Saturday, November 07, 2020

Diamond DA-40 Diamond Star, N232JP: Accident occurred November 06, 2020 at Barrow County Airport (KWDR), Winder, Georgia

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

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

Dragonfly Aviation LLC

Location: Winder, GA 
Accident Number: ERA21LA039
Date & Time: November 6, 2020, 13:45 Local 
Registration: N232JP
Aircraft: Diamond DA40 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Diamond 
Registration: N232JP
Model/Series: DA40 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: WDR,926 ft msl 
Observation Time: 13:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C /10°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 80°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.27 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Winder, GA
Destination: Winder, GA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 33.98269,-83.667217 (est)

No one was injured, but a small plane crashed at the Barrow County Airport Friday afternoon.

According to a release from Barrow County Emergency Services, crews were called to the scene around 1:30 p.m. When they arrived, the found the plane off of the runway and leaning over a fence.

The plane suffered heavy damage and Fire Captain Scott Dakin said the pilot, who was wearing a seatbelt at the time, was the only passenger. He said the seatbelt likely saved his life.

“He was out of the plane prior to our arrival," Dakin said.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

ERCO Ercoupe 415-C, N331BW: Accident occurred November 07, 2020 near Ardmore Downtown Executive Airport (1F0), Carter County, Oklahoma

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Location: Ardmore, OK 
Accident Number: CEN21LA047
Date & Time: November 7, 2020, 08:05 Local 
Registration: N331BW
Aircraft: Ercoupe 415 
Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under:

On November 7, 2020, about 0805 central standard time, an ERCO Ercoupe 415-C airplane, N331BW, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Ardmore, Oklahoma. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries and the two occupants sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The purpose of the flight was for the pilot to take the two passengers for a sightseeing flight in the local area. The pilot was stationed in the left seat while the two passengers shared the right seat together. As the airplane flew over a neighborhood, the pilot executed a left bank. The one passenger reported that during the left bank, the pilot stated, “this is bad,” and he was unable to control the ailerons to return the airplane to level flight. The pilot attempted to move the control yoke multiple times, but to no avail. The pilot attempted to land the airplane to an open field; however, the airplane impacted a tree during the landing, and came to rest inverted on the ground.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage, both wings, and the empennage. The wreckage is pending recovery for a future examination of the airframe and engine.

The ERCO Ercoupe 415-C Instructional Manual states that the airplane is a “two-place, low wing monoplane of metal construction.” According to the Federal Aviation Administration Type Certificate Data Sheet (A-718) for the airplane, the airplane is limited to two seats. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Ercoupe 
Registration: N331BW
Model/Series: 415 C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: K1F0,844 ft msl
Observation Time: 07:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C /11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Ardmore, OK (1FO)
Destination: Ardmore, OK

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious, 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.127809,-97.063198 (est)

CARTER COUNTY, Oklahoma (KXII) - A pilot is in critical condition after an airplane crashed in Carter County Saturday morning.

The crash happened around 8 a.m. on Concord and Mary Niblack road off of U.S. Highway 70 east.

Three agencies were on scene and Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Jody Cornelison said three people were inside of the aircraft.

Trooper Cornelison said the pilot was medflighted to a hospital in Plano in critical condition with two passengers taken and released at an Ardmore hospital.

He said the pilot had to take an emergency landing and crashed into a tree on a private property.

“They (homeowners) were pretty shocked, they advised they didn’t even hear the crash. They just walked outside and discovered there was a plane out in their front yard.”

Trooper Cornelison said the pilot told him there was a mechanical failure with the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Former Iron 44 helicopter vice president seeks release from prison

This photo was taken in the days following the Iron 44, Sikorsky S-61N (N612AZ) crash, which killed nine and injured four others near Weaverville, California on August 5th, 2008.

A former Grants Pass helicopter company executive serving 12 years for falsifying aircraft records that led to nine deaths is seeking early release from federal prison for fear of contracting the coronavirus — despite already having recovered from an earlier bout of COVID-19.

Steven Metheny, 50, is incarcerated at a low-security institution in Lompoc, California, for lying about helicopter weight limits while he was vice president of now-defunct Carson Helicopters leading up to the Iron 44 helicopter crash that killed seven Southern Oregon wildland firefighters and two pilots in the summer of 2008.

