Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Strother Field (KWLD) among airports receiving improvement funds

TOPEKA, Kansas — Thirty-two projects have been selected for Kansas Airport Improvement Program (KAIP) funding for the purpose of planning, constructing or rehabilitating public use general aviation airports. Strother Field in Winfield is one of the projects and will receive $288,000 to construct new taxi lanes to new hangars.

KAIP receives $5 million annually through the IKE transportation program and requires airport sponsors to share in the project costs by paying a minimum of 5 percent of the total project.

“Aviation currently represents $20.6 billion in total economic impact for the State of Kansas,” Gov. Laura Kelly said. “Working together, the Kansas Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and local communities are enhancing the safety of our transportation infrastructure and expanding this economic impact.”

The selection board prioritized airport improvements that deliver the most significant impact across the entire state. Most of these projects contribute to flight safety or positive economic impact for their region.

“Aviation is a particularly important mode of transportation for Kansas industry and the delivery of healthcare services and disaster relief,” Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz said. “These airport improvements are a few of many important efforts to empower aviation economic growth across our entire state.”

“KDOT’s Division of Aviation reviewed 93 project applications this year with a combined total project value of over $27 million,” director of aviation Bob Brock said. “The 32 projects we’ve selected will have positive impacts on the health, safety and economy of our state.”

Ventura Air Services: Private Airliner in Farmingdale, New York, Expanding to Meet Increase in Demand

Government, business, and travel and tourism sector leaders joined Ventura Air Services CEO Nick Tarascio (center right) for a special growth announcement program. Standing left to right are: Joseph Vitulli, board member of Long Island Business Aviation Association, from Honeywell Aerospace; Richard Causin, New York State Department of Transportation; Margaret Conklin, New York State Department of Transportation; DuWayne Gregory, Babylon Town Councilman; Anthony Manetta, Babylon Town Councilman; Nick Tarascio, CEO Ventura Air Services; Joseph Garcia, Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce; Imran Ansari, Discover Long Island; Dave Fattizzo, Long Island Association and John Schneidawin, Suffolk County IDA.


Though commercial airlines have seen an unprecedented decline in travelers during the pandemic, people do still want to fly, and private charter flight companies are making that happen, according to Nick Tarascio, CEO of Ventura Air Services.

Ventura, an aviation services company based in Farmingdale, is expanding to serve an increase in travelers who want privacy and safety. 

“Commercial aviation is on life support, and it’s harder to get flights,”  Tarascio said. “Many people are leveraging the benefits of charter flights because of health concerns, the overall convenience, and the exceptional experience we offer.”

Ventura has added several new jets and will have a total of eight aircrafts flying across the Americas and to the Caribbean by the end of the year. Some new jets hold eight passengers and others hold 10. Next year, the service will purchase additional aircraft and hire more staff.

At the height of the pandemic, air travel had declined across the board, and Ventura partnered with New York-area hospitals to make organ transplant flights. Now, Ventura’s business has been restored and seen an increased demand.

Tarascio announced the expansion, which is expected to double Ventura in size and add 25 employees to its 52-person staff, at an event at Ventura’s headquarters. Several community members joined him, including Joseph Vitulli, board member of Long Island Business Aviation Association, from Honeywell Aerospace; Richard Causin, of the  New York State Department of Transportation; Margaret Conklin, of the New York State Department of Transportation; Babylon Town Councilmen DuWayne Gregory and Anthony Manetta; Joseph Garcia, of the Farmingdale Chamber of Commerce; Imran Ansari, of Discover Long Island; Dave Fattizzo, of the Long Island Association and John Schneidawin, of the Suffolk County Development of Economic Development.

“Private aviation is an important sector on Long Island and a vital part of the regional economy,” Tarascio said. “I am very optimistic about the industry’s growth, as well as our vision for expansion and providing more options to our customers.”

Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (KROA) executives placed on leave during internal probe


Two senior executives at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport have been put on paid administrative leave during an investigation into an undisclosed “serious allegation” involving them, airport officials said Monday.

On leave are Timothy Bradshaw, the executive director of the airport, and Richard Osborne, director of planning and engineering.

The probe is expected to take several weeks, officials said.

According to a news release issued by airport spokeswoman Rachel Spencer, the commission that owns and operates the airport “was made aware of a serious allegation of a procedural nature involving the Executive Director and Director of Planning and Engineering.”

In a subsequent closed meeting Friday, commission members chose to investigate and to put Bradshaw and Osborne on leave “to protect the integrity of this process and to enable an unbiased, thorough and efficient review of the facts,” Spencer said.

The airport notified its liability insurance carrier, which will coordinate the investigation with an airport attorney, officials said.

Police are not involved, Spencer said.

Airport officials announced the action Monday afternoon.

“Even though this is an internal personnel matter, it’s important for everyone to know,” said Gary Powers, chairman of the commission.

Commission members hired Bradshaw as executive director in 2014. Osborne was hired early this year.

