Saturday, October 12, 2019

Unknown or Undetermined: American Autogyro SparrowHawk, N481ZK; fatal accident occurred December 02, 2017 near Eagles Ridge Airport (MS9), Hernando, DeSoto County, Mississippi

Delta Air Lines pilot Richard House (left) and his father Wayne House were killed in the aircraft crash on December 2nd 2017 in Hernando, Mississippi. 


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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi


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


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N481ZK


Location: Hernando, MS
Accident Number: ERA18LA039
Date & Time: 12/02/2017, 1700 CST
Registration: N481ZK
Aircraft: Kevin Leue Sparrow Hawk
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The sport pilot and pilot-rated passenger departed in the gyroplane at an unknown time. A hunter in the area of the accident site heard a loud sound similar to a gunshot, but dismissed it as another hunter. He left the area shortly thereafter and while walking, saw a grass fire; authorities who responded found the wreckage, which was about 0.17 miles from the departure airport.

The gyroplane descended through trees at a steep angle and the left main landing gear impacted the ground first; the gyroplane came to rest on its right side and was destroyed as a result of the postcrash fire. Examination of the flight controls, engine, and engine systems revealed no evidence of pre-impact failure or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

A mechanic familiar with the gyroplane reported that the pilot had repaired a fuel tank leak several months before the accident. The day before the accident, the owner reported smelling fuel while in the cabin, but stated that he had not observed any fuel leaks. Whether the pilot identified the source of the fuel smell or made any repairs before the accident flight could not be determined. Autopsy and toxicology testing of the pilot revealed no evidence of physiological impairment or incapacitation. The reason for the gyroplane's steep descent and impact with terrain could not be determined based on the available information.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
Impact with trees and terrain for reasons that could not be determined based on available evidence.

Findings

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Unknown
Unknown or undetermined (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Post-impact

Fire/smoke (post-impact)

On December 2, 2017, about 1700 central standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Sparrow Hawk gyroplane, N481ZK, was destroyed when it impacted terrain and was consumed by a postcrash fire near Eagles Ridge Airport (MS9), Hernando, Mississippi. The sport pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The gyroplane was owned by the pilot who was operating it as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed MS9 at an unknown time.

There were no known witnesses to the departure or the accident. An individual who was hunting near the accident site reported that, about 1700, he heard a loud sound similar to a gunshot, but dismissed it as another hunter. He left the area about dusk and spotted a grass fire. He walked to a nearby home to tell the homeowner to call 911 and report the fire. First responders who arrived to extinguish the fire subsequently located the wreckage of the gyroplane. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Sport Pilot
Age: 70, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/29/2017
Flight Time: 102 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 43, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied:Unknown 
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/19/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 11722 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot, age 70, held a sport pilot certificate with gyroplane rating, issued June 29, 2017. On the application for that certificate, he reported 102 hours total flight experience.

The pilot-rated passenger, age 43, held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multi-engine land and held commercial privileges for airplane single-engine land. He held type ratings for several transport-category airplanes. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first class medical certificate was issued June 19, 2017, with no limitations. On the application for the medical certificate, he reported 11,722 total hours of flight experience.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Kevin Leue
Registration: N481ZK
Model/Series: Sparrow Hawk
Aircraft Category: Gyroplane
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: SH2004002K
Landing Gear Type:Tricycle 
Seats:2 
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1580 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Subaru
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: 2.5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The two-place gyroplane, serial number SH2004002K, was built in 2013. It was powered by a Subaru EJ-25 engine, which drove a three-bladed, composite, Warp Drive propeller. The gyroplane's fuel cells, made from fiberglass-reinforced polymer resin, were bonded to the cabin floor and walls.

