Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Cessna R182 Skylane RG, N133BW, registered to San Diego Skylane LLC and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred May 15, 2016 in Altadena, Los Angeles County, California

Dr. Thomas Bruff


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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California 
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N133BW



Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Altadena, CA
Accident Number: WPR16FA111
Date & Time: 05/15/2016, 0829 PDT
Registration: N133BW
Aircraft: CESSNA R182
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The instrument-rated private pilot departed in the airplane on a cross-country flight under daytime instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Throughout the first portion of the flight, the pilot was in contact with air traffic control (ATC) controllers. As the flight neared its destination, the pilot was instructed to turn the airplane to a heading of 030° and maintain an altitude of 4,000 ft mean sea level (msl). The pilot complied with the instructions and was told to change frequencies to another ATC sector. The new controller provided the pilot with an altimeter setting and approach information, which the pilot acknowledged receiving. A short time later, the controller issued the pilot directions to turn left to a heading of 290° and descend to 3,000 ft msl for a radar vector to the final approach course. Despite 10 attempts by the controller to reach the pilot, no response was received. About 3 minutes after the controller issued the initial heading and altitude change, the pilot transmitted that he was still on the 030° heading. The controller immediately responded to the pilot and provided him instructions to turn left and climb to 6,000 ft msl. The pilot did not respond, and the airplane continued on the 030° heading toward mountainous terrain with elevations above the airplane's 4,000-ft altitude. The controller made 17 additional attempts to communicate with the pilot over a period of about 5 minutes. There was no response before radar contact with the airplane was lost. The airplane impacted mountainous terrain near the last recorded radar target at an elevation of about 4,000 ft.

Weather data indicated that the flight would likely have been in IMC between 2,800 and 5,000 ft msl; therefore, the terrain would not have been visible to the pilot. However, avionics equipment installed in the airplane could have displayed a moving map showing the airplane's current position in relation to airports, and navigational aids.

The wreckage was severely fragmented and mostly consumed by a postimpact fire. The damage to the airplane was consistent with controlled flight into terrain. Although no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions was found, the severity of the damage to the airplane precluded testing of the airplane's avionics equipment. It could not be determined why the pilot was unable to communicate with ATC or why he failed to maintain situational awareness and clearance from rising mountainous terrain.

The pilot's autopsy results revealed severe coronary artery disease, which placed the pilot at significantly increased risk of acute impairment or incapacitation by a cardiac event such as ischemia, a heart attack, or an arrhythmia, which could include symptoms ranging from chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations all the way to loss of consciousness. However, during the pilot's last transmission, he did not mention any such symptoms, and he did not seem to be in distress. Therefore, it is unlikely that an acute cardiac event caused or contributed to this accident. Toxicology testing identified the pilot's use of a potentially impairing drug, hydrocodone. However, there was no blood available for testing, and there is no method for calculating blood levels from liver or urine results. While the impairing effects of hydrocodone and its metabolite dihydrocodeine could have decreased the pilot's attentiveness or increased his susceptibility to a distraction, whether this occurred could not be determined. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from rising mountainous terrain while flying in instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident was the loss of radio communications for a reason that could not be determined because of the extensive impact and thermal damage to the airplane. 

Findings

Aircraft
Altitude - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Communications system - Not used/operated (Factor)

Personnel issues
Lack of action - Pilot (Cause)
Situational awareness - Pilot (Cause)
Use of equip/system - Pilot (Factor)
Prescription medication - Pilot

Environmental issues
Low visibility - Effect on operation (Cause)
Mountainous/hilly terrain - Contributed to outcome

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Factor)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-IFR initial approach
Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) (Defining event)

On May 15, 2016, about 0829 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna R182, N133BW, was destroyed when it impacted mountainous terrain during cruise flight near Altadena, California. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to San Diego Skylane LLC and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight. The personal, cross-country flight originated from Montgomery Field, San Diego, California, at 0737, with an intended destination of Santa Monica Airport (SMO), Santa Monica, California.

Information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that, about 0810, a controller at the Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control facility (SCT) directed the pilot to proceed direct to the POPPR airspace fix and to descend and maintain 4,000 ft mean sea level (msl). Seven minutes later, about 0817, the SCT controller directed the pilot to fly a heading of 310° followed by turns to 360° and 030°. At 0821, the SCT controller told the pilot to contact the SCT valley radar sector controller (VLYR) on frequency 135.05.

