Thursday, April 23, 2020

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

Widow sues airport worker, city over plane crash




The widow of the man who died in an airplane crash in Howard County in October 2019 is suing the city, the airport and an airport employee, alleging negligence and improper training caused the death of her husband.

Dr. Daniel P. Greenwald, a plastic surgeon from Tampa, died on October 5th, 2019 when his Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar crashed in a field just south of Indiana 22. He was the only person onboard.

According to a complaint filed by Julie Robbins Greenwald and the estate of Daniel Greenwald on April 13th in Howard County Superior Court IV, the death was due to John Yount, an airport employee at that time, putting the wrong fuel into Daniel Greenwald’s airplane.

The plane should have been filled up with Avgas, but the complaint alleges Yount put in Jet A fuel instead.

A preliminary investigation report by the National Transportation Safety Board in October focused on the type of fuel given to the plane before it took off from Kokomo Municipal Airport.

According to the report, several of the plane’s engine spark plugs sustained damage that was “consistent with detonation,” and that a clear liquid “consistent in color and order with that of Jet A fuel” was found in the fuel lines and manifolds of both of the plane’s engines.

An employee of the airport, according to the report, told investigators he asked Daniel Greenwald two separate times if he wanted jet fuel for his Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar because, according to the employee, the plane “looked like a jet airplane.” Both times, the report states, Greenwald told the airport employee “yes.” The report does not name the airport employee.

That same airport employee initially had trouble fueling the jet, spilling a gallon of fuel on the ground and then having to make an adjustment in angle of the nozzle in order to fuel the Piper Aerostar plane without spilling, according to the National Transportation Safety Board report.

The lawsuit claims the act of having to adjust the fuel nozzle is proof the wrong fuel was put in the plane since the plane’s tank fillers were designed to make it difficult to fill the plane with the wrong fuel.

The complaint also denies that Greenwald ever told anyone to put in jet fuel in his plane and that there were warnings and fueling instructions on the plane’s fuel tank apertures.

“Dr. Greenwald was a highly experienced pilot and never instructed anyone to fuel this aircraft with Jet A fuel,” the complaint reads.

The lawsuit alleges Yount was negligent when he filled the plane with Jet A fuel and that the city of Kokomo, Kokomo Municipal Airport and the Kokomo Municipal Airport Fixed Base Operator are guilty of not training Yount adequately in “how to determine the appropriate fuel for a particular plane, and failing to instruct Mr. Yount concerning the safety design features of the fuel nozzles and fuel tank fillers, and failing to instruct Mr. Yount not to bypass the fuel nozzles’ and fuel tank fillers’ safety design features.”

The suit is asking for a jury trial and an unspecified amount in damages due to the death.

https://www.newsandtribune.com

Dr. Daniel Greenwald 



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

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

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

https://registry.faa.gov/N326CW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

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

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

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

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 40.475000, -86.063333 (est)

26 comments:

  1. At face value this looks like a legit lawsuit. The lineman sounds like a retard and the FBO is culpable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The case should be decided in favor of the widow if the aircraft had 100 LL labels at the fuel fill ports.

    Verifying the visible fuel type placard at the fill port is a fundamental responsibility of any person performing the fueling operation and requires no other knowledge or special ability to ensure success.

    Even if the fueler can prove he was told to load jet fuel, seeing 100 LL markings should trigger a hard stop to go verify with the pilot that the fill ports were mislabled before continuing.

    The peripheral discussions about who said or heard what and how the truck was marked do not need to be considered if the fuel type markings were there and in legible condition.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Annual inspection , fuel tank labels are "suppose" to be checked, condition and readability and correct for that model.

      Delete
  3. At face value this looks like a legit lawsuit. The lineman sounds like a retard and the FBO is culpable.

    Agreed

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  4. The City will settle, no trial necessary.

    They are going after the deepest pockets available and the city's insurance company surely has them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Why does paragraph 6 of the lawsuit say it was filed on Dec 20, 2020? Time travel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, either it is proof of time travel or the Plaintiff's legal representative is as competent as the guy who fueled the Aerostar.

