Saturday, July 07, 2018

Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Authority (KPKB) recommends new carrier: Manager to negotiate with Contour for jet service

Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Manager Glen Kelly discusses Essential Air Service bids during a meeting of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Authority Friday at the airport. 

WILLIAMSTOWN — The planes would be different but the destination the same if an agreement is secured with a new carrier to provide service at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport Authority, the airport’s marketing arm, voted 7-0 Friday morning to authorize airport Manager Glen Kelly to enter negotiations and execute an agreement with Tennessee-based Contour Airlines under federally subsidized Alternate Essential Air Service. Contour is offering 12 flights a week to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with each one stopping in Beckley. Those flights would be aboard jets with space for 37 seats but converted to 30, allowing 36 inches between seats, Kelly said.

“I believe we’re the carrier that gives (the airport) the greatest chance of reducing their reliance on subsidy in the future,” said Matt Chaifetz, CEO of Contour, in an interview later Friday. “I’m confident that we are the carrier that can give Parkersburg the best value.”

If an agreement cannot be reached, the authority agreed to recommend staying with current provider Via Air, although not without some reservations.

“I’m recommending Contour,” Kelly said. “I don’t think we’ll ever get beyond three or four thousand enplanements with Via.”

There was much more optimism when the authority recommended Via to take over from Silver Airways two years ago. The company had canceled just one flight in 18 months of service to Beckley.

But after a strong start, with 1,482 enplanements from October to December 2016, the numbers dropped in the first quarter of 2017 with multiple cancellations, many due to maintenance issues. Since then, the Via’s reliability has ebbed and flowed, with a 100 percent completion rate in June that airport officials attributed to the service coming up for bid again.

“Isn’t competition great?” said Bill Richardson, president of the Wood County Airport Authority, which oversees the airport’s day-to-day operations.

Over the last 12 months, Via’s completion rate has been 85 percent. The company’s recent bid for a $2.5 million subsidy was based on completing 98 percent of their flights and enplanements doubling, Kelly said.

“As many of you made it blunt to them, myself included, we don’t think they can do that,” he said.

Via and Contour were among six companies bidding for the service, with subsidy projections ranging from $2.2 million to nearly $5 million. Two of the others offered flights on nine-seat planes, while one proposed 19 seats and another a 50-seat jet. The 50-seater had the largest subsidy proposal.

Contour and Via were the only companies to bid under the Alternate EAS program, which Kelly and the authority members prefer.

“It gives us much more leverage because we are the contractor as opposed to the DOT (Department of Transportation),” Kelly said.

That also allows the airport to negotiate with companies, even if they did not submit a formal bid, like Contour.

Kelly said he was contacted by his counterpart in Beckley about working together with Contour.

“That’s how you afford the jet,” he said.

Contour’s bid is expected to be in the neighborhood of Via’s $2.5 million, but Kelly said the final numbers have not been determined. The 36-year-old company deals in aircraft management, charter service, maintenance and sales, as well as providing commercial flights at three airports in California, Georgia and Mississippi.

“We have a long history of strong but sustainable growth,” Chaifetz said. “We see the potential in the market, and we have a track record of going into markets that have had poor service in the past” and raising their numbers.

Kelly said he received positive reviews of Contour from each airport’s manager.

“The reliability factor is astounding,” he said, noting 98.77 to 100 percent rates based on factors the company could control, such as crew and maintenance. For weather, airport closures and other factors they could not, the rates were 97.45 to 100 percent.

Authority members said they were impressed after recent meetings with Contour officials locally.

One negative is the company’s lack of an interline agreement with American Airlines, which has a hub in Charlotte. The agreement, like the one secured by Via in February, would allow passengers to book flights from the local airport to destinations where American flies out of Charlotte, as well as check their bags once instead of rechecking them before catching a connecting flight.

Kelly said Contour officials assured him and Beckley they would pursue an interline, and it’s not expected to take as long as Via’s did, due to complications beyond Via’s control.

“I just hate for us to take another step back in that process for our paying customers,” said authority member Jill Parsons, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“I agree with that, but there’s an 85 percent completion rate,” authority member David Hines said. “It (doesn’t) make any difference with the baggage if you’re not going to get there.”

Kelly said he must notify the Department of Transportation of the authority’s recommendation by July 20.

Original article  ➤

Beech G36 Bonanza, N72PL: Incident occurred July 07, 2018 at Houma–Terrebonne Airport (KHUM), Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge 

Landed gear up into a field. 

Black Dog LLC:

Date: 07-JUL-18
Time: 13:50:00Z
Regis#: N72PL
Aircraft Make: RAYTHEON
Aircraft Model: G36
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

At approximately 9am July 7, 2018 Houma Fire Department was dispatched to the Houma-Terrebonne Airport (KHUM) for a reported aircraft crash.

