Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Aerodynamic Stall / Spin: Wheeler Express, N246TM; fatal accident occurred August 19, 2017 near Madras Municipal Airport (S33), Jefferson County, Oregon

Mark Rich with the plane he built from a kit and flew for decades.



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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Hillsboro, Oregon
Teledyne Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N246TM


Location: Madras, OR
Accident Number: WPR17FA185
Date & Time: 08/19/2017, 1352 PDT
Registration: N246TM
Aircraft: Rich Wheeler Express CT
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 19, 2017, about 1352 Pacific daylight time, a Rich Wheeler Express CT, N246TM, impacted the wall of a canyon while on approach to land at Madras Municipal Airport (S33), Madras, Oregon. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. 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 had been filed for the cross-country flight, which originated from San Carlos airport (SQL), San Carlos, California, with a final destination of S33.

The pilot was planning to camp at Madras and participate in the Oregon Solarfest, where activities were being held for the viewing of the solar eclipse. The pilot submitted a reservation request and payment to the Madras airport operations on July 22, 2017, indicating that he intended to arrive on August 19 at 1400 and depart on August 21.

A NOTAM was in effect at the time of the accident that provided instructions to pilots regarding arrival procedures they must follow to land at the Madras airport during the Solarfest. A Non−Federal Contract Tower (NFCT) was contracted by the normally non-towered airport to provide air traffic control services to help facilitate the increased traffic.

The NOTAM instructed pilots that all arrivals must be conducted at the time of their assigned reservation and via the routes depicted in the NOTAM unless otherwise instructed by the controllers (see figure 1). When arriving from the south, the NOTAM stated that pilots should perform the "Cove Entry," which required reporting over the Cove Palisades State Park (COVE) and flying north to Lake Simtustus Resort (RESORT), then continuing inbound toward the airport (east) and entering a left downwind for runway 34 (south).

Figure 01: NOTAM Instructional Picture


According to the controller working at the tower at the time of the accident, the accident pilot established contact with the tower over COVE and was instructed to report his position when he was over RESORT. Several minutes later, after other traffic departed, the controller modified the pilot's instructions and told him to proceed to a 3-mile final to runway 34. After a few minutes, the controller requested that the pilot report his position, to which he responded that he was on a 3-mile left base to runway 34. The controller cleared him to land and observed a plume of smoke shortly thereafter.

Witnesses located near the airport, stated that they observed the airplane make a steep left turn with the wings perpendicular to the terrain. The airplane then dove toward the ground in a nose-low, near-vertical descent.


Mark Rich

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 58, 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: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/31/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 612 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot, age 58, held a private pilot certificate issued in January 2012 with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. He held a third-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman medical certificate issued in October 2016, with the limitation that he must have glasses available for near vision. On the application for that medical certificate, he reported a total flight time of 612 hours. The pilot's personal flight records were not recovered.



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Rich
Registration:N246TM 
Model/Series: Wheeler Express CT
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2002
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 145
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Teledyne Continental Motors
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: IO540-K1G5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The Wheeler Express CT is an experimental, amateur-built airplane that is sold as a kit. The composite construction airplane was a four-place, low-wing, tricycle landing gear monoplane equipped with a 'cruciform' (mid-mounted horizontal stabilizer) tail. The pilot completed the build in 2002 as the original design. The accident airplane, serial number 145, received a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category in August 2002. The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming IO-540-KIG5 engine, serial number L-17422-48A, rated at 235 shaft horsepower.

The maintenance logbooks were not recovered. The airplane was last fueled before departure from San Carlos with the addition of 58.9 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel.

Airplane Design

In 1991, Wheeler Express sent a letter to owners addressing the possibility of deep stalls occurring in the tail; the letter stated that if the builder installs the tail correctly there would not be abnormal stall characteristics.

