Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar, N326CW: Fatal accident occurred October 05, 2019 near Kokomo Municipal Airport (KOKK), Howard County, Indiana


Dr. Daniel Greenwald


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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana

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

https://registry.faa.gov/N326CW

Location: Kokomo, IN
Accident Number: CEN20FA002
Date & Time: 10/05/2019, 1637 EDT
Registration: N326CW
Aircraft: Piper AEROSTAR 602P
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business

On October 5, 2019, about 1637 eastern daylight time, a Piper Aerostar 602P, N326CW, departed from Kokomo Municipal Airport (OKK), Kokomo, Indiana, and impacted a field about 3.6 miles south of the airport. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The airline transport pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to Indiana Paging Network Inc and was operated by the pilot under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight that was not operating on a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight while departing from OKK.

On the day of the accident, the flight departed from Peter O Knight Airport (TPF), Tampa, Florida, about 0645 and arrived at OKK about 1027. The purpose of the flight was for the pilot, who was employed by In Flight Review, Inc, based in Tampa, Florida, to provide Piper PA-42 Cheyenne recurrent training to a customer based at OKK.

According to the airport employee who fueled the airplane, he asked the pilot of N326CW, while on approach to the airport, if he wanted jet fuel, and the pilot said "yes." He said the he asked the pilot if he wanted jet fuel because the airplane looked like a jet airplane. When the airplane arrived, the employee pulled the Jet A fuel truck out and parked it in front of the airplane while the pilot was still inside the airplane. The employee said that he asked the pilot again if he was wanted jet fuel, and the pilot said "yes." The employee fueled the airplane with about 163 gallons of Jet A from the fuel truck. The employee said that he was able to orientate the different shaped nozzle (relative to the 100 low lead fuel truck nozzle) from the Jet A fuel truck by positioning it 90 degrees over the wing fuel tank filler necks and about 45 degrees over the fuselage filler necks. He said the he initially spilled about one gallon of fuel during refueling and adjusted his technique so subsequent fuel spillage was minimal.

The Jet A fuel truck had "JET A" on its left, right, and rear sides.

The employee that was inside the fixed base operator building about 1620 heard the engines start. After the engines started, the engines sounded "typical." He said that he did not hear any radio transmissions from the pilot during his departure and did not hear an engine runup.

The pilot, who received recurrent training from the accident pilot, stated the accident pilot began training right away beginning about 1045. They completed training and it was after 1630 when the pilot drove the accident pilot to N326CW. The pilot said the accident pilot visually checked the fuel tanks of the airplane and gave a "thumbs-up" to the pilot. The pilot did not stay for the remainder of the accident pilot's preflight and drove off. The pilot heard the engines start and "they sounded normal." The pilot did not see the takeoff. The pilot said the winds favored runway 14, which was in use on the day of the accident.

A witness stated that she saw a "low flying" airplane flying from north to south. The airplane made a "sharp left turn" to the east. The left wing "dipped low" and she then lost sight of the airplane but when she approached the intersection near the accident site, she saw the airplane on the ground.

Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed the airplane wreckage path was about 328 ft in length along an approximate heading of 046° on a dry and hard surfaced fallow bean field. Components of the left side of the airplane were near the southwestern portion of the wreckage path. The wreckage and the wreckage path displayed features consistent with an accelerated stall.

The examination revealed the presence of a clear liquid consistent in color and order with that of Jet A in a fuselage tank and in the fuel lines leading to the fuel manifolds of both engines. Several of the engine spark plugs exhibited damage consistent with detonation. Flight control continuity was confirmed. The landing gear was in the retracted position.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N326CW 
Model/Series: AEROSTAR 602P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Pilot
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OKK, 832 ft msl
Observation Time: 1656 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 8°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots / , 140°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.01 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Kokomo, IN (OKK)
Destination:

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: 40.475000, -86.063333 (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.

TAMPA — Dr. Daniel P. Greenwald knew what to do in a mid-air emergency. The well-known Tampa plastic surgeon had been flying since he was a teen and had trained countless pilots as a part-time flight instructor.

