Sunday, January 05, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Tukan Trike, N907T; accident occurred January 18, 2018 at Erie Municipal Airport (KEIK), Weld County, Colorado

Aircraft Wreckage.

 Accident Site with Wreckage in Foreground.


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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Denver, Colorado

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/N907T

Location: Erie, CO
Accident Number: CEN18LA080
Date & Time: 01/18/2018, 1605 MST
Registration: N907T
Aircraft: TOMLINSON TRACY L TUKAN
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On January 18, 2018, about 1605 mountain standard time, a Tukan experimental, amateur-built weight-shift aircraft, N907T, was substantially damaged when it collided with trees and terrain during an approach to Erie Municipal Airport (ELK), Erie, Colorado. The student pilot sustained minor injuries. The aircraft was registered to a private individual and the flight was conducted as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 solo training flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight originated from ELK about 1600.

A flight instructor flew the aircraft with the student pilot and conducted seven landings and takeoffs. The aircraft was operating normally during the dual instructional flight. After the dual instruction, the aircraft was taxied back to a hangar where the instructor pilot explained single pilot operations to the student. The student pilot then took off solo and entered the landing pattern. The instructor pilot observed that the student seemed to lose control on his first final approach and executed a go-around. On the second approach, the instructor observed the aircraft on final. The aircraft collided with trees and the wing struck the ground, resulting in substantial damage.

According to the student pilot, while securing the airplane after the accident, he realized that he had inadvertently shut off the fuel valve while on the downwind leg instead of activating the carburetor heat. He stated that the two systems had similar push/pull control knobs that were positioned next to each other in the cockpit.

Examination of the wreckage at the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not reveal any pre-impact mechanical with the airframe or engine. 

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 68, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: None None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 35 hours (Total, all aircraft), 35 hours (Total, this make and model), 1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: TOMLINSON TRACY L
Registration: N907T
Model/Series: TUKAN NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Weight-Shift
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 11760
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 741.7 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: AMA/EXPR
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: UNKNOWN ENG
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:80 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: EIK, 5119 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1554 MST
Direction from Accident Site: 0°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Obscured
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 360°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 13°C / -7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Erie, CO (EIK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Erie, CO (EIK)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1600 MST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Erie Municipal (EIK)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 5119 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 33
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4700 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

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: 40.010278, -105.048056 (est)

Controlled Flight into Terrain: Bell UH-1H Iroquois, N658H, fatal accident occurred January 17, 2018 in Raton, Colfax County, New Mexico

View looking towards the initial impact site.

Close-up view looking towards the initial impact site.

View looking towards RTN from the initial impact site.

View of the debris path looking towards the main wreckage.
View of a ground scar that is perpendicular to the debris path.
View from the ground scar looking towards the main wreckage.

View from the main rotor blades looking towards the main wreckage.


View from the separated left skid looking towards the main wreckage.

View from the separated right skid looking towards the main wreckage.

View of the main wreckage.

View of the engine in the main wreckage.

View of transmission gears.

View of liberated K-flex components.

View of engine turbine blades.

View of the engine during recovery.

Close-up view of an altimeter.

Close-up view of a coupling in the tail rotor drive system.

View of the left cockpit seat during recovery.

View of the intermediate tail rotor gearbox.

View of the tail rotor gearbox, a tail rotor blade, and tail rotor drive shaft.


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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albuquerque, New Mexico
Honeywell Aerospace; Phoenix, Arizona
Rotorcraft Development Corporation; Hamilton, Montana
Air Accidents Investigation Branch, UK; FN
 
Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


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


http://registry.faa.gov/N658H


Location: Raton, NM
Accident Number: CEN18FA078
Date & Time: 01/17/2018, 1800 MST
Registration: N658H
Aircraft: BELL UH-1H
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 5 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The commercial pilot, a pilot rated passenger and four passengers departed in the helicopter on a cross-country flight in dark night visual meteorological conditions. According to the sole surviving passenger, the flight proceeded normally until it impacted the ground in level flight and came to rest inverted.

The pilot initially survived the accident but succumbed to his injuries en route to the hospital. A witness who spoke to the pilot before he was transported from the accident site reported that the pilot said that he had flown into terrain.