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    2. This demand was filed 13 April 2020 and item 6 intends to point out that it is now more than 90 days past the December filing. Kind of sad that neither the attorney or their staff could proof read and catch the disabling typo.

      Welcome to the present day state of the world!

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    3. Typos do not make any difference. This law firm is an aviation specialty house. They are very successful

      https://public.courts.in.gov/mycase/?fbclid=IwAR3I-Z-Mee0UzhpxC4jgJTJvs2WNSQR2fj8E-afZQFh6M7RRdKgGw5xQhi4#/vw/SearchResults/eyJ2Ijp7Ik1vZGUiOiJCeUNhc2UiLCJDYXNlTnVtIjoiMzREMDQtMjAwNC1DVC0wMDA4NTIiLCJDaXRlTnVtIjpudWxsLCJDcm9zc1JlZk51bSI6bnVsbCwiRmlyc3QiOm51bGwsIk1pZGRsZSI6bnVsbCwiTGFzdCI6bnVsbCwiQnVzaW5lc3MiOm51bGwsIkRvQlN0YXJ0IjpudWxsLCJEb0JFbmQiOm51bGwsIk9BTnVtIjpudWxsLCJCYXJOdW0iOm51bGwsIlNvdW5kRXgiOmZhbHNlLCJDb3VydEl0ZW1JRCI6OTIsIkNhdGVnb3JpZXMiOm51bGwsIkxpbWl0cyI6bnVsbCwiQWR2YW5jZWQiOmZhbHNlLCJBY3RpdmVGbGFnIjoiQWxsIiwiRmlsZVN0YXJ0IjpudWxsLCJGaWxlRW5kIjpudWxsLCJDb3VudHlDb2RlIjpudWxsfX0=

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    4. "Typos do not make any difference. This law firm is an aviation specialty house. They are very successful."

      Typos can cause lost cases. Or plane crashes. Accuracy is fundamental in the important. Want a math "typo" in an engineering calculation for a wing design in a future airliner your family may fly on? Or a "typo" in a weight calculation for takeoff on an airliner you are on? I didn't think so. Hope you aren't a pilot to be so nonchalant about accuracy.

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  6. Dan was an excellent pilot, surgeon and friend. He helped throughout my 20 year career as a private pilot. He would never have told the lineman Jet A is the correct fuel. Dan had been a FAA Inspector, testing lots of us pilots for our private pilots License, instrument rating, etc. I am still so sad. I sold my plane after this, I completely lost interest in flying. May you rest in peace, Dan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I concur. If the plane had been fueled properly, the flight would have been uneventful.

      Regardless of the claims of the lineman or the FBO, the plane was improperly fueled, and it is their responsibility that it was not properly fueled. Even if Dan discovered that, and did not take off, the FBO would have been responsible for the repairs to the plane.

      Delete
    2. Sorry for your loss. This was a needless death and hopefully all FBOs worldwide will learn from it. That said, I always pay attention to who is fueling my aircraft and with what truck if I'm not fueling it myself.

      Delete
  7. It is the pilot's responsibility to perform a full pre-flight inspection including sampling the fuel for impurities and proper color.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Until you get to court. If the plane had been fueled properly, the flight would have been uneventful, regardless of the evidence of what the lineman says happened.

      That is the way it works in aviation litigation- the pilot is "never wrong", I assure you.

      Delete
  8. The most embarrassing part of all is the claim by the fuel tech that he asked the pilot if he wanted jet fuel while the aircraft was on approach to the airport, because the airplane looked like a jet airplane.

    Who would believe anything said by a person after such an absurd claim. Obviously that was a fabricated story after the fact.

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  9. Pilot is ultimately responsible - should have done a fuel sample check for COLOUR and WATER...

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    Replies
    1. You are correct. In litigation that may be brought up by the defense, as well as the lineman's claim of asking the pilot if he wanted Jet A.

      That will be dismissed quickly because the pilot not performing that act, or even saying "yes" to Jet A, seeing the truck and getting a receipt, did not cause the accident. The improper fueling caused the accident.

