Saturday, June 2, 2018

Luscombe 8E Silvaire, N2657K: Incident occurred June 02, 2018 at Paragould Kirk Field Airport (KPGR), Greene County, Arkansas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas

Aircraft experienced a hard landing.

Date: 02-JUN-18
Time: 21:15:00Z
Regis#: N2657K
Aircraft Make: LUSCOMBE
Aircraft Model: 8E
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -  Late Saturday, authorities responded to an incident involving an airplane at Paragould Municipal Airport.

According to Lt. Ken Jackson with the Paragould Police Department, no one was hurt Saturday when a single-engine, two-seat Luscombe aircraft had difficulty taking off at the Paragould Municipal Airport. 

Jackson said authorities got a call around 4:10 p.m. about the incident.

The plane was taking off when the right rudder got stuck and the plane came back down. 

From there, the plane did a 180-degree turn into the grass portion of the runway, Jackson said. 

In addition to Paragould police, Paragould firefighters and airport officials responded to the scene. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the incident, Jackson said.  

Original article can be found here ➤

Gary Todd: Airports help manufacturing take off

About the author: Gary Todd is the manager of the Clare Municipal Airport (48D), Michigan 
Gary Todd

Michigan is known for manufacturing with a total annual output of over $90 billion. Here in Clare, we owe the founding of our airport to manufacturing.

For states like ours, located in the heart of the rust belt, general aviation is a critical tool for supporting manufacturers. There are over 11,000 manufacturing firms here in Michigan, and our network of 211 general aviation airports is here to support them. Years ago, one auto parts manufacturer built the grass strip that would become our local airport because they needed a fast and direct means to deliver parts to Detroit. Today, it continues and our airport continues to support industries and manufacturing across our region.

General aviation and local airports help businesses to transfer people and parts faster, and more directly, than cars, railways, or commercial airlines so they can keep to a tight schedule to meet their set production goals. Just a few months ago, for example, a manufacturer just west of Clare had a machine breakdown. To avoid any stoppages in work, they flew a mechanic in from southern Ohio. Without general aviation, the mechanic would have driven at least five hours just to make it to the site. Thanks to general aviation and the local airport, the company flew the mechanic in, fixed the machine and had him back home before the end of the day.

The public benefits of general aviation are almost endless. Law enforcement uses general aviation to help support their officers on the ground.

There is a functional advantage to having eyes in the sky that can augment the work occurring on the ground.

General aviation helps law enforcement cover a large area in a short time and see into blind spots, increasing officer safety.

Within the medical field, general aviation is utilized from everything from transferring patients from one location to another to flying specialized doctors out to underserved communities. Here at the Clare Municipal Airport, I personally patrol the nearby natural gas pipeline.

I fly the length of the underground pipeline and keep an eye out for any discolored grass, which indicates a leak, or any work crews placing any heavy equipment or materials on the ground above the pipeline, which could cause a rupture.

General aviation airports serve an essential role in the growth of communities across America. As we continue to talk about the importance of infrastructure, our roads, bridges and commercial airports, let’s not forget the importance of our smaller airports as well.

Original article ➤

Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, N41173: Fatal accident occurred June 02, 2018 in Amagansett, Suffolk County, New York

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York
Piper; Wichita, Kansas 
Lycoming Engines; Atlanta, Georgia
Hartzell Propeller; Piqua, Ohio

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  

Location: Amagansett, NY
Accident Number: ERA18LA157
Date & Time: 06/02/2018, 1433 EDT
Registration: N41173
Aircraft: PIPER PA 31
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 2, 2018, about 1433 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-31-350 (Navajo), N41173, was destroyed when it impacted the Atlantic Ocean near Indian Wells Beach, Amagansett, New York. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Newport State Airport (UUU), Newport, Rhode Island, destined for East Hampton Airport (HTO), East Hampton, New York. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

A pilot in another airplane, a Bonanza, was flying with the accident airplane. He stated that the two airplanes were in UUU to pick up a relative of the passengers flying in the Navajo and then fly to HTO. The relative boarded the Bonanza and both airplanes we utilized to transport her belongings. He further stated that he and the accident pilot talked for about 1 hour regarding the weather between them and the destination airport. They planned to both fly south to the Sandy Point VOR on Block Island, Rhode Island and then turn west and follow the shoreline to HTO. They looked at the weather online. It was visual flight rules (VFR) to the destination. The Bonanza departed first, and the Navajo was going to follow. After takeoff the Bonanza contacted Providence air traffic control (ATC) and was informed that there was a "bad storm" near HTO and it was moving slowly. The Bonanza pilot told ATC that he wanted to fly farther south over the ocean and try to miss the approaching storm, so he could stay VFR. He did not know what happened to the Navajo as he did not hear the accident pilot communicate on the radio. The Bonanza pilot stated he conducted the flight at 1,000 ft above ground level (agl) and slowed down due to turbulence, but landed at HTO under VFR conditions.

Radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) depicted the Navajo in front of the Bonanza by 5 miles over the Atlantic Ocean and south of HTO. The radar data revealed that the Navajo was at 432 ft agl about 6 miles from the airport. It climbed to 512 ft and then descended to 152 ft. The airplane's radar target momentarily disappeared and then reappeared and climbed to 532 ft before descending back to 152 ft. The airplane's last radar target indicated 325 ft about 2 miles south of Indian Wells Beach.

The wreckage was located about 1 mile south of the Indian Wells Beach in 50 ft of water and was subsequently recovered. Examination of the wreckage was performed about 2 weeks after the accident by a National Transportation Safety Board investigator. The fuselage was impact damaged, fractured, and separated into multiple pieces. The cabin roof was separated into a portion extending from the windows on the left side around to the right-wing attachment and extending from the aft baggage compartment forward to about the middle of the cabin. There was another portion of the cabin roof extending from about the middle of the cabin forward to the windshield and from the windows on the left side around to the windows on the right side.

The left and right wings were both separated from the fuselage at the wing root and were fragmented. One fuel cell was recovered on the left wing.

