Saturday, June 23, 2018

Aeronca 15AC, N1370H: Fatal accident occurred July 15, 2017 in Big Lake, Alaska

Donald Wayne Frantz passed away on July 15, 2017, along the Yentna River, Alaska.  

Don bought his first airplane, an Aeronca Sedan, in 1975. The next year he began guiding for big game. His love for guiding continued until the mid '80s. 

In 2010, Don took up another project. He started to build his second airplane at the Legend Cub Factory in Sulphur Springs, Texas. It took him six months to finish the plane. After the completion of his airplane, he flew it up to Alaska. The journey home took eight days.

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

Additional Participating Entities:

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

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


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:
http://registry.faa.gov/N1370H 

Location:BIG LAKE, AK 
Accident Number: ANC17FA035
Date & Time: 07/15/2017, 0925 AKD
Registration: N1370H
Aircraft: AERONCA 15AC
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Low altitude operation/event
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 15, 2017, about 0925 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Aeronca 15AC airplane, N1370H, sustained substantial damage following a collision with a tree and impact with terrain about 20 miles west of Big Lake, Alaska. The commercial pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed a remote lake near Big Lake about 0905 destined for Sand Lake, Anchorage, Alaska.

According to a family friend, the purpose of the flight was to shuttle several friends from Sand Lake to the pilot's remote recreational cabin. The pilot dropped off the first group of friends and was returning to Sand Lake when the accident occurred. When the airplane failed to arrive at Sand Lake to shuttle the second group of friends, the family friend initiated an aerial search and ultimately found the accident site. The family friend also stated that the pilot liked to fly at a low level over the Yetna River to look for eagle's nests when returning from his recreational cabin.

Another family friend said that it was common for the pilot, when returning from his recreational cabin, to fly between 300 and 500 ft above ground level (agl) over the Yetna River to the confluence of the Yetna and Big Susitna Rivers. He would then climb to about 1,100 feet agl for the remainder of the trip to Sand Lake.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 75, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and sea and instrument airplane. On May 24, 2017, the pilot applied for "BasicMed,"an alternative to third-class medical certification to fly certain small aircraft, including the accident airplane.

Some personal flight records were located for the pilot; however, they were not complete. On his most recent application for a medical certificate, dated June 7, 2013, he indicated that his total aeronautical experience was about 5,892 hours of which 38 hours were in the previous 6 months.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1949. A review of the maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on September 9, 2016, when the airframe had accumulated 4,659.6 hours total time in service.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-360 engine rated at 180 horsepower at 2,700 rpm. The engine was last overhauled on June 28, 2005 and had accumulated 874.6 hours since overhaul at the most recent annual inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest weather observation station to the accident site was Wasilla Airport, Wasilla, Alaska, located about 31 miles east of the accident site. At 0856, Wasilla was reporting, in part, wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles, clouds and ceiling 4,600 ft broken, 6,000 ft overcast, temperature 60°F, dewpoint 51°F, and altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located in an area of brush- and tundra-covered terrain with scattered trees at an elevation of about 50 ft. The initial impact point was marked by a broken tree top, atop an estimated 45-foot-tall cottonwood tree, located about 150 ft from the west bank of the Yetna River. Broken tree branches and paint fragments that matched the color of the airplane were located below the initial impact point. The main wreckage was located northeast along a magnetic heading of about 072° about 450 ft from the initial impact point. The fuselage came to rest inverted. All of the airplane's major components, with the exception of the left wing, were found at the main wreckage site.

The severed left wing was located about 160 ft from the initial impact point. A large elliptical impact area was found on the leading edge, about 3 ft outboard of the wing root, with multiple smaller elliptical impact areas outboard to the tip. The left aileron remained attached to its respective attach points and was relatively undamaged.

The right wing separated about 3 inches inboard of its rear attach point but remained attached to the fuselage at its forward attach point. Multiple elliptical impact areas were found on the leading edge. The wing's lift strut remained attached at both the fuselage and wing attach points. The right aileron remained attached to its respective attach points but sustained impact damage.