Upon arrival at the south end of runway 18, units found that a single-engine aircraft soon after takeoff had lost engine power and had to make an emergency belly landing, just off the end of the runway.

The pilot was able to set the aircraft down in the grassy area off the end of the runway inside the airport property fence. 

There was no fire, no reported injuries from any passengers, and no apparent fluid leakage from the aircraft.

A plane was forced to make an emergency landing this morning at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport. No injuries were reported.

At approximately 9 a.m. Saturday, the Houma Fire Department was dispatched to the Houma-Terrebonne Airport KHUM for a reported aircraft crash.

Upon arrival at the south end of runway 18, firefighters found that a single engine aircraft lost engine power shortly after takeoff. The aircraft made an emergency landing just off the end of the runway, officials said.

The pilot set the aircraft down in the grassy area off the end of the runway, still inside the airport property fence.

Houma Fire Department officials said there was no fire, no reported injuries from any passengers and no apparent fluid leakage from the aircraft.

Original article can be found here ➤

Meet the U.S. Coast Guard crew who rescued a fallen hiker on July 4th in the San Juan Islands

PORT ANGELES – A U.S. Coast Guard crew rescued a 62-year-old hiker from the San Juan Islands late Wednesday evening.

The hiker, a Bellevue woman, was climbing to watch the fireworks on Obstruction Island when she fell, according to a family member.

Paramedics on scene had administered CPR on the woman for about 20 minutes before they were able to gain a slight pulse, according to Lt. Jake Marks, aircraft commander.

It was then the Coast Guard was called.

Lt. Marks said he knew when they were leaving the Port Angeles air station that the conditions would be difficult to navigate in.

“It’s a 100-foot cliff, it’s nighttime, and knowing Obstruction Island, it’s going to be pretty dark, it’s going to be pretty challenging,” said Lt. Marks.

Lt. Caleb Wadsworth, the pilot, said he was navigating around 50-100-foot trees, with one tree about eight feet in front of the nose of the helicopter as they were hovering.

“Vertical surface rescue off the side of a cliff - that’s actually something that we were not trained at night. The risks involved in that are pretty high,” said Lt. Wadsworth.

After seeing the hiker’s condition, the crew decided that their rescue swimmer, Dickey Nestler, would need to ascend with the hiker, while pumping air into her lungs.

“She wasn’t breathing on her own so really the only option was to come up with her, we didn’t want a break in her breathing at all,” said Dickey Nestler, the rescue swimmer.

Nestler and the hiker were attached to the same hoist – ascended close to 100 feet into the back of the helicopter.

“Every time I bagged her I could feel that it was going and getting into her lungs and efficient,” said Nestler.

Ryan Taylor, the flight mechanic, helped ensure the two avoided nearby trees and ascend in a smooth path.

“We had to bring them up together, which is not something we do on a regular basis, so that added quite a challenge,” said Taylor.

Lt. Marks said this was only the third tandem hoist he’s heard of from a Coast Guard rescue.

A paramedic was also hoisted to provide care aboard the helicopter.

The hiker was airlifted to the airport before being transported to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham before being transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

On Wednesday evening, a Harborview official said the hiker had upgraded from critical to serious condition.

Story and video ➤

Piper PA-34-220T Seneca V, LV-GZK: Fatal accident occurred April 08, 2018 in La Pampa, Argentina

NTSB Identification: ERA18WA131
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Sunday, April 08, 2018 in La Pampa, Argentina
Aircraft: PIPER PA34-200T, registration:
Injuries: Unavailable

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

The government of Argentina has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a PIPER PA34-200T airplane that occurred on April 08, 2018. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the government of Argentina's investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13.

El siniestro ocurrió en una zona rural cercana a Miguel Cané, en el límite entre las provincias de La Pampa y Buenos Aires. La aeronave iba desde San Rafael a Tandil y todos sus ocupantes fallecieron. 

La Junta de Investigación de Aviación Civil reportó la caída de una avión PA 34 Piper Seneca (matrícula LV-GZK) en una zona rural cercana a las localidades de Miguel Cané y Relmo, en cercanías del Meridiano V, el límite con provincia de Buenos Aires.

Las víctimas fueron identificadas como Enrique Cantos, quien era el piloto de la aeronave, junto a Pedro Sichez, Mauricio Balbi, Juan Otegui y Mariano Gullot, todos estos pasajeros.

El avión partió de la ciudad de San Rafael y se dirigía a la ciudad de Tandil, en la provincia de Buenos Aires. Los pasajeros son oriundos de San Vicente (Buenos Aires) pero viajaban con destino a Tandil porque en esa ciudad está ubicada una cantera propiedad de la familia de Cantos, el piloto. Sichez trabajaba en el área de sistemas, Balbi estaba vinculado el rubro de la carne, Otegui era propietario de una empresa de transporte y Gullot se dedicaba a la venta de cereales.