The left and right engine remained partially attached to the airframe through the motor mounts. The oil sump was fractured and corroded on both engines. The No. 1 cylinder was impact damaged on both engines. The spark plugs were removed, and the engines were rotated by turning the propeller flange. Continuity to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. Compression and suction were confirmed through thumb compression. The piston, valves and cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope. No anomalies were noted except corrosion and sand consistent with saltwater immersion.

Both left and right propellers were fractured from their respective engine crankshaft mounting flanges and exhibited corrosion consistent with immersion in saltwater. Both propeller spinner domes were torn from the propeller assemblies and were not recovered. All four blades of the left and right propellers were bent aft in varying degrees and twisted toward low pitch.

The seven seat, low-wing airplane, was manufactured in 1984. It was powered by two Lycoming TIO-540-J2B, 350-horsepower engines, equipped with four bladed Hartzell propellers. The airplane was equipped with a Garmin MX20 MFD and a Garmin 530 GPS, both capable of displaying on board weather. The last annual inspection was completed on November 3, 2017. At the time of the accident, the airframe total time was 5776.6 hours.. The left engine had 359.5 hours since major overhaul and the right engine had 535.7 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had flown 39 hours since the annual inspection.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued May 30, 2017. At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 3,000 total hours of flight experience.

At 1335, the weather recorded at HTO, included: scattered clouds at 1,300 ft, wind calm, temperature 22°C, dew point 20°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.76 inches of mercury.

Review of weather radar revealed that a low-pressure system associated with a frontal wave over Long Island Sound with a cold front stretching westward over Long Island into central New Jersey and a warm front turning back to a cold front eastward. The models also indicated scattered thunderstorms over the area of HTO.

The engine and airframe were retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N41173
Model/Series: PA 31 350
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHTO, 56 ft msl
Observation Time: 1835 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 25 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1300 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 2600 ft agl
Visibility: 7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.76 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: NEWPORT, RI (UUU)
Destination: EAST HAMPTON, NY (HTO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  40.571944, -72.074722 (est)

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

Jon Kenneth Dollard Jr.

Some might say Jon Kenneth Dollard’s flying career started before he could walk. 

The East Hampton Airlines pilot grew up watching his father, Kenneth Dollard, now 80, pour his heart and soul into his job as an air traffic controller for the Federal Aviation Administration, where he worked for 38 years. 

Flying was in his blood.

“He was born with it,” Kenneth Dollard said of his 47-year-old son, adding that his youngest son, Christopher Dollard, 43, also is a pilot, first for the U.S. Navy and now for Southwest Airlines.

A Hampton Bays resident, Jon Kenneth Dollard, an instrument-rated commercial pilot with ratings for single- and multi-engine aircrafts, was well versed in flying his employer’s Piper Navajo PA 31. 

On Saturday, at approximately 3 p.m., the private four-seat plane in which Mr. Dollard was flying his employers, Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, who own East Hampton Airlines, and their grandson, William Maerov, crashed into the water roughly two miles off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. As of Wednesday, two bodies have been recovered, though they have not been identified, and the search for possible survivors has ended. 

On Monday, Mr. Dollard took comfort in the fact that his son died while he was doing what he loved. 

He recalled how thrilled his son was when he was offered the job working for the Industrial Road charter flight service approximately nine years ago. “He would always say how lucky he was,” he said. “He loved the company.”

More importantly, he loved the people. 

Kate Gilroy of Sag Harbor, a longtime friend of Mr. Dollard’s, said on Monday that the Krupinskis were much more than employers to Mr. Dollard: “They were like family,” she said. 

She recalled meeting up with Mr. Dollard when she moved to Sag Harbor four years ago, and going for dinner with the three of them via private aircraft. 

“That day, he had said, ‘I know you’re new to the area,’ and we went out to dinner with Ben and Bonnie,” Ms. Gilroy said. “He was a ‘no man left behind’ type of guy.”

Mr. Dollard and Ms. Gilroy’s older brother, John Gilroy, 46, had been best friends since 1980, when they were third-graders at Briarcliff Elementary School in Shoreham. Mr. Gilroy couldn’t be reached for comment. 

“We’ve been privileged with knowing one of the most considerate, compassionate, interested, engaging, chivalrous, intelligent, and quirky-silly-clever-funny spirits that many of us will ever meet in this lifetime,” Ms. Gilroy wrote in a Facebook tribute to Mr. Dollard. “For 38 years, Jon has been the Second-Older-Brother-I-Never-Asked-For and for the past 24 hours, the source of my Heart. Breaking. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Again—in a sick and surging ebb [and] rushing flow—made ever the more painful knowing there are those who feel his loss greater than I do.”

Mr. Dollard is survived by his wife, Ana Dollard; his mother, Jean Dollard, 71; his father, Kenneth Dollard; and his three brothers, Todd, Jason and Christopher.

Ms. Dollard could not be reached for comment.

Scott Santangelo of Hampton Bays said that Mr. Dollard would always rave about his wife’s cooking. “My wife is the best cook in the world,” he would always say. “She made the best turkey stuffing.”

On Monday, Kenneth Dollard described his son as a “very personable and friendly guy,” recalling the days he worked at World Pie and Bobby Van’s in Bridgehampton, and Oakland’s Restaurant in Hampton Bays, to help pay his way through college.

Vanessa Parsons of Living Art Aquariums in East Quogue recalled the late nights she would work side by side with Mr. Dollard at Oakland’s on Dune Road. 

“Jon was the kind of guy you felt lucky to know,” Ms. Parsons said. “If you’ve ever worked in the restaurant business, you know how quickly your fellow servers can become like family.”

However, the two shared much more than a few fond memories waiting tables. Ms. Parsons and Mr. Dollard shared a love of the sea, and surfing, as well as a love of music. “He was just great to be around,” she said. 

Christopher OKunewicz of Southampton recalled the frequent conversations he would have with Mr. Dollard, who would often be seen pouring drinks behind the bar at World Pie on the weekends. “He had such a warmth to him,” he said on Monday. “His character and his personality, he was such a really nice guy.”

