Saturday, August 11, 2018

Mooney M20K 231, registered to CKD LLC and operated by the pilot, N231EC: Fatal accident occurred August 11, 2018 near Baker City Municipal Airport (KBKE), Oregon

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boise, Idaho
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N231EC

Location: Baker City, OR
Accident Number: WPR18FA218
Date & Time: 08/11/2018, 1017 PDT
Registration: N231EC
Aircraft: Mooney M20K
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 11, 2018, at 1017 Pacific daylight time a Mooney M20K, N231EC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during the landing approach into Baker City Municipal Airport, Baker, Oregon. The private pilot and student pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to CKD LLC., and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight cross-country. The flight departed Caldwell Industrial Airport, Caldwell, Idaho about 1045 mountain daylight time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

About 1015, a pilot located in his hangar about 1,300 ft southwest of runway 31 midfield, observed a low-wing airplane flying directly overhead and to the south. It caught his attention because it was flying lower than the pattern altitude at between 600 and 700 ft above ground level, and it was inside the normal left downwind traffic pattern. He then heard the airplane reduce engine power, a sound that he was familiar with, and that seemed appropriate for an airplane descending to land. He did not see the airplane emitting any smoke or vapors, and a short time later he got onto his motorcycle and drove along the adjacent frontage road. He instinctively looked to the runway threshold in anticipation of watching the airplane land but did not see the airplane and thought nothing more of it. He stated that in retrospect this was unusual, as the airplane should have landed about that time.

About the same time, the owner of a local fixed base operator was in her office, located on the airfield. She had just dispatched one of the company airplanes with a student and instructor and heard it, along with a Forest Service and local agricultural airplane, make radio calls reporting takeoff. She then heard the pilot of the accident airplane report that he was on final for runway 31. She did not hear the pilot make any more calls, and did not hear the airplane landing.

Multiple witnesses located to the south of the airport recounted observations of a low-wing airplane flying south-southeast in a direction typically followed by airplanes making a landing approach for runway 31. Two witnesses observed the airplane then begin a left turn and out of view beyond trees, followed by the sound of a thump. One witness observed the airplane turn, and then immediately transition to a rapid nose-down descent. Another witness located under the approach path for runway 31 observed the airplane fly overhead to the south and then off into the distance. Based on its location, he assumed it had just taken off, and a short time later he looked back and could no longer hear the airplane, but saw it was in a nose-dive.

The wreckage was located in a pasture about 1 1/4 miles south-southeast of the runway 31 threshold. The fuselage came to rest on a heading of about 090° magnetic and had sustained crush damage from the nose through to the forward edge of the vertical stabilizer. Both wings exhibited leading-edge crush damage perpendicular to the wing chord, and the smell of aviation fuel was present at the site.

The propeller and hub had separated from the engine and were buried about 12 inches into the turf just forward of the main wreckage at what appeared to be the first impact point. The turf surrounding the propeller had been sliced open, and an 18-inch square scallop of sod was ejected about 5 ft to the south. Both blades appeared to have cut through the turf, resulting in the propeller effectively becoming screwed into the ground. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mooney
Registration: N231EC
Model/Series: M20K No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:  No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBKE, 3373 ft msl
Observation Time: 1753 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 290°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Caldwell, ID (EUL)
Destination: Baker City, OR (BKE)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  44.813333, -117.793889

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. 

William Watts and Dr. Mihoko Matsuda Nelsen 

Watts, William "Bill" Jeff and his wife; Nelsen, Mihoko Matsuda, passed away on August 11, 2018. 

A Celebration of life will be held on Saturday, August 25th at 10:00 am at LifeSpring Christian Church, 174 N. Star Rd., Star, Idaho. 

Please join us to share your memories.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Mooney Summit, The Bill Gilliland Foundation at: https://www.mooneysummit.com



Two people died when the Mooney M20K 231 plane in which they were traveling crashed nose first into a Baker Valley hay field near the airport Saturday morning.

The victims have been identified as William J. Watts, 77, who was piloting the plane, and Mihoko Matsuda Nelsen, 70, both of Middleton, Idaho.

The two had been traveling from Caldwell, Idaho, and were believed to have been enroute to the Baker City Airport, Sheriff Travis Ash stated in a press release.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the crash about 10:20 a.m. Saturday.

Ash said the hay field where the plane crashed is owned by Sam Johnson. It is near Lindley Road and Interstate 84 north of Baker City.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration N-number registry, the airplane was a 1979 single-engine Mooney M20K 231 registered to a business in Canyon County, Idaho.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board responded to Baker City to remove the airplane. The agencies are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the crash, Ash said.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the site by the Baker City Fire Department, Baker Rural Fire Department, Baker City Police Department, Oregon State Police and the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office.

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

BAKER COUNTY, Oregon — The two people on board an airplane that took off from Caldwell, Idaho, Saturday morning died when it crashed in eastern Oregon.

The Baker County Sheriff's Office says the Mooney M20K 231 airplane crashed near Lindley Road and I-84, in a hay field belonging to Sam Johnson.

When law enforcement arrived at the scene, they found that the airplane had crashed nose-first into the ground. The two people on board did not survive the crash. Their identities will not be released until next of kin has been notified.

The airplane had been traveling from Caldwell and was believed to have been en route to the Baker Airport.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration N-number registry, the airplane was a single-engine Mooney M20K, manufactured in 1979, and registered to a business in Canyon County.

The Baker County Sheriff’s Office is working with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the crash.

The Baker City Fire Department, Baker Rural Fire Department, Baker City Police Department, and Oregon State Police assisted the Baker County Sheriff's Office at the scene.

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

Smith Hornet, registered to the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum Inc and operated by the pilot, N218B: Fatal accident occurred August 11, 2018 at St. George Regional Airport (KSGU), Washington County, Utah

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N218B

Location: St. George, UT
Accident Number: WPR18LA217
Date & Time: 08/11/2018, 0855 MDT
Registration: N218B
Aircraft: SMITH HORNET
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 11, 2018, about 0855 mountain daylight time, an amateur built experimental Smith Hornet airplane, N218B, impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from the St. George Regional Airport (SGU), St. George, Utah. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to the Western Sky Aviation Warbird Museum Inc and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

A pilot, flying in the area at the time of the accident, reported that shortly after he landed, he observed the accident airplane nose down in the dirt next to the runway surface with the engine still running. He radioed for assistance before proceeding to the airplane himself.

