Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Unknown or Undetermined: ICON A5, N663BA; accident occurred July 27, 2019 in Littlefield Lake, Isabella County, Michigan

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan
Icon Aircraft Inc; Vacaville, California

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


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 

https://registry.faa.gov/N663BA



Location: Lake, MI
Accident Number: CEN19LA242
Date & Time: 07/27/2019, 1320 EDT
Registration: N663BA
Aircraft: ICON A5
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On July 27, 2019, about 1320 eastern daylight time, an amphibious, light sport Icon Aircraft Inc. A5 airplane, N663BA, sustained substantial damage during an impact with trees and water shortly after departure from Littlefield Lake, Lake, Michigan. The airplane was registered to and operated by Icon Aircraft Inc. as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight when the accident occurred. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries, and the pilot rated passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was a sales demonstration flight with a client. When he arrived at Littlefield Lake, he estimated the wind to be about 8 to 10 knots from the southwest. After landing, he water taxied to the client's lake shore home, and the client boarded the airplane. After plow taxing the airplane to the selected departure area, he said the wind had increased, and he estimated the speed to be between 12 and 15 knots. He said when he started the takeoff run, he saw three small wakes, consistent with those from wave runners, which helped propel the airplane into the air. He said that the airplane took off on the first attempt and the takeoff was normal and "there was nothing wrong with the [air]plane at all." He stated that when they got to the shoreline, they were about 50 to 60 ft above the treetops. His plan was to execute a right turn to stay over the lake in the event of an engine failure. Before starting the right turn, he looked at the angle of attack indicator and it indicated one needle width below the top of the green, and he estimated his speed between 55 and 60 knots. He initiated a 10° turn to the right to stay over the lake, and it felt like they "hit a wall." The airplane descended rapidly, clipped a tree, and impacted the water.

The pilot rated passenger, who was seated in the left seat at the time of the accident, stated that "the weather was not the best" and that the wind was shifting 180°. He said he told the pilot-in-command (PIC) this sentiment, and that it took four takeoff attempts to get airborne. After the second attempt, he said he told the PIC that it would not break his heart if they did not go. He said that the airplane felt very sluggish and acted as if it did not want to come off the water. When the airplane transitioned off the water, he estimated they were about 100 ft from the trees, headed straight toward them, and the airplane "felt very heavy." He said the PIC told him that the airplane had 485 lbs of useful load available and the fuel level was at ¾ of a tank.

A post-accident weight and balance calculation, based upon the most recent available weight and balance and information provided to a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector, revealed that the airplane was about 57 lbs over maximum gross weight and outside of the weight and center of gravity envelope limits contained within Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH). The POH lists the maximum takeoff weight as 1,510 lbs and contains the following warning:

"Warning: It is the responsibility of the pilot to make sure the airplane is loaded properly. Operation outside of the approved weight and balance limitations could result in an accident and serious or fatal injury."

A witness to the accident stated that they saw the airplane make three takeoff attempts before the airplane became airborne. The pilot wrote in a post-accident email "Plow taxing [sic] takes place at approximately 3,800 rpm, so it would likely be perceived as an attempted takeoff. Full takeoff power, however, is approximately 5,300 rpm."

Data retrieved from the airplane's Digital to Analogue Converter (DAC) revealed that the flight began about 1309 at the passenger's lake shore residence. After departing the passenger's residence, the airplane water-taxied northeast, exiting a cove that linked to the main lake. The airplane taxied about 5 minutes and 35 seconds with the engine speed less than 4,000 RPM. About 11 minutes and 10 seconds after departing the residence, the engine speed began to increase until it peaked about 5,292 RPM about 1314:47. At this time, the flaps were indicating 0°, the indicated airspeed was recorded at 26.34 knots, and the airplane was on a 125° ground track.

At 1314:49, engine RPM began to decrease, and the ground track indicated a turn toward the south. At 1314:52, the flaps were lowered to 30°, and the airplane continued the turn toward the north.