Tom Logan of Shoreham was another close friend of Mr. Dollard’s, calling him an “extraordinary person.”

“To put Jon into words is almost impossible,” Mr. Logan said. “He was a free spirit who loved his brothers, loved his parents, loved his friends, and most of all loved meeting new people.”

He added that Mr. Dollard would make friends with anyone regardless of their “cliques” in school. 

“He saw no boundaries growing up,” said Mr. Logan, who grew up with Mr. Dollard from elementary school through high school. “He would go to the city with the skaters to ride his skateboard one night, and be with the wrestling team the next night. The following weekend, he would be off with his theater friends. That’s what I loved about him—he didn’t care what people thought about him. He just cared about people.”

In 1990, Mr. Dollard graduated from Shoreham Wading River High School, leaving behind the old memories to make new ones. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Salisbury University in Maryland, where he roomed with Chris Rathmann of Catonsville, Maryland, for two years. “You are one in a million,” Mr. Rathmann said of Mr. Dollard on Facebook. “You made me laugh everyday.” 

In 2009, Mr. Dollard moved to Florida and enrolled in the Delta Connection Academy, which was then headquartered at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport before merging with Aerosim Technologies in 2010, and earned his pilot’s license roughly a year later.

“He got hooked,” Mr. OKunewicz said. “I think there are certain people out there who get the bug, and once you get that bug, that’s really it.”

Mr. Dollard’s passion for flying showed when he got his first job right out of school at Brookhaven Airport, where he worked as a flight instructor for a year before being hired by East Hampton Airlines. 

In recent months, he could be seen flying over Montauk with Ms. Gilroy, in the same Piper Navajo, helping her capture “amazing” coastline aerials for a climate change documentary focused around the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sandbag seawall project, recently built on the beach in Montauk.

“He was a larger-than-life guy,” Ms. Gilroy said. “If he knew that you were in need of something, he would help you make that happen. The world was made just a little bit better by having Jon Dollard in it. “

A memorial service honoring Mr. Dollard’s life will be held in the coming weeks, according to Ms. Gilroy’s Facebook page, though details are not yet finalized.

Original article can be found here ➤

Jon Dollard

Jon Kenneth Dollard Jr.

Search boats on Wednesday are expected back in the water to look for two of the four people aboard a small plane that crashed off the Amagansett coastline Saturday, authorities said.

Two vessels returned to port in Montauk at about 6 p.m. Tuesday after combing the choppy seas in the area where the twin-engine Piper PA-31 Navajo went down, said East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo.

Earlier Tuesday, Sarlo said choppy seas and the threat of afternoon thunderstorms had limited the efforts to just the two patrol boats.

The conditions also prevented dive teams from joining Day Three of the search for the victims and wreckage, the chief said.

Emergency crews found two bodies Saturday just hours after the plane went down about two miles off the coast of Indian Wells Beach. Sarlo had said Monday the search was now a recovery effort.

Police have identified the four people aboard the plane as builder Bernard Krupinski and his wife, Bonnie Krupinski, both 70, and their grandson William Maerov, 22, all of East Hampton; and the pilot, Jon Dollard, 47, of Hampton Bays.

A memorial service for the Krupinskis and Maerov will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home on Pantigo Road in East Hampton. A funeral will be held for the three at 10 a.m. on Friday at First Presbyterian Church of East Hampton, followed by a burial at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton.

It was not clear Tuesday whether services for Dollard had been set.

Tuesday’s search resumed amid choppy seas after East Hampton Town police suspended the water search for the second straight day Monday because of deteriorating conditions.

Strong winds and waves crested between 4 and 8 feet over the weekend and Monday, hampering the search efforts.

Waves in the area Tuesday were measured at between 3 and 4 feet, with winds ranging from 10 to 15 mph with occasional gusts of 25 mph, according to the National Weather Service, which forecast a 30 percent chance of rain at night.

Sarlo said the conditions made it too risky for divers to look for the victims and the plane’s wreckage.

“We have dive teams from the State Police, Southampton Town and our own dive team on standby,” he said.

Police officers continued mapping the search field and placing markers in the area, Sarlo said. Nonstop shoreline search patrols continued from Southampton Town to Amagansett, he said.

“We ask if anybody notices or spots any debris that they please call the police department immediately and leave it for us to come pick up,” he said.

East Hampton Town Councilman David Lys speaks about the recent crash of a Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain carrying Bernard and Bonnie Krupinski and their grandson William Maerov, all of East Hampton, and pilot Jon Dollard of Hampton Bays. 

Three days after a plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Amagansett, police are back in the water looking for two missing victims and parts of the aircraft. 

"With inclement weather forecast for later today, and winds already picking up, we are still launching at least one vessel this morning and will be working to coordinate mapping of the area off Indian Wells Beach in hopes of narrowing down the search field and placing markers," East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo said by email Tuesday morning. 

A Piper PA-31 Navajo carrying four people crashed at about 2:40 p.m. Saturday. Debris was found about a mile and a half off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett. The four people on board were identified as Ben Krupinski, his wife, Bonnie Krupinski, their 22-year-old grandson, William Maerov, and the plane's pilot, Jon Dollard. Two bodies were found shortly after the crash, though police are waiting on word from the Suffolk County medical examiner's office to confirm their identities. 

The Coast Guard suspended its search Sunday afternoon as conditions worsened at sea. The police kept up a search along the shoreline, looking for any debris from the crash that may have washed ashore. 

"When the conditions are appropriate for divers and submersible sonar, we can optimize the resources available in the coming days," Chief Sarlo said. "A full operations plan for recovery has been developed which is both weather dependent as well as dependent on location and condition of what wreckage is found."

Chief Sarlo updated the East Hampton Town Board on the recovery efforts Tuesday afternoon, saying the department hopes to be able to recover the two missing bodies.

"Even though there aren’t high seas, it's very choppy conditions," he said, adding that the difficult conditions remained unsafe for divers. He hopes to drop physical markers to map out the area "so that when the conditions do break and we do have optimal conditions, we can maximize the use of time, shrink down the search area, and hopefully be able to pinpoint where the remaining wreckage is."