Last month, Metheny filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Medford seeking compassionate release from prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s office argued earlier this week that Metheny hasn’t showed any “extraordinary and compelling” reasons to justify his release.

“The mere existence of COVID, without more, is not sufficient to justify compassionate release,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy Potter wrote in a November 2nd response.

Metheny’s October 7th motion for compassionate release was sealed in court records, but Potter argued in her response that his weight is the only eligible health condition that increases his risk of COVID-19.

“But, obesity alone should not result in defendant’s release,” Potter wrote.

Metheny has not shown that the federal Bureau of Prisons would not be able to care for him if he contracts the coronavirus, Potter argues.

“In fact, Metheny has had COVID and recovered,” Potter wrote. “He relies on the risk of reinfection and the conditions at FCI Lompoc to further support his motion.”

Potter stated that while the federal correctional institution did have an outbreak, as of November 2nd there were no infected inmates and only three staff members who had tested positive.

According to the Bureau of Prisons coronavirus website, no inmates or staff are currently positive for COVID-19; however, 713 inmates and 17 staff have recovered from the illness since the start of the pandemic, and two inmates have died. The facility holds 968 inmates, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Potter separately argued that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over Metheny’s release because he’s challenging a judge’s ruling earlier this year in an attempt to appeal his case on claims of ineffective counsel.

Metheny had claimed his defense lawyer led him to believe that the damages in his case were going to be zero dollars if he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, and therefore expected a 10-month sentence rather than the 151-month prison sentence imposed. In her May 27 ruling, Aiken called Metheny’s claims that his defense lawyer made false promises “palpably incredible.”

Potter claimed that the Medford court can still deny Metheny’s motion or provide the Ninth Circuit an indicative ruling. Elsewhere in her response, she pointed to attempts to evade the consequences of Metheny’s actions.

“Metheny’s fraud was extensive and not only caused a financial loss, it put firefighters at risk. The sentence imposed in this case was reasonable and appropriately punished Metheny for his crimes,” Potter wrote. “Nothing has changed; the sentence is reasonable and appropriate.”

Court records show the next hearing on Metheny’s motion for compassionate release is a phone conference scheduled for November 13th in U.S. District Court in Eugene.

Van Nuys Airport (KVNY), California


 VAN NUYS, California - An investigation was underway Friday after authorities detained a driver who took police on a pursuit down runways at Van Nuys Airport.

The vehicle was maneuvering up and down runways as airplanes were preparing for takeoff and landing.

At times, the driver was seen with both of his hands up in the air out of the vehicle's sunroof.

The pursuit lasted for about 20 minutes, which included a couple of PIT maneuvers from police.

The chase finally came to an end after the driver crashed through a fence.

The driver, and sole occupant of the vehicle, was taken into custody without further incident. His name has not been released.

No injuries were reported.

Airport police told FOX 11's Gigi Graciette that they believe the suspect breached security at a construction site near the airport grounds. 

Police said the suspect was rambling about the "federal government" and "Mexican drug cartels."

Authorities believe this may be a mental health issue and said that after the crash, the suspect lifted up his shirt to show the police sergeant evidence of a medical condition that prevented him from laying out on the ground to be arrested.

"The car is his girlfriend's, I'm sure she'll be really happy about that today," said Sgt. Charles Pierce, with the Los Angeles Police Department's Van Nuys station.

There was no immediate word on whether flight schedules were impacted.

Pilatus PC-12 NGX, N400PW: Accident occurred November 06, 2020 in Hilo, Hawaii

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii
Pilatus Aircraft Ltd; Stans, Switzerland
Pratt & Whitney Canada; Quebec 

Location: Hilo, HI 
Accident Number: ANC21LA006
Date & Time: November 6, 2020, 16:00 Local 
Registration: N400PW
Aircraft: Pilatus PC12 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Ferry

On November 6, 2020, about 1600 Pacific standard time, a Pilatus PC-12, N400PW, was substantially damaged when it was ditched in the Pacific Ocean about 1000 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii. The two pilots sustained no injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 ferry flight.