The airplane was moved to a secure location for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SMITH
Registration: N218B
Model/Series: HORNET
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: Yes
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: SGU, 2884 ft msl
Observation Time: 0856 MDT
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 13°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots / , 90°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: St. George, UT (SGU)
Destination:

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:   37.035278, -113.506111

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.


Sterling Keith Palmer
August 11, 2018

St. George, UT- Sterling Keith Palmer, 69, passed away on Saturday, August 11, 2018.  He was born on March 24, 1949 in Monticello, UT to Kenneth Palmer and Marba Helquist. Sterling married Kathleen Denise Hanson on August 10, 1973 in Salt Lake City, UT at the Salt Lake City LDS temple.

Sterling was raised in Blanding, UT until he left to serve an LDS mission in Hong Kong. After his return from Hong Kong, Sterling attended the University of Utah where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Sociology in 1973.  Upon graduation, he commissioned in the United States Air Force and served as a C-141 aircraft commander, instructor and flight examiner pilot. Sterling’s duties brought him and his family all across the world as he continued to answer the call from his country.  He retired honorably in 2000 as a Colonel.

Sterling is survived by Kathleen Palmer (St. George, UT), his two children, James (Los Angeles, CA) and Matthew (Billings, MT), and his beautiful granddaughter, Poppy (Billings, MT).

Funeral services will be held at 11:00am on Saturday, August 18 in Blanding, UT at the Blanding Stake Center, 100 West 800 North.  Interment will take place at the Blanding City Cemetery.


Arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary. Family and friends are invited to sign his online guestbook at www.Spilsburymortuary.com.



ST. GEORGE — A man died Saturday morning after crashing an aircraft near a runway at St. George Regional Airport.

Officials have identified the pilot as 69-year-old Sterling Palmer, of St. George. 
 
The man, who was the only occupant in the plane, was taking off at runway No. 1 in an ultra-light experimental aircraft at approximately 9 a.m., airport spokesman Marc Mortensen said.


“We’re not exactly sure what happened,” Mortensen said, “but he didn’t get very far in the air before it fell to the ground and crashed.”

Mortensen said it appears the pilot died on impact. Officials aren’t releasing the name of the pilot or information about who owns the aircraft until next of kin are notified.

St. George Police Department, St. George Fire Department and airport operations responded to the scene of the crash.

Mortensen said officials informed the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration of the crash. FAA officials will be conducting the investigation into the crash alongside St. George Police detectives.

Although the airport remained operational, Mortensen said the runway was shut down to general aviation aircraft. He said officials expected to have it cleared by noon in time for a SkyWest commercial flight from Phoenix arriving at 12:15 p.m.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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



A St. George man is dead after his single-engine aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff at St. George Regional Airport on Saturday morning. 

Sterling Palmer, 69, was the only person onboard, officials said.

Emergency respondents were called to the scene around 9 a.m. after the plane, an Ultralight experimental aircraft, plummeted out of the sky upon take off and nosedived into the ground.

According to Marc Mortensen, director of support services at St. George City, the pilot was taking off on Runway 1 headed northbound. Officials have not yet determined the cause of the fatal crash. 

"The plane hit the side of the runway and went into the dirt," Mortensen said. "The nose impacted the ground, and the deceased, we're sure he was killed on impact." 

Several agencies responded to the scene, including St. George Police Department, St. George fire, and SGU Regional Airport Operations personnel. 

"Our hearts and prayers go out to Mr. Palmer's family at this time," St. George Mayor Jon Pike said in a written statement.

Mortensen said officials are working closely with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration in conducting the investigation into the crash.

"The police detectives quarantined the site and did the work they needed to do before they moved the aircraft and the body," Mortensen said. 

The crash delayed one SkyWest flight from Phoenix for about 15 minutes, and the airport was able to resume commercial and general aviation operations by 12:30 p.m., according to Mortensen.

Mortensen said officials arrived on scene quickly, and staff who were in the vicinity were able to secure the site efficiently and shut down the runway in a timely manner. 

"It's still really fresh for the family," Mortensen said. "It's a difficult time for them, and our hearts go out to them."

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

Kitfox Super Sport, N26LD: Accident occurred August 09, 2018 in Hunter, Greene County, New York

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albany, New York

http://registry.faa.gov/N26LD

NTSB Identification: GAA18CA515
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 09, 2018 in Hunter, NY
Aircraft: DELL LAWRENCE Kitfox, registration: N26LD

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Crashed into a field and flipped over.


Date: 09-AUG-18
Time: 23:18:00Z
Regis#: N26LD
Aircraft Make: EXPERIMENTAL
Aircraft Model: KITFOX SUPER SPORT
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: HUNTER
State: NEW YORK




JEWETT — A Berkshire County man is lucky to be alive after the plane he was piloting made a hard landing and flipped over in a Jewett field Thursday afternoon, police said.

Roger C. Tryon, 64, of Monterey, Massachusetts, sustained minor injuries, Greene County Sheriff Greg Seeley said. Tryon did not have to be taken to a hospital.

Tryon suffered facial cuts and bruises, said Lt. Tracey Quinn with the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.

“It could have been a lot worse,” Seeley said. “He was very lucky to be alive.”

Tryon took off from Indiana and was on his way to refuel at the Columbia County Airport, located off Route 9H in Ghent, when he ran out of fuel. He was likely on his way home to Massachusetts after the planned stop, Seeley said.

“Tryon would have landed fine, but the field that he landed in was saturated from the rain in the past couple days,” Seeley said. “Even my boots were sinking into the ground.”

Tryon wanted to land the aircraft in the Jewett field, but the plane’s wheel sunk into the ground during the landing attempt, which caused it to flip over.

“He almost made it to Columbia County,” Seeley said Thursday night.

Police do not know if Tryon was flying a private plane or had rented one for the trip.

Tryon holds a certificate as a private pilot and is rated on single-engine airplanes, according to an airman details report from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The crash remains under investigation by the FAA, Quinn said. The plane was removed from the scene and examined.

In May, a plane also piloted by a man named Roger Tryon of Monterey, Massachusetts, had to make an emergency landing in a farmer’s field in Taghkanic.

Tryon, who had one passenger on board, was flying a single-engine airplane when the engine stalled May 26 at about 12:30 p.m., according to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Police could not confirm Friday if the pilots in each incident are the same person.

The men were on their way from the Hudson Valley Regional Airport in Wappingers Falls to the Great Barrington Airport in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in May, when the plane’s engine started to sputter. Tryon had to make an emergency landing in a grassy field off Koeppe Road.

