Sunday, July 8, 2018

Best Off Skyranger, N4329R: Accident occurred July 08, 2018 in Houghton Lake, Roscommon County, Michigan

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances.

http://registry.faa.gov/N4329R

Date: 08-JUL-18
Time: 10:43:00Z
Regis#: N4329R
Aircraft Make: BEST OFF
Aircraft Model: SKYRANGER
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: SERIOUS
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
City: HOUGHTON LAKE HEIGHTS
State: MICHIGAN


A small plane crashed on hole 4 prior to 7am this morning. 

We're happy to report that there were no major injuries. 


Hole 4 will remain closed until the plane is removed later this afternoon 


The Quest Golf Club 
Houghton Lake

Air Force wants to boost F-16 flights at Tucson International Airport Guard base



The Air National Guard has proposed an increase in F-16 flight operations at the Guard’s 162nd Wing at Tucson International Airport starting in late 2019, as a training unit of the Taiwan Air Force moves to Tucson from Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix.

The Air Force’s Air Education and Training Command has filed a draft environmental assessment that would allow the basing of 14 Taiwanese F-16s and related personnel at the 162nd Wing by December 2019.

That addition will come after a training contingent of the Iraqi Air Force is scheduled to exit the Tucson base in June, partially offsetting the effect of the additional Taiwanese jets, according to the draft environmental study.

After the Taiwan unit arrives, the annual number of training operations — counted as individual takeoffs, landings and practice runs — is expected to increase by about 16 percent.

The environmental assessment, developed in cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration, also covers the construction of a new gate and security complex on South Park Avenue just south of East Valencia Road.

The draft assessment, part of a process required under the National Environmental Policy Act, includes a finding that the training changes and construction projects will have “no significant impact” on the local environment and community. It also found that a more extensive environmental impact statement is not required.

The draft was issued by the Air Force on July 1, according to an Air National Guard public information officer, but it had not been published in the Federal Register as of July 7.

The public typically has 30 days from publication of such environmental assessments to file comments on the plan, which will be formalized in a final environmental assessment.

According to the draft environmental assessment, the Air Force needs to move 14 F-16s and 191 associated personnel of the Taiwan Air Force — and eventually all the F-16s currently based at Luke — to accommodate the basing of 144 F-35A Lightning II stealth fighters at Luke, the biggest Air Force F-35 training site.

Those moves are part of a longer-term plan to shift F-16s to other bases to make way for the F-35, which will eventually replace the F-16 and most other fighters, including a plan to base an Air Force Reserve F-16 unit at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

But F-16s are still being produced for foreign allies, and the U.S. is expecting to support foreign pilot and maintenance training for decades at sites including the 162nd Wing — the Air Guard’s largest fighter wing and the main site for training foreign F-16 training.

The departure of the Iraqi training and its eight F-16s and the addition of the Taiwanese planes will result in a net increase of six F-16s at the 162nd, the study shows.

The proposed increase in flight operations to a projected 31,723 annually would still be fewer than the maximum 40,000 annual operations the 162nd Wing agreed to under a 2014 agreement with the Tucson Airport Authority, the study notes.

The Air Force says proposed construction of a new “entry control facility” is necessary because the existing gate on Valencia does not meet current security standards, and the lack of inspection areas causes significant traffic backups, particularly as reservists arrive for weekend duty.

Tucson airport spokesman David Hatfield generally supports the planned new gate, though officials were still evaluating the environmental assessment.

Construction of the gate will require the demolition of three buildings, including a hangar owned by a private aircraft modification and maintenance company. The Air Force proposes to replace that hangar at another site on the airport, the environmental study said.

The environmental study also covers the renovation of two buildings and reconfiguration of aircraft sunshades to accommodate the Taiwanese training unit, at an estimated cost of $3 million.

HISTORY OF FOREIGN TRAINING

The Air Force Education and Training Command had initially recommended the 162nd Wing in Tucson, Holloman Air Force base in New Mexico, Albuquerque Air National Guard Base and D-M as potential new sites for the Taiwanese training unit.

The candidates were later narrowed down to the 162nd Wing or Davis-Monthan because of their proximity to Arizona training ranges already used by the Taiwanese.

But the 162nd was ultimately chosen because the cost of establishing the training at D-M was much higher and construction of new facilities couldn’t be completed by the desired December 2019 transfer date.