Wheeler Express was then purchased by Express Design Inc (EDI), who sent a letter in 1995 to builders and owners detailing a report about the design and aerodynamic characteristics of the cruciform tail. In pertinent part, it stated:

At the forward CG, flaps down, approach condition, a larger tail requires much less up elevator to trim. Very small (and therefore heavily loaded) tails may stall on approach and turbulent conditions or upon crossing another airplane's wake (or its own wake in a turn). If the tail stalls in the approach condition, rapid action must be taken to avoid diving straight into the ground…

We believe therefore that because the Express CT can experience uncommitted pitch down motion under certain flight conditions, that certain actions are required by EDI and by Express CT builders and owners specifically… Because certain flight conditions such as turbulent air can cause the uncommitted pitch down without pilot involvement, EDI believes that each owner of an Express CT kit for aircraft should seriously consider updating their kit or airplane with the S-90 tail update available from EDI.

A Wheeler Express performance report, sponsored and funded by the FAA and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), was completed in 1997. The performance report identified that the 'cruciform' tail (mid-mounted horizontal stabilizer), wide tapering fuselage, and highly swept vertical stabilizer combined to produce low yaw stability. In part, it stated:

The tail power seemed to be adequate for most regimes of flight, however, during post stall and high yaw maneuvering the horizontal/elevators seemed to have inadequate effect. This seemed to be caused by blanking of the horizontal tail and elevators by the vertical stabilizer at the highly yawed condition. More testing is definitely in order to study the flow field around the tail in this situation and to develop improved tail effectiveness.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KS33, 2436 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2055 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 360°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: San Carlos, CA (SQL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Madras, OR (S33)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  PDT
Type of Airspace:

The 1355 weather observation at S33 included: clear sky, 10 miles visibility, temperature 75°F, dew point 41°F, and altimeter setting of 30.15 inches of mercury.

Airport Information

Airport: MADRAS MUNICIPAL (S33)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 2436 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 34
IFR Approach:None 
Runway Length/Width: 5089 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Stop and Go; Straight-in 

Madras Municipal Airport was located at an elevation of 2,436 ft mean sea level and did not have a permanent control tower. The airport was equipped with two asphalt runways, designated 16/34 and 04/22. The active runway at the time of the accident was 16/34, which measured 5,089 ft long and 75 ft wide.

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None 
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 44.643056, -121.164444 

The accident site was located on the north-facing slope of a canyon comprised of soft dirt and trees. The wreckage was about 1.1 nautical miles from the approach end of runway 34 on a bearing of 025° (see figure 2).

Figure 02: Wreckage Location

The first identified points of contact were freshly-severed tree limbs adjacent to the main wreckage. The tree was located in a slight ravine in the ebb of the canyon wall. The debris field was primarily contained in the area of the main wreckage on a 60-70° slope.

The main wreckage sustained severe thermal damage and comprised the outboard right wing, empennage, engine, and the charred remnants of the fuselage. The cabin was completely consumed by fire.

The inboard right wing was located upslope of the engine and was identified by the shape of the wingtip and a small blue/green shard of material embedded in the navigation light area. The left wing was downslope of the engine toward the ravine. Under the wing were parts of the cockpit area and instrument panel, identified by the seat frames, rudder pedals, and burned remnants of the radios.

The engine came to rest on its left side with the Nos. 2, 4, and 6 cylinders completely imbedded in the dirt (see figure 3). A portion of one propeller blade was visible and the tip had melted. The propeller remained attached to the engine at the crankshaft flange. The spinner was bent around the hub and the bottom blade was broken free from the hub. The empennage was thermally destroyed and only portions of the flight controls were identifiable. The tail section was located in the ravine at the bottom of the debris field (about 15 ft from the engine).

Figure 03: Engine at Accident Site

Examination of the airframe revealed that the control materials constructed of steel were thermally damaged and a majority of the airplane that was composite material or aluminum was consumed by fire.

Pitch control was accomplished by two control columns connected to a mixing assembly, which continued aft via a series of two steel rods and two steel tubes running centerline to the elevators (a total of six rod end bearings were used in the assembly). Four rod end bearings exhibited signs of damage from overload. Two rod end bearings, both of which connected to the same steel bellcrank, exhibited no signs of overload or elongation and were lacking attachment hardware.

The aforementioned two rod ends were shipped to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for analysis. No evidence or markings consistent with the presence of fastening hardware were observed in either bearing bore. Because of the severe thermal damage to the wreckage, it could not be determined if the absence of material was due to it not being fastened at the time of impact or if the material was thermally consumed after impact.