As Tryon’s plane dived toward the ground, it lost its landing gear, including its wheels, which caused the plane to make a “pancake landing,” police said in May.

The left wing struck the ground, spinning the aircraft 180 degrees. The plane’s engine and belly were damaged as a result of the forced landing, but both men were unharmed.

Original article ➤ https://www.hudsonvalley360.com

Robinson R22 Beta, N92TR: Accident occurred August 10, 2018 near Ocean City Municipal Airport (26N), Cape May County, New Jersey

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N92TR

NTSB Identification: GAA18CA483
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, August 10, 2018 in Ocean City, NJ
Aircraft: Robinson R22, registration: N92TR

NTSB investigators will use data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator, and will not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Rotorcraft force landed in a marsh due to unknown circumstances.

Date: 10-AUG-18
Time: 13:30:00Z
Regis#: N92TR
Aircraft Make: ROBINSON
Aircraft Model: R22 BETA
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: UNKNOWN
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91
City: OCEAN CITY
State: NEW JERSEY











A student pilot and her flight instructor were hurt Friday morning when their helicopter crashed into a marsh near the runaway at Ocean City Municipal Airport, officials said.

The Robinson R22 made a hard landing around 9:30 a.m, according to Ocean City police and the Federal Aviation Administration. The plane's owner, Harvey Shubart, 62, of Doylestown, Pa. was teaching Carol Gray, 64, of Bear, Delaware how to hover when they lost control and went down on the west side of the tarmac.

Both were able to exit the helicopter on their own. They were taken to Shore Medical Center in Somers Point to be treated for injuries not considered life-threatening. 

Video footage shows the damaged helicopter on its side with damage to its rotors. A witness said the helicopter was hovering above the grassy marsh before it crashed. 

Shubart has been a commercial pilot since 2014, according to records.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

Story and video ➤ https://www.nj.com










OCEAN CITY, N.J. (WPVI) -- A helicopter with a student pilot and an instructor aboard crashed at a small airport in southern New Jersey, leaving both injured.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the Robinson R22 helicopter ended up in a marsh area west of Ocean City Municipal Airport around 9:30 a.m. Friday. It apparently had taken off a short time earlier.

The occupants were identified as Harvey Shubart, 62, of Doylestown, Pa. and Ocean City, and Carol Gray, 64, of Bear, Del.

Police say Shubart is the owner of the helicopter and a flight instructor. Shubart was teaching Gray how to hover when they lost control and made a hard landing in the marshes, according to investigators.

They were the only occupants of the rotorcraft, police said. Both Shubart and Gray were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the NTSB and FAA.

The helicopter was heavily damaged in the incident, ending up on its side with damage to its rotors.

Story and video ➤ https://6abc.com

Robinson R22 Beta, ZS-HBP: Accident occurred August 15, 2018 in Queenstown, South Africa

NTSB Identification: WPR18WA225
14 CFR Unknown
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 15, 2018 in Queenstown, South Africa
Aircraft: ROBINSON R22, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 15, 2018, at 0830 Universal Coordinated Time, a Robinson R22 Beta helicopter, ZS-HBP, impacted power lines while conducting a game capturing flight near Queenstown, South Africa. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger was fatally injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged. The helicopter was being operated under the pertinent civil regulations for the Government of South Africa.

The Civil Aviation Authority of South Africa, Accident & Incident Investigation Division (AIID) is investigating the accident. As the state of manufacture of the airplane, the NTSB has designated a US accredited representative to assist the AIID in its investigation.

All inquiries concerning this accident should be directed to:

South African Civil Aviation Authority
Accidents and Incidents Investigation Division
Private Bag X 73
Halfway House 1685
South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 11 545-1000
Website: http://www.caa.co.za


George Snyman, 32, was killed when a helicopter crashed in a field in the Eastern Cape yesterday. It is understood that the chopper was flying over Thaba Thala Game Farm in the Sterkstroom district when it fell.

Police spokeswoman Captain Namhla Mdleleni confirmed that one passenger was killed instantly. The pilot, Joshua Cilliers, 28, was seriously injured and taken to hospital.

“All relevant emergency role players attended the scene. The cause of the crash is still under investigation. An inquest docket has been opened at the Sterkstroom police station,” Mdleleni said.

Bell 412EP, JA200G: Fatal accident occurred August 10, 2018 in Nakanojo, Japan


NTSB Identification: ANC18WA065
14 CFR Unknown
Accident occurred Friday, August 10, 2018 in Nakanojo, Japan
Aircraft: BELL 412EP, registration:
Injuries: 9 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.


The government of Japan has notified the NTSB of an accident involving a BELL 412EP helicopter that occurred on August 10, 2018. The NTSB has appointed a U.S. Accredited Representative to assist the government of Japan's investigation under the provisions of ICAO Annex 13.


All investigative information will be released by the government of Japan.








All nine crew members of a rescue helicopter which crashed on an eastern Japan mountain were confirmed dead Saturday, while the government's transport accident investigation panel started its probe at the accident site.

"For some reason, the helicopter appears to have flown at lower altitudes and hit trees," a panel investigator said of the area near the prefectural border of Gunma and Nagano where the Bell 412EP went down Friday.

Local police also checked the site. The helicopter had made a sharp turn before it went missing, according to local authorities.

Eyewitnesses said the helicopter was flying at a very low altitude, and one said the engine was making an unusual sound.

There was no flight recorder on the aircraft, according to the Gunma government, as such devices are not mandatory for rescue helicopters.

The helicopter belonged to the prefectural government and was operated by the Tokyo-based aviation company Toho Air Service. Last year one of the company's helicopters crashed in Gunma Prefecture, killing four employees who were aboard.

The rescue helicopter was checking a mountain trail ahead of its opening to climbers on Friday when it crashed. Two of the crew had been confirmed dead Friday.

Bodies of the remaining seven crew were recovered from the crash site as the search operation resumed Saturday morning and around 160 rescuers, police officials and Self-Defense Forces personnel entered the area by foot.

The prefectural government has identified the nine who died, including the pilot Noriyuki Amagai, 57, and mechanic Susumu Sawaguchi, 60, both employees of Toho Air Service.

Those two were part of a prefectural disaster management unit, as were two passengers -- Satoshi Ozawa, 44, and Akihiro Oka, 38.

