Wednesday, May 30, 2018

North American SNJ-2 Texan, registered to SNJ-2 Corporation and operated by Skytypers: Fatal accident occurred May 30, 2018 in Melville, Suffolk County, New York

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Melville, NY
Accident Number: WPR18FA155
Date & Time: 05/30/2018, 1348 EDT
Registration: N62382
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On May 30, 2018, about 1348 eastern daylight time, a North American SNJ-2, N62382, impacted terrain following a loss of control shortly after takeoff from Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to SNJ-2 Corp., and operated by Skytypers as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 repositioning cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The airplane was one of six airplanes intended to fly in formation and destined for Patuxent River Naval Air Station (NHK), Patuxent River, Maryland.

A flight instructor, who was in the airport traffic pattern for runway 14, reported that he observed the number 5 airplane and number 6 (accident airplane) depart in formation to the northeast without incident. The instructor stated that he saw the number 5 airplane initiate a climbing right 180° turn, similar to a chandelle maneuver, from an altitude of about 800 feet above ground level (agl). He estimated that throughout the turn, the bank angle of the airplane was about 70° to 80°, until it reached an altitude of about 1,200 feet agl. The instructor further reported that he observed the number 6 airplane conduct the same maneuver, however, at the top of the turn, the airplane entered a spin, and remained in a constant rate spin, until it descended into terrain. The instructor added that it appeared that no attempt to recover had been initiated.

The pilot of the lead airplane (number 1) who was holding northeast of the airport, stated that his rear seated passenger observed the accident airplane pass underneath their holding area and make a climbing "high-G" turn to the left. The airplane subsequently entered a spin and spiraled to the ground.

A video provided by a witness located near the accident site captured the airplane in a steep nose-down attitude, rotating around its vertical axis, until impacting the ground.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted trees and terrain in a vertical, nose-down attitude. Wreckage debris field was contained to within 50ft of the main wreckage. A post-impact fire consumed most of the left wing, cabin and aft fuselage. The wreckage was recovered to a secure facility for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: NORTH AMERICAN
Registration: N62382
Model/Series: SNJ 2 2
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Skytyper
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFRG, 81 ft msl
Observation Time: 1653 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 1200 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots, 140°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Farmingdale, NY (FRG)
Destination: PATUXENT RIVER, MD (NHK) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 40.768333, -73.390278

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

Ken Johansen

The Federal Aviation Administration has interviewed the pilots who were flying in tandem when a team member died after his vintage plane crashed into a Melville neighborhood, an official said Thursday.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said the agency, along with the FAA, are trying to determine what caused the World War II-era North American T-6 Texan to crash into a wooded area on Wednesday, killing its sole occupant, Ken Johansen, 52.

Johansen had flown days earlier in the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach as part of the famous GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team.

The FAA has shared information from the pilot interviews with the NTSB.

“We are doing the standard things: looking at the pilot’s record, maintenance records, the engine,” NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said Thursday morning. “We are still in the very, very early stages of this investigation.”

Johansen, an executive officer with the Skytypers, had taken off from Republic Airport in East Farmingdale headed to Maryland with five other planes from the team on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the flying group said. No one on the ground was injured in the crash, police said.

Records show the plane was a vintage fixed-wing, single-engine craft, manufactured in 1942. It was commonly used by pilots in the Navy and Air Force as a training aircraft.

On Thursday morning, the Skytypers website was replaced with a statement about the crash and an image of Johansen, a professional commercial airline pilot and former Navy aviator from Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

“Fortunately, there were no injuries on the ground, however, we lost a dear friend,” the statement read. “Ken was loved and admired by many in the aviation community, his family and friends, as well as those in his hometown of Doylestown, PA. Our hearts are broken as we mourn his passing.”

“The outpouring of kind thoughts and wishes at this sad time are greatly appreciated,” the statement ended.

Johansen was married with two children and his father was a Skytypers instructor, Bob Johansen. The younger Johansen first flew with the team when he was 8 years old, according to the group.

The Skytypers website had said Wednesday that Ken Johansen is a captain for a major airline.

He was a United Airlines pilot, said United spokeswoman Maddie King.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of First Officer Ken Johansen,” King said in a statement. “The thoughts of the entire United family are with his loved ones.”

MELVILLE, Suffolk County (WABC) -- A small vintage plane crashed in Suffolk County on Long Island Wednesday afternoon, killing the pilot.

Authorities said the pilot, identified as Ken Johansen, was the only one on board the small plane that crashed at 1:52 p.m. along Northcote Drive in Melville.

The plane took down a number of trees as it was on the way down but did not hit any houses. It landed about 200 feet from the nearest home, authorities said.

No one on the ground was injured.

The crash involved a GEICO Skytypers plane from Republic Airport in East Farmingdale.

Johansen was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a Naval aviator, and a professional airline pilot. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

An investigation is underway involving the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The World Famous GEICO Skytypers Air Show Team is a flight squadron of six vintage WWII aircraft based on Long Island performing precision flight maneuvers at select air shows across the US.

Original article can be found here ➤

A pilot was killed when a small plane went down on Long Island Wednesday afternoon, according to authorities. 

The North American SNJ-2 Texan plane crashed on Northcote Drive near Spagnoli Road in Melville about 2 p.m., according to a representative for the town of Huntington.

Pilot Ken Johansen was the only one on board the plane when it crashed, according to Geico Skytypers, the Republic Airport-based aerobatic group that owns the plane and flies WWII-era training planes.

The Skytypers had six planes flying in formation before one spiraled out of control. 

Johansen was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a Naval aviator and a professional airline pilot, according to Skytypers. He leaves behind a wife and two children.  

According to aviation officials, the plane involved was a T6 Texan, a high-performance World War II-era training craft. The Skytypers were scheduled to fly at the canceled Jones Beach Air Show last weekend.  