After traveling north for about a minute around 4,300 RPM, the airplane began a turn toward the west. The westerly track continued for about a minute before the airplane turned toward the southeast. While in the turn, with the flaps set at 30°, engine RPM began to increase to 5,140 RPM. At 1317:52, the recorded indicated airspeed peaked about 37 knots. The engine speed remained above 5,000 RPM until 1317:57. As the RPM decreased, the ground track began to indicate a more easterly track.

At 1318:57, the engine speed again began to increase, and the ground track began to indicate a turn back toward the southeast. The turn continued as engine speed and airspeed began to increase. At 1319:29, the engine speed indicated 5,021 RPM, the recorded indicated airspeed was 45.32 knots, the ground track was about 219° and altitude began to increase.

At 1319:34, the indicated airspeed started to oscillate between about 40 to 53 knots.

At 1319:40, the highest airspeed of the flight was recorded at 54.64 knots.

At 1319:42, the highest GPS altitude recorded was about 947 ft mean sea level (MSL). The lake level was recorded at approximately 906 ft MSL.

The last line of data was time stamped 1319:45. At that time, the engine speed was 4,839.59 RPM, the indicated airspeed was 28.69 knots, the airplane ground speed was 39.4 knots, the ground track was 353°, and the wing's angle of attack was 20.54°.

A review of video of the accident flight posted on social media from witnesses showed the airplane in a nose-high attitude with the flaps extended as it approached trees during the initial climb. As the airplane reached about the midpoint of a stand of trees, the angle of attack appeared to increase and the nose dropped. The right wing then lowered and impacted one of the trees. The airplane subsequently descended rapidly into the water.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ICON
Registration: N663BA
Model/Series: A5 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Special Light-Sport
Serial Number: 00004
Landing Gear Type: Amphibian
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/03/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1510 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 20 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 620 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 912
Registered Owner: Icon Aircraft Incorporated
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: Icon Aircraft Incorporated
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Lake, MI (n/a)
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Destination: Lake, MI (n/a)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None

Latitude, Longitude: 43.772222, -84.946111 (est)

Location: Lake, MI
Accident Number: CEN19LA242
Date & Time: 07/27/2019, 1220 EDT
Registration: N663BA
Aircraft: ICON A5
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 None

Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On July 27, 2019, about 1220 eastern daylight time, an amphibious, light sport Icon Aircraft Inc. A5 airplane, N663BA, sustained substantial damage during an impact with trees shortly after departure from Littlefield Lake, Lake, Michigan. The airplane was registered to and operated by Icon Aircraft Inc. as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 business flight when the accident occurred. The Airline Transport pilot sustained minor injuries and the pilot rated passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was a sales demonstration flight with a potential client. When he arrived at Littlefield Lake, he estimated the winds to be about 8 to 10 knots from the southwest. After landing, he taxied to the client's home and beached the airplane so the client could board. After taxing the airplane to the selected departure area, he said the wind had increased and he estimated the speed to be between 12 and 15 knots. He said when he started the takeoff run, he saw three small wakes, consistent with those from wave runners, which helped propel the airplane into the air. He said that they got into the air on the first takeoff attempt. He said the takeoff was normal and "there was nothing wrong with the [air]plane at all." He stated that they got to the shoreline, they were treetop height plus an estimated 50-60ft. His plan was to execute a left turn to stay over the lake in the event of an engine failure. Before starting the right turn, he looked at the angle of attack indicator and it showed one needle width below the top of the green, and he estimated his speed between 55-60 knots. He started to initiate a 10° turn to the right to stay over the lake and it suddenly sounded like they "hit a wall."

The pilot rated passenger, who was seated in the left seat at the time of the accident, stated that "the weather was not the best" and that the wind was shifting 180°. He said he told the pilot-in-command (PIC) this sentiment, and that it took four takeoff attempts to get airborne. After the second attempt, he said he told the PIC that it would not break his heart if they did not go. He said that the airplane felt very sluggish and acted as if it did not want to come off the water. When they did get airborne, they were about 100 ft from the trees, headed straight toward them and the airplane "felt very heavy." When asked to elaborate on the weight, he said the PIC told him they had 485 lbs available and only ¾ of a tank of fuel.

