Monday, December 28, 2020

Federal Aviation Administration Issues Long-Anticipated Rules for Commercial Drones

Regulations are expected to accelerate the rollout of package delivery, other uses



The Wall Street Journal
By Andy Pasztor
Updated December 28, 2020 9:25 pm ET

U.S. regulators established industry-wide requirements for remote identification of drones, along with new safeguards for flights over populated areas and at night, in a long-awaited effort to expand commercial use of the craft.

The pair of final rules issued Monday is intended to promote eventual widespread home delivery of small packages and a multitude of other applications for pilotless vehicles that are currently sharply restricted. But with a single announcement, the Federal Aviation Administration is formally pivoting from approving case-by-case exemptions to setting broad safety standards the industry has long sought.

The new approach, replacing stringent protections that currently bar practically all home-delivery options, go into effect in two months, but some requirements are likely to take years to implement.

The detailed regulations, which total more than 700 pages and parts of which had been in the works since the Obama administration, also aim to address concerns related to law enforcement, national security and privacy protection.

“They get us closer to the day when we will more routinely see drone operations such as the delivery of packages,” FAA chief Steve Dickson said in a written statement accompanying the rules. Mr. Dickson has told colleagues he intends to stay on under the Biden administration, according to people involved in the conversations, to fill out the remainder of his five-year term ending in 2024. The rules are unlikely to be affected by other personnel changes.

Since some of the important details differ from those contained in earlier draft proposals, initial industry reaction was positive but muted. Some aspects of the rules “will have additional untold benefits for American society,” according to Brian Wynne, chief executive of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, the largest drone-industry trade association. “We look forward to reviewing these rules and working with the FAA on implementation.”

The rules won’t immediately end restrictions on drones operating in higher-altitude airspace or in the vicinity of airports. They also don’t spell out safety requirements for large autonomous or remotely piloted craft capable of carrying passengers, often called urban aerial vehicles. Flights of such airborne taxis remain years away from becoming a reality in U.S. skies.

Major changes from the FAA’s previous strategy include eliminating requirements that drones transmit identifying information and their position over the internet. Instead, newly manufactured drones covered by the rules, typically weighing less than 55 pounds, will be manufactured with onboard radio transmitters for such purposes. Existing models will have to be retrofitted with the technology. That process could take years, for new and existing drones alike.

In addition, the FAA decided that in most cases even the smallest drones, weighing less than half a pound, must be designed to avoid exposed rotating parts that could cause injuries to people below. The rules also lay out a complex series of technical measures to gauge acceptable risks in the event malfunctioning drones crash to the ground.

The smallest drones also are mandated to have functioning remote identification systems if they fly over crowds, stadiums or open-air concerts.

The FAA has a history of fits and starts devising some of the standards, particularly as technology advanced rapidly and the industry pushed for new rules. At the same time, federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies wanted enhanced protections against the dangers posed by the possibility of rogue, hostile or terrorist drones.

Roughly one million recreational drones are registered in the U.S., and the FAA projects nearly that many commercial craft will be registered by 2024. Pilotless systems already are commonly employed for inspecting pipelines and railroad tracks; monitoring warehouse and industrial facilities; and assisting emergency responders.

Four years ago senior FAA officials were poised to propose an initial package of remote identification rules, a step industry leaders have said is essential to expanding operations. But barely days before those regulations were prepared for publication, leaders of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and national-security agencies wanted changes. The upshot, according to industry and government officials, was extensive discussion that helped shape the document released Monday.

The final rules also are supported by groups representing model aircraft hobbyists, which in the past said they were unfairly treated by FAA regulations.

Since late 2018, the FAA has joined with industry and academic researchers to create pilot projects testing various airborne identification technologies. But according to some industry officials, the rules in the short term will impede rather than promote development of separate, low-altitude traffic control networks geared specifically for drone operations. The FAA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have indicated such networks eventually will be based on internet connections. But for now, according to the FAA’s own document, the agency dropped the web-based concept in the face of significant public opposition and comments about technical challenges.