Los restos del avión fueron ubicados a 15 kilómetros al este de Quemú Quemú, entre las localdaides de Miguel Cané y Relmo, en jurisdicción de la localidad bonaerense de Pellegrini.

De acuerdo a lo que pudo saber un corresponsal de El Diario en el lugar del hecho, la aeronave rozó una loma, luego carreteó en una sembrado de maíz en territorio pampeano, atravesó la calle del Meridiano V y terminó chocando contra un borde de tierra, donde se partió en varios pedazos y se incendió. Las cinco personas quedaron atrapadas en el interior del Piper y murieron calcinadas.

El fiscal Armando Agüero confirmó que la investigación la llevará a cabo el Juzgado Federal de Junín.

Los ocupantes de la aeronave permanecieron al menos dos días en San Rafael, y este domingo al mediodía iniciaron su retorno a la localidad bonaerense de Tandil.

El accidente se reportó en los sitios internacionales de aviación civil. Los investigadores de la JIAAC ya están en viaje al lugar del suceso.

Una vez ocurrido el siniestro, el servicio de búsqueda y salvamento de EANA (Empresa Argentina de Navegación Aérea), que depende del Minsiterio de Transporte, detectó a las 12.05 la activación de una baliza ELT e inició la búsqueda de la aeronave. La Policía encontro los restos del avión a las 14.10 horas.

En el lugar trabajó personal de comisaría de Quemú Quemú, la cúpula de la UR II y también el fiscal general, Armando Agüero.

Spirit Airlines, Airbus A321: Incident occurred March 13, 2020 at Atlantic City International Airport (KACY), New Jersey

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

Aircraft struck a bird and damage was reported.

Date: 13-MAR-20
Time: 18:41:00Z
Regis#: N682SK
Aircraft Make: AIRBUS
Aircraft Model: A321
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: SPIRIT
Flight Number: NK348

Southern Airways Express to hold customer appreciation party Tuesday at Bradford Regional Airport (KBFD)

Southern Air Express officials are throwing a party on Tuesday to express appreciation to customers at Bradford Regional Airport. The agenda will feature live entertainment with Sonny McFly, Southern's official singer; craft beer tasting; tours of the new Southern Airways aircraft; a meet and greet with the airline's pilots, executives and owners; door prizes and giveaways.

MT. ALTON –– It’s been such a good year at the Bradford Regional Airport that Southern Air Express officials are throwing a party on Tuesday to express appreciation to customers.

The event is open to the public from 4 to 6 p. m. at the airport that will feature a band, food, spirits and a chance to win two tickets to Frankfurt, Germany, from Bradford on Southern and Condor airlines, plus $400 spending cash.

The agenda will feature live entertainment with Sonny McFly, Southern's official singer; craft beer tasting; tours of the new Southern Airways aircraft; a meet and greet with the airline's pilots, executives and owners; door prizes and giveaways.

"Good things are happening at Southern Air Express and Bradford Regional Airport," said Mark Cestari, airline chief commercial officer. "We have a new interline agreement with American Airlines and one with Condor, the large international German carrier, in effect. Customers can now book all the way through, check their baggage, the whole shebang. Bookings are soaring, up 11.3 percent just this month over last."

Interline agreements, developed for the convenience for customers who could only get to their destinations via connections with two different airlines, allow passengers to change from one flight to another on a different airline without having to gather their baggage or check-in again.

For more information about Bradford Regional Airport, see

Original article can be found here ➤

Defense Industry Adds Venture Capital to Its Arsenal: Industrial giants look to startups to bolster internal research

Boeing’s HorizonX venture arm has a portfolio that includes stakes in electric-airplane maker Zunum Aero, above, and in productivity software maker Upskill. 

The Wall Street Journal
By Doug Cameron
July 5, 2018 8:00 a.m. ET

Defense companies are looking beyond their own laboratories for the next technology breakthrough.

Long known for acquiring suppliers and spending big on research that might not pay off for years, Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and others are now vying to invest in startups. Executives say they can no longer rely solely on their own researchers to outflank new drone, software and battery companies.

“We disrupt ourselves so someone else doesn’t disrupt us,” said Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing’s HorizonX venture arm, which launched in April 2017.

The corporate venture-capital market has more than doubled over the past five years. American companies made more than 1,200 deals worth a record $34.3 billion in 2017, according to the National Venture Capital Association and PitchBook.

Aerospace and defense companies face stiff competition for deals. Alongside traditional players such as tech firms and drugmakers, a growing array of manufacturers—from power-tool maker Stanley Black & Decker Inc. to General Motors Co. —is sifting startups for technology that could ensure their future.

