Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee, N6177W: Fatal accident occurred May 22, 2018 near Chesapeake Regional Airport (KCPK), Norfolk, Virginia

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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


Location: Chesapeake, VA
Accident Number: ERA18FA150
Date & Time: 05/22/2018, 0728 EDT
Registration: N6177W
Aircraft: PIPER PA28
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 22, 2018, at 0728 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N6177W, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Chesapeake, Virginia. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The privately-owned airplane was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from Chesapeake Regional Airport (CPK), Chesapeake, Virginia, about 0726, and was destined for Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York.

Review of preliminary air traffic control communications provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that while on the ground at CPK, the pilot requested an instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance via telephone at 0704. He was issued instructions to fly a heading of 050° and maintain 3,000 ft. The pilot called back at 0724 advising the flight data controller that he was ready for takeoff, and the controller issued him a clearance void time of 0729, to which the pilot informed the controller he would be airborne within 3 minutes. There were no further communications from the pilot.

Review of preliminary radar track data provided by the FAA revealed that the airplane departed runway 23 at 0726:40, climbed to about 350 ft mean sea level (msl) on a southwest ground track, and began a right turn at 0727:11. Subsequently, the airplane continued turning right and completed a 360° right turn, and during the turn rapidly descended to 75 ft msl and climbed to 600 ft msl. The last data point recorded at 0728:04 was about 0.2 nautical miles from the accident site, which showed the airplane at 375 ft msl, headed 297°, at 42 knots groundspeed.

The airplane came to rest upright in a flat, open field, oriented on a magnetic heading of 325°, about 0.75 nautical miles southwest of CPK. The airplane sustained extensive impact damage, and evidence of a post-impact fire was observed. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and flight control continuity was established from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit area. The stabilator trim drum was measured and correlated to a slight nose up trim setting.

The flap handle was found in the retracted position, and both inboard flap sections were in the retracted position. The main landing gear and nose gear separated from the airframe and were found in the wreckage. The fuel selector valve was impact damaged and separated from the airframe. When disassembled and low-pressure air was applied, the outlet port was open to the right fuel tank. The fuel tank screen was clean and free of blockage.

The cockpit, main cabin area including the seats, and instrument panel were damaged during the impact and post-impact fire. The primary attitude indicator's vacuum gyro separated from its case and was found in the wreckage retained for further examination. An electrical gyro was found lose in an instrument casing that was fire and impact damaged. The throttle, mixture, and other cockpit control knobs and were consumed by fire.

The engine remained attached to the firewall. During an engine examination, the crankshaft was rotated by hand and valve train continuity was established. All cylinders remained attached to the crankcase and thumb compression and suction was observed on all cylinders. Each spark plug displayed varying degrees of impact damage, normal operating and combustion signatures were observed. The cylinders were inspected using a lighted borescope; the cylinder bore, piston faces, and valve heads displayed normal operating and combustion signatures. The standby vacuum system's shuttle valve remained attached to the engine mount. A pull cable was found near the shuttle valve, separated from its attach point and exhibited signatures consistent with overload separation.

The carburetor was found separated from the engine and fractured. The throttle butterfly valve operated freely throughout its range of motion using the throttle arm and cable. The carburetor fuel inlet screen and oil screen were clean and free of debris. The fuel pump was impact and fire damaged. Both magnetos were found with the engine and could not be tested due to impact and thermal damage.

The propeller remained attached to the propeller flange. One blade was found above ground with an s-bend shape. The other blade was found under the engine, with a mid-span rearward 90° bend, and blade polishing.

The vacuum pump remained attached to the accessory section of the engine and displayed impact and fire damage. The vacuum pump was removed and disassembled. The vanes and rotor remained intact, and the shear coupling was thermal damaged and had partially melted.

According to FAA airmen records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land ratings, as well as instrument airplane. He also held a remote pilot certificate for small unmanned aircraft system and a control tower operator certificate. The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on October 17, 2017. At that time, the pilot reported civil flight experience that included 2,100 total hours and 160 hours in preceding 6 months.

The weather conditions reported at CPK, at 0715, included visibility of 1/4 statute mile in fog, an overcast ceiling at 200 ft above ground level, wind 070° at 3 knots, temperature 19°C, and dew point 18°C.

The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N6177W
Model/Series: PA28 140
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: CPK, 18 ft msl
Observation Time: 0715 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 18°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:  / 200 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 70°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 200 ft agl
Visibility:  0.25 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: CHESAPEAKE, VA (CPK)
Destination: FARMINGDALE, NY (FRG) 

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:  36.657500, -76.336944

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

Jeffrey Howard Comeau

Jeffrey H. Comeau, 57, of Chesapeake, passed away Tuesday, May 22, 2018. 

Jeff served eight honorable years in the U.S. Navy. He worked for 19 years as an Air Traffic Controller in Norfolk and seven years as an Air Traffic Supervisor with New York Tracon. He owned a successful contracting business in Hampton Roads, was a private pilot for 41 years, and even recently obtained his drone operators license. 

A memorial service will be conducted at 5:30 p.m., Sunday, June 10, 2018 in the Military Aviation Museum, 1341 Princess Anne Rd., Virginia Beach, VA 23457. A reception will follow the service.  In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Jeff’s name to the Military Aviation Museum.


CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Jeff Comeau, 57, of Chesapeake, Va., tragically died as the result of a small plane crash on May 22, 2018. Jeff had been a private pilot for forty years. He trained as an air traffic controller in the Navy, and served on the U.S.S. Coral Sea in that capacity for two years before being discharged. He then became an air traffic controller for the FAA, where he worked for over 30 years. At the time of his death, he supervised the approaches to all of the airports on the eastern seaboard. This position took him to Long Island, New York, where he worked, then flew home in his airplane to see his family as often as he could. It was on his return from one of these trips that his plane went down after take-off.