Ron Shoopman, a retired Air Force brigadier general who formerly commanded the 162nd, said it’s not uncommon for different foreign training units to come and go from the base at TIA as they complete and start various training programs.

The Tucson-based Guard has hosted training for 24 nations, including initial training of Taiwanese F-16 pilots in the mid-1990s, said Shoopman, CEO of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council and board member of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance.

“The 162nd has been known as the premier and foremost expert in training foreign pilots, and the pilots love coming here because of the people here,” Shoopman said.

But the proposed increase in training flights could run into opposition from local residents who say military jets are too noisy for Tucson.

A group of residents sued the Air Force in 2014, after the service found no significant impact from a proposal to significantly increase Operation Snowbird and other visitor pilot training. The plaintiffs alleged the Air Force didn’t properly study noise and other environmental and social impacts of the proposed expansion.

That lawsuit was made moot last fall, when the National Guard Bureau decided to drop funding for the Operation Snowbird tenant unit at D-M, and the parties agreed to dismiss the suit.

One of the plaintiffs in the Operation Snowbird lawsuit, Tucson resident Gary Hunter, said though he was not familiar with the Guard’s plan to shift the Taiwanese training to Tucson, F-16 flights should be limited because they are too loud to fly over the city.

“Pilot training is important to the defense of America, but training F-16 pilots over Tucson’s residential neighborhoods is not appropriate,” Hunter said, citing noise and health concerns.

Though the 162nd Wing and D-M both so far have been passed over as bases for the F-35, the Air Force is currently working on an environmental impact statement on basing the first Air Force Reserve squadron of F-35s at D-M.

But D-M is only being studied as an alternative site, since the Air Force in January chose Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth as the preferred location.

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

Incident occurred July 07, 2018 in Herman, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin

SHEBOYGAN - A plane made an emergency landing in an open field in the town of Herman on Saturday evening.

According to the Sheboygan County Sheriff's Office, the plane landed south of County Highway FF and west of State Highway 32 a little before 8 p.m. without damage to the aircraft. The pilot and passenger, who have not been identified, were not injured.

Initial reports indicate the privately owned plane was flying from Washington Island to Sheboygan County when it lost power and made the emergency landing in an open field. 

Original article ➤ https://www.sheboyganpress.com

Eurocopter EC 135P1, N312SA, owned by Bennett Aviation, LLC and operated by Pentastar Aviation Charter: Accident occurred July 07, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration; Washington, District of Columbia
Pentastar Aviation; Pontiac, Michigan

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N312SA 

Location: Chicago, IL
Accident Number: CEN18FA259
Date & Time: 07/07/2018, 2123 CDT
Registration: N312SA
Aircraft: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH EC135P1
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Medical Emergency) 

On July 7, 2018, about 2123 central daylight time, an Eurocopter Deutschland GMBH EC135 P1 helicopter, impacted terrain during an autorotation following a dual engine failure while maneuvering near Chicago, Illinois. The pilot and paramedic sustained minor injuries, the flight nurse sustained serious injuries, and the patient was not injured during the accident. The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, tailboom, and main rotor blades. The helicopter was owned by Bennett Aviation, LLC, Elmhurst, Illinois, and operated by Pentastar Aviation Charter under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an air ambulance flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the flight was operated under a visual flight rules flight plan. The flight departed St. Mary Medical Center, Hobart, Indiana, at 2110, and was destined for Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Preliminary satellite tracking and air traffic control information revealed the helicopter was traveling northwest from the St. Mary Medical Center on a direct route to Advocate Christ Medical Center about 1,000 ft above ground level. About 5 miles southeast of Advocate Christ Medical Center, the helicopter turned to the right after the pilot requested to return to the Gary, Indiana, airport. About 50 seconds later, the pilot declared a "mayday" and stated the helicopter was going down into a field. The helicopter came to rest upright in a grass area between the Interstate 94 and Interstate 57 interchange.

Surveillance video from a Chicago Transit Authority rail platform located adjacent to the accident site depicted the helicopter during the final phase of the autorotation and impact with terrain. The video showed a fire near the number 2 (right) engine during the autorotation. A explosion was observed after the impact with terrain.