While a handful of industrial giants such as General Electric Co. and 3M Co. have long-established venture arms, these new entrants share a common focus on artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and other areas that could lead to new manufacturing processes and storage technologies, changing the way companies design and produce.

“There is an ongoing collision of the tech world with industrials,” said analyst Rob Wertheimer, at Melius Research LLC.

Boeing’s HorizonX arm announced eight deals this year, adding to a portfolio of investments that includes stakes in electric-airplane maker Zunum Aero and in Upskill, a productivity software company.

Lockheed in June doubled the size of its 2-year-old Lockheed Martin Ventures unit to $200 million with savings from recent changes to U.S. tax law. Like its competitors, Lockheed hopes to harvest technology from the companies it invests in for its own systems and platforms. In return, Lockheed executives say they can give leaders from small firms access to multibillion-dollar research into everything from missile systems to asteroid mining.

“Engineers love problems, and we have really great problems to work on,” said Chris Moran, general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures and an engineer himself. “You see the gears in their heads turning.”

Defense executives first woke up to the threat that startups pose to their businesses in April 2016, when Elon Musk’s SpaceX won its first rocket-launch deal from the Pentagon—ending a decadelong monopoly for a Boeing-Lockheed joint venture.

Other companies say more mundane products have shaken their faith in their monopoly on good ideas.

Don Allan, Stanley Black & Decker’s chief financial officer, said the debut of internet-based home-security systems such as Nest and Ring raised concerns internally that such technology could threaten the company’s commercial-protection business. The two startups have since been acquired by Google’s Alphabet Inc. and Inc . , respectively.

Mr. Allan said the company gathered its business heads three years ago to identify other threats. They established a venture-capital arm that has made 13 deals, including two this year. The unit has invested in firms developing 3-D printing and security systems, as well as energy-storage systems that could alter the design of its power tools.

“We see now how fast batteries are changing,” Mr. Allan said.

Executives say such investments give their well-established companies an injection of entrepreneurial culture. Some startups say selling themselves to an industrial giant can have the opposite effect.

“Suddenly, I was one of a thousand lab coats,” said a former Lockheed executive whose small firm was acquired by the defense giant before it launched its venture arm.

For big companies, startup investments have a different success rate than the M&A or big equipment purchases that CFOs are used to analyzing.

Mr. Allan said he drew on advice from two former 3M executives who sit on Stanley Black & Decker’s board as the company developed its new venture-capital arm. That helped him prepare for one outcome of venturing that newcomers can find unsettling.

“3M wrote off half its ventures!” he said.

Original article can be found here ➤

Piper PA-34-220T Seneca III, N294AB: Accident occurred July 07, 2018 near Jack Edwards Airport (KJKA), Gulf Shores, Alabama

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Gulf Shores, AL
Accident Number: ERA18LA186
Date & Time: 07/07/2018, 0920 CDT
Registration: N294AB
Aircraft: Piper PA34
Injuries: 5 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 7, 2018, at 0920 central daylight time, a Piper PA-34, N294AB, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to wooded terrain near Jack Edwards Airport (JKA), Gulf Shores, Alabama. The private pilot and 4 passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight which departed Lafayette Regional Airport (LFT), Lafayette, Louisiana and was destined for JKA. The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

In a written statement, the pilot provided a detailed description of his preflight inspection, his performance of weight and balance calculations, and his loading of the airplane with golf clubs, baggage, and the passengers. The pilot visually checked for the presence of fuel, but did not measure the fuel in the tanks, and neither did he service them with additional fuel. He noted no anomalies and estimated there were 30 gallons of fuel "per side prior to departure according to the fuel gauges."

The pilot reported no anomalies with the performance and handling of the airplane in his description of the preflight, run-up, takeoff, en-route, and the approach-to-landing portions of the flight. Upon landing, the airplane began to "porpoise or oscillate" and after the 3rd or 4th bounce the pilot aborted the landing.

The pilot said he pushed the throttle, propeller, and mixture levers "full forward" and retracted the landing gear when a positive rate of climb was established. Immediately after, the left engine "appeared" to lose power and was "surging." The airplane yawed to its left, and the right engine continued to operate "normally." The pilot attempted to restore left engine power by placing the auxiliary fuel pump switch to "high" and selecting "crossfeed" on the left fuel selector.

The left engine stopped producing power, the stall horn sounded, and the controls "started to buffet." The pilot said he had "no time" to consult the checklist, considered multiple forced landing areas, and eventually chose to land straight ahead into trees. The airplane came to rest upright with substantial damage do both wings, and the fuselage.

The pilot held a private pilot's certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He was operating under 14 CFR 61.23(c)(1)(v) and (c)(3), Basic Medical rule. He reported 335 total hours of flight experience, of which 65 were in multiengine airplanes, and 33 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airplane was manufactured in 1981. Its most recent annual inspection was completed June 26, 2018 at 3,277.7 total aircraft hours.