According to the pilot-in-command (PIC), who was also the ferry company owner, he and another pilot were ferrying a new airplane from California to Australia. The first transoceanic leg was planned for 10 hours from Santa Maria Airport (KSMX), Santa Maria, California to Hilo Airport (PHTO), Hilo, Hawaii. The manufacturer had an auxiliary ferry fuel line and check valve installed in the left wing before delivery. About 1 month before the trip, the pilot hired a ferry company to install an internal temporary ferry fuel system for the trip. The crew attempted the first transoceanic flight on November 2, but the ferry fuel system did not transfer properly, so the crew diverted to Merced Airport (KMCE), Merced, California. The system was modified with the addition of two 30 psi fuel transfer pumps that could overcome the ferry system check valve. The final system consisted of 2 aluminum tanks, 2 transfer pumps, transfer and tank valves, and associated fuel lines and fittings. The ferry fuel supply line was connected to the factory installed ferry fuel line fitting at the left wing bulkhead, which then fed directly to the main fuel line through a check valve and directly to the turbine engine.  The installed system was ground and flight checked before the trip.

According to Federal Aviation Administration automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) data, the airplane departed KSMX about 1000. The pilots each stated that the ferry fuel system worked as designed during the flight and they utilized the operating procedures that were supplied by the installer. About 5 hours after takeoff, approaching ETNIC intersection, the PIC climbed the airplane to flight level 280. At that time, the rear ferry fuel tank was almost empty, and the forward tank was about 1/2 full. The crew was concerned about introducing air into the engine as they emptied the rear ferry tank, so the PIC placed the ignition switch to ON. According to the copilot (CP), she went to the cabin to monitor the transparent fuel line from the transfer pumps to ensure positive fuel flow while she transferred the last of the available rear tank fuel to the main fuel line. When she determined that all of the usable fuel was transferred, and fuel still remained in the pressurized fuel line, she turned the transfer pumps to off and before she could access the transfer and tank valves, the engine surged and flamed out. The PIC stated that the crew alerting system (CAS) fuel low pressure light illuminated about 5 to 15 seconds after the transfer pumps were turned off, and then the engine lost power and the propeller auto feathered. The PIC immediately placed the fuel boost pumps from AUTO to ON. The CP went back to her crew seat and they commenced the pilot operating handbook’s emergency checklist procedures for emergency descent and then loss of engine power in flight.

According to both crew members, they attempted an engine air start. The propeller unfeathered and the engine started; however, it did not reach flight idle and movement of the power control lever did not affect the engine. The crew secured the engine and attempted another air start. The engine did not restart and grinding sounds and a loud bang were heard. The propeller never unfeathered and multiple CAS warning lights illuminated, including the EPECS FAIL light (Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System). The crew performed the procedures for a restart with EPECS FAIL light and multiple other starts that were unsuccessful. There were no flames nor smoke from either exhaust pipe during the air start attempts. About 8,000 ft mean sea level, the crew committed to ditching in the ocean.

About 1600, after preparing the survival gear, donning life vests, and making mayday calls on VHF 121.5, the PIC performed a full flaps gear up landing at an angle to the sea swells and into the wind. He estimated that the swells were 5 to 10 ft high with crests 20 feet apart. During the landing, the pilot held back elevator pressure for as long as possible and the airplane landed upright. The crew evacuated through the right over wing exit and boarded the 6 man covered life raft. A photograph of the airplane revealed that the bottom of the rudder was substantially damaged. The airplane remained afloat after landing. See figure 1.

The crew utilized a satellite phone to communicate with Oakland Center. The USCG coordinated a rescue mission. About 4 hours later, a C-130 arrived on scene and coordinated with a nearby oil tanker, the M/V Ariel, for rescue of the crew. According to the pilots, during the night, many rescue attempts were made by the M/V Ariel; however, the ship was too fast for them to grab lines and the seas were too rough. After a night of high seas, the M/V Ariel attempted rescue again; however, they were unsuccessful. That afternoon, a container ship in the area, the M/V Horizon Reliance, successfully maneuvered slowly to the raft, then the ship’s crew shot rope cannons that propelled lines to the raft, and they were able to assist the survivors onboard. The pilots had been in the raft for about 22 hours.
The airplane was a new 2020 production PC-12 47E with a newly designed Pratt and Whitney PT6E-67XP engine which featured an Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System. The airplane is presumed to be lost at sea. The investigation is ongoing.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Pilatus 
Registration: N400PW
Model/Series: PC12 47E 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2000 ft AGL 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 27.5937,-139.6529

HONOLULU, Hawaii — The United States Coast Guard and a pair of good Samaritans responded to a downed aircraft approximately 1,100 miles northeast of Oahu on November 6th.

