Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Cessna 172R Skyhawk, Ardmore Flying School: Accident occurred January 09, 2018 in Hunua Ranges, Auckland, New Zealand

The Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew lifted both the pilot and flying instructor out of the Hunua Ranges bush where the plane made an emergency landing on January 9.

An aerial view of the dense bush, taken from the crash scene by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew.

A light plane that came down in dense bush in South Auckland on Tuesday evening is understood to have made a precautionary landing due to a suspected fuel leak.

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) senior communications advisor Philippa Lagan confirmed an Ardmore Flying School instructor and student were on a terrain awareness training flight that went down in the Hunua Ranges.

"The latest information we have was that it was a precautionary landing due to a fuel leak.

An aerial view of the dense bush, taken from the crash scene by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew.

"The plane is a Cessna 172 but we're not sure of the state of it as it's in an isolated, very dense bush area and hasn't been retrieved yet," Lagan said today.

The CAA is investigating the incident that saw the pilot lodge a distress call with nearby Ardmore Airport at around 4.45pm on Tuesday.

The pilot said they had made an emergency landing, but were unsure exactly where they were in the Hunua Ranges regional park.

Police and other emergency services spent some time in the area searching for the aircraft before locating the pair.

Westpac Rescue Helicopter said crew helped locate a man in his late teens and a woman in her 20s. 

The pair were winched to safety with minor to moderate injuries.

A Westpac crew member said "they were lucky to be alive". 

A person answering the phone at Ardmore Flying School on Wednesday said it wouldn't be commenting at this stage.

Story and photos ➤ https://www.stuff.co.nz

Fly Jamaica sets up 24-hour call center for stranded passengers in Guyana

Fly Jamaica Airways on Tuesday agreed to establish a 24-hour call centre in Guyana to respond to inquiries by hundreds of Guyanese who have been stranded in recent weeks, as the carrier takes steps to acquire aircraft to alleviate the situation.

The decisions were taken at a meeting to which airline executives were summoned by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), the local regulator.

“Based on the outcome of the meeting, Fly Jamaica has committed to immediately operationalize a 24-hour Call Centre for passengers in Guyana to get updates and other information regarding their bookings with the Airline.

Fly Jamaica Officials also committed to contact passengers and provide them with updates of their flight bookings. Passengersare asked to call the Airline on telephone numbers 222-0227 or 222-5556 to speak with a Customer Service Representative of Fly Jamaica,” the GCAA said.

Whenever Fly Jamaica’s flights are delayed, it is very difficult to contact representatives by telephone at the Guyana offices to provide updates on flight schedules.

The regulatory agency said Fly Jamaica informed that it is expected to have its own Boeing 767 aircraft in operation as early as Thursday January 11, 2018 “to relieve the backlog of passengers left stranded in Guyana and other destinations.” Additionally, the GCAA said Fly Jamaica advised that it has arranged to lease a B757 aircraft from National Airlines to operate between Kingston, Jamaica and JFK in New York.

The meeting was hosted by GCAA Director General, Retired Lt.Col; Egbert Field “to express the Authority’s dissatisfaction with the prolonged delays and cancellations being experienced by passengers,and to be updated on solutions in addressing the matter.”

Representing Fly Jamaica at the meeting was Mr. Carl Bowen,Commercial Operations Manager and Ms. Patricia Reece, Director, Wings Aviation.

The GCAA said the Fly Jamaica officials informed that its fleet of aircraft which had to undergo unscheduled and mandatory scheduled maintenance checks, was one of the reasons for the delays and cancellations.

“During this period the operation which continued with the use of at least four charter services was intermittently disrupted by crew shortages in those companies. In addition, the adverse weather conditions in New York affected their scheduled flights with the aircraft that were leased to continue its operations in the absence of their regular fleet,” the GCAA said in its statement.