Both men attended a ceremony last week at which Powers cut a ribbon to dedicate a newly constructed rental car complex. Neither Bradshaw nor Osborne attended Friday’s closed-door commission meeting about the allegation, but they did work Friday, Powers said.

Power notified Bradshaw and Osborne on Monday at the airport, at which point their leave began, he said.

Capt. Ed Valdez: Longtime pilot finds ways to keep students flying during COVID

Cypress College made news last year when it became the only institution of its kind in the USA to install a high tech 737 Max simulator, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous one-million-dollar donor.

Before COVID, the airlines were begging for pilots and with the simulator, enrollment ballooned at the college.

According to Capt. Ed Valdez, Chairman of the Travel and Aviation Department, the growing array of flight simulators was expected to produce “better pilots” as technicians and flight instructors can now simulate a wide range of situations.

Then disaster struck as a series of 737 crashes grounded the aircraft until this past week, when the Federal Aviation Administration finally re-certified the aircraft for commercial flight.

Valdez said this week that although Cypress College will get the procedural and software fixes to the 737 Max, COVID has long prevented students from returning to campus.  This has not stopped flight lessons, said Valdez, “but I really had to think on my feet.”

Using a series of aviation websites, Google earth and unique programming, Valdez learned how to create a do-it-yourself simulator that allowed students to take lessons via Zoom and other online technologies.

“Students can learn cross country procedures, airport to airport techniques, flight planning, etc.,” said Valdez, saying he learned so much about the hardware and software, that he’s already installed his self-made flight simulators at Fullerton, Torrance and other locations, where students can learn to fly.

He said the screens, monitors, computers, and software are all encased in aluminum and truly, said Valdez, “I kind of like this better than classroom.”
Going forward, he said, students will be able to learn to fly on campus or online. Online students are obviously limited to one-at-a-time, he said.

Valdez is a longtime airline Captain for United Airlines. He is currently on leave from the airline and will take an early retirement to focus on his new venture.
By necessity, the man who helped build the first 737 Simulator thinks his self-made version will soar.

Virus or not, said Valdez, using a bit of ingenuity will keep virtual airplanes in the air. With this new self-made version, he said “flight schools can continue to fly.”

Delta, Pilots Strike Deal to Save Jobs: Pilots accept lower pay to prevent over 1,700 furloughs as pandemic roils airline industry


The Wall Street Journal
By Alison Sider
November 25, 2020 1:48 pm ET

Delta Air Lines Inc. pilots agreed to accept reduced pay in exchange for job security until 2022, as the industry continues to grapple with reduced travel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Delta and the union that represents its pilots said Wednesday that the cost-cutting agreement would prevent the more than 1,700 pilot furloughs the carrier had originally planned. Under the agreement, pilots who would have been furloughed will receive pay for 30 hours a month, though they won’t have to fly. Delta would also be able to reduce pilots’ minimum guaranteed work hours by as much as 5%, which results in lower pay, and the company agreed not to carry out furloughs until January 1st, 2022.

“Pilots, as long-term stakeholders in our company, have stepped up to the plate once again to help Delta weather this crisis,” said First Officer Chris Riggins, a spokesman for the union that represents Delta’s pilots.

Airlines have had to shrink to match a diminished outlook for travel demand. The global airline industry is forecast to lose $38.7 billion next year even if Covid-19 vaccines and testing help reopen more borders, the International Air Transport Association said earlier this week.

Airlines were barred from furloughing employees until October under the terms of federal aid they received at the start of the pandemic. They were hoping to receive another round of funds to prevent job cuts until next spring, but stimulus discussions in Congress have been stalled for months.

By the end of the year, U.S. carriers will have cut about 90,000 workers through furloughs and voluntary departures, according to lobbying group Airlines for America, bringing the industry’s employment to its lowest level since the mid-1980s.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. and American Airlines Group Inc. have furloughed over 30,000 workers. United has struck a similar deal to prevent cutting any pilots.

American furloughed 1,600 pilots. Southwest Airlines Co. hasn’t yet cut any workers but has said it would begin furloughing next year unless it can reach deals with labor unions to cut costs.

Delta said it has been able to avoid cutting front-line workers such as flight attendants, mechanics and now pilots, in part because some 18,000 employees agreed to take buyout or early retirement offers, and thousands more took unpaid leaves. Delta also has cut hours for many employees by 25% to save money. In all, Delta has said it is about 20% smaller than it was before the pandemic.

Airlines and unions have worked to avoid cutting from their pilot ranks to avoid costly and time-consuming retraining when demand recovers.

John Laughter, senior vice president and chief of operations at Delta, said in a message to employees that the deal will better position the airline to bounce back.

“Our recovery will be uneven—as evident by the recent increase in Covid rates which are affecting our bookings for the holiday season,” he wrote.

More than 70 near misses for drones at Alabama airports


BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (WBRC) - Millions of travelers are masking up and getting on a plane to travel for Thanksgiving. While you’re looking forward to seeing a glimpse of home out of the plane window as you land, what you don’t want to see is a drone hovering in your plane’s flight path.