The Coast Guard says there were two crew members in the Pilatus PC-12 NGX, and no injuries have been reported.

Officials say the Joint Rescue Coordination Center received reports of a downed aircraft around 2:30 p.m.

The Joint Rescue Coordination Center then issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and directed air units from Air Station Barbers Point to their location. 

All vessels over 20 meters in length within United States waters are required to monitor Urgent Marine Information Broadcast channels.

Two good Samaritans in the area also responded to the Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and set a course to the downed aircraft location.

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans arrived at the scene around 7:15 p.m.

Santa Monica Police Department Responds to Resident Who Police Helicopters Are Annoying

Santa Monica Police Department Officer points to helicopter. Do we really need another eye-in-the sky? 

Dear Santa Monica Observer: 

There was an annoying helicopter hovering low above my Santa Monica residence for about an hour today.

I assumed it was LAPD so checked SMPD twitter to see if there was any police activity. I was surprised to see no activity, however there was a tweet from SMPD announcing a new SMPD helicopter patrol to provide "situational awareness."

Another tweet complaining about the noise gave the helicopter's call sign as N6605.

I've supplied a link that gives N6605's flight path over Santa Monica as well as its flight log. It has apparently been patrolling SM twice a day. I can't discover if N6605 is the helicopter SMPD is using.

Can you shed any light on this? LAPD has two helicopters that fly along the coast of Santa Monica multiple times every day. Our computers record everything we do, same with our phones, cars, and our city is loaded with closed circuit cameras. I'm wondering if we need even more daytime surveillance?

Do we really need another eye-in-the sky? 

Gary Davidson, Santa Monica Resident

Reply from the Santa Monica Police Department:

Good evening,

Thank you for the email. While the Santa Monica Police Department does not currently have any information about any threats to our community, we are maintaining our increased police department presence throughout the city as well as in the air. We understand that our helicopter may be a bit disconcerting, do know aerial coverage is an invaluable resource to us because it provides us with additional situational awareness and enables us to quickly deploy and manage our field resources.

We will continue to monitor various sources for actionable intelligence associated with our community, but we encourage our community members to keep communicating with us online and via telephone. Our strong relationship with the community is the key to our being able to keep Santa Monica safe.

Joseph A. Cortez
Executive Officer
Office of the Chief of Police
Santa Monica Police Department

Loss of Naval Air Station Whiting pilots is reminder of risks those in uniform take every day

United States Navy Lt. Rhiannon Ross, 30, of Wixom, Michigan. 

United States Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett, 24, of Weddington, North Carolina.

Capt. Tim "Lucky" Kinsella is commanding officer of NAS Pensacola.

By Capt. Tim Kinsella Guest columnist

Every day and every night, without fail, the men and women of Naval Aviation are in the air across the world.

They may be training, or they may be on an active mission. They may be bleary-eyed and weary in their F-18 Super Hornet, at the end of a six-hour combat night sortie, circling amongst the clouds in the marshal and waiting for their turn to come aboard the carrier, steeling themselves for the upcoming approach to a postage-sized deck rocking atop a dark frothy sea several thousand feet below. Or they may be piloting a helicopter on a training flight amongst the hills of Western Nevada, nerves taught as they strain through night vision goggles to see low power lines and hidden rises in the terrain on a moonless night.