The cockpit area was extensively damaged. The engine, firewall, and instrument panel were displaced upward and aft. The throttle control was found in the near full-forward position, and the carburetor heat was in the off position. The horizontal and vertical stabilizer, elevators, and rudder remained attached to the empennage and were relatively free of impact damage.

All the primary flight control surfaces were identified at the accident site, and flight control continuity was verified from the cockpit to the elevators and rudder. Aileron control continuity was established from the control column to the overhead aileron bell crank, in the aileron control cables to the wing aileron bell cranks, and in the aileron push-pull tubes. A fracture was observed in the left aileron bell crank; multiple fractures were observed in the overhead aileron bell crank; all fractures were consistent with overload.

The engine was examined on August 16, 2017. The engine sustained impact damage to the front, top and underside. No anomalies, contamination, or evidence of malfunction was found in any of the engine accessories. The cylinders, pistons, valve train, crankshaft, and other internal components were all without evidence of anomaly or malfunction. Both magnetos were removed from the engine. When the magneto couplings were rotated, blue sparks were observed at the distributor in rotational order.

The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft by its attach bolts. Both propeller blades exhibited slight torsional "S" twisting and aft bending.

The examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, Alaska conducted an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death for the pilot was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot, which were negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. The toxicology testing revealed 0.039 ug/ml of morphine in the pilot's urine.

Morphine is a prescription narcotic used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. The cutoff for federal workplace testing of urine is 2.000 ug/ml. The level of morphine detected in the pilot's urine was well below this level, and the medication was not detected in his blood. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 75, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: BasicMed Unknown
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/24/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 5892 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AERONCA
Registration: N1370H
Model/Series: 15AC
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1949
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 15AC-419
Landing Gear Type: Float;
Seats: 
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/09/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4659.6 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAWS
Observation Time: 1656 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 31 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 11°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4700 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: BIG LAKE, AK
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Anchorage, AK
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  61.606389, -150.506667 (est)

NTSB Identification: ANC17FA035
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 15, 2017 in BIG LAKE, AK
Aircraft: AERONCA 15AC, registration: N1370H
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 July 15, 2017, about 0925 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped Aeronca 15AC airplane, N1370H, sustained substantial damage following a collision with a tree, and a subsequent loss of control and impact with terrain, about 20 miles west of Big Lake, Alaska. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 visual flight rules flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed a remote lake near Big Lake, Alaska about 0905 destined for Sand Lake, Anchorage, Alaska.

According to a family friend, the purpose of the flight was to shuttle a group of friends to a remote recreational cabin and the accident occurred during the return trip to Sand Lake. When the airplane failed to arrive at Sand Lake to shuttle the second group of friends, another family friend initiated an aerial search, and ultimately found the accident site. 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) along with another NTSB investigator and an Alaska State Trooper reached the accident site in the afternoon of July 16. The accident site was in an area of tall brush and tundra covered terrain with sparsely populated trees at an elevation of about 50 ft msl. An area believed to be the initial impact point was marked by a broken tree top, atop about a 45-foot-tall cottonwood tree, situated near the banks of the Yentna River. Broken tree branches and paint fragments that matched the color of the airplane were located at the base of the cottonwood tree. After the initial impact, the airplane's wreckage traveled northeast along a magnetic heading of about 072° for about 450 ft before coming to rest inverted. 

The airplane's severed left wing was located about 160 ft from the 45-foot-tall cottonwood tree, initial impact point. A large elliptical impact area was found on the leading edge, about 3 ft outboard of the wing root, with multiple smaller elliptical impact areas outboard to the tip. 

All the primary flight control surfaces were identified at the accident site, and flight control continuity was verified from the cockpit to the elevators and rudder. Aileron control continuity was established from the control column in the aileron control cables to the fuselage aileron bell crank, in the aileron control cables to the wing aileron bell cranks and in the aileron push-pull tubes. A fracture was observed in the left aileron bell crank and multiple fractures were observed in the fuselage aileron bell crank, but all fractures were consistent with overload. A detailed wreckage examination is pending following recovery of the airplane. 

