Monday, July 26, 2021

Loss of Control in Flight: SIAI Marchetti SM.1019B, N28U; fatal accident occurred July 24, 2021 at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport (KLWS), Idaho

Dale O. "Snort" Snodgrass CAPT USN (Ret.)













































Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Spokane, Washington 
Rolls-Royce; Indianapolis, Indiana
Hartzell Propeller

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:


Location: Lewiston, Idaho
Accident Number: WPR21FA283
Date and Time: July 24, 2021, 11:52 Local 
Registration: N28U
Aircraft: SIAI-MARCHETTI SM-1019B 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Analysis

The pilot was attempting an intersection takeoff about midfield when, shortly after the airplane became airborne, it pitched up aggressively, rolled left, and descended into the ground in a nose-down attitude.

Examination did not reveal any evidence of pre-accident malfunctions or failures of the flight control system, and there was no evidence to indicate that the pilot’s seat had moved. Both the engine and propeller exhibited damage signatures consistent with high engine power at impact.

The airplane was equipped with a flight control locking system that comprised a pivoting, U-shaped control lock tube mounted permanently to the rudder pedal assembly and a forward-facing locking arm mounted to the pilot’s control stick. The control lock immobilized the aileron and elevator controls but still allowed for near-full movement of the rudder and tailwheel.

The cabin floor, where the control lock tube should have been mounted for flight, was severely deformed and compressed. Had the lock been stowed during impact, it would have been pinned under the flight control stick, crushed longitudinally, and its retaining clip would have been deformed; however, the control lock and its retaining clip were essentially undamaged, and the lock was found raised off the floor. The locking arm on the control stick also showed no evidence of deformation or impact damage but had rotated about 90° to the right of its normal position, as if forced into that position on impact while the control lock was still attached.

Given this information, it is likely that the control lock was installed on the flight control stick during takeoff and impact. High-resolution security camera footage of the accident revealed no discernable movement of the elevators or ailerons, further suggesting that the flight controls were immobilized by the control lock.

Although the control lock is painted red, its orientation when engaged results in the pilot viewing it directly down its length, at its narrowest profile. A pilot who owned a similar airplane stated that he had once become distracted during preflight checks and was able to taxi, initiate takeoff, and become airborne with the control lock engaged. He stated that, once he realized his mistake, removal of the lock was a struggle due to the forces imposed on the control stick during takeoff.

The pitch trim was found in an almost full nose-down position, suggesting that the pilot may have been attempting to use the trim to arrest the airplane’s increasing nose-up attitude due to the locked control stick. Whether the pilot recognized that the control lock was engaged or believed he had a flight control problem could not be determined. Regardless, after takeoff during a dynamic and transitional phase of flight, there would have been minimal time to accurately diagnose the issue and disconnect the control lock.

The intended purpose and destination of the flight was routine and there was no apparent time pressure present. The pilot was reported to be extremely thorough about performing preflight checks, and according to his wife, the expected duration of his normal preflight activities would not have allowed him to depart when he did. The pilot had limited experience in the accident airplane, which could explain why he did not remove the control lock during the preflight inspection. There was no video evidence to provide insight into the duration and scope of the pilot’s preflight inspection; however, omission of the preflight control check was uncharacteristic given his extensive flight experience, and the reason it was not performed could not be determined. While omission of the control check is consistent with a pilot rushing or distracted, and the short duration from taxi to takeoff would have reduced this pilot’s opportunity to detect his error, the investigation was not able to determine the reason it was not performed. Had the pilot completed a functional check of the controls before initiating takeoff, the presence of the lock would have been detected and the accident would have been prevented.

Although the pilot’s autopsy demonstrated the presence of heart disease, which posed an increased risk of an impairing or incapacitating cardiac event, heart disease is unlikely to have caused inattention. It is also unlikely that the pilot was incapacitated by a cardiac event because his final radio transmission showed that he was aware and speaking after the onset of
loss of control. Thus, it is unlikely that the pilot’s heart disease contributed to the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to remove the flight control lock before departure, which resulted in a loss of airplane control and impact with terrain. Contributing to the accident was his failure to perform an adequate preflight inspection and flight control check before takeoff.

Findings

Personnel issues Use of equip/system - Pilot
Personnel issues Use of checklist - Pilot
Personnel issues Preflight inspection - Pilot
Aircraft Gust lock or damper - Incorrect use/operation
Aircraft Pitch control - Attain/maintain not possible
Personnel issues Forgotten action/omission - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Initial climb Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

On July 24, 2021, about 1152 Pacific daylight time, a SIAI Marchetti SM-1019B, N28U, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport (LWS), Lewiston, Idaho. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a
Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot’s wife, the pilot planned to fly to Hungry Ridge Ranch Airport (37ID), Grangeville, Idaho, where he owned a residence. She stated that the pilot was in no hurry, and there was no time-sensitive reason for him to be at the destination.

Airport security video cameras located at the main passenger terminal captured the airplane positioned on runway 12 at the intersection of taxiway D before takeoff. The airplane began the takeoff roll and continued about 400 ft down the runway before taking off in a three-point departure configuration. The airplane pitched nose-up to about 45° while climbing to an altitude of about 80 ft above ground level, after which it rolled 90° to the left as the nose dropped. The airplane continued to roll left while descending and impacted the ground in a nose-down, left-wing-low attitude between runway 12 and taxiway C, about 970 ft beyond where the takeoff roll began. A postimpact fire ensued.

Witnesses located at the airport described the airplane taking off normally before it aggressively pitched up and rolled left.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Flight instructor 
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane single-engine; Instrument airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: October 1, 2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: (Estimated) 6500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 20 hours (Total, this make and model) 

The pilot was a retired naval aviator, and current air show performer, with extensive flight experience in a broad range of aircraft. He held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and sea, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. At the time of his last medical examination, on October 29, 2020, he reported 6,500 total hours of civilian flight experience. The pilot’s logbooks were not available for review.