      The FBO would be responsible if the pilot caught the error and asked the FBO to fix the issue with a major "repair" to the fuel system, therefore, they are responsible for the crash.

      Unfortunately, that is the way it is and the award/settlement will be in the area of $5-8MM, paid by the deep pocket insurance company and the City.

      It will most likely be settled quickly out of court, because neither the defendants or the plaintiffs attorney want to go to trial, as there is little room for argument, except over the settlement amount.

      Not here to argue with anyone, as I have been a party to aviation litigation, and that is the way it is.

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    2. ^^^^ Absolutely correct. And there is no reason to think the drain sampling was not done. Pilot would have to sump out a large volume of fuel standing in the drain lines before seeing the color change because all of the tank drain valves on the Aerostar are located together under the fuselage on the port side, back edge of the wing.

      Since water density is great enough to migrate down the lines in the hours between his morning fill up and late afternoon departure, there would be no need to draw excessive drain line volume if first draw verified clean/no water at each valve.

      Look at the location of the drain points at 2:40 of this preflight video:
      https://youtu.be/TtYeuZVhEu8?t=160

      Find three white drain markers against the blue paint (with starboard gear lined up below them) at 0:35 in this video:
      https://youtu.be/L40ZUXEViKs?t=35
      And at 7:22 here:
      https://youtu.be/kb9OVx08s0I?t=442

      Zoom way in and find the four drain valve holes on a Aerostar with the aux tank option here:
      https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ds6w6fgejbb6lop/AADevtgTJ7KCNfncvmUXfAa4a/1DC-6.JPG?dl=0

      And if someone is going to say that the jet A mixed with the 100 LL standing in the drain line, take a look at a 50/50 mix experiment with photos here:
      https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/avgas-and-jet-a-contamination-results.74702/

      Open and shut win for the widow's claim.

      Delete
    3. I was looking for drain info earlier- glad you found it.

      Delete
  10. The report refers to an individual by the name of 'Yount' and implies this individual is the line service person responsible for the the miscommunication/improper refueling. There is only one person in Kokomo, Indiana named 'Yount' and it is 'John Yount'.

    https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/kokomotribune.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/56/156f646a-3c89-11ea-8af6-53bf723a8623/5e275917c076b.image.jpg?resize=1200%2C1600

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  11. OK - both engines failed then he lost control - maybe this could have been survivable if he had a made a controlled 'landing' on the field he ended up in?

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    1. It was not a simple just beyond the fence power loss. The location of the crash was reported as southeast of the State Road 22(US35) and County Road 300 E intersection. The details of altitude, speed and track between takeoff and crash location have not been reported.

      Aerostar pilots often comment on higher speeds required for safe control during approach. There are a lot of power lines near that intersection, a cell tower and some buildings. Easy to lose control as the speed trails off, particularly for any late deviation to clear over the power lines or miss whats out front.

      The map link below has a pin to locate the intersection. Grab the street view man and drop him in the intersection, then spin him around and see the poles, lines and tower that had to be avoided as he came in.

      http://maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:40.476926+-86.069953

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  12. Many FBOs have the PIC complete a fuel order in writing with fuel type requested and PIC signature. This eliminates any guess work on what the pilot may have said. The failure of this FBO not having this simple but very effective procedure will show their lack of risk mitigation.

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    1. That is a responsible work order process for dispatching the line tech. But what should the line tech do if the pilot inadvertently checks the wrong box (on paper form or in an online form pulldown menu) and there is a conflict between the fuel order and the fill port markings?

      From the legal performance point of view that order form is only dispatch control. Risk mitigation resides with the fuel tech, who has the responsibility to observe and satisfy the fill port markings or STOP. As the earlier poster who has been been a party to aviation litigation said, that is the way it is.

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    2. It's about reducing the risk, and it does just that most of the time. And it settles any later disagreements of what may have been verbally said. It's not foolproof. It is however a positive risk management strategy that FBOs should be utilizing.

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