At 1415, the weather recorded at JKA included scattered clouds at 2,100 feet and calm winds. The temperature was 28°C, and the dew point was 23°C. The altimeter setting was 30.08 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was recovered for examination at a later date. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N294AB
Model/Series: PA34 220T
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: L Clayton Burgess Plc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KJKA, 16 ft msl
Observation Time: 1415 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 23°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2100 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Lafayette, LA (LFT)
Destination: Gulf Shores, AL (JKA)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 4 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 5 Minor
Latitude, Longitude:  30.289722, -87.671667 (est)

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. -    The owner of the plane that crashed in Alabama yesterday is L. Clayton Burgess, of Lafayette, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Officials say five people were on board at the time of the crash. All of them survived. 

Orange Beach Assistant Police Chief Steven Brown says four of the five people are from Lafayette, and one person is from St. Martinville. 

Their identities have not been released.

A spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration says a Piper PA-34-220T Seneca IIIt made a forced landing in a heavily wooded area about 1 mile north of the Gulf Shores toll bridge around 9 a.m. 

First responders arrived at 9:22 a.m. and located the pilot and passengers walking in the woods. 

All were okay with the exception of some minor scrapes and bruises, Brown says. 

The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate and determine if the event was an incident or accident, depending on the extent of damage to the aircraft.  

Original article can be found here ➤

ORANGE BEACH, AL (WALA) -  A small plane crashed east of the Foley Beach Express in Baldwin County Saturday morning.

No one was killed or seriously hurt, officials say.

According to officials, Orange Beach police and fire departments responded to reports of a crashed plane at about 9:22 a.m. The crash site was located in a wooded area north of The Wharf and east of the Foley Beach Express.

The pilot and passengers from the plane were found walking in the woods near the crash site, with no apparent injuries except for some minor scrapes and bruises, reports the Orange Beach Police Department.

The pilot and passengers are from out of state and were flying in for a golf outing, Orange Beach Police say.

Federal authorities were en route to investigate the cause of the crash.

Orange Beach Asst. Police Chief Steve Brown said the crash site is in woods that are "extremely thick and difficult to get through."

"The FAA is currently handling this crash, and I will defer any comments as to the cause of the crash to them," Brown said.

Aerial video footage shot by Pamela and David Walter, who were flying over the crash site Saturday morning, shows wreckage of the airplane in a wooded area.

FOX10 News also has published a slideshow of crash site photography by Orange Beach PD's Brown, showing wreckage strewn through the woods and hanging from trees. Some trees have been stripped of bark and limbs, but the fuselage of the airplane appears intact in the photos. Other parts of the aircraft appear to be sheared off.

Story and video ➤

Approximately 9:22 am Orange Beach Police Department and Fire responded to a reported plane crash.

The crash was reported as north of the Wharf and east of the Foley Beach Express.

The crash site is located in a heavily wooded area approximately 500 yards east of the FBX. 

Personnel arriving located the pilot and passengers walking in the woods and were ok with the exception of some minor scrapes and bruises.

There were no serious injuries or fatalities.

The pilot and passengers are from out of state and flying in for a golf outing. 

Federal authorities are en route to investigate the crash. 

Orange Beach, Ala. (WKRG) -   According to Orange Beach Police Chief Joe Fierro says, one pilot and four passengers were on board the plane. 

Fierro says no one was seriously injured in the crash. One person has minor injuries. 

The following is a press release from Assistant Chief of Police, Steve Brown:

Approximately 9:22 am Orange Beach PD and Fire responded to a reported plane. The crash was reported as north of the Wharf and east of the Foley Beach Express. The crash site is located in a heavily wooded area approximately 500 yards east of the FBX. Personnel arriving located the pilot and passengers walking in the woods and were ok with the exception of some minor scrapes and bruises. There were no serious injuries or fatalities. The pilot and passengers are from out of state and flying in for a golf outing. Federal authorities are enroute to investigate the crash. 

According to local officials in south Baldwin County, there are reports that a plane went down in Orange Beach Saturday morning.

It is believed it happened north of the Intracoastal Canal near Roscoe Road. Crews with Orange Beach are responding.

At this time it is not clear if anyone has been hurt or how many people may have been on board. 

Story and video ➤

A pilot and passengers suffered only minor scrapes and bruises when a plane crashed this morning in Orange Beach, authorities said.

Police and fire crews were called to the scene just east of the Foley Beach Express at 9:22 a.m. The heavily wooded area is north of the Wharf, police said.

The pilot and passengers were found walking in the woods, said Steve Brown, assistant chief of Orange Beach police.

"There were no serious injuries or fatalities," Brown said in a news release. "The pilot and passengers are from out of state and flying in for a golf outing."

Brown said federal authorities will take over the crash investigation.