He again asked that commercial fishermen not drag or drop equipment in the area of the crash site.

East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc thanked those involved in the recovery effort. "Everyone involved deserves very high praise under what were very, very difficult circumstances. We are fortunate to live in a place that has so many dedicated volunteers and staff, " he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the plane crash. Terry Williams, a spokesman, said Monday afternoon that the N.T.S.B. is in the early stages of its investigation. A preliminary report will be issued in about a week, but it will not include information on the cause. "It will take approximately a year or more before the investigation is complete," Mr. Williams said.

The fateful storm off Indian Wells Beach at 2:32 p.m. on Saturday, June 2nd

A satellite/radar map is shown of Long Island's east end showing weather conditions around the time a Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain was reported missing Saturday. 

Ben Krupinski, Bonnie Krupinski, and William Maerov

By Dan Rattiner 

As of this writing, investigators are still trying to determine what caused the twin engine Piper Navajo aircraft to fall into the sea a mile off Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett last Saturday afternoon. Aboard that plane were 47-year-old pilot Jon Dollard of Hampton Bays, businessman and builder Ben Krupinski, 70, his wife, developer Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski, also 70, and their grandson Will Maerov, 22, who had just finished college at Georgetown. All died.

An hour before that plane crashed, I was having lunch on the upstairs deck at Baron’s Cove in Sag Harbor. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but then, as were drinking coffee, we saw ominous black clouds forming angrily in the sky to the south over East Hampton, Amagansett and surely the ocean beyond. A breeze began picking up. We asked for the check. Good idea to drive home before the storm hit.

Driving south, still in sunshine, on the East Hampton Sag Harbor Turnpike, I came upon this most astonishing thing. Just as I was passing the Ross School, about halfway home, there was a line in the road. Between the line and myself, it was dry. Past the line, it was wet. So there, crossing it, I was in the thick of it. It was dark as night. Huge raindrops thudded onto the car.

By the time I reached the turn where Cedar Street ends at North Main Street, I couldn’t see 10 feet and the floodwaters were up to my car’s running boards. Vehicles were sending billowing waves of water against cars coming the other way and thunder and lightning flickered and crashed. Frightened, I used my car cellphone to call my wife in Southampton to tell her to pull off the road if she encountered this storm.

She didn’t answer, so I left her a voicemail. I drove up Three Mile Harbor Road, and suddenly, as fast as it came, the storm was gone and the floodwaters were gurgling off into the drains. That was it.

The call to my wife occurred at 2:46 p.m. according to my phone records. I did not know this at the time, but at that moment, three miles away—two miles to the beach and one mile off its shore—the pilot of this plane, unable to control it any longer, lost his battle over the ocean. The authorities learned of the crash officially at 2:50 p.m.

The plane is one of several small planes that Krupinski owned. He’d enjoyed flying planes since he was a young man. And this one, a twin engine Piper PA-31 Navajo, had been one of his favorites. He’d owned it for at least 30 years.

Friends later told me that, at the time of the crash, the Krupinski family was returning from a vacation in Nantucket. Bennie and Bonnie, as friends refer to them, were in this plane with the pilot and their grandson. Other family members, including a granddaughter, were in a second plane that landed safely at East Hampton Airport. The plan was they would all meet up for dinner at Cittanuova, one of the three restaurants that Ben owns.

The last time I spoke to Ben was 23 hours before the crash. It’s not important, but it does underline the reason why the loss of this family has been such a blow to this community. About 4 p.m. that day, I had called Ben on his cellphone to ask if he would renew his annual support for the Dan’s Papers Literary Prize competition. Of course he would, he said.

It’s about philanthropy. Bennie and Bonnie made their fortune from almost nothing. Both were born and raised in this town, went to East Hampton High School, became sweethearts, got married and raised a family here. They are local people. North of the Highway people.

Ben’s father owned a grocery store. Bonnie’s father owned a sand-and-gravel business. One of Ben’s first jobs was working for Bonnie’s father. At the time of their death, they lived on Three Mile Harbor Road, just down the way from my house.

Here’s the philanthropy part. When Ben Krupinski went into business as a builder in 1980, the inundation of wealthy people coming to this community was just beginning. Ben decided that there were builders and there were Builders. Homes built by master craftsmen were needed now, homes that might cost a lot but would be as close to perfectly constructed as possible.

Other builders have done this since, but Ben was among the first to do so. Among his early clients were Christie Brinkley, Billy Joel, Martha Stewart, Adrienne Vittadini, Steve Cohen and Leon Black. Word got around. Today hundreds of construction people work for his firm. There are offices in East Hampton, Southampton and Greenwich, Connecticut, and the list of architects they’ve worked with is more than 30.

Ben also owned restaurants, some on his own, some with partners in town. The restaurants are Cittanuova, East Hampton Point and the 1770 House. But his judgment was not perfect. Sometimes you take a risk and it doesn’t work out. Ben built a Chinese restaurant on Pantigo called Wei Fun around 2006 that, after two years, failed. It is a business office today. The others are a big success. The Krupinskis also owned an East Hampton air charter service.

Did success change the Krupinskis? Yes, it did. They decided that they would donate a good portion of their hundred-million-dollar fortune to local charitable works—physically. Many of the public institutions I am about to mention were built either for free or at vastly reduced cost as the Krupinskis’ contribution.

Recipients of pro bono work were the Scoville Hall in Amagansett after it burned down, renovations at the East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society building, renovations and additions at Guild Hall and the John Drew Theater, renovations and additions to the East Hampton Library, the restoration of the Amagansett Life Saving Station, the reconstruction of the Fowler Farmhouse in East Hampton and, in Water Mill, the construction of the $60 million Parrish Art Museum, for which Krupinski won the contract.

The value of the savings to the East End for these works is in excess of tens of millions of dollars, even 100 million dollars. Thus my call to Ben on Friday. There is nobody, nobody, who does this on that level in these parts. The son of a grocery store owner and the daughter of a sand-and-gravel company owner did this.