Overhead imagery revealed that the area surrounding the accident site comprised unpopulated ranchland grass and sparse, low brush. The imagery showed a reduced amount of visual terrain features in the area of the accident site during night conditions and there were no sources of ground lighting or illumination in the vicinity. The pilot's familiarity with the route of flight could not be determined.

The wreckage was located on a nearly-level mesa that rose about 100 ft above the surrounding mountainous terrain. A postaccident examination did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the helicopter, and ground scars at the site were consistent with impact in a level attitude.

Toxicology testing indicated a therapeutic level of diphenhydramine in the pilot's blood at the time of the accident, which likely impaired him to some degree; however, it could not be determined if psychomotor slowing from the diphenhydramine contributed to his inability to recognize and/or avoid the terrain.

FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 61-134, General Aviation Controlled Flight into Terrain Awareness, defines controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) as when an airworthy aircraft is flown, under the control of a qualified pilot, into terrain (water or obstacles) with inadequate awareness on the part of the pilot of the impending collision. Professional aviation articles on CFIT state that during night conditions where the height above terrain may be misperceived by a pilot, controlled flight into terrain can occur, even to experienced pilots.

Given the lack of mechanical anomalies and the level impact attitude of the helicopter, it is likely that the pilot failed to maintain adequate altitude during cruise flight and subsequently impacted rising terrain. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate altitude above mountainous terrain during cruise flight in dark night conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.

Findings

Rotorcraft 

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Flight planning/navigation - Pilot

Environmental issues
Terrain - Effect on personnel (Cause)
Dark - Contributed to outcome (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute-cruise
Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) (Defining event) 

On January 17, 2018, about 1800 mountain standard time, a Bell UH-1H helicopter, N658H, impacted terrain near Raton, New Mexico. The helicopter was subsequently consumed by a postimpact fire. The commercial pilot, a pilot-rated passenger, and three other passengers were fatally injured. One passenger sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to and operated by Sapphire Aviation LLC as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Raton Municipal Airport/Crews Field (RTN), near Raton, New Mexico, about 1750 and was destined for Folsom, New Mexico.

According to a statement taken by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspectors, the surviving passenger stated that the group of passengers boarded a private airplane in Houston, Texas and the airplane flew them to Raton, New Mexico. They subsequently boarded a company helicopter. The purpose of the helicopter flight was to take the group to personal function in Folsom, New Mexico. The passenger reported that the takeoff was normal. As they were flying east, the sun had gone down, and the stars were very bright. The passenger reported no turbulence during the flight. There were no unusual noises, no observed warning lights in the cockpit, and the pilot and copilot were calm; everything appeared normal. The passenger recalled that they were in level flight and when she heard a big bang as the helicopter hit the ground. After ground contact, the helicopter rolled forward coming to a stop upside down. The passenger was hanging from the seat belt, the door was not present, and jet fuel was pouring on her. She released her seat belt and egressed the helicopter. The helicopter was on fire and subsequent explosions followed. The passenger called 9-1-1 and waited for emergency responders.

According to a first responder, he arrived at the accident site about 2000 and paramedics arrived there about 2015.


The pilot initially survived the accident but succumbed to his injuries en route to a hospital. A witness stated that he was with the pilot before he was loaded in the rescue helicopter and asked the pilot what happened. The pilot replied that the accident was his fault and that he had flown into terrain.



Jamie Coleman Dodd

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 57, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/07/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 6416 hours (Total, all aircraft) 



   
Paul Cobb

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s):
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s):
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/11/2017
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 3140 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument helicopter ratings. He held an FAA second-class medical certificate issued on December 7, 2017. The pilot reported on the application for his medical certificate that he had accumulated 6,416 hours of total flight time and 44 hours in the six months before the examination. His medical certificate was issued with the limitation that he must wear corrective lenses for distant, have glasses for near vision. The pilot reported on an insurance questionnaire that he had accumulated 2,065 hours of total flight time in UH-1 helicopters.