The meeting was chaired by Lt. Col. Field. Present were Mr. Saheed Sulaman, Director, Air Transport Management, Mr. Abraham Dorris, Manager, Aviation Security, Captain Christopher Kirkcaldy, Director (ag), Aviation Safety Regulations, Mr. Dinello Mahabir, Air Transport Officer and Mr. Rashan Reid, Public Communications Officer of the GCAA.

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

Incident occurred January 08, 2018 in Pehiri, New Zealand

A topdresser aircraft clipped and brought down power lines in an incident at Pehiri on Monday morning. It happened at about 9.30am.

“There was a wire stike on the 50kV line that serves the Pehiri and Ngatapa areas, and lines were brought down,” said Eastland Network general manager Brent Stewart.

“It involved a topdressing aircraft.”

The Herald understands the pilot was able to land the aircraft safely after the accident.

“Thankfully it appears the pilot was not injured,” Mr. Stewart said.

“Many Gisborne residents would have noticed a flicker in their electricity at around the time the lines were struck and around 250 connections in the immediate area experienced an outage.”

Power was fully restored within an hour “although we will need to do some further repair work to the 50kV lines at a later date”.

Mr. Stewart said Eastland Network had been in contact with the topdressing company about the incident.

The Herald also contacted the company involved but they declined to comment.

The Civil Aviation Authority was advised of the incident by the Rescue Coordination Centre on Monday.

“We have since spoken with the pilot,” said CAA spokesman Mike Richards.

“A safety investigator has been assigned to the case. At this stage we are in the information gathering phase.”

Mr. Richards said it was unlikely any further information would be made available while the investigation was underway.

The mishap comes just over a year after the fatal topdresser crash that claimed the lives of pilot George Peter Anderson, 37, and loader operator Robert Solouota, 49, both from Gisborne.

The men died when a Cresco aircraft struck high tension power lines in the Hangaroa area on Monday, December 12, 2016.

The accident cut power to the district for two-and-a-half days. 

Original article can be found here ➤ http://gisborneherald.co.nz

International Civil Aviation Organization pulls up Directorate General of Civil Aviation for not introducing licensing system for air traffic controllers

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) had recommended to the DGCA that air traffic controllers be issued licences. But the government feels there is already a sufficient security mechanism in place.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has pulled up Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) for not putting in place a licence system for air traffic controllers (ATCOs) in India ever after six years of its recommendation.

A five-member ICAO team which conducted an audit in November 2017 to assess whether the DGCA’s regulations conformed with its norms, found that the Indian safety regulator had not complied with a recommendation to introduce licensing system for ATCOs.

The Montreal-based ICAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations which was set up in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.

The non-compliance can downgrade India’s ranking in aviation safety which could prevent it from launching more flights to countries such as US, though not necessarily.

“What we may or may not report with respect to a safety oversight audit mission is governed by the same MOU which all States have agreed to respective of these visits,” Anthony Philbin, chief of communications, ICAO told HT in an email.

In 2015, India’s score on effective implementation of licensing process was 89.47% on ICAO’s website whereas the global index was 72.72%. Experts believe that the November 2017 audit might bring India’s percentage down.

The purpose of licensing ATCOs is to ensure safety and security in the operation of civil aviation.

“ICAO audit team expressed dissatisfaction and asked DGCA to comply with its norms urgently,” said a source in DGCA.

It contradicts the aviation ministry’s official stand, released a day after the audit on November 17, 2017 which said, “As per preliminary feedback, the audit team was satisfied with the safety system put in place by the safety regulator.”

A senior official from the DGCA, requesting anonymity, told HT, “The DGCA had initiated the process to issue license to ATCOs in 2012 but the aviation ministry had a contrary view. It felt that ATCOs are the employees of Airport Authority of India, a government undertaking. So it’s not required as government has put in place strict mechanism for ensuring aviation security.”

On March 3, 2012, the ministry had made a provision in the Aircraft Rules for the mandatory licensing of ATCOs, but licences were not issued. On May 1, 2017 it inserted a clause that government employees “may be engaged in provision of air traffic services without possessing an air traffic controller’s licence.”