The five others killed were all firefighters -- Ken Tamura, 47, Yosuke Mizuide, 42, Hidetoshi Shiobara, 42, Hiroshi Kuroiwa, 42, and Masaya Hachisuka, 43.

The Gunma government said contact with the Bell 412EP was lost after it left a heliport in Maebashi city around 9:15 a.m. Friday. It was due to return an hour and a half later.

According to a local weather station, the weather near the crash site was cloudy, but the wind was not strong at the time.

The helicopter went into service in May 1997 and had clocked over 7,000 flight hours. It was due to be retired in 2020.

https://english.kyodonews.net

Kawasaki BK 117B-2, VH-JWB: Fatal accident occurred August 17, 2018 in Ulladulla, Australia

NTSB Identification: WPR18WA230
14 CFR Unknown
Accident occurred Friday, August 17, 2018 in Ulladulla, Australia
Aircraft: Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. BK117 B-2, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 17, 2018, about 1400 local time, a Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. BK117 B-2 helicopter, VH-JWB, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during aerial firefighting operations near Ulladulla, New South Wales, Australia. The helicopter was operated by Sydney Helicopters. The commercial pilot was fatally injured.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Australia. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of Australia. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
P.O. Box 967, Civic Square
Canberra A.C.T. 2608
Australia
Tel: +612 6274 6054
Fax: +612 6274 6434
www.atsb.gov.au


Allan Tull was killed while assisting with the bushfire effort in Ulladulla.



A Sydney helicopter company is mourning the loss of their close friend and colleague, who was killed in a tragic accident while helping to fight bushfires on the NSW south coast.

Allan Tull, whose helicopter crashed near Ulladulla on Friday afternoon, "was regarded as one of the most experienced fire bombing pilots in the industry," according to Sydney Helicopters chief pilot Mark Harrold.

"Tully had a wealth of aerial firefighting experience and his aviation knowledge and skills were of the highest standard," Mr Harrold said in a statement on Friday evening.

"The aviation firefighting industry is very close and this tragic loss will be felt by all involved along with the broader firefighting community and those he worked alongside in other parts of the world."

A spokesman for NSW Ambulance said it was believed the water bombing helicopter had crashed "into a tree" at Woodstock, near Ulladulla.

Emergency services were called to the corner of Plot Road and Kingiman Road shortly after 2pm on Friday. NSW Police located the aircraft wreckage and found Mr Tull, and sole occupant, deceased at the scene.

The NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed "a serious incident" had occurred "involving one of its contracted water bombing helicopters working on a bush fire in the Shoalhaven area".

All aircraft working on the Kingiman fire were grounded in the wake of the incident and will resume operations tomorrow, a spokesman for the RFS said.

NSW Emergency Services Minister Troy Grant expressed his sympathy to the pilot's loved ones, as well as the emergency services community.

"This a tragic event and my deepest sympathies are with the pilot’s family and friends," he said in a statement.

"My thoughts and prayers are also with the emergency services community, especially the many brigades and units working to contain the Kingiman Fire."

A crime scene has been established to be forensically examined, with a report to be prepared for the coroner. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau will also conduct an investigation into the tragedy.

Footage of the scene indicates the cable connecting the helicopter with its water drum was caught in trees.

Fairfax Media understands a mechanism should have released the load when it became stuck.

Firefighters have been battling to get the Kingiman bushfire under control since Wednesday when it threatened homes in the Ulladulla area and destroyed almost a dozen outbuildings.

It's one of three major bushfires on the state's South Coast that have destroyed and threatened properties in the past few days.

The worst damage so far has been from the bushfire further south at Bemboka, near Bega, where the RFS confirmed three homes were lost on Wednesday.

While conditions have eased since Wednesday's emergency, firefighters have been working to contain the fires before gusty winds return to the region on Saturday.

https://www.smh.com.au

de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8, registered to Horizon Air Industries Inc and operated by the individual as an unauthorized flight, N449QX: Fatal accident occurred August 10, 2018 on Ketron Island, near Steilacoom, Pierce County, Washington

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N449QX

Location: Steilacoom, WA
Accident Number: WPR18FA220
Date & Time: 08/10/2018, 2043 PDT
Registration: N449QX
Aircraft: De Havilland DHC8
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Unknown 

On August 10, 2018, about 2043 Pacific daylight time, a De Havilland DHC-8-402, N449QX, was destroyed when it impacted trees on Ketron Island, near Steilacoom, WA. The non-certificated pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Horizon Air Industries Inc. and operated by the individual as an unauthorized flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane departed from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle, Washington, about 1932 for an unknown destination.

Horizon Air personnel reported that the individual was employed as a ground service agent and had access to the airplanes on the ramp.

The investigation of this event is being conducted under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The NTSB provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The NTSB does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: De Havilland
Registration: N449QX
Model/Series: DHC8 402
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Flag carrier (121) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:  KTIW, 292 ft msl
Observation Time: 2053 PDT
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 240°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Seattle, WA (SEA)
Destination: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  47.148056, -122.637500 (est)

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.

The Port of Seattle is moving ahead with a $325,000 review of the theft and crash of a Horizon Air turboprop Aug. 10 from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The port on Tuesday authorized spending an additional $275,000 and amending its contract with Ross & Baruzzini to develop a federally regulated after-action report on the incident. The combined total of the two phases of the review and report is estimated at $325,000, according to a port memo accompanying the agenda item.

The port plans to publish results and recommendations of the report in December.

The empty plane was taken by Richard “Beebo” Russell, 29, of Sumner, who worked as part of the ground crew for Horizon Air. He used a tow vehicle to rotate the parked plane 180 degrees before climbing into the cockpit, taxiing and taking flight, according to airline officials.

After staying in flight and performing aerobatics in view of homes in the region for more than an hour, the plane crashed on Ketron Island. Russell was the only casualty.

The review “will include all information relevant to the aircraft abduction event, as well as actions that occurred in the hours prior to, during, and after the event leading to full resumption of operations.”

In addition, the report will review measures airports and airlines can take to prevent another theft and examine ways to anticipate and deter “erratic behavior” of employees who have passed required background checks.

In addition to port’s review, Sea-Tac Airport is leading a national group looking at airport security issues, specifically aircraft security and employee wellness.

“Safety and security are not only our most important responsibilities, but also incredibly personal to all of us whose family and friends are passengers, airport employees and nearby residents,” Port Commission President Courtney Gregoire said in the port’s news release.

https://www.thenewstribune.com

SEATTLE -- We’re learning new details Friday night about the moments that led up to a man stealing a plane at Sea-Tac International Airport three weeks ago. 

