Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Express Series 2000, privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N625J: Fatal accident occurred April 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Rowan County, North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina
Continental Aerospace Technologies; Mobile, Alabama

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


Location: Cleveland, NC

Accident Number: ERA19FA154
Date & Time: 04/22/2019, 0915 EDT
Registration: N625J
Aircraft: Wheeler EXPRESS SERIES 2000
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 22, 2019, about 0915 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Wheeler Express Series 2000, N625J, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Cleveland, North Carolina. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from Statesville Regional Airport (SVH), Statesville, North Carolina, at 0901, and was destined for Twin Lakes Airport (8A7), Mocksville, North Carolina.

According to the airplane owner, the pilot planned to fly the airplane to 8A7 for an avionics upgrade. The owner intended to drive about 44 miles to 8A7 to pick up the pilot and return them to SVH. The owner stated he watched the airplane depart runway 28 at SVH and travel west, then turn back to the east before he lost visual contact. A mechanic located 4.5 miles northeast of SVH noticed the airplane because "the engine was making numerous pitch changes." When he observed the airplane, it was inverted and rolling to level flight. It then performed another complete roll and was flying in an easterly direction when he lost sight of the airplane. A second witness, located 1 mile east of the accident site, stated he heard loud engine noises that changed pitch, and then observed the airplane in a straight-line flight path towards the ground. He did not see any smoke appear, and believed what he observed was a radio controlled airplane.

The airplane owner arrived at 8A7 about 1040 to find the airplane had not arrived. He made several phone calls to the pilot without success. He returned to SVH to see if the pilot had returned, while other pilots at 8A7 departed in airplanes to search the area. At 1300, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an alert notice (ALNOT) for the missing airplane, which was subsequently found in a field at 1700.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that all major components of the airplane were present at the accident site. The remains of both wings were highly fragmented and were located on the right and left side of the main wreckage in approximately their mounting locations. The wings were detached from the fuselage with both flaps and ailerons completely separated. The upper and lower wing skins were fragmented and pieces were located in the vicinity of the main wreckage.

The empennage was displaced upward and forward, and came to rest slightly aft of the main wreckage. The rudder, vertical stabilizer, and horizontal stabilizer were fragmented.

Control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls through overload breaks and fractures. The cockpit throttle control assembly was separated. It was found extended full aft, in the closed (idle) position and the throttle shaft handle was bent approximately 90° in the direction of the instrument panel. The cockpit mixture control assembly was found in the full forward, full rich mixture position.

The avionics, engine and propeller were recovered from an estimated 4 ft crater under the main wreckage.

The engine crankcase was broken in multiple locations with significant impact related damage visible to the front of the crankcase. The six cylinders remained attached to the engine; however, the Nos. 5 and 6 cylinders remained only partially attached. All of the engine accessory components were separated from the crankcase except for the fuel pump, oil pump, and starter adapter. One of the magnetos and the majority of the throttle and fuel metering assembly were not located.

The propeller hub remained intact and displayed impact damage. Two of the three propeller blades were broken from the hub; one of the propeller blades was not located. The propeller blade that remained attached to the hub displayed significant S-bending, twisting, and leading edge gouging. A large portion of the blade tip was separated and located in the impact crater. The remaining propeller blade had broken from the hub at the propeller blade shank and a portion of the tip was separated. The blade displayed twisting deformation as well as leading edge gouging.

Both airplane entry door locking assemblies were found with their locking pins in the closed/locked position.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating, a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, instrument airplane and glider. The pilot also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine, multiengine, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued April 25, 2018. At that time, he reported 17,040 total hours of flight experience, of which 80 hours had been accrued in the last 6 months. The airplane owner reported that the pilot had accrued approximately 10-15 hours in the accident airplane.

The weather conditions reported at 0920, at SVH, about 18 miles west of the accident site, included visibility 10 statute miles, clear sky, wind calm, temperature 13°C, dew point 08°C and barometric pressure 30.21 inches of mercury.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Wheeler
Registration: N625J
Model/Series: EXPRESS SERIES 2000 No Series
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: SVH, 967 ft msl
Observation Time: 0920 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 18 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / 8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.21 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Statesville, NC (SVH)
Destination: Mocksville, NC (8A7)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.755000, -80.635000 (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. 