The pilot purchased the airplane on April 21, 2021, and it was delivered to him in June by a friend, who was also a flight instructor. The instructor flew with the pilot for the first flight after delivery, during which they performed slow flight, stalls, steep turns, and multiple stop-and-go landings. The instructor stated that the pilot demonstrated proficiency in the operation of the airplane, and at no time did he need to take the controls. The instructor stated that, before their first flight, the pilot performed a very thorough and detailed walk-around, lasting approximately 90 minutes. He was particularly impressed with his “exemplary” checklist
discipline, both during that flight, and when he had flown with the pilot previously. During the preflight, he observed the pilot perform a full check of the flight controls to verify proper movement and operation. They discussed the control lock operation, and the pilot stated that it was very similar to the lock used on other airplanes he had owned and flown.

Varying accounts indicated that the pilot had flown the airplane about twenty times since purchase. The pilot’s wife had flown with him to LWS earlier in the day in their other airplane. She stated that she left him at the airport at 1110, at which time the accident airplane was still in the hangar. She stated that normally he would perform preflight checks after the airplane had been pulled out of the hangar, and that he was methodical and slow. She expressed surprise that he could have performed all his checks and still departed by the accident time.

The general manager for the fixed base operator (FBO) next to the hangar where the pilot stored his airplane stated that he had known the pilot for many years, and that he routinely observed him perform an engine runup at the approach end of the runway before takeoff in all the airplanes he flew. He stated that he had never seen the pilot perform an intersection takeoff from midfield, and that the pilot’s preflight inspections took a very long time.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SIAI-MARCHETTI
Registration: N28U
Model/Series: SM-1019B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1977
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: None 
Serial Number: 06502002
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: May 3, 2021 Condition 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Turbo prop
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: Rolls Royce/Allison
ELT: Installed 
Engine Model/Series: 250-B17B
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 400 Horsepower
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Does Business As:
Operator Designator Code: N/A

The airplane was manufactured in Italy in 1977, imported into the United States in 1997, and issued an experimental-exhibition special airworthiness certificate in February 1998.

The airplane was a single-engine, all-metal, high-wing, with a fixed tailwheel landing gear configuration. The cabin was enclosed and was equipped with conventional flight controls for two pilots in a tandem configuration. It had been upgraded with the installation of an avionics suite and autopilot. It was equipped with a 400-shaft-horsepower Allison M250-B17B turbine engine.

The last condition inspection was completed on May 3, 2021, at an airplane total time of 509.5 hours of operation.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLWS, 1436 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 11:56 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 244°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 6000 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: Unknown / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lewiston, ID
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Grangeville, ID (37ID)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Class C

Airport Information

Airport: LEWISTON-NEZ PERCE COUNTY LWS
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1442 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5003 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 46.376415,-117.01176(est)

The initial impact point was an area of disturbed ground consistent with a left wing strike about 30 ft from the main wreckage. A large, shallow impact crater, consistent with impact from the engine, was found between the initial impact point and the main wreckage. The wings sustained impact and thermal damage and remained partially attached to the fuselage. The forward fuselage sustained thermal damage and crush damage focused on the left side. The engine remained attached to the airframe. The propeller assembly separated from the engine and was found on the runway adjacent to the debris field.

Disassembly of the engine revealed evidence that it was producing power at impact, including torsional overload of the turbine to compressor coupling and power turbine to pinion gear shaft, along with multiple compressor blade stages that displayed detached airfoils that were bent opposite the direction of rotation.

The propeller blades exhibited signatures of stoppage at high power and high impact angle, including chordwise/rotational scoring, leading edge gouges, and compound twisting and bending opposite the direction of rotation.

The pilot’s seat remained engaged and locked to both of its seat rails and was just forward of the midrange position. The forward and aft seat stops were intact and undamaged. The rear seat was in the center of its travel range, and similarly attached and engaged to both of its seat rails.

The left and right elevators remained attached to each other and the control cable bell-crank. Elevator control cable continuity was established from the bell-crank assembly to the aft control stick, which remained connected to the forward stick via its interconnect tube.

The left elevator was fitted with a servo tab, which was intact and remained connected to the elevator assembly. The right elevator was equipped with a pilot-controlled trim tab operated by a cable-driven jackscrew in the right horizontal stabilizer. The trim tab was electrically controlled through a switch located in each control stick, with provisions for manual control through a wheel positioned on the left side of the pilot’s station. The jackscrew extension length corresponded to the tab being set to an almost full tab-up (airplane nose-down) position.

The only undamaged component of the autopilot was the Garmin GSA-28 elevator pitch control servo. It remained firmly attached to its mounting pad in the aft fuselage. The unit appeared appropriately connected to the elevator control system via its bridle cables, and there was no evidence of binding or seizure. The unit was removed, disassembled, and examined, and no anomalies were noted.

Within the airframe, all flight control cable pulleys that were not damaged by fire or impinged during impact were intact and moved smoothly with no binding noted. There was no evidence of cable-to-fuselage interference, and there were no foreign objects within the floor pan or in the aft fuselage or empennage.

Both flaps sustained varying degrees of thermal and impact damage; their drive actuators corresponded to a flap extension of 30°.

The airplane was equipped with a flight control locking system that comprised a pivoting, U-shaped control lock tube mounted permanently to the rudder pedal assembly, and a forward-facing locking arm and pin assembly mounted to the control stick. To engage the system, and lock the flight controls, the control lock is raised to the locking arm, where it engages with a pin to keep the control stick secure. For flight, the control lock is lifted from the pin, and then pivots to the floor, where it is secured in place with a retainer clip near the base of the control stick. The control lock immobilizes the aileron and elevator controls and holds the rudder in the neutral position, but still allows for near-full movement of the rudder and tailwheel via the rudder pedals.