Cessna 421C Golden Eagle, N421TK, registered to Klass Enterprises LLC and operated by the pilot: Fatal accident occurred April 25, 2017 near Huntsville Municipal Airport (KUTS), Walker County, Texas

Kermit Greer Faulkner Jr. 
October 26, 1954 – April 25, 2017


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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N421TK 




Location: Huntsville, TX
Accident Number: CEN17FA167
Date & Time: 04/25/2017, 1038 CDT
Registration: N421TK
Aircraft: CESSNA 421C
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test 

On April 25, 2017, about 1038 central daylight time, a Cessna 421C airplane, N421TK, impacted trees and terrain near Huntsville, Texas. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. The airplane was registered to Klass Enterprises, LLC, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the postmaintenance test flight, which originated from Lone Star Executive Airport (CXO), Conroe, Texas, about 0952.

The pilot was receiving visual flight rules (VFR) flight-following services from Houston Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) and intended to conduct a practice RNAV approach at CXO. At 1030, about 38 minutes after departure, at an altitude about 2,400 ft mean sea level (msl), the pilot reported an oil leak and requested to proceed directly to the airport. The controller advised that Huntsville Municipal Airport (UTS), Huntsville, Texas, was closer, and the pilot elected to proceed to UTS. The controller then issued a heading to position the airplane for a right base leg for runway 18 and stated that the airport was at the pilot's 1-o'clock position, 7 miles away. The pilot acknowledged and turned the airplane onto the issued heading. Radar data indicated that, about 1030:05, the airplane began a left turn to a heading about 70°. This heading would have taken the airplane about 2 miles north of the approach end of runway 18 at UTS. During the turn, the airplane began to descend, with the final radar data point recorded at 1032:39 about 3.5 miles and 290° from UTS. The final recorded pressure altitude was 2,000 ft msl.

At 1033, the controller told the pilot that he was vectoring the airplane north of the airport for landing on runway 18. The pilot stated that he did not have the airport in sight; the controller replied that it was at his 2-o'clock position and 3 miles. The pilot again reported that he did not have the airport in sight.

At 1035, the controller lost communication and radar contact with the accident airplane. After losing communications, the controller used another aircraft to relay to the accident pilot that he had flown past UTS. The accident pilot reported via the relay aircraft that he did not have the airport in sight and that his airplane's engine was "dead." The relay aircraft made several subsequent attempts to communicate with the accident pilot but was unsuccessful.

A witness, who was an off-duty police officer, reported seeing the airplane flying in a westerly direction about 150 ft above the ground. He said that the airplane banked left about 45° and he noticed that the left propeller was not turning and that the airplane was losing altitude. Suspecting a problem, the officer got into his car; he then heard the operating engine either "idle down" or shut off completely. The airplane then went out of sight behind a tree line and the officer saw a large plume of smoke. The officer added that, when the airplane passed over his residence, the wing flaps appeared to be retracted or at a very low angle, and the landing gear was in the retracted position. He noted that the right engine did not sound as though it was sputtering or experiencing difficulties until he heard the engine sound decrease. He further noted that he did not see any smoke coming from the airplane as it passed overhead.



Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 62, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/27/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 1567 hours (Total, all aircraft), 219 hours (Total, this make and model)

The 62-year-old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The certificate also listed airplane multi-engine land and rotorcraft-helicopter ratings limited to private pilot privileges. The pilot was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class airman medical certificate on July 27, 2016, with a restriction for corrective lenses.