The rules also appear out of step with international efforts to develop web-based networks spanning regions or countries. The aviation arm of the United Nations has been deliberating on ways to promote such potential entities to identify and track drones across national boundaries. Web-based solutions still are in the early stages, though in some ways they can be better secured from hackers than public radio signals.

Without remote identification equipment, drones will be permitted to fly only in limited areas designated by the FAA. For night operations, drones will need anti-collision lights and operators will need special training. The FAA also agreed to create a new regulatory path for the smallest category of drones to fly over populated areas. Their reliability and safety will have to be vetted by the agency before it authorizes those flights.

Hard Landing: Tecnam P2004 Bravo, N639BV; accident occurred October 24, 2019 at Orlando Apopka Airport (X04), Orange County, Florida


Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:


Location: Apopka, Florida
Accident Number: GAA20CA091
Date & Time: October 24, 2019, 09:30 Local 
Registration: N639BV
Aircraft: COSTRUZIONI AERONAUTICHE TECNAM P2004 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional

Analysis

The solo student pilot reported that, while conducting a touch-and-go landing, the airplane was 5 to 10 knots faster than normal during the landing and had little to no flare. The airplane touched down hard on the runway, bounced, and nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and vertical stabilizer. The student reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard, bounced landing and subsequent nose-over.

Findings

Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Hard landing (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Abnormal runway contact
Landing-flare/touchdown Nose over/nose down

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student 
Age: 24, Female
Airplane Rating(s): None 
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: May 14, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: COSTRUZIONI AERONAUTICHE TECNAM
Registration: N639BV
Model/Series: P2004 BRAVO 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental light sport (Special)
Serial Number: 115
Landing Gear Type: 
Tricycle Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer:
ELT: 
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner:
Rated Power:
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLEE,77 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 13:53 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 300°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Apopka, FL (X04)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Apopka, FL (X04)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 08:45 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Orlando Apopka X04
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 150 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 33 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3987 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and go;Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 28.7075,-81.581947(est)

Loss of Control in Flight: Aero Adventure Aventura II, N170AV; accident occurred October 26, 2019 in Tavares, Lake County, Florida


Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Sport Flying USA Inc


Location: Tavares, Florida 
Accident Number: GAA20CA051
Date & Time: October 26, 2019, 12:10 Local 
Registration: N170AV
Aircraft: Pereyra Aventura
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Analysis

The pilot reported that he was at a seaplane event and participating in a landing contest on a lake. During landing with a 14-knot crosswind, the airplane was slightly fast, and shortly after touchdown, the airplane hit a wake and bounced. When the airplane was about 2 to 3 ft above the water, he initiated a go-around and applied right aileron control, but the left wing descended and impacted the water, and the airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions with the airplane or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in a bounced landing on water, and his failure to maintain airplane control during a go-around, which resulted in the airplane nosing over.

Findings

Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Abnormal runway contact
Approach-VFR go-around Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor 
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane single-engine 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: BasicMed With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: November 1, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: November 3, 2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 7080 hours (Total, all aircraft), 30 hours (Total, this make and model), 7000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Pereyra 
Registration: N170AV
Model/Series: Aventura II 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2018 
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special)
Serial Number: AA2AS1701
Landing Gear Type: N/A; Amphibian
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: July 1, 2019 
Condition Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 75 Hrs
Engine Manufacturer: Aero Momentum
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series:
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 117 Horsepower
Operator:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: LEE, 75 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 4 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 15:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 4 knots 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 240°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C / 25°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Deland, FL 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lake Dora, FL
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 09:00 Local
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 28.800556,-81.727775(est)

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, N1236: Accident occurred December 28, 2020 at Navasota Municipal Airport (60R), Grimes County, Texas

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; Houston, Texas

Location: Navasota, TX 
Accident Number: CEN21LA105
Date & Time: December 28, 2020, 16:23 Local 
Registration: N1236
Aircraft: Piper PA-30
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N1236
Model/Series: PA-30 
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: K11R,308 ft msl
Observation Time: 16:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C /14°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 130°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 8000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Navasota, TX
Destination: Navasota, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 30.37323,-96.1145 

NAVASOTA, Texas (KBTX) - Nobody was injured Monday evening after a small airplane made an emergency landing at the Navasota Municipal Airport.