The pilot rated passenger held a commercial pilot certificate with a rotorcraft-helicopter rating. He held a second-class medical certificate issued on December 11, 2017. The pilot-rated passenger reported on the application for his medical certificate that he had accumulated 3,140 hours of total flight time and 30 hours in the six months before the examination. His medical certificate was issued with the limitations that he must wear corrective lenses, and that the certificate was not valid for any class after December 31, 2018. The pilot-rated passenger reported on an insurance questionnaire that he had accumulated 120 hours of total flight time in UH-1 helicopters.



Charles Ryland Burnett III

 Roy Bennett and his wife Heather.


Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BELL
Registration: N658H
Model/Series: UH-1H
Aircraft Category: Helicopter
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Restricted
Serial Number: 67-17658
Landing Gear Type: Skid;
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 9500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Turbo Shaft
Airframe Total Time: 4420.5 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: T53-L-703
Registered Owner: SAPPHIRE AVIATION LLC
Rated Power: 1300 hp
Operator: SAPPHIRE AVIATION LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

N658H, was registered as a Bell UH-1H, helicopter with serial no. 67-17658. However, the current type certificate holder for that serial number is Rotorcraft Development Corporation.

The helicopter was manufactured in 1967 and according to a representative of the type certificate holder (Rotorcraft Development Corporation), was added to the type certificate on August 13, 2007. The helicopter was a single-engine helicopter powered by a Honeywell (formerly Lycoming) T53-L-703 turbo shaft engine with serial number LE-10462Z, which drove a two-bladed main rotor system and a two-bladed tail rotor. T53 engines are a two-spool engine. The gas generator spool consists of a five-stage axial compressor followed by a single-stage centrifugal compressor, and a two-stage high pressure turbine. The power turbine spool consists of two stages. The engine has a maximum continuous rating of 1,300 shaft horsepower at an output shaft speed of 6,634 rpm.

According to information received from the FAA, the accident helicopter was released from the General Services Administration in May 1996 and was owned and operated by seven other civilian operators before Sapphire Aviation, LLC, purchased it on February 10, 2017.

FAA records showed the helicopter was certificated as a restricted category aircraft for external load operations. Title 14 CFR 91.313 states in part that no person may be carried on a restricted category civil aircraft unless that person is a flight crewmember, is a flight crewmember trainee, performs an essential function in connection with a special purpose operation for which the aircraft is certificated, or is necessary to accomplish the work activity directly associated with that special purpose.

According to an inspection data sheet, updated on January 9, 2018, the helicopter had accumulated 4,420.5 hours of total time. 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRTN, 6349 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1753 MST
Direction from Accident Site: 282°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 30°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.26 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 1°C / -18°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: RATON, NM (RTN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Folsom, NM
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1750 MST
Type of Airspace: 

At 1753, the recorded weather at RTN was: Wind 030° at 10 kts; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 1° C; dew point -18° C; altimeter 30.26 inches of mercury.

According to U.S. Naval Observatory Sun and Moon Data, the end of local civil twilight was 1735 and local moonset was at 1754. The observatory characterized the phase of the moon as "waxing crescent with 0% of the moon's visible disk illuminated."



Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 4 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 5 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 36.704444, -104.286667 (est) 

The main wreckage (fuselage) came to rest on a heading about 15° magnetic on a flat mesa about 10.7 nautical miles and 102° from RTN at an elevation about 6,932 ft mean sea level (msl). The mesa consisted mostly of small rocks and prairie grass. The area around the main wreckage was discolored and charred, consistent with a postaccident ground fire. There were no observed sources of ground light or illumination in the vicinity of the accident site.

The initial observed point of terrain contact was a parallel pair of ground scars, consistent with the width of the helicopter's skids, which led directly to the main wreckage on a 074° magnetic bearing. The distance from the start of the parallel ground scars to the wreckage was about 474 ft. About 18 ft past the end of the ground scars was a 25-ft-long ground scar consistent with a main rotor blade slap, which ran perpendicular to the path of travel. The entire main rotor came to rest about 60 ft beyond the blade slap signature. The tail rotor and tail rotor gear box were resting nearby. The helicopter's main wreckage was located about 66 ft beyond the main rotor. It came to rest upside down and the entire cabin section between the cockpit and tail boom was destroyed by fire.