The pilot had logged about 1,567 total hours of flight experience, with about 219 hours in the accident airplane. The pilot's logbook indicated that he had received 8.8 hours of instruction in a Cessna 421C simulator at SIMCOM Aviation Training Center. The logbook also indicated that he met the requirement for a flight review based on successful completion of the helicopter private pilot practical test on February 22, 2017. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N421TK
Model/Series: 421C C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 421C0601
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 8
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/24/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 7500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 0 Hours
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 7647 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: GTSIO-520-L
Registered Owner: KLASS ENTERPRISES LLC
Rated Power: 375 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The accident airplane was a 1979 Cessna 421C, serial number 421C0601. It was an eight-place, low-wing, twin-engine airplane with retractable tricycle landing gear. The airplane was issued an FAA normal category standard airworthiness certificate on September 27, 1978. The airplane was powered by two 375-horsepower Continental Motors GTSIO-520L six-cylinder, turbo-supercharged reciprocating engines.

According to the airplane maintenance records, the airframe had accumulated 7,647.3 hours total time in service at the time of the most recent annual inspection dated April 24, 2017. The left engine, serial number 276375, had accumulated 3,606.1 hours total time in service and 132.0 hours since overhaul as of the most recent annual inspection. The right engine, serial number 808287, had accumulated 2,627.4 hours total time in service and 381.4 hours since overhaul as of the most recent annual inspection. The annual inspection was the last recorded maintenance performed on the airplane. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KUTS
Observation Time: 1553 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 40°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 18°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2700 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots/ 17 knots, 170°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.69 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Conroe, TX (CXO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Conroe, TX (CXO)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G 

The 1053 weather conditions recorded by the UTS Automated Surface Observing System, located about 4 miles southwest of the accident site, included: wind from 170° at 12 knots gusting to 17 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, temperature 24°C, dew point 18°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.69 inches of mercury. 



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: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal Latitude, Longitude:
30.794167, -95.538333 

The airplane impacted trees and terrain before coming to rest inverted in a shallow ranch pond. The lower portion of the fuselage and the wings remained above the surface of the water and showed evidence of fire damage. Based on the initial tree impact and the resting place of the wreckage, the airplane was traveling in a southerly direction when the impact occurred. On-scene examination of the airplane was not possible due to its location in the pond, and further examination was conducted after removal from the accident site.

The subsequent examination of the airframe and the right engine did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction. The left engine exhibited a protruding bulge in the engine case. Subsequent teardown examination of the left engine revealed that the No. 2 connecting rod had separated from the crankshaft. The connecting rod journal on the crankshaft had heat damage and discoloration. Crankshaft rod journals Nos. 1, 3, and 4 exhibited heat discoloration, but their respective connecting rods remained attached to the crankshaft. The engine oil pump was intact and was disassembled; the gears were covered with oil. No source for an oil leak was discovered, and no additional anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction were found. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Montgomery County Forensic Services Department, Conroe, Texas, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was attributed to injuries received in the accident.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens of the pilot. Atorvastatin, a non-impairing prescription medication used to treat high cholesterol, was detected in urine and blood specimens.






















NTSB Identification: CEN17FA167
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Huntsville, TX
Aircraft: CESSNA 421C, registration: N421TK
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 April 25, 2017, about 1038 central daylight time, a Cessna model 421C, N421TK, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain near Huntsville, Texas. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane sustained impact and fire damage to all structural components. The aircraft was registered to and operated by Klass Enterprises, LLC, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a post-maintenance test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not on a flight plan. The flight originated from the Lone Star Executive Airport, Conroe, Texas, at an unconfirmed time.

A witness, who was an off-duty police officer, reported seeing the airplane flying in a westerly direction about 150 feet above the ground. He said that the airplane banked left about 45 degrees and he noticed that the left propeller of the airplane was not turning and the airplane was losing altitude. Suspecting a problem, the officer got into his car and in doing so, he heard the operating engine either idle down or shut off completely. The airplane then went out of sight behind a tree line and the officer observed a large plume of smoke. The officer added that when the airplane passed over his residence the flaps appeared to be retracted or at a very low angle and the landing gear was in the retracted position. He noted that the right engine did not did not sound as though it was sputtering or experiencing difficulties until he heard it idle down. He further noted that he did not see any smoke coming from the aircraft as it passed overhead.