Within the forward airframe, the flight control lock remained connected to the rudder pedal assembly, was intact, and found in the raised position near the lower edge of the instrument panel. The cabin floor forward of the control stick base, which would have been occupied by the 14-inch-long control lock when not in use, was compressed aft such that the base of the control stick was 4 inches away from the control lock pivots on the rudder pedal assembly. The control lock floor retainer clip, which would have been used to lock the control lock to the floor for flight, was undamaged.

The locking arm and pin assembly remained attached to the control stick and was undamaged, but had rotated 90° to the right of its original position. There was no evidence of contact between the locking arm and pin assembly with any components or structure in the footwell or instrument panel.

The examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Additional Information

Flight Manual

The airplane’s flight manual was located in the airplane after the accident. The preflight check section contained an item for removing the flight control lock.

The before take-off section stated that the pilot should, “check for freedom of movement and maximum range of travel in both directions.”

The flight characteristics section described aircraft control with the trim system, and stated:

Trim changes caused by flap movements are notable. However, the aircraft can always be controlled by using non excessive stick forces. A maximum of 4 to 5 kg in force variations is possible. In any case, these forces are quickly avoidable by the use of trim. Flap extension causes nose-up moment. During flap maneuvering it is possible to keep the stick longitudinal force almost nil at any moment by keeping the electric trim button pushed down in the opposite direction. Trim changes due to variations in engine rpm are much slighter, although remaining noticeable. An increase in power causes nose-up moment. Even without using the trim the aircraft remains perfectly controllable by means of slight stick movements.

Communications

At 1150:15, the pilot made initial contact with ground control at LWS. Eight seconds later, he requested taxi clearance from the FBO ramp for a runway 12 departure at the taxiway D intersection (located about 900 ft from the FBO hangar where the airplane was stored). The controller then instructed the pilot to taxi via taxiway D. At 1150:48, while still on the ground frequency, the pilot asked if he was cleared for takeoff, and about 20 seconds later (after communicating with another aircraft) the controller replied and cleared the pilot for takeoff from runway 12 at taxiway D. The pilot responded, and the controller requested that he switch to the tower control frequency. After apologizing, the pilot contacted the tower controller. The tower controller confirmed contact with the pilot and cleared the airplane for takeoff. At 1151:41, the pilot replied, “for takeoff,” and 36 seconds later, at 1152:17, expletives were heard. Relatives and acquaintances of the pilot who listened to the audio recordings of the ATC communications stated that the expletives came from the pilot.

Medical and Pathological Information

On his most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate application, the pilot reported using the prescription medication lisinopril to treat high blood pressure, for which he was qualified under Conditions Aviation Medical Examiners Can Issue (CACI) criteria. He also reported using the prescription medication levothyroxine to treat low thyroid hormone, for which he was also CACI qualified. Lisinopril and levothyroxine generally are not considered impairing. No significant issues were identified, and the pilot was issued a second class medical certificate limited by a requirement to have available glasses for near vision.

The Spokane County Office of the Medical Examiner performed the pilot’s autopsy. According to the autopsy report, the cause of death was blunt force injuries. The autopsy revealed the presence of heart disease, with the heart being described as dilated, and mild coronary artery narrowing present. The autopsy did not identify any other significant natural disease.

Toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot by both the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory and NMS Labs (on behalf of the Office of the Medical Examiner) revealed negative results, and ethanol was not detected in peripheral blood.

Tests and Research

Flight Control Lock

Examination of a similar airplane confirmed that, with the control lock engaged, although the ailerons and elevators were completely locked, the rudder and tailwheel could still be moved to near full travel, such that the airplane could be maneuvered almost completely unhindered while taxiing. Although the control lock is painted red, the pilot’s view of the lock in the engaged position is such that the lock is viewed at its narrowest profile, directly down its length.

Another 1019 series airplane owner relayed his experience with the flight control lock. He stated that, on one occasion, he had planned a local flight with a passenger in the back seat and became distracted and forgot to remove the flight control lock before flight. He was able to taxi for departure, still unaware that the lock was in place, and became distracted during the pre-takeoff checks because he was talking to the passenger. He stated that he was able to complete the initial stages of takeoff with the control lock engaged, and once he realized, he had to struggle to remove the lock due to the forces on the control stick during takeoff. After a few seconds he was able to free it, and the flight progressed uneventfully.

The pilot’s friend, who had delivered the airplane, stated that you could easily get into the airplane with the control lock engaged. He further stated that, like most tailwheel-equipped airplanes, heavy differential braking was required to steer the airplane, and only limited rudder movement was required. Following the accident, he performed a series of checks in a similar airplane with the control lock attached. He determined that the airplane could be taxied uninhibited with the control lock engaged. With the control lock engaged and the airplane parked, he could not remove it with reasonable force if there was any control pressure on the stick, because it appeared to hang up on the lock pin until he released pressure.

A section of the forward flight control stick, locking arm and pin assembly, and the flight control lock were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination. The examination revealed normal wear between the control lock arm and pin assembly and the flight control lock’s pin hole. The control lock exhibited a slight longitudinal twist where it had connected to the buckled cabin floor, but was otherwise undamaged, and there was no apparent deformation to the control lock arm and pin assembly.

Airport Security Video

The high resolution of the airport security video cameras and the proximity of the airplane to their location allowed for a relatively accurate estimation of the deflections of the flight control surfaces during the takeoff. Review of the footage revealed that the deflections of the elevator and ailerons were either zero, or so small that they could not be seen. The airplane’s flaps were identified in an extended position.




Dale Snodgrass
1949 - 2021
~

Dale O. "Snort" Snodgrass CAPT USN (Ret.) a celebrated naval officer and aviator for 27 years, talented demonstration pilot, and dedicated chief pilot died tragically in his SIAI-Marchetti 1019 taking off from the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport in Idaho on 24 July 2021. The St. Augustine, Florida resident was 72.

