Friday, January 19, 2018

Students Get the Ultimate Show-and-Tell

Eagle Point, OR. -- Today students at St. John Lutheran school were surprised with a helicopter landing in the middle of their parking lot. 

The school says this is the biggest show-and-tell they've ever had. What makes it more special, is that the pilot is one of the student's grandfathers. 

The pilot, Craig Morrison, told NewsWatch12 his grandson, Malakai McFall, has been asking him for months to go by the school for show-and-tell. 

"I've always wanted to do it, with him," says Malakai. 

Morrison was planning on only going in his flight suit, but he says he then had a better idea. 

"We said, lets just bring the helicopter. All the kids would enjoy it," says Morrison. 

"It was very cool. I've never seen a helicopter this close, " says Matthew Butler, a student at St. John Lutheran school. 

Morrison says the helicopter normally works out of Ashland, and for the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. It does rescue work at Crater Lake, and helps with power lines and construction. 

Morrison says he took the time to do this because he knew it would make his grandson's day, "My grandson is just the biggest joy of my heart. I just love him so much. I'd do anything for him and it was just an absolute pleasure to come down and do this."

St. John Lutheran school says this is a STEM opportunity for students. STEM programs focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

Story and video ➤

Wichita Falls Regional Airport (KSPS) sees spike in casino charter flight passengers

WICHITA FALLS - Some passengers heading to the Wichita Falls Regional Airport are taking to the skies, not to go to Dallas but for a casino getaway.

Airport officials say they've seen a recent spike in those types of trips which has had some very positive effects on the city's balance sheet as well as overall exposure for the airport.

Several flights come and go daily at the regional airport. Inside the lobby is where we spoke to Alisha Croker and Diane Hays- two good friend boarding a flight, hoping to bring home the jackpot.

"We're going to Laughlin, Nevada for a gambling trip," Croker said. "They're so much fun, it's great."

Casino charter flights made their mark at the local airport back in 2015, with two carriers going to Laughlin and Wendover, Nevada. A third carrier was added to the list just six months ago.
"So far, we have seen an increase as far as passengers coming in for those flights." Airport operations supervisor Cortney Schaefer says they are flights that give the airport terminal more exposure, even making the city money.

Schaefer says the airport would pocket $42,000 to $50,000 thousand dollars a year.

"We want more people flowing in and out of our wonderful airport here," Schaefer said. But it also brings in revenue for our city and it brings another destination for the citizens of this community here and those surrounding us, to other locations for vacations."

Schaefer says some have even made the drive from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to board the Wichita Falls flight. Being an even bigger convenience for locals like Croker and Hays.

"It's just a quick vacation getaway and without having to, you know, mess with the traffic of Dallas and DFW," Croker said.

As long as the charters keep coming, travelers say they are betting on more trips out west very soon.

On average, the regional airport operates casino charter flights at least once a month.

The Bahamas: Concerns Raised Over Enforcement Of Air Safety Regulations

Although fatal airplane crashes are rare in The Bahamas, in the wake of Wednesday’s tragedy that killed six people near Andros, Randy Butler, CEO of Sky Bahamas, told The Tribune existing regulations governing the industry may be stiff but are still inadequately enforced.

He said at least 28 planes operate illegal charters each day, a longtime problem that still plagues the industry.

Mr. Butler said: “Some might say the regulations are too strong in the industry but enforcement is an issue as the Civil Aviation Department or authority is supposed to have adequate, qualified personnel to go and perform oversight, inspections, to see whether people are properly licensed, medically fit and if the airplane is adequately maintained and if insurances are in place; they don’t always enforce the laws and regulations relating to these.”

A number of certifications and licenses are required before a commercial flight can take off, including an aircraft airworthiness certificate, valid airmen certificates which relate to the physical fitness of a pilot and aircraft maintenance licences, among others.

Officials yesterday said it is too early to say whether all the necessary licences were obtained and valid with respect to the downed twin-engine Piper Aztec plane.

Juliea Brathwaite, manager of safety oversight at the Department of Civil Aviation, said yesterday authorities are still compiling all necessary information related to the ill-fated flight.