The right side of the cockpit sustained thermal damage. The cyclic and collective on the left side of the cockpit were in place. The left cockpit side anti-torque pedals were present and connected to their under-deck push-pull tubes. The collective had broken away from its mount. Its twist grip linkage was present and connected. The twist grip's under-deck push-pull tubes moved when the grip's linkage was manipulated by hand. The push-pull tube sections located between the seats were been destroyed.

The collective control on the right side of the cockpit was separated from the floor deck. The right cyclic was not located. The right cockpit side's left anti-torque pedal was separated from it mount and the right anti-torque pedal was not located. Their connecting push-pull rod end were fractured into segments consistent with overload. All controls tubes aft of the cockpit were destroyed by fire.

Cockpit instruments and avionics exhibited discoloration, charring, and deformation consistent with thermal damage. Two altimeters were located. The altimeter on the left side of instrument panel read 6,760 ft (Kollsman window indicated 30.18). The other altimeter had separated from its instrument panel. The altimeter's 100-ft needle detached from its instrument face. However, the 1,000-ft needle pointed at 6,000 ft (Kollsman window indicated 30.28).

The transmission and main rotor mast were present forward of the engine and laying on its right side. The transmission's case had been consumed by fire, revealing the main drive gear and planetary gear train. The main drive gear was intact with no mechanical gear/tooth damage evident. The engine drive/sprag clutch was aligned with the transmission where a fragment of the KaFlex coupling was attached and was consistent in appearance with an overload fracture. Fragments of the KaFlex and torque tube were located in the debris field and displayed signatures consistent with overload fractures. The stationary swashplate was present with one servo connection present. The other two control servo connection horns were destroyed by thermal damage. Three flight control hydraulic servos were located. All aluminum hardware connecting each end of each servo had been melted or destroyed. The rotating swashplate was present with one scissor attached and the other scissor exhibited thermal damage. One main rotor blade damper remained attached to the rotor mast. The other blade damper was located in the debris field near the main rotor assembly. The mast had separated at the rotor head with a circumferential fracture consistent with torsional overload.

The engine compressor cases, accessory gearbox housing, and inlet housing were consumed by fire. The output reduction carrier and gear assembly, which attaches to the inlet housing, was intact and recovered as a loose component. Gears within the accessory gearbox were recovered as loose components. There were no penetrations of the combustor plenum. The exhaust tail pipe was disassembled from the engine while on scene to document the second-stage of the power turbine. There were metal spray deposits on the suction side of the second-stage power turbine stator vanes. There was no damage to leading edge of either the second-stage power turbine stator vanes or the second-stage power turbine rotor blades.

The left horizontal stabilizer had separated from the tail boom at its root. The right horizontal stabilizer remained attached to the tail boom.

Four of the 5 tail rotor drive shaft segments were aligned with the transmission and positioned along the top of the tail boom. The first drive shaft that spanned the space beneath the engine was not located; however, the steel end coupling was present at the aft end of the transit tube. All the drive shaft segments had detached from their coupling hanger bearings, except for the shaft connecting to the lower section of the intermediate (42°) gear box. The shaft extending upward from the 42° gear box had separated along with the tail rotor gear box. The 42° gear box remained attached to the tail boom. Oil was present in the case, and the gears could be rotated by hand. Tail rotor control push-pull tube was separated at the forward end of the tail boom. Control continuity was established from the forward section of the tail boom to the tail rotor gearbox mount. Control continuity from the forward section of the tail boom to the horizontal stabilizer was established. The tail rotor gear box, the attached drive shaft, tail rotor head, and both blades had been separated from the vertical tail and were located in debris field near the main rotor assembly. Oil was present in the tail rotor gear box. The tail rotor assembly remained intact. The pitch links were attached from the pitch horns to the cross head. Rotor head balance weights remained attached. The tail rotor shaft moved freely by hand, no binding in the gear box. The tail rotor red blade tip leading edge was peeled back, and the tip cap sheared off. The opposite blade had been bent outboard about 30° about midspan along the chord line.