Richard Russell, 29,  a Horizon Air ground service agent, stole the plane, flew around the area, performing loops and barrel rolls, and crashed on Ketron Island on August 10. He died in the crash.

Q13 New is combing through emails to learn more. All of the new information comes to us from a public records request. More than 800 emails between the Port of Seattle, Alaska Air Group, the FBI, and other state and federal agencies shows what happened and how much officials knew as the incident was unfolding.

“They had finally landed, and the pilot said somebody had stolen an airplane,” said one man waiting to pick up his daughter from Sea-Tac on August 10.

Confusion and concern swept through Sea-Tac Airport. Q13 News is now learning intricate details about that night in several emails and documents released by the Port of Seattle.

Russell used his own employee badge to enter Sea-Tac secure grounds and parked his car sometime just after 2 p.m.  It was about five hours later when Port of Seattle says he stole the Horizon Air plane. He took off on a short runway, enabling him to get up in the air quickly without having to wait behind other planes.

“Who’s the aircraft on Runway 16 center?” asked one air traffic controller.

“He came flying out of the cargo area,” responded another controller.

“Call and scramble now!” responded the first air traffic controller.

Right after that, the first radio contact between Russell and the Seattle Ramp Tower. The data we’ve collected so far doesn’t show any other contact between Russell or anyone else, including air traffic control or law enforcement, until after Russell had already gotten into the plane, started it up, crossed runways and began takeoff.  He flew south, dangerously close to homes below.

Russell was one of 1,200 airport employees with an Airport Movement Area (or AMA) badge. Port of Seattle says 24,000 badged employees operate during the peak summer season.

In an email, a terminal operations manager wrote, “Richard Russell did not have any recorded citations.”



Still, Port of Seattle made security changes in the days following the incident as announced in an August 13 press conference. A Q13 News request for more information about changes to security or protocol was denied, citing tactical security concerns.

“We do have an additional security presence at our cargo locations, which you may have known have occurred. We have a stepped-up security presence throughout this airport,” said Commission President Courtney Gregoire.

Q13 News also requested video of the runway and the cargo area where Richard Russell entered the plane and then took off. All video is being held by the TSA for now as this investigation continues. Part of our request has been denied, but other records should be released to us in the coming weeks.

https://q13fox.com


An Alaska Airlines Bombardier Q400 operated by Horizon Air taking off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on August 11th, a day after Horizon Air ground crew member Richard Russell took a similar plane from the Seattle airport.


The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor and Andrew Tangel
Updated Aug. 20, 2018 8:59 p.m. ET

Federal investigators have tentatively determined the ground-services worker who stole an empty Horizon Air turboprop earlier this month ended up crashing the airliner in a suicidal dive, according to people familiar with the probe.

Horizon Air employee Richard Russell was at the controls when the twin-engine aircraft’s nose was pointed downward, these people said, smashing into a sparsely inhabited island near Seattle on the evening of Aug. 10. Mr. Russell died in the fiery crash, which has prompted government, airline and airport officials to reassess employee screening and aircraft security issues nationwide.

Horizon is owned by Alaska Air Group Inc.

Information downloaded from the Bombardier Inc. Q400’s flight-data recorder shows both of its engines were generating power and the plane hadn’t exhausted its fuel supply, one of these people said. It hadn’t been clear from early indications whether the plane, which didn’t have any passengers or crew on board, ran out of fuel or had been deliberately flown into the ground.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is heading the probe, declined to comment, pending further analysis of evidence. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is providing technical assistance, declined to comment.

During the roughly hour long aerial drama over Puget Sound, Mr. Russell had suggested to air-traffic controllers he didn’t plan to land, according to a recording of radio transmissions during the event. Mr. Russell also expressed concerns to controllers about depleting his fuel supply.

At this point, findings indicate that Mr. Russell carried out “a controlled flight into the ground,” according to one of the people familiar with the status of the investigation.

Portions of the cockpit-voice recorder downloaded by the safety board, which haven’t become public, captured Mr. Russell talking to himself and sending what may have been goodbye messages or apologies to friends and family, according to another person familiar with the investigation. This person didn’t describe details of the messages, and none of that recording has been released.

Investigators won’t reach final conclusions until they definitively rule out disorientation or a sudden medical issue with the unlicensed pilot during the last few moments of the flight. But experts at the safety board, working together with representatives of the FBI, the plane’s manufacturer and engine maker Pratt & Whitney, see the data gathered so far strongly pointing to suicide, according to these people. Pratt & Whitney is a unit of United Technologies Corp.

The investigative progress comes as industry and government officials consider potential additional safeguards to prevent a repeat of such rogue flights by airline workers and others. Among other things, security experts are discussing use of some type of digital lockout device, intended to prevent unauthorized engine starts.

Mr. Russell initially used a tug to move the turboprop from a cargo area at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. He then climbed behind the controls, taxied the plane to a nearby runway, revved up the engines and took off without clearance or a flight plan.

Airliners typically don’t rely on keys or other locking devices to keep someone from starting their engines. Traditionally, carriers have relied on vetting workers—including background checks and drug and alcohol tests—to prevent unauthorized access into cockpits on parked aircraft

But now, some veteran safety and security experts are considering if something more is needed. “There may be a relatively easy way” to avoid a repeat of the fatal incident, according to former NTSB member Richard Healing, by requiring a code to be entered into a plane’s flight-computers before an engine start can occur.

David L. Mayer, former managing director of the safety board, said such a software or hardware fix “would create a great deal of security that doesn’t exist now.” But, he added, “The technical feasibility of such a solution will vary across different types of airplanes.”

Others are focusing on the importance of stepped-up mental health screening and treatment for airline employees, particularly those undergoing unusual personal stress. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to ask an advisory committee to make recommendations to ensure all carriers have adequate programs, according to someone involved in the process.

But William Yantiss, a former senior safety official at United Airlines and currently an executive vice president of aviation services provider Argus International Inc., sees the limits of such efforts. He said airlines in the U.S. are putting more resources into mental health programs, but cultural issues are hampering the effectiveness of programs in other regions.

In an interview, Mr. Yantiss said security experts have long recognized that airliners parked at night in a remote portion of an airfield, as the Horizon Air plane was, pose a heightened threat even though they are normally under video surveillance.


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




The barrel roll that Richard Russell pulled off during his flight Friday evening looked sloppy to experienced pilots.