The pilot checked in with the SCT VLYR controller and reported that he was level at 4,000 ft msl on a heading of 030°. The controller acknowledged the pilot report and advised the pilot that the Bob Hope Airport (BUR), Burbank, California, altimeter setting was 29.92. The pilot responded that he missed the last radio transmission. The controller repeated the BUR altimeter setting and told the pilot to expect the VOR GPS-A approach to SMO. The pilot acknowledged the altimeter setting and advised the controller that he had received automated terminal information system information "Uniform" for SMO.

At 0824, the SCT VLYR controller directed the pilot to turn left to a heading of 290° for a radar vector to the final approach course at SMO and to descend and maintain 3,000 ft msl. The pilot did not respond, and, 10 seconds later, the controller repeated the instructions, and there was no response from the pilot. Eleven seconds later, the controller transmitted the instructions a third time, and the pilot again did not respond.

Over the next 3 minutes, the SCT VLYR controller made 7 radio transmissions to the pilot. These included radio transmissions attempting to re-establish radio communications on frequency 121.5, issuing low altitude alerts, and requesting that the pilot activate the "ident" function of his transponder if he could hear but not transmit. The pilot did not respond to any of the attempts. The SCT VLYR controller checked with the previous controller to inquire if the pilot was in communication with that sector. The previous controller advised he was not in contact with the pilot.

At 0827, the pilot transmitted on frequency 135.05, "SoCal Cessna three bravo whiskey still three zero three zero.". The SCT VLYR controller responded immediately to the pilot with: "yeah three bravo whiskey I've been trying to get a hold of you now turn left immediately climb and maintain five (pause) six thousand". The pilot did not respond.

Nine seconds later, the SCT VLYR controller transmitted, "November three bravo whiskey three bravo whiskey SoCal approach low altitude alert check your altitude immediately climb and maintain six thousand immediately and turn left heading of two one zero." The pilot did not respond.

Over the next 5 minutes the SCT VLYR controller made 16 radio transmissions to the pilot advising of the rising terrain, low altitude alerts, and the need to climb and turn immediately. The radio transmissions were made on frequency 135.05 and on frequency 121.5.

Review of recorded radar data revealed that the flight proceeded on a northwest heading after takeoff and paralleled the coast until nearing Torrance, California. The airplane then turned slightly right toward SMO. As the flight neared SMO, the airplane turned about 90° right to a northeast heading of about 30°. The airplane remained on this heading and maintained an altitude of 4,000 ft msl for about 19 miles until radar contact was lost. 


Flight path of the accident airplane, with direction of travel noted by the black arrows.



After radar contact was lost with the airplane, an alert notice was issued by the FAA. The wreckage was located around 1730 by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office air unit in steep mountainous terrain near Brown Mountain, about 2 miles north-northwest of Altadena. The accident site was at an elevation of about 4,000 ft msl near the location of the last radar return. Law enforcement personnel and initial responders reported that the airplane was mostly consumed by a postimpact fire. There were no reports of an emergency locator transmitter signal following the loss of radar and radio communication.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 57, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/26/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: 625 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot was issued an FAA third-class airman medical certificate on June 26, 2015, with the limitation that he "must wear corrective lenses." On the application form for this medical, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 625 hours total flight time, none of which were in the previous 6 months. The pilot's logbook was not located during the investigation.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, high-wing, retractable gear airplane, serial number R18200450, was manufactured in 1978. It was powered by a 235-horsepower Lycoming O-540-J3C5D engine and was equipped with a McCauley B2D34C21 controllable pitch propeller. Review of the airframe and engine maintenance logbook records revealed that the most recent annual/100-hour inspection was completed on November 12, 2015, at a tachometer time of 3,602.3 hours, total airframe time of 8,912.3 hours, and engine time since major overhaul of 2,095.3 hours.

The airplane was equipped with an Aspen Avionics EFD 1000 (Pro), Garmin GNS 530W, PS Engineering PMA 7000B Audio Panel, King KX155 Nav/Com, and STEC System 55X autopilot. It was noted within the Major Repair and Alteration FAA Form 337 that was filed for the installation of the Garmin GNS 530W that it was certified for IFR enroute, terminal and non-precision approach use. The GNS 530W provides a moving map feature available to the pilot. The unit, was not equipped with a terrain database card. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N133BW
Model/Series: R182 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: R18200450
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/12/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 8912.3 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-540-J3C5D
Registered Owner: SAN DIEGO SKYLANE LLC
Rated Power: 235 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:  KBUR, 732 ft msl
Observation Time: 1553 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 263°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 12°C
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1600 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: San Diego, CA
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Santa Monica, CA
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 0737 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

At 0853, a recorded weather observation at BUR, located about 11 miles west of the accident site, indicated wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles, overcast cloud layer at 1,600 ft, temperature 16°C, dew point 12°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.92 inches of mercury.