Rotation of the engine was not possible due to binding of various components as a result of impact damage; compression could not be obtained. The cylinder combustion chambers were examined upon removal of the Nos. 1, 3, and 5 cylinders and borescope examination of the remaining cylinders. The combustion chambers remained mechanically undamaged and there was no evidence of foreign object ingestion or detonation. The valves were intact and undamaged. There was no evidence of valve-to-piston-face contact. The gas path and combustion signatures observed at the spark plugs, combustion chambers, and exhaust system components displayed coloration consistent with normal operation.

Ignition system continuity could not be established due to thermal damage. The engine oil sump was crushed upward against the internal engine components.

Examination of the McCauley propeller, model B3D32C417-C, serial number 900150, revealed that all blades sustained thermal damage. Blade 1 was broken free with leading edge polishing, chordwise scratches, and twisting. Blade 2 was loose in the hub with its tip melted away. Blade 3 was bent aft at its tip.

Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. A detailed examination report is contained in the public docket for this accident. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Jefferson County Office of the Medical Examiner, Clackamas, Oregon, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force traumatic injuries.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory identified evidence of putrefaction in the specimens received. 32 (mg/dL, mg/hg) of ethanol was detected in muscle tissue, no ethanol was detected in brain specimens, consistent with postmortem production. No drugs were detected in lung specimens.

Additional Information

A similarly-equipped Wheeler Express was involved in a fatal accident on July 27, 2015 (NTSB case ID CEN15FA321). A review of onboard flight data revealed that the airplane maneuvered into a nose-high attitude while in a steep, right turn. As the airspeed decelerated below stall speed and the turn steepened, the airplane pitched nose down and entered a prolonged, right-turning spin until ground impact.

Cessna 150M, N9420U

https://registry.faa.gov/N9420U


A Springfield Township, Ohio, man has been accused of flying a small, private plane close to Stambaugh Stadium during a Youngstown State University football game.

Christopher Wilkinson appeared for arraignment Friday in Youngstown Municipal Court on charges of inducing panic and disorderly conduct.

YSU Police filed the charges after Wilkinson allegedly flew a Cessna 150M close to the press box and stadium lights while fans were watching the September 28th game against Robert Morris.

Youngstown State University police notified the Federal Aviation Administration immediately who then launched an investigation on who it was and why they did it.

The owner of the plane told 21 News he was not flying the plane but rented it out to a man he says usually flies jets for a living.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, Wilkinson is a commercial pilot licensed to fly private planes and land multi-engine aircraft,

Wilkinson pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to appear in court again on January 7th.

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


New Middletown, Ohio, pilot arraigned in Youngstown State University fly-by: Charged with inducing panic, disorderly conduct


November 5th, 2019

YOUNGSTOWN — A New Middletown pilot has been charged in the September 28th incident where a small plane flew too close to Stambaugh Stadium, alarming spectators at a Youngstown State University football game.

Christopher Wilkinson, 30, 9211 Youngstown-Pittsburgh Road, New Middletown, pleaded not guilty Friday in Youngstown Municipal Court to charges of inducing panic and disorderly conduct.

According to court records, YSU police filed the charges after the police investigation into why a Cessna 150M flew close to the press box and stadium lights on the east side of Stambaugh Stadium during the September 28th football game between YSU and Robert Morris.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, Wilkinson received his commercial pilot’s license on March 21st, 2018, and is certified to fly and land single- and multi-engine craft with instruments.

The charges are first- and fourth-degree misdemeanors, and Wilkinson is scheduled to appear January 7th, 2020, before Municipal Judge Carla Baldwin for a pre-trial hearing.

Reports indicate the small plane was circling the stadium several times at low altitudes near the lights and the press box during the late-afternoon game in which the Penguins defeated Robert Morris University, 45-10, for the team’s fourth victory of the year.

Initial reports said the incident had disturbed many people in the stands.

An attempt to contact Wilkinson was unsuccessful.

Chris Tornello of Youngstown said he is the one who owns the Cessna 150 aircraft and had said the plane was used by an experienced pilot who has regularly flown jets.

“This is unfortunate. We haven’t had this type of incident before,” Tornello said. “This pilot just made a mistake, but he is very experienced.”