Authorities said there was a mechanical issue with the plane as it landed, but it’s unclear what caused it to happen. 

The FAA has given local authorities the okay to remove the aircraft from the runway, said a DPS spokesman.

According to Flightaware.com, the plane left the airport at 3:07 p.m. and traveled northeast before making a U-turn and returning to Navasota.

The Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche is owned by Russell Miller, according to flight records.

On the front line: Carlsbad air ambulance crew battles COVID-19 from the skies


Marnie Hill, Air Methods helicopter pilot works in her office, December 23, 2020 at the Carlsbad Air Terminal.

Patrick Allis, pilot of Air Methods' medical plane is pictured in his office, December 23, 2020 at the Carlsbad Air Terminal.


Paramedic with Air Methods Ronel Sizer inspects a medical helicopter before beginning his shift December 23, 2020 on base at the Carlsbad Air Terminal.





For Ronel Sizer, the front line of the COVID-19 health crisis is thousands of feet above ground.

He’s a paramedic with Air Methods in Carlsbad and has flown patients out of rural Carlsbad in southeast New Mexico to major hospitals in Lubbock or other nearby cities about every day since the pandemic hit the state in March.

With only a small medical center in town, patients experiencing the worst of COVID-19 must be transported from the small city to a major hospital often across state lines to receive the treatment of an intensive care unit (ICU).

That often means flight in either Air Method’s helicopter which can hold patients weighing up to 200 to 250 pounds, or on a small airplane which has up to 400 pounds available.

The helicopter can take patients to the closer hospitals such as in Lubbock or El Paso, but the plane has traveled as far as Denver, Phoenix or Houston or San Antonio in Texas.

Before the pandemic, the crew averaged about 40 flights per month, or about five to seven in a week.

With COVID-19, that number grew to more than 60 flights a month, at least two per day.

Air travel high above the surface where oxygen in thinner presents a challenge for patients already struggling to breathe.

Sizer said the pandemic made oxygen supplies aboard the aircraft even more important, with patients frequently hooked up to ventilators while on route to an ICU to provide adequate air to the body and avoid hypoxia which occurs when the body has too little oxygen to property function.

“With COVID-19, we pay a lot of attention to our oxygen and ventilation,” he said. “Those patients need high oxygen levels. The last thing you want is for them to get hypoxic. It’s challenging.”

Medical flights up statewide during COVID-19 crisis

Air method’s Carlsbad base is a rarity in the southeast in that it boasts both a helicopter for short travel and a plane for longer trips.

Artesia’s and Hobbs’ bases have just a helicopter, while Roswell has both.

Area manager Julie Lewis said patients are being sent longer distances as hospitals are overwhelmed by the health crisis.

She said Air Methods is flying more patients out of El Paso to other hospitals than into the city near the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas as medical resources dwindled in the major city often a destination for southeast New Mexico patients.

Since March when the pandemic began its first major spread in the state, Lewis said Air Methods transported 384 COVID-19 patients throughout New Mexico with bases in most major areas from Las Cruces to Taos.

“The COVID patients are going further and further away,” she said. “We’ve been taking patients a long distance. They’re not so much running out of space. They’re running out of staff.”

Liquid oxygen allows for the longer flights, providing oxygen for up to 10 hours.

Flight nurse Kim Parker said the aircraft were well-outfitted to handle the health crisis, while the crew usually works 24-hour shifts for medical staff and 12 hours at a time for pilots.

“We treat them the same way we treat any patient that has to go on a ventilator,” she said. “We just need more pressure for the oxygen. We have the equipment we need.”

‘People are suffering’

The advantage of using the helicopter allows patients to be landed at a helipad usually on the roof of hospitals.

Transports via plane must disembark at a nearby airport and are then driven to a hospital by ambulance.

In high winds and storms, the helicopter can be kept grounded and use of the plane becomes necessary.