Postaccident examination of the accident site revealed the initial impact was consistent with the fenestron skid cap contacting the terrain first, followed by the landing gear skids and fuselage. The left landing gear skid was separated and came to rest near the ground scar consistent with the fuselage. The fuselage was crushed upward, and the fenestron assembly was separated at the tailboom attachment location (see Figures 1 and 2). The pilot seat, paramedic seat, and flight nurse seat were found fully attenuated. Thermal damage was noted on the right engine and main transmission cowling. Both engines power turbine wheel blades were missing the outer halves of the blades. Multiple impact dents, consistent with the fractured turbine blades, were noted inside the exhaust stubs. The No. 1 engine had a 1/2" by 1/2" hole in the exhaust stub at the 2 o'clock position forward of the aft firewall, and the No. 2 engine had a 2" by 1" hole in the exhaust stub at the 11 o'clock position forward of the aft firewall.

The helicopter was equipped with an Outerlink IRIS video, voice, flight data, and satellite communications system. The IRIS equipment was removed and sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder laboratory for video, voice, and data extraction.


Figure 1. Main Wreckage

Figure 2. Main Wreckage 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
Registration: N312SA
Model/Series: EC135P1
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Pentastar Aviation Charter
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: MDW, 619 ft msl
Observation Time: 2153 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 100°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Departure Point: Hobart, IN
Destination: Chicago, IL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor, 1 None
Aircraft Fire: In-Flight
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 41.715278, -87.624444





CHICAGO -- A medical helicopter's three-person crew is in good condition and a patient remains in critical condition after they crash landed on the South Side Saturday night.

The helicopter was transporting an unnamed patient to Christ Hospital when the pilot radioed there was an emergency around 9:15 p.m. Saturday. Shortly after the crew made its mayday call, the pilot made an emergency landing on a grassy area beside the Bishop Ford near 103rd Street.

All three crew members walked away from the crash, and are now listed in good condition. The patient they were transporting was in critical condition prior to the crash, and remains in the same condition.

Part of the Bishop Ford was closed after the crash, causing delays in the area. While the ramp to I-57 has since reopened, the ramp from the interstate remained closed as of 5 p.m. Sunday. Crews were still attempting to clean up the scene and tow the helicopter away Sunday morning.

Witnesses say they thought the helicopter might have had trouble because of fireworks, while investigators are still looking into the official cause. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board have now taken over the investigation.

Story and video ➤ https://wgntv.com



CHICAGO — The three-person flight crew and patient injured in Saturday night's medical helicopter crash on Chicago's South Side continue to receive professional medical care and all of their families are receiving support and assistance by specially trained team members, a spokesman for Superior Air said Sunday. 

The Associated Press on Sunday reported the Superior Air helicopter that crashed was headed toward the Gary/Chicago International Airport. 

It's unclear where the flight originated, according to the AP.

However, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the agency has "not released any additional information about a destination," adding that detail is part of the investigation.

Audio posted to www.liveatc.net — an air traffic enthusiasts' audio website — reportedly details a conversation the pilot and an air traffic controller has moments leading up to the crash. 

The audio of the mayday callout begins around 21:35.

Prior to the pilot declaring mayday, it appears he requests to return to Gary airspace, according to the audio. The Times was unable to independently confirm the audio or the pilot's intended destination. 

“Mayday. Mayday. Mayday,” the pilot states.

"What can I do for you, sir?"

"I need to find a place to land," the pilot responds.

"Can we get you any assistance?" the controller said. 

"Not at the moment. We're going down," the pilot says.

"Do you know where you're going to be landing at?"

"In a field," the pilot responds prior to crashing.

The pilot may have saved lives by crashing the helicopter in a grassy area on the South Side, rather than on major interstate highways or a train station nearby, officials said Sunday.

The four people onboard Saturday evening were injured but no one was hurt on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration says a Eurocopter 135 air ambulance helicopter crashed around 9:15 p.m. Saturday in a grassy knoll near the intersection of Interstate 94 and Interstate 57 on the city's South Side due to unknown circumstances.

Chicago Fire Deputy District Fire Chief Lynda Turner said the pilot maneuvered the helicopter to land belly-down with all rotors intact. The helicopter was smoking but not on fire, she said.

"The pilot did an excellent job of landing a helicopter that was in an emergency situation," Turner said at a news conference.

Emergency crews from the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago Police Department and Illinois State Police arrived on scene and located the Superior helicopter. Four passengers were on board and were found conscious, according to an Illinois State Police news release.