A North American Mesoscale (NAM) model sounding was created for the accident site for 0800. The 0800 NAM sounding indicated a relatively moist vertical environment from the surface through 5,000 ft msl. Above 5,000 ft msl, there was less abundant moisture with the vertical environment becoming very dry. With the temperature and dew point lines nearly identical from the surface through 5,000 ft msl, the environment would have been conducive to cloud formation. The accident flight would likely have been in IMC between 2,800 and 5,000 ft msl. There was an inversion in place at 6,500 ft msl that would have kept low clouds and IMC conditions in place, especially near mountainous terrain.

Several pilot reports were gathered surrounding the time of the accident. Pilots reported 6,000-ft cloud tops over Pomona, California, at 0800 and over Ontario, California, at 0838. For further information, see the Weather Study Report within the public docket for this accident. 

Airport Information

Airport: SANTA MONICA MUNI (SMO)
Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 177 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: Global Positioning System; VOR
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  34.224722, -118.139444 

All major structural components of the airplane were located at the accident site, and the wreckage was severely fragmented or consumed by fire. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination. The wreckage was examined on May 31, 2017, by representatives of Textron Aviation and Lycoming Engines under the supervision of the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge. The fuselage was mostly consumed by fire. Remains of the cabin section and the instrument panel were identified, and one instrument (altimeter) was located. The center section, including the left and right main landing gear, was fragmented. Portions of the left- and right-wing assemblies were identified. The wing portions exhibited impact and thermal damage.

The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator were mostly consumed by fire. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator remained attached to the aft fuselage and exhibited impact and fire damage. The forward and aft portions of the lower section of the vertical stabilizer remained attached to the aft fuselage. The lower portion of the rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. Rudder and elevator control cables remained attached to the elevator and rudder and continued forward to the area of fuselage that contained portions of the landing gear gearbox.

The Bendix-King secondary radio was located and exhibited impact damage. The forward faceplate, including the digital frequency display screen was separated and not located. The volume knob was impact damaged and appeared to be about ¼ quarter of a turn from full volume. The primary Garmin radio was not located within the recovered debris. The audio panel was located and exhibited impact damage. The faceplate of the panel was displaced. Damage to the audio panel prohibited any functional testing.

The remains of a Bose headset cord, which featured a differential volume control, was recovered. The left-side volume control was found full down, or volume low, while the right-side volume control was found full up, or full volume. The remainder of the headset was not located.

The engine was separated from the firewall and its mount. All engine accessories were separated. The propeller was separated from the crankshaft propeller flange. The engine exhibited thermal damage and severe corrosion (rust) throughout. The crankshaft would not rotate by hand. The upper spark plugs were removed; they exhibited corrosion, and the electrodes appeared to be undamaged. The upper spark plugs from cylinder Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4 exhibited liquid throughout the electrode areas consistent with water and corrosion. The upper spark plugs for cylinder Nos. 5 and 6 exhibited dark gray deposits within the electrode areas. Holes were drilled in the crankcase, and the interior of the engine was examined using a borescope. Internal mechanical continuity was established throughout the engine. The engine accessory case was removed, and all accessory gears were intact. When examined internally using a borescope, all six cylinders exhibited corrosion and dirt.

The two-bladed constant speed propeller along with the attached crankshaft flange was separated from the engine. The crankshaft flange web fracture surface exhibited signatures consistent with torsional overload. The propeller blades, which remained attached to the propeller hub, displayed leading edge gouging, torsional twisting, chordwise striations across the cambered surface, and trailing edge "S" bending. Portions of both propeller tips had been torn away.

No evidence of any preimpact mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airframe or engine was found. 

Communications

FAA technical operations personnel conducted a historic review of all logs, radio maintenance history, and current operational parameters to determine if there were equipment discrepancies during the time of communications difficulties between the SCT VLYR controller and the pilot. No discernable pattern of failure or related discrepancies were discovered. In addition, no change was heard in the pilot's voice throughout all of the recorded transmissions. For further details, see the Air Traffic Control Group Chairman's Report within the public docket for this accident. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The County of Los Angeles, Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, Los Angeles, California, performed an autopsy of the pilot and determined that the cause of death was multiple blunt traumatic injuries, and the manner of death was accident. Examination of the body for natural disease was limited by the severity of the pilot's injuries. The brain was not available for examination. The heart was also significantly damaged; only one coronary artery could be identified. The proximal portion of the left anterior descending coronary artery demonstrated only a pinpoint lumen in an area of severe atherosclerosis with calcification. Microscopy of heart tissue identified scattered regions of interstitial and perivascular fibrosis as well as areas of cardiac myocyte hypertrophy with enlarged, hyperchromatic nuclei.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on samples from the pilot and identified hydrocodone and its active metabolite dihydrocodeine in liver and urine. An additional metabolite, hydromorphone, and acetaminophen were identified in urine. No blood was available for testing.