The Krupinskis were witty and fun, and, staying behind the scenes, enjoyed an unaffected, private family life. My most recent encounter with Bonnie Krupinski came two years ago when I went to her office on Springs Fireplace Road, where her family runs their sand-and-gravel business.

I had noticed, while writing about the airport noise battle between the locals and the FAA at the East Hampton Airport, that there was another place, shown on a map of East Hampton, where helicopters could land. It was at the Bistrian Sand and Gravel headquarters on Springs Fireplace Road. I went there and confronted Bonnie about this, and we both started laughing.

Both of our homes are just downwind of this site. But it is an emergency chopper site. Never going to be used for commercial operation. I told her that Dan’s Papers is in favor of all public works in the town that make sense, except in this case, it’s too close to either my house or hers.

“Ethics only goes so far,” I said proudly. And we started laughing again.

I miss them. We all do. I am an emotional wreck over what happened to them and their grandson, who had his whole life ahead of him.

The New York media, in covering this tragedy, have described the Krupinskis as “builders to the stars.” They may have been that. But it does not even begin to describe what they were about and what they meant to this community.

Want another story about them? The press reports, correctly, that Bennie and Bonnie are co-owners of the prestigious East Hampton Golf Club.

It’s prestigious today. It was not prestigious when, 30 years ago, Pete Bistrian, Bonnie’s father, decided to make a golf course there with his bulldozers. It took him 20 years to complete. He liked golf.

Pete Bistrian owned all this land. On weekends, with the sand-and-gravel operation closed, he and his men would take their bulldozers to this land and clear out all the trees and shrubs for the 18 fairways. As weekend work, it took about a year to do this. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the town decided no, no, no, you can’t have a golf course here. A clubhouse is against zoning. Sprinkler systems were deemed inadequate. So the work stopped.

It stopped for 10 years, Bistrian figured he was done, and the cleared land was such a mess. But then an ingenious Riverhead lawyer named Bill Esseks got an idea. Bistrian had gotten planning board approval for the golf course landscaping years before. Just finish the fairways, put the greens in and start playing. But they won’t let me build a clubhouse, Bistrian said. So bring in a trailer for a clubhouse. It’s on wheels. It’s a vehicle. Like the landscaping, it doesn’t violate the zoning.

So Bistrian did that, members joined, the course opened and the town said okay, okay, we’ll give you a variance, build your damn clubhouse. So that is the history of this course, which today is, yes, prestigious.

Original article can be found here ➤

The wreckage of a Piper PA31 Navajo twin-engine plane that crashed into the ocean off East Hampton last Saturday afternoon, June 2, has been located and an additional victim’s body has been found, according to the East Hampton Town police chief.

Chief Michael Sarlo said in a statement issued shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday that the wreckage was discovered on Thursday afternoon approximately one mile off Atlantic Avenue Beach after an exhaustive search over the past week. He said police divers have been scouring the wreckage.

The victim who was recently located among the debris—one of four people who were aboard the plane—is being brought to the U.S. Coast Guard Station Montauk and then transferred to the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office. 

Progressive Aerodyne Searey, N273GH: Incident occurred June 02, 2018 in Gladewater, Upshur County, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; North Texas

Aircraft with floats, did not lift landing gear upon landing on lake, aircraft rolled on lake.

Date: 02-JUN-18
Time: 12:40:00Z
Regis#: N273GH
Aircraft Model: SEAREY
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
State: TEXAS

GLADEWATER - The pilot of an ultralight plane walked away with minor injuries Saturday morning after a rough-water landing in Lake Gladewater, the Gladewater Fire Department reported.

The fire department said the pilot was able to remove the plane from the lake.

Gladewater authorities did not release the name of the pilot or indicate whether the pilot sought medical attention. The Upshur County Sheriff's Office, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and Champion EMS also responded to the crash.

The ultra-light crash was the second plane crash in the Longview area in two days. Two men walked away at about 7:30 a.m. Friday after their aircraft went down near a northeast Longview neighborhood south of Page Road. 

The pilot, Randall Coggin, told authorities that he experienced engine failure and made a hard landing of the fixed-wing, single-engine plane. Coggin, 74, and passenger Coby Melvin, 67, both of Longview, were treated at the scene.

The Longview police and fire departments along with DPS responded to the Friday crash. DPS spokeswoman Sgt. Jean Dark said officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration headed to the site to conduct an investigation

Original article can be found here ➤

The pilot of a small ultralight plane is okay after crashing into Lake Gladewater early Saturday morning.

KETK has learned that the crash happened near a gated neighborhood on the lake. 

We are told the pilot was trying to land his personal plane on the water, something he has done in the past. However, for an unknown reason his plane was unstable during the landed and flipped. 

The pilot was able to escape with only minor injuries before the aircraft went underwater.

With the help of multiple agencies, the plane was pulled from the water. 

Authorities who help patrol the lake say planes landing on the lake can happen, but this is rare. 

Original article ➤

Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga II, N9202Q: Incident occurred June 02, 2018 at Northeast Philadelphia Airport (KPNE), Pennsylvania

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Aircraft landed gear up.

Last Tango LLC:

Date: 02-JUN-18
Time: 14:15:00Z
Regis#: N9202Q
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA 32R 301
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The pilot of a small plane walked away unharmed after a making an emergency landing at the Northeast Philadelphia Airport.

It happened Saturday morning.

The pilot radioed the control tower that the landing gear on his Piper Saratoga had failed and that he would be bringing the plane down belly-first.

The landing was successful. 

No one was injured.

The airport was shut down for several hours as crews worked to remove the damaged aircraft from the runway.

It was back open by 2 p.m.

Original article can be found here ➤

Close call this morning at Northeast Philadelphia Airport (KPNE).

On Box 366 Ashton and Grant Avenue.

BC 13 had a plane land on Runway 6 without landing gear.

No injuries.

Incident placed under control at 10:17 hours holding Engine 46 and BC 13.