But last week, Greenwald found himself in a mid-air crisis he couldn’t escape. And now a preliminary investigative report reveals a stunning possible cause of the crash that killed him: The plane he was flying had been filled with the wrong type of fuel.

A worker at the Kokomo Municipal Airport in Indiana put 163 gallons of jet fuel in the Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar, according to a report the National Transportation Safety Board released Thursday. The Aerostar is a propeller plane with twin engines designed to run on standard, low-lead aviation gasoline.

The report does not blame the apparent fuel mix-up for the crash. A determination on the cause will be included, if possible, in a final report that typically takes several months to complete.

But Robert Losurdo, founder and CEO of In Flight Review, a Tampa-based flight instruction company that Greenwald worked for, says he already is convinced.

“Guaranteed, 100 percent," Losurdo said. “If he had regular fuel, he’d be home in Tampa.”

Greenwald left Tampa’s Peter O. Knight airport in the Aerostar about 6:45 a.m. Saturday and arrived at Kokomo Municipal about 10:27 a.m., the report says. Greenwald went to Kokomo that day to train a pilot in a different model of Piper plane, a Cheyenne.

An employee at the Kokomo facility later told investigators that as Greenwald was approaching the airport in the Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar, the employee asked him if he wanted jet fuel, and Greenwald said “yes.” The employee, who is not named in the report, told investigators he asked because the Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar looked like a jet airplane, according to the report.

When Greenwald arrived, the employee parked the jet fuel truck in front of the Aerostar while Greenwald was still inside. The truck was marked with “JET A” on the left, right and rear sides.

“The employee said that he asked the pilot again if he wanted jet fuel, and the pilot said, ‘yes,’ ” the report says.

Jet fuel nozzles are shaped differently from nozzles for standard aviation fuel but the employee told investigators he was able to fill the Aerostar by positioning the nozzle at certain angles. The employee said he initially spilled about a gallon of fuel during refueling and “adjusted his technique so subsequent fuel spillage was minimal,” the report says.

Greenwald completed the training with the student pilot in the Cheyenne and they returned to the Aerostar about 4:20 p.m. The student pilot told investigators Greenwald visually checked the Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar fuel tanks and gave the student pilot a thumbs-up sign. The student pilot said he heard the engines start up and they sounded normal. The airport employee who filled the plane described the engine sound as “typical.”

Another witness told investigators she saw the Piper flying low and make a sharp left turn. The left wing “dipped low” and the witness lost sight of the plane until she came upon the wreckage in a bean field about four miles from the airport.

An examination of the plane found a clear liquid consistent with jet fuel in the planes’ fuselage tank and in the fuel lines leading to both fuel manifolds. Several of the plane’s spark plugs showed damage “consistent with detonation," the report says.

Beth Copeland, city attorney for Kokomo, sent a statement in response to the Times noting that the NTSB report says the airport employee asked the pilot twice if he wanted jet fuel and both times he answered yes.

“The City does not dispute that," the statement said. "The incident is tragic, and the City offers its sincerest condolences to the pilot’s family.”

Losurdo said there’s no way that Greenwald would have knowingly ordered jet fuel for the Aerostar, a model of plane Greenwald has owned. In addition to his successful private medical practice, Bayshore Plastic Surgery, Greenwald has worked as an instructor for In Flight Review for at least 15 years, Losurdo said.

Perhaps Greenwald misheard the employee, but even if it’s a case of miscommunication, the employee made a mistake, Losurdo said.

“There’s got to be some responsibility there for the fact that linemen have to know the difference between a piston airplane and a jet airplane," he said.

Losurdo suspects there was enough standard gasoline in the plane’s tanks to start the engines and take off, and then at least one engine and probably both failed as they tried to fire the kerosene-based jet-fuel.

The Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar is registered to Indiana Paging Network, a company that provides paging services. A message left there Friday was not immediately returned.

Losurdo said Greenwald was training the Cheyenne pilot for another company but apparently also planned to conduct a training session with the Aerostar’s owner. Losurdo said he told Greenwald that he wouldn’t be able to do the training after all because the owner had not submitted the required paperwork to In Flight, so Losurdo suspects Greenwald was on his way back to Tampa at the time of the crash.