When contacted, civil aviation ministry’s spokesperson Usha Padhee asked HT to get in touch with BS Bhullar, director general of civil aviation.

Bullar initially said that he would respond after the Parliament session but he didn’t respond to subsequent calls and messages.

ICAO conducts Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme under which it gives protocol questions to DGCA and then verifies the response by inspecting documents and relevant files. Last year’s audit was in the areas of personal licensing, airworthiness, operations, legislation and organization.

“A significant safety concern (SSC) does not necessarily indicate a particular safety deficiency in the air navigation service providers, airlines (air operators), aircraft or aerodrome; but, rather, indicates that the State is not providing sufficient safety oversight to ensure the effective implementation of applicable ICAO Standards,” ICAO says in its website.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.hindustantimes.com

Integra Air files lawsuit against CanWest, Alberta Health Services over air ambulance contract

MEDICINE HAT, AB — Integra Air has filed a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services and CanWest over the rewarding of an air ambulance contract to CanWest.

The lawsuit was filed in Medicine Hat civic court on January 3, and is in regards to the request for proposals AHS issued for an air ambulance contract in the province, which was awarded to CanWest. Integra Air alleges the request for proposals favoured CanWest over other companies.

“For us, it was the fact that we played by the rules, we’ve filed our RFP based on truth and things that existed, our hangars, our aircraft,” said Integra Air CEO John Macek, over the phone from Calgary. “We were honest and upfront, and then we learned that none of that seemed to matter.”

Macek alleges CanWest did not meet the requirements of the request for proposal, saying they did not have a working hangar in place when the contract was awarded.

CanWest was awarded the contract to provide AHS air ambulance service for Medicine Hat in November. In December, the city approved hangar space for CanWest, which is currently under construction. Integra Air is currently providing the service until April 1, when CanWest is scheduled to take over.

Last week, CanWest CEO Jake Fehr told CHAT News that the hangar will be up and operating as scheduled. Fehr said Tuesday the company is not commenting on the lawsuit, as it is before the courts, but notes it will not impact construction on the new hangar.

CanWest provides air ambulance service for eight communities in the province, including Calgary and Edmonton. Macek is also concerned about one company offering air ambulance service for much of the province, citing West Wind Aviation in Saskatchewan as an example. A West Wind plane crashed near Fond du Lac last month, and had its air operation certificate suspended by Transport Canada not long after the crash. It’s an issue he discussed with Les Little, formerly of Bar XH in Medicine Hat.

“AHS always opted away from the one-carrier policy, because of this problem,” said Macek. “With eight of the 10 bases being operated by one person, one company, there is definitely a risk. If they have an accident or if Transport Canada shuts them down, then there’s no air ambulance service in Alberta, except for Alberta Central up in Fort McMurray.”

CHAT News reached out to Alberta Health Services for a comment, and they provided a statement from Darren Sandbeck, chief paramedic with AHS.

"Alberta Health Services has been assured by its contracted operator, CanWest, that appropriate hangar space will be ready by April 1, 2018,” the statement reads.

"With respect to the other matters, as they are now before the courts we are unable to provide any further comment other than to say that AHS remains confident that it conducted a fair RFP process with the goal of ensuring excellent air ambulance service across the province. With respect to any specific allegations that have been made, AHS denies any wrongdoing and will be preparing a full answer and defense in due course, vigorously defending the RFP process and resulting contract decision."

Macek says the request for proposals process was flawed and wants it restarted.

“It damages us, both reputation and financially,” he said. “ The (ideal) end result would be, I’d like to see the RFP quashed, and a new RFP issued and it done fairly, so that everybody has the same level playing field.”

Original article can be found here ➤ http://chatnewstoday.ca

Panama Receives 2 Helicopters, 1 Airplane after Accord with Finmeccanica

PANAMA CITY – The Panamanian government on Monday took delivery of two top-of-the-line helicopters and one airplane as part of an agreement signed with Italian multinational Finmeccanica almost a year ago ending a lengthy trade dispute.