Hydrocodone is an opioid pain medication often sold in combination with acetaminophen and marketed with the names Lortab, Vicodin, and Norco. It is a prescription medication available as a Schedule II controlled substance and carries the warning, "May impair the mental or physical abilities needed to perform potentially hazardous activities such as driving a car or operating machinery. Warn patients not to drive or operate dangerous machinery unless they are tolerant to the effects of the drug and know how they will react to the medication." Acetaminophen is an analgesic and fever reducer commonly sold with the name Tylenol.

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA111
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, May 15, 2016 in Altadena, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA R182, registration: N133BW
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 15, 2016, about 0829 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna R182, N133BW, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during cruise flight near Altadena, California. The airplane was registered to San Diego Skylane LLC., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Montgomery Field, San Diego, California, at 0737, with an intended destination of the Santa Monica Airport (SMO), Santa Monica, California.

Preliminary information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) indicated that the pilot was being vectored for an instrument approach to SMO. The pilot established radio communication with the controller and subsequently acknowledged obtaining weather information at the destination airport. About 2 minutes, 26 seconds later, the controller issued the pilot a heading change to 290 degrees and a descent clearance to 3,000 feet for vectors to final approach. However, the controller received no response from the pilot despite multiple attempts over the course of about 2 minutes. The pilot then transmitted that he was on a 030 degree heading. The controller continued to issue vectors away from rising terrain and made several attempts to communicate with the pilot; however, no further radio communication from the pilot were heard. Radar contact with the airplane was subsequently lost and an alert notice (ALNOT) was issued by the FAA. The wreckage was located later that evening by a Los Angeles County Sheriff Office air unit. The wreckage was located within mountainous terrain near Brown Mountain, about 2 miles north, northwest of Altadena. Law enforcement personnel and initial responders reported that the airplane was mostly consumed by a post impact fire. Recovery of the wreckage is currently pending.

Wolf Pitts S-2SW, N24CD, registered to a corporation and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred May 14, 2016 at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK), Chamblee, DeKalb County, Georgia


Greg Connell

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N24CD

Witness took a picture before takeoff of the Wolf Pitts S-2SW
 that crashed at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (KPDK).

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Atlanta, GA
Accident Number: ERA16FA182
Date & Time: 05/14/2016, 1647 EDT
Registration: N24CD
Aircraft: GREG CONNELL PITTS S-2SW
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Low altitude operation/event
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Air Race/Show 

Analysis 

The pilot of the Pitts was performing air show maneuvers as part of a flight of two with the other show pilot flying an MX2 airplane. After uneventful departures and performance of a low altitude pass, both pilots initiated a pull-up into a half Cuban-8, with the intention of simultaneously positioning the airplanes on 45º down angles toward show center in preparation for another low altitude pass. The MX2 pilot stated that he rolled out near the show line, and he expected the Pitts to be established over the show line and to his left. Instead, the Pitts was still above him on the 45º down line and well to his right. It is apparent that the Pitts pilot put himself out of position by not adjusting to the crosswind conditions or he did not correctly identify the show line. The evidence indicated that he never lost control of the airplane.

An examination of several spectator videos indicated that, during the half Cuban-8 maneuver, the Pitts pulled over the top, rolled 1 1/2 times to the left, and was then established upright on the 45º down line. The extra roll during the half Cuban-8 was not normal and put him further out of position. The wings of the Pitts then rocked back and forth, first to the left about 45º and then to the right approaching 90º. The airplane remained in a descending right bank and then appeared to level off immediately before ground impact. After ground impact, the airplane caught fire and burned.

Postaccident examination of the wreckage did not reveal evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies. The wind at the time of the accident was about perpendicular to the show line, blowing away from the spectators, with gusts up to 25 knots. When asked about the wind conditions, the MX2 pilot acknowledged that they were significant; however, he added that airshow pilots know how to adjust for wind and that the wind did not adversely affect their maneuvering.

