Monday, May 06, 2019

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee B, operated by Lightning Aviation as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight, N5542U: Fatal accident occurred May 06, 2019 at Foley Municipal Airport (5R4), Baldwin County, Alabama

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Piper Aircraft; Vero Beach, Florida

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Foley, AL

Accident Number: ERA19FA164
Date & Time: 05/06/2019, 1247 CDT
Registration: N5542U
Aircraft: Piper PA28
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On May 6, 2019, at 1247 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-140, N5542U, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Foley Municipal Airport (5R4), Foley, Alabama. The flight instructor was seriously injured, and the student pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated by Lightning Aviation as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

According to a witness, who was a flight paramedic on an instructional flight at 5R4, he was turning from the base leg to final approach leg of the traffic pattern when the accident airplane had just taken off from runway 36 after a touch-and-go landing. He heard the flight instructor announce on the radio, "My engine just quit!" He saw the accident airplane about 300-400 ft above ground level (agl) pitched up high "like a power-on stall" and then "lean to the left to start a spin." He added that it was only about 3 seconds from the time he saw the airplane in a nose-high pitch to when it was descending toward the ground. The witness stated that he lost track of the airplane shortly after it descended toward the ground. After a quick landing and taxi to the edge of the taxiway adjacent to the wreckage, the witness and his flight instructor both exited their airplane and ran to the accident site. The witness reported that the top of the airplane was split open with the engine area folded under the cockpit. Both the flight instructor and student pilot were wearing lap belts, and he provided assistance until additional personnel arrived.

A second witness was in an airplane on a 2 nautical mile, 45° entry into the traffic pattern for runway 36 when he heard the flight instructor of the accident airplane announce, "I lost my engine!" He looked, and the airplane was just over the subdivision north of the airport at about 300 ft agl, making what appeared to be an aggressive left turn back to the airport. He then lost sight of the airplane in the treeline.

A flight instructor at 5R4 reported that he flew the accident airplane the day prior to the accident fight and experienced engine roughness when performing simulated engine-out procedures with a student. He stated that on the last simulated engine-out procedure, when he added power at 600 ft agl, the engine started shaking. He leaned the mixture and the engine ran smoothly again. He wrote up a maintenance ticket when he landed and stated that the mechanic cleaned the sparkplugs, performed an engine run-up, and signed off the maintenance write-up. The instructor subsequently flew the airplane and noted no issues.

Another instructor, who flew the accident airplane on the morning of the accident, reported that it "didn't seem to climb very well." He said he "chalked it up" to high density altitude.

The accident flight instructor held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. She also held a flight instructor certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. Her most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued February 14, 2019. Examination of flight instructor's logbooks revealed 977.5 total hours of flight experience, of which 507.2 hours were in the accident airplane make and model. Her most recent flight review was completed February 27, 2019, and she had logged about 340 hours of instruction in the previous 90 days.

Review of the student pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated a total flight experience of about 16 hours in the previous 3 years, all of which were in the accident airplane make and model. The student pilot had not yet flown solo and no flights were logged in the preceding year.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the four-seat, low-wing, tricycle gear airplane was manufactured in 1969. It was powered by a Lycoming O-320 series, 140-horsepower engine. According to airplane maintenance logbooks, an annual inspection was completed on the airplane on March 12, 2019, at a tachometer time of 6,891.92. The tachometer located in the airplane at the time of the accident indicated 6,985.78 hours, which was 93.86 hours since the annual inspection and 1,976.42 hours since the engine's most recent major overhaul.

Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed several impression marks on the ground along a 243° heading. The airplane came to rest upright on the edge of airport property. All major airplane components were located on site. The left wing was separated from the fuselage at the wing root and upside down near the main wreckage. The empennage was crushed and folded upside down along the left side of the passenger cabin. The vertical stabilizer was attached and bent 90° to the right at the attachment points. The rudder remained attached and was bent and impact damaged the entire length. The right 3 ft of the stabilator was impact crushed and the left side of the stabilator and trim was undamaged. The top of the airplane cabin rearward of the front seats was folded back on top of the aft cabin. The forward end of the fuselage, including the instrument panel, forward cabin door, firewall, and engine, were folded down and under the forward cabin floor. The left aileron bellcrank, which remained attached to the aileron and balance cables, was located with the fuselage and had been pulled from its mounting and separated from the wing. Control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to each of the control surfaces except the left aileron which was continuous to the aileron bellcrank. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses.