Helicopter pilot Marnie Hill said the constantly changing weather in the desert region of southern New Mexico can present a challenge, but her team is dedicated to saving lives during the health crisis.

Before coming to Air Methods, Hill flew helicopter tours in the Grand Canyon, but she said her focus was unchanged while in the pilot’s chair.

“People are suffering. It’s our job to get them the best care possible,” she said. “Sometimes the weather gets in the way, but we do the best we can for them. It’s our job. We put ourselves at risk. It’s as controlled a risk as we can make it.

“These are human beings, so we need to make sure they get home to their loved ones, and that I bring my crew back to their families as well.”

Pat Allis who pilots the plane said since the pandemic hit, he’s seen small towns like Carlsbad suffering more with each month of the crisis.

“You pick little towns like this and you become part of the community,” he said. “You feel for this place. You see the weakest in the community taken out.”

About 80 percent of Air Methods’ staff were infected with COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic, meaning paramedics and pilots from other states had to be brought in to cover until the local crew members tested negative.

Combined with the stress of a potential infection, Allis said the workload has increased dramatically.

Sleep and a good meal are rare while the crew is working.

“It’s busy. You’re guaranteed to fly every day,” he said. “Eating and sleeping is a challenge. We get in early and we stay late.”

But that’s just part of the job for Ronel Sizer, who said a 35 year career as a paramedic meant learning to function with little rest or sustenance as with the rest of the crew who mostly boast decades in the profession before of taking to the skies.

“My body is used to not having much sleep,” he said. “You can train your body to just get up and go. It’s all about knowing what you limit is. The stakes are very high, the standards are very high, and we’re used to it.”

Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain, N3588C: Incident occurred December 28, 2020 at Vero Beach Regional Airport (KVRB), Indian River County, Florida

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

Aircraft indicated gear trouble and landed with gear retracted. 

Paris Air Inc


Date: 28-DEC-20
Time: 20:50:00Z
Regis#: N3588C
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: 31
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: VERO BEACH
State: FLORIDA

VERO BEACH, Florida — A pilot crash-landed a plane on a runway after its landing gear malfunctioned while flying into Vero Beach Regional Airport, officials said.

An Indian River County Fire Rescue official said the pilot was the only person on the plane and was uninjured.

Battalion Chief Kyle Kofke said the eight-passenger, twin-engine plane "basically slid on its belly" into Runway 4 of the airport.

Firefighters gathered at the runway around 3:30 p.m. ahead of the landing after the pilot notified the air traffic control tower of the problem with the landing gear roughly seven (7) miles out from the airport.

Kofke said there were no flames or smoke caused from the landing, and that it was a "great job by the pilot."

He said information about the pilot was not available and that the Federal Aviation Administration was looking into the malfunction.

Airport officials were unable to be reached by phone Monday evening.

Sonex, N84WG: Incidents occurred December 28, 2020 and July 26, 2019 in Loudoun County, Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Washington, District of Columbia

December 28, 2020:  Aircraft experienced insufficient engine power and had to land in field. 


Date: 28-DEC-20
Time: 16:15:00Z
Regis#: N84WG
Aircraft Make: EXPERIMENTAL
Aircraft Model: SONEX
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EMERGENCY DESCENT (EMG)
Operation: 91
Activity: PERSONAL
City: HAMILTON
State: VIRGINIA



December 28, 2020 -  An experimental aircraft made an emergency landing Monday afternoon near Purcellville, according to the Virginia State Police.

At 12:07 p.m. Monday, the state police were notified of an aircraft making an emergency landing. About 10 minutes later, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office located the privately owned experimental aircraft in a field in the 38,000 block of Piggott Bottom Road north of Purcellville.

The pilot, a 51-year-old man from Purcellville, and a 24-year-old male passenger from Fairfax were not injured in the incident. The aircraft was not damaged. The pilot made the cautionary landing when the engine began acting up, according to police.

The two men were on a recreational flight and had taken off from the Leesburg Executive Airport before the emergency landing. 

The police contacted the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board about the incident.


Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Washington, District of Columbia

July 26, 2019:  Aircraft lost propeller in flight.

Date: 26-JUL-19
Time: 12:20:00Z
Regis#: N84WG
Aircraft Make: SONEX
Aircraft Model: SONEX
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: LEESBURG
State: VIRGINIA

Beechcraft H35 Bonanza, N5474D: Accident occurred December 27, 2020 near Santa Ynez Airport (KIZA), Santa Barbara County, California

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; Van Nuys, California   


Location: Santa Ynez, CA
Accident Number: WPR21LA075
Date & Time: December 27, 2020, 18:12 Local 
Registration: N5474D
Aircraft: Beech 35 
Injuries: 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 27, 2020, at 1812 Pacific standard time, a Beech 35 airplane, N5474D, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Santa Ynez, California. The pilot and three passengers sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot estimated that he departed with about 32 gallons of useable fuel. While en route to Lompoc, California, the pilot altered his course slightly to avoid inclement weather. The airplane passed one mile north of the Santa Ynez airport and when about 17 miles from Lompoc the pilot switched the fuel selector from the right main tank (which was indicating close to empty) to the left main tank (indicating slightly less than half full). As he manipulated the selector handle, the engine rpm decreased to what appeared to be idle power. Concerned that he was not able to get the handle into the detent, the pilot placed the selector back on the right tank.

The pilot elected to perform a 180-turn and land at Santa Ynez because it was closer in proximity. He attempted to troubleshoot the reduced rpm and despite his efforts, was unable to restore the engine power. The airplane could not maintain altitude and the pilot performed a forced landing short of runway 08.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech 
Registration: N5474D
Model/Series: 35 
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: KIZA,671 ft msl
Observation Time: 18:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C /5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 7 knots / , 170°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.87 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Lake Havasu City, AZ (LPC) 
Destination: Santa Ynez, CA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 34.6079,-120.0843 (est)





Three people and a dog aboard a small aircraft are uninjured after their plane crashed Sunday night.

Federal agencies are investigating a plane that crashed west of the Santa Ynez Airport and south of the Chumash Casino.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department received reports of an airplane that crashed in a field just after 6 p.m.

Investigators say the plane had mechanical issues before hitting the ground.

Three people and one dog were inside when the plane crashed.

Everyone, including the dog, were able to get out uninjured.

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

Environmental Protection Agency Sets Emissions Limits for Jet Aircraft

First-ever rules help ensure United States jet makers can meet international rules and sell abroad



The Wall Street Journal 
By Timothy Puko
December 28, 2020 4:15 pm ET

WASHINGTON—The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it has set its first-ever climate standards for commercial airliners and large business jets, aligning U.S. rules with global standards and giving jet makers eight years to comply.

The move follows years of momentum internationally to address the airline industry’s contribution to climate change. The sector accounts for about 2% of the global carbon emissions that are warming the planet, according to U.S. data and environmental groups. The EPA first proposed the rule in July while under legal pressure from environmental groups and amid concern from U.S. jet-makers about international sales.

The new rules create efficiency standards to limit carbon-dioxide and nitrous-oxide emissions from commercial airliners and large business jets in the U.S. starting in 2028. Aircraft companies have to apply the limits to any new designs starting this year.

The core of these regulations adopt metrics established by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the United Nations’ commercial-aviation regulator. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in July that the U.S. aviation industry had made it clear the agency should be adopting those standards to ensure consistency globally.

The EPA’s action helps prevent U.S. jets from getting shut out of the international market. U.S. manufacturers export three of every four aircraft they make, the EPA has said, and U.S. companies face the potential of losing those sales if their planes don’t meet international standards.

Shippers and companies that buy aircraft have been concerned such rules could raise costs. But manufacturers, including Boeing Co. , have been supportive, aiming to avoid any potential risk to their international business.

Mr. Wheeler called the rules historic and said they would help the U.S. continue to be a world leader in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Center for Biological Diversity, a Tucson, Ariz.-based advocacy group, criticized the new rules as not being aggressive enough and as not mandating technology or operational changes for aviation companies.