Dale was raised in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York and attended the University of Minnesota as an NROTC Midshipman setting records as an All-American swimmer. He graduated in August 1972 and was commissioned an Ensign. Selected for jets, he completed his Navy flight training in December 1973 and was one of the first fighter pilots to fly the F-14 Tomcat. He was selected to attend and graduated from U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) at NAS Miramar, California and then served as a weapons training officer. As a Lieutenant (LT) he earned his Landing Signal Officer (LSO) qualification for all wing aircraft and was later selected as the Air Wing LSO for Carrier Air Wing (CVW) Eight. Then Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Snodgrass was selected in 1983 to be the operations officer of the Atlantic Fleet adversary squadron (VF-43) at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia (NAS Oceana). A remarkable airman, he was selected as the 1985 Fighter Pilot of the Year and 1986 Grumman Aerospace TOPCAT of the Year. After serving as the executive officer of Fighter Squadron 101 (VF-101) in 1988, he was selected for command of Fighter Squadron 33 (VF-33. In April 1993, he began service in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations as section head of OPNAV N88, Aviation Training Resources. A year later he was promoted to Captain (CAPT) and selected for a major command. In April 1994, Captain Snodgrass became commodore of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic based at NAS Oceana. In February 1997, he returned to Washington, D.C. as head of the House Liaison Office for the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs where he served until his retirement from the Navy in June 1999. His personal awards include two Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, two Air Medals, three Strike/Flight Air Medals, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V, three Navy Commendation Medals, and two Navy Achievement Medals.

After military retirement, Snodgrass founded DS Airshows Inc. and co-founded Draken International serving as Chief Pilot, Lead for the Draken Black Diamond Flight Team and Director of Operations for Draken's Adversarial Combat Training. Dale was also notably recognized as one of only ten authorized U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight Pilots.

Dale "Snort" Snodgrass accumulated over 13,000 hours in tactical aircraft during his career and is amongst the greatest fighter pilots of all time.

He is survived by his wife Cynthia, Dale's daughters Danby & Morgan, granddaughters Molly, Mae, Avery and Emory, his Sisters Donn & Marilou and his wife Cynthia's children, Holly and Jeffery.

Friends are invited to attend the military funeral at 1:30pm on Friday, August 27 at the Fort Stanton Veterans Cemetery located at 1398 State Highway 220, Fort Stanton, New Mexico. Service dress is optional but appreciated. A celebration of life will follow at Sierra Blanca Regional Airport at 5pm.

In lieu of flowers, please donate online to St. Jude and Inspiration4 to help find cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases at https://www.stjude.org/get-involved/other-ways/inspiration4.html

Location: Lewiston, ID
Accident Number: WPR21FA283
Date & Time: July 24, 2021, 12:00 Local
Registration: N28U
Aircraft: SIAI-MARCHETTI SM-1019B 
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On July 24, 2021, about 1200 Pacific daylight time, a SIAI Marchetti SM-1019B airplane, N28U, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport (LWS), Lewiston, Idaho. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

Airport security video captured the airplane positioned at the intersection of taxiway D and runway 12 prior to takeoff. The pilot started the takeoff roll and continued about 450 ft down the runway before the airplane departed the runway in a three-point departure configuration. The airplane then pitched up in a steep climb, increasing in pitch to an altitude of about 80 ft above ground level, and then banked left and started to descend. The airplane subsequently impacted terrain in a nose down left-wing low attitude near the intersection of taxiway F and taxiway C.  A postcrash fire ensued.

A witness stated the airplane depart the runway in a steep climb and “stalled out,” and that “you could hear it.” He described the airplane turning sharply to the left then descending nose-down to the ground. Other witnesses located at the airport reported that the engine was operating normally during the departure.

According to a family member, the pilot had the airplane refueled in Lewiston and planned to fly to Hungry Ridge Ranch Airport (37ID), Grangeville, Idaho, where he owned a residence.

The airplane was recovered to a secured facility for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SIAI-MARCHETTI
Registration: N28U
Model/Series: SM-1019B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code: N/A

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLWS,1436 ft msl
Observation Time: 11:56 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C /2°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 6000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Lewiston, ID 
Destination: Grangeville, ID (37ID)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 46.376415,-117.01176 (est)

176 comments:

  1. Rolls Royce / Allison 250-B17B turbine powered. Enough power for steep climbing. There will be intense interest in understanding the accident circumstances.

    For sale listing with photos:
    https://www.aircraft.com/aircraft/194412113/n28u-1977-siai-marchetti-sm1019b

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    1. "SM.1019B. Production variant with 400hp (298kW) Allison 250-B17B turboprop engine, designated SM.1019E.I by the Italian Army,:Four-built." @ wiki

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Max rate climb and a flameout at low altitude with subsequent stall could be the culprit here…. No time to recover

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    4. Plenty of time to push the nose down by an accomplished pilot. I suspect a mechanical controls issue and or contributing distraction during his preflight (after listening to the audio recording with the tower)

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    5. Dear comandante RIP , condoglianze alla famiglia , credo che sia un guasto meccanico del elevator forse bloccato , credo che i vigili del fuoco , potevano intervenire piĆ¹ velocemente .

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    6. No, not plenty of time to push the nose down as suggested above. I flew the L-19 which is what this SIAI was based on. On very steep pull-ups or a takeoff like this one, the moment you don't have prop wash going over the elevator at very low airspeeds, you're along for the ride, the airplane will NOT nose over from 40-some degrees nose up to 20 degrees nose down. Would take 2-300 feet or more. Source: I flew 'em.

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    7. I have to agree with BG. There's plenty of videos of low level stalls, which in the end is what this is going to shown to be. He had high angle of attack and stalled the craft. He knew he was screwed. People are seemingly desperate to to find a cause other than simple pilot error. He stalled the craft. He was that kind of pilot. That's what he did, that's what he was flying and it bit him. There's nothing more worthless than the altitude below you. Licensed pilot 40 years.