Original article can be found here ➤

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, N123SB, registered to and operated by Park City Aviation LLC: Fatal accident occurred April 07, 2017 near Mahlon Sweet Field Airport (KEUG), Harrisburg, Linn County, Oregon

 Pilot Mark Gregory Aletky of Acton, California, with the Piper PA-46-310P  Malibu that crashed on April 07, 2017 near Harrisburg, Oregon.
 (Photo courtesy of Joseph Aletky)

John Zitting, wife Karen Zitting and son John “Brendan” Zitting of Thousand Oaks. The family, along with pilot Mark Aletky of Acton, California died in a Piper PA-46-310P Malibu plane crash in Oregon on April 07, 2017.

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon
Piper Aircraft 
Continental Motors Inc

Audio: 911 dispatch tape of plane crash discovery:

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Harrisburg, OR
Accident Number: WPR17FA085
Date & Time: 04/07/2017, 1048 PDT
Registration: N123SB
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46-310P
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 7, 2017, about 1048 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-46-310P, N123SB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Harrisburg, Oregon, during an instrument approach to Mahlon Sweet Field Airport (EUG), Eugene, Oregon. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Park City Aviation, LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California, at 0727.

Data from an onboard Appareo Stratus 2S indicated that the airplane took off from VNY at 0721:37 and leveled off at its cruise altitude of 14,200 ft GPS altitude on a generally direct route toward EUG.

At 1019, the pilot began a descent consistent with arrival in the EUG terminal area. During the approach to EUG, the pilot was in radar contact with the Cascade Approach/Eugene Tower control facility. Review of air traffic control communications revealed that, at 1038:24, the controller instructed the pilot to descend to 4,000 ft mean sea level (msl) and to expect the ILS RWY16L approach. About two minutes later, the controller advised the pilot of an area of moderate to heavy precipitation at his 11-to-2'o-clock position. He asked the pilot to verify that he had received the current weather observation at the airport; the pilot confirmed that he had. Shortly thereafter, the pilot reported that the airplane was in heavy precipitation and requested vectors to the localizer and a descent to 2,000 ft msl. By 10:43:48, the airplane passed east of EUG, descending through 3,573 ft as it was being vectored for the approach at EUG. At this time, the recorded pitch attitude was about 3.5° nose down. At 1045, Cascade Approach advised the pilot of heavy to extreme precipitation in the area. Between 1046:36 and 1047:04, the airplane turned west at an altitude about 1,870 ft, and the groundspeed changed from 144 knots to 75 knots. At 1047:41, the recorded pitch angle began to increase as the pilot began to turn left at an altitude of 1,923 ft. At 1047:49, the recorded left bank angle was 42° and the recorded pitch angle was 13.6° nose up, as the airplane turned through a heading of 205°. At 1047:56, the recorded left bank angle reached 95°, with a pitch attitude of 35° nose down. The airplane descended through 1,125 ft with a nose-down pitch attitude of 30° and a left bank angle of about 70°. Shortly thereafter, the airplane briefly rolled wings-level before entering a right roll. As the airplane continued to descend, the right bank increased to 173° and the pitch angle reached 66° nose-down. At 1048:12, the groundspeed decreased to 0, consistent with ground impact. At 1048:13, the controller advised the pilot to maintain 2,000 ft msl until he intercepted the glideslope and cleared him for the approach. The pilot acknowledged the clearance. About 13 seconds later, the controller requested that the pilot check his altitude and instructed him to climb and maintain 2,000 ft msl. The pilot did not respond. The controller then issued the pilot multiple low altitude alerts and attempted to contact him on guard frequency; there were no further communications from the accident airplane. (NOTED: slight time discrepancy between Appareo Stratus and ATC clocks)

A witness located about 1/2 mile from the accident site, heard a loud engine noise and observed the airplane flying above her house toward the north. A second later, the engine went completely quiet. She continued to watch the airplane as it descended before it disappeared from her sight behind a tree line.

Another witness, who was located about 1.2 miles from the accident site, observed the airplane flying in a northerly direction above the treetops. The airplane then entered a near-vertical nose dive and disappeared behind a tree line. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Sea; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/02/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 5060 hours (Total, all aircraft), 4890 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 109 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument ratings. The pilot was issued a second-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman medical certificate on February 2, 2017, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot reported 5,025 total hours of flight experience of which 45 hours were in the previous six months. The pilot's digital logbook, dated February 8, 2017, indicated that he had accumulated a total of 5,060 flight hours, with about 163 hours in the accident airplane make and model, and 25 hours of instrument time in the preceding 6 months. His total instrument flight experience could not be determined.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N123SB
Model/Series: PA 46-310P 310P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1984
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 46-8508023
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/24/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 4101 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3681.72 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-520BE2F
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 310 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The six-seat, single-engine, low-wing, retractable landing gear airplane, serial number 46-8508023, was manufactured in 1984. It was powered by a Continental Motors, Inc., TSIO-520-BE2F reciprocating engine, serial number 273821-R, rated at 310 horsepower. The airplane was also equipped with a Hartzell two-bladed constant speed propeller, model F8052. A review of maintenance records showed that the most recent annual inspection was completed January 24, 2017, at a total aircraft time of 3,681.72 hours.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KEUG, 373 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1054 PDT
Direction from Accident Site: 190°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2400 ft agl
Visibility:  7 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 3500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 18 knots / 26 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.51 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C / 7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Rain
Departure Point: VAN NUYS, CA (VNY)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: EUGENE, OR (OG32)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 0722 PDT
Type of Airspace: 