But the fact that the baggage handler completed the trick at all was evidence to some observers that Russell, who died when the Horizon Air plane he stole crashed into an island in South Puget Sound, may have taken lessons or otherwise prepared for his flight.

Stoking the speculation was Russell’s response, captured in audio recordings posted online, to an air traffic controller asking if he was comfortable flying the twin-engine turboprop plane.

“I’ve played video games before,” Russell said. “I know what I’m doing a little bit.”

It’s unclear whether the 29-year-old, a member of a generation that grew up around video games, was joking about his familiarity with a joystick, or leaving investigators a clue as to how he was able to start the aircraft, taxi onto a busy runway, take off and mix in aerial acrobatics for more than an hour before he went down.

Horizon Chief Executive Officer Gary Beck told reporters that Russell didn’t appear to have a pilot’s license. Yet aviation instructors, pilots and safety experts suspect that he had some sort of training, whether from a flight-simulator game or some form of lessons.

Mary Schiavo, an aviation attorney and former inspector general of the Department of Transportation, said video of some of his turns looked smooth, or “coordinated” in pilot parlance, keeping the plane’s nose from veering to one side or the other.

“It looked like he had some skills,” she said. “It looked like he had touched the controls of an airplane before.”

Though Schiavo and other experts think Russell’s flying prowess indicated prior experience in the cockpit, one longtime family friend, who works for the Federal Aviation Administration, said that he did not have any knowledge of Russell going to flight ground school in Alaska, where Russell lived before moving to Oregon and, later, Washington. He also never saw Russell use a flight simulator and did not know how he figured out how to fly the Bombardier Q400 plane.

“For us it was a shock that he would be able to take off in that,” Mike Criss, a resident of Wasilla, Alaska, who has known Russell for more than two decades, told the Anchorage Daily News on Monday.

Criss said that his son, Zac, and Russell were boyhood friends, and that Russell had a personality like a magnet.

“He had such a sense of humor. It drew you in,” Criss said. “Everybody wanted to be around him. I’ve never met anybody like that before or since.”

A Horizon Q400 pilot, speaking on the condition of anonymity, listed some of the hurdles Russell would have encountered Friday. At the outset, the plane’s controls would have been locked. Starting the engines requires a precise sequence of switches and levers. And during acceleration at takeoff, pilots steer left and right with rudder pedals, instead of the obvious control yoke in front of them.

Video games could have helped with some of that.

Games like Microsoft’s Flight Simulator franchise, a favorite of computer desktop pilots for decades, are complex and realistic, rendering models of cockpits full of switches and instruments patterned after the real thing. Enthusiasts can add to the realism of that experience with hardware that replaces keyboards and mice with airplane-style controls such as rudder pedals or a steering-wheel-like yoke.

The main flight simulation games on the market don’t feature the Canadian-built Q400 Russell flew among their default options for digital fliers, but a community of game developers has filled that gap. One modification, which makes the plane available for Microsoft Flight Simulator X, is listed online for $59.95, and YouTube videos offer tutorials on tasks like plane startup.

“You can learn procedures” from simulators, said Jim Grant, owner of Northway Aviation, which trains private pilots at Everett’s Paine Field.

Beyond that, he said, their utility is limited.

Would-be pilots who come to Northway for training sometimes brag to instructors about familiarity with flight simulators, Grant said.

“We usually laugh at them,” he said. “Flying an airplane is totally different than playing a game.”

Russell may have picked up some knowledge of the aircraft over the course of his job.

In addition to baggage handling, his work as a gate-service agent included work on two-person tow crews responsible for moving aircraft around gates and maintenance areas. During that process, one gate-service agent sits in the cockpit as a second drives a tractor pulling the wheels below the plane’s nose.

It’s not uncommon in that environment, pilots and aviation experts say, for pilots to chat with ground-crew personnel curious about plane mechanics or cockpit controls.

Once airborne Friday, Russell showed off a basic familiarity with the cockpit, wearing the communications headset, watching the fuel gauge, and talking with an air traffic controller about how to pressurize the plane, a procedure he apparently did not know how to do.

He also pulled off a series of stunts, including the barrel roll, maneuvers that Beck, Horizon’s CEO, called “incredible.”

“On any other day that was windy, or that was cloudy, or had [bad] weather, I don’t think he would’ve been able to pull a stunt like that,” said Jeffrey A. Lustick, a Bellingham aviation lawyer and pilot.


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


Friends of Richard Russell at a news conference Saturday in Orting, Wash. Mr. Russell, a ground-services worker for Horizon Air, stole a plane on Friday, and eventually crashed on a sparsely populated island off the coast in south Puget Sound.


The Wall Street Journal 
By Andrew Tangel, Alison Sider, Andy Pasztor and Jay Greene
Updated Aug. 12, 2018 11:08 p.m. ET

SEATAC, Wash.—At first, air-traffic controllers didn’t seem alarmed when Richard Russell climbed into the cockpit of a small airliner here Friday evening, spooled up its twin turboprop engines and trundled from its parking spot near a cargo area.

Ground-services workers like Mr. Russell sometimes shuttle planes between locations at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and other fields without promptly checking in with the tower as required.

This time, though, the 29-year-old, untrained as a pilot but with a penchant for airplane videogames, headed for the runway, opened up the throttle and roared into the air without clearance or a flight plan. It wasn’t clear whether the theft was a joy ride, a hijacking, a terrorist attack or a suicide mission.

Mr. Russell flew for about an hour toward Tacoma over Puget Sound, a meandering trip punctuated by moves that included a roll and a flip and a soundtrack of calm, sometimes wistful radio exchanges with controllers trying to determine just what his motives were before he finally plunged to his death.

In Mr. Russell’s more than three years at Alaska Air Group Inc.’s commuter arm, Horizon Air, his job at times required him to know how to operate an airplane’s controls, to use its brakes, start its electric generator and use its radios to communicate with air-traffic control, according to a former supervisor. But it didn’t include starting a plane’s engines. On Friday, he did just that.

An air-traffic controller radioed the plane as it moved from a cargo area toward the runway without authorization.

“The Dash-8 on 16C, say your call sign,” the controller said, according to independently recorded air-traffic control radio communications. There was no reply as the plane kept rolling.

The Q400 version of the Dash-8 lifted off around 7:32 p.m. PDT.

The military was quickly alerted. Less than 10 minutes later, two F-15 jet fighters scrambled from Portland, Ore., and began dogging the plane, ready to shoot it down if necessary, according to a senior military commander familiar with the timeline.