The left wing, including the attached flap and aileron, was impact fractured and damaged on all surfaces. The fuel tank was breached, and the grass around the wing appeared blighted consistent with fuel spillage. The landing gear was fractured off and connected by the brake hose. The right wing, including the attached flap and aileron, was crushed from the wingtip to mid-wing and displaced upward with multiple fractures. The outer 2 ft of the flap was crushed in a negative direction, and the inboard 2 ft of aileron was impact fractured, bent and crushed. The landing gear remained attached. The fuel filler cap remained installed in the filler opening, and fuel was observed in the fuel tank when the cap was removed. The engine was upside down and beneath the forward cabin and remained attached to the mount. The propeller was separated from the crankshaft propeller flange. One propeller blade was buried in the ground and the other was bent aft mid-blade.

The engine and its accessories were examined. The top spark plugs were removed and visually examined with no anomalies noted. The rocker box covers were removed, and no anomalies were noted with the valve springs and rocker arms. Manual rotation of the engine's crankshaft produced compression on all four cylinders. The left and right magnetos were removed, and sparks were observed on all towers when each magneto was rotated by hand. Examination of the engine's cylinders with a lighted borescope revealed the No. 4 cylinder piston exhibited a circular impact mark consistent with an exhaust valve strike. The No. 4 cylinder was removed from the crankcase. The rocker arm, valve keepers, and springs were removed. The exhaust valve could not be removed from the valve guide by hand and was removed utilizing a hammer and a drift. The oil pickup screen was free from debris. The carburetor was removed and disassembled with no anomalies noted. The engine driven fuel pump was removed from the engine and actuated by hand. Bubbles were observed around the gasket when the pump arm was actuated. Four screws on the periphery of the pump were loose.

Examination of the propeller blades revealed one blade was bent forward about mid span. The blade exhibited spanwise scratches on the forward face and leading-edge polishing. The other blade was bent aft about mid span with twisting towards low pitch. The outer portion of the blade exhibited leading edge polishing and chordwise scratches.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper

Registration: N5542U
Model/Series: PA28 140
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Lightning Aviation
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KJKA, 17 ft msl
Observation Time: 1255 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 17°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / , 170°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Foley, AL (5R4)
Destination: Foley, AL (5R4) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious

Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  30.432778, -87.702222

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 

Lee Carlton McCullar
1993 – 2019

Lee Carlton McCullar, of Pensacola, Florida, has left us all grasping for more time, conversation, and fellowship as he was called home too soon at the youthful age of twenty-five on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

He is survived by his father, David McCullar; his three brothers, David Chandler McCullar, Charles Warner McCullar and Robert Miles McCullar, all of Pensacola, FL.  Other survivors include;  his half-brothers, Nick McCullar (Niki) and Vann McCullar (Heather); his half-sister, Stephanie McCullar; his paternal grandmother, Ruby McCullar of Tuscaloosa, AL; his maternal grandparents, Robert and Nancy Jennings of Prattville, AL;  and a large and loving circle of aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, close friends and special loved ones.  He was preceded in his passing by his mother, Mary Elizabeth Jennings McCullar, “Lisa” of Pensacola, FL; and his paternal grandfather, David McCullar, Sr., of Tuscaloosa, AL.

Carlton was born on December 16, 1993.  He grew up in Pensacola, Florida, where he graduated from Escambia High School. He enjoyed boating, fishing, surfing, boxing, Alabama football, basketball and spending time with his family, friends, and fiancĂ©, Kierstyn Overhalser.  Carlton was a driving force with McCullar Steel and McCullar Cranes operations.  He thrived on building his family’s business. His work ethic was unrivaled as his brothers would attest:  he was the first one on the job, the last one to leave, and never walked away from a challenging situation.