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    8. You got the quote wrong, it's, "there's nothing more useless than altitude above you"... Not below you.

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  2. "N28U Landed over 3 weeks ago" @ flightaware
    Certificate Issue Date 2021-07-01 for N28U; with numerous recorded daily flights starting 26 May thru 30 June.

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  3. Photo of crash. Location near taxiway "C":

    https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/lmtribune.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/65/b65815b4-ecc5-11eb-9639-d7aecf2b83e0/60fc859e51e3a.image.jpg?resize=1200%2C675

    Photo is from article:
    https://lmtribune.com/update-pilot-killed-in-plane-crash-is-identified/article_9923d6a4-ecc0-11eb-aeb9-57005902859d.html

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    1. Mapped location of crash (used Hillcrest FBO in photo to orient):

      http://maps.google.com/maps?t=k&q=loc:46.376212+-117.013366

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    2. Wind/gusts not a factor at the time, per AWOS archive:

      KLWS 241845Z AUTO 00000KT 9SM FEW065 29/02 A3009
      KLWS 241850Z AUTO 03002KT 10SM FEW065 30/02 A3009
      KLWS 241855Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM SCT060 30/02 A3009
      KLWS 241900Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM SCT050 SCT065 30/02 A3007
      KLWS 241905Z AUTO 07004KT 10SM FEW012 SCT050 SCT065 30/02 A3007
      KLWS 241910Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM FEW055 31/02 A3007

      (From mesonet.agron.iastate.edu)

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    3. The pilot departed on runway 12 at intersection delta (about halfway down the runway). The mapped crash spot is less than 1000 feet from the intersection with taxiway delta. A SIAI Marchetti's ground roll to 50 feet AGL is about 720 ft.

      Delete
  4. LiveAtc.net recorded KLWS tower/ground comms for the accident.
    N28U requested RW12 takeoff from taxiway D intersection, was going to Hungry Ridge Ranch Airport (37ID).

    A time hack to find the fully recorded comms starts at approximately 20 minute point of filename ending in:
    /klws/KLWS-Jul-24-2021-1830Z.mp3

    Transcript, using headphones, shown in [ ] when uncertain:
    -"Lewiston ground, Marchetti twenty eight uniform."
    "Marchetti twenty eight uniform, Lewiston tower, good morning."

    "I [have the numbers], I'm vfr up to thirty seven I D, anndd I'd like uh runway one two departure at delta."
    "Marchetti two eight uniform, Lewiston ground, runway one two at delta, taxi out, requested D at delta, wind calm, altimeter three zero one zero"

    "Understand cleared for takeoff?"

    (Tower silent for short delay, then tower calls mobile 4)
    "Mobile 4, remain off runway 12 30 R and K, the approach end of runway 30 for departing traffic, runway 12 at mid field."
    (A weak, scratchy transmission followed tower's mobile 4 instructions)

    "Marchetti two eight uniform, Lewiston tower, runway one two at delta, cleared for takeoff."
    A period of silence followed.

    "Ah twenty eight uniform clear for takeoff at delta, 12, right?
    "Marchetti two eight uniform, when able, request you change to frequency one one niner point four."
    "Sorry about that, yep."

    "Tower, twenty eight uniform's up"
    "Marchetti two eight uniform, roger, runway one two at delta cleared for takeoff"
    ".. takeoff"
    (pilot's voice, acknowledging)

    About 30 seconds later, pilot: "Ahhh! S--t! S--t!"
    A short transmission is heard about seven seconds later from mobile 4, followed immediately by tower saying "Mobile 4, proceed on charlie"
    Tower clears other ground vehicles to proceed to accident.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Regarding the transcript, the recorded dual frequency listening feeder for "KLWS Ground/Tower" contains voice transmissions from scanner reception of both frequencies. Recorded audio is subject to missing or chopped off beginnings of comm transmissions due to scanner "stop on active" and scan resume functions.

      Example: Pilot's cleared for takeoff acknowledgement was not fully captured, resulting in transcription as:
      ".. takeoff" (pilot's voice, acknowledging).

      Delete
  5. Why is it the best aviators in the world always get killed in the simplest/slowest of aircraft relative to what they flew in jets and their accomplishments? I will never understand it. Hoover in a 182, Fosset in a Super Decathalon, and now Snodgrass in a Marchetti with a 38kt full flap stall speed. I remember when that carrier flyby was printed in one of my father's aviation magazines. I believe it was either Aviation Week & Space Technology or Smithsonian's Air & Space magazine back in 1988. But I'll never forget it - it took us a while to get "news" like that before the internet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You oversimplify such stereotypes. Fact is, aviation, regardless of the type aircraft, is unforgiving of small mistakes (human and mechanical / structural failure) that rapidly progress to bad juju and ground impact. 38knots into the ground with steep impact is likely 100% fatal, and has no respect for the pilot at the controls. There are still many former high-perf military pilots out there operating just fine, safe, and happy as a clam. As a former F-14 driver myself, it's sad that Snort bit the big one in this way, but death comes to us all. Several of my old F-14 former pilot and RIO buddies have succumbed to cancer.

      Delete
    2. Bob Hoover died at 94 years old in his own home. Not sure which Hoover you’re referring to.

      Delete
    3. Hoover died from old age not in a 182....

      Delete
    4. Scott Crossfield was killed flying a C210

      Delete
    5. Thunderstorm got Crossfield, not a calm wind takeoff in VFR.

      Delete
    6. If memory serves, it was ATC that directed Crossfield into that thunderstorm...

      Delete
    7. "The NTSB has blamed Scott Crossfield's death on his own failure to obtain updated en route weather information, and on air traffic controllers for not giving him adverse weather avoidance assistance."

      Delete
    8. "Scott Crossfield was one of the most talented pilots ever to touch the controls of an airplane, and his loss is especially poignant because it was so avoidable," said Bruce Landsberg, executive director of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. "Had either party, pilot or controller, simply spoken up about the situation, there's a very good chance he'd be with us today."