A mechanic familiar with the gyroplane reported that, about 3 or 4 months before the accident, the owner used PRC-type sealant to fix a fuel tank leak. The same mechanic also reported that, the day before the accident, the owner complained to him about smelling fuel while in the cabin, but the owner informed the mechanic there was no fuel leaking from the fuel tank. The mechanic asked the owner whether the gyroplane was equipped with a fuel tank vent, and the owner replied that he was not sure. Whether the pilot identified the source of the fuel smell or made repairs before the accident flight could not be determined.

The gyroplane's maintenance records were not located. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: OLV, 402 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1650 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 31°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 25000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Hernando, MS (MS9)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hernando, MS (MS9)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: CST 
Type of Airspace: 

At 1650, a surface weather observation taken at Olive Branch Airport (OLV), Olive Branch, Mississippi, located about 13 nm north-northeast of the accident site, reported calm wind, 10 miles visibility with few clouds at 25,000 ft, temperature 19°C, dew point 2°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

Airport Information

Airport: Eagles Ridge Airport (MS9)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 262 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Unknown

MS9 was a public-use airport equipped with a single runway, designated 10/28. The airport common traffic advisory frequency was not recorded and MS9 did not have airport security video.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire:On-Ground 
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: Unknown
Total Injuries:2 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 34.796667, -89.920833 

The gyroplane crashed in a wooded area about 0.17 nautical mile west-southwest of the departure end of runway 28 at MS9. The gyroplane and surrounding area sustained postcrash fire damage. Cut marks in trees in close proximity to the accident site indicated that the gyroplane descended at an approximate 70° to 75° angle to the ground.

According to an FAA inspector who responded to the accident site, the engine was still attached to the airframe and the propeller hub was attached to the engine. All three propeller blades were shattered at varying lengths, and the separated sections were recovered in the immediate vicinity of the main wreckage. The ground adjacent to the propeller displayed ground scars consistent with propeller rotation at impact. Both main rotor blades were attached to the rotor head, although a 3-ft section of one main rotor blade tip was fractured consistent with contact with a nearby tree; the fractured piece was found near the main wreckage beneath a separated section of tree trunk and limbs. One main rotor blade exhibited a smooth radius upward bend and the outboard portion of the blade was resting against a tree trunk, and the other main rotor blade exhibited a sharp radius downward bend with trailing edge buckling.

All flight controls, composite fuselage components, seats, and avionics were extensively heat damaged. The left main landing gear was broken and folded to the right, lying underneath the right main landing gear. Control continuity could not be confirmed due to postcrash fire damage; however, there were no separations at control attach points. Oil and dirt were noted on the propeller hub. The gyroplane was recovered from the accident site for further examination of the engine.

Examination of the engine following recovery revealed extensive heat damage to the fuel metering, ignition, and cooling system components. Following removal of the engine accessories, the crankshaft was rotated by hand and continuity was confirmed throughout the engine. Examination of the valve train, power section, cylinder heads, and pistons revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. No lubrication issues were noted. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Office of the State Medical Examiner, Pearl, Mississippi, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was reported as blunt force trauma.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory detected no ethanol in vitreous and no tested-for drugs were identified in the blood specimen. The submitted specimens were unsuitable for carbon monoxide analysis and testing for cyanide was not performed.

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Mooney M20C Ranger, N53CP; fatal accident occurred September 16, 2017 in North Branford, Connecticut

Ted Christopher
 One of the most legendary short track drivers in the history of motorsports. A giant in racing, and a true gentleman who had an impact on so many. Ted Christopher was killed in a plane crash on September 16th, 2017 in Connecticut while enroute to Riverhead Raceway where he was scheduled to compete in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship race. He was 59. Also killed in the aircraft crash was the pilot, Charles Patrick Dundas, 81, of Hauppauge, New York. 