Tornello said Wilkinson had flown the plane out of Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna and the flight records were provided to the FAA for its investigation.

According to YSU police Chief Shawn V. Varso, the FAA investigation– which is separate from the YSU investigation — is ongoing.

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



Federal Aviation Administration says probe will take months

October 1st, 2019 

YOUNGSTOWN — The Federal Aviation Administration will take several months to find out why a small plane flew low over Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday, startling gridiron fans during the Youngstown State University football game.

Elizabeth Isham Cory, public affairs spokeswoman for FAA’s Great Lakes Region, said her agency does not discuss open investigations. Cory said the FAA only has authority to level civil penalties against the pilot of the aircraft, while criminal charges, if any, have to be filed by law enforcement.

Reports indicate the small plane was circling the stadium several times at low altitudes near the lights and the press box on the east side of the stadium during the early-evening game in which the Penguins defeated Robert Morris University, 45-10, for the team’s fourth straight victory.

Initial reports said the incident had disturbed many people in the stands.

Chris Tornello of Youngstown said he owns the Cessna 150M and did not fly the plane Saturday. He said the plane was used by an experienced pilot who has regularly flown jets.

“This is unfortunate. We haven’t had this type of incident before. We are trying to get this under control,” Tornello said. “This pilot just made a mistake, but he is very experienced.”

Tornello said the information from the flight tower at the Youngstown Warren Regional Airport will be forwarded to FAA’s Flight District Standards office in Cleveland for the investigation.

The Cleveland office will determine the sanctions against the pilot, whom Tornello chose not to name.

Ron Cole, communications director with YSU, said the YSU Police Department handled the initial investigation, but a police spokesman on Monday referred all questions to Cole, who could not be reached by the newspaper.

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



Owner says pilot rented plane that flew over Youngstown State University game

The Federal Aviation Administration is leading an investigation after a small plane was flown around Stambaugh Stadium at low altitudes several times during the Penguin's game against Robert Morris on September 28th.

The owners of a plane that flew over Youngstown State University's football game Saturday night say they were not the ones in the cockpit. 

Chris Tornello and his wife Roberta tell 21 News they were in Nashville, Tennessee on Saturday night in another plane they own. They say they had rented the plane to an experienced pilot, but don't want to give out that pilot's name at this point. 

Chris Tornello tells 21 News the person who had the plane is an experienced pilot who has flown jets and is only a few training hours shy of being able to pilot commercial aircraft. 

The Federal Aviation Administration is leading an investigation after the small plane was flown around Stambaugh Stadium at low altitudes several times during the Penguin's home football game against Robert Morris Saturday afternoon. 

21 News was at the game and captured video of the incident. In that video, you can see the plane appear to fly extremely close to the press box, and stadium lights as the game is going on.

A spokesperson for the FAA told 21 News the agency is conducting an independent investigation involving the report of a low-flying aircraft in Youngstown and will take several months. 

According to the FAA, the regulatory agency cannot file criminal charges but can take civil action.

Local law enforcement is the only agency able to file criminal charges in investigations such as this. 

YSU Spokesman Ron Cole said YSUPD is in contact with the FAA to find out what happened and what options they have to proceed with the investigation.

At that point, they will confer with the prosecutor's office to determine if criminal charges are warranted. 

Cole said this would determine what YSUPD will do next in coordination with the Youngstown Police Department and the university.

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

Loss of Control on Ground: Lake LA-4-200, N747CB; accident occurred July 29, 2017 at Orlando Executive Airport (KORL), Orange County, Florida



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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N747CB 

Location: Orlando, FL
Accident Number: ERA17LA264
Date & Time: 07/29/2017, 0930 EDT
Registration: N747CB
Aircraft: CONSOLIDATED AERONAUTICS INC. LAKE LA 4
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 29, 2017, about 0930 eastern daylight time, a Consolidated Aeronautics Lake LA-4-200, N747CB, was substantially damaged during taxi at the Orlando Executive Airport (ORL), Orlando, Florida. The pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot was taxiing the airplane to a hangar, when he lost control and the airplane rolled into a ditch, where it sustained substantial damage to its right wing. The pilot stated during a telephone interview that the airplane's left brake actuator failed.

