Thursday, December 19, 2019

Controlled Flight into Terrain: Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer, N7402D; fatal accident occurred August 04, 2019 near Girdwood Airport (AQY), Alaska

Charles Dean Weimer, age 31

Paul Wiley, age 37  

David Osborn, age 60

Karl Erickson, age 55


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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Anchorage, Alaska

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/N7402D




Location: Girdwood, AK
Accident Number: ANC19FA042
Date & Time: 08/04/2019, 1627 AKD
Registration: N7402D
Aircraft: Piper PA22-150
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 4, 2019, about 1627 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA22-150 airplane, N7402D, was destroyed by impact and a postcrash fire when it collided with terrain about 5 miles north of Girdwood Airport (AQY), Girdwood, Alaska. The airline transport pilot (ATP), and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned by one of the passengers and was operated by the ATP pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed AQY about 1615.

A friend of the airplane owner stated that he and the owner had been conversing via text message on the day of the accident. The owner, who held a student pilot certificate, indicated that he and the pilot had been drinking alcoholic beverages, but stated that he would not be flying the airplane and would be a passenger on the accident flight. The purpose of the flight was to take the passengers on a short 15-20-minute sightseeing flight of the Girdwood area, which consists of remote, steep, mountainous terrain, ranging from sea level to about 7,000 ft, which is part of the Chugach Mountain Range.

Multiple witnesses observed the airplane flying parallel to a mountain ridge before it entered a turn to the north and began a descent. The airplane then disappeared from view, and then they saw a plume of black smoke. One witness saw the airplane performing aggressive maneuvers earlier in the flight, and observed the airplane approach a mountain ridge, its nose pitched up and the airplane entered a steep climb before disappearing from view. No witnesses reported hearing any unusual sounds from the accident airplane.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial
Age: 31, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/26/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 2700 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot, age 31, held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating. Additionally, he held commercial pilot privileges for airplane single and multi-engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine, airplane multi-engine, rotorcraft-helicopter, instrument airplane, and instrument helicopter ratings. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued on February 26, 2019, with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. On the application for that medical certificate, he reported 2,700 hours total flight experience, of which 40 hours were in the previous 6 months.

Some personal flight records were located for the pilot; however, they were not complete. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N7402D
Model/Series: PA22-150
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 22-5163
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/17/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2000 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3175 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: Erickson Karl F
Rated Power: 150 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The airplane was manufactured in 1957 and was equipped with a Lycoming O-320 A1A engine rated at 150 horsepower. Review of the maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection of the airframe and engine was completed on September 17, 2018, when the airframe had accumulated 3,175 hours total time in service and the engine had accumulated 1,336 hours since overhaul.



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 0053 UTC
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 6000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots / 15 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 80°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Girdwood, AK
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Girdwood, AK
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  AKD
Type of Airspace: Class G

The closest official weather observation station to the accident site was Portage Glacier, Whittier, Alaska, located about 22 miles southeast. The 1653 observation included wind from 080° at 7 knots, gusting to 15 knots; 10 statute miles visibility; overcast clouds at 6,000 ft above ground level; temperature 70°F; dew point 57°F; and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury.



Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 2 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 61.036944, -149.045278 

The remote accident site was located on the south face of Goat Mountain in steep, mountainous terrain. The airplane impacted the terrain about 15 ft below the top of a rock-faced ridgeline at an altitude of about 5,512 ft mean sea level (msl) and came to rest inverted on a narrow rock shelf at an altitude of about 5,437 ft msl. The wreckage was largely consumed by postcrash fire; small fragments of wreckage were located on the opposite side of the ridge.

The airplane was not recovered and could not be examined. Review of photographs provided by the Alaska Mountain Rescue Group and the Alaska State Troopers revealed that the left and right wings and their respective control surfaces were destroyed by fire, with only portions of the wing spars remaining. The cockpit, fuselage, and empennage exhibited extensive thermal damage and control continuity could not be verified.

The engine exhibited extensive impact and thermal damage. The propeller separated from the engine crankshaft. One propeller blade exhibited torsional "S" twisting and aft bending about 12 inches from the tip. The other propeller blade exhibited significant torsional "S" twisting and buckling on the trailing edge of the blade.



Medical And Pathological Information

Pilot

An autopsy of the pilot was performed by the Alaska State Medical Examiner, Anchorage, Alaska. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt (deceleration type) injuries.

Postmortem toxicological testing by the Alaska State Medical Examiner of the pilot's femoral blood was positive for ethanol at 0.226 grams per deciliter (gm/dl). Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory detected ethanol in cavity blood at 0.252 gm/dl and in vitreous fluid at 0.238 gm/dl; methanol in an amount too low to quantify was detected in cavity blood and vitreous fluid.