The airplane impacted trees and terrain before coming to rest inverted in a shallow ranch pond. The lower portion of the fuselage and the wings remained above the surface of the water and showed evidence of fire damage. Based on the tree impact, the airplane was traveling in a southerly direction when the impact occurred. On-scene examination of the airplane was not possible due to its location in the pond and further examination will be conducted after removal from the accident site.

Piper PA-28-180, N9179J, registered to Green Castle Aero Club LTD and was being operated by the instructor: Fatal accident occurred April 07, 2017 in Oxford, Johnson County, Iowa


Jim Spicer (left) and Terry Kroehn


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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa
Piper; Vero Beach, Florida 
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N9179J 


Location: Oxford, IA
Accident Number: CEN17FA147
Date & Time: 04/07/2017, 1507 CDT
Registration: N9179J
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-180
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On April 7, 2017, about 1507 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N9179J, collided with terrain in Oxford, Iowa, following a loss of control. The flight instructor and the private pilot receiving instruction were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Green Castle Aero Club LTD and was being operated by the instructor as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 training flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and a flight plan had not been filed for the local flight. The airplane departed the Green Castle Airport (IA24), Oxford, Iowa, about 1449.

There were no communications between air traffic control and the accident airplane. The airport surveillance radar located at the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID), Cedar Rapids, Iowa, showed that the airplane departed IA24 to the north, and shortly after takeoff, the airplane made a turn to the south. The airplane continued flying south about 8.4 miles until it crossed IWV Road SW at which time it turned and appeared to make S-turns along the road as it headed west. The airplane then turned south and continued for about 4 miles as it climbed to an altitude of 3,500 ft mean seal level (msl). The airplane then turned east and flew about 5.5 miles. The airplane then turned north and descended to 3,200 ft msl in the turn. The airplane continued flying north about 6 miles until reaching Interstate 80 at which time the airplane made a left 180° turn back to the south at an altitude of 3,400 ft msl. The airplane continued flying south about 2.7 miles until it entered a left turn and began a rapid descent; between 1507:08 and the last radar return at 1507:12, the airplane descended from 3,400 ft msl to 1,500 ft msl.

A witness located about 1 mile east of the accident site stated that his attention was drawn to the airplane when he heard an engine popping and backfiring. The airplane appeared to be heading south-southeast, and it looked like it wasn't moving. The nose of the airplane then dropped, and the airplane entered a "downward spiral." He stated that he did not hear the engine at this point. The airplane made eight or nine spirals before it stopped rotating and continued in a nose-down descent. He lost sight of the airplane behind the hillside and shortly thereafter heard the impact. The witness stated that the airplane was spiraling in a clockwise rotation. 

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/13/2015
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/26/2015
Flight Time: 6475.4 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 53, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Waiver Time Limited Special
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/07/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/07/2017
Flight Time: 

The flight instructor held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings; the certificate was initially issued on February 19, 2003, and most recently renewed on November 30, 2015. He also held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The instructor held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class airman medical certificate dated August 13, 2015. The last entry in the instructor's most recent logbook, logbook number 11, was dated April 7, 2017. The logbook showed that he had a total of 6,475.4 hours of flight experience.

The pilot receiving instruction held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating, which was issued on October 7, 1986. The pilot held an FAA third-class airman medical certificate dated February 5, 2016. On the application for this medical certificate, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 97 hours of flight experience, none of which were flown in the previous 6 months. According to the pilot's family, he was just beginning to fly again after not having flown in quite a while.