Though Mr. Russell didn’t have a pilot’s license, according to his employer, he deftly performed a series of aerobatic rolls and steep dives with the 76-seat turboprop airliner that left experts and onlookers in awe, moves that would have been daunting for an experienced Q400 pilot.




Horizon Chief Executive Gary Beck called the moves “incredible maneuvers by the aircraft...I don’t know how he achieved the experience he did.”

Mr. Russell’s unlikely talent was one of many elements that added an extraordinary quality to the tragic and frightening episode.

Also startling was the way he indicated he had learned to fly from computer simulations.

“I don’t need that much help. I’ve played some videogames before,” Mr. Russell told air-traffic controllers. Such computerized flight-simulator software could have depicted the same workhorse turboprop model he stole on Friday, said government and industry air-safety experts. It is widely available for purchase and can be run on normal home computers.

At another point, he said, “I know how to put the landing gear down.” Then, apparently revealing suicidal intent, he added: “I really wasn’t planning on landing it.”

He also indicated familiarity with at least some of the controls and more than a cursory understanding of cockpit layout and aircraft operations, including a specific reference to the system that regulates cabin pressure.

At other times Mr. Russell seemed in over his head. “That’s all mumbo jumbo, I have no idea what all that means. I wouldn’t know how to punch it in,” he told controllers at one point. It was unclear what he was referring to.

The drama played out in skies over Puget Sound, south and west of Seattle, as people on the ground watched him loop and dive, at times afraid he would crash into them, according to accounts on social media.

Controllers tried to instruct Mr. Russell to stay low, avoid populated areas and try to land the aircraft, according to unofficial air-traffic control audio. They brought in an airline captain to help talk Mr. Russell through the flight commands.

By 8:47 p.m. local time, air-traffic control had lost contact with him, according to Alaska Air CEO Brad Tilden. Horizon is an Alaska affiliate.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said the plane crashed on a small, sparsely populated island off the coast in south Puget Sound. On Saturday at 1:38 p.m. local time. Mr. Russell was pronounced dead.

Some who knew Mr. Russell were shocked by his actions.

“It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man,” family friend Mike Mathews said in a statement on behalf of Mr. Russell’s friends and family and using a nickname for Mr. Russell. “We are devastated by these events.”

Horizon said Mr. Russell was hired in February 2015 as a ground-service agent and went through criminal background checks every few years. He wasn’t known to have a criminal record.

The former Horizon supervisor described Mr. Russell as a friendly co-worker with a can-do attitude. “He was very good,” the former supervisor said. “He was always out there. You never had to go looking for him.”

DeAndre Halbert, who worked with Mr. Russell until eight months ago, said Mr. Russell was even-keeled and didn’t seem particularly interested in becoming a pilot. He was known to be intelligent and bookish—constantly reading a novel.

In a video he appears to have created and posted to YouTube and a personal website in December, Mr. Russell said his job could be monotonous. “I lift a lot of bags. Like, a lot of bags. So many bags,” he said. “But it allows me to do some pretty cool things too,” he added, as the video displayed footage and images from his travels to France, Ireland, Alaska, and other destinations.

“It evens out in the end,” he said.

Mr. Russell told the controller he wanted to apologize for what he did to the people he cares about.

“I would like to apologize to each and every one of them,” he said. ”I am just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess, never really knew it till now.”


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


An airline worker who stole an otherwise empty passenger plane from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport talked to air traffic controllers as he flew, saying at one point he only wanted to do a couple of "maneuvers" and at another that he was "just a broken guy."

The ground services worker for Horizon Air, whose name has not been released, died. He was identified by authorities as a 29-year-old resident of Pierce County in Washington state.

The man took off from the runway with the Horizon Air passenger plane at 7:32 p.m. local time Friday, officials said.

The 76-seat airliner was captured on video doing large loops and other risky air stunts during its hour-long flight. It crashed an hour after takeoff on a sparsely populated island.

"This might have been a joyride gone terribly wrong," said Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.

'We don't know how he learned to do that'

Airline officials said they are not sure how the ground services worker learned to operate a plane, much less perform flying stunts.

There are many switches and levers to start a plane, Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck said at a news conference Saturday. "We don’t know how he learned to do that."

"To our knowledge he did not have a pilot's license," Beck said. But he performed some "incredible" maneuvers.

The man was authorized to be in the area of the airfield where the plane was parked for maintenance, officials said.

The FBI is leading an investigation into the incident, including interviewing the man's coworkers and family members, the FBI special agent in charge said at the news conference.

'I don't want to hurt no one'

Audio recordings of the man's exchange with air traffic controllers were posted on Broadcastify and confirmed by federal aviation sources as authentic. In the recordings, air traffic controllers can be heard trying to persuade and help the man to land the plane. They also have experienced pilots radio in to guide him on flying.

"I just kind of want to do a couple maneuvers to see what it can do before I put it down," the man tells air traffic control.

"This is probably like jail time for life, huh? I would hope it is for a guy like me," the man says a few minutes later.

"We're not going to worry or think about that, but could you start a left-hand turn please?" an air traffic controller responds.

"I don't want to hurt no one," the man says a few minutes later.

Air traffic control tries to convince the man to land at the Air Force's nearby McChord Field.

"If you wanted to land, probably the best bet is that runway just ahead to your left, again that's the McChord Field. If you wanted to try, that might be the best way to set up and see if you can land there. Or just like the pilot suggests, another option would be over Pudget Sound into the water," an air traffic controller says.

"Dang, did you talk to McChord yet, because I don't think I'd be happy with you telling me I could land like that, because I could mess some stuff up," the man replies.

"I already talked to them and, just like me, what we want to see is you not get hurt or anybody else get hurt. So like I said, if you want to try to land, that's probably the best place to go," the air traffic controller says.

Minutes later, the man sounds remorseful and says he's a "broken guy" with "a few screws loose."

"I got a lot of people that care about me and it's going to disappoint them that -- to hear that I did this. I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess. Never really knew it until now," the man says.

A pilot who was asked to help guide the man radios to him, "Let's try to land that plane safely and not hurt anyone."

The man responds, "All right. Damn it. I don't know, man, I don't know, I don't want to. I was kind of hoping that was going to be it, you know?"

Military jets in pursuit

After the man took off in the plane, North American Aerospace Defense Command quickly launched two F-15 fighter jets to pursue the craft, a federal senior aviation source told ABC News. The Federal Aviation Administration said it implemented a "groundstop" for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as soon as the plane was taken.