“We’re still in preliminary stages and active investigations are taking place with representatives on the ground,” she said. “We are waiting on a preliminary report to be provided. There is no definite word on whether requirements were followed or whether licences were in place – we will need to know what all the team has obtained. We should be getting a briefing on that once they are back on the island on Friday and it’s not industry practice to give information without having all the facts,” she said.

Officials have said no flight plan was filed before the plane, which was destined for New Providence, took off. Flight plans are only mandatory if flying from Nassau or Freeport. This factor could have contributed to the length of time it took before officials were made aware that the plane was even missing.

The flight left Andros shortly after 8am for a trip that normally takes less than half an hour. According to reports, the Department of Civil Aviation learned around 11am that the plane was missing and had not reached its destination, nor returned to Andros.

“In Nassau and Freeport, they’ve made it a requirement to come in and out, that you have a flight plan,” Mr Butler said. “From island to island there is no air traffic control or traffic control services, so if you file it, it could be that you say ‘I’m taking off from Acklins, it would take 15 minutes and when I get there I’ll call you.’ We need to take a look at the whole system; it needs to be more robust.”

As far as he knows, Mr. Butler said, no one has ever been taken to court for failing to comply with civil aviation regulations, despite the fact that authorities have found people not in compliance.

“If you find something wrong,” he said, “you should follow it through to the court system.”

As for unauthorized charter flights, he said the Department of Civil Aviation still lacks the manpower and willpower to properly enforce all regulations.

The last time a person was killed during a flight that originated in The Bahamas was more than a year ago, on June 19, 2016 when two men died in a crash of a Piper Aztec 27 plane. Officials determined that the pilot in that plane was not licenced and had his licence revoked in 2001. Then Acting Director at the Department of Civil Aviation Keith Major said it was the responsibility of the pilot to ensure he had necessary documentation.

The second most recent fatal plane crash in the Bahamas involved a Learjet carrying nine people, including the late Dr Myles Munroe and his wife, Ruth, which crashed as it headed to Grand Bahama in November 2014. Officials determined the crash was the result of poor decision making from the pilots.

Although fatal crashes are relatively rare, it has not been uncommon over the years for planes to crash or make emergency landings. Just last week a plane crash-landed in swamp land shortly after taking off from Chub Cay airport in Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands. The pilot received minor injuries during the crash.

Story and comments ➤

U.S. Air Force Weighs International Squadrons to Strike Terror Targets: Use of low-cost fighter planes would allow deployment of higher-tech jets to areas requiring their advanced capabilities

The Wall Street Journal
By Julian E. Barnes in Brussels and  Gordon Lubold in Washington
January 19, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET

The U.S. Air Force is considering forming international squadrons of low-cost fighter planes to strike terrorist targets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, allowing deployment of higher-tech jets to areas requiring their advanced capabilities.

A new unit employing relatively inexpensive off-the-shelf aircraft could free up cutting-edge U.S. and allied jet fighters for deterrence missions in Europe and Asia, and could help relieve a critical pilot shortage the U.S. Air Force faces, military and congressional officials say.

As the U.S. transitions its fighter fleet to new advanced stealth planes, like the F-22 and F-35, it is confronted with the difficult cost equation of using a fighter jet that costs $150 million to buy and $35,000 an hour to fly to destroy a terrorist camp of tattered tents.

Now, as Russia and China invest in their militaries and assert themselves more, the U.S. faces the additional problem of how and where to deploy limited numbers of stealthy warplanes to deter so-called peer competitors.

Congressional defense experts are urging the Air Force to rethink its strategy. They want it to move more of its advanced aircraft to Asia and Europe and design a plane that is cheaper to build and operate in the Middle East and other terror hot spots.

The U.S.’s annual defense-policy bill, which was signed into law in December, called on the Air Force to spend as much as $1.2 billion over five years to purchase as many as 300 aircraft, at the insistence of Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.).

The Air Force is reviewing a study of using commercially designed light-attack planes, similar to the 20 A-29 Super Tucano planes the U.S. has been buying for the Afghan Air Force since 2016, U.S. Air Force officials say.

The Air Force is also considering a jet and two other turboprops. All have a sticker price below $20 million apiece and hourly operating costs ranging from roughly $500 for the turboprops to around $3,000 for the jet.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said his service hopes this year to choose a plane for a combat demonstration. While the Air Force is enthusiastic, it could take another year before the Air Force budget would reflect the procurement of such planes, officials said.