Toxicology detected the potentially-impairing medications diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan in urine but not the blood. Since these medications were not detected in the blood, it is unlikely that the pilot was feeling any significant effects from these medications at the time of the accident. Additionally, although pseudoephedrine and ephedrine were detected in urine and blood, these compounds are generally not considered to be impairing and are unlikely to have contributed to the crash. However, these medications are found in combination in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications used to help decrease head congestion. Head congestion can degrade the vestibular system (the body's balance and orientation system) and impair a pilot's ability to control an airplane during flight. The investigation was unable to determine if the pilot's underlying medical condition at the time of the crash affected his ability to safely control the airplane during low altitude acrobatic flight.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain proper positioning during performance of an aerobatic maneuver and his subsequent failure to discontinue maneuvering when unable to reestablish proper positioning during a steep descent toward the ground. 

Findings

Aircraft
Heading/course - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Delayed action - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering-aerobatics
Low altitude operation/event (Defining event)
Attempted remediation/recovery
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On May 14, 2016, about 1647 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Pitts S-2SW, N24CD, collided with terrain during an aerial display at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), Atlanta, Georgia. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as an air show flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from PDK about 1642.

The pilot of the Pitts was performing air show maneuvers and was part of a flight of two with the other show pilot flying an MX2 airplane. The MX2 pilot reported that he and the Pitts pilot flew a practice routine the day before the accident. Before the accident flight, he and the Pitts pilot extensively briefed the show routine, then drove out to the "box," and "walked through the maneuvers" several times to prepare. The MX2 pilot stated that he and the Pitts pilot were well prepared for the airshow.

After uneventful departures, the two pilots joined up into formation with the Pitts pilot in the lead and the MX2 pilot on his right wing. The routine began uneventfully, with the formation entering the show box from behind the crowd at 1,000 ft above ground level (agl). They performed a "switch break" with the Pitts breaking to the right and the MX2 breaking to the left. Both pilots made 180º turns back to show center with the Pitts pilot entering the show line from the right on a 030º heading and the MX2 pilot entering the show line from the left on a 210º heading. They had briefed "highway rules," meaning they would pass left shoulder to left shoulder, like driving a car. The two airplanes passed near show center at 30 to 50 ft agl.

After this crossing maneuver, the MX2 pilot called out "ready-pull-now," and both pilots initiated a half Cuban-8, with the intention of simultaneously positioning the airplanes on 45º down angles toward show center, which was to be followed by another low altitude pass. A half Cuban 8 is an aerobatic maneuver where the pilot, from level flight, pulls through 5/8 of a loop, positions the airplane inverted on the 45º down line, rolls upright, then pulls out to level flight from the 45º down line. The MX2 pilot stated that he pulled much harder and positioned himself on the 45º down line much quicker than the Pitts pilot. As the MX2 pilot rolled out near the show line, on a heading of 030º, he expected the Pitts to be established over the show line and to his left, heading 210º. Instead, the Pitts was still above him on the 45º down line and well to his right. He estimated that the Pitts was about 200 ft or more to his right. The MX2 pilot knew that there was no chance of crossing on the show line, so he watched the Pitts to see what the pilot would do. He observed the Pitts pilot make a sharp bank to the right, toward his position, and then the airplane passed under him. The MX2 pilot did not see the Pitts impact the ground; he was not aware of the accident until he changed to the air boss frequency and was informed of it.

The MX2 pilot stated that the Pitts pilot may have inadvertently reverted to using the center of runway 21L as the show line. The actual show line was established between runways 21L and 21R and was marked by orange barrels. The MX2 pilot reported that there was a "significant direct crosswind" blowing away from the spectators; however, he added that airshow pilots know how to adjust for wind, and it did not adversely affect their maneuvering.

A witness, who was working support duties for another air show performer and was standing near the accident site, observed the air show routine and the impact. He reported that it was very windy at the time and that the wind was "howling out of the west." As he saw the two airplanes perform their Cuban-8 maneuvers, he noted that the wind blew the Pitts "too far to the east." The MX2 pilot appeared to be holding his line and compensating for the wind. He recalled that the Pitts pilot performed 11/2 aileron rolls at the top of the Cuban-8, and the rolls were "lazy."

An examination of several spectator videos confirmed that the Pitts pilot performed a crossing maneuver with the MX2 over the airfield and then he pulled up into a Cuban-8. After the Pitts pilot pulled over the top, the airplane rolled 11/2 times to the left and was then established upright on the 45º down line. The wings then rocked back and forth, first to the left about 45º and then to the right approaching 90º. The airplane remained in a descending right bank and then appeared to level off immediately before ground impact. The lower, left wing appeared to impact the ground first.



Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 50, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/17/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/02/2015
Flight Time:  1963 hours (Total, all aircraft), 159 hours (Total, this make and model) 

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane multi-engine land, airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate dated June 17, 2015, with no restrictions. He was the builder of the airplane, and he also held a repairman certificate for the airplane.

According to the pilot's logbook, he had logged about 1,963 hours of flight time as of the last entry, dated April 26, 2016. He completed a 14 CFR section 61.56(a) flight review on May 2, 2015, in an RV-10 airplane.

According to the FAA, the pilot obtained an FAA Form 8710-7, Statement of Aerobatic Competency (SAC), on May 17, 2014. The 2014 SAC was limited to solo aerobatics and "circle the jumper" maneuvers only. According to his pilot logbook, the pilot updated his SAC to include solo and formation aerobatics on July 11, 2015.



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: GREG CONNELL
Registration: N24CD
Model/Series: PITTS S-2SW NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 001CGC
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/24/2015, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection: 52 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 159 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: AEIO-540-FBAE
Registered Owner: GRECO AIR INC
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The single-engine, single-seat, bi-wing airplane was fitted with a fixed, tailwheel landing gear. It was equipped with a Lycoming AEIO-540-FBAE engine rated at 325 horsepower. An examination of the maintenance records revealed that the airplane was manufactured in 2014 by the pilot.

According to the maintenance logbooks, a condition inspection was completed on July 24, 2015, at a total airframe time of 106.7 hours.



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PDK, 998 ft msl
Observation Time: 1653 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 7000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 11°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 17 knots/ 25 knots, 290°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Atlanta, GA (PDK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Atlanta, GA (PDK)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1642 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class C 

The reported weather conditions at PDK at 1653, about 6 minutes after the accident, included few clouds at 7,000 ft, visibility 10 statute miles or greater, and surface wind from 290º at 17 knots (kts) with gusts to 25 kts. Wind at 1645 was from 290º at 17 kts with gusts to 21 kts. Wind at 1650 was from 280º at 17 kts with gusts to 25 kts. At 1647, the two-minute average wind speed, which was updated every 5 seconds and reported once a minute, was 17 kts with gusts to 25 kts. Additional wind data is included in the public docket for this investigation.

Airport Information

Airport: DeKalb Peachtree (PDK)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 998 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21L
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6001 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  33.875556, -84.303056 (est) 

The airplane impacted the grass infield between runways 21L and 21R. The wreckage debris field was about 500 ft in length and was oriented on a heading of 235°. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, empennage, and the right wing. A post-crash fire consumed a majority of the main wreckage. A parachute was found in the cockpit seat, and there were no indications of deployment. The left wing upper and lower surfaces separated from the main wreckage during the impact sequence and were not burned.

Flight control continuity was established from the ailerons, elevator, and rudder surfaces to the cockpit controls. All fractures to the flight control connection rods exhibited signatures of overstress. The fuel tank was breached from fire and impact; however, some residual fuel was observed. The wooden propeller blades were separated at the hub and were splintered.

Engine internal continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the rear accessory drives. Compression and suction were observed on all cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated manually. The No. 2 through No. 6 top spark plug electrodes exhibited normal wear and color when compared to a spark plug inspection chart. The No. 1 top spark plug electrode had a thin layer of black soot. Both magnetos were removed and produced spark on all leads when tested.

The fuel injection servo separated from the engine during impact. The throttle and mixture arms were in place and secure. The airflow section was about 75% obstructed with dried mud.

The fuel flow divider was opened; it was clean and there was a small amount of residual fuel present. The fuel injectors were unobstructed. The rubber gasket was flexible and undamaged.

The engine-driven fuel pump was removed for examination. The unit pumped fuel when operated manually. 

Medical And Pathological Information

At the time of his most recent FAA medical certification exam, the pilot reported no chronic medical conditions or ongoing use of medications.

The Dekalb County Medical Examiner, Decatur, Georgia, performed an autopsy of the pilot and determined that the cause of death was blunt trauma, and the manner was accident. The autopsy report documented 40 to 50% focal luminal obstruction of coronary arteries without thrombi or plaque hemorrhage, and there was no evidence of old or new myocardial ischemic damage. No other significant natural disease was identified.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on samples from the pilot. The non-impairing pain medication ibuprofen; the sedating antihistamine diphenhydramine; and the cough medicine dextromethorphan, and its metabolite dextrorphan were detected in urine but not in blood. The non-sedating decongestant pseudoephedrine and its isomer ephedrine were detected in urine and in cavity blood.