Northeast Philadelphia Airport (KPNE) reopened after the plane was removed off the runway. 
-Philly Fire News

ID problem averted by Southern Airways Express staff: Boone County Airport (KHRO), Harrison, Arkansas

Buster Austin (center) who is 105 years old and the oldest passenger to ever board a flight out of Boone County Regional Airport, prepares for a Friday morning flight with (from left) Southern Airways Express 1st officer Steve Miller, Linda Klutts, Gayle Austin and Captain Conrad Johnson.

What could have been a major problem for a centenarian airplane passenger was averted Friday morning thanks to Southern Airways Express personnel.

Buster Austin, who is 105 years old, his wife, 91-year-old Gayle, and other family members were scheduled to fly out of the Boone County Regional Airport on a flight to Dallas departing at 7:15 a.m.

However, as they were checking in for the flight, it was discovered Buster didn’t have his driver’s license or a photo ID with him.

He was told that the flight to Dallas on Southern wouldn’t be a problem, but he would have to go through Transportation Security Administration when making the connecting flight for their ultimate destination of Yakima, Washington, where they were going to celebrate his brother’s 50th wedding anniversary.

“I never thought about it,” Buster told airline officials.

However, some companions with Buster took him to the Revenue Office on Goblin Drive, which opens at 7 a.m., to get a photo ID.

Airport manager Judy McCutcheon said airline staff delayed the departure time until Buster was back at the airport, new photo ID in hand.

McCutcheon said Buster was the oldest passenger ever to fly out of the Boone County Airport.

While they were checking in for the flight, a clerk said the computer system thought Buster, who was born in October 1912, was born in 2012 because the system only recognized birth dates as far back as 1918. That was also remedied.

Original article can be found here ➤

Eurocopter AS350B3, N911WL, registered to Placer County and operated by the Placer County Sheriff's Department: Accident occurred October 24, 2015 in Folsom, Sacramento County, California

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California
Bureau d’EnquĂȘtes et d’Analyses; Lyon, France, FN
Placer County Sheriff's Department; Auburn, California 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location:  Folsom, CA
Accident Number: WPR16LA019
Date & Time: 10/24/2015, 1633 PDT
Registration: N911WL
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Public Aircraft 

On October 24, 2015, at 1633 Pacific daylight time, an American Eurocopter AS350B3 helicopter, N911WL, landed hard during a practice autorotation near Folsom, California. The flight instructor, pilot undergoing instruction (PUI), and tactical flight officer (TFO) were not injured; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. The helicopter was registered to Placer County, and operated by the Placer County Sheriff's Department, as a public aircraft flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a company flight plan had been filed. The instructional flight departed Mc Clellan Airfield, Sacramento, California, at 1618.

The purpose of the flight was to perform patrol missions, in addition to providing training for the PUI, who had recently been hired by the Sheriff's department. This was his first patrol training flight, and he was seated in the front left seat, with the flight instructor in the front right, and the TFO in the rear jump seat. The plan was to introduce the PUI to the helicopters systems while on patrol, and then perform a series of straight-in, 180°, and "enhanced" autorotation's. The flight instructor stated that an enhanced autorotation is a maneuver where a point is picked for an emergency landing, and the pilot is tasked with landing the helicopter at that point using whatever maneuvers are necessary.

The crew departed from their base at Auburn Municipal Airport, Auburn, California about 1230, and initially performed routine patrol work. Once completed, they then transitioned to a series of autorotation's with power recoveries in a flat field, all of which were uneventful. They then landed at Mc Clellan Airfield, and serviced the helicopter with about 120 gallons of fuel. After departure, they flew to a peninsula on the northern shore of the Folsom Lake Reservoir with the intention of performing more enhanced autorotation training. The peninsula, which according to the flight instructor was an area for training approved by the department, was normally partially submerged in water but due to drought conditions, was fully exposed.

They reported surveying the area and beginning the maneuver at 2,500 ft mean sea level (about 2,100 ft above the lake surface). The flight instructor stated that he was the pilot-in-command, and that the PUI was "shadowing" the controls.

They surveyed the area and then performed an enhanced autorotation with a power recovery to the dry lakebed. The flight instructor stated that during this maneuver the PUI appeared overwhelmed. They then set up for another approach to the peninsula, and the flight instructor told him to just track rotor RPM and not to worry about foot pedal control, or aircraft attitude, as he demonstrated that rotor RPM could be controlled with both the cyclic and collective.

The flight instructor reported that at about 1,000 ft agl, he felt the PUI was inadvertently hindering the controls, and he reached over and moved the PUI's hands away from the controls. The flight instructor stated that he was not concerned, and in his experience, this was not unusual while providing training.

The rotor RPM remained within limits during the remainder of the descent, and as they approached 100 ft agl, the flight instructor verbalized his intentions to perform a power recovery, and began by turning the throttle twist grip control from idle to flight, while simultaneously initiating the flare. As the flare progressed he did not hear the engine fully regain its speed, and he checked the instruments, observing that the engine and rotor RPM needles were still "split". They were between 10 and 25 ft from the ground and he prepared for a full touchdown landing, but by now the helicopter had moved forward to an area of down-sloping terrain. He did not want to land in an unusual attitude, so aimed to touch down flat on the skids relative to the slope. He then pulled the collective control hard just before impact to cushion the landing. By now the engine had recovered to full operating speed and he immediately applied collective control lifting the helicopter back off the ground. He then maneuvered the helicopter for landing about 100 ft forward.

After landing, he exited the helicopter and discovered that the aft airframe was wrinkled, and the tailboom had bent downwards at its intersection with the aft bulkhead. He was surprised the helicopter had sustained this damage because while the landing was hard, it did not feel hard enough to cause structural damage. He recounted having performed many autorotation's before, all without anomalies, and that this time the engine sound did not match his throttle control inputs.

The flight instructor reported that during the autorotation he was focused on audio and visual external clues as he had done in the past, rather than examining the instruments during the descent. He did not hear any audible alerts during the flight, did not notice any lights on the annunciator panel, and all gauges were "in the green".