Following the accident, the airplane's brakes were not inspected by FAA inspectors due to the instability of the airplane on jacks, and because the wheels were covered in mud. The owner elected not to make the airplane available for subsequent inspections, and the condition and functionality of the airplane's brakes could not be assessed.

The four-seat, low-wing amphibious airplane, was manufactured in 1976. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360, 180-horsepower engine. According to the airplane's maintenance logbooks, the last annual inspection was completed on January 25, 2007. The recorded tach time was 253.6 hours and the airframe total time was 3311.2 hours.

Pilot Information

Certificate: None
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied:Left 
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CONSOLIDATED AERONAUTICS INC.
Registration: N747CB
Model/Series: LAKE LA 4 200
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 754
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/25/2007, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2690 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:
Airframe Total Time: 3311.2 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series:
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: ORL, 112 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1353 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2200 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 250°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Orlando, FL (ORL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Orlando, FL (ORL)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:0915 EDT 
Type of Airspace: Unknown

Airport Information

Airport: EXECUTIVE (ORL)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 112 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 28.546111, -81.332222 (est)

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu, N567KC

HUNTINGTON, West Virginia — A Huntington attorney is suing Triad Aviation Inc. for failing to fix his aircraft after it was contracted to do so.

H&H Propeller Services Inc. was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

R.R. Fredeking II owns a Piper PA-46-310P Malibu (N567KC) — a single-engine aircraft powered by a Continental TSIO 550c engine using a variable pitch Hartzell propeller, according to a complaint filed October 25th in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Fredeking claims he contacted Triad Aviation Inc. to discuss a needed overhaul of the engine and propeller of his Piper PA-46-310P Malibu and a required annual inspection, including the repair and/or replacement of any components which Triad Aviation Inc. determined needed repair or replacement.

Because of the complexity of the systems of the plane, Fredeking entered into a contract with Triad Aviation Inc. and Triad informed it would take six weeks to complete the work on the plane, according to the lawsuit.

Fredeking claims Triad's affiliate, H&H Propeller Services Inc., was also to repair the plane and that the defendants failed to complete the work within the agreed-upon six weeks.

Triad Aviation Inc. did not complete the work until August 2nd and the plane was delivered on August 15th, according to the lawsuit.

Fredeking claims he was returning to Huntington on his plane and approximately two hours after his departure, while on his final approach to Tri-State Airport (KHTS), Huntington, West Virginia, the propeller governor failed to perform its essential function and he was unable to determine the exact amount of overspeed because the tachometer "pegged" at its 3,300 RPM display maximum.

Fredeking had to replace the engine and other components, according to the lawsuit.

Fredekin is seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is represented by William L. Mundy of Mundy & Associates.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case number: 3:19-cv-00777


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

March 01, 2016: Aircraft on landing blew out a tire and sustained minor damage. Tri-State Airport (KHTS), Huntington, West Virginia.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Charleston

https://registry.faa.gov/N567KC

Date: 01-MAR-16
Time: 20:55:00Z
Regis#: N567KC
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA46
Event Type: Incident
Highest Injury: None
Damage: Minor
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
City: HUNTINGTON
State: West Virginia

Windshear or Thunderstorm: Pipistrel Virus SW, N155CL; fatal accident occurred April 04, 2017 in Micanopy, Alachua County, Florida

Riley Randolph Stevens
Anderson, South Carolina
1952 - 2017 (Age 64)


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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N155CL



Location: Micanopy, FL
Accident Number: ERA17FA145
Date & Time: 04/04/2017, 0908 EDT
Registration: N155CL
Aircraft: Pipistrel Virus SW
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Windshear or thunderstorm
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On April 4, 2017, about 0908 eastern daylight time, an experimental Pipistrel Virus SW motorglider, N155CL, was destroyed when it impacted terrain in Micanopy, Florida. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The motorglider was privately owned and operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Sebring Regional Airport (SEF), Sebring, Florida, at 0800, destined for Oconee County Regional Airport (CEU), Clemson, South Carolina.

Radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the motorglider was on a northerly track from SEF about 8,000 ft mean sea level (msl). At 0842, the pilot contacted the Jacksonville approach control facility and asked for pilot reports and information about the line of weather about 60 nautical miles to the north along his route. The controller described the location and movement of areas of "heavy to extreme precipitation" and offered to provide vectors through the area of least precipitation when the pilot neared the line of weather. The pilot inquired about the height of the cloud bases in the area of the weather, and the controller advised of a pilot report about 30 minutes old that indicated cloud bases at 10,000 ft. The pilot acknowledged, and said, "if things turn south I'll just go to Ocala." The controller confirmed that Ocala International Airport (OCF), located about 20 miles south of the line of weather, would be the pilot's alternate destination.

About 10 minutes later, the controller provided a heading of 320° to avoid an area of extreme precipitation about 30 miles ahead of the motorglider and advised the pilot to expect that heading for about 35 miles before proceeding back on course, which the pilot acknowledged. About 5 minutes later, at 0857, as the motorglider was passing OCF, the pilot asked the controller if the weather around which he was currently deviating was south of OCF. The controller stated that the "heavy and extreme precipitation" was over and extending south of Gainesville Regional Airport (GNV, about 31 nautical miles north of OCF), was moving east and that there was "a hole" behind it about 25 miles west of GNV, which she was vectoring the pilot toward. She then provided a new heading of 310° and advised the pilot to expect to remain on that heading for about 25 miles, then to expect a northeast turn "through the precip." The pilot acknowledged.

At 0902, the controller issued the pilot a 10° left turn to avoid an area of "heavy to extreme precipitation." The pilot asked the controller to confirm that the turn was to the left, and advised that he saw an area about 40° to the right that looked like he get could get "through there." The controller asked the pilot if he would like to remain on radar vectors or to deviate as necessary on his own to navigate around the weather. After the controller explained that her display did not present the altitude of the precipitation or any "buildups," the pilot chose to navigate on his own.

At 0906, the controller asked the pilot, "how's it looking?" The pilot responded, "so far its uh, its pretty much smooth, there's some lightning off to my right and uh [unintelligible] it's gonna be okay." The controller acknowledged, and the pilot continued, "I did just go into the clouds though, so I can't pick anymore." The controller acknowledged. There were no further radio transmissions from the pilot. At 0907:28, the controller began a series of attempts to contact the pilot but was unsuccessful. At 0908:36, she advised that radar contact was lost.

A witness located at his residence about 200 yards from the accident site reported that he had been outside in the pasture when it started to rain. He went inside his house and 3 to 5 minutes later, he heard an airplane engine. He indicated that the engine sound was smooth and continuous and sounded as though the aircraft flew over his house. The engine noise abruptly stopped, followed by "a loud pop sound, similar to a lightning crack." He looked outside and saw the motorglider in the pasture and asked his wife to call 911.

Radar returns from the motorglider ended at the edge of an east-west oriented line of severe thunderstorms, rain showers, and lightning that extended about 100 nautical miles to either side of the motorglider's radar flight track, according to National Weather Service (NWS) weather radar data. (See figure 1.)

Figure 1 - KJAX WSR-88D reflectivity for the 0.5° elevation scan initiated at 0911 EDT. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 64, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied:Left 
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/28/2013
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 12192 hours (Total, all aircraft), 92 hours (Total, this make and model), 51 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 26 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

According FAA records, the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for multiengine land, with private pilot privileges for airplane single-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, and glider. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued October 28, 2013; on the application for that certificate, he reported 12,100 total hours of flight experience. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accrued 92 total hours of flight experience in the accident aircraft as of April 2, 2017. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Pipistrel
Registration: N155CL
Model/Series: Virus SW
Aircraft Category: Glider
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 817 SWN 100
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/02/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 4 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 89 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 912 ULS2
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The accident aircraft was a two-seat, high-wing motorglider with a T-tail empennage and fixed, tricycle landing gear configuration. It was powered by a 100-horsepower Rotax 912 ULS engine driving a three-bladed composite propeller.