Besides flying, Jeff’s passion was animals. He and his wife Kathy shared their home with numerous horses, dogs, and cats, many of whom had come into their lives as strays. He rescued many pets over the years, and gave them a loving home for the rest of their lives. There always seemed to be room for one more.

Jeff is survived by his parents, Geraldine and Howard Comeau, his wife of 30 years Kathy, their three sons, Adam, Joseph and Christopher, and his grandson Keegan, all of Chesapeake, Va., as well as his sister Sue (Randy) Laskaska of Escanaba, his brother Tom (Laura) Comeau of Flemington, NJ., his sister Jen (Kurt) Wilkes of Franklin Lakes, NJ, and many nieces and nephews. Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time, but will be held in Virginia. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, condolences be offered in the form of a donation to the Delta Animal Shelter in Jeff’s name, to help continue the animal rescue efforts he so enjoyed being part of.


A pilot died Tuesday morning when his plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Chesapeake Regional Airport, police and fire officials said.

The Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee crashed in a field about 0.3 miles past the end of the runway, Sgt. Michelle Anaya, State Police spokeswoman, wrote in an email. The plane then caught fire, Anaya said.

The plane took off at 7:26 a.m., Anaya said, and was headed to Farmingdale, N.Y. The Chesapeake Fire Department got a call about a downed plane at 7:33 a.m. and found it in a crop field several hundred feet off West Road, Capt. Steve Bradley said in an email.

The pilot was the only person on board, Anaya said. 

The pilot had not been identified, but federal records show the owner of the plane is Jeffery Comeau of Chesapeake.

People at Comeau’s home this afternoon, some of whom were in tears, did not want to speak to a reporter. A Chesapeake police investigator was at the home.

Anaya said the medical examiner was removing the pilot’s body shortly after noon and would identify him. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration also were headed to the scene, Anaya said.

On Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman with the National Transportation Safety Board said that agency was leading the investigation.

An investigator will document and inspect the plane at the scene and then move it for further examination, said spokesman Terry Williams.

The agency will look at a range of factors, including weather and maintenance records, he said.

Investigators typically spend two to three days at the scene, and an investigation can last a year or longer, Williams said.

Nearly a mile of West Road was closed throughout the day as investigators worked the scene. The road had reopened to traffic by 4:30 p.m., according to the city.

Story and video ➤ https://pilotonline.com

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) -- The National Transportation Safety Board is now leading the investigation into a fatal plane crash Tuesday morning near the Chesapeake Regional Airport. 

Spokesperson Adam Gerhardt says his team will be working with the manufacturers of the airplane and the engine over the next two days to piece everything together. 

"We're not just here to figure out what happened but why it happened to prevent similar accidents from happening again in the future," said Gerhardt. 

The crash was reported around 7:30 a.m., according to Virginia State Police. Authorities say the pilot was the only person in the airplane; however, they have not released the man's name. 

Anaya said the Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee crashed in a field less than half a mile from the end of a runway. The plane caught fire after impact.

Gerhardt says it's still unclear how long the plane was in the air. He says the plane did not have any cockpit voice recorder or flight data recorder but other electronics on board could help investigators retrieve information. 

The pilot never communicated any kind of emergency with air traffic control, Gerhardt says. 

"It would be routine for the pilot to check in with air traffic control and we don't have any record at this time that the pilot checked in," he said. 

The plane was bound for Farmingdale, New York, before it crashed. Flight records show the pilot flew from New York to Chesapeake on May 15.

A medical examiner is working to identify the pilot.

Story and video ➤ http://www.wavy.com

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- Virginia State Police said a pilot died in a small plane crash shortly after he took off from Chesapeake Regional Airport Tuesday morning.

The family confirmed to 13News Now that the pilot was Jeffery Comeou.

Sgt. Michelle Anaya with VSP said the pilot was bound for Farmingdale, New York when the Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee went down around 7:30 a.m. The plane caught fire after the crash.

The Chesapeake Fire Department told 13News Now the crash site was in a crop field that is next to the airport and that the plane was several hundred feet off West Road.

Heavy fog was reported in the area at the time of the crash.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the pilot did not communicate with air traffic control before the crash.

Police blocked off West Road from Airport Drive to Cornland Drive. Around 4:30 p.m. West Road was opened.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Arlene Salac wrote in an email that the agency is also investigating. 

The plane will be staying on the property where the crash happened for the next day or two as the National Transportation Safety Board investigate. From there, the plane will be taken to Delaware to be examined further.

In total, the final report with the probable cause will take about 12 to 18 months to complete.

Story and video ➤ https://www.13newsnow.com

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - A fatal plane crash happened near the Chesapeake Regional Airport Tuesday morning, according to Virginia State Police.

A preliminary investigation revealed the plane took off from the Chesapeake Regional Airport around 7:30 a.m., going to Farmingdale, New York.

The pilot of the aircraft is a man and his identification will be made by the medical examiner, who is on scene. The pilot was the only occupant, State Police said.

The Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee crashed near the end of the runway.  After impact the airplane caught fire and burned.

The pilot has died in the incident, according to State Police.

West Road was closed between Number 10 Lane and Benefit Road while emergency crews responded to the plane crash but it has reopened.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. The National Transportation Safety Board said there will be a full report on what caused the plane to go down in about 10-15 days.

Story and video ➤ http://wtkr.com

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