A post-accident weight and balance calculation, based upon the most recent available weight and balance and information provided to a Federal Aviation Administration aviation safety inspector by the PIC, revealed that the airplane was about 70 lbs over max gross weight and outside of the weight and center of gravity envelope limits contained within Pilot's Operating Handbook.

A review of video of the accident flight shows the airplane in a nose-high attitude with the flaps extended as it approaches trees after takeoff. As the airplane reached about the midpoint of a stand of trees, the angle of attack appears to increase and the nose drops. The right wing then lowered and impacted one of the trees. The airplane subsequently descend rapidly into the water.

A witness to the accident stated that they saw the airplane make three takeoff attempts before the airplane became airborne.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ICON
Registration: N663BA
Model/Series: A5
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Icon Aircraft Incorporated
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries:1 Serious, 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 43.772222, -84.946111 (est)





Isabella County Sheriffs Office

Last Saturday the Isabella County Sheriffs Office handled a plane crash that occurred at Littlefield Lake.

There were two (2) deputies working Marine patrol at the time of the crash, they also witnessed it occur.

Deputy Graham and Marine Deputy Klawender immediate responded within under a minute to the crash site. 

They were assisted with lake goers who were on the lake in bringing two men from the wreckage to a pontoon boat. 

This boat then transferred the men to the shore where they were treated by fire/rescue and EMS personnel. 

However the story doesn’t end there.

Once the two victims were transferred to medical facilities the job of recovery and removal of the airplane began.

I cannot say enough about residence from the lake area and those who were on the lake who assisted our agency. 

It was a task that we had no instructions or experience in doing.

Removal of a plane from a lake was new to us as well. 

A plan was established and the use of the water sport tubes to support the plane was determined viable, several people donated the use of them who were on the lake. 

The use of those tubes are very appreciative by our agency. 

The Isabella County Sheriffs Office and pedestrians on scene worked together to tie the tubes to the wings of the plane to keep it afloat. 

Once that was done we used two Jet Skis that were donated by Lakeside Marina in Mecosta County for marine patrol use for the summer to float the plane through the water to the Mooring and then it was loaded onto a wrecker for transport. 

Again there were a lot of people that assisted our agency to make this happen and I/we very much appreciate it. 

Also, if anyone has a photographs of the plane being towed in I would ask if you don’t mind to have a few of them sent to us. Thank you again Littlefield Lake residents and goers for all of your help. 

Sheriff Michael Main

Discovery of an explosive-charged parachute delayed investigation Monday into the crash of a rare airplane on busy Littlefield Lake Saturday, Sheriff Micheal Main said.

The amphibious ICON-A5 plane, which could land and take off on water or solid ground, had a parachute and the explosive device used to deploy it - which was partially deployed in the crash - concerned investigators.

"The device was partially activated and created a safety concern for investigators," Main said. "Federal Aviation Administration worked with the manufacture and with the help of Green’s towing staff were able to remove the device safely."

The device was moved to a secure area and held until a Michigan State Police bomb squad could respond. It was detonated at a local gravel pit.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will continue to investigate.

Meanwhile, the pilot and owner of the plane, Tyrone Finch, 54, from Tennessee has been released from the hospital.

His passenger, local pilot Patrick Jarman, 62, of Deerfield Township, was more seriously injured but is recovering and expected to be released soon from a hospital in Grand Rapids, Main said.

Jarman was intending to test fly the ICON-A5, described as a "high-wing flying boat-type amphibious monoplane," with the intention of possibly buying it, sources said.

Two Isabella County Sheriff's marine deputies were on the scene, patrolling on jet skis at the time of the crash, and witnessed the plane attempt to take off from the lake.

According to the deputies, when the plane became airborne, it appeared to begin to struggle to gain altitude and began to turn, striking a tree and immediately taking a nosedive in the water.

Isabella county was experiencing strong wind gusts at the time of the crash, which the Isabella County Sheriff's office suspects may have interfered with the take-off.