Once the U.S. chooses a plane, and if it acquires a fleet, it plans to push allies to purchase the same airplane. Gen. Goldfein has appointed an Air Force team to study the possibility of creating international squadrons that could be deployed to support the fight against Islamic State or other terror groups.

“We have to be creative here,” said Gen. Goldfein. “I don’t know if it is feasible or not, but it gets the creative juices flowing.”

Gen. Goldfein, himself a fighter pilot, flew two light attack aircraft last summer during a visit to Holloman Air Force base in New Mexico, including the Super Tucano and the AT-6 Wolverine.

While the U.S. is still reviewing the plan and hasn’t formally approached other countries, Gen. Goldfein in September met with air chiefs from 12 countries who have been fighting Islamic State and raised the possibility of the international squadron to gauge interest.

One European military official called the idea interesting and said it was “a good idea to take a harder look.”

U.S. Air Force leaders particularly like the idea of relatively cheap, off-the-shelf aircraft because it would encourage partner nations not only in Europe but also in Africa and Latin America to contribute to the bigger counterterrorism fight, service officials said.

Even if European allies don’t buy the light attack planes, they could potentially contribute to the squadron by lending pilots.

“Maybe other countries can bring some of the manpower,” Gen. Goldfein said.

Some European military also face pilot shortfalls. Another complication is that training on light attack planes, particularly if the U.S. chooses a turboprop aircraft, doesn’t necessarily hone skills need to fly faster and more-sophisticated jet fighters. But training with U.S. pilots, widely considered the best in the world, is often an experience that partner nations are eager to embrace, allied officials say.

Pentagon and congressional aides say airstrikes are critical to keeping militant groups weak enough for local forces to manage. In countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, the airspace generally isn’t contested.

The most advanced U.S. planes, like the F-35 and F-22, also contain classified communications and network software that Washington is unwilling to share with all allies. Fielding a low-end plane wouldn’t only be more cost-effective, it would also allow the U.S. and allies to talk and share data more efficiently.

“The strategy is to drive violent extremism down so local police can manage it,” Gen. Goldfein said. “That is the strategy from the Philippines to Nigeria and everywhere in between. If that is the strategy, how do we get a platform-sensor weapon we can build into a coalition?”

Original article can be found here ➤

Loss of Control in Flight: ICON A5, N922BA; fatal accident occurred November 07, 2017 in Clearwater, Florida

DAC flight recorder during onscene recovery.

Exterior of DAC Data Memory Unit recorder after drying. 

Altitude and Airspeed Recovered from Icon DAC Data Module

Recorded DAC GPS Altitude Anomalies.

Angle-of-Attack and Load Factor Recovered from Icon DAC Data Module 

Multipath Error Associated with GPS Altitude Near Water 

Exterior of Rotax Engine Control Unit after drying.

Airplane fuselage and cockpit sections found floating in the accident area.

N922BA Icon A5 wreckage at the accident scene on the evening of November 7, 2017.
Pasco County Sheriff’s Office

Icon A5 wreckage during examination at the recovery yard.

Engine section (inverted) and empennage during examination.

Airplane wings (bottom) indicating leading edge impact damage.

Pilot’s harness system during successful functional test.

Airplane instrument panel with AOA indicator missing from the panel.

Rotax 912 iS Engine during examination.


 GPS flight track from October 26, 2017 data illustrated on a Google Earth image. The red track indicates a flight under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida. 

Logbook entry on October 31, 2017, stating flight under the Skyway Bridge.

Roy Halladay's Flight Log cover.

Bird Feather Analysis

Axillary feather (held with forceps) from accident #ANC18FA007 compared with a museum wing specimen of Double-crested Cormorant (USNM560556).

Tiny (5 mm) white feather found inter-twined in cotton sampling gauze from Sample #5 collected by Brice Banning. 

Twitter statement October 31, 2017

Photograph taken by Mr. Perkins using iPhone 7 Plus at 1202:51 EST.  Reportedly taken after the airplane had completed the turn.