Our WBRC FOX6 News investigation found pilots in Alabama have reported near-misses with drones more than 70 times in the last couple of years.

“As harmless as they may look, if they do impact an aircraft there could be serious damage,” warns J-P Dice, WBRC Fox 6′s Chief Meteorologist and a Certified Flight Instructor. “There could be airframe damage, you could knock out a windshield, you could destroy an engine, a lot of things and a lot of bad things could happen.”

A drone hit a Blackhawk over a New York neighborhood in 2017, forcing the 82nd airborne pilot to land with damaged blades and airframe.

“If folks are following the FAA regulations, everyone’s going to be ok, but as we always know, not everyone’s gonna follow the rules,” warns Dice.

So how many close calls are we seeing above Alabama’s skies? We searched the FAA’s database, and between the beginning of 2016 and the most recent report in the middle of this year, we found 20 close calls with drones or remote-controlled aircraft reported by pilots: 18 in Birmingham, and 1 each in Bessemer and Cullman.

Perhaps the closest call was on July 28, 2019 when the pilot of a Piper Cherokee had to take evasive action to miss a black and orange drone about the size of a hawk hovering at around 5500 feet aloft about 13 miles NE of the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport.

Many of the reports of close calls with drones from pilots in Birmingham came as the planes were on final approach to land. That’s when Dice says these potential collisions could prove the most dangerous.

“You look out the window, a lot of times you could be coming and it’s cloudy, or instrument conditions, it could be night, but these are really small aircraft, the drones, so they’re going to be difficult to see, and by the time you see them it’s too late.”

Here’s the database we compiled of the FAA reports from 2016-now:

Cessna 210C, N3683Y: Incident occurred November 24, 2020 at Falcon Field Airport (KFFZ), Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Aircraft nose gear collapsed on landing.  


Date: 24-NOV-20
Time: 09:00:00Z
Regis#: N3683Y
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 210
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: MESA
State: ARIZONA

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six, N110CF: Accident occurred November 24, 2020 in New Smyrna Beach, Volusia County, Florida

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

Aircraft experienced engine issues and landed in a retention pond. 

Blue Horizons Flying Club Inc


Date: 24-NOV-20
Time: 23:20:00Z
Regis#: N110CF
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA32
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: NEW SMYRNA BEACH
State: FLORIDA


NEW SMYRNA BEACH — A man and woman survived a small plane crash-landing into a retention pond west of the Tuscany Square Condominiums in Venetian Bay on Tuesday evening.

Several witnesses jumped into the water to help with the rescue.

A New Smyrna Beach Police report states the two, pilot Mark Kurfess, 59, of Millbury, Ohio, and Beverlee Blessing, 60, of Monroe, Michigan, had been treated at the scene for minor injuries. They were seen leaving under their own power with friends. 

The crash victims declined to comment at the scene.

They were on their way to New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport to deliver a puppy to friends. Rescuers said they could not find the dog.

One of two people to survive a small plane crash, left, talks with friends as a New Smyrna Beach Police officer stands by on Tuesday night at a lake adjacent to the Tuscany Square Condominiums at Venetian Bay.
The Federal Aviation Administration reported the plane is a 1974 Piper PA-32 that experienced issues with its single engine. It is registered to Blue Horizons Flying Club of Perrysburg, Ohio.

The FAA is investigating.

Witnesses were stunned to hear a loud noise, then see the small airplane headed east toward the condos and Bistro 424, a restaurant overlooking the lake, make a left turn and level off, crash-landing into the water just after dark. The condo complex is near Airport Road on Luna Bella Lane.

A New Smyrna Beach Police report put the time of the emergency call at 6:20 p.m.

Jeremy and Torrie Laughridge were eating on the outdoor patio of the restaurant and heard the "weird, strange noise," and looked out over the lake.

"The next thing you know, kind of out of the blue, you see a plane and it's really low, and we're all kind of like, 'Oh, my God, what's going on?' Thank goodness he turned because he was heading straight for the restaurant," Jeremy Laughridge said about an hour later.

"He did what appeared to be a really good job of a water landing, really flat," Jeremy Laughridge said.

Laughridge stripped down to his underwear so he could swim better, and jumped into the lake.  

Jeremy Laughridge, a resident of Venetian Bay, was eating dinner on the Bistro 424 patio overlooking a lake when a small plane crashed there on Tuesday night. Laughridge swam out to the plane and helped rescue a man and woman.
"When I got to the plane, that's when it started to sink under and the two people were pretty much in shock. ... The woman said she couldn't swim. The man, he definitely was in shock," Laughridge said.

After what he estimated was about 10 or 15 minutes, he said one of the city rescuers swam out to the plane with a flotation device.

Michael Roberts, who lives in an apartment nearby, heard someone asking for a boat.