The group is one of two environmental organizations that gave the EPA a formal notice in January that they intended to sue over the matter, saying the EPA wasn’t following through on a 2016 scientific assessment that aircraft emissions endanger public health and welfare. That finding was a legal prerequisite for the new rules the EPA has now finished.

Mr. Wheeler signed the new rules last week ahead of the Christmas holiday. They go into effect once they are published in the Federal Register.

Aerostar S60A, N6534A: Accident occurred December 26, 2020 in Peoria, Arizona and Incident occurred October 31, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona

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; Scottsdale, Arizona


Location: Peoria, AZ 
Accident Number: WPR21LA074
Date & Time: December 25, 2020, 17:19 Local 
Registration: N6534A
Aircraft: AEROSTAR INTERNATIONAL INC S60A
Injuries: 3 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Aerial observation

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AEROSTAR
INTERNATIONAL INC
Registration: N6534A
Model/Series: S-60A 
Aircraft Category: Balloon
Amateur Built: No
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries:
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 33.5705,-112.2503 (est)

October 31, 2020: Balloon crashed into a residence. 

Date: 31-OCT-20
Time:17:16:00Z
Regis#: N6534A
Aircraft Make: AEROSTAR
Aircraft Model: S60A
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: SIGHTSEEING
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: PHOENIX
State: ARIZONA

Mooney M20E, N5705Q: Incident occurred December 27, 2020 at Glendale Municipal Airport (KGEU), Maricopa County, Arizona

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

Aircraft landed gear up on Runway 01.

Tango Aviation LLC


Date: 27-DEC-20
Time: 23:50:00Z
Regis#: N5705Q
Aircraft Make: MOONEY
Aircraft Model: M20E
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
Aircraft Operator: TANGO AVIATION LLC
City: GLENDALE
State: ARIZONA

Beech A23, N8766M: Incident occurred December 25, 2020 - Drakes Bay, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oakland, California

Aircraft made an emergency landing on the beach at Drakes Bay, California 


Date: 25-DEC-20
Time: 18:00:00Z
Regis#: N8766M
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: A23
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EMERGENCY DESCENT (EMG)
Operation: 91
City: DRAKES BAY
State: CALIFORNIA

Piper PA22-150, N5939D: Accident occurred December 27, 2020 near Mountain Airpark (0GE5), Cleveland, White County, 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.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia

Location: Cleveland, GA
Accident Number: ERA21LA088
Date & Time: December 27, 2020, 13:00 Local 
Registration: N5939D
Aircraft: Piper PA-22-150
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On December 27, 2020, about 1300 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-22-150, N5939D, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Cleveland, Georgia. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he completed a preflight inspection of the airplane and noted 16 gallons of fuel. He started the engine and idled for 4 minutes to warm it up. He then taxied the airplane to the departure end of the runway, performed an engine run-up, and did not note any anomalies. The pilot then taxied onto the runway, applied full engine power, and initiated the takeoff. At 65 mph, the pilot rotated, the airspeed increased to 85 mph, and he noted a positive rate of climb. Then, during the initial climb, the engine lost power and the airplane began to settle. The pilot applied carburetor heat, switched the fuel selector from the right tank to the left tank and the engine power surged, but then lost total power again. He turned off the carburetor heat since that did not resolve the issue and pitched the airplane down to maintain airspeed. The airplane continued to settle until it struck treetops, which resulted in substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

The airframe and engine were retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N5939D
Model/Series: PA-22-150 
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: TOC, 995 ft msl 
Observation Time: 13:15 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 21 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C /-3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.21 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Cleveland, GA
Destination: Covington, GA (CVC)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 34.57372,-83.715817 (est)


A small plane crashed on takeoff from Mountain Air Park in White County Sunday afternoon, resulting in minor injuries to the occupants.

The incident happened just after 1 p.m. off Black Road east of Cleveland.

“Firefighters arrived on scene and found a Piper PA22-150 that went down in some trees northeast of the airstrip,” said White County Public Safety Director David Murphy. “Firefighters had to ford a creek to make access to the plane.”