Losurdo described Greenwald as a “lovely man” who operated on him after a bout with cancer.

“I cried for two days and have been sick all week,” he said. “I’ve trained thousands of pilots and you’d never expect this to happen.”


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


Tampa plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Greenwald, seen here with his wife, Juli Robbins Greenwald, died October 5th when the plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff in Kokomo, Indana.


A Tampa doctor with a passion for flying died Saturday after his private plane crashed near Kokomo, Ind.

Dr. Daniel P. Greenwald, 59, was a well-known plastic surgeon with a private practice, Bayshore Plastic Surgery, in Tampa’s Channelside district. He was named one of America’s top surgeons in 2009 and specialized in hand and microvascular surgery, cosmetic plastic surgery and also performed gender reassignment surgeries.

His twin-engine plane took off from Kokomo Municipal Airport sometime before 5 p.m. Saturday, according to Indianapolis station WISH-TV. Then deputies found the plane crashed in a soybean field about four miles away. Greenwald was the only person inside the plane and died at the scene of the crash, according to the Howard County Sheriff’s Office. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.


Tampa plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Greenwald (top left), seen here with his family, died October 5th when the plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff in Kokomo, Indana.

His family, including his wife and two children, are devastated. “He was the center of our family’s universe,” said his daughter, Alix Greenwald, 31. “I’ve never met anyone more skilled at so many things. He spent all his time learning new things, mastering skills and spending time with his family.”

Daniel Greenwald, the former head of plastic surgery at Tampa General Hospital, had been flying planes since he was a teenager, he told the Tampa Bay Times in 2003. The hobby was an adrenaline rush that he found relaxing.

Tampa plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Greenwald died October 5th when the plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff in Kokomo, Indana. 


“I get to recharge my batteries by directing all my mental abilities into one specific thing that’s not work,” he told the Times. “Everything else in life takes a back seat to what you’re doing” in the cockpit. In 2011 he posted a video on YouTube of himself practicing aerobatic maneuvers, like flips and loops, in an Extra 300L plane.

“He was a consummate airman, he was a guy who loved aviation in all forms," said Dr. Richard Karl, a friend, fellow pilot and chairman emeritus of the surgery department at the University of South Florida.. “He pursued jets, he pursued aerobatics — he was a guy who loved to fly as much as he loved to breathe.”

Greenwald had been a member of the medical staff at Tampa General for more than 20 years and his education included studies at Harvard, Princeton and Yale, the hospital said in a news release.

“We will remember Dr. Greenwald’s sparkling intellect, his kindness to everyone he met, and his great enthusiasm, not just for surgical innovation, but for living life to the fullest,” the news release said.

“He was deeply dedicated to his patients, including those who faced devastating traumatic injuries, and his rare skills brought so many of them healing and renewed health.”


Tampa plastic surgeon Dr. Daniel Greenwald, seen here with his wife, Juli Robbins Greenwald, died October 5th when the plane he was piloting crashed shortly after takeoff in Kokomo, Indana. 


Brushes with danger didn’t seem to chill his enthusiasm for flying. In 2003, his close friend David Cahill, a prominent Tampa neurosurgeon, flipped his twin-propeller Beechcraft while attempting to land in Memphis International Airport. Cahill and a passenger were killed and two others on board were seriously injured. Greenwald and Cahill had co-owned two airplanes: a Seneca and P-Baron, according to an article published in Flying Magazine.

In 2008, Greenwald clipped a sailboat while flying an Extra 300 single-engine plane then careened into a sea wall and flipped into the Peter O. Knight Airport airfield on Davis Islands. Greenwald broke his left hand and his passenger broke his leg in the accident. “I’ve had better days. I am alive,” Greenwald said at the time.

Alix Greenwald said that, besides flying, her father loved seafood, neon, reggae, his community “and above all, my mom, whom he loved to a degree I am in awe of," she said. “He always fully grasped what was important in life.”


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





KOKOMO, Indiana (WISH) — A man died Saturday in a twin-engine plane crash near Kokomo.

The Saturday afternoon crash was along State Road 22 near County Road 300 East, according to Capt. Jordan Buckley with the Howard County Sheriff’s Office.