"I grabbed my longboard and paddled out there," Roberts said on Wednesday. "There was already and EMS guy with a flotation device and a life jacket on. I put the lady on the board and got her to the shore."

Lisa Mickey, whose condo faces the water, said she heard a "weird sound," almost as if someone crashed a golf cart. When she saw that a plane was in the water, she heard a voice cry out, "I can't swim."

Mickey said the plane appeared to be sinking further and further into the water, with its nose down on the muddy bottom.

Dr. Kevin Huffman and his daughter Heidi were also having dinner at Bistro 424 when the plane crashed. Huffman, whose office is on the ground floor of the condos, also jumped in the water and swam toward the crash.

"It's amazing they're OK," Huffman said, still wet.

Heidi Huffman added: "Thank God it crashed where it did, because it could have been much worse than it was."






VOLUSIA COUNTY, Florida – A small plane landed in a pond in New Smyrna Beach Tuesday evening, according to Federal Aviation Authority officials.

Multiple 911 calls reported the incident near Luna Bella Lane and Airport Road around 6:20 p.m.

The New Smyrna Beach Fire Department said the two people who were on board the plane suffered minor injuries and did not require hospitalization.

Kevin Huffman said he’s a family practice physician and was eating dinner with his daughter nearby when the plane went down.

“I heard an explosion and I thought it was a car coming off the road, flipping into the water, but then we noticed it was an airplane,” Kevin Huffman said.

Heidi Huffman said that she watched as the plane hit the water.

“I saw the plane and smoke coming out of it and then I witnessed the plane land, it was a pretty smooth landing. The pilot did a really good job landing it,” Heidi Huffman said.

The Huffmans said that several people in the area ran over to help, with Kevin Huffman getting into the water himself.

“As I got closer, that’s when the other gentleman got there and said, ‘They were OK, they are OK’ and they are hanging on, so I went out to make sure they weren’t trapped inside,” Kevin Huffman said.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the incident, which involved a Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six.

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N23NJ: Accident occurred November 24, 2020 near Central Jersey Regional Airport (47N), Manville, Somerset County, New Jersey






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; Allentown

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

Civil Air Patrol


Location: Manville, NJ 
Accident Number: ERA21LA055
Date & Time: November 24, 2020, 16:07 Local
Registration: N23NJ
Aircraft: Cessna 172 
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted
Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N23NJ
Model/Series: 172 N 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
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: KSMQ,105 ft msl 
Observation Time: 15:53 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C /-3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.33 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Manville, NJ
Destination: Manville, NJ

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.524444,-74.598306 (est)


HILLSBOROUGH, New Jersey  — A small single-engine plane hit a tree on landing and flipped over onto its roof at Central Jersey Airport Tuesday afternoon, in the second crash at the airport within the past week, according to police.

The left wing of the Cessna 172N Skyhawk struck a tree as it came in for a landing around 4:15 at the airport off Millstone River Road, according to Hillsborough police. 

Pilot James Finley, 70, of Hopatcong refused medical treatment after the crash while pilot Lorraine Derby, 73, was treated and released from RWJ Somerset Hospital.

New Jersey 101.5 chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the wind was light at the time of the crash at 7 MPH.

The plane is registered to "National Headquarters" based at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, according to a check of the plane's number in the FAA database. "Civil Air Patrol" was written on the plane's rudder.

Civil Air Patrol is an auxiliary unit of the U.S. Air Force made up of volunteers who help with searches for lost individuals and other emergency service missions.

The website FlightAware.com shows the plane took off at 3:56 p.m. and completed a short oval shaped flight. Earlier in the day the plane made a round trip flight to Wildwood.


A Cessna 172N Skyhawk crashed trying to land at the Central Jersey Regional Airport in Hillsborough on Tuesday afternoon at about 4:!5 p.m., police said. The airport is located off of Millstone River Road and has one runway.

The plane crashed on the west side of the runway after it struck a tree and then flipped over onto its roof. police said. Pilot James Finley of Hopatcong, and pilot Lorraine Denby of Berkeley Heights, both reported minor injuries. Finley refused medical treatment at the scene. Denby was treated at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Somerset and was released.

Police said the plane crash is currently under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration.

First responders at the scene included the Hillsborough Township Police Department, Hillsborough Township Fire Department Stations 37 and 38, the Hillsborough Township Office of Emergency Management, the RWJ Somerset Emergency Squad. the Manville Police Department, and the Somerset County Hazmat team.

The crash is the second incident at the airport within the past week. On November 18th, a small plane veered off a runway and flipped over while attempting to land. Two people were on that plane, a single-engine Cessna 172.

GE Plans More Job Cuts in Aviation Division: Jet-engine unit’s new chief says commercial travel business will be smaller even with the promise of a Covid-19 vaccine on the horizon


The Wall Street Journal
By Thomas Gryta
Updated November 24th, 2020 8:54 am ET


General Electric Co. warned employees that more job cuts are coming to the conglomerate’s jet-engine business because of the pandemic’s impact on commercial air travel even with the promise of a vaccine on the horizon.