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Bradley; Enfield, Connecticut
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms 
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N53CP 


Lawrence "Aaron" McCarter
Investigator In Charge 
National Transportation Safety Board


Location: North Branford, CT
Accident Number: ERA17FA327
Date & Time: 09/16/2017, 1300 EDT
Registration: N53CP
Aircraft: MOONEY M20C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


Analysis 

The airline transport pilot, who was the owner of the airplane, and one passenger departed on a day visual flight rules cross-country flight. The airplane came to rest in a wooded area near an open field about 24 miles from the departure airport. The pilot was not in contact with air traffic control during the flight. Review of radar information revealed radar targets that were coincident with the accident flight on a south-southeast track at altitudes between 900 and 1,300 ft above ground level until radar contact was lost about 1 mile northwest of the accident site. Several individuals near the accident site reported that they heard the sound of the impact, but there were no witnesses to the accident. The propeller exhibited signatures consistent with a lack of engine power at the time of impact. The fuel selector was found in the left tank position and the landing gear was extended. There was evidence of fuel in both tanks at the accident site.

Examination of the fuel system revealed that air would not pass through the fuel selector valve with the valve selected to the left fuel tank position. The handle was operated by hand and could be moved normally between the settings. Air passed freely through the valve when selected to the right tank position. Disassembly of the fuel selector revealed a piece of red, fibrous material consistent with a shop towel that likely inhibited fuel flow to the engine and resulted in fuel starvation and a total loss of engine power. The airplane's maintenance logs were not found and when the shop towel debris may have been introduced to the fuel system could not be determined. Additionally, a homemade tool constructed of PVC pipe and connection fittings was found in the wreckage that appeared to be designed to manipulate the fuel selector; however, the reason for its fabrication and use during the accident flight could not be determined. The device was broken at its handle.

Following the loss of engine power, the pilot may have attempted to switch the fuel selector from the left tank to the right tank and was unable to do so, either due to a failure of his homemade tool or to the inadequate time afforded to troubleshoot the loss of engine power due to his selection of a low cruising altitude, or a combination of the two factors. The airplane's low cruising altitude also reduced the pilot's available forced landing site options after the engine lost power. It is likely that the pilot was attempting to reach an open field that was about 1,500 ft beyond the accident site and had lowered the landing gear in preparation for landing, but due to the airplane's low altitude, it was unable to reach the field and impacted trees.

The pilot's medical certificate was denied nearly 10 years before the accident and never re-issued. Autopsy identified severe cardiac disease, which placed the pilot at risk for sudden symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or fainting; however, it is not likely that this condition contributed to the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: 
A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as the result of foreign object debris in the fuel selector valve. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's selection of a low cruising altitude, which reduced the available time to troubleshoot the loss of engine power and afforded fewer forced landing site options, and improper maintenance of the airplane, which allowed a portion of a shop towel into the fuel system.

Findings

Aircraft
Fuel selector/shutoff valve - Damaged/degraded (Cause)
Fuel - Fluid management (Cause)
Fuel selector/shutoff valve - Incorrect use/operation (Factor)
Altitude - Not specified (Factor)

Personnel issues
Maintenance - Other/unknown (Factor)
Post maintenance inspection - Other/unknown (Factor)
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Factor)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Prior to flight
Aircraft maintenance event

Enroute
Fuel starvation
Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)

Landing
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On September 16, 2017, about 1300 eastern daylight time, a Mooney M20C, N53CP, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain near North Branford, Connecticut. The airline transport pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was owned by the pilot who was operating it as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from Robertson Field Airport (4B8), Plainville, Connecticut, and was destined for Francis S. Gabreski Airport (FOK), Westhampton Beach, New York.

The pilot departed FOK about 1000 the morning of the accident and flew to 4B8 to pick up his passenger for the subsequent return flight to FOK where the passenger, a NASCAR driver, would be participating in a race at the Riverhead Raceway that afternoon. The pilot and passenger were friends and had been flying together for over 10 years; they and had flown this route many times according to friends.