Guy Robert Maher

Guy Robert Maher, 66, of Cleveland, North Carolina passed away on April 22, 2019. 

Guy was a former pilot for Wake Forest Baptist Hospital's, AirCare program, where he served for 25 years. 

Guy was also a writer for numerous aviation magazines and was a member of Cardinal Flyers Online and the founder of Lanier Media Aviation Services. He was recognized with the Excellence in Communications award from the Helicopter Association International. 

Guy was a devoted member of South River United Methodist Church. Guy loved sharing his faith through his love for music. 

Guy was preceded in death by his father Robert Maher and his wife Sandy and his mother Doris Nicoll and her husband John Nicoll. He is survived by his wife, Staci Maher, children Ashley Marlow (Justin), Melanie Dombroski (Derek), Drew Maher (Danielle), Robbie McCraw (Darcie), and Jennifer Boria (Elis), grandchildren Joshua Marlow, Hannah Marlow, John Marlin Dombroski, Milly James Dombroski, Mary Reid Dombroski, Caleb Maher, Ivy Maher, Madison Willison, and Penelope Boria, great-grandson Jameson Robert Fogg – due in June, brothers John Nicoll (Michele) and James “Jim” Nicoll (Carolyn). 

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 3pm on Saturday, April 27 at South River United Methodist Church, 2880 South River Church Road, Woodleaf, North Carolina with the Revs. A.J. Moore and Billy Towery officiating. Visitation will be held from 1pm to 3pm in the church's fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to be made to South River United Methodist Church designated for missions or the music ministry. Summersett Funeral Home is serving the Maher family.

Guy Maher (center) being baptized last year by his pastor at South River UMC. Maher died in a plane crash in Rowan County on Monday.

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (WBTV) - The pilot of a plane that was reported missing after it took off from a Statesville airport Monday morning has been identified.

According to South River UMC Facebook page and to the Maher family, Guy Maher was flying the plane before it was found crashed in Rowan County hours later.

Police say the plane was heading to the Twin Lakes Airport in Davie County when it took off from the Statesville Regional Airport around 9 a.m. At 8 p.m., officials confirmed the plane was found crashed on Cool Springs Road, just north of Woodleaf in Rowan County.

The owner authorized Maher to fly the plane from the Statesville Regional Airport and watched the plane depart before driving to the destination.

According to police, the owner drove to Twin Lakes Airport - a 15-minute flight from Statesville - to pick up the pilot and bring him back to Statesville but the plane was not at the airport.

The owner had friends searching in the air and the Civil Air Patrol was activated to help with the search.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) weere at the scene Tuesday morning to investigate.

Pete Wentz of the NTSB described the plane as “experimental.”

“So it’s an amateur built, experimental aircraft. It’s not an aircraft like a Piper or a Cessna that’s made in a manufacturer," Wentz said.

According to the Rowan Fire Marshal, the pilot was a well-known member of the community.

Maher was an experienced pilot and spent several years flying a medical helicopter.

“He was a good neighbor, intelligent fellow, had a lot of experience flying,” said neighbor Jim Greene. “He had a helicopter at his house for years. He played organ at church and was an integral part of the church. Guy was a man of many talents.”

“If he was told to check something twice, he would check it twelve times. Anybody that’s flown with Guy said it was the most pleasant experience because they knew they were in safe hands with Guy,” said Reverend A.J. Moore of South River UMC. “He’s going to leave a big impact and his loss is going to be felt, big ripples.”

Story and video ➤ http://www.wbtv.com

Guy with Bell 412 at AirCare, AirCare, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

STATESVILLE, North Carolina - Officials said a pilot who was heading from Statesville Regional Airport to Twin Lakes Airport in Davie County but never arrived is dead after the plane was found crashed.

The Statesville Regional Airport manager confirmed to Channel 9's Briana Harper that crews found the wreckage and the pilot has been pronounced dead.

The fire marshal's office said the plane was found in a field in Rowan County around 7 p.m. Monday. 

The pilot, identified by his pastor as Guy Maher, was described as a very special person in the Rowan County community.

"Many of our volunteers go to church with him and have known him for years so it has been very hard on the responders," Deborah Horne from Rowan County Emergency Management said. "He is a very special gentleman and very well known in the community and the church."