Roy Halladay

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Tampa, Florida
Rotax Aircraft Engines; Vernon, British Columbia, Canada
Icon Aircraft Inc.; Vacaville, California
BRS Aerospace; Miami, Florida 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Clearwater, FL
Accident Number:ANC18FA007 
Date & Time: 11/07/2017, 1204 EST
Registration: N922BA
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries:1 Fatal 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 7, 2017, about 1204 eastern standard time, an Icon Aircraft A5 special light sport amphibious airplane, N922BA, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Clearwater, Florida. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane departed from Island Ford Lake in Odessa, Florida, about 1147. According to data from the Icon digital to analog (DAC) data memory unit that was installed on the airplane, the airplane climbed to a GPS altitude of 1,909 ft and proceeded north for 4 nautical miles (nm) before turning west toward the Gulf of Mexico. The airplane then flew for 10 nm at a GPS altitude of about 600 ft and descended over the gulf before turning south. During the final 3 minutes of the flight, the airplane was traveling in a southerly direction along the shoreline; figure 1 shows the flight track. During the last 2.5 minutes of the flight, the pilot conducted three maneuvers with high angles of attack (AOA) and load factors of almost 2 Gs; at that time, the airplane was over the water at GPS altitudes between 0 and 358 ft. During the final maneuver of the flight, the airplane entered a right turn, the engine power decreased, and the AOA reached 16°. The last recorded data point, at 1203:41, showed that the airplane's airspeed was 75 knots and heading was 354°.

Figure 1. Last 3 minutes of GPS flight track.

The airplane was also equipped with a Rotax engine control unit. The last recorded data point, at 1203:43, indicated an engine speed of 2,829 rpm and a throttle position of 27%.

Multiple witnesses in the area stated that they saw the airplane flying very low, between 5 and 300 ft, over the water as the airplane maneuvered south close to the shoreline. Some witnesses reported that the airplane was making steep turns and high-pitch climbs up to about 500 ft and that the engine sounded normal. A witness provided an image of the airplane over the water, as shown in figure 2. A commercial fisherman stated that the airplane flew over his vessel at an altitude that was less than 300 ft. Another commercial fisherman, who was located about 900 ft north of the accident site, stated that he observed the airplane flying from the north "really close" to houses. The airplane then flew south past his position, descended briefly, and climbed. After entering a steep climb, the airplane descended on an easterly heading in a steep nose-down attitude; the airplane's pitch attitude decreased as the airplane continued to descend. The witness reported that the airplane impacted the water in a 45° nose-down, wings-level attitude.

Figure 2. Still image of the accident airplane just before the crash (Courtesy of Mr. Fred Grunden.)

Pilot Information

Age: 40, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/25/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/18/2016
Flight Time:   721.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 51.8 hours (Total, this make and model), 507.6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 42.5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 22.8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

The pilot had 14.5 hours of total flight experience in the accident airplane. The pilot made an entry into his logbook indicating that, while en route from the Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa, Florida, to his home, he flew under the Skyway Bridge; the bridge has a 180-ft vertical clearance over the water. Recovered GPS data showed that the pilot flew under the bridge on October 26, 2017. A few days later, the pilot stated on social media, "flying the Icon A5 over the water is like flying a fighter jet!" 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N922BA
Model/Series: A5 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Special Light-Sport
Serial Number: 00022
Landing Gear Type: Amphibian
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/10/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1510 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 15 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 46.5 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 912iS
Registered Owner: N529PG LLC
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The pilot accepted delivery of the airplane about 4 weeks before the accident. The airplane was equipped with an AOA indicator and a ballistic complete aircraft parachute (CAP) system.

The Icon A5/Pilot's Operating Handbook, section 2.7, indicated that the design maneuvering limits with flaps 0° and an airplane weight of 1,510 pounds were +4 and -2 G. (The accident airplane's takeoff weight was estimated to be 1,476 pounds.)

Section 2.16 stated that "there are no restrictions on the use of the CAP system. Optimal CAP actuation is from level flight above 500 ft AGL [above ground level]." Section 3.19 provided the following emergency procedures for a loss of control:

1. CAP Handle – PULL HARD

2. Ignition Key – OFF

Section 4.3 showed the After Cockpit Entry checklist, which included a step to remove and stow the CAP safety pin so that the pilot could activate the system quickly if necessary.