In an internal video message delivered a week before the Thanksgiving holiday, new GE Aviation boss John Slattery said business conditions are difficult and the unit would need to shrink over the next 18 months, according to people familiar with the matter.

More jobs would be lost, he said, but the cuts would be more focused than two rounds of layoffs earlier this year that ultimately eliminated 25% of the division’s 52,000 global employees. Mr. Slattery didn’t disclose the number of jobs that would be cut in the video, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

“The business revenue and profit projections not only for this year but next year and the year after are fundamentally lower than what we originally budgeted or expected,” Mr. Slattery said from the division’s Ohio headquarters. A former executive at Brazilian plane maker Embraer SA, Mr. Slattery took over the GE division in September.

“Overall, particularly in our commercial sector, we’ll be a smaller business and our cost structure simply must align,” he told workers, adding that more details will come early next year.

A GE spokeswoman declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated. “As we continue to closely monitor market conditions, we are examining a range of options to appropriately scale our business to match the realities of the global airline-industry recovery,” she said.

GE’s aviation business had $32 billion in annual sales last year, but the pandemic and the long grounding of Boeing Co. ’s MAX jet, which runs on engines from a GE joint venture, have sapped the business. Revenue fell 32% for the first nine months of 2020.

GE Chief Executive Larry Culp has said the division faced a multiyear turnaround, but the new round of cuts demonstrates the long road to recovery for certain corners of the economy where job losses aren’t yet over.

“The promise of the vaccine certainly brings hope, but it’s not coming as fast as we’d like,” Mr. Slattery said in the internal video.

GE’s profit plunged in recent years, dragged down by problems in its financial-services unit and its core power business, prompting it to overhaul its management, board and corporate structure. Mr. Culp joined the board in early 2018 and became CEO later that year. The company has cut its dividend to a token penny a share, sold major businesses such as transportation and oil, along with a major part of its health-care division.

Investors were encouraged by GE’s third-quarter results last month that showed another quarter of shrinking revenue, but a smaller loss and positive cash flow from its industrial operations.

GE shares are up 32% in the past month to $10.07, putting the stock price at levels not seen since early March. The S&P 500 index is up 3.2% in the same period. After selling assets, GE made its first acquisition in years last week when its health-care division bought a diagnostics technology company for an undisclosed amount.

Mr. Slattery told employees the cuts coming to the aviation operation would give it a better cost structure to help its long-term health. “When we come out the other end of the storm, we will be prepared to address the upturn and the surge that will materialize,“ he said in the video.

GE Aviation, which is based in Cincinnati, has major factories in Lynn, Mass., Asheville, N.C., and Lafayette, Ind. It makes the MAX engines in a joint venture with France’s Safran SA . The Federal Aviation Administration recently cleared the MAX to return to passenger service.

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six, N5566J: Accident occurred November 24, 2020 near Donaldson Center Airport (KGYH) , Greenville County, South Carolina

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; West Columbia, South Carolina


Location: Greenville, SC 
Accident Number: ERA21LA054
Date & Time: November 24, 2020, 15:30 Local
Registration: N5566J
Aircraft: Piper PA32 
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On November 24, 2020, about 1530 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA32-260, N5566J, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Greenville Donaldson Field (GYH), Greenville, South Carolina. The pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he flew to GYH to “do some traffic pattern work.” The airplane was cleared for a left closed traffic pattern and landed on runway 05. After the second landing, he was instructed to fly a right traffic pattern due to incoming traffic from the west. The tower controller cleared the pilot to extend the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, to avoid the inbound traffic that was on the final approach leg of the traffic pattern. The pilot acknowledged the tower controller’s instructions and proceeded. During the extended downwind leg, the engine began to lose power. The pilot attempted to restore full power and turned directly to the airport while notifying the tower controller of his emergency. During that time, the pilot “verified fuel selector, turned fuel pump on, cycled mags, verified mixture full rich, pulled carb heat, and checked gauges.” According to the pilot the engine “never seemed to have quit running but would not make power no matter what I did.” The airplane subsequently collided with a building during a descending turn. The left wing separated, and the fuselage was substantially damaged.

The airplane was recovered for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N5566J
Model/Series: PA32 260 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: 
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: GYH,955 ft msl
Observation Time: 15:17 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 12°C /-1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.31 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Pickens, SC (LQK)
Destination: Greenville, SC (GYH)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 34.742081,-82.383549 (est)


More than a week after an airplane crash left mangled metal on a smokestack above a battered fuselage that landed below, the chief of the Donaldson Center Fire Department said he is surprised that the people in the plane have survived.

Chief Mike Sadler's department helped care for the victims after the crash November 24th in Greenville at the Donaldson Center, also called the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center, home to a public airport about two miles south of Interstate 85 south of Greenville.

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

An NTSB spokesperson said no report on the crash was available yet.