The plane ultimately crashed on Ketron Island, a small, sparsely populated island about 40 miles away from the airport.

"It does not appear that the military jets were involved in the crash," said Brad Tilden, chairman and CEO of Alaska Airlines, parent company of Horizon Air.

Aerial footage of Ketron Island showed a large fiery blaze where the plane crashed. No one on the ground was harmed and no buildings were damaged, officials said.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport flights were delayed or diverted Friday night due to the incident, with normal operations resuming by around 1 a.m. in the morning, officials said.

The FBI tweeted Friday night that the incident did not appear to be terrorism and that it was working with other agencies to "gather a complete picture" of what happened.

"Although response efforts to tonight's aircraft incident and the investigation are still ongoing, information gathered thus far does NOT suggest a terrorist threat or additional, pending criminal activity," the agency said in a statement via Twitter on Friday night. "The FBI continues to work with our state, local, and federal partners to gather a complete picture of what transpired with tonight's unauthorized Horizon aircraft takeoff and crash."

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised the response of public agencies.

"The president has been briefed on the incident involving a stolen plane from Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle and is monitoring the situation as information becomes available," Sanders said in a statement Saturday morning. "Federal authorities are assisting with the ongoing investigation which is being led by local authorities. We commend the interagency response effort for their swift action and protection of public safety."


Story and video ➤  https://abcnews.go.com




The Wall Street Journal 
By Andrew Tangel, Andy Pasztor and Alison Sider
Updated Aug. 11, 2018 4:32 a.m. ET

An Alaska Air Group Inc. employee stole a turboprop airliner from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Friday night before crashing it on a nearby island, authorities and the company said.

The carrier said it believed a ground-service agent employed by Alaska affiliate Horizon Air took the plane and that no passengers or crew were on board other than that person. The plane was taken from a maintenance area at around 8 p.m. PDT and wasn’t scheduled for a passenger flight, according to the company.

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said he has been told the aircraft was stolen by a 29-year-old Pierce County resident. “There is no indication this was a terrorist act of any kind,” he said in an interview. Authorities didn’t name the employee.

Alaska said late Friday night that the individual wouldn’t be positively identified “until remains are examined.”

Mr. Pastor said the plane crashed on a small, sparsely populated island off the coast in south Puget Sound after being followed by military aircraft for a short time, and caused a fire. Alaska said in a statement that military jets were scrambled from Portland but it doesn’t appear that those jets were involved in the crash. A tweet from the Pierce County Sheriff’s public information officer identified the pursuing aircraft as two F-15 fighter jets.

Mr. Pastor said the crash site had been located and crews were working to control the blaze. Local news in Seattle broadcast aerial video showing a fire still burning on Ketron Island at 10:30 p.m. PDT.

Even before emergency crews reached the wreckage in the remote location, eyewitness reports and unofficial air-traffic control audio depicted a roughly 45-minute drama that played out in skies over the Seattle metropolitan area.

Controllers tried to reassure, persuade and instruct the single pilot, at various times, to avoid populated areas and try to land the aircraft, according to unofficial air-traffic control audio. At one point, the pilot worried about how quickly the turboprop was burning fuel. “I’m not quite ready to bring it down just yet,” the pilot said over the radio. “But holy smokes, I got to stop looking at the fuel, because it’s going down quick.”

At another point, after the pilot pulled the plane out of roll and steep dive, his transmissions to controllers suggested he had expected to lose control during the maneuver. “I was kind of hoping that was going to be it,” the pilot told a controller, according to the unofficial audio.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is working with local, state and federal agencies to understand what happened, according to FBI spokeswoman Ayn S. Dietrich-Williams. She said the information so far didn’t suggest a terrorist threat or additional, pending criminal activity.

The Federal Aviation Administration declined to comment.

Alaska identified the plane as a Horizon Air Q400. The twin-turboprop plane manufactured by Bombardier seats 76 passengers, according to Alaska’s website.

The episode forced controllers to temporarily halt departures and reroute some arriving planes at the busy hub, while travelers used social media to describe the concern and confusion throughout the terminals.

Beefing up security on the tarmac, including enhanced perimeter fencing and various sensors to detect intruders, has been a priority for airports since the terrorist attacks of September 2001.

In recent years, there have been repeated instances of people scaling fences or otherwise accessing planes. But none of those events involved such a large commercial plane taking off without authorization.

In August 2016 at Omaha’s Eppley International Airport, an intruder managed to scale an airport fence, strip down to his boxer shorts, steal a pickup truck and crash it into the nose of a Southwest Airlines aircraft, according to officials and eyewitnesses.

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

A plane crashed Friday evening after a Horizon Air employee conducted an "unauthorized take-off" from Sea-Tac International Airport.

The aircraft crashed on Ketron Island in south Puget Sound shortly after 8:45 p.m. Alaska Airlines said that a Horizon Air Q400 was involved in the incident.

The employee was a 29-year-old Pierce County resident, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. The department believes he acted alone.

No other passengers were onboard the aircraft.

While the plane was still in the air, two F-15 Air National Guard fighter jets took off from Portland, Oregon. In audio recordings, an air traffic control operator can be heard trying to point the man to the airfield at Joint-Base Louis McCord.

"We're just trying to find a place for you to land safely," the operator said.

The plane "was doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills caused crash into Island," Pierce County Sheriff's Department said in a tweet.

Around 8:15 p.m., multiple KING 5 viewers called to report a stolen airplane, saying an apparent pilot or airport worker took off with an aircraft.

A number of viewers called KING 5 after witnessing the plane crash on Ketron Island. A large plume of smoke was visible to residents surrounding Steilacoom, Washington.

Sea-Tac Airport was put on an immediate ground stop once the plane took off. The airport said operations have since returned to normal.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee

The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified of the situation.

Story and video ➤ https://www.king5.com

An audio recording between air traffic control and the man who allegedly stole a plane from Sea-Tac Airport shows what went on inside the plane before it crashed on an island in the South Sound.

A Horizon Air Q400 crash-landed on Ketron Island in south Puget Sound on Friday night after a Sea-Tac Airport employee conducted an “unauthorized take-off.” There were no other passengers on the plane.

On the audio clip from Broadcastify, air traffic control and the man are heard talking about him needing help pressurizing the cabin and running low on fuel. The audio also described a man in crisis.

“I got a lot of people that care about me, and it’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this,” the man said. “I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose. Never really knew it until now.”

Story and video ➤ https://www.king5.com