The line service attendant at 4B8 reported that the pilot requested that the airplane's fuel tanks be topped off. The airplane was fueled with 15.8 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline; 9 gallons in the right tank and 6.8 gallons in the left tank. After fueling, the line service attendant witnessed the pilot check the fuel through the fuselage fuel sump, then converse with several other pilots before departing with his passenger about 1230.

Review of radar data revealed no returns that could be correlated with the accident airplane. Several witnesses near the accident site, about 24 miles south of 4B8, stated that they did not see the airplane or hear any engine sounds, but they heard what sounded like a "crash" in the trees. One witness described the sound of "gravel being dumped out of a dump truck." Several homeowners in the area searched for the source of the sound and found the wreckage about an hour later.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 81, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/16/2006
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 31000 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records, the pilot, age 81, held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multi-engine land and commercial privileges for airplane single-engine land and sea. He also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and instrument airplane, a flight engineer certificate with a rating for turbojet-powered airplanes, and a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings.

The pilot's most recent application for an FAA second-class medical certificate was dated October 16, 2006. On that date, he reported 31,300 total hours of flight experience.



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Registration: N53CP
Model/Series: M20C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1964
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2663
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2575 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-B1B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The low-wing, four-seat monoplane was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on September 4, 1964. It was equipped with retractable landing gear and was powered by an air-cooled Lycoming IO-360, 180-horsepower engine, driving a Hartzell 3-bladed constant speed propeller. The airplane was equipped with two 26-gallon fuel tanks for a total fuel capacity of 52 gallons. No airplane maintenance records were located.



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: HVN, 13 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1253 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 228°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1400 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: PLAINVILLE, CT (4B8)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: WESTHAMPTON BCH, NY (FOK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1240 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

At 1653, the weather conditions reported at Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN), New Haven, Connecticut, located 9 miles southwest of the accident site, included variable wind at 3 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, broken clouds at 1,400 ft above ground level, temperature 24°C, dew point 19°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.16 inches of mercury.



Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 41.361389, -72.744444 (est)

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane's first point of impact was in 75-ft-tall pine trees in a nose-down attitude before coming to rest against trees in a nose-down position on its right side. The wreckage path was 175 ft long and was oriented on a heading of about 010° magnetic. There were an open field about 1,500 ft north of the accident site. The right wing separated from the fuselage at the wing root during impact and was the first piece of wreckage discovered at the start of the wreckage path. Three feet of the outboard left wing was found 75 ft north of the right wing and was wrapped around a tree. The fuselage, left wing, and tail assembly remained together at the main wreckage site, where they came to rest against a tree. The landing gear was extended, and the landing gear selector was in the "DOWN" position. The wing flaps were in the retracted position.

The primary flight instruments on the pilot's (left) side remained intact. The magneto switch was found in the "BOTH" position. The airplane was not equipped with any instruments that contained non-volatile memory.

The right wing fuel tank was breached during the impact sequence and evidence of fuel was found on the trees and vegetation near the initial impact point. The left wing fuel tank contained about 7.5 gallons of fuel. The fuel selector was inaccessible due to cockpit crushing and floor buckling, but a visual examination through the firewall indicated that it was in the left tank position.

The airframe and engine were removed from the site to facilitate further examination.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft flange. The spinner was partially crushed on one side. For the examination and visual reference, the three propeller blades were labeled A, B, and C. Blade A was bent aft about 30° about 6 inches outboard of the hub and could be rotated in the hub by hand. Blades B and C appeared straight and undamaged, with no rotational scoring, s-bending, or chordwise scratching. The propeller governor was impact-damaged and partially separated from the engine. The governor control cable remained attached to the governor control arm but was impact damaged. The governor oil screen was absent of debris.

Continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed and each cylinder produced suction and compression. The interiors of the cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope and no anomalies were noted. The No. 1 cylinder was removed to facilitate inspection of the engine crankcase. No anomalies were noted to the crankcase interior components or to the No. 1 cylinder, piston or valves. Oil was present in the engine and the pistons, valves, and crankshaft appeared lubricated.