The pilot and a passenger suffered minor injuries, according to an FAA incident notice.

An incident report obtained by The Greenville News from the Greenville County Sheriff's Office through a Freedom of Information Act request showed that deputies arrived at the crash site when Greenville County Emergency Medical Services personnel were already on scene treating both victims.

The men involved in the crash were 61-year-old Ken Bickel of Travelers Rest and 65-year-old Steve James Fitch of Pickens, according to the Sheriff's Office report. They were both transported to Greenville Memorial Hospital.

The report did not state which man was flying. A review of FAA records shows Bickel was issued a pilot's license in January while there is no pilot record for Fitch.

Calls to phone numbers and emails sent to addresses associated in public records with Bickel and Fitch were not returned Wednesday. No new information on their conditions was immediately available.

The plane has a registered tail number of N5566J, according to the FAA. FAA records show that 1968 Piper PA-32 fixed-wing, single-engine plane is owned by Barton Kent Hershfield of Cape Coral, Florida, but Hershfield said in an email Wednesday that he no longer owns the plane.

"I sold it to someone else earlier this year, and they then sold it again in October. I don't know who the current owner is," Hershfield wrote in the email. "Probably due to COVID-19, I assume the FAA's records have not been updated yet to reflect the last two owners."

The incident report did not specify or speculate what may have caused the crash. A witness told deputies that he saw the plane flying toward the airport and heard the sound of the "engine shuttering" before "the engine went quiet."

The plane struck a smokestack and crashed behind a building, according to deputies. A portion of the plane remained stuck on the smokestack after the fuselage fell to the ground below.

Debris was cleared from the smokestack and around the scene on Nov. 25, according to Sadler.

An FAA spokesperson said the aircraft had departed from Donaldson Center and was flying in a traffic pattern for a runway at Donaldson when the crash happened. Earlier that day, the plane was flown from Davis Field in Liberty to Donaldson, according to FlightAware, an aviation software and data services company that tracks aircraft and flights.

Davis Field in Liberty is a privately owned turf runway about 850 feet long, according to skyvector.com, an aviation website that lists aeronautical charts and airport information. A deputy reported that the airplane had been stored at Davis Field.

An audio recording of the airport radio transmissions posted to liveatc.net from the time of the crash depicts a mid-air emergency near the airport. Just prior to the crash, the unidentified pilot reports a problem before the communication is interrupted.

Pilot: "We have a problem."

Tower: "You OK?"

Pilot: "Negative."

About a minute later, airport tower personnel instruct first-responders to get to the end of the runway.

The Donaldson Center is the site of a former Air Force base that was purchased by the city and county of Greenville before being developed into the South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center. The city of Greenville and Greenville County now have joint, equal ownership of SCTAC, according to county spokesperson Bob Mihalic.

SCTAC is home to 2,600 acres and operations for more than 100 companies, and it is billed as the Southeast's only business park dedicated to serving the dynamic needs of automotive, aerospace and advanced manufacturing. An 8,000-foot runway at Donaldson Field Airport is overseen by a 91-foot air-traffic-control tower, according to the SCTAC website.

    





GREENVILLE COUNTY, South Carolina --  A plane crashed Tuesday afternoon near Donaldson Center in Greenville County, officials at the Donaldson Center Airport confirmed.

FAA spokesperson Kathleen Bergen said a single-engine Piper PA-32 collided with a smoke stack and building two miles southwest of Donaldson Center Airport at 3:15 p.m.

The pilot took off from the airport and was flying in the traffic pattern for Runway 5 when the accident occurred, according to Bergen.

Lt. Ryan Flood said the plane crashed at Cytec Carbon Fibers, located at 7139 Augusta Road, Flood said.

Preliminary reports indicate a small engine plane, occupied by two people, struck a smoke tower and came to a rest behind a building, Flood said.

Our Sky 4 crew identified what appears to be a piece of the wing wrapped up on the smokestack.

Both of the occupants inside of the plane were taken to the hospital for treatment, however their condition is unknown, Flood said.

Bergen said the FAA will release the tail number of the aircraft after investigators verify it at the accident site.

Both the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.












A single-engine plane with two people inside crashed Tuesday afternoon near the Donaldson Center Airport.

The plane's two occupants were transported to the hospital, according to an email from the Greenville County Sheriff's Office. Their conditions were not known early Tuesday night. 

The aircraft is a Piper PA-32, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Kathleen Bergen. The aircraft departed from Donaldson Center and was flying in a traffic pattern for one of the runways of Donaldson when the crash happened, Bergen said. 

The FAA will release the aircraft tail number once investigators verify it, Bergen said. 

The crash was reported around 3:20 p.m. near Cytec Carbon Fibers, at 7139 Augusta Road, deputies said. 

The plane struck a smokestack and crashed behind a building, deputies said.

A piece of the plane remained stuck on the smokestack after the rest of the plane crashed below. The debris remained on and scattered around the smokestack as night fell. 