The pilot, who was the plane’s sole occupant, died at the scene of the crash, Howard County Sheriff Jerry Asher said.

According to the sheriff’s office, the plane had taken off from Kokomo Municipal Airport sometime before 5 p.m.

Deputies found the plane crashed in a soybean field

One neighbor, who asked not to be named, said she saw the plane fall out of the sky.

“As it got behind the house, here, it went down - one wing went down low to the ground,” the neighbor said. “And then the wing hit the ground and the plane went right on into the field ... I saw the wing start dipping down and I knew he wasn’t going to be able to right the plane ... I’m yelling at the aircraft, actually. I’m saying ‘Get up in the air!’ And then when it hit I kept saying ‘No, no, no, no! you can’t do that!’ ... somebody lost their life. AndIi don’t like seeing things like that. People shouldn’t have to die like that. That had to have been ugly and very frightening for him.”

That neighbor said many smaller planes are seen in the area because of the airfield a few miles away.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Saturday night said the crash was being investigated.

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



TAMPA (WFLA) — A community is in mourning as the Tampa Bay area learns about a long time doctor’s death in an Indiana plane crash.

Dr. Daniel Greenwald loved to fly using Peter O. Knight Airport as his base for many years, even flying humanitarian missions out of there.

It was an eerie sight Saturday afternoon; a Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar mangled after crashing in an Indiana field.

The Howard County, Indiana coroner declared Greenwald dead in the plane. No one else was with him.

Back in Tampa, word is spreading about the deadly crash that took the life of the South Tampa cosmetic surgeon.

“We see a lot of sun-exposed skin,” Greenwald said in a previous interview with 8 On Your Side.

He would use his expertise to bring awareness to important issues.

“Cancer has a bad name because it’s cancer,” he said.

His colleagues at Tampa General Hospital, where he worked for more than two decades, shared a touching tribute Sunday evening.

“He was an immensely talented surgeon who took on the most complex cases and mastered them.”

In the statement, hospital staff said, “No matter how busy he was, he always took time to connect with the people around him with sincerity and empathy. He was deeply dedicated to his patients, including those who faced devastating traumatic injuries.”

8 On Your Side learned from those he worked with that he had hundreds of hours of flight time, using that and his medical skills to give back. Greenwald once flew medical supplies to Haiti after an earthquake in 2018. He also donated his time as a surgeon to help those hurt.

On social media, former patients, friends, and those in the aviation community shared how Greenwald inspired them.

The NTSB and FAA are investigating the crash. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay continues to mourn a well-known figure of our community.

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






A plane crash near Kokomo left one person dead late Saturday afternoon.

Only a pilot was onboard when the plane crashed in a soybean field around 5 p.m., Howard County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jordan Buckley said. A coroner pronounced the pilot dead on scene.

The Howard County coroner's office on Sunday identified the man killed as Dr. Daniel P. Greenwald, 59. Greenwald was a plastic surgeon from Tampa, Florida.

The  Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar crashed 3 1/2 miles south of Kokomo due to unknown circumstances, Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Tony Molinaro said.

The plane crashed in the area of State Road 22 between 300 East and 500 East south of Kokomo. Roadways near the field reopened to traffic hours after the crash. Kokomo is approximately 50 miles north of Indianapolis.

The NTSB is in charge of the investigation, Molinaro said.

The Howard County Sheriff’s Department, Kokomo Fire Department, Kokomo Police Department, Indiana State Police, Greentown Fire Department and emergency medical services were dispatched to the scene.

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

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this one.

Anonymous said...

Basically misfueling. Jet-A instead of 100LL.

Also they claim the pilot explicitly asked for jet fuel in his piston plane but without any recordings it's a he said/she said situation.

Reminds me of the diesel additive fiasco where some moron used that and a private jet had to do an emergency landing recently. And a nice lawsuit against the FBO as the said jet(s) are now totaled since the engines were damaged beyond repairs. That's a 7-8 figure bill.

Anonymous said...

What kind of ratings did he have? It says he was giving training in a pa-42.was he qualified?.

Anonymous said...