Chicago Fire Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder says the patient in the helicopter was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while the three crew members onboard were transported in stable condition.

Schroeder says the pilot issued a "mayday" call before the crash, but the exact cause is not yet known. He also commended the pilot for putting the aircraft down in a grassy area away from traffic.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

Results of the Federal Aviation Administration report will not be made public until the investigation concludes, which could take up to a month, spokesman Tony Molinaro said.

Peter Knudson, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, said its investigation will be finished in one to two weeks and the wreckage site will be cleared later Sunday.

In a news release, a spokesman for Superior stated they are working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation, along with the FAA and the aircraft manufacturer.

"As with any aviation accident that is under investigation, the National Transportation Safety Board is the only official communicator of accident related information. Health care information regulations and our internal confidentiality policies prohibit any release or discussion of patient information," the spokesman said in the release. 

Story and video ➤ https://www.nwitimes.com




CHICAGO — A pilot may have saved lives by crashing a medical helicopter in a grassy area on the South Side of Chicago rather than on major interstate highways or a train station nearby, officials said Sunday.

The four people onboard Saturday evening were injured but no one was hurt on the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the crash occurred around 9:15 p.m. Saturday near the intersection of three expressways.

The patient in the helicopter was taken to a hospital in critical condition, said Chicago Fire Deputy District Chief Walter Schroeder, while the three crew members onboard were transported in stable condition.

The crash caused a snarl in Chicago traffic, with northbound I-57 and southbound I-94 lanes closed Sunday while the investigation continues.

Schroeder said the pilot issued a “mayday” call before the crash, but the exact cause is not yet known. He commended the pilot for putting the aircraft down in a grassy median away from traffic.

Deputy district fire chief Lynda Turner said the pilot maneuvered the helicopter to land belly-down with all rotors intact. The helicopter was smoking but not on fire, she said.

“The pilot did an excellent job of landing a helicopter that was in an emergency situation,” Turner said at a press conference.

The helicopter was headed toward Gary Airport. It’s unclear where the flight originated.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash. Results of the Federal Aviation Administration report will not be made public until the investigation concludes, which could take up to a month, spokesman Tony Molinaro said. Peter Knudson, a National Transportation Safety Board spokesman, said its investigation will be finished in one to two weeks and that the wreckage site will be cleared later on Sunday.

Story and video ➤ https://fox59.com

Robinson R44 Raven, N616HS: Fatal accident occurred July 08, 2018 in Williamsburg, Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond

Rotorcraft crashed into a townhouse complex due to unknown circumstances.

http://registry.faa.gov/N616HS 

Date: 08-JUL-18
Time: 20:55:00Z
Regis#: N616HS
Aircraft Make: ROBINSON
Aircraft Model: R44 II
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
City: WILLIAMSBURG
State: VIRGINIA

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

WILLIAMSBURG — The small, four-seat helicopter was in the air only a few minutes before something went wrong.

The Robinson R44 Raven II had flown about a mile from the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport on Sunday when it crashed into the Bristol Commons townhome complex off Ironbound Road, setting a 10-unit building on fire.

Witnesses to the crash said they heard an explosion before seeing the building go up in flames.

Bristol Commons resident Jean Lonchak Danylko, 91, and pilot Henry E. Schwarz of Alexandria, Virginia, were killed in the crash, authorities confirmed.

Since 1995, the Federal Aviation Administration has issued a handful of special airworthiness information bulletins for the Robinson R44, which is not uncommon.

But some aviation lawyers say the R44 can experience certain mechanical issues and post-crash fires.

“The R44 does have a statistically higher accident rate than other helicopters,” said Ladd Sanger, a helicopter pilot and aviation attorney with Texas-based firm Slack Davis Sanger. “The question on this case is why did the helicopter come out of the air in the first place?”

Other pilots, such as Ray Jarman, membership coordinator for the Virginia Helicopter Association, say the R44 is safe.

“The R44 is one of the most popular models around,” Jarman said. “I take issue with that. That’s untrue as far as I’m concerned. They are not unsafe. Any aircraft can be unsafe if it operated outside of its design limits.”

Bristol Commons crash

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Doug Brazy said the four-seat, single-engine Robinson R44 helicopter left the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport around 4:30 p.m. Sunday.

