part of Kittatinny Valley State Park and run by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, which is part of the NJDEP's Division of Parks and Forestry.  

Original article can be found here ➤

ANDOVER TOWNSHIP - Authorities say a small plane crashed into a lake near a small airport in Sussex County Monday morning.

Officials say that the pilot was the sole occupant of the plane, and that he freed himself from the wreckage and swam away before a police rowboat plucked him from the water.

The single-engine plane went down shortly before noon near the Aeroflex-Andover Airport. It ended up in Lake Aeroflex in Newton, which is the state's deepest natural lake.

Authorities say the pilot was taking off from the airport when the crash occurred. He was taken to a hospital, but his name and further details on his injuries were not disclosed.

The airport is in Kittatinny Valley State Park and is owned by the state's Forest Fire Service.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.

Story and video ➤

A pilot who crashed his Bellanca Citabria into a lake next to a Sussex County airport on Monday got out before it sank and was swimming toward shore when a police rowboat plucked him from the frigid water, authorities said.

The 49-year-old pilot was alone in the plane and complained of neck and back pain upon being rescued from Lake Aeroflex, state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said.

He was flown to Morristown Medical Center with what were described as non-life threatening injuries.

No one else was on the lake at the time of the 11:50 a.m. crash, but at least one person witnessed it and called 9-1-1, Andover Police Chief Eric Danielson said.

"The plane had taken off, went up, banked hard to the left and then went down -- not a straight nosedive, but landed more so on the belly of the plane and then tipped over and went down," Danielson said. 

Danielson said the plane was between 100 to 150 yards from shore when it crashed and sank to the bottom in at least 50 feet of water.

"The plane is totally submerged. You can't even see the tail," Danielson said.

Recounting the rescue, Danielson said Andover Township police officers Richard Then and Alex Price were rowing toward the pilot within 5 minutes of the 9-1-1 call.

The Federal Aviation Administration spokesman is investigating. FAA spokesman Jim Peters describe the plane as a Bellanca CH7A model.

Aeroflex-Andover Airport is in Kittatinny Valley State Park and is owned by the New Jersey State Forest Fire Service. The runway is 1,981 feet long and there is water at both ends of the runway.

The airport is owned by the New Jersey State Forest Fire Service.

Story and video ➤

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