Monday, July 9, 2018

Bell 47G-2, N96195: Fatal accident occurred July 06, 2018 in Arlington, Rush County, Indiana

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

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indiana
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Arlington, IN
Accident Number: CEN18FA258
Date & Time: 07/06/2018, 1720 EDT
Registration: N96195
Aircraft: Bell 47G
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

On July 6, 2018, about 1720 eastern daylight time, a Bell 47G-2 helicopter, N96195, was substantially damaged when it impacted a corn field near Arlington, Indiana. A postimpact fire ensued. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The aerial application flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The local flight departed a loading platform at a farm 1 mile northwest of the accident location., about 1655.

According to a colleague of the pilot, the pilot had been flying since 0845 that morning and had completed between 10 and 15 spray runs. The pilot was applying a fungicide to corn crops and each run was averaging 20 minutes. When the pilot did not return after 30 minutes they initiated search operations and located the wreckage about 1800.

The main wreckage of the helicopter included the fuselage, landing skids, engine and lower transmission assembly, the tail rotor, and the tail boom. The main wreckage came to rest inverted and a postimpact fire damaged the left side of the fuselage and engine. The upper portion of the helicopter, to include both main rotor blades, the mast, the collective and cyclic controls, swash plate, and the upper portion of the transmission were located about 75 ft north of the main wreckage on a bearing of 002°. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bell
Registration: N96195
Model/Series: 47G 2
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Central Indiana AG Services, LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KGEZ, 802 ft msl
Observation Time: 2153 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 15°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 40°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Arlington, IN
Destination: Arlington, IN

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  39.633056, -85.635833

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

Kerry D. Lee
May 8, 1966 - July 6, 2018

Kerry D. Lee, 52, Mooresville, passed away July 6, 2018, as a result of injuries sustained in a helicopter accident. Kerry was born May 8, 1966, in Indianapolis to the late Diane (Grissinger) Lee and Jeffery D. Lee, who survives. 

Kerry graduated from Mooresville High School and was the co-owner, along with his fiancĂ© Angela O’Farrell, of Central Indiana Ag Services. Kerry was an accomplished pilot and also enjoyed farming. Additionally, he was a bus driver for Mooresville Consolidated Schools. A fun-loving and very ambitious soul, Kerry would do anything to help his family or a friend. He enjoyed looking for that greatest deal on Craigslist or Barnstormers. He was very mechanically inclined and could fix just about anything. He had many friends and could often be found catching up on the latest happenings at McDonalds. Kerry’s memory will be cherished by a loving family and many friends. 

Read more here  ➤

SHELBY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHR) - Authorities are investigating a fatal helicopter crash near the Shelby-Rush county line.

The helicopter was dusting crops about three miles southeast of Morristown when it crashed under unknown circumstances, an FAA spokesperson told Eyewitness News.

The pilot was the only occupant of the Bell 47 helicopter when it crashed shortly after 6 p.m. Friday.

Monday afternoon, police identified the pilot killed as 52-year-old Kerry D. Lee of Mooresville.

Story and video ➤

Mayor's Monday: Wisconsin Rapids' Zach Vruwink

WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI (WSAU) -- Improvements to the Wisconsin Rapids Municipal Airport, Alexander Field, are moving along this summer according to Mayor Zach Vruwink.

He joined WSAU's Mike Leischner from the airport for this week's Mayor's Monday, saying that the $6 million in upgrades over the last few years are already paying dividends for the facility and the taxpayers who support it, not only in user fees but in the revenue from fuel sales as well. "The taxpayers are actually receiving a benefit by the traffic directly. They contribute to the operations of the airport," said Vurwink.

He says if current growth continues the facility could become revenue-neutral or even positive, which would mean taxpayer subsidies would no longer be needed. "It's something I'm very interested in, I think it would be a win all around for taxpayers and users alike. It keeps our costs down, and will save taxpayers money in the long run."

Fuel sales at the airport are currently up over 300% from the first half of 2017 and over one thousand percent from the same period in 2016. Vurwink attributes much of that growth to the expanded popularity of the Sand Valley Golf Club in the nearby Town of Rome, which advertises the Wisconsin Rapids facility as a landing point for guests who want to fly in privately to play at their courses.

Vruwink says the airport has always been busy serving the pulp and paper industry in the area, however with the addition of tourism traffic the added space to park the regional jets became a necessity. "[We're talking] some of the regional-sized jets you might see at a commercial airport. Configured, obviously, for fewer passengers, but nonetheless large planes." He adds that from Wisconsin Rapids the planes go on to locations throughout the United States such as California and Florida and even international destinations like Puerto Rico.

Alexander Field is jointly owned by four municipalities- the Cities of Wisconsin Rapids and Nekoosa, the Village of Port Edwards, and Town of Grand Rapids. Upgrades currently in progress include a new taxiway, a resurfacing project for the second runway, and added apron space which will allow for more parking for larger aircraft.

Many of the improvements are being funded through $6 million in funding from both the state and the federal government.

Other topics Vruwinnk discussed with WSAU's Mike Leischner include (Timestamped):

Start of video: the history of the airport and overview of the in-progress improvements

2:00- Volume of traffic at the airport recently

6:11- Potential for the airport to become a self-sustaining facility

7:25- State and federal investments in the project

8:30- Update on recreational projects in town

9:23- Improvements to Aspirus hospital near the river

Story and video ➤

Cincinnati Children's: Helipad closed because of Critical Care Tower construction

Please be advised our Helipad is CLOSED to all flight operations until further notice due to the erection of the large crane assisting in the building of our new Critical Care Tower. 