The helicopter ended up crashing “halfway between the front and back” of the condo building, located in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive, Brazy said.

Fire officials worked through the night Sunday into Monday morning to put out the fire and remaining hot spots, allowing NTSB and FAA investigators to enter the building and approach the aircraft.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said investigators are typically on the scene for two to three days following aircraft crashes. The NTSB will release a final report on the cause in 12 to 24 months.

Brazy said Monday that he believed Schwarz was properly certified for flying helicopters and other aircraft.

Flight data on Schwarz’s helicopter shows he traveled to various states, including Texas, along the coast of California near Los Angeles, Arizona and more.

In response to the crash, Robinson Helicopter Co. also released a statement.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, loved ones, and friends of those affected by the accident,” Robinson spokeswoman Loretta Conley said. “Robinson’s accident investigators are currently onsite assisting the FAA and NTSB with the investigation, which prevents us from commenting on this particular incident.”

R44 incidents

So far in 2018, NTSB records show there have been 11 crashes — three of which were fatal — involving Robinson R44 helicopters in the United States.

Since January 2000, 158 of 432 crashes involving R44s worldwide since have been fatal. The NTSB reports the cause of several recent crashes — including in Alaska and Wisconsin — as pilot error.

““When you encounter turbulence, you have to slow down,” Jarman said. “It’s like riding down an interstate highway at 70 mph and all of a sudden it turns into a secondary state highway and then gravel. If you don’t slow down that vehicle will be damaged.”

The New Zealand Department of Conservation no longer allows some Robinson helicopters, including the R44 and R22, to fly in that country’s airspace, according to news reports.

Since 1995, the FAA has issued 10 special airworthiness information bulletins for the R44. The bulletins cover parts such as carbon monoxide detectors, navigation equipment, rotor blades, alternator belts and a fuel tank bladder retrofit.

Special airworthiness information bulletins are not uncommon. In the past 60 days, the FAA has issued six bulletins for several manufacturers, including the Boeing Co. Other popular helicopter manufacturers, such as Airbus, have also seen bulletins issued for various models.

The R44 fuel tank was the subject of a Robinson service bulletin in December 2010, Conley said. The FAA also issued a special airworthiness bulletin for the same fuel tank issue in December 2012.

The service bulletin required R44 owners to fit the fuel tank with a bladder to improve the fuel system’s resistance to post-crash fuel tank leaks and fires.

The FAA did not mandate the replacements, according to NTSB records.

Several years before, in 2006, Robinson released a safety notice advising pilots and passengers to wear fireproof suits, gloves and helmets.

Sanger said a settlement in one of his cases in 2010 prompted the requirement for retrofitting tanks with bladders.

Conley said manufacturer’s records show that Schwarz’s R44, which exploded moments after impact Sunday, had been retrofitted with a bladder-type fuel tank.

“You can’t prevent all fires, but we’re looking to prevent post-crash fires in otherwise survivable accidents,” Sanger said.

Sanger added that it’s unlikely many helicopters are flying today without the bladder retrofit, although some may still have the original fuel tank.

“These tanks have proven to be extremely effective in minimizing fires in survivable accidents,” Conley said.

Knudson said the NTSB does not have additional comment or information on the crash beyond what was released Monday.

Lawsuits

Sanger has been practicing law for two decades and said he’s been involved in about a dozen R44-related cases.

There are several safety issues with R44s, including “mast bumping,” drive-belt system failures and rotor blade delamination.

In some situations, the high mast — the tower that extends from the top of the cabin to the rotor — can be hit by the rotor, causing an unbalanced condition in which the blades may hit the cabin, Sanger said.

Conditions such as turbulence, high travel speeds or certain pilot maneuvers can cause mast bumping.

The lamination on the rotors can also start to peel away if the helicopter is used in sandy or humid climates, making the aircraft less aerodynamic, Sanger said.

FAA compliance and regulations

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said the issue of post-crash fires and crash-resistant fuel systems involves all makes of helicopters.

The NTSB has recommended that all newly manufactured helicopters have crash-resistant fuel systems installed.

According to the FAA, only seven manufacturers have built helicopter models that are fully compliant with the administration’s crash-resistant fuel-system safety standards. One Robinson helicopter, the R66, is on that list.