The main rotor separated from the rotor mast at the bottom of the rotor head and showed a fracture surface consistent with torsional overload. Both main rotor blades (red and white) remained attached to their main rotor head blade grips. The stabilizer bar assembly had separated from the main rotor head and was located near the main rotor assembly. The pitch change links, the control tubes, and the mixing lever remained connected to the stabilizer bar assembly.

The majority of the red main rotor blade's fiberglass and honeycomb blade afterbody had separated from its blade spar. Portions of the afterbody panels were discolored black and brown consistent with exposure to fire. The length of the red blade was about 21 ft 8 in. The outboard tip portion of the red blade had separated. The outboard 5 ft of the blade exhibited a broomstraw appearance. The drag brace remained connected. The pitch horn had sheared off the blade grip at its mounting pad.

The majority of the white main rotor blade's fiberglass and honeycomb blade afterbody had buckled and separated from the spar at 4 locations. The white blade's tip had sheared from its blade at a 45° angle. The length of the white blade was about 20 ft. The outboard tip portion of the blade had separated. The outboard 1 ft of the blade exhibited a broomstraw appearance. The drag brace remained connected. The pitch horn had sheared off the blade grip at its mounting pad.

Medical And Pathological Information

The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator, Albuquerque, New Mexico, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The pilot's cause of death was blunt force trauma with atherosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease as contributing conditions. The autopsy revealed that the pilot's heart was enlarged, and both ventricles were thickened. Severe coronary artery disease was identified with up to 75% stenosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery and up to 40% stenosis of the left circumflex coronary artery. In addition, there was microscopic evidence of previous ischemia.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens of the pilot. Etomidate was detected in heart blood, and 0.032 µg/mL of diphenhydramine was detected in femoral blood. Diphenhydramine was also detected in liver.

Review of postaccident treatment records indicated that the pilot was administered etomidate by paramedics following the accident.

Diphenhydramine is used for the treatment of the common cold and hay fever. It carries the following Federal Drug Administration warning: may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery). The therapeutic range for diphenhydramine is 0.0250 to 0.1120 µg/ml. Diphenhydramine can cause marked sedation, altered mood, and impaired cognitive and psychomotor performance. In a driving simulator study, a single 50 mg dose of diphenhydramine impaired driving ability more than a blood alcohol concentration of 0.100 gm/dl.

Tests And Research

A cellphone and iPad were located in the wreckage and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory to be examined for data pertinent to the accident. The devices were found locked so no data was retrieved.

The NTSB conducted terrain mapping and viewpoint flights of the impact area using a small unmanned aircraft system. Video from the drone flights was overlaid with cockpit imagery from an exemplar helicopter as a visualization aid. The overlay showed that fewer visible terrain features were present near the accident area during night conditions than during day conditions. The UAS Aerial Imagery Factual Report is in the docket for this accident.

A review of local terrain revealed that, if the helicopter had flown directly from RTM to the destination, the terrain along the route would have been about 450 ft lower. The accident site was located about 4 nautical miles south of this route.

Additional Information

A witness at the ranch in the Folsom, New Mexico, area was asked if he knew the route of flight for previous helicopter flights to the ranch. He reported that the few times that the pilot would have flown to the ranch would have mainly been from Perry Stokes Airport, near Trinidad, Colorado. He was not familiar with how many trips the pilot would have made from RTN to the ranch, but indicated that "it was probably minimal."

FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 61-134, General Aviation Controlled Flight into Terrain Awareness, defines controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) as when an airworthy aircraft is flown, under the control of a qualified pilot, into terrain (water or obstacles) with inadequate awareness on the part of the pilot of the impending collision.

An Australian Transport Safety Bureau Aviation Research and Analysis Report stated that at night, the absence of peripheral visual cues, especially below the aircraft, can give an illusion of height, and result in the pilot inadvertently flying lower than necessary.
An article in The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, published in September 2008, titled Visual Misperception in Aviation: Glide Path Performance in a Black Hole Environment, stated that no pilot was immune from visual [spatial disorientation]. Pilots with more experience tended to fly even lower than those with less experience.