      Delete
    9. I think Crossfield was used to ATC directing him around weather for whatever reason he left it up to them figured he was good. I don't know why anyone would fly a slow single engine GA aircraft at night around thunderstorms. So much that can go wrong. Why not just stay until early morning when Thunderstorms are usually not a problem??

      Delete
  6. My first thought is the seat slide backward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a instrument panel for the rear seat of the tandem arrangement. Seems like that rear instrument panel would block and limit front seat travel if seat unlatched.

      There was a case of a tandem experimental crash on KR where the pilot had tied off the rear stick with the seat belt while parked as a gust mitigation but forgot to remove it. Impeded rear stick would do it.

      Rear instrument panel photo:
      http://siai-marchetti.nl/sm1019/i-afri3.jpg

      Delete
    2. Reminds me of a local highly skilled pilot who surprisingly took off with locked controls.

      Delete
  7. I hadn’t thought about the rear seat belt… I once departed TNP in a severely aft loaded taildragger and it was a horrible feeling as the airplane levitated off the ground in a 3 point attitude with the stick full forward. Fortunately the airplane continued to climb and accelerate and after a couple of heart pointing minutes I had pitch control.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rear seat belt around the stick crash was a Vans RV8, N836JC. That takeoff started from mid-field, with steep climb angle and a left turn into the ground.

      http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2020/12/vans-rv-8-n836jc-fatal-accident.html

      Delete
  8. The pilot told the controller that he was going to 37ID, which is Hungry Ridge Ranch Airport, a private strip about 60 miles from KLWS.

    The mid-field intersection delta takeoff at KLWS may have been performed at a higher climb angle in order to be representative of mountain airstrip operations planned for that afternoon.

    Some 37ID photos:

    https://assets.landwatch.com/resizedimages/1650/0/h/60/1-3791411458
    https://assets.landwatch.com/resizedimages/1650/0/h/60/1-3791411461
    https://assets.landwatch.com/resizedimages/1650/0/h/60/1-3791411462
    https://assets.landwatch.com/resizedimages/1650/0/h/60/1-3791411460

    ReplyDelete
  9. So he asked for his take-off clearance on ground freq., and there's non-standard phraseology used in the comms. But, that doesn't really matter unless it's a sign he was rushed. I'd be shocked if he skipped his control check.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I watch “the pros” skip flight control checks all the time. All the time.

      Delete
    2. Me too, and just the other day I witnessed a Lear crew board and depart the ramp with no pre-flight.

      Delete
  10. Certificate: COMMERCIAL PILOT
    Date of Issue: 6/17/2019
    Ratings:
    COMMERCIAL PILOT
    AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE LAND
    AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE SEA
    AIRPLANE MULTIENGINE LAND
    INSTRUMENT AIRPLANE
    Type Ratings:
    C/MS-760
    Limits:
    ENGLISH PROFICIENT.
    AUTHORIZED EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT: AV-L39 AV-L159 CHV-F4U CU-P40 DC-A4 MB-339 MIG-15 MIG-17 N-F86 N-P51 N-T28 T-33.

    @ FAA.gov

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Recognizing he was proficient in many high performance aircraft, of the 12 aircraft listed, two prop pistons are listed, both the heavy V-12 P-40 and radial T-33.

      Delete
    2. On your list I see four pistone: Corsair, P-40, P-51, and T-28. Not to be pedantic but the T-33 is a jet.

      Delete
  11. No "mystery" here!!! Sadly, its another stall/spin accident that still continues to happen way to often!! RIP, and prayers to the family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct. An overly steep STOL takeoff.

      Delete
    2. I think he was trying a “scamp” takeoff described in this reminiscent speech about his career…
      Scroll to 13:51. https://youtu.be/cQZ0Q6anxbo

      Delete
    3. Nope, you guys are all wrong. The airplane takes off from the three point attitude. Which is okay but could be a sign of aft C.G. or trim left in the far aft landing position instead of reset for takeoff. The airplane climbs and the torque of the aircraft pulls it to the left. This causes more lift on the right wing, thus causing a left turn which drops the nose into the start of a spiral. YOu will notice at no time on the video was there ever any deflection of the flight controls . THis suggests he left the gust locks in, or couldn't move the controls for some reason. He never adjusted the power but my guess is he was fighting like hell to free the controls or something.

      Delete
    4. Seeing control surface deflection requires better image resolution than the "what you haven't seen" video provides (even using the highest youtube settings on it).

      Notice that his flap deflection that is visible just before impact due to sun angle shadowing is not visibly prominent throughout the flight sequence. Elevator deflection is made even less prominent by not having that detectable edge discontinuity that deployed flaps make along the wing profile.

      If he was intentionally doing a steep takeoff, the point in time to start looking for raised elevator surface coincides with poor visual discrimination of the more easily seen flaps. It is not credible to declare no elevator deflection until higher resolution imaging is reviewed.

      I'd like to believe that control impediment was the cause, but if the comment from former air show performer Bill Leff about witnessing the crash is not a fabrication, it has to be considered that the pilot was leaving for a day at the cabin and might have been giving his old air show buddy a demonstration of what the plane could do.

      Watch this linked steep 1019 takeoff and compare what you can see of the flap and elevator deflections, then consider the limitations of the as-rendered N28U youtube video resolution:
      https://youtu.be/zWs2eNYLqOk?t=54

      Delete
    5. “…and might have been giving his old air show buddy a demonstration of what the plane could do” has to be one of the most ridiculous comments offered yet.

      Bill Leff wrote he’d never been there before, just happened to be there to do some training and walked outside during the lunch break. He was 500-800 feet away, and had no idea who was in the plane.

      If you look at the wide-angle view at the 20-second mark in the “What you haven’t seen’ video, Leff was not even outside yet when Dale’s plane was about to take off. Nor was anybody else. Bill Leff can be seen after the crash, watching from afar.