Student Pilot/Passenger

Toxicology testing of the student pilot/passenger performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory detected ethanol in vitreous fluid at 0.058 gm/dl and in brain and muscle at 0.055 and 0.038 grams per hectogram, respectively.

Ethanol

Ethanol is a social drug commonly consumed by drinking beer, wine, or liquor. Ethanol acts as a central nervous system depressant; it impairs judgment, psychomotor functioning, and vigilance. Effects of ethanol on aviators are generally well understood; it significantly impairs pilot performance, even at very low levels. Title 14 CFR 91.17(a) prohibits any person from acting or attempting to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft while having 0.040 gm/dl or more ethanol in the blood.

Ethanol is water soluble, and after absorption it quickly and uniformly distributes throughout the body's tissues and fluids. The distribution pattern parallels water content and blood supply of the tissue. A small amount of ethanol can be produced after death by microbial activity, usually in conjunction with other alcohols such as methanol; vitreous humor does not suffer from such production. Post absorption, vitreous humor has about 12% more ethanol than blood.

While the acute effects of ethanol can vary depending on an individual's frequency of use, body weight, and tolerance, in general, at blood ethanol concentrations as low as 0.02 gm/dl there is relaxation and some loss of judgment; at 0.05 gm/dl, there is further degradation of judgment, psychomotor functioning, and alertness. At blood ethanol concentrations above 0.10 gm/dL, there is prolonged reaction time, altered perception of the environment, lack of coordination, slowed thinking, and mood and behavioral changes. Above 0.15 gm/dl, individuals may have significant loss of muscle control and major loss of balance. In addition to worsening motor coordination and disorientation, at concentrations above 0.20 gm/dl, individuals may experience amnesia or blackouts and double vision.

A copy of the National Transportation Safety Board's medical officer's factual report is available in the public docket for this accident.



Additional Information

The airplane's weight and balance at the time of the accident was estimated based on the pilot's weight from his most current FAA medical examination (180 lbs) and the weights of the passengers taken from government records (200 lbs for the front seat passenger and 300 lbs combined for the rear seat passengers).

A friend of the airplane owner reported that the airplane was fueled about a week and a half before the accident and had not been flown since that time. Accounting for the fuel burned during the accident flight, the estimated fuel onboard at the time of the accident was 34 gallons (204 lbs). The oil onboard weighed about 15 lbs.

The last documented weight and balance information located for the airplane was dated November 1, 2014. At that time, the basic empty weight of the airplane on wheels was 1,149.3 lbs with a center of gravity of 13.43 inches.

Using the values listed above, the gross weight of the airplane at the time of the accident was about 2,048.3 lbs, which was 48.3 lbs over the airplane's approved maximum takeoff gross weight of 2,000 lbs. The estimated center of gravity at the time of the accident was 20.79 inches. The center of gravity range at 2,000 lbs (maximum gross weight) was 17.5 inches to 23.0 inches.

Loss of Control on Ground: Piper PA-12, N3447M; accident occurred August 01, 2019 at Manassas Regional Airport (KHEF), Prince William County, Virginia

View of damage to the left wing. 
Federal Aviation Administration 


Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Washington D.C. 

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/N3447M


Location: Manassas, VA
Accident Number: GAA19CA482
Date & Time: 08/01/2019, 1350 EDT
Registration: N3447M
Aircraft: Piper PA 12
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The pilot in the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during the landing roll, the airplane veered to the right. The pilot attempted to correct the right veer with left rudder pedal but, "My foot slipped as I attempted to correct." The airplane remained on the runway and ground-looped to the right. The left main landing gear collapsed, and the left wing struck the ground.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 77, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/15/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/21/2017
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 3600 hours (Total, all aircraft), 71 hours (Total, this make and model), 3500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 17 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper
Registration: N3447M
Model/Series: PA 12 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:1947 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 12-2065
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/09/2018, Unknown
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1935 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-A1A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 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: KHEF, 192 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2156 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 5500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 130°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Washington, DC (HEF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Washington, DC (HEF)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 1345 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Airport: MANASSAS RGNL/HARRY P DAVIS FI (HEF)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 192 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 16R
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3715 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

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: 38.721111, -77.515000 (est)

Unknown or Undetermined: Robinson R44 Raven II, N3066T; accident occurred July 31, 2019 in Fessenden, Wells County, North Dakota

View of damage to the horizontal stabilizer. 
 Federal Aviation Administration

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fargo, North Dakota

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/N3066T

Location: Fessenden, ND
Accident Number: GAA19CA473
Date & Time: 07/31/2019, 0830 CDT
Registration: N3066T
Aircraft: Robinson R44
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 