Both left and right magnetos were undamaged and no anomalies were noted. Both magnetos produced sparks at regular intervals when rotated by an electric drill.

The ignition harness remained attached to the magnetos, and the leads remained secured by their terminal ends to their respective spark plugs. The spark plugs remained secured to their respective cylinders. The top spark plugs were removed and examined. They all displayed little wear and no evidence of carbon or lead fouling in accordance with the Champion Check-A-Plug chart.

The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine and no damage was noted. The pump was removed and partially disassembled. The composite drive assembly, carbon rotor, and carbon vanes were intact.

The alternator remained attached to the engine and was undamaged. The alternator was rotated easily by hand and the drive belt was in place and unbroken.

The fuel injector servo was fractured across the throttle bore and separated from the engine oil sump. The throttle and mixture control cables remained attached to their respective servo control arms. The control cables and associated brackets were impact-damaged and the positions of the controls could not be determined.

The induction air box and air filter were present and impact-damaged but did not exhibit any preimpact anomalies.

The fuel injector servo was partially disassembled and no damage to the rubber diaphragms or other internal components was noted. The servo fuel inlet screen was absent of debris. The fuel flow divider remained attached to the engine and no damage was noted. The flow divider was partially disassembled, and no damage was noted to the rubber diaphragms or other internal components.

No debris was noted inside the flow divider. The fuel nozzle lines and the two-piece nozzles remained in place and were unobstructed. The engine-driven fuel pump remained attached to the engine. No damage was noted and it operated normally when actuated by hand. The pump was partially disassembled, and no damage was noted.

Liquid with an odor consistent with aviation fuel was observed in the engine-driven fuel pump, the hose from the pump to the servo, in the servo, and in the fuel selector. The fuel selector valve was removed from the airframe and air pressure applied to the valve fuel outlet port. Air did not pass through the selector valve when the handle was in the position marked "LEFT." The handle was moved to the "OFF" position, then back to the "LEFT" position, and it remained blocked. Air did not pass through the valve when the actuator handle was placed in the position marked "OFF" or in the rearward, unmarked position. Air passed freely when the handle was placed in the position marked "RIGHT." When the handle was returned to the position marked "LEFT," no air passed through the selector valve. The selector handle moved normally with no unusual resistance between the settings.

The valve was disassembled and a spongy mass of reddish fibers consistent in appearance with red cotton shop towel fibers were observed in the selector cavity (see figure 1). The rounded mass was about 5/8 inches in length and about 3/8 inches in width. Fibers also covered about 5% of the fuel drain screen.

Figure 1-Debris discovered in the fuel selector.

A section of PVC similar to plumbing or electrical conduit was discovered in the wreckage (see figure 2). It was made up of five individually-threaded, male-to-female connections which, when threaded together, measured about 9 inches long. On the top of the device was a PVC pipe in the shape of a handle. The entire device was in three separate pieces when discovered; the top of the t-handle was broken from the device and the bottom section was unscrewed. On each side of the handle was a label indicating "LEFT" and "RIGHT." The top of the handle was labeled "FUEL." On the bottom of the T-handle connection, the vertical pipe appeared to be hand carved/shaved so that it would fit into the top section of the devise There was a 3/4-inch notch cut out on the bottom of the device. When the device was reassembled during the examination, it fit into the airplane fuel selector handle, and appeared to be designed to switch the fuel tanks; however, the reason for its fabrication and use was unknown.


Figure 2-Homemade fuel selector tool after partial reassembly.

Medical And Pathological Information

The State of Connecticut, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, performed the autopsy and determined that the cause of death was blunt injuries of the head and chest.

According to the report, the pilot weighed 195 pounds. The autopsy identified previous cardiac surgery but did not describe the status of the grafts or the thickness of various walls. The heart weighed 500 grams and microscopy identified myocyte hypertrophy and described the myocardium as having extensive fibrosis. The average heart weight for a 195-pound man is 376 grams with an upper range of 484 grams. In addition, the pathologist noted a scar of the upper left chest with underlying suture material, but no defibrillator device or wires were described.