Van's RV-6, N420PW: Fatal accident occurred January 05, 2020 at Cullman Regional Airport (KCMD), Alabama

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

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


https://registry.faa.gov/N420PW 


Location: Cullman, AL
Accident Number: ERA20FA063
Date & Time: 01/05/2020, 1243 CST
Registration: N420PW
Aircraft: Van's RV-6
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 5, 2020, about 1243, central standard time, an experimental amateur-built Vans RV-6, N420PW, was destroyed when it impacted terrain at Cullman Regional Airport (CMD), Cullman, Alabama. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

A review of airport surveillance video revealed that the pilot and passenger arrived at CMD about 1230. At 1240, the airplane was seen on the taxiway, then stopped for a brief moment before continuing to the active runway. At 1242, the airplane was seen climbing out from runway 2, when the video stopped recording. Other surveillance cameras recorded witnesses acknowledging the accident and responding to the accident site.

According to witnesses, the airplane taxied to runway 2 and began the takeoff roll. During the initial climb, when the airplane reached about 350 ft, a loud "pop" was heard. The witnesses watched as the airplane made an immediate "sharp left banking turn" in what appeared to be an attempt to return to the airport. The airplane "stalled and went into a left spiral downward turn." The airplane completed two turns before colliding with the ground on airport property adjacent the taxiway. The airport authorities and witnesses responded immediately to the accident scene.

The pilot, age 40, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. The pilot held a third-class medical certificate that was issued November 24, 2014. The pilot's logbook was not available for review. The pilot reported 460 total hours of flight time at his last medical examination.

The airplane's construction was completed in 2014. It was powered by a Lycoming O-360-A1D engine rated at 180 horsepower. The engine was equipped with a Hartzell two-bladed, controllable-pitch propeller. Review of maintenance records revealed a condition inspection was completed on August 18, 2014, and an airworthiness certificate was issued on August 26, 2014, at a tachometer time of 3.5 hours. No further entries were in the maintenance logbooks. The tachometer and Hobbs meter were destroyed by impact forces.

Fueling records revealed that the airplane was last fueled at CMD on November 29, 2019, with 18.7 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. According to one of the co-owners of the airplane, the accident pilot flew from CMD to Auburn University Regional Airport (AUO), Auburn, Alabama, on November 30, 2019. The pilot then departed AUO to return to CMD, but due to wind conditions at CMD, the pilot diverted to Hartselle-Morgan County Regional Airport (5M0), Hartselle, Alabama. On December 1, 2019 the pilot returned to CMD. There were no other fueling records for the stops at AUO or 5M0.

The CMD weather at 1255 was reported as wind from 210° at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, ceiling clear, temperature of 29° C, dew point temperature of 23° C, and an altimeter setting of 30.29 inches of mercury.

Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane impacted an airport field about 1,500 ft from the departure end of runway 2. All flight control surfaces were located at the accident site. The cockpit section of the airplane was crushed to the bulkhead of the fuselage. The instrument panel was crushed and the instruments were impact damaged. The instruments did not display any reliable information due to impact damage. Examination of the fuel selector revealed that the selector was between the left and right fuel tank. Pressurized air was supplied to the fuel selector and it was discovered that when positioned between both tanks, fuel was only supplied from the left tank. The fuel selector was placed in the right tank position and pressurized air was supplied through the lines and the air moved to the right fuel tank line as noted on the selector. The selector was placed in the left fuel tank position and pressurized air was supplied through the lines and the air moved to the left fuel tank line as noted on the selector.

The fuselage exhibited crush damage to the aft empennage. The empennage was buckled and crushed to the right. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers remained attached to the empennage. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer and was unremarkable. The elevators remained attached to the horizontal stabilizer and were unremarkable. The tail wheel assembly remained attached to the empennage and was bent upward. Flight control continuity was established from the control stick to the elevators. The rudder cables were traced from the rudder pedals to the attachment points on the rudder and the tail wheel steering assembly.

An examination of the left wing assembly revealed crush damage along the leading edge of the wing assembly. The fuel tank was breached and no signs of fuel was discovered within the fuel tank. The flap assembly was located in the retracted position and still attached to the wing.The aileron was still attached to the wing and remained connected to the push pull control tubes. Flight control continuity was established from the left aileron to the control stick.