The last entry in the instructor's logbook was a 0.6-hour flight in a Cessna 150 on the day of the accident. This flight entry contained a remark, "T&G Ldg, BFR [biennial flight review] & Eval" along with the name of the pilot receiving instruction. The back pages of the logbook contained a list of endorsements the instructor had given. The page contained an entry showing that he had given the pilot receiving instruction his BFR endorsement earlier on the day of the accident. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: PIPER
Registration: N9179J
Model/Series: PA-28-180
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1966
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 28-3245
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/06/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 7652.1 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: O-360-A3A
Registered Owner: GREEN CASTLE AERO CLUB LTD
Rated Power: 360 hp
Operator: GREEN CASTLE AERO CLUB LTD
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane, manufactured in 1966, was a four-place, single-engine, low-wing airplane with fixed tricycle landing gear. The airplane was certificated as both a normal and utility category airplane, depending on the operating weight and center of gravity. A review of FAA records revealed that the airplane was purchased by the Green Castle Aero Club LTD on July 15, 2000.

A spokesman for the aero club stated that the maintenance logbooks were in the airplane at the time of the accident. The logbooks were not located in the wreckage, which was partially consumed by a postimpact fire. The mechanic who worked on the airplane provided documentation showing that the airplane's last annual inspection was performed on February 6, 2017, at an airframe total time of 7,652.1 hours. The aero club provided an aircraft summary sheet dated March 1, 2017, which showed the airplane had a tachometer time of 7,657 hours. The pilot who flew the airplane before the accident flight reported that he filled the airplane nearly full of fuel before his 1.8-hour flight.

The actual gross weight of the airplane at the time of the accident could not be determined as the weight and balance records were destroyed in the accident, and the basic empty weight of the airplane was unknown. Using the licensed empty weight of the airplane when it was manufactured, an estimated fuel load based on when the airplane was last fueled, and the passenger weights, the estimated gross weight of the airplane was about 1,915 lbs at takeoff with a center of gravity of 85.98 inches. The maximum gross weight for utility category operations is 1,950 lbs with center of gravity limits between 85.8 inches and 86.5 inches. Spins, steep turns, lazy eights, and chandelles are permissible in utility category operations.

The Procedures Section of the PA-28-180 Airplane Flight Manual states, in part:

3. The PA-28-180 airplane is approved under FAA Regulations CAR 3 which prohibits intentional spins for normal category operation. The following information is noteworthy:

a. The stall characteristics of the PA-28-180 are normal with the nose pitching down moderately following the stall, occasionally with a moderate roll which can be corrected by normal use of ailerons and rudder against the roll.

b. Prolonged use of full rudder during stall practice may result in a rapid roll followed by a spin and should be avoided. Recovery from an incipient spin may be effected in less than one additional turn by use of opposite rudder followed by full forward control wheel.

c. In the event that a fully developed spin is inadvertently experienced, recovery is best made by using full opposite rudder followed by full forward wheel and full opposite aileron. The control positions against the spin should be maintained during the entire recovery, which may require several turns and a substantial loss of altitude if the airplane is loaded heavily with a rearward center of gravity.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: IOW, 683 ft msl
Observation Time: 1452 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 98°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / -6°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Light and Variable, 260°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Oxford, IA (IA24)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Oxford, IA (IA24)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1449 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E; Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 41.656667, -91.698056 

The airplane came to rest upright in a plowed corn field. The wreckage was upright, and it sustained impact damage and was partially consumed by a postimpact fire.

Other than minor debris, the wreckage was contained in one area. The farthest piece of wreckage from the main wreckage was the top engine cowling, which was located about 36 ft away. A burned area surrounded the wreckage, which extended out to a maximum of about 50 ft from the wreckage.

The airplane came to rest in a near-60° nose-down attitude, and the front of the engine was partially buried in the soft terrain. The propeller was buried in the ground with the tip of one of the blades visible.

Examination of the airframe and engine was conducted on April 8 and 9, 2017, both on scene and in a hangar at the Iowa City Municipal Airport, Iowa City, Iowa. The examination was conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors, with the assistance of representatives of the engine and airframe manufacturers. Most of the fuselage and cockpit were consumed by the postimpact fire. Both wings were crushed aft and partially consumed by the fire. The empennage was separated from the fuselage. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the stabilator. The right side of the vertical stabilizer and rudder and the right side of the stabilator sustained thermal damage. Control continuity was established from the flight controls to the cockpit.