Section 7.2.1 stated the following:

A5 incorporates numerous features to help control the dynamics of stall and improve spin resistance, including blended wing shapes, stall strips and wing cuffs. Stall characteristics depend on a number of factors, the most important being rate of stall onset, which can affect the dynamics of stall progression along the span. The A5 remains controllable throughout these various stall progressions up to 30° bank angles, even when fully stalled.

Section 7.6.2 stated that the airplane's AOA system works "by using static ports to measure the difference in pressure from the top and bottom of the left wing near the leading edge. These values are compared and computed to drive the AOA indicator electronically." The section also stated that "the AOA gauge provides a visual indication of how hard the wing is working to generate lift and how much more lift it can supply at any given time." The face of the AOA gauge incorporates green, yellow, and red bands, as shown in figure 3, to indicate the available lift margin above stall. The Icon Sport Flying Academics manual indicated that, at the lower green band, the wing is not working hard, and lift forces are generated mostly by airspeed. The yellow band signifies that the wing is working harder (taking "a bigger bite" from the airflow); at the top of the yellow band, the wing will begin to stall. The red band begins at 15.6°, which is also shown in figure 3, and signifies an aerodynamic stall, at which point lift would begin to degrade.

Figure 3. AOA information from the Icon Sport Flying Academics information.

The A5 Sport Flying Operations manual discussed energy management as part of the low-altitude considerations section. The energy management discussion stated the following:

Recall that our energy state at any given time is defined by our altitude and airspeed. So at low altitudes our energy is determined almost completely by our airspeed. If we get slow at higher altitudes, we can just push over and trade altitude for airspeed. At low altitude the throttle is our only tool for maintaining or adding energy to our airplane. We said during our discussion of turn performance that 60-75 KIAS [knots indicated airspeed] was the sweet spot for maneuvering the A5, and this holds true at low altitude as well. Much below 60 KIAS we find ourselves at relatively low energy. The aircraft remains controllable but will be more sluggish and less responsive to our control inputs. Lower speed also means less stall margin – meaning our AOA is high and approaching aerodynamic stall. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PIE
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1153 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 150°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Odessa, FL
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Odessa, FL
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1147 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 28.218333, -82.769444 (est) 

The airplane came to rest inverted in about 4 ft of water and was oriented on a 192° heading, as shown in figure 4. The empennage was separated and displaced forward of the wings. All major airplane components were located at the accident scene. The front fuselage and cockpit were highly fragmented, with pieces scattered within a 300-ft radius of the main wreckage.

Figure 4. Airplane wreckage at the accident scene.

The CAP system was not deployed, and the CAP cockpit handle pin was in its installed position. The fuselage canopy was located about 50 ft west of the wreckage with about 50% of the plexiglass fractured and missing. The left (pilot's) seat was separated from the fuselage. The pilot's three-point harness system was anchored securely to the left wall with the inertia reel intact, secure, and fully operable. The webbing exhibited fraying about 12 inches from the reel. The seatbelt buckle operated normally and locked in place when the tab was inserted.

The wings, wing tips, and nose section exhibited symmetrical fragmentation consistent with a wings-level impact. Both wings were attached and secured in the locked position.

Control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to the elevator, which exhibited full movement between stops. The torque tube was bent about 10° near the center; the forward pulley was intact with the bracket separated at the bond. The cables were traced through the system with no fractures. Secondary elevator stops were observed in place near the forward bellcrank. The pitch trim actuator rod remained intact. The pitch trim electrical connector remained attached to the torque tube, and all contact pins were intact.

Control continuity was established from the cockpit to the rudder through separations. The separations were consistent with overload.

Control continuity was also established from the cockpit controls to each aileron. All aileron pulleys displayed impact indentations but exhibited full roll movement. The secondary aileron stops were observed in place. The right wing root aileron bellcrank was displaced inboard about 6 inches from the airframe mount but remained attached to the cables. Both flaps and the flap handle were in the retracted position.

The fuel tank cap was secure, the fuel tank was breached by the engine throttle cable, and no fuel was present. The engine remained attached to the airframe. The engine was manually rotated at the propeller, and continuity and compression were established for each cylinder. The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft.