“We’re working not only to make the state’s finances more healthy but also to recover badly invested funds, via well-negotiated agreements, which permit the Panamanian people to receive in record time important rescue equipment to deal with emergencies and guard our skies and coasts,” said Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela.

The president, who delivered the aircraft to the National Air-Naval Service (Senan) at a symbolic ceremony, said that the AW139M choppers include bulletproof shielding and “have the ability for night flight and troop insertion in hostile areas.”

The airplane, meanwhile, is a Twin Otter DHC 6 Series 400 with Canadian navigation technology “that will allow it to get to areas in our country that are difficult to access,” Varela said.

Panama, during the 2009-2014 administration of former President Ricardo Martinelli, in 2010 signed a $250 million security agreement to buy assorted items from Finmeccanica firms, one of Italy’s most important public-private conglomerates.

The accord included the purchase of about 20 radars for $125 million, six helicopters for $100 million and a digital map for $25 million.

Varela, as soon as he had assumed the presidency, in August 2014 suspended the radar contract because it presented “serious deficiencies,” thus sparking a trade dispute that was settled extrajudicially in February 2016.

The pact freed Panama from paying some $42 million and provided the country with a loan of about $95 million to buy any products manufactured by Finmeccanica, Varela confirmed on Monday.

He also said that the accord reached with the Italian conglomerate helped Panama “strengthen its capacity to fulfill its international commitments without damage to the public treasury and recover its status as a reliable contractor, faithful in fulfilling its obligations and responsible before the international community.”

Panama to date has received two airplanes, one ambulance helicopter, two patrol helicopters and eight intercept boats, while in the coming months another Twin Otter aircraft, a Beechcraft King Air light plane and a Damen barge will be delivered to the Central American nation, Varela said.

According to the Italian Attorney General’s Office, former Martinelli government officials and former Finmeccanica executives agreed to the payment of millions in bribes in exchange for the contracts.

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.laht.com

Dallas County man sues aviation school over back injury

HOUSTON – A Dallas County man studying to become an aviation mechanic claims that he suffered a back injury after a class last year.

Steven Rittman’s lawsuit against Training Services, Inc., doing business as Aviation Institute of Maintenance, states that Rittman sustained the injury as he and another student were stacking tables in a classroom on March 30, 2017.

A professor employed by the defendant reportedly instructed the plaintiff and his classmate to perform the task at the conclusion of the class.

“While Steven began lifting the tables, something suddenly snapped in Rittman’s back,” court papers say. “Rittman instantly felt sharp pains shooting up his spine. No longer able to support his own weight, much less the weight of the table, Rittman fell to the ground in agony.”

The suit faults the respondent for failing to provide proper supervision and supply safety equipment.

Consequently, Rittman seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

He is represented by attorney Tej R. Paranjpe of the law firm Paranjpe & Mahadass LLP in Houston.

Harris County 55th District Court Case No. 2018-1399 

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

Seaborne Airlines Signs Agreement To Be Acquired by Silver Airways: New Financing and Restructuring Process Ensures All Flight Schedules Remain Unchanged

Sea Star Holdings Inc., parent company for Seaborne Puerto Rico LLC, Seaborne Virgin Islands, Inc. and affiliates, announced on Monday that the company has commenced a voluntary reorganization proceeding under Title 11 of the US Code in order to implement new financing and a sale to affiliates of Silver Airways, LLC.

Seaborne will continue its business without interruption, including all existing flight operations in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and throughout the Caribbean. Tickets held by customers will continue to be valid and Seaborne will be taking bookings for future travel, as normal.

Seaborne also announced that it has secured a new $4.2 million credit facility and concurrently entered into a purchase agreement (subject to court approval and potential overbids) to sell substantially all of its business and assets to Silver Airways. This will facilitate a combination between Seaborne and Silver Airways, creating the industry’s leading regional carrier in the Caribbean, Florida, and the Bahamas, the company said.