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Emergency responders remained at the scene into Tuesday night.

Beechcraft V35 Bonanza, N35AW: Fatal accident occurred November 24, 2020 in Deltaville, Middlesex County, Virginia

Carl Macon Smith Jr.

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; Richmond, Virginia
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 
  

Location: Deltaville, VA 
Accident Number: ERA21LA053
Date & Time: November 24, 2020, 09:28 Local
Registration: N35AW
Aircraft: Beech V35
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On November 24, 2020, about 0928 eastern standard time, a Beech V35, N35AW, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Deltaville, Virginia. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot departed on a local flight from Hummel Field Airport (W75), Saluda, Virginia. He was not in contact with air traffic control during the flight.

Review of preliminary automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the flight departed W75 about 0905. The airplane tracked on a northeast heading for about 9 miles, then turned right and flew east over the Chesapeake Bay for about 17 miles. The airplane then flew south over the bay for about 14 miles, turned west, and flew northwest toward W75 for about 17 miles. The majority of the flight was conducted at an altitude of about 850 ft above ground level (agl); however, the airplane climbed to a maximum altitude of about 1,350 ft agl. The last ADS-B targets were observed about 0928 as the airplane descended through 275 ft about 5 miles from W75.

Two fishermen reported seeing the airplane fly thru a flock of seagulls. They then saw two birds fall to the water. Shortly thereafter, they observed a plume of black smoke from the accident site. Figure 1 depicts the airplane’s ADS-B flight track in red and green targets and the approximate location of the fishermen. The red targets contained incomplete ADS-B data elements. 

Figure 1. Airplane's ADS-B flight track and witness location.

A third witness near the accident site stated that he heard a loud noise, then observed the airplane make a left turn followed by two spirals before it impacted terrain.

Examination of the accident site by an FAA inspector revealed that the airplane impacted a shed on a residential property. The wreckage debris path was about 25 ft long and oriented on a magnetic heading of 240°.

Ground scars at the accident site and damage to the airplane were consistent with the airplane impacting terrain in a steep, nose-low attitude. A postimpact fire consumed most of the wreckage; however, all major structural components of the airplane were located within the debris field. Figure 2 shows the wreckage and debris at the initial impact point.

Figure 2. Airplane wreckage and debris at the initial impact point.

The engine was separated and located 10 ft from the main wreckage. It sustained impact and fire damage. The engine crankshaft rotated smoothly by manually turning the propeller hub. Two of the propeller blades were separated, one remained attached to the propeller hub.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N35AW
Model/Series: V35
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator:
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: KMFV,47 ft msl
Observation Time: 09:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 29 Nautical Mile
s Temperature/Dew Point: 8°C /-3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 10°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.4 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Saluda, VA (W75) 
Destination: Deltaville, VA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 37.57311,-76.35699 (est)

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.


Carl Macon Smith Jr.
December 18th, 1948 - November 24th, 2020

On Tuesday morning, November 24th 2020, Carl was taken from us far too soon. We are heartbroken to say goodbye to a man we deeply loved, respected, and cherished. He was so much more than a UVA and Georgetown Law graduate, Navy fighter pilot, Chief of Staff for the Senate Armed Services Committee, fierce lawyer, and ardent leader of the Save the Rappahannock Coalition. He was a loving husband, loyal brother, devoted father, and doting grandfather.

He was a matter-of-fact believer in God, the arbiter of all family matters, and the peacekeeper of sibling debates. He was the rock of our family, the pillar of every group to which he belonged.

At each stage of life, he taught us by example what mattered most: how to forge a path we could take pride in, treat others with respect, and savor every morsel of existence. The command he carried into a room was surpassed only by the laughter and levity that followed his arrival.

We have never met, nor will ever meet, a person more kind, attentive, and dedicated to those around him. No one loved family, friends, life, and adventure more than he.

On December 9th, he will be laid to rest in a private family ceremony. There will be a Celebration of Life later next year when everyone can gather safely to honor Carl and share stories of his life. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to Carl’s church, Light of Christ in Heathsville, VA.

He is survived by his wife Wendy, daughter Kristen Fredericks (Derek), son Bryant Smith, grandson Brooks, and sisters Carol Nelson (John) and Joan Templer (Jerry). They would cherish any stories or pictures of Carl you would like to offer in the wake of his passing.


DELTAVILLE, Virginia  — Virginia State Police have identified the pilot who died after crashing into a garage last week in Deltaville.

The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the pilot was Carl Macon Smith, 62, of White Stone, Virginia.

Police say the details of the crash are still under investigation, but Smith was the only person who died in the crash. It happened around 9:30 a.m. on November 24 on North End Road in Deltaville.

Smith’s plane was a Beechcraft  V35 Bonanza.

“A loud boom that shook the house. It was pretty frightening that it happened so close to the house, and pretty frightening that it happened to the person who lost their life in the crash,” said Sondra Groft, who lives about a quarter-mile away.