The PUI recounted similar observations, and stated that the flight instructor initially asked him if he would like to perform the final autorotation, but he was not happy doing so. They agreed that the flight instructor would fly the autorotation, and he would shadow the controls. During the descent the PUI kept his right hand on his lap, and lightly held the collective with his left hand. At one point when he was watching the Nr gauge, the cyclic brushed against his hand, and the flight instructor asked what he was doing. The flight instructor then physically moved his right hand onto his lap, but at no point was there any interference with the flight controls. They then made a final right turn towards the landing zone, and as they approached 100 ft agl, the flight instructor stated that he was applying throttle, and the PUI felt the twist grip move in his hands. The PUI then released his hand completely from the twist grip, and as they approached the hilltop which was the landing spot, the flight instructor initiated the flare. The PUI stated that it was at this point that he had a "seat of the pants" sensation that something was wrong. The flight instructor verbalized to that effect, and the PUI felt that he should be getting a sense that power was being applied, but he was not. They were about 20 ft agl as the terrain fell away, and he started to hear a change in engine tone, but the helicopter then began to rapidly sink. He saw the flight instructor then quickly pull up on the collective, and he was relieved as this seemed to be the appropriate maneuverer. The helicopter then landed hard, and started tipping forward as the engine sound continued to change. He became concerned that the helicopter may roll forward, but instead it lifted back up into the air under what now appeared to be power. He did not recall any audible warnings or annunciator panel lights during the descent.

Accident Location

The accident site was composed of rolling hills, covered in dry grass, and interspersed with rocks. The intended landing zone was on a pinnacle, about 100 ft from where the helicopter came to rest. The terrain from the top of the pinnacle to the resting location was on a downward slope of about 4°, and the site was at an elevation of about 455 ft above sea level. The site was about 2 miles across the lake from the City of Folsom, however, the closest access via automobile from Folsom would have required a drive of about 27 miles on paved and unpaved roads, followed by an off-road drive of about 1 mile.

The helicopter was recovered from the accident site the following day under the supervision of the Sheriff's department, and the accident was reported to the National Transportation Safety Board three days later. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 44, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/22/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/17/2015
Flight Time:  5580 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1658 hours (Total, this make and model), 5328 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 64 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Military
Age: 45, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/16/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/03/2015
Flight Time:  1491.2 hours (Total, all aircraft), 12.2 hours (Total, this make and model), 801.2 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12.2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Flight Instructor

The flight instructor had been a member of the air support unit since 2000; he was the chief, and only helicopter pilot for the Sheriff's department. He attended ground, flight, and recurrency training at the Airbus training facility four times since 2009, the most recent occurring in May 2014. The remainder of his currency training and checkrides he received from a variety of other law enforcement agencies typically twice per year, with his last flight review taking place with an officer from the Sacramento Police Department on September 17, 2015.

He held a commercial pilot certificate and a flight instructor certificate, both with ratings for helicopter, and reported a total flight time of 5,580 hours in helicopters, 1,658 of which were in the AS350B3.

Pilot Undergoing Instruction

The PUI held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, helicopter, instrument airplane, and instrument helicopter. He also held a type rating for Sikorsky S-65 (CH-53) helicopter. He reported a total flight time of 1,341.8 hours, with the majority of that time occurring in the CH-53 helicopter, and 12.2 hours in the AS350 series.

The accident flight was the first time he had received autorotation training in the AS350 type.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AMERICAN EUROCOPTER LLC
Registration: N911WL
Model/Series: AS350B3
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 4587
Landing Gear Type: High Skid
Seats: 3
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/09/2015, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5225 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 9 Hours
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 1451.1 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Turbomeca
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: 2B1
Rated Power: 871 hp
Operator: Placer County Sheriff's Department
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The helicopter, callsign Falcon 30, was manufactured in 2008 and equipped with a Turbomeca Arriel 2B1 engine. The helicopter was maintained under a continuous airworthiness program, and the last inspection occurred on October 9, 2015, 9.3 flight hours prior to the accident.

The helicopter was equipped with the Airbus Helicopters maximum gross weight increase kit, which consisted of high skid landing gear, and a dual hydraulic system. The kit gave it a maximum internal gross weight of 5,225 pounds (compared to the standard configuration gross weight of 4,960 pounds). According to the flight instructor, the helicopter weighed 5,166 pounds at the time of the accident.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMCC, 77 ft msl
Observation Time: 2335 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 252°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 6°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, 280°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: SACRAMENTO, CA (MCC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: AUBURN, CA (AUN)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1618 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 38.735833, -121.126667 

Medical And Pathological Information

Flight Instructor

At the time of the accident, the flight instructor's second-class medical certificate was suspended due to a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes. FAA records indicated that at that time a review was underway to determine his eligibility for a special issuance medical certificate.

According to the Air Unit Commander, the department was aware of the flight instructor's medical status, and they had made it a requirement that he show them his glucose levels throughout the day. Because he was not exhibiting symptoms, the decision was made to only allow the flight instructor to continue to fly the helicopter when a "safety pilot" was also on board. He also stated that they had been in contact with the local FAA Flight Standards District Office and had advised them of his status. He was subsequently issued a third-class medical certificate in August 2017.

Based on the accounts of the helicopter's occupants, he was awake and alert both during and after the accident flight and was able to self-extricate himself from the helicopter.

Tests And Research

Engine Operation

The engine is controlled by the pilot through a guarded (ON/OFF) mode selector switch on the overhead instrument panel, and a twist grip on the collective pitch lever, with two modes, FLIGHT and IDLE. The entire system is electronically controlled by a dual-channel FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control), which controls a dual stepper motor driving the engines main fuel metering valve. Should the FADEC encounter a major failure, engine operation is automatically maintained through a backup ancillary control unit (EBCAU), which controls a separate backup metering valve.

According to the "Autorotation Training Landing Procedures" section of the helicopter's flight manual, during the power recovery phase of an autorotation, the pilot should move the twist grip from IDLE to FLIGHT, which commands the FADEC to operate the engine at flight power. The electrical control logic in the twist grip mechanism is designed such that flight power is commanded as soon as the twist grip moves out of the IDLE detent (releasing the "forced-idle" microswitch), even before it enters the FLIGHT detent.