No preaccident anomalies were noted with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the Medical Examiner, District Six, Pasco and Pinellas Counties, Florida, performed an autopsy of the pilot. His cause of death was blunt trauma, and drowning was a contributory condition.

Toxicology testing performed at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified the following drugs in the pilot's specimens:

Zolpidem was identified in the pilot's cardiac blood (0.088 µg/ml) and urine. Zolpidem is a sleep aid available by prescription as a schedule IV controlled substance that is often sold with the name Ambien. The drug information states the following:

Complex behaviors such as 'sleep-driving' (i.e., driving while not fully awake after ingestion of a sedative-hypnotic, with amnesia for the event) have been reported with sedative-hypnotics, including zolpidem. These events can occur in sedative-hypnotic-naive as well as in sedative-hypnotic-experienced persons. Although behaviors such as ''sleep-driving' may occur with zolpidem tartrate alone at therapeutic doses, the use of alcohol and other CNS [central nervous system] depressants with zolpidem tartrate appears to increase the risk of such behaviors.

Amphetamine was identified in the pilot's cardiac blood (2.2 µg/ml) and urine. Amphetamine is a schedule II controlled substance that stimulates the central nervous system. It is available by prescription for the treatment of attention deficit disorder and narcolepsy. It carries a boxed warning about its potential for abuse and has warnings about an increased risk of sudden death and the potential for mental health and behavioral changes. In some preparations, the prescription drug is metabolized to amphetamine; commonly marketed names in this category include Adderall, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse. After a single 30-mg oral dose, early blood levels averaged 0.111 µg/ml, and average blood levels in adults using the long-acting prescription orally for a week were about 0.065 µg/ml. Amphetamine is also prepared and used as a street drug that can be snorted, inhaled, or injected. Generally, levels above 0.2 µg/ml indicate amphetamine misuse to maximize the drug's psychoactive effects.

Morphine was identified in the pilot's cardiac blood (0.192 µg/ml) and urine. Morphine is a powerful opioid pain medication available as an injection, a tablet, or a capsule and is identified as a schedule II controlled substance. Ranges for therapeutic levels are typically determined by giving novice users one or two doses and measuring their blood levels; such ranges are 0.010 to 0.100 µg/ml. With regular opioid use, brain physiology changes, leading to tolerance for both the desired analgesic and sedative effects and resulting in increased dosing. Chronic users may need the drug to feel and act "normally"; thus, a chronic user may appear to function normally at levels that could be toxic or even fatal to a first-time user.

Fluoxetine and its metabolite norfluoxetine were identified in the pilot's cardiac blood (0.984 and 1.569 µg/ml, respectively) and urine. Fluoxetine is an antidepressant available by prescription. It carries the following warning:

As with any CNS-active drug, fluoxetine has the potential to impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery, including automobiles, until they are reasonably certain that the drug treatment does not affect them adversely. However, major depression itself is associated with significant cognitive degradation, particularly in executive functioning. The cognitive degradation may not improve even with remission of the depressed episode, and patients with severe disease are more significantly affected than those with fewer symptoms or episodes.

Baclofen was identified in the pilot's cardiac blood (0.72 µg/ml) and urine. Baclofen is a muscle relaxant available by prescription. It carries the following warning:

Because of the possibility of sedation, patients should be cautioned regarding the operation of automobiles or other dangerous machinery, and activities made hazardous by decreased alertness. Patients should also be cautioned that the central nervous system effects of baclofen may be additive to those of alcohol and other CNS depressants.

Hydromorphone was found in the pilot's urine. Hydromorphone is an opioid pain medication available by prescription as a schedule II controlled substance. Other common names are Dilaudid and Exalgo. Hydromorphone is also a relatively uncommon active metabolite of morphine and a common metabolite of hydrocodone, which is not a metabolite of morphine. Hydromorphone carries the following warning:

Hydromorphone and other Schedule II opioid agonists, including morphine, oxymorphone, oxycodone, fentanyl, and methadone, have the highest potential for abuse and risk of producing respiratory depression. Alcohol, other opioids and central nervous system depressants (sedative-hypnotics) potentiate the respiratory depressant effects of hydromorphone, increasing the risk of respiratory depression that might result in death.