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) staff meteorologist prepared a factual report for the area and time surrounding the accident.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued Day 1 Convective Outlook at 0917, predicting areas of general thunderstorms for the accident site during the day of the accident.

An Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) located at EUG reported at 1054 wind from 200° at 18 knots with gusts to 26 knots, 7 miles visibility, light rain, few clouds at 2,400 ft above ground level (agl), overcast ceiling at 3,500 ft agl, temperature 8°C, dew point 7°C, and an altimeter setting of 29.51 inches of mercury. The observations from EUG indicated that surface wind gusts to 35 knots were observed around the accident time with marginal visual flight rules (VFR) to VFR ceiling conditions.

A High-Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model sounding for the accident site at 1100 indicated a conditionally unstable environment from the surface through 4,500 ft msl, a possibility of low-level wind shear (LLWS) between the surface and 1,000 ft msl, and a possibility of clear-air turbulence in two layers between the surface and 9,000 ft msl.

Several pilot reports (PIREPs) were made near EUG around the time of the accident, which included base and top cloud information, LLWS on approach to Redmond, Oregon, and icing conditions above 6,000 ft; however, none of these PIREPs were given to the accident pilot, nor did the controller solicit a PIREP from the pilot during the approach. 

The visible satellite data imagery indicated cloud cover above the accident site at the time of the accident, with cumuliform cloud cover moving from southwest to northeast. The clouds were expanding in coverage above the accident site at the time of the accident, consistent with rain shower growth and strong updrafts and downdrafts.

AIRMET advisories Sierra and Tango, issued for the area of the accident site at the time of the accident, warned of mountain obscuration conditions in clouds and precipitation, moderate turbulence below 16,000 ft msl, and LLWS conditions.

An area forecast issued at 0345 and valid at the time of the accident forecast a broken ceiling at 6,000 ft agl, with layered clouds through 24,000 ft, moderate rain, and a south wind gusting to 45 knots. A Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF) issued at 0917 forecast wind from 180° at 15 knots with gusts to 25 knots, greater than 6 miles visibility, light rain showers, broken ceiling at 2,000 ft agl, and overcast skies at 5,000 ft agl. The 1020 TAF forecast wind from 180° at 25 knots with gusts to 35 knots, greater than 6 miles visibility, light rain showers, scattered clouds at 2,500 ft agl, broken ceiling at 3,500 ft agl, and overcast skies at 4,000 ft agl.

The local NWS Office in Portland, Oregon, issued a wind advisory at 0727 and valid through 1700, to warn of a south wind of 25 to 35 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph at the surface. A similar wind advisory was issued at 0240, warning of the gusty south winds between 0700 and 1700 for the accident site and the surrounding area.

The pilot obtained weather information through ForeFlight and Leidos graphics and texts at 0416 and 0417. In the ForeFlight graphical and text weather briefing, the pilot received AIRMETs Sierra and Tango. All were valid along the route or at the intended destination. The pilot also received the Area Forecast, the SPC Day 1 Convective Outlook, and the winds aloft forecast, with no urgent PIREPs along the route of flight before 0417. The 0354 surface observation at EUG included temperature 11°C, dew point 7°C, altimeter 29.92 inches of mercury, peak wind from 180° at 37 knots at 0357, rain ended at 0349, sea level pressure 891 hPa, and a one-hour precipitation total of 0.01in.

The pilot did not receive an official weather brief through Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS), voice Lockheed Martin Flight Service (LMFS) or Leidos. It is unknown if the accident pilot checked or received additional weather information before or during the accident flight.

Several hours after the accident, the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) observed a 140-ft-by-150-ft area of disturbed, flattened tall grass located about 450 ft southwest of the accident site. That was the only area in the field where tall grass had been flattened. Images of the grass were provided to NWS personnel, who estimated that it would take greater than 35-knot winds to lay over tall grass as the images indicated. The NWS indicated that a microburst or bow echo type of outflow event could not be ruled out.

The complete weather report is in the public docket for this accident.