To all FLIGHT PERSONNEL please when you are preparing to land at the alternate landing site of UC MEDICAL CENTER let us know your stretcher needs. We have a team in place 24/7 to escort you from the UC HELIPAD to our facility. We are equipped with BOTH Stryker and Ferno cot mounts we can have ready for your landing... or if you’re a team that utilizes a SLED we have a stretcher available to attach your sled and safe transport to Children’s. -Cincinnati Children's Critical Care Transport Team

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center has closed its helipad because of construction on a new Critical Care Tower.

The hospital on Sunday announced that a large crane assisting in the tower's erection has taken the helipad out of service until further notice.

The hospital has established University of Cincinnati Medical Center as an alternate landing site for medical helicopters.

A team is constantly in place to transport patients from the UC Medical helipad to Cincinnati Children's, according to a social media post from the hospital.

Original article can be found here ➤

Pittsburgh International Airport (KPIT) Gears Up for Development

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Big things on the horizon for Pittsburgh International Airport and not all of them are the planes touching down. Since U.S. Airways shuttered its hub here 14 years ago, a new line of thinking has permeated the airport’s growth and development.

“We went back to the drawing board and the community understood that the hub wasn’t coming back,” says Christina Cassotis, CEO of the Allegheny County Airport Authority, which operates the airport. “We didn’t need a train or a separate check-in terminal. We had to create a much more modern space that was the right size.”

As part of a $1.1 billion modernization project, the airport will demolish the former U.S. Airways terminal – designed to host 32 million travelers annually, while the airport last year saw just short of 9 million passengers. In its place will be a new terminal building featuring ticketing, security and boarding areas, as well as a new parking deck and reconfigured international arrival space.

The building itself will cost $783.8 million, the 3,000-space parking garage $258.8 million and road improvements around the airport $57.1 million. The project is slated for completion in 2023.

With that spending has come a change in thinking of what Pittsburgh International Airport needs to be. In 2015, when Cassotis took the top job at the airport authority, she says one of her conditions for doing so was that Pittsburgh International not look to become a hub.

Over the past three years, the number of nonstop flights from the airport increased 90% and in 2017 alone, eight new airlines added flights to Canada, Europe and the Caribbean as well as domestic flights.

“When you add a nonstop flight to a market, the number of people going back and forth will double over two years. It’s proven in the industry,” Cassotis explains. “The question became, ‘Who are we? What is our role in this community?’ We are the front door for a whole lot of people, so we must represent the community in arts, culture and economy.”

On the economic front, the airport is a center of development in the Greater Pittsburgh region. Of the authority’s 8,800 acres at the airport, about 3,000 are open for nonresidential development. Dick’s Sporting Goods has its headquarters there and Cincinnati-based Al Neyer LLC has committed to building two warehouses to join its other two buildings already at the Clinton Commerce Park, also on airport land.

“What’s the highest and best use for that land? What makes sense to be out here? We don’t want just anything there. Just because they can be there doesn’t mean they should be,” Cassotis says of the authority’s plans for real-estate development.

In 2014, Consol Energy began oil and gas drilling on the property’s outer edges. Those wells went into production two years later. The energy company paid $46 million upfront and the airport gets an 18% royalty on production from the wells.

On the horizon is Royal Dutch Shell’s $6 billion ethane cracker plant in Monaca, about 10 miles away from Pittsburgh International.

“Usually – and we looked into what happens when cracker plants come into areas – you see advanced manufacturing pop up,” Cassotis says. “The regional economy right now has a great asset in the Marcellus Shale.”

Adds Chris Heck, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Airport Area Chamber of Commerce, “The Shell cracker will have an impact on all our communities. It’s a great driver of jobs. It’s a game-changer.”

The chamber’s footprint covers 34 communities from the Fort Pitt tunnels in downtown Pittsburgh to Beaver County. Its membership includes all sectors of business, just about all of which have benefitted from the boom at Pittsburgh International.

“This is the place to be right now. When U.S. Airways closed up, you could hear crickets up here,” Heck says. “The local communities, from Sewickley to Moon to Robinson to Oakdale, are reaping the benefits of an international airport that is a job creator.”

Last autumn, the airport authority released an economic impact study. In 2015, Pittsburgh International Airport and Allegheny County Airport supported $29 billion in business revenue in southwestern Pennsylvania, including $16.6 billion in direct economic contribution, $9.5 billion in payroll and nearly 148,000 jobs.

The cargo operations at Pittsburgh International alone are linked to another 1,700 direct production jobs, mostly in precision instruments and electronics, the study found.

Travelers spent $800 million at the airport, supporting 11,000 jobs. Local, county and state tax revenue from airport operations totaled more than $98 million and federal taxes totaled $60 million.

“The airport itself is our crown jewel,” Heck says. “Imagine the opportunities with a $1.1 billion construction project. A majority of that work is coming from this community right here.”

A partnership was recently formed with Carnegie Mellon University to develop the new terminal into a testing ground of sorts. Through a memorandum of understanding, research projects by university professors and students that deal with the aviation industry will have an opportunity to deploy and test that technology here.

“We have the opportunity with this new terminal to start from scratch,” Cassotis says. “It doesn’t just make us the smartest airport on the planet, it makes airports all over the world smarter.”

The airport has created more opportunities for businesses and the public as well. In September, the airport began allowing visitors without tickets through security, a first in the United States since 9/11. And Pittsburgh restaurants and stores can host pop-up shops in the airport.

“It’s a big commitment to come into the airport and operate 24/7. It’s very different than running a spot downtown,” Cassotis says. “We offer them the opportunity to try their hand. That offers passengers the chance to try something new.”

All of these moves, the airport CEO says, puts the region in a prime spot for economic development in years to come. While the airport will certainly benefit, so too will the communities and businesses that surround it.

“We’re just getting started,” she says. “We’re operating in a very intentional and deliberate manner that’s focused on having the airport be viable and a good public facility that partners with the region.”

Original article ➤