Ibuprofen was found in the pilot's urine. Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain medication commonly sold as Motrin and Advil. It is not considered impairing.

No ethanol was detected in the pilot's vitreous specimens.

Review of the available personal medical records for the pilot indicated a history of substance abuse requiring inpatient rehabilitation twice between 2013 and early 2015 and diagnoses of chronic back pain, insomnia, and depression, which were treated with various prescribed medications. The pilot's personal medical records for 2016 and 2017 were not available.

Tests And Research

Airplane Performance Study

The data from the Icon DAC data memory unit and the Rotax engine control unit were used to evaluate the airplane's performance. The last second of data (11 recorded points) was not used in the study due to unreliable GPS altitude information.

The recorded data indicated that, at 1201:19, the pilot began a rapid climbing "S" turn from a GPS altitude of 0 to 134 ft and then descended to 36 ft; the airplane reached a maximum load factor of 1.94 Gs and a maximum AOA of 7.53°. At 1202:29, the pilot performed a second maneuver, a climbing right 360° turn from a GPS altitude of 19 to 136 ft; the airplane reached a maximum load factor of 1.93 Gs and a maximum AOA of 15.73°, which is within the red band on the AOA indicator (shown as an inset in figure 3).

At 1203:34, the pilot initiated a final maneuver: a climbing right turn from a GPS altitude of 210 ft and an indicated airspeed of 81 knots. The airplane's load factor increased rapidly to 1.91 Gs and then varied between 1 and about 2 Gs as the AOA increased steadily to 15°, which is at the top of yellow band on the AOA indicator. About 3 seconds after initiating the climb, the engine throttle lever was retarded from 99% to 27%, resulting in a corresponding decrease in engine speed from about 5,393 to 2,261 rpm. The lowest recorded indicated airspeed during the maneuver, 54 knots, occurred as the airplane reached a GPS altitude of 358 ft, the apex of the maneuver, with a low energy state. The computed bank angle exceeded 50° and the computed pitch angle exceeded 30° before the airplane descended toward the water.

Feather Study

Ten samples were recovered from the wreckage and were submitted to the Smithsonian Institution Feather Identification Laboratory for analysis. Two of the 10 samples contained feathers. No avian DNA was present in any of the samples. The airplane showed no impact damage that was consistent with a bird strike.

Additional Information

Minimum Safe Altitude

Title 14 CFR 91.119, Minimum Safe Altitudes, states in part that, except during takeoffs or landings, a pilot cannot operate an aircraft over "other than congested areas" below "an altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure."

Icon Aircraft Low-Altitude Flying Guidance

On May 8, 2017, an Icon Aircraft A5 impacted terrain while maneuvering near Lake Berryessa, California. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined that the probable cause of the accident was "the pilot's failure to maintain clearance from terrain while maneuvering at a low altitude. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's mistaken entry into a canyon surrounded by steep rising terrain while at a low altitude for reasons that could not be determined." (For more information about this accident, see case number WPR17FA101 at the NTSB's website.)

According to Icon Aircraft management, as a result of that accident, a document titled "Low Altitude Flying Guidelines" was issued on October 23, 2017, and was distributed to A5 clients and owners. According to the chief executive officer of the company at that time, the document was created to emphasize some of the known hazards of flying light sport aircraft and provide mitigating solutions, even though that information was already available in company training and operating manuals. The company official stated that he "was certain" that the accident pilot received and reviewed the guidelines.

The preamble of the guidelines stated the following:

Low altitude…flying while exploring the planet in seaplanes and bush planes can be one of the most rewarding and exciting types of flying possible. Low altitude flying also comes with an inherent set of additional risks that require additional considerations. Traditional general aviation training focused on higher-altitude transportation flying does little to prepare pilots for the unique challenges of low altitude flying. This document is intended to help raise awareness and provide some time-tested guidelines and techniques for low altitude flying to help pilots cope with those additional challenges. These are not a substitute for FAA regulations or good judgment or training. Many of the guidelines and philosophies here were adopted from military, seaplane, and bush-flying techniques.