      Thus, your speculation that Dale was showing off for an old air show buddy is entirely unfounded.

      Delete
    6. Pasting in what Mr. Leff wrote or a link to find it would help. Looked for what is described in several places including his FB page and did not find anything.

      Delete
    7. Bill Leff left the following comment on Ward Carroll’s channel a week ago:

      william leff 1 week ago
      Ward, my name is Bill Leff. I was a fellow air show pilot with Snort. I retired 2 years ago after 42 years as an air show performer. Dale was a great friend and a credit to the industry.

      Unfortunately I was in Lewiston ID and witnessed Dale’s crash from literally 5-800 feet in front of me.

      Well, I was there and saw him crash right in front of me. I had no idea who it was at the time. But after some research I figured out it was him.

      I don’t know what strange force had me there. I had never been to Idaho before ( I was working training some pilots on a Turbo Commander).

      I had just walked outside during a break in ground school and saw the interesting aircraft (SM 1019B). As it flew by it pitched up almost vertical.

      He did a wing over recovery maneuver to recover from the high pitch (he did not stall) but was unable to pull the nose up and went straight in. Maybe a flight control problem.

      Don’t know why I was there at that time but feel I can report that he demonstrated exceptional airmanship, recovering from the pitch up, but just couldn’t recover from the nose down attitude.

      I want to nip the roomer [sic] mill in the bud. Like the guy on YouTube was intimating a stall spin accident.

      On another note I enjoy watching your chanel [sic].

      Rest in peace Snort!

      Delete
  12. Wrong fuel hasn't been discussed. Not too many of that style aircraft have turbine engines.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And most that do would run on Avgas anyway!

      Delete
    2. Piston engines stop on kerosene, but turbines will function on AvGas for a while. Lack of lubricity and difference in characteristics make doing so unwise, but an example of emergency AvGas usage guidance can be seen in a Navy C12 (Beech King Air 200) flight ops manual:

      (Links below are images from a forum discussion of turbine operation on AvGas as an emergency fuel):

      AvGas as emergency fuel (see last line in paragraph):
      https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-dc4083e6fed22158988bad3200ce836a

      Time limit of that turbine AvGas operation:
      https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-05b6e931039ffce5d0527dc06f246f35

      Those two excerpts came from this Navy UC-12 flight ops manual:
      https://qph.fs.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-0c122f1aa2137f032d02ffce3f31777e

      Navair C12 general info:
      https://www.navair.navy.mil/product/c-12

      Keep in mind that posting the Navy C12's example information for PT6 turbine emergency operation on AvGas doesn't determine how the Marchetti's Allison 250 turbine engine would perform if misfueled with AvGas.

      Delete
  13. Not happy to see any accident especially fatal but no one is surprised.

    ReplyDelete
  14. For some reason I think he knew about the cause.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Whoever made the comment regarding the rear seat belt still fastened around the rear control stick, is probably the most correct.....As stated by himself,"Ahh..., he recognized the problem too late. Just a simple, last minute control check rolling onto the runway may have alerted him...Sorry to all for this loss, RIP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the eyewitness account copied below is authentically Bill Leff of Bill Leff Air Shows, pitch control did appear to be an issue:

      William Leff
      "Dale did not stall and spin in. I was an eye witness. The plane did pitch up steeply but it looked like he could not control the pitch up so it looked like he executed a wing over type recovery but apparently still had no pitch control. He then impacted the ground in a steep nose down attitude. The aircraft did not stall. I am a long time friend of Dale and a retired air show performer and assure his fans that he did not stall and spin his aircraft. We should all remember him as the extraordinary aviator he was."

      Delete
    2. The rear control stick's fabric boot on N28U is not closed up around the floor mounted pivot mechanism in the Aircraft.com for sale listing photo of the rear tandem position.

      The place at the left where you would expect to see a velcro or snap closure to join the ends of the C-shaped boot looks torn up. The unfastened ends of the boot allowed it to open up and expose the pivot mechanism.

      You can also see the shiny knob of the removable pin where the rear stick plugs in to the pivot mechanism. Pulling the pin and removing the stick frees up the floor area, ideal for loading a backpack or other cargo on the floor when no passenger is aboard.

      If that torn up boot couldn't be closed up on the accident day, foreign objects (web belt, backpack strap, buckle, etc.) would not be prevented from drifting into the gap at the front of the exposed rear stick pivot mechanism.

      The pilot could do his normal control check over a full range of motion and still suffer restricted forward stick movement from a foreign object jam of the rear stick mechanism at the floor pivot after takeoff thrust shifted whatever was close by into the unprotected gap.

      The person who had N28U listed for sale with the torn up boot visible in the photos apparently flew it in that condition. Not understanding the purpose and importance of that boot in control jam prevention is an oversight that could lead to a fatality.

      Direct link to the N28U rear tandem interior photo:
      https://media.sandhills.com/n28u-1977-siai-marchetti-sm1019b/img.axd?id=6061080999&wid=6072144879&rwl=False&p=&ext=&w=0&h=0&t=&lp=&c=True&wt=False&sz=Max&rt=0&checksum=mFJf3dlAuKhm8vSJDyh93G2ktGthnEu4GwXb3yWSo1g%3d

      Delete
  16. I learned for a Lewiston news source the the initial inspection has been completed by both the FAA and the NTSB. The remains of the aircraft have been moved to a hangar on the Lewiston Airport for further inspection. What I think may be very telling is that neither official investigating agency has released any factual data. It is clear from the recording and the results of the event that something very serious happened. I have been around enough accident investigations that I am going to wait to see what is officially released.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rarely have I ever seen the FAA or NTSB release ANY substantive information within five days of a fatal GA accident, beyond the basics contained in an ASIAS report. I'd also be very surprised if there are any revelations in the NTSB prelim that we'll likely see next week.