The private North End Shores community where the plane crashed is a cluster of summer homes for people in Hampton Roads and the Richmond area.



Virginia State Police are still waiting for a positive identification on the person who died in a plane crash six days ago in Middlesex County.

Sgt. Michelle Anaya said in a news release the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will make the final determination.

Only one person was on the plane, which the Federal Aviation Administration identified as a Beechcraft Bonanza V35, Anaya said.

The crash happened just after 9:30 a.m. November 24th in the 1270 block of North End Road in Deltaville.

State police were called to investigate and found that the plane hit a garage-type structure, causing it to become completely engulfed in flames.

Anaya said police will release more information once it becomes available.



MIDDLESEX COUNTY, Virginia -- One person was killed when a small plane crashed in Deltaville on Tuesday morning, according to Virginia State Police.

"Preliminary investigations reveal that a fixed-wing aircraft struck a garage-type structure, causing it to become completely engulfed in flames," a Virginia State Police spokesperson wrote in an email.

The crash was reported at about 9:35 a.m. on North End Road.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived around 3 p.m. Tuesday to examine the crash site.

The pilot is believed to be the only person on board the single-engine Beechcraft V35, according to the FAA.

Sondra Englar said she heard the plane falling from the sky before the impact.

"I heard the quick descending sound of a plane and then the loud boom loud enough and strong enough to shake my house," Englar recalled. "It didn’t sound like the engine was stalled, because I could hear the plane. I could hear the engine. It was just that quick descending."

The plane crashed outside several vacation homes that sit along the Rappahannock River. No one was inside of the nearby homes during the crash.

Hummel Field, a small airfield in Deltaville, is about two air-miles from the crash site, according to Virginia State Police Sgt. Michelle Anaya. But, it's unclear where the plane took off and where it was headed.

"We do know who was up in the air, but unfortunately we still have to do positive identification by the Medical Examiner’s office," Anaya stated.

"A single-engine Beechcraft V35 crashed into a residential building near Sandy Beach Road in Deltaville, Va., at 9:45 a.m., local time today. The aircraft caught fire after crashing. Preliminary reports are only the pilot was on board. We have no reports of people on the ground being injured. Please ask local authorities for information pilot’s condition and identity. The FAA and NTSB will investigate. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents. The FAA will release the aircraft tail number once investigators verify it at the scene. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and all updates," a FAA spokesperson said in a statement.

Police are on scene investigating the incident.



DELTAVILLE, Virginia (WAVY) — Virginia State Police say one person is dead after a small plane crashed into a garage Tuesday morning in Middlesex County.

The crash happened around 9:30 a.m. in the 1270 block of North End Road in Deltaville.

Virginia State Police have not released many details, but confirmed there was one fatality. They say the preliminary investigation showed a fixed-wing aircraft struck the garage-type structure, causing it to become engulfed in flames.

Photos from WAVY viewer Sondra Groft show the extent of the smoke. A small airport is about two miles from the crash site.

The medical examiner was at the scene as of 1:20 p.m. working to identify the body.

“We are dealing with someone’s life right here, and it’s so tragic,” said Phil Spencer, who owns the adjoining property. The wreckage of the plane came to rest next to his garage, which is adjacent to the one the plane struck.

The private North End Shores community where the plane crashed is a cluster of summer homes for people in Hampton Roads and the Richmond area.

Sondra Groft lives about a quarter-mile away on Robins Point Avenue. She heard a plane in distress about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning and then felt the impact.

“A loud boom that shook the house. It was pretty frightening that it happened so close to the house, and pretty frightening that it happened to the person who lost their life in the crash,” Groft said.

Light planes flying overhead are common in this area near the Chesapeake Bay.

“There’s an airport right here in Topping, at the base of the Whitestone Bridge and there’s a lot of fields up here on the top of the hill. We see a lot of crop dusters and other planes flying over, especially this time of the year,” Spencer said. 


DELTAVILLE, Virginia — Virginia State Police said that one person died after a plane crashed in Middlesex County Tuesday morning.

Sgt. Michelle Anaya said troopers received a call about the crash around 9:35 a.m. It happened at 1270 North End Road in Deltaville. Members of the Middlesex County Sheriff's Office also were there.

Anaya said the fixed-wing plane hit something like a garage and caught fire, burning the entirety of the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released this statement:

A single-engine Beech V35 crashed into a residential building near Sandy Beach Road in Deltaville, Virginia, at 9:45 a.m., local time today. The aircraft caught fire after crashing. Preliminary reports are only the pilot was on board. We have no reports of people on the ground being injured. Please ask local authorities for information pilot’s condition and identity. The FAA and NTSB will investigate. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents. The FAA will release the aircraft tail number once investigators verify it at the scene. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and all updates.

The crash was the second one involving a plane in Middlesex County since the beginning of October. 

In that case, the pilot, who took off from Hummel Field, had to make an emergency landing and ended up crashing on Willow Lane. 

No one was injured in that incident.