When developing aviation-related regulations, the FAA also must operate within the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which includes stipulations such as seeking the advice of interested parties, like the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee.

“We also must, under federal law, consider the cost and benefits of any regulatory actions,” Molinaro said.

The rulemaking advisory committee released a final report with recommendations on crash-resistant fuel systems on March 29. The report analyzed various helicopter crashes and determined the survivability of each crash, whether there was a post-crash fire, and the cause of the fire.

The Robinson R44 is mentioned once in the report, in a section about the material of fuel-tank liners for small versus large aircraft. In the section, the report states in-tank bladders have “ a proven field history of significantly reducing post-crash fire rates as was demonstrated in this report.”


https://wydaily.com




WILLIAMSBURG —Investigators have recovered the engine from the Robinson R44 Raven that crashed into a Williamsburg condominium building on Sunday, killing the pilot and a 91-year-old woman who lived in the complex.

Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the helicopter company and the engine’s manufacturer remained at the scene Tuesday, along with Williamsburg fire crews and members of the Virginia State Police.

One investigator was observed looking over the engine, while another was seen photographing parts of the aircraft that had been recovered from the heavily damaged building in the Bristol Commons neighborhood.

The Robinson R44 Raven is a small utility helicopter manufactured by the Robinson Helicopter Co. of Torrance, California. The rotorcraft, which can seat one pilot and three passengers, is powered by a 245-horsepower, six-cylinder engine made by Lycoming Engines of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It is 38 feet long and has a main rotor with a radius of 16½ feet, according to the manufacturer.

Doug Brazy, a  National Transportation Safety Board investigator, told reporters on Monday that the helicopter is about the size of a small car.

The crash happened shortly after 4:30 p.m. Sunday when the helicopter, which had taken off just minutes before from the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport, slammed into a 10-unit townhome building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive. According to witnesses, the craft exploded moments after impact, sparking a fire that engulfed much of the building.

Charley Rogers, a fixed-based operator at the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport, confirmed that the pilot was Henry Schwarz of Alexandria, Virginia. Schwarz, the sole occupant onboard the aircraft, had taken off from the airport at 4:26 p.m. Sunday, Rogers said.

Federal Aviation Administration records show the helicopter has been registered to Schwarz since 2004.

The crash also killed Jean Lonchak Danylko, who lived in a first-floor townhouse in the building that was hit.

The National Transportation Safety Board is expected to issue a preliminary report on the crash within the next 10 to 14 days, Brazy said Monday.


Story and video ➤ https://wydaily.com



(WILLIAMSBURG, Va.) — One person is dead and the pilot of a helicopter is missing after a helicopter crashed into a condo complex in the popular destination town of Williamsburg, Virginia, on Sunday.

Virginia State Police said they responded to the crash in the Bristol Commons condominium complex just before 5 p.m. The crash caused the condo building to catch on fire, authorities said. Eyewitness video showed flames and thick smoke engulfing the entire two-story building.

State police confirmed one person in the condo building was killed in the accident.

The Federal Aviation Administration said on Twitter late Sunday that the accident involved an Robinson R44 Raven and only the pilot was on board. State police had said earlier in the evening they were still searching for the pilot. However, the FAA later said there were multiple victims.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Cmdr. Dave Hecht, spokesperson for Norfolk Naval Air Force Atlantic, told Hampton, Virginia, ABC affiliate WVEC that all of its helicopters were accounted for, but couldn’t say whether the helicopter may have belonged to another branch of the military.

The accident took place in a residential area near the campus of William and Mary, which warned people to stay away from the area.

Williamsburg is a popular tourist location with Colonial Williamsburg, an historical recreation of the 18th century town, and the amusement park Busch Gardens. The city includes many condominium timeshares.



WILLIAMSBURG — A person died in a condominium building that caught fire after being hit by a helicopter Sunday.

The 10-unit building in the Bristol Commons neighborhood of Williamsburg was gutted by the fire, which still wasn’t deemed under control hours after the crash.

Virginia State Police said there was one confirmed fatality in the building, and search and rescue is still ongoing. The person who died was not the pilot of the helicopter, state police spokeswoman Michelle Anaya said. Other identifying information was not available.

The building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive was hit around 4:42 p.m., according to Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Other details — including how the crash happened, other injuries or type of helicopter — were not available by press time.

Residents who saw and heard the crash said before state police released information that it was a small helicopter that hit the building.