The engine sustained impact and thermal damage. All of the accessories, including both magnetos, were destroyed by the fire and could not be tested. A turning tool was inserted into the vacuum pump drive housing, and the engine was rotated by hand. It furnished suction and compression at all cylinders, and the rear accessory gears were observed turning. Valve train and crankshaft continuity were established throughout the engine. Examination of the airplane did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction. A detailed summary of the examination is included in the public docket associated with the investigation. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The UI Diagnostic Laboratories, Iowa City, Iowa, performed autopsies of the both the flight instructor and the pilot receiving instruction, and their deaths were attributed to multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing for both pilots. Results for the flight instructor were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. The testing detected atorvastatin, ranitidine, and triamterene in the liver and cavity blood. Atorvastatin is a prescription medication used to lower cholesterol; ranitidine is a prescription and over-the-counter medication used to treat heart burn; and triamterene is a prescription diuretic used to treat high blood pressure. The pilot reported the use of these medications during his last FAA medical examination, and none of these medications are generally considered to be impairing. Results for the pilot receiving instruction were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and all drugs in the testing profile.

NTSB Identification: CEN17FA147 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 07, 2017 in Oxford, IA
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28-180, registration: N9179J
Injuries: 2 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 April 7, 2017, about 1507 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N9179J, collided with the terrain in Oxford, Iowa, following a loss of control. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot were both fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postimpact fire. The airplane was registered to Green Castle Aero Club LTD and was being operated by the CFI as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 training flight. Visual flight rules conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and a flight plan had not been filed for the local flight. The airplane departed the Green Castle Airport (IA24), about 1445.

A witness located about one mile east of the accident site stated he heard an engine popping and backfiring which drew his attention to the airplane. The airplane appeared to be heading south-southeast and it looked like it wasn't moving. The nose of the airplane then dropped and it entered a "downward spiral." He stated he did not hear the engine at this point. The airplane made eight or nine spirals before it stopped rotating and continued in a nose down descent. He lost sight of the airplane behind the hillside and shortly thereafter heard the impact followed by seeing black smoke. The witness stated he believes the airplane was spiraling in a clockwise rotation.

Airborne Edge XT-912-L, N188M: Fatal accident occurred December 06, 2016 near Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (KSBA), California

Matthew Erwin Wilson
1971 - 2016

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N188M


Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Accident Number: WPR17FA033
Date & Time: 12/06/2016, 1018 PST
Registration: N188M
Aircraft: AIRBORNE WINDSPORTS PTY LTD EDGE XT-912-L
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 6, 2016, about 1018 Pacific standard time, an Airborne Windsports PTY LTD Edge XT-912-L weight-shift control light sport aircraft, N188M, impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), Santa Barbara, California. The pilot was fatally injured, and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. The aircraft was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from SBA about 1016.

Air traffic controllers working in the SBA tower observed the aircraft uneventfully depart runway 15 and make a right turn to the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern. The pilot then requested to enter the traffic pattern for runway 25, and the tower controller cleared the pilot to make right traffic for that runway. While turning onto the downwind leg for runway 25, the aircraft entered a rapid descent. The aircraft subsequently impacted the ground near an apartment complex.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age:45, Male 
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/27/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/13/2015
Flight Time: (Estimated) 65 hours (Total, all aircraft), 12 hours (Total, this make and model) 

The pilot, age 45, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, issued March 14, 2013. The pilot received his endorsement for weight-shift control aircraft on June 24, 2016. The pilot's logbook indicated that he had 65 total hours of flight experience, 12 of which were in the accident aircraft make and model. He had no documented flight time in the accident aircraft.