This is on the fuel handler. He knew what he was doing was wrong. Regardless of what the pilot said, the fuel openings for Jet-A and 100LL are different for a reason.
Transfer him to Russia and mail him his clothes.

Anonymous said...

He spilled a gallon, probably more, and kept fueling. Man this is sad. Maybe the FAA should be training these fuel truck drivers.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, this is on the pilot in command. The fuel handler should have said something, but I guess he figured it's this guys airplane so he must know what he's doing.when I had fuel put in any aircraft I flew, I always supervised the fueling to prevent just such an event. The pilot sounds like he was to preoccupied with something else. Sad he lost his life.

Leo Camilleri said...

This is one for every pilot in here, regardless of ratings or time as pic. When ever you have a fuel truck and an attendant about to refuel your plane, verify once ... twice what fuel is going into your tanks. Over the course of forty years flying, I’ve averted fueling mishaps five times. Attendants thinking my Baron used JetA, MoGas in my A36, 100LL into a MU2, 100LL into a Conquest and believe it or not .. JetA into a radial engined Otter.
These happened while I was within the proximity of the airplane and prevented the contamination. For those of you that go have lunch and have the FBO do the refueling, think again.
Refueling attendants may or may not completely understand their job, but there shouldn’t be any doubt that a PIC knows his. The extra time spent with the airplane during refueling could save your life and that of others.

Anonymous said...

I have a hard time believing that the pilot with this much experience would or could be mistaken about what type of fuel his aircraft uses. Sounds to me like the fuel line Person made a very large mistake I’m sure after the investigation is finished that will be cleared

Anonymous said...

I was taught to stay with your plane while it is being refueled, period. This sometimes causes tension but worth it in my opinion. At our airport, their is quite a turnaround of fuel employees. Many are green and have never worked around airplanes. Pilot ultimately responsible even though oblivious mistake made by fueler.

Anonymous said...

This fuel guy sounds suspicious to me and the pilot is not able to defend himself obviously. The doctor was in a hurry to get the training done in the turboprop and that was likely an important factor in the mis fueling scenario. None of us are perfect and most of the mistakes I've made have been when I was hurrying. The fuel guy knew ZERO about airplanes if he thought a piper aerostar was a jet! had he never been able to tell the difference between even just the sound of a turbine engine vs a piston knocker? what a dingleberry. who hired this guy anyway? Probably could not even work at a shell station as he would put diesel in gas cars and vice versa. At least he couldn't kill anybody there! Did anybody think to search this guy for a crack pipe or somethin?

Anonymous said...

This one leaves me speechless.

In Europe where I live and fly (under EASA rules) it is mandatory to have a sticker next to the fuel filler cap stating AVGAS 100LL or JET A 1.

Anonymous said...

It matters not your years, hours, certificates, or experience level flying ... Complacency can creep in if you allow it and it can kill.

Complacency is my biggest battle.YMMV.

RIP

7C

Anonymous said...

Pilot should've verified the correct fuel, yes, and ultimately the responsibility rode on him, but the line service person here really should have his head examined. Day one of line service is verify the fuel type stickers on the aircraft wings, and the fuel nozzles are shaped differently so that jet A CANNOT be inserted into a 100LL tank. Something should have clicked when he noticed the nozzle didn't fit in the opening. Also, PRIST is not used in 100LL. If he really did ask for "jet fuel" specifically, he should have also mentioned whether or not he wanted prist. So many links in the chain on this one.

IMO you should ALWAYS be there when the airplane is getting fuel, for this reason alone. Terrible loss.

Anonymous said...

Pilot was a DPE with 10,000+ hours, with thousands of those hours in a Navajos and Cheyennes. Owned an L39 as well and trained L39 pilots.

In spite of what many of us believe about avgas separating from JetA, it mixes cleanly and it would be possible to miss the misfueling by sumping.

Anonymous said...

It takes two people to allow this type of mistake, the pilot and the fueler.

Anonymous said...

It only takes this one time in Aviation... just this one time.

This is a sentence that my first instructor told me, a guy way younger than me but how wise. I always repeat this as a mantra.

Anonymous said...