As crews battled the fire, pieces of the helicopter were visible on what was left of the structure. A piece of the building or the helicopter even fell on a firefighter. Much of the building was destroyed or damaged, but it looked to be contained to the one building in the complex.

Crews worked for several hours after the call came in. Along with Williamsburg fire and police personnel, College of William and Mary police, state police and York County’s drone team were at the scene.

The College of William and Mary sent out an alert about the crash, calling it an “aviation incident.” It advised the incident happened near the school’s Dillard Complex and told people to avoid the area.

Ironbound Road, which cuts between the apartment complex and the Dillard Complex, was closed for a couple hours after the crash.

As crews responded, dozens of people gathered around the building to watch.

Brook Sweeney, who lives across the street from the building that caught fire, said the impact sounded like a car crash.

Before that, he said, “I was upstairs when I heard what sounded like a helicopter flying really low overhead. The whole house shook and then I just heard a loud ‘bam’ and the whole house was on fire.”
Firefighters, police respond to aircraft crash reported in Williamsburg

Officials respond Sunday to a reported aircraft crash in a residential area in Williamsburg’s Settlement Drive.

Afterward, he helped out some people who lived in the building, he said, giving them water, clothes if they needed them, and getting them away from the commotion of firefighters working the scene and the people watching.

Donald Johnson, who lives in an apartment in the building that was hit, said, “It was 10 feet away from me. I was downstairs on the first floor when that thing hit and I had never heard a noise like that in my life. I just walked out and looked and got out, I was afraid it would blow up.”

Peggy Weiss also lives in the neighborhood and said she saw a small, rickety-looking helicopter crash in between two buildings.

Police said multiple agencies were working to identify and locate the pilot of the helicopter.

Anaya said crews couldn’t go into the building still around 8:45 p.m. because of hot spots inside. She expected the investigation to continue up to three days.

She did not know how many were displaced, but said the Red Cross was assisting people.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board were notified of the crash. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Story and video ➤ http://www.dailypress.com


Update 8 p.m. Sunday: Virginia State Police have confirmed at least one person is dead after a helicopter crashed into a residential building in Williamsburg Sunday.

Virginia State Police, as well as local and federal agencies, are still working to locate and identify the pilot of the helicopter, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Search and recovery efforts are ongoing inside the building, which is located in Bristol Commons in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Update 7:30 p.m. Sunday: The Federal Aviation Administration has arrived at the scene of a helicopter crash in the Bristol Commons neighborhood in Williamsburg.

In a tweet around 7:30 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said safety inspectors had arrived on scene and would release details about the crash as soon as information is available.

Update 6:50 p.m. Sunday: Virginia State Police are leading an investigation into a helicopter crash in Williamsburg.

The helicopter crashed into a residential building in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive in Bristol Commons Sunday afternoon, starting a fire in one of the buildings, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

Police responded to the emergency call at 4:42 p.m., Geller said.

“At this time, state police with the assistance of Williamsburg Police are still assessing the scene to determine what injuries, if any, have occurred and to identify the type of aircraft,” Geller said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration were also on their way to the scene at 6:50 p.m.

Ironbound Road is back open to regular traffic, Williamsburg Police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said.

Original story:

Authorities are on the scene of an “aviation incident” near the Dillard Complex in Williamsburg.

Fire crews and law enforcement from several localities — including James City County, Williamsburg and York County — are on the scene in the Bristol Commons neighborhood off Ironbound Road.

The crash occurred in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive.

A William & Mary tweet instructed residents to avoid the area. Ironbound Road is closed between Longhill Road and Treyburn Drive.

Several witnesses on scene said they saw a helicopter in distress in the area shortly before hearing sirens.

Paul Leslie, who lives in a building near the location of the crash, said he heard a helicopter “come overhead” that “basically didn’t sound right.”

He witnessed the helicopter crash into one of the buildings in Bristol Commons, heard an explosion, then saw the fire start, he said.

“Everybody here responded very quickly to get people out of the building,” Leslie said.

Leslie believes there are 10 apartments in the building, and he and others banged on all the doors of all the apartments to make sure people were out of the building.

Another resident, Brook Sweeney, has lived across the street from the affected apartment unit since October 2017. He lives with his girlfriend, Kaeley Claredy.