The guidelines reiterated the minimum safe altitudes in 14 CFR 91.119 and stated in part the following:

While good judgment and airmanship always takes precedence over any guidelines, the following maneuvering limits should generally be observed:

• Above Soft Deck [in general, 300 ft agl]: Normal, non-aerobatic maneuvering (+/- 60 bank +/- 30 pitch)

• Below Soft Deck: Benign maneuvering (+/- 45 bank +/- 10 pitch)

The guidelines also warned pilots "Do not show off."

Roy Halladay:  Report of autopsy - autopsy findings

ST PETERSBURG, Fla. - Former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died from blunt force trauma, with drowning as a contributing factor, when his plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico near New Port Richey in November.

Halladay was found in about six feet of water with a blood-alcohol content level of 0.01. Evidence of amphetamine, morphine and a drug typically used to treat insomnia were found in his system.

Halladay's ICON 15 aircraft flew very close to homes and near the water before crashing on Nov. 8, the National Transportation Safety Board said.

Halladay, 40, was an all-star pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies. He lived on Odessa and coached baseball at Calvary Christian High School, where his oldest son played.

Story, video and photos ➤

Location: Clearwater, FL
Accident Number: ANC18FA007
Date & Time: 11/07/2017, 1204 EST
Registration: N922BA
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On November 7, 2017, about 1204 eastern standard time, an amphibious, light sport Icon Aircraft, Inc., A5 airplane, N922BA, impacted open water in the Gulf of Mexico while maneuvering at low level near New Port Richey, Florida. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to N529PG LLC, and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 visual flight rules personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local area flight departed from a lake near the pilot's home in Odessa, Florida, about 1147.

The airplane was equipped with a digital data module that recorded basic GPS, engine, and flight parameters. The airplane was also equipped with a Rockwell Collins engine control unit that recorded engine parameters. The data track from the accident flight showed that the airplane departed from a private lakeside home north of Lake Keystone in Odessa about 1147 and climbed to a GPS altitude of 1,909 ft and tracked north for 4 miles before turning to the west toward the coastline. The airplane then flew for 10 miles and crossed over US Highway 19 about 600 ft GPS altitude, then descended to 36 ft over the water before turning south. The airplane then flew on southerly track past Green Key Beach at 11 ft GPS altitude and 92 knots. The airplane then performed a right 360° turn while climbing to about 100 ft. The airplane continued on a southerly track, flying as close as 75 ft to the Gulf Harbor South Beach houses. The last data point recovered indicated the airplane at an altitude of 200 ft, a speed of 87 knots, and tracking 196°. Video footage taken of the airplane before the accident, shows the airplane in a descending left 45° banked turn and then maneuvering about 10 ft above the water. A witness to the accident stated, during an interview with a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator, that he saw the airplane perform a climb to between 300 and 500 ft on a southerly heading and then turn and descend on an easterly heading about a 45° nose-down attitude. He then saw the airplane impact the water and nose over.

The airplane came to rest in 4.5 ft of saltwater oriented on a 192° heading with the fuselage and wings inverted. The front fuselage and cockpit were highly fragmented. The empennage section separated from the airframe and came to rest forward of the wings in an inverted position. Two inflated life vests and numerous fragments were recovered within a 300-ft radius from the wreckage. All the flight controls and major components were located at the main wreckage site. The CAP ballistic parachute system was not deployed, and the handle pin was installed.

On November 8, 2017, the wreckage was recovered from the water and transported to a secure facility for further examination.

The airplane was a certificated light sport aircraft that was outfitted with a Rotax 912iS engine. The pilot accepted delivery of the airplane on October 10, 2017.

The pilot's logbook indicated that he had logged a total of 703.9 flight hours, of which 51.8 hours were in an Icon A5 airplane, and 14.5 hours were in the accident airplane.

The closest weather reporting facility was the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE), about 19 miles southeast of the accident site. At 1153, a METAR from PIE was reporting, in part: wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles, clouds and sky condition clear, temperature 83°F, dew point 67°F, altimeter 30.08 inches of mercury. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: ICON AIRCRAFT INC
Registration: N922BA
Model/Series: A5 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: PIE
Observation Time: 1153 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 19 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Odessa, FL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 28.218333, -82.769444 (est)