"... An employee at the Kokomo facility later told investigators that as Greenwald was approaching the airport in the Aerostar, the employee asked him if he wanted jet fuel, and Greenwald said “yes.” The employee, who is not named in the report, told investigators he asked because the Aerostar looked like a jet airplane, according to the report..."


Seems odd to me the employee asked because if the guy wanted Jet A because he thought the Aerostar looked like a jet when it wasn't even at the airport yet. It was just approaching. How could he tell it looked like a jet? If it was close enough for him to think it looked like a jet then he should have been able to hear it at that point. If that's the case then at least two people at the FBO don't know the difference between the sound of a piston engine and a turbine.

Also, the guy that fueled the plane with the Jet A stated the engines sounded "typical". If it sounded "typical" for a piston engine then he should have known he put the wrong fuel in the plane. The whine of a turbine sounds nothing like a piston engine.

Anonymous said...

I'm a low-time pilot (<200 hrs) but I am always present during re-fueling and ALWAYS verify the fuel truck says 100LL. If on the rare occasion I'm not present, I look at the fuel receipt to make sure 100LL box is checked. Sad and totally preventable.

Anonymous said...

"The whine of a turbine sounds nothing like a piston engine"? Does the person that posted that realize that all of the A/C flying with diesel engines also use Jet A? It doesn't need to be a turbine engine aircraft to get Jet A.

Anonymous said...

Horrible chain of events. If only one link was broken/interrupted... The NTSB will probably remind us that the PIC is the final authority on determining airworthiness. Civil liability may be a different story. Prayers and condolences to Dr. Greenwald’s family and friends

Anonymous said...

The refueling technician should have been and hopefully properly trained. If in fact he was this would have never happened. His statement that he had trouble inserting nozzle into filler port in itself explains lack of knowledge and training. Spilling fuel would have been another red flag . Find it hard to believe Avgas only gas placard not located at filler port. Clearly there will have to be a lengthy investigation into this accident. What we’re reading is hearsay statement that field truck was parked directly in front of the airplane may not be a fact . Find it hard to believe pilot Would Announce jet fuel over Unicom . If pilot inspected after removal of fuel caps it is extremely hard to detect what type of fuel . Even if he did a fuel sample Sump it would show blue . Looking at this as a civil matter I believe you would find fault 80% with fueling technician remainder of the fall would be on Pilot and airport management. This is very sad.

T Ibach said...

an aircraft fueler should be trained, and be issued an FAA license, that way they are trained, receive recurrent training every year, and have something to lose when they screw up...this guy is apparently lying through his teeth, and because of the, I hope the Doc's family takes him to court and cleans him out....if he came clean and bore the responsibility that's another story, anybody can make a mistake, but apparently lying through your teeth is not the way to be responsible...refueling airplanes is a HUGE responsibility...

Wander said...

It's about time to ban Jet A or AVGAS and stick to one type so no more innocent lives are taken away.

Unknown said...

I don't believe the fuel guy. I would bet the doctor told him to refuel it and left. The woefully under trained guy thought it looked like a jet so filled it accordingly. NO WAY would the doctor have allowed jet fuel if it was brought to his attention as the fuel guy stated. He should be found guilty of manslaughter and put in prison.

Propilot said...

This is definitely a situation where both parties are responsible. The fueler is either lying as there is no way to corroborate his statements or the PIC was distracted and was not listening. In the end, I agree that ultimately the PIC is responsible. Per others here, I never leave my aircraft when it is being fuelled and always check for AVGAS on the bowser to confirm. If the fueler cannot tell a jet from a piston aircraft then he/she is about as liable as a gas station attendant and will ad no value in the safety chain. Our aircraft was refuelled ONCE by an avionics shop and moved on the ramp under power and it cost $ 4,000 to isolate the damage they did backfiring the aircraft when they started it. Going forward, nobody fuels it and nobody starts it without an owner present. In this case, BOTH parties are integral in the safety chain. RIP good flier.

Tom said...

It's easy enough to "feel the fuel, smell the fuel" during preflight. Basic. Even fuel trucks can be contaminated. I suspect the NTSB will say something like, "Inadequate preflight and planning".

gretnabear said...