The helicopter pilot reported that, during the aerial application flight into rising terrain, he saw the powerline wires when the airspeed was about 40 knots. The helicopter struck the wires and rolled to the right, and subsequently descended. The helicopter touched down upright and bounced. The nose of the helicopter spun to the right and the right skid struck the ground. The helicopter rolled onto its left side and stopped.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage to the tail rotor drive system.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 49, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):Helicopter 
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/28/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/20/2019
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 3866 hours (Total, all aircraft), 239 hours (Total, this make and model), 3740 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 153 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 136 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Robinson
Registration: N3066T
Model/Series: R44 II
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: 11939
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/26/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1330.1 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-AE1A5
Registered Owner: Executive Air Taxi Corp
Rated Power: 260 hp
Operator: Dakota Helicopters, Inc.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: K46D, 1608 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1435 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 121°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4300 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 13 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 160°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Fessenden, ND (D54)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Fessenden, ND
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0810 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 47.649167, -99.629167 (est)

Beechcraft A36 Bonanza, N343AB: Accident occurred July 28, 2019 at Richmond Executive Airport-Chesterfield County (KFCI), Richmond, Virginia

View of damage to the lower fuselage. 
Federal Aviation Administration


Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

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/N343AB

on: Richmond, VA
Accident Number: GAA19CA465
Date & Time: 07/28/2019, 1310 EDT
Registration: N343AB
Aircraft: Beech 36
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Miscellaneous/other
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal



The pilot in the retractable landing gear-equipped airplane reported that during landing and just before touchdown, the stall warning horn sounded. He heard a "scraping-sounding," and, "I thought the stall horn was the gear warning annunciator."

The pilot aborted the landing and rapidly increased the throttle to produce full engine power. He recalled that, "I did not put in enough right rudder," to counter the torque and p-factor. The airplane drifted over the left edge of the asphalt runway and began to climb. However, the airplane impacted the rising terrain and skidded to a stop.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the lower fuselage.

Additionally, the pilot reported that he should have relied upon the "three in the green" before aborting the landing.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 56, 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: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/05/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/17/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 273.1 hours (Total, all aircraft), 57.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 14.4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9.7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6.4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N343AB
Model/Series:36 A36 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: E-3343
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/15/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3149 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 545.2 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550-B
Registered Owner: Ponderosa 343 Llc
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: Ponderosa 343 Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KFCI, 237 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1656 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 136°
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: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: CHARLESTON, SC (JZI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Richmond, VA (FCI)
Type of Clearance: VFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1100 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Richmond Executive-Chesterfield (FCI)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 236 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Vegetation
Runway Used: 33
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5500 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Straight-in

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: 37.406389, -77.524722 (est)

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

 Video Screenshot

Video Screenshot

 Video Screenshot

 Video Screenshot

Airplane

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

Additional Participating Entities:

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

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


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

https://registry.faa.gov/N663BA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

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



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

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



Wreckage and Impact Information

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

Unknown or Undetermined: Air Tractor AT-502, N15400; accident occurred July 24, 2019 in Stanton, Martin County, Texas

View of damage to the airplane’s structure. 
Federal Aviation Administration 


Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas

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/N15400

Location: STANTON, TX
Accident Number: GAA19CA453
Date & Time: 07/24/2019, 1330 CDT
Registration: N15400
Aircraft: Air Tractor AT 502
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Unknown or undetermined
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 137: Agricultural 

The pilot reported that during an aerial application flight, he had reconnoitered the area of operation, but on the last pass, the airplane struck an unseen wire. He recalled that, "the airplane's right wing was trying to drop," and he tried to keep the airplane level, but the right wing collided with the ground and the airplane cartwheeled before it came to rest inverted.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, and both wings.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 42, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Single
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No 
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/24/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/14/2018
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 1580 hours (Total, all aircraft), 650 hours (Total, this make and model), 1400 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 200 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 40 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Air Tractor
Registration: N15400
Model/Series: AT 502 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1992
Amateur Built: No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted
Serial Number: 502-0174
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats:1 
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/05/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 9400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 10628.3 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-34AG
Registered Owner: Wilmington Trust Co Trustee
Rated Power: 750 hp
Operator: Aurora Cooperative Elevator
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Agricultural Aircraft (137)
Operator Does Business As: Plains Aerial Application Inc.
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBPG, 2573 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1915 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 224°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  7 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.22 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: STANTON, TX
Type of Flight Plan Filed:None 
Destination: STANTON, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1300 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 32.201389, -101.688611 (est)