Silver Airways is a U.S. airline with its headquarters in Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Broward County, Florida. It was founded in 2010 with assets from the former Gulfstream International Airlines and currently operates around 170 daily scheduled flights to 10 cities in Florida and 8 destinations in the Bahamas, with hubs at Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.

“While the Company’s business has enjoyed a remarkable recovery since the 2017 hurricanes, the financial stress caused during the recovery period coupled with legacy liabilities have made it necessary to seek reorganization protection,” said Ben Munson, acting CEO of Seaborne Airlines. “Our day-to-day operations will continue as normal, and this process will be in the best interests of all of our customers and stakeholders.”

Passenger service and safety will continue to be top priorities for the company, according to the release. Seaborne will operate normal flight schedules and conduct business as usual, honoring all ticketed reservations and rules of the company’s contract of carriage. The company will also maintain its codeshare partnerships that facilitate easy connections to partner airlines and our Seamiles program will remain active.

For more information please visit: https://www.seaborneairlines.com/restructure/ 

Original article can be found here ➤ http://viconsortium.com

SpaceX Indicates Its Rocket Didn’t Cause Loss of Spy Satellite: Company suggests unspecified problems beyond booster performance led to botched deployment of highly classified spacecraft

The satellite code-named Zuma was launched from Florida on board a Falcon 9 rocket on Sunday.  

The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor
January 9, 2018 3:37 p.m. ET

Elon Musk’s SpaceX said it wasn’t responsible for the loss of an expensive U.S. spy satellite it launched over the weekend, pointing instead to unspecified problems with the payload or mechanisms that attached it and eventually were supposed to release it from the rocket.

But Tuesday’s terse company statement—coupled with continuing silence from federal authorities and a flurry of sometimes contradictory media reports—left the precise cause of the botched mission as unclear as ever.

Lawmakers and congressional staffers from the Senate and the House have been briefed about the satellite—code-named Zuma and launched from Florida on board a Falcon 9 rocket—which is believed to have plummeted back into the atmosphere, according to government and industry officials. Presumed to be a total loss, the satellite didn’t separate as planned from the upper part of the rocket, these officials said.

Space Exploration Technologies Corp., as the company is formally known, in its latest statement appeared to pin the blame elsewhere by saying a data review indicated the rocket “did everything correctly” and management has concluded “no design, operational or other changes are needed.”

The two-paragraph statement by company President Gwynne Shotwell, who also said future launch schedules aren’t expected to be affected, suggests that the culprit was a glitch with the adapter that attached the satellite to the rocket or some malfunction with the satellite itself. Industry officials tracking the investigation said the satellite’s protective cover separated as planned.

But SpaceX declined to elaborate and Northrop Grumman Corp. , which built the satellite, said under its normal procedures it doesn’t comment on classified projects.

The satellite’s mission and fate, however, sparked intense interest in industry circles and on Capitol Hill, partly because of what is believed to be a multibillion-dollar price tag and the apparent rush to get it into orbit. It was placed on SpaceX’s manifest with scant advance notice.

Once the engine powering a rocket’s expendable second stage stops firing, whatever it is carrying is supposed to separate and proceed on its own trajectory. The separation procedure generally isn’t considered as vital or complex as proper engine firing, but problems with it have been known to disable satellites carried by other rockets in the past.

If a satellite isn’t set free at the right time or is damaged upon release, it can be dragged back toward earth.

Scheduled for mid-November, Zuma’s launch was delayed when SpaceX announced engineers “wanted to take a closer look at data from recent” tests of a fairing, or protective covering for a satellite, used for another customer. At the time, the company didn’t publicly outline what prompted the additional testing. Fairings are used to shield satellites that are carried near the nose of the rocket. They remain in place during the early phases of the ascent, but are jettisoned before final insertion into orbit.

During the launch, SpaceX didn’t signal any problems with the fairing or associated hardware. A real-time videotape broadcast of the flight on SpaceX’s website was halted shortly after the covering separated from the rocket, a move intended to block public view of the highly classified satellite.