Toxicology testing by the state of Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, Division of Scientific Services, did not identify any tested-for alcohols.

Toxicology testing performed by the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified clopidogrel, losartan, and metoprolol in blood. All these substances, as well as ibuprofen and vardenafil, were identified in urine. Clopidogrel is an anti-platelet medication used to prevent recurrent heart attacks and is commonly marketed with the name Plavix. Losartan and metoprolol are blood pressure medications. Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter analgesic often marketed with the names Motrin and Advil. Vardenafil is a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction and is commonly sold with the name Levitra. None of these substances are considered impairing.

The pilot had previously reported hypertension and ischemic cardiomyopathy due to severe coronary artery disease that had been treated with three-vessel coronary artery bypass grafting in 2001. He had obtained a special issuance medical certificate beginning in 2002 and had reported using various medications over the years. No other abnormalities were identified on the physical exam and the pilot was initially issued a second-class medical certificate limited by a requirement to wear corrective lenses and specifying, "Limited second class/Full third class privileges; Not valid for carrying passengers or cargo for compensation except if serving as pilot of fully qualified 2-pilot crew; Not valid for any class after 10/31/2007." The pilot subsequently had an internal defibrillator placed and his medical certificate was denied in December 2007.

Loss of Control in Flight: Antares MA33-582, N92287; accident occurred October 11, 2019 at Coeur d'Alene Airport (KCOE), Kootenai County, Idaho

View of damaged wings. 
Federal Aviation Administration 



Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington 

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/N92287


***This report was modified on January 9, 2020. Please see the docket for this accident to view the original report.***

The student pilot reported that his memory of the accident was spotty. He added that, during takeoff, the weight shift control aircraft climbed to about 30 ft and his foot slipped off the throttle pedal. The aircraft dove toward the ground in a left bank and impacted terrain.

Two witnesses reported observing the accident from the airport fuel pumps. One witness reported that, during takeoff, once off the ground, the weight shift control aircraft drifted to the left off the runway. It appeared that the student pilot was correcting and drifted back toward the runway. Suddenly, the left wing struck the ground and the aircraft impacted terrain. The second witness reported that the aircraft touched down and flip over.

The aircraft sustained substantial damage to both wings.

The airport's automated weather observation station reported that, about 5 minutes after the accident, the wind was from 030° at 5 knots. The student pilot was departing on runway 02. 

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Remote; Student
Age: 51, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:No 
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: (Estimated) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ANTARES
Registration: N92287
Model/Series: MA33 582
Aircraft Category: Weight-Shift
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 0242
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: 582
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
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: KCOE, 2307 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2356 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 153°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 30°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.24 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Coeur d'Alene, ID (COE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination:
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1651 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: COEUR D'ALENE - PAPPY BOYINGTON (COE)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 2320 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 02
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5400 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 47.769167, -116.818611 (est)




COEUR d'ALENE, Idaho - The pilot involved in a crash with an experimental aircraft at Coeur d'Alene Airport has been identified as 51-year-old Thomas Slotts of Spokane. 

According to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office, Slotts was hospitalized with serious but non-life-threatening injuries after the crash on Friday, October 11. 

Crews from multiple agencies responded to the scene. Based on an initial investigation, it appeared Slotts overturned his aircraft during the low-level stages of takeoff and impacted into a field off the runway. 

Alcohol and drugs do not appear to be a factor at this time but the investigation into the exact circumstances of the crash remains ongoing. 

The Federal Aviation Administration was notified and is conducting an investigation as well. 

Previous Coverage:

COEUR d'ALENE, Idaho - Multiple agencies are responding to the Coeur d'Alene Airport for a reported crash involving an experimental aircraft. 