Fearless and compassionate, Carlton was a rock to his loved ones.  A devoted loving disciplinarian to his younger brothers, he was their hero and mentor. The true definition of loyalty was embodied by his daily actions and is an example to us all.  A great young man with an enormous heart, Carlton touched many lives and will be dearly missed by all who knew him.  Son, grandson, brother, cousin, nephew; simply put, he was a true companion to anyone fortunate enough to fall into the category of being his friend.

We are at peace knowing Carlton has been called home to be reunited with his loving mother, Lisa.  The world is a better place because of Lee Carlton McCullar. He was so full of life.  He dreamed it. He believed it.  He lived it.  Sharing his love, as an organ donor, his heart will continue to beat strong and give life to another.  His loving spirit and gentle smile will remain in our hearts, always.

A service celebrating his life will be held on Friday, May 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm at the Pavilion at Orange Beach – 22250 E. Beach Blvd. Gulf Shores, AL 36542.  Memorials can be made to; Legacy of Hope Alabama’s Organ & Tissue Donation Alliance, and the Escambia County Animal Shelter.   Expressions of condolence may be offered at  Hughes Funeral Home & Crematory of Daphne, AL is assisting the family.

Jessica Pohlman

FOLEY, Alabama (WALA) - FOX10 News has learned the student pilot involved in Monday’s plane crash at Foley Municipal Airport has died. His instructor, identified as Jessica Pohlman, is in serious condition, according to University Hospital in Mobile.

The news was confirmed by Ken Grimes, who knows Pohlman from her time interning with the City of Orange Beach. Grimes, the city administrator, has been communicating with the Pohlman family.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating Monday’s crash, which happened as Pohlman and her student were practicing landing and taking off. The Foley Fire Department immediately said the two victims’ injuries were significant.

Fire officials have not released the conditions or identities of the two occupants, as the investigation is being conducted by the FAA.

Pohlman, who works for Lightning Aviation, is described by Grimes as a positive, radiant and fearless person who could light up a room. Her family released this statement on Facebook:

“Friends, family, and loved ones, we appreciate all the love, support, and most importantly the prayers over the past few unbelievable difficult days. Our beautiful daughter, Jessica, is in extremely critical condition. We are still keeping the best outlook that we can, but the severe trauma caused by the accident was worse than originally expected. We ask that you respect our privacy, and give us space to deal with this unimaginably difficult time. The outpour of thoughts and prayers have been so profound, we have no words for our gratitude. We can feel your love and support, and we know that Jessica can feel it too. So, we only ask you to continue sending your prayers."

Original article can be found here ➤

FOLEY, Alabama (WEAR) — The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its preliminary report on the fatal plane crash in Foley that killed a flight student.

On May 6, a Piper PA-28 was destroyed when it crashed shortly after takeoff from Foley Municipal Airport.

The flight instructor was seriously injured and the student pilot, 25-year-old Carlton McCullar, was injured and died days later.

The report states a witness, who was a flight paramedic on an instructional flight, heard the flight instructor announce on the radio, “My engine just quit!” He saw the airplane about 300 to 400 feet above ground level pitched up high “like a power-on stall” and then “lean to the left to start a spin.”

The witness added he lost track of the airplane shortly after it descended toward the ground. He reported to NTSB the top of the plane was split open and both occupants were wearing lap belts.

A second witness reported to NTSB they also heard the flight instructor announce, “I lost my engine!” He saw what appeared to be an aggressive left turn back to the airport and then lost sight of the plane in the treeline.

The day before, a flight instructor who flew the same plane said he experienced engine roughness, according to the NTSB report. He wrote up a maintenance ticket when he landed and stated the mechanic cleaned the sparkplugs and performed an engine test and cleared the plane for flight.

Another instructor who flew the plane the morning of the crash said the airplane didn’t seem to be climbing very well. The report says he “chalked it up” to high density altitude.

Original article can be found here ➤

FOLEY, Alabama (WKRG) — A small plane crashed at Foley Municipal Airport Monday afternoon.

Two people suffered life-threatening injuries. Both are being treated at University Hospital in Mobile.

The crash happened just before 1:00 p.m. The plane came to rest upside down near a fence line on the west side of the airport.

The two people on board were a pilot and a student. Their names have not been released.

Foley Police and Foley Fire also responded to the crash.

The airport halted normal operations while crews investigated the crash.

Story and video ➤

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