Maybe they are high above in an E-6 Sentry, prepared at a moment's notice to transmit the order for a submarine to launch its nuclear missiles, an order they are ready to execute but hope never comes.  Perhaps they are tracking a foreign submarine over the Pacific in a P-8 Poseidon, or testing a newly-installed engine or rotor blade on their helicopter over the North Atlantic, sweating in their thick rubber exposure suits that will give them an extra few minutes of survival should the engine fail and they have to ditch in the frigid water. Maybe they are a coastguardsman off the coast of Alaska, searching for a sinking fishing boat in 20-foot freezing seas, or a Marine gently coaxing their F-35 to the deck of an amphibious ship in the steamy Persian Gulf.

Or they could be in the back seat of a T-6 Texan II trainer right here in Pensacola, teaching a hopeful student how to trust their instruments in bad weather, and not give in to the temptation of believing the false inner-ear signals of vertigo.

Every single day and night, the men and women of Naval Aviation are fueling, fixing, flying or training, and they do it with a spring in their step and gladness in their heart because they know that protecting our values and way of life takes relentless work and sacrifice.   

Naval Aviation is an exhilarating, but dangerous business. It is inspiring, yet also as cruel and unforgiving as the sea over which we ply our trade. The recent and tragic loss of two of our brightest stars painfully reminds us of that. One of them an aspiring Naval Aviator about to fulfill a lifelong dream of earning wings of gold, the other an accomplished instructor pilot already well on her way to a successful navy career.

Veterans Day is a time to remember those in uniform, and the untimely loss of Coast Guard Ensign Morgan Garrett and Navy Lieutenant Rhiannon Ross sharply remind us of the risks our men and women in uniform take, day in and day out, whether in training or on deployment. After 109 years of continuous operations, Naval Aviation recently had its first year without a fatal accident, a record that jarringly came to an abrupt halt when we lost ENS Garrett and LT Ross. I know I speak for the entire Pensacola community when I say that our heart is heavy as we join their families in this time of extreme grief.

Sadly, this is not the first time we have experienced such loss. In my first days of flight school, I sat in a classroom with 20 or so other students when the salty flight instructor told us to look around the room at each other. He told us that statistically one or more of us probably wouldn’t make it through our first flying tour. We thought it was bravado meant to scare us into studying more diligently.

To this day his words, while callous at the time, sadly ring true in my mind. In almost 25 years of flying, I’ve lost more colleagues due to accidents than I have fingers and toes. I don’t have a unique perspective - if you spend this long in the business, you’re going to lose friends. We spent a lot of time in our dress uniform in those first few years after flight school, either at weddings, because we were young and just starting out in life, or at funerals for lost comrades.

Pensacola is no stranger to loss in the aviation world; littered around the local area are airfields named for early aviators lost in training accidents - Saufley, Chevalier, Barin, Corry, and Bronson to name a few. During WWII, Naval Aviation lost two and a half times as many aviators to accidents as to enemy action. A stunning statistic that gives tremendous insight into not only the immense risk involved, but also into the courage and determination it took to persevere through the routine danger of carrier operations.

We have a saying in Naval Aviation – that our procedures, check lists, and manuals are “written in blood.” Every accident is methodically studied in extreme detail so we can learn what happened and why, and thus prevent the same thing from happening again. It is the very least we can do so that their sacrifice will not be in vain. The ability of our Navy to fly in all weather, day or night and around the globe with precision and constant presence, is only possible because of the ingenuity, persistent doggedness, and courage of our people ever since Naval Aviator number 1, Theodore “Spuds” Ellyson, made that first flight at North Island in 1911. Their sacrifices in war and peace have made possible everything we do today.

Every Naval Aviator or crewman is a volunteer, and while Naval Aviation is not for the weak-willed or faint-hearted, it is still very much a family with shared values, shared experiences, shared joys, shared terrors, and shared losses. I guarantee that every past or present pilot, naval flight officer, or crewman who earned their wings of gold is proud of their accomplishment and would do it again in a heartbeat.

So on this Veterans Day, I ask you to spend a moment thinking about the men and women all around the globe who, at this very moment, are risking all so that you may vote, pray, and live in freedom. Take a moment to give thanks for ENS Garrett and LT Ross. Give thanks that men and women like them still choose to don the cloth of their nation. For as long as they do, our future and our way of life will always remain bright and secure.

Capt. Tim "Lucky" Kinsella is commanding officer of NAS Pensacola.