According to Northern Lakes Fire, the pilot of the aircraft was the only person on board and he has been taken to Kootenai Health in critical condition. 

Witnesses say the crash occurred as the aircraft was attempting to take off. 

The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified. One runway at the airport has been closed down as the investigation continues.

Story and video ➤ https://www.khq.com

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office identified the man injured in an aircraft crash at the Coeur d'Alene Airport on Friday.


According to a release, deputies believe 51-year-old Thomas Stotts overturned his aircraft during the beginning stages of takeoff, sending him barreling into a nearby field. 

First responders found Stotts pinned underneath the aircraft. It took fire crews about five minutes to extricate him.

"This is a rare event," said Chris Larson with Northern Lights Fire. "Coeur d'Alene Airport has a great history of safety out here. As being in the fire district for 20 years, this is a very rare event."

Stotts was taken to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries, the sheriff's office said.

The cause of the crash is currently under investigation and the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified. 

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

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - One person is in serious condition after an experimental aircraft crashed at the Coeur d'Alene Airport Friday afternoon. 

Crews were on scene at the airport working to rescue the pilot from inside the crashed experimental, ultralight aircraft, the Northern Lakes Fire District said. 

"When the crews found him, the plane was located on top of the patient. How it happened or if he was landing or taking off, I do not know," said Chris Larson, who is the Deputy Fire Marshal for the Northern Lake Fire District.

The pilot was removed and taken to Kootenai Health with critical injuries, according to Chris Larson with the North Lake Fire District.

The pilot, identified as Thomas Stotts, 51, of Spokane, overturned his aircraft during the low level stages of take-off, an initial investigation revealed. Stotts' aircraft crashed into a field off the runway inside the airport, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said.

One of the runways at the airport is closed due to the crash, although there is still a second lane open. Fire crews from several agencies are at the airport working the crash.

Larson said this type of incident is rare for the Coeur d'Alene airport.

"Coeur D'ALene airport has a great history of safety out here. As being in the fire district for 20 years, this is a very rare event," he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board was notified about the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration was also notified about the crash, and it will conduct an investigation.

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

Zenith CH 601XLB Zodiac, N235JH: Accident occurred October 11, 2019 at Gastonia Municipal Airport (KAKH), North Carolina

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charlotte, North Carolina

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/N235JH

Location: Gastonia, NC
Accident Number: GAA20CA027
Date & Time: 10/11/2019, 1220 EDT
Registration: N235JH
Aircraft: ZENITH ZENITH 601XLB
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

The pilot reported that, during takeoff, as the airplane departed the ground, the canopy opened, the airplane landed hard back on the runway, and the nose landing gear collapsed.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

The Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that, during a postaccident examination, the canopy latches appeared to be in good condition. He added that the canopy latch handle was located in the middle of the cockpit and operated fine.

The pilot added as a safety recommendation to double check the canopy latch.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 84, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/14/2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ZENITH
Registration: N235JH
Model/Series: ZENITH 601XLB
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: 6-4287
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/30/2019, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 190 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed
Engine Model/Series: O-235-C1
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 108 hp
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: KAKH, 797 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1554 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 223°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 11°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Gastonia, NC (AKH)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Unknown
Destination: Gastonia, NC (AKH)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1220 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: GASTONIA MUNI (AKH)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 797 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3770 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.201944, -81.150278 (est)



A man escaped serious injury after his plane crashed at the Gastonia Municipal Airport on Friday.

The wreck happened just after noon, and involved a small private plane.

Police said the plane’s pilot missed the approach while trying to land on the runway. The plane skidded about 200 feet before stopping, and nobody else was involved.

The man who piloted the plane walked away under his own power. He was taken to CaroMont Regional Medical Center with minor injuries.

Multiple GEMS ambulance trucks and Gastonia Fire Department engines were at the scene.

Officials haven’t said what caused the crash.

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