He said he thought the noise he heard was a motor vehicle accident.

“The way my house shook — it shook and shook,” Sweeney said. “It was like nothing I’d ever felt or heard before.”

At 5:55 p.m., Williamsburg Police spokesman Maj. Greg Riley said police were working to clear traffic block on Ironbound Road so it would reopen for regular traffic. He said he hoped the road would be clear between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m.

Story and video ➤ https://wydaily.com



WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – At least one person was killed after a helicopter crashed sparked a fire at the Bristol Commons Townhomes near the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg Sunday afternoon.

Virginia State Police said troopers responded to a 911 call about an aircraft crashing into a "residential structure" in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive just before 4:45 p.m.

Officials at the College of William & Mary said the crash happened near the Dillard Complex.

"The impact of the crash caused a fire within the townhouse structure," troopers said.

Photos from Kaeley Clardy show firefighters batting a blaze at the building.

Chopper video from the area from after 6:30 p.m. showed most of the flames had been knocked down and firefighters working on the ground.

WTVR CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns estimated that damage to the complex is “incredibly extensive.”

State police said there was one confirmed fatality inside the townhouse complex as of 8:15 p.m.

"Federal, state and local police, with the assistance of the Williamsburg Fire Department, are working to locate and identify the pilot of the helicopter," troopers said.

A witness told Burns that he will never forgot the sound of the helicopter colliding with the side of this townhouse complex.

"One resident told me he spoke to a man who was 10 feet away from where the aircraft struck," Burns said. "That man was able to get to safety."

That witness suspected that authorities may have known the helicopter was in distress prior since he estimated crews arrived "30 seconds" after the crash. However, there has been no official word if that is the case.

Additionally, Burns said parts of the helicopter were strewn across the complex’ parking lot and driveway.

Troopers are working to determine what type of aircraft crashed into the building.

Officials said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are responding to the crash scene.

Story and video ➤ https://wtvr.com



WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – A helicopter crash sparked a fire at the Bristol Commons Townhomes near the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg Sunday afternoon.

Virginia State Police said troopers responded to a 911 call about an aircraft crashing into a "residential structure" in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive just before 4:45 p.m.

Officials at the College of William & Mary said the crash happened near the Dillard Complex.

"The impact of the crash caused a fire within the townhouse structure," troopers said.

Photos from Kaeley Clardy show firefighters batting a blaze at the building.

Chopper video from the area from after 6:30 p.m. showed most of the flames had been knocked down and firefighters working on the ground.

WTVR CBS 6 reporter Jake Burns estimated that damage to the complex is “incredibly extensive.”

A witness told Burns that he will never forgot the sound of the helicopter colliding with the side of this townhouse complex.

State police with help from Williamsburg Police were still assessing the scene to determine if anyone was injured as of 7:10 p.m.

"One resident told me he spoke to a man who was 10 feet away from where the helicopter struck," Burns said. "That man was able to get to safety."

That witness suspected that authorities may have known the helicopter was in distress prior since he estimated crews arrived "30 seconds" after the crash. However, there has been no official word if that is the case.

Additionally, Burns said parts of the helicopter were strewn across the complex’ parking lot and driveway.

Troopers are working to determine what type of aircraft crashed into the building.

Officials said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are responding to the crash scene.

Story and video ➤ https://wtvr.com














Williamsburg, Va. — A helicopter crashed Sunday into a residential townhome building in Williamsburg, Virginia near the campus of William & Mary, authorities said.

Williamsburg police told WRAL News that the helicopter went down after 4:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive. Authorities have not yet said if any injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the crash.

The communications office of the College of William & Mary tweeted that an "aviation incident" has been reported in a residential area near Dillard Complex.

The impact of the crash ignited a fire at the building, which is surrounded by other residential units.

Video from the scene shows that the roof of a building was apparently sheared off and a large amount of charred debris was visible at the site. Smoke was seen rising from the crash location, and there was a small portion of a roof that was still burning around 6 p.m.

A spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police said the cause of the crash is under investigation.

It was not immediately clear who owned the helicopter.

People who live in the area described hearing a low-flying helicopter before a loud explosion and fire.

"I was downstairs on the first floor when that thing hit and I had never heard a noise like that in my life," Donald Johnson, told the Virginian-Pilot.

Story and video ➤ https://www.wral.com