Channel 9's Elsa Gillis spoke with Maher's pastor A.J. Moore, who said he was in shock when he heard the pilot in the crash was Guy. 

"To get word yesterday that he was missing, it's too hard to believe. It was a total shock, anybody but Guy. He had a very big sense of human, very caring, give you the shirt off his back," Moore said. "He was one of the safest pilots I've ever been around. If he was told to check something twice, Guy would check it 10 times."

Moore said he personally baptized Maher and described him as a husband, father, grandfather, an active member of the South River United Methodist Church, and someone with a big heart. 

"I know he worked for AirCare Baptist. He did humanitarian missions during disasters. He flew constantly to help people, taking in medical supplies," Moore said. "Anybody that's flown with Guy said it was the most pleasant experience because they knew they were in safe hands with Guy."

"He's gonna leave a big impact. His loss is gonna be felt, big ripples," Moore said. 

Rowan Co. officials just provided an an update on the pilot found dead after his airplane crashed coming from Statesville earlier this morning @wsoctv

Horne said Maher was flying a small fixed-wing plane and was once a professional pilot who was very experienced. She said the news of him dying in an airplane crash is one she did not see coming. 

"That's why they're working even harder than usual to make sure he's taken care of and family is taken care of," Horne said.

Officials said the pilot was heading from Statesville Regional Airport to Twin Lakes Airport in Davie County.

The airport manager told Channel 9 the flight left Statesville around 9 a.m. but never arrived at its destination.

Police said the owner of the plane authorized the Maher to fly the aircraft and watched it take off.

They said the plane’s owner drove to Twin Lakes Airport to pick up the pilot, but when the owner arrived, the plane was not there.

Officials said the typical flight time from Statesville to Twin Lakes Airport is 15 minutes.

When the plane did not arrive, authorities said they activated the Civil Air Patrol to conduct a search. 

Emergency officials were in the area throughout the night securing the scene of the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived on scene Tuesday to investigate the cause of the crash. 

NTSB Investigator Pete Wentz told Channel 9's Elsa Gillis they will be looking at the pilot, the aircraft, and the environment during their investigation. 

"We have an experimental, amateur-built express 2000 aircraft," Wentz said. 

They said they will be gathering data for the next several days, followed by a preliminary report on what happened in the next 12 to 14 days. 

The final report is not expected to be released for another 12 to 24 months. 

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

Guy and Arthur on training flight. Mock nagging.

A plane that left Statesville Regional Airport on Monday morning crashed in Rowan County, killing the lone person on board, officials confirmed.

Statesville Regional Airport Manager John Ferguson confirmed that the plane, which was based in Statesville, crashed off Cool Springs Road in Rowan County on Monday. Only one person was on the plane.

Earlier Monday, the Statesville Police Department had released a report concerning the missing plane. According to Statesville Police Chief David Addison, the police department received a report around 9 a.m. Monday that a plane left for Twin Lakes Airport in Davie County and did not arrive there as scheduled. 

The owner of the plane authorized another person to fly the plane from the Statesville Regional Airport to Davie County, Addison said. The owner watched the plane take off and then drove to Davie County to pick up the pilot and bring him back to Statesville, Addison said.

When the owner arrived at Twin Lakes, the plane was not there. The flight should have taken about 15 minutes.

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

STATESVILLE, North Carolina (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - A pilot was found dead at the site of a plane crash in Rowan County. Police said it's the same plane that disappeared shortly after taking off from a Statesville airport Monday morning. 

According to police, the plane departed to the Twin Lakes Airport in Davie County about 9 a.m. from the Statesville Regional Airport. The owner watched the plane depart, drove to Twin Lakes Airport to pick up the pilot and bring him back to Statesville. When the owner arrived the plane was not there, police said.

Around 7 p.m. Monday, the Woodleaf Fire Department said they were responding to a plane crash in western Rowan County. The pilot was pronounced dead at the scene.

"The pilot was a church goer and well known, this is sad for the community. He was a professional pilot who flew planes for years," Deborah Horne said, with the Rowan County Fire Marshal's Office. 

Story and video ➤ http://www.fox46charlotte.com

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