PIC arrives, contacts ? for fuel?
My long time ago experience was upon arrival, I spoke directly to the FBO concerning services needed, the FBO took my order, 'wrote it up' and only then did the FBO dispatched a line employee. I then oversaw that service, confirmed and returned to the FBO to pay for the services rendered. That was a long time ago, still I have to wonder why the line worker was the only noted person the PIC dealt with upon arrival.

scott said...

If you look at every fuel mishap they involve the same types of planes. Planes that look like potential turboprops. They are twin engine pistons that look like similar turboprops or planes like Malibu’s that look like jetprops. What many may not realize is that there is nothing wrong with filling a round fuel opening with a beveled jet a dispenser. Modified aircraft that were once piston and converted to Jet a do not require that the fuel openings be changed. In a few of the fuel mishaps the maintenance people had planes on their field that had such situations where Jet A fuel was regularly inserted into round holes. Thus, how can a maintenance guy known what type of fuel you need. He has to ask you. Did this plane have the appropriate fuel markings that stated Avgas? It was an old plane and there are no requirements to replace aged placards. In every one of the prior fuel mishaps the pilot walked out with a bill of sale that stated Jet A was fueled in the plane. In an Aerostar when 160 gallons are inserted into a tank that is 200 gallons that fuel should not have looked like avgas. It should not have smelled like avgas and it should not have felt like avgas. Did the pilot check the fuel? There is fault on both sides and we do no really know the conversation but the pilot has to be the one who confirms the correct fuel is inserted. Probably the FAA can mandate that all JET A fuel openings be altered to only accept beveled openings and that would solve the problem. Probably the pilot was in a rush. It was 4:30 and he had a 4 hour flight to Tampa. There was a communication error. We know that but I am sure that the maintenance guy didn’t want to kill this guy. As long as there are aircraft that have round openings that accept JET A this will occur and the maintenance guy can’t be totally held responsible and the maintenance people cannot know every type of plane, especially at small airports where they may not see these planes often. It all ends with the pilot is in command and is the final say. He has to check the fuel.

Unknown said...

Hey...it's up to the pilot if he wants to let the "ramp rat" kill him. That being said, most are missing the point here...just because you have a double engine failure, it doesn't mean you have to die. The area of the crash appears to be fairly open in the photos. Bad deal all around. RIP.

Unknown said...

Thank heaven comment moderation is on. I'd hate to see what would be posted on this one without it.

This is a great website and research resource, but unfortunately attracts a certain kind of toxic commenter. When you mix anonymity with armchair expertise (real or imagined), it creates a mess. When people feel less about themselves in real life, they take it out on strangers on the internet.

Did I really see a post wondering if this pilot was certified to do the type of training that day? Seriously? What on earth does that have to do with the accident or fuel mix up? Are we now going to ask if one of his shoes was tied more tightly than the other?

This case is sad and quite obviously the responsibility of two parties. People yammering on about "ramp rats" killing people or people needing their head examined are typing with their emotional throttles open, yet brain firmly in idle.

Human psychology is an interesting thing. Whether its a pilot so used to a flying routine, or an attendant so used to a fueling routine. Or even a comment troll used to a flaming routine. :)

Jim W said...

I found Scott's comment about modified airplanes not having changed fuel openings and missing placards not needing to be replaced interesting. Given the cost of converting a piston to a turbine wouldn't breaking one potential link in an accident chain be worth that cost? And wouldn't the cost for a simple fuel sticker replacement also be worth it? (Unfortunately, that would not have fixed this situation). And, situations where planes don't have the right fuel openings could help create scenarios like this in the future.

I agree that ultimate responsibility is on the PIC. There are indications here that the preflight, looking at invoices, checking fuel tanks mostly full with Jet A may have been missed due to haste and time pressure. That could have been another place to break the chain. Staying with the plane during fueling is the best solution, but there is a lesson about haste too. Both of these are actions that can bite either experienced or novice pilots.

If the fueling employee really did ask, he probably feels terrible.

Sadly, the comment about not having to die also has merit. Not keeping enough speed to keep wings level with some pitch control until ground impact is all to common on this web site. Aerostars would be coming in fast compared to lots of planes, but wings level might have given him a chance.

Sad all around.