A male occupant was out of the plane when emergency personnel arrived, but firefighters had to stabilize the Piper PA22-150 before removing a female.

The female was transported from the crash site by a White County Fire Services utility vehicle due to terrain.

Both occupants suffered minor injuries, according to preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is investigating the crash.

The occupants’ identities have not been released, nor has a possible cause for the crash.

The four-seat 1956 Piper PA-22-150 plane is registered to Charles Grubbs of Sautee-Nacoochee, FAA Aircraft Registry data shows.

No information has been released about who was operating or occupying the plane at the time of the crash.

“Aircraft departed and crashed under unknown circumstances,” the FAA Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing preliminary report states.

Mountain Air Park is a grass airstrip that is home to light sport, vintage, aerobatic, experimental, and general aviation aircraft located on Airport Road near Cleveland.



Around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 27, E911 dispatched firefighters to a report of a plane crash in the area of Black Road east of Cleveland. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found a Piper PA22-250 that had gone down in some trees northeast of Mountain Airpark (0GE5).

According to White County Public Safety Director David Murphy, there were two occupants in the aircraft.  The male pilot managed to free himself from the wreckage before first responders arrived. Firefighters stabilized the aircraft, which was hanging in some trees, before extracting the female passenger. 

Due to the terrain, first responders transported the patients on a Utility Terrain Vehicle to waiting ambulances. White County EMS transported them to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  Officials have not released their names.  

The Federal Aviation Administration was called to investigate. 

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N75825: Accident occurred December 26, 2020 at Mallards Landing Airport (GA04), Locust Grove, Henry County, 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. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia
    

Location: Locust Grove, GA
Accident Number: ERA21LA090
Date & Time: December 26, 2020, 17:39 Local 
Registration: N75825
Aircraft: Cessna 172 
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N75825
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: 
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: K6A2,959 ft msl
Observation Time: 17:35 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles 
Temperature/Dew Point: 5°C /-11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.14 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: 
Destination:

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.364091,-84.168888 (est)

Airbus A321-231, N958JB: Incident occurred December 26, 2020 at Boston Logan International Airport (KBOS), Massachusetts

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Boston, Massachusetts

Aircraft oil panel was discovered missing after landing at Boston Logan International Airport (KBOS).

JetBlue Airways Corporation 


Date: 26-DEC-20
Time: 15:15:00Z
Regis#: N958JB
Aircraft Make: AIRBUS
Aircraft Model: A-321-231
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: COMMERCIAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: JETBLUE
Flight Number: JBU222
City: BOSTON
State: MASSACHUSETTS

Bellanca Super Viking 17-30A, N28064: Incidents occurred December 26, 2020 at Bryce Canyon Airport (KBCE), Garfield County, Utah and McCarran International Airport (KLAS), Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Las Vegas, Nevada

Aircraft sustained a tail strike on departure from Bryce Canyon Airport (KBCE) and had difficulty landing at McCarran International Airport (KLAS).

Date: 26-DEC-20
Time: 02:20:00Z
Regis#: N28064
Aircraft Make: BELLANCA
Aircraft Model: BL-17
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91
City: LAS VEGAS
State: NEVADA

Glasfl├╝gel 205 Club Libelle, N205HL: Accident occurred December 27, 2020 near Crooked Creek Airport (7NC5), Bunn, Franklin County, North 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; Greensboro,  North Carolina

North Carolina Soaring Association


Location: Bunn, NC
Accident Number: ERA21LA089
Date & Time: December 27, 2020, 13:36 Local
Registration: N205HL
Aircraft: Glasflugel CLUB LIBELLE 205 
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Glasflugel
Registration: N205HL
Model/Series: CLUB LIBELLE 205 
Aircraft Category: Glider
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
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: LHZ
Observation Time: 12:30 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 9.4°C /-5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.9 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Bunn, NC (7NC5)
Destination: Bunn, NC

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious 
Latitude, Longitude: 35.961,78.2536 (est)