An examination of the right wing assembly revealed crush damage along the leading edge of the wing assembly. The fuel tank was breached and no signs of fuel was discovered within the fuel tank. The flap assembly was located in the retracted position and still attached to the right wing. The aileron was still attached to the right wing and connected to the push pull control tubes. Flight control continuity was established from the right aileron to the control stick.

Examination of the engine revealed that the crankcase remained intact and displayed impact damage. There were no fractures in the case that would indicate a catastrophic internal engine failure. During the examination of the carburetor the upper section was removed from the float bowl and was observed to be about ½ full of blue liquid with and odor consistent with aviation gasoline. A test of the liquid with water finding paste revealed no indication of water in the liquid. No damage was noted to the brass fuel floats or the needle and seat assembly. The engine-driven fuel pump remained attached to the engine and no damage was noted. The pump was removed and produced air from the outlet port when actuated by hand. Liquid with an odor consistent with aviation gasoline drained from the pump when it was removed and tilted. The pump was partially disassembled and no damage noted to the internal check valves or the rubber diaphragms. No liquid drained from the fluid line from the airframe to the engine driven fuel pump or the fluid line from the pump to the carburetor when they were removed.

The propeller flange and starter ring separated from the crankshaft and the propeller remained attached to the propeller hub. The rear engine accessories were impact damaged. The accessories were removed to facilitate valvetrain continuity. The vacuum pump drive was rotated and valvetrain continuity was established throughout the engine. The cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope. The piston faces, cylinder bores, and valve heads displayed normal operating and combustion signatures. While rotating the vacuum drive it was noted that all four cylinders displayed thumb compression and suction. During rotation it was noted that all the rocker arms and valves moved accordingly. Examination of the magnetos revealed the left magneto was broken away from the accessory case and the right magneto remained attached. Both magnetos were rotated and both produced spark on all terminals.

Examination of the propeller assembly revealed the two blade, constant speed propeller remained separated from the propeller flange and displayed impact damage signatures. Both propeller blades revealed "S" type bending and exhibited chordwise scratching. One blade displayed aft bending and twisting deformation.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Vans
Registration: N420PW
Model/Series: VANS RV-6 Undesignated
Aircraft Category:Airplane 
Amateur Built: Yes
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: CMD, 969 ft msl
Observation Time: 1235 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / -1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 190°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.31 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:None 
Departure Point: Cullman, AL (CMD)
Destination: Cullman, AL (CMD)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.272778, -86.858056

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. 




40-year-old Tyler Wesley Walker and 10-year-old Brooklyn Walker 


CULLMAN, Alabama (WBRC) - The investigation is underway into the death of a Cullman county man and his ten-year-old daughter.

On Sunday, Tyler Walker and his daughter Brooklyn were both killed after his experimental plane crashed shortly after takeoff.

Monday federal investigators were at the airport. The investigation will take time. We know that from past experiences with the National Transportation and Safety Board.

But the family member and others believe there might have been issues with his experimental plane that lead to the deadly crash.

40-Year-old Tyler Wesley Walker and his ten-year-old daughter both loved to fly. Walker’s experimental plane, which he built himself, crashed quickly after takeoff.

“The FAA is here. The NTSB is here. I don’t know how long it take for them to complete their investigation, the processes they have to go through now,” says Ben Harrison, the Cullman Regional Airport General Manager.

Walker grew up at the airport. His father’s home is walking distance from the airfield. Walker was an experienced pilot.

Walker’s brother-in-law, DJ Smithson, says a witness, another pilot, talked about hearing a pop and then an explosion before the crash.

The Walkers’ deaths have shaken the community where they were well known.

“It’s scary. It’s a shocking thing for everyone. It’s something nobody wants to stand up here and talk about. It’s something no one wants to deal with. It’s terrible,” continued Harrison.

Smithson says the experimental plane does not glide much at all. So, when power was lost, it fell quickly.

He doubts Walker had much time to react. Harrison hopes answers are found soon.

“When something like this happens, it’s the human factor. They are from here. A lot of people know them. They are good friends. They are good people,” says Harrison.

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


Brooklyn Walker

Tyler Walker


Van's RV-6, N420PW




LATEST 7 P.M. CULLMAN, Alabama – A father and daughter were killed in a plane crash at Cullman Regional Airport on Sunday afternoon, according to the Cullman County Coroner.