NTSB Identification: ERA16FA182
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Atlanta, GA
Aircraft: GREG CONNELL PITTS S-2SW, registration: N24CD
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 14, 2015, about 1647 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Pitts S-2SW, N24CD, collided with terrain during an aerial display at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), Atlanta, Georgia. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. The airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an air show flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from PDK about 1640.

The pilot of the Pitts was performing air show maneuvers and was part of a flight of two, with the other show pilot flying an MX2 airplane. An initial examination of video provided by witnesses indicated that the Pitts pilot performed a crossing maneuver with the MX2 over the airfield, and then he pulled up into a loop. As the Pitts descended out of the loop, the wings rocked back and forth as the MX2 approached from the opposite direction. Immediately prior to ground impact, the Pitts appeared to begin a level-off maneuver.

The airplane impacted the grass infield between runways 21L and 21R. The wreckage debris field was about 500 feet in length, and was oriented on a heading of 235 degrees. The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, empennage, and the right wing. A post-crash fire consumed a majority of the main wreckage. A parachute was found in the cockpit seat and there were no indications of deployment. The left wing upper and lower surfaces were separated from the main wreckage during the impact sequence and were not burned.

Flight control continuity was established from the ailerons, elevator, and rudder surfaces to the cockpit controls. All fractures to the flight control connection rods exhibited signatures of overstress. The fuel tank was breached from fire and impact; however, some residual fuel was observed. The wooden propeller blades were separated at the hub and were splintered. Engine internal continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the rear accessory drives. Compression and suction was observed on all cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated manually. The spark plug electrodes exhibited normal wear and color when compared to a spark plug inspection chart. Both magnetos were removed and produced spark on all leads when tested.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane multi-engine land, airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repairman, experimental aircraft builder certificate and was the registered builder of the accident airplane. The pilot held a FAA second-class medical certificate with no restrictions. The pilot reported 1,800 total hours of flying experience on his medical certificate application that was dated June 17, 2015.

The reported weather conditions at PDK at 1653, about 6 minutes after the accident, included few clouds at 7,000 feet, visibility 10 statute miles or greater, and surface wind from 290 degrees at 17 knots with gusts to 25 knots.

Aussie Travel Service Hit With Upped $9.6M Antitrust Penalty

Law360 (April 4, 2018, 2:01 PM EDT) -- An Australian appeals court on Wednesday backed an enhanced AU$12.5 million ($9.6 million) fine on travel service Flight Centre Ltd. for trying to convince three airlines to increase their airfares, following a yearslong campaign from the country’s competition authority.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been trying to win an increase in the penalties imposed on Flight Centre for four years, after a 2014 Federal Court ruling that it had tried to convince three international airlines they should increase their prices to match Flight Centre’s. In a statement on its website, the ACCC said it had appealed to the High Court of Australia because it considered the original AU$11 million (then $10.3 million, now $8.4 million) fine too low.

The High Court sent the question of penalties back to the Full Federal Court, which rendered Wednesday’s decision.

The ACCC originally sued the company in 2012, claiming the travel service— the country's largest— tried six times between 2005 and 2009 to get Singapore Airlines Ltd., Malaysia Airlines and Dubai-based airline Emirates to go in on an agreement to fix prices.

"The ACCC wants to ensure that penalties for breaches of competition laws are not seen as an acceptable cost of doing business," ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said in the statement. "To achieve deterrence, we need penalties that are large enough to be noticed by senior management, company boards, and also shareholders."

Representatives for Flight Centre could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

Flight Centre tried to convince the airlines to agree to stop selling flights directly to customers at prices lower than those the service was offering, the ACCC said. Since the watchdog said the travel agent was directly competing with the airlines' internal sales departments, the proposed agreement amounted to an illegal effort to fix prices.

The company's pricing system includes the base rate of the airfare plus a commission, the ACCC said. The plot to fix prices would have ensured Flight Centre, which offers a lowest airfare guarantee to customers, would continue to rake in the commissions, the ACCC said.

Flight Centre is Australia’s largest travel agency, according to the ACCC, with more than $2.6 billion in annual revenue. The ACCC statement said it will continue to push for fines that reflect both the egregiousness of alleged conduct and the size of the entity.

The ACCC has been pushing for more hefty fines recently, and noted in its statement that an OECD report found Australia lacks a structured system for determining fines for antitrust violations and that those fines were as much as 12 times lower than fines for similar violations in other countries.