The flight manual stated:

Due to flight safety reasons, it is forbidden to:
fly according to instrument flight rules or in instrument meteorological conditions
fly in heavy rainfalls
fly during thunderstorm activity

According to the flight manual, the Virus SW was certified as a "Microlight/Ultralight aircraft." According to an FAA Advisory Circular, this model met criteria to be registered as a "glider" (which includes powered gliders) based on its maximum weight, seating capacity, and wing loading; because it was registered as a glider, the pilot was not required to have a valid medical certificate. 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: GNV, 123 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0853 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 21°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  5 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4300 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 18 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 100°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 18°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Moderate - Mist; Moderate - Thunderstorms - Rain
Departure Point: SEBRING, FL (SEF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: CLEMSON, SC (CEU)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 0800 EDT
Type of Airspace: 

At 0853, the reported weather at GNV, about 15 nautical miles north of the accident site, included thunderstorms, moderate rain, mist, and wind from 100° at 10 knots gusting to 18 knots. The ceiling was broken at 4,300 ft above ground level (agl) and overcast at 7,500 ft agl. Visibility was 5 statute miles, the temperature was 19°C, and the dew point was 18°C. A peak wind gust to 30 knots was observed at 0803.

Weather radar imagery and lightning data depicted heavy to extreme echoes (precipitation) at the accident location with convective cells and lightning. The echoes were consistent with the possibility of hail, extreme turbulence, and strong surface wind gusts. Radar velocity data indicated winds conducive to rotation above the accident site at the time of the accident, with the potential for tornadic activity at the surface. The area of heavy to extreme precipitation stretched across the entire width of northern Florida between 0845 and 0915.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Aviation Weather Center issued convective SIGMETs for the accident site and surrounding area as early as 0555. One SIGMET issued at 0755 warned of severe thunderstorms with tops above 45,000 ft msl and wind gusts up to 50 knots. The NWS also issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 0900 and a tornado warning at 0910 for areas including the accident location.

A post-accident upper air model sounding was created for the accident site. The model indicated a conditionally unstable environment that would have been supportive of cloud formation, rain showers, and thunderstorms.

The pilot received several official weather briefings in text format from Lockheed Martin Flight Service, the Direct Access User Terminal Service, and Leidos on the day before and the morning of the accident. These materials included the standard weather conditions and forecasts as well as the active SIGMETS and severe thunderstorm warnings valid along the route of flight.

The motorglider was equipped with an electronic display that had the capability to receive and display NEXRAD radar images through the Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B) radio system. Whether the pilot had activated or was using this feature could not be determined.

A detailed Meteorology Factual Report is available in the public docket.



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: 29.465278, -82.375000 (est) 

The motorglider impacted a grass pasture in an approximate 90° nose-down attitude. All major components were accounted for at the scene, except the left wing and flaperon and one of the propeller blades. The main wreckage was fragmented and confined to an area about 75 ft in diameter, a majority of which was within a wingspan to either side of the engine. The empennage was separated from the aft fuselage. The rudder and horizontal stabilizer were separated from the vertical stabilizer. Flight control continuity was established from the rudder pedals to the rudder control horn, which was separated from the rudder. Flaperon and elevator control continuity could not be confirmed due to impact damage.

The engine was buried about 3 ft in the initial impact crater. All three carbon fiber propeller blades were fractured at or near their root. One of the blades was not located. The gearbox and propeller hub were separated from the engine crankcase. The crankshaft could not be rotated due to impingement with damaged engine mounts and external components.

A large section of the left wing was located on a farm about 4.5 miles south of the main wreckage. The left flaperon was located about 3.5 miles south of the accident site about 1 month after the accident.

A Dynon SkyView SV-D700 electronic flight instrument system was recovered from the accident site and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder laboratory for examination. The unit was severely damaged and no data were recoverable from the internal memory devices.



Medical And Pathological Information

Postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by the District 5 Medical Examiner's Office, Leesburg, Florida. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries.

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens of the pilot by the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory and by the Wuestoff Reference Laboratory, Melbourne, Florida. The report from the FAA indicated that Flecainide (an antiarrhythmic drug) and Loratadine (a non-sedating antihistamine) were both detected in muscle and liver, with no concentrations specified. Neither of these drugs are considered to be impairing. Ethanol was detected in muscle at 11 mg/dL, consistent with postmortem production. The report from the Wuestoff laboratory was negative for all screened drugs.