The coroner said Tyler Wesley Walker, 40 of Vinemont, and Brooklyn Walker, 10 of Vinemont, were the victims.

LATEST 5 P.M. — CULLMAN, Alabama (WIAT) —  In another brief news conference, Folsom Field Airport General Manager Ben Harrison reported the plane crash that left two people dead happened around 12:45 p.m.

During the investigation, it was revealed that the crash did not happen on the runway at the airport. The plane landed near the runway in a grassy area.

Officials at the scene are not releasing the names of the victims involved in the accident. And they have not given an update as to how the accident was caused.

The runway at the regional airport is open at this time.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will be taking over the investigation and will give another update Monday, January 6th.

CULLMAN, Ala. (WIAT) — Authorities are investigating a plane crash that occurred Sunday afternoon at Folsom Field Airport in Cullman.

Authorities believe the accident happened between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. Two people were killed in the plane crash, Cullman Regional Airport General Manager  Ben Harrison reported in a brief news conference.

At this time, Cullman County Sheriff’s Office, Cullman County EMA, and Vinemont Fire Department are among agencies assisting in the plane crash investigation.

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


Update: 7:02 p.m.: The Cullman County Coroner identified the plane crash victims as Tyler Wesley Walker, 40, and his daughter Brooklyn Walker, 10.

Update: 5:30 p.m.: The Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison says two people were killed in the plane crash. No information about the victims will be released at this time. The crash location is off a runaway, and the nearest runway has reopened. NTSB investigators are expected on site Monday, and an update is expected at 12:00 p.m. Monday.

Cullman County EMA Director, Philly Little confirms there has been a plane crash Saturday afternoon at the Cullman Regional Airport.

The Federal Aviation Administration has released a statement: "A Vans RV-6 crashed off the end of Runway 2 during departure from Cullman Regional Airport-Folsom Field, Vinemont, Alabama, today at 12:30 p.m. CST"

Cullman Regional Airport General Manager says a press conference is scheduled for 5 p.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration will continue to investigate the scene and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.wvtm13.com



Cullman County Coroner Jeremy L. Kilpatrick has identified the two victims as Tyler Wesley Walker, 40, and his daughter, 10-year-old Brooklyn Walker, of Vinemont.

Statement from Arlene Salac with the Federal Aviation Administration:

“A Vans RV-6 crashed off the end of Runway 2 during departure from Cullman Regional Airport-Folsom Field, Vinemont, Alabama, today at 12:30 p.m. CST. The Federal Aviation Administration will investigate and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause of the accident.”

Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison has confirmed two people died in a plane crash at the airport Sunday.

Harrison said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board have been notified. 

The Cullman Police Department, Cullman Sheriff’s Office and Alabama Law Enforcement Agency are on the scene.

A press conference is scheduled for 5 p.m.

VINEMONT, Alabama – Multiple agencies are responding to a plane crash at Cullman Regional Airport. Cullman Police Chief Kenny Culpepper reported two fatalities.

Original article ➤ https://www.cullmantribune.com



Cullman County Coroner has identified the two plane crash victims as Tyler Wesley Walker (40) and his daughter Brooklyn Walker (10) of Vinemont.

There wasn’t much that Tyler and Brooklyn loved more than to fly. As shown in their time in the air, they both lived life to the fullest and loved their family. Tyler was certainly an incredible father going above and beyond for his daughter, a fifth grader at East Elementary, who perished with him in today’s crash.

Please keep the Walker family in your prayers during this tragic time.

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








VINEMONT, Alabama (WBMA) -- The Cullman County EMA confirmed that there's a plane crash at the Cullman Regional Airport.

Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison confirmed two people died in the small plane crash at the airport Sunday, shortly after 12:30 p.m.


The victims names were not immediately released.


In a news conference Cullman Regional Airport General Manager Ben Harrison said "it's a sad day for the flying community."

Harrison said the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are handling the investigation, which is standard procedure. Those federal agencies are expected to hold another news conference at noon on Monday, January 6th.


Story and video ➤ https://abc3340.com