Airbus Helicopters had released an alert service bulletin (ASB), and emergency alert service bulletin (EASB) related to the electrical operation and logic of the twist grip.

EASB 05.00.61 Revision 2, issued on August 13, 2013 recommended both a functional check of the microswitches that govern IDLE and FLIGHT modes, along with the addition of a varnish to ensure the microswitches remain water-tight. The EASB was in response to a previous serious incident, where corrosion in a wet and salt-laden environment had caused the deterioration of the switch contacts and resulted in an unintentional command of the engine to IDLE power. Revision 3 was released on June 15, 2015 and included an additional step to ensure a water tight seal of the microswitch connectors. The service bulletin required a repetitive inspection every 12 months or 660 flight hours (whichever came first) for aircraft not operating in salt-laden environments.

Airframe maintenance records indicated that EASB 05.00.61 Revision 2 was last completed on August 16, 2013. No records were recovered indicating that Revision 3 had been complied with, or that a repetitive inspection of Revision 2 was performed.

ASB 80.00.09 Revision 1, issued on August 13, 2013, required the modification of the electrical connections between a microswitch, relay, and diode within the twist grip's circuitry. The modifications were introduced as a fail-safe, such that should the two stacked microswitches which control FLIGHT mode not engage, the engine would still be commanded to flight power as soon as the twist grip was moved out of its IDLE detent (releasing the "forced-idle" microswitch). The bulletin did not have any recurrent in-service requirements.

Airframe maintenance records indicated that ASB 80.00.09 Revision 1 was completed on January 31, 2014.

In a post-accident examination, the functional and logical operation of the twist grip, along with compliance of both bulletins to their documented revision levels was confirmed. No corrosion to any of the microswitches or their contacts was observed.

Engine Examination

The engine and digital engine control unit (DECU) was removed from the helicopter and transported to the facilities of Turbomeca for examination. The complete examination report is contained within the public docket.

No external mechanical anomalies were noted to the engine, which was then installed in a test cell. The engine started normally, and preliminary acceptance tests revealed no irregularities. A series of tests were then performed at varying engine speeds and loads; and the engine performed to nominal specifications throughout. At the conclusion of the test run the EBCAU unit was tested, and it performed appropriately.

The DECU was examined and tested utilizing a Turbomeca Loading and Test Bench. Historical data from the system occurrence log was downloaded and no faults attributed to the accident flight were observed. The most recent error occurred 18,872 system cycles prior. A DECU self-test was then initiated, and the unit passed.

Mapping System

The helicopter was equipped with an Aerocomputer Ultichart UC-5100 tactical mapping system. The unit integrated onboard cameras, infrared sensors, and other aircraft systems to collect video and geo-reference information in real time during flight. The unit was sent to the NTSB Office of Research and Engineering for data extraction. The data from the accident flight was recovered and analyzed and revealed a flight track that closely matched the pilot's statements.

Organizational And Management Information

The air support unit was composed of a unit commander, chief pilot, and contract mechanic. A tactical flight officer, rescue specialist, and system operator also reported to the unit commander, but performed other duties within the Sheriff's department. The division operated the accident helicopter and a single twin-engine fixed wing airplane.

The air support unit used the helicopter in two different configurations; either as a two-person crew for general law enforcement patrols, or a minimum three-person crew for technical rescue operations.

The chief (accident) pilot was beginning to make plans for retirement, and the PUI was due to be one of his replacements. The unit commander had retired in 2011, and had returned to lead the division 4 months before the accident, as a retired annuitant.

The air support unit utilized an operations manual, and at the time of the accident, was in the process of implementing a safety management system (SMS). The operations manual included aircrew training standards for simulated engine failure at altitude, including a recommendation that each forced landing simulation should be planned to continue to the ground if necessary. The manual did not provide guidance regarding at what altitude to apply throttle during the recovery, nor did it provide guidance for aircraft configuration, practice areas, or onboard crew limits during training operations. 

Additional Information

Public Aircraft Operations

FAA Advisory Circular 00-1.1A, dated February 12, 2014, provides guidance for determining whether government aircraft operations are public or civil aircraft operations, as well as defining the responsibilities of the various operational and regulatory parties.

According to the circular, the FAA generally has limited oversight, and no regulatory authority of public aircraft operations, although such operations must continue to comply with the regulations applicable to all aircraft operating in the national airspace system.

The circular goes on to state that the government entity conducting the public aircraft operation is responsible for oversight of the operation, including aircraft airworthiness and any operational requirements.

Simulated Engine-Off Training

The most current AS350B3 Flight Manual Supplement, "Autorotation Training Landing Procedure", updated in May 2009, stated that autorotation training shall be conducted within gliding distance of a suitable running landing area, and that the power recovery phase should be initiated at an altitude of 70 ft above ground level. It also stated that as the helicopter approaches an altitude of 20/25 ft agl, forward cyclic input should be applied to give the helicopter a slightly nose-up (<10°) attitude.

Airbus Helicopters Safety Information Notice 2896-S-00, dated July 7, 2015, and applicable to the AS350 series, included recommendations for simulated engine-off landing training.

The notice stated, "Current helicopter accident / incident statistics indicate that the greatest exposure to accidents or incidents is during simulated engine-off landing (EOL). The purpose of this Safety Information Notice is to raise the level of awareness of Flight instructors involved in simulated EOL training and to stress on key points."

The notice included recommendations that minimal crew be onboard during training, and that a power recovery be initiated as the helicopter passed through 200 ft agl, rather than the 70 ft recommended in the flight manual.

Furthermore the "Tips for airman" section stated, in part:

- keep in mind that a higher All Up Weight increases the risk of NR overspeed and hard landing

- be prepared to conduct engine-off landing if power recovery is unsuccessful

- aft cyclic input during the ground slide will do nothing at all except chop off the tail boom

- for go-around maneuvers, anticipate the decision process.