On July 27, 2015, the pilot was issued a third-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman medical certificate with no limitations. During the exam, he reported no medical conditions or use of medications; however, he had reported driving under the influence (DUI), and a conviction for marijuana cultivation more than 20 years earlier. The FAA initially denied the medical certificate because the pilot failed to show evidence of continued sobriety, but after providing the necessary evidence, the FAA issued the medical certificate. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AIRBORNE WINDSPORTS PTY LTD
Registration: N188M
Model/Series: EDGE XT-912-L
Aircraft Category: Weight-Shift
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Special Light-Sport
Serial Number: XT-912-0502
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/20/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 992 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 912 UL
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 80 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The aircraft was approved for a special airworthiness certificate on November 28, 2016. The pilot purchased the aircraft new and took delivery of it 4 days before the accident. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SBA, 13 ft msl
Observation Time: 0953 PST
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3000 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 11°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots, 250°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Santa Barbara, CA (SBA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1016 PST
Type of Airspace: Class C 

Airport Information

Airport: Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 13 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 25
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6052 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

SBA is located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean at a field elevation of 13 ft. The airport has three hard-surfaced runways. Runway 7/25 is 6,052 ft long and 150 ft wide, runway 15R/33L is 4,184 ft long and 100 ft wide, and runway 15L/33R is 4,180 ft long and 75 ft wide.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.433333, -119.850556 (est) 

The aircraft impacted terrain in a residential area about 1 mile northwest of SBA. The first identified point of impact was the roof of a carport; beneath the carport were fragments of the fuselage and items from the cabin area. To the north of the carport was one fracture-separated propeller blade. Immediately adjacent and to the west of the carport was a small tree. A branch of the tree came to rest on an unoccupied parked car next to the carport; another tree branch was stuck in the aircraft's down tubes and control bar. Fragments of landing gear and roofing shingles were scattered until the main wreckage, which was about 30 ft west of the carport. The main wreckage came to rest against a vehicle, with the seat and engine of the aircraft on their right sides. The wing was bent in half and was resting above the engine and seat with the trailing edge toward the ground. The right side of the wing was bent downward and was draped across two unoccupied parked vehicles.

During a postaccident examination, the propeller hub would not rotate freely when rotated by hand; therefore, the engine was completely disassembled. The intake manifolds, carburetors, ignition systems, and oil pump were removed and no anomalies were noted. The reduction drive gearbox was removed and undamaged; the magnetic plug was clear of debris. The valve covers were removed; the rocker arms and valve springs exhibited normal operating wear signatures. The cylinder heads, pistons, and hydraulic tappet lifters were removed and exhibited normal operating wear signatures. The crankcase was separated into its respective halves. The crankshaft would still not rotate by hand. The crankshaft's #3 piston web was not aligned with the #2 piston web, consistent with torsional damage. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff - Coroner, Santa Barbara, California, performed an autopsy of the pilot; the cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries. No significant natural disease was identified.

The corner requested that NMS Laboratories perform toxicology testing, which identified caffeine, 3.1 ng/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana), and 6.5 ng/ml of tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH, an inactive metabolite) in subclavian blood.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing as well and identified 4.5 ng/ml of THC and 5.5 ng/ml of THC-COOH in cavity blood. THC-COOH was also identified in urine (67.9 ng/ml) and liver tissue (40.1 ng/gm).

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA033
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 06, 2016 in Santa Barbara, CA
Aircraft: AIRBORNE WINDSPORTS PTY LTD EDGE XT-912-L, registration: N188M
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 December 6, 2016, about 1018 Pacific standard time, an Airborne Windsports PTY LTD Edge XT-912-L weight shift control light sport airplane, N188M, impacted terrain while flying in the traffic pattern at the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA) in Santa Barbara, California. The pilot (sole occupant) was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The flight originated from SBA about 1016.


Witnesses reported that they observed the airplane depart runway 15 to conduct touch-and-go takeoff and landings. The pilot took off uneventfully and made a right turn to crosswind. The pilot requested to enter the traffic pattern for runway 25. While making the turn to downwind, the airplane suddenly started to descend rapidly. The airplane descended through the roof of a carport and came to rest against a parked vehicle.


The airplane has been recovered to a secure location for further examination.