"A careful and thorough investigation is already underway. We are working with local law enforcement, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board," a spokeswoman for Skytypers said in a statement. "Our thoughts are with Ken and his family."

Images posted to Twitter by Lauren Peller showed firefighters battling what appears to be a burning plane at the crash site.

Peller said the plane crashed right outside her home. No homes were damaged.

Original article can be found here ➤

The pilot of a North American SNJ-2 Texan plane — part of a team that performed in the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach — died Wednesday afternoon in a fiery crash in a residential area in Melville, officials said.

The victim was flying a GEICO Skytyper plane, a spokeswoman for the Skytypers said. No one else was on board.

The Skytypers identified the pilot as Ken Johansen, 52, a professional airline pilot who was a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and a Naval aviator. He is survived by his wife and two children.

“A careful and thorough investigation is already underway,” spokeswoman Brenda Little said in a statement. “We are working with local law enforcement, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board. Our thoughts are with Ken and his family.”

Johansen was the son of a Skytyper instructor Bob Johansen. The younger Johansen first flew with the team when he was 8 years old.

The plane crashed shortly before 2 p.m. along Northcote Drive, crashing in the street a few hundred feet from a row of homes, Melville First Assistant Fire Chief David Kaplan said.

Video shows the plane plummeting from the sky in a direct vertical drop.

“The three planes were flying very close together in formation. Then the forth plane was on his own. He did a full vertical loop on his own and when he came out of the loop, all of a sudden, the plane went up, then went straight down, like a rocket,” said Rob Olsen, 52, from Levittown, who was outside the Huntington Hills rehab center and saw the crash.

“Literally straight down. There was no weird circling or waving back and forth. It looked like he was intentionally going straight down. It happened very, very fast,” said Olson.

The Melville Fire Department, along with a crash truck from Republic Airport, responded and extinguished the fire in about 10 minutes. The first responders, Kaplan said, found the pilot dead.

Photos show the plane on fire, right alongside the woods and the road. Once the fire was out, the plane lay in shattered pieces, and the tail sat in the street alongside several downed tree limbs. Some parts of the aircraft were in the woods on the other side of the road.

“It’s extremely lucky that nothing was hit,” Kaplan said. “Houses were approximately 200 feet away.”

Suffolk police Chief of Department Stuart Cameron said no one on the ground was injured.

“It was fortunate that the plane crashed in the wooded area and not the residential part,” Cameron said. The area is flanked by a nursery and homes on one side and a grove of trees on the other.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating the crash of an SNJ-2 aircraft. The plane is the same type flown by the Skytypers. Calls made to the group Wednesday afternoon were not immediately returned.

Records show the plane was a fixed-wing, single-engine craft, manufactured in 1942. The SNJ was commonly used by pilots in the Navy and Air Force as a training aircraft.

Terry Williams, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency was in “the early stages of our investigation” into the crash.

NTSB investigators, he said, will examine the aircraft and its engine, speak with witnesses and look at the plane’s maintenance records.

A recording from Air Traffic Control at Republic Airport in East Farmingdale indicated that the plane was one of the Skytypers.

“I believe we just saw somebody go down,” the air traffic controller said in a recording posted on the website, which includes audio uploaded by commercial pilots.

On the recording, several other Skytyper pilots still in the air at the time of the crash tell the air traffic controller that there are plumes of thick black smoke and fire in a wooded area.

Multiple witnesses reported seeing the plane go down.

Accountant Lou Scaglione was outside during his lunch break when he saw a formation of what he described as five World War II planes. The next time he looked there were four. Then, he saw smoke over the trees.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Scaglione, 53, of Deer Park. “These planes are part of Long Island.”

Mike Jewels, 22, who lives down the street from the crash, said he was on his way home from work when he heard the loud sound of a plane overhead.

“I turned down the block and saw all these flames and smoke,” he said.

The small plane was fully engulfed in flames.

“Under the smoke, I saw the form of an airplane,” he said.

He added, “It’s scary. You see a lot of planes around here. You never expect one to crash.”

The crash happened roughly 2 miles from Newsday, where Kenneth McDougall works as a security officer.

McDougall learned about the crash from a co-worker, who had seen the plane go down. The former New York City correction investigator was on his way to patrol the Newsday grounds, but headed to the crash site when he saw smoke.

At the scene, McDougall directed a bystander to call the police and fire departments. Then he took a fire extinguisher from his company car and joined two neighbors who were trying to put out the fire with garden hoses. Firefighters arrived a few minutes later.

McDougall said he looked for signs of the pilot but didn’t see any.

Fred Meuser, 88, a resident of the Huntington Hills Center for Health & Rehabilitation in Melville, said he and several others were out on the second floor veranda when he saw three planes in formation heading north. A fourth plane entered the picture, he said, and was looking to join the others, when, “all of a sudden it fell like a rock,” straight down.

Meuser, who said he was a member of the Commack Fire Department for 59 years, including serving as its chief, said he was “waiting for it to pull out,” but then saw the smoke.

Al Alami, 21, of Queens, was landing at nearby Republic Airport in East Farmingdale in a Piper Warrior when he saw the plane that crashed heading toward the ground.

“I only saw the smoke; I didn’t see the fire,” Alami said. “But my instructor saw the flames and pointed it out.”

A spokeswoman for Republic, where the Skytypers are based, said she had no information on the plane’s destination or original location.

Kaplan said it was his understanding the plane originated at Republic.

The Skytypers’ Memorial Day performance on Saturday, they said, was a brand-new one, including more rolls and bursts at center stage.

Over time, owner Larry Arken said, the team his father founded has switched its focus to stunts from the unique skytyping that initially was their bread and butter.

Original article can be found here ➤

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