The deputies responded immediately and approached the plane, finding pedestrians from another vessel in the vicinity already assisting both Finch and Jarman out of the cockpit.

They went into the water and assisted getting the men onto a nearby pontoon boat, before transporting both men to shore, where they were treated by fire/rescue and EMS.

Finch suffered slight injuries and Jarman was more seriously hurt, sources said.

According to the Isabella County sheriff's office, both were transported to a local E.D. with non-life-threatening injuries, but Jarman was flown by Areomed helicopter to Grand Rapids, where he is listed in serious condition.

Many residents and lake-users were also on the scene, helping officials and workers from Green's Towing to get the plane out of the water.

The plane was upside down in the water for several hours, with several local lake residents and Greens Towing staff securing flotation tubes under the wings to keep the plane from sinking.

Once secured, Sheriffs personnel used ropes to slowly pull the plane with the deputies' jet skis to the mooring/dock area, where the plane was loaded onto a flatbed wrecker and slowly moved from the lake to an impound yard.

Nottawa Sherman Fire Department and Mobile Medical Response assisted with the rescue.

One of only about 90 such planes in existence, the ICON-A5 was developed earlier this decade and went into limited production in 2016.

It has folding wings allowing it to be transported or stored in a garage and can land and take off on the ground or on water.

Sheriff Main on Monday thanked all who assisted with the rescue of both the pilot and passenger and the recover of the plane, which crashed mid-afternoon on a busy lake in northwest Isabella County.

"Once the two victims were transferred to medical facilities the job of recovery and removal of the airplane began," Main said.

"I cannot say enough about residents from the lake area and those who were on the lake who assisted our agency," Main said. "It was a task that we had no instructions or experience in doing. Removal of a plane from a lake was new to us as well."

Main said:

A plan was established and the use of the water sport tubes to support the plane was determined viable. Several people donated the use of them who were on the lake. The use of those tubes are very appreciative by our agency.

The Isabella County Sheriff's Office and pedestrians on scene worked together to tie the tubes to the wings of the plane to keep it afloat.

Once that was done we used two Jet Skis that were donated by Lakeside Marina in Mecosta County for marine patrol use for the summer to float the plane through the water to the mooring and then it was loaded onto a wrecker for transport.

Again there were a lot of people that assisted our agency to make this happen and I/we very much appreciate it. Also, if anyone has a photographs of the plane being towed in I would ask if you don’t mind to have a few of them sent to us. Thank you again Littlefield Lake residents and goers for all of your help. 

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

9 comments:

  1. Just a glorified Wave-Runner with wings. For what they cost, you could buy one heck of a nice used legacy aircraft of a tried & true design.

    ReplyDelete
  2. For 100k more you can buy a brand new SR20 or C182....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apples and oranges.. Yes they're overpriced, but you can't compare an amphibious aircraft that can be stored in a garage and trailered down the freeway to a SR20 or C182.

      Delete
    2. Sure you can only the icon is under powered and unsafe . Want to tow your airplane around.. What for its A aeroplane! Not A boat o plane.. Get A jet ski for the lake toy. I fly from lake to lake or airport to grass strip ... Never had any reasons to trailer A air plane and ive built several.Trailer in peices to hanger assemble the plane and test fly it. Unless its A toy to screw around in like these turds are.

      Delete
  3. I think 10% of the fleet has now been involved in accidents.

    ReplyDelete
  4. 23 percent of the Icon fleet involved in serious accidents!
    $395,000 for a Rotax powered light sport airplane!?!?!? Icon pricing is absurd!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ty Finch = Regional Sales Director at ICON Aircraft Inc.
    ICON Aircraft = If it weren't for bad luck, they'd have no luck at all.

    ReplyDelete
  6. All crashes have been pilot error thus far. I’ve owned two planes and rented as well, the Icon A5 is overpriced as a result of production/assembly methods.

    Reduce the carbon fiber part count thus ‘man hours’ to build.
    200-250K Max

    ReplyDelete
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_I1za-TSCE

    ReplyDelete