Prior to launch, some trade press reports indicated Northrop Grumman provided the adapter attaching the payload to the rocket. But the companies haven’t confirmed that detail. Over the years, the Falcon 9 hasn’t experienced difficulties with hardware designed to release satellites into space.

SpaceX’s usual protocols should provide engineers with a huge cache of video images and sensor data as they delve into what happened.

The lack of public details about what occurred means that some possible alternate sequence of events other than a failed separation still could turn out to be the culprit. But SpaceX’s repeated assertions that the rocket performed exactly as expected—from blastoff to final engine shutdown—make that increasingly unlikely.

For rapidly growing SpaceX, which seeks to establish itself as a reliable, low-cost launch provider for the Pentagon, the failed mission came at an important juncture. The company is stepping up competition for more national-security launches against its primary rival, a joint venture between Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

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

Piper PA-22-150, N3821P: Incident occurred January 07, 2018 - Bear Glacier, Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

While taxiing, aircraft encountered a soft spot on beach and nosed over.


Date: 07-JAN-18
Time: 22:00:00Z
Regis#: N3821P
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 22 150
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Operation: 91

Cessna 177RG Cardinal, N53073, LD & D Air Inc: Incident occurred January 08, 2018 at Boca Raton Airport (KBCT), Palm Beach County, Florida

Aircraft landed with landing gear retracted.

LD & D Air Inc: http://registry.faa.gov/N53073

Date: 08-JAN-18
Time: 16:00:00Z
Regis#: N53073
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 177RG
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

Cessna 170A, N9972A, registered to and operated by a private individual: Accident occurred January 06, 2018 at Ponca City Regional Airport (KPNC), Kay County, Oklahoma

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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


Location: Ponca City, OK
Accident Number: CEN18LA070
Date & Time: 01/06/2018, 1100 CST
Registration: N9972A
Aircraft: CESSNA 170
Injuries: 4 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 9, 2018, about 1100 central standard time, a Cessna 170A airplane, N9972A, departed the side of the runway at the Ponca City Regional Airport (KPNC), Ponca City, Oklahoma. The pilot and three passengers were not injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight which operated without a flight plan.

According to information collected by the responding Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the airplane was attempting to depart runway 35 at KPNC. During the takeoff, the airplane began to drift, and the pilot attempted to keep the airplane tracking straight. The right landing gear separated from the airplane and the airplane veered off the runway. Substantial damage was sustained to the airplane's wing and fuselage.

The airplane was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N9972A
Model/Series: 170 A
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: KPNC, 1000 ft msl
Observation Time: 1100 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: -1°C / -10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots, 100°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.37 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Ponca City, OK (PNC)
Destination: ENID, OK (WDG) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 None
Latitude, Longitude: 36.731944, -97.099722 (est)

Robinson R44 II, N797JR, registered to S2 Helicopter Services and operated by an individual: Accident occurred January 08, 2018 in Albany, Shackelford County, Texas

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

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

S2 Helicopter Services LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N797JR

Location: Albany, TX
Accident Number: CEN18LA069
Date & Time: 01/08/2018, 1345 CST
Registration: N797JR
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 8, 2018, at 1345 central standard time, a Robinson R44 helicopter, N797JR, collided with trees and the terrain during an autorotation following a loss of tailrotor effectiveness while in a hover in Albany, Texas. The commercial pilot was not injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was registered to S2 Helicopter Services and was operated by an individual as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from a ranch in Albany, Texas, at 1310.