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: 44.292500, -123.182222 (est) 

The airplane impacted terrain about 12 miles north of EUG at an elevation about 276 ft.

The wreckage debris path was oriented on a magnetic heading about 001° and was about 93 ft in length; the main wreckage was oriented on a heading about 010° magnetic. The first identified point of contact (FIPC) was characterized by a 22-ft-by-35-ft area of disturbed soil that resembled a silhouette of an airplane, consistent with impact in a level attitude. Visible evidence of the landing gear impact was present. Both the left and right ailerons were separated from the fuselage and located within the area of the FIPC. All three landing gear were separated; both left and right landing gear were located resting adjacent to each other on their respective sides of the fuselage, about 75 ft from the FIPC. The main wreckage comprised of the engine, fuselage, both wings, and the empennage. The wreckage exhibited significant impact damage. As a result of the impact sequence, the cabin area was displaced, with significant compression of the fuselage structure into the area of the two front seats. The engine cowling was found open and crushed backward toward the windshield. Both the forward and side windows were shattered.

The propeller was found attached to the engine. One blade was straight and the other was bent backward about 90°, consistent with the blade impacting the ground. The engine was covered with dirt.

The instrument panel exhibited impact damage, with multiple instruments displaced from the panel. Flight instruments on the right side of the instrument panel were readable; the airspeed indicator indicated 100 knots, the altimeter indicated about 2,700 ft with a Kollsman setting of 29.5 in, the vertical speed indictor indicated about 2,200 ft per minute rate of climb, the heading indicator indicated 312°, and the inclinometer on a turn-and-slip indicator was in its right-most position. Throttle, propeller and mixture levers were found in a full forward position.

Both wings remained partially attached to the fuselage at their roots. The left and right flaps remained attached to their respective wings. The empennage remained partially attached to the fuselage. The rudder and both horizontal stabilizers remained attached to the empennage. All major structural components of the airplane were located at the accident site. 

Examination of the airframe, engine, and system components revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction that would have precluded normal operation. The complete engine and airframe examination report is appended to this accident in the public docket. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the State Medical Examiner at Linn County, Clackamas, Oregon, completed an autopsy on the pilot and concluded that the cause of death was multiple blunt force traumatic injuries.

The Federal Aviation Administration's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The results of the testing were negative for ethanol and listed drugs.

Additional Information

An Apple iPad Mini 3, a Garmin Aera 796, and an Appareo Stratus 2S were located at the accident site and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for download. Due to extensive damage, no data was recovered from the iPad. The Garmin Aera user interface was inoperative, and only the startup screen was documented. No further information was obtained from the device. The Appareo Stratus 2S recorded the accident flight; data were recovered using the Foreflight application.

The FAA's Advisory Circular AC 00-6B, "Aviation Weather" describes many weather hazards, including downbursts and microbursts. Section 19.6.3 states,

Downbursts can create hazardous conditions for pilots and have been responsible for many low-level wind shear accidents. Smaller, shorter-lived downbursts are called microbursts. A downburst is especially dangerous to airplanes when it is encountered when climbing for takeoff or approaching to land. During this phase, the aircraft is operating at relatively slow speeds. A major change of wind velocity can lead to loss of lift and a crash.

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, prescribes air traffic control procedures and phraseology for use by personnel providing air traffic control services. Chapter 2, Section 6, Weather Information, states that, "Timely dissemination of PIREPs alerts pilots to significant weather reports." Paragraph 2-6-2 a. states:

Solicit PIREPs when requested, deemed necessary or any of the following conditions exists or is forecast for the area of your jurisdiction:

1. Ceilings at or below 5,000 feet. These PIREPs must include cloud base/top reports when feasible. When providing approach control services, ensure that at least one descent/climb-out PIREP, including cloud base(s), top(s), and other related phenomena, is obtained each hour.

2. Visibility (surface or aloft) at or less than 5 miles.

3. Thunderstorms and related phenomena.

4. Turbulence of moderate degree or greater.

5. Icing of light degree or greater.

6. Wind shear.

NTSB Identification: WPR17FA085
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 07, 2017 in Harrisburg, OR
Aircraft: PIPER PA 46-310P, registration: N123SB
Injuries: 4 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 1046 Pacific daylight time, a Piper PA-46-310P, N123SB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Harrisburg, Oregon during an instrument approach to Mahlon Sweet Field Airport (EUG), Eugene, Oregon. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Park City Aviation, LLC as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules plan had been filed for the cross-country flight that originated from Van Nuys Airport (VNY), Van Nuys, California at 0727.

Preliminary weather report indicated that the airplane was landing in strong wind conditions, moderate to severe turbulence, and low level windsheer with precipitation and mountain obscuration due to clouds/mist/precipitation. Several witnesses located near the accident area reported they observed the airplane flying at a treetop level.