Competition penalties are currently determined by Australia’s courts based on an “instinctive synthesis” of factors, according to the Australian commission's website. Unlike in many other countries, as noted by the report, the ACCC cannot set penalties on its own.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.law360.com

Burlington International Airport (KBTV) continues F-35 noise maps, offers new funds for homeowners



SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Burlington airport officials continue to conduct noise testing in neighborhoods that will be impacted by the National Guard's plans to bring the F-35 to Vermont. Some residents say they're worried about the added noise the jets will bring, but the airport says it has new federal money to help.

Carmine Sargent has lived near the Burlington International Airport for more than 45 years. "Yeah, these are all pictures from here. This is the backyard -- we got a dog," Sargent said. "I love this neighborhood.

And she has seen changes over the years. She says the commercial jets that fly near her home aren't bad. It's the fighter jets that worry her -- especially the F-35s expected to arrive next year. "I am really happy here. The only thing that has really impacted us is noise," she said.

That noise is now being studied by the airport. They've gotten federal funds to update their noise exposure map because of the F-35s. That map will determine how and where they can help residents and schools mitigate the sound.

"Instead of a more rounded contour line around the airport it's probably going to be more extended on the North and the South," Nic Longo, director of planning and development at the airport.

Longo says there will be no more tearing down homes. Now they plan to offer up to $50,000 to eligible homes for soundproofing, or help pay for the residents to relocate if they don't want to do that. They would then buy the house, soundproof it, and resell it to someone who doesn't mind its location. "This is 100-percent voluntary as it's been from the beginning. These are the tools that the FAA allows us to move forward with," Longo said.

But some residents like Sargent are skeptical. She says she has built special ramps and doorways for her disabled daughter. And she says she doesn't know if she would want the changes to her home until she sees the official results of the sound map. "I would have to wait and see if I was willing to do that," she said.

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

Rockwell 700, C-GBCM: Survivors sue pilot





Three people who survived what they describe as a “near-death” plane crash near Kelowna nearly two years ago are suing the pilot for damages.

Kimberley Anne Stefanski, Kelly Dean Mulzet and Gracemary Stevens hired pilot Brent Miskuski to fly them from Lake Havasu, Arizona to Kelowna on May 31, 2016.

After stopping at Boise Airport in Idaho, the plane took off again and on its way to Kelowna, its left engine shut down. A short time later, its right engine shut down, leaving the aircraft without any power, according to a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

The airplane went into a steep descent and crash-landed in a Christmas tree farm in Beaverdell, southeast of Kelowna. The wings of the small Rockwell Commander 700 aircraft were destroyed in the crash.

“During the crash-landing each of the passengers’ heads and bodies were violently shaken and bounced around,” says the lawsuit.

“Each of the passengers believed the airplane was crashing and that their deaths were imminent. When the passengers realized they had crash-landed and that they were alive, euphoria, adrenaline and shock took over.”

Stefanski, a resident of Kelowna, says she suffered a number of physical and mental injuries, including a mild brain injury, post-concussion syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia and vertigo.

Mulzet, also a resident of Kelowna, and Stevens, a resident of Calgary, say they suffered injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia and vertigo.

“The plaintiffs seek compensation for injuries suffered during the crash-landing, which include mental injuries caused by the near-death experience of the crash-landing,” says the suit.

They claim that the crash-landing was caused by Miskuski’s negligence and reckless disregard for the passengers’ safety.

Particulars of the alleged negligence include a decision to begin the flight despite having knowledge of a prior unexplained and unexpected engine shutdown and despite knowing flight conditions were potentially unsafe and being advised to delay the flight.

The plaintiffs also claim that it was negligent to continue the flight despite being advised not to take off from the Boise Airport without further maintenance after the airplane’s engines failed.

The three passengers claim that they did not receive proper medical evaluation or treatment for their injuries after the crash.

“Miskuski’s reckless disregard for the safety of his passengers, including the facts particularized above, was reprehensible and should be rebuked by an award of punitive damages,” says their lawsuit.

The plaintiffs are seeking general, special and punitive damages.

No response has yet been filed to the lawsuit, which contains allegations that have not been tested in court.

Miskuski said Wednesday that he had not yet been served with the lawsuit and had no comment at this time on the allegations.

“Unfortunately I really can’t talk about it until I’ve had a chance to talk to our counsel that represents the whole incident,” he said. “Once I talk with him, I’ll be happy to chat with you.”

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