The pilot stated he was using the helicopter to roundup cattle when the accident occurred. He reported he just applied power to stabilize in a hover about 50 ft above the ground, when he heard a single loud bang and "felt it in the pedals." The helicopter then began to spin to the right, and the pilot applied full left pedal which had no effect. The pilot stated after about 2 spins, he entered an autorotation to remove torque from the rotor system. The helicopter contacted trees as it descended to the ground. The helicopter came to rest upright with the tail boom separated. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N797JR
Model/Series: R44 II II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
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: BKD, 1284 ft msl
Observation Time: 1955 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / -1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 360°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Albany, TX
Destination: Albany, TX 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  32.730000, -99.309444 (est)

Piper PA-28R-200, N550D: Accident occurred December 24, 2017 at Riverton Regional Airport (KRIW), Fremont County, Wyoming

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Casper, Wyoming Aviation

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Oracle Aviation LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N550D

Location: Riverton, WY
Accident Number: CEN18LA052
Date & Time: 12/24/2017, 1740 MST
Registration: N550D
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28R-200
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 5 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The private pilot was attempting to take off and noted that the airplane's landing light was not working. Although the runway lights provided him with good visibility, his depth perception was limited. As the airplane approached the intersection with the crossing runway during the takeoff roll, the pilot thought that the airplane was approaching the end of the runway. He rotated the airplane to lift off, but it had not gained enough airspeed to become airborne, so he decided to reject the takeoff. As he reduced engine power, he lost directional control, and the airplane departed the left side of the runway.

The pilot stated that there were no issues with the airplane during the accident takeoff other than the inoperative landing light. He noted that a better review of the airport diagram and a working landing light might have improved his situational awareness during the takeoff. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's loss of directional control during the rejected takeoff. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's lack of familiarity with the airport runway configuration, which led to his premature attempt to take off, and the airplane's inoperative landing light.


Directional control - Not attained/maintained (Cause) 

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Flight planning/navigation - Pilot (Factor)
Use of charts - Pilot (Factor)

Factual Information

On December 24, 2017, about 1740 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, N550D, was substantially damaged during a runway excursion on takeoff from runway 28 (8,204 feet by 150 feet, asphalt) at the Riverton Regional Airport (RIW), Riverton, Wyoming. The pilot and four passengers were not injured. The airplane was registered to Oracle Aviation, LLC and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the flight was not operated on a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. The intended destination was the Stanford Field Airport (U12), St Anthony, Idaho.

The pilot stated that he initially departed from Millard Airport (MLE), with planned fuel stops at Gordon Municipal Airport (GRN) and RIW. After refueling at RIW, the pilot recognized that the landing light was not working. He noted that it was working during the previous flight into RIW. The pilot recalled having good visibility with the runway lights, but he did not have good depth perception. As the airplane approached the intersection with the crossing runway during the takeoff roll, he thought that they were approaching the end of the runway. He rotated the airplane in an attempt to lift off, but the airplane had not gained enough airspeed to become airborne at that point. He decided to reject the takeoff and, as he reduced engine power, he lost directional control and the airplane departed the left side of the runway.

The pilot stated that there were no issues with the airplane during the accident takeoff, other than the inoperative landing light. He noted that a functioning landing light and a better review of the airport diagram might have prevented the accident.

A review of the available weight and balance data indicated that pilot's calculation was complete and correct, and that the airplane was loaded within limits during the accident takeoff. The airplane was equipped with four seats and seatbelts. The pilot stated that two children occupied one seat and were sharing a seatbelt at the time of the accident takeoff.

Federal Aviation Administration regulations do not require a landing light for operations under Part 91 unless they are conducted for hire. However, any inoperative equipment must be deactivated and placarded according to the regulations. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/13/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/28/2017
Flight Time:  109 hours (Total, all aircraft), 14 hours (Total, this make and model), 57 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N550D
Model/Series: PA 28R-200 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1970
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28R-35783
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/28/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 42 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4095.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT:  C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-C1C
Registered Owner: Oracle Aviation LLC
Rated Power: 200 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: RIW, 5516 ft msl
Observation Time: 1753 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 280°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: -18°C / -22°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 60°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Riverton, WY (RIW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: St. Anthony, ID (U12)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1740 MST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Riverton Regional (RIW)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 5516 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Snow
Runway Used: 28
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 8204 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 4 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries:  5 None
Latitude, Longitude:  43.064167, -108.459722 (est)