      Delete
    2. Initial inspection has a responsibility to examine the wreckage and scene before removal of wreckage disassociates the relationships of as-found positions and parts.

      The familiar "Flight control continuity was established by tracing the flight control cables from the cockpit controls to the respective flight controls." statement comes from that initial inspection.

      There is zero possibility that something in the N28U as-found wreckage would prompt the FAA/NTSB to hold a press conference or make a statement before the customary Preliminary Report is issued.

      Delete
  17. The Bird Dog, on which the Marchetti is apparently based, has a very effective control lock which not only locks the controls but also applies the brakes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Photos from a Bird Dog sale listing show one type of brightly colored gust lock used in that aircraft:

      https://airplanesusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/3126.jpg
      https://airplanesusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/3136.jpg

      Delete
    2. Yes, but the interior photos of N28U on aircraft [.][com] do not show any such bar.

      Delete
  18. But the interior photos of N28U on aircraft dotcom when it was offered for sale prior to Dale purchasing it do not show any such bar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The point of showing the Bird Dog bar was to recognize how visible that type of gust lock is. That type is not something that can be missed if similar type was used on N28U.

      Since no bar shows up in the photos of N28U, was some other means of gust locking used?

      Delete
    2. Not only can it not be missed, because it also depresses both brake pedals, the plane won't move until it's disconnected from the stick and lowered

      Delete
    3. Had to look real close in the Bird Dog bar photos to see the brake push extensions. That part of the bar reaches under the pedal stands and pushes on the mechanism.

      One of the unknowns is whether N28U was hangared or tied out before the accident day. No need for gust lock if hangared.

      The photo of the non-functioning boot on the rear stick that wouldn't keep objects out of the pivot hasn't gotten the attention it deserves. The potential for something to drift into the pinch gap in the pivot and limit pitch down stick travel is very real without the boot in place.

      Delete
    4. The gust lock was installed in N28U. It's in the front cockpit and isn't as intrusive as the L19. It does not lock the brakes and does allow for a fair amount of rudder movement.

      Delete
    5. There is a marked parking brake T-handle on the 1019's instrument panel that controls a valve instead of having a bar press the mechanism.

      Looking close at that front cockpit photo, there is a red tubular bar visible at the floor adjacent to the stick. Copying the image into a photo editor and adjusting levels brings it out. Whatever connection point it has to capture the stick is not visible.

      Direct link to the N28U front seat interior photo:
      https://media.sandhills.com/n28u-1977-siai-marchetti-sm1019b/img.axd?id=6061080983&wid=6072144879&rwl=False&p=&ext=&w=0&h=0&t=&lp=&c=True&wt=False&sz=Max&rt=0&checksum=mFJf3dlAuKjSux8CA4YQEUXJovw1ow9iJpFO3GEPDgg%3d

      Delete
    6. Since he had just picked up the Marchetti - after 24 days - from an aircraft maintenance facility at the airport that has 5 buildings including a 28,000 feet hangar, why would a gust lock need to have been engaged in the first place?

      Who told Dan Gryder that Dale had “all this camping gear” with him in the plane? And why didn’t they tell him Dale had just picked up the plane after maintenance?

      Delete
    7. Runaway or inop electric pitch trim? Maybe an electrical short (inop), or it was hooked up bass ackwards? Just WAGs here, but something was very wrong that he could not correct it. Could be a high powered handful right after launch, if there was a control problem.

      Delete
  19. Photos of N28U on aircraft dot com don’t show any such bar.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I see the torn boot, and that seatbelt right next to it. I could only imagine the controls jammed as a result of something getting past the boot. This has got to be one of those things you just don’t preflight or checklist routinely, yet can have dire consequences.
    My deepest respect for this man, his service to country and contributions to the aviation community.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My Guess: The pilot’s seat was not securely latched, slid back against the rear control stick … and from there you can figure the rest out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The instrument panel for the rear pilot position blocks front seat travel, so unless the front seat has a forward-folding seat back, it can't go very far unlatched.

      Direct link to the N28U rear tandem interior photo:
      https://media.sandhills.com/n28u-1977-siai-marchetti-sm1019b/img.axd?id=6061080999&wid=6072144879&rwl=False&p=&ext=&w=0&h=0&t=&lp=&c=True&wt=False&sz=Max&rt=0&checksum=mFJf3dlAuKhm8vSJDyh93G2ktGthnEu4GwXb3yWSo1g%3d

      Delete
    2. Thank you. I have flown the L-19, I should have done better research.

      Delete
    3. I saw video I think it was blancolirio that the seat doesn't have the same kind of adjustment to allow it to slide way back like a Cessna. He had spoken to owners they said the seat can't really slide that far. Although there has been speculation in the video seems like Dale head when compared to other videos is back in the seat. We just have to wait on the NTSB I think they will figure this one out. They will be able to figure out exactly what was done in maintenance.

      Delete
  22. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvODKP32Vq4

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hard to watch .. looked like a gust lock or seat slide ... RIP :(

      Delete
    2. Surprised to see that ground crew and pilot/flight attendant just standing there. Not to mention there was a large first extinguisher on wheels right next to the tugger. Sad.

      Delete
    3. The audio track does not seem to be aligned to the video - the takeoff roll was well underway before the controller final cleared and he acknowledged.

      The point where you hear him yell is likely to be a best guess timing alignment done by the editor of the video. Can't reliably tell by this video exactly when it was that he yelled.

      Delete
    4. The reproduction of the video obtained from KLWS was poorly made by the YouTube editor. Audio of Mr. Snodgrass does not correspond with the naked eye visual. Asymmetry.

      Delete
    5. Timing inaccuracy is admitted to in the youtube description:
      "The audio and video may appear to be synchronous. They are not."

      Going back to the LiveAtc.net recording, 35 seconds elapses between the pilot's acknowledgement of clear for takeoff (after changing his radio frequency from ground to tower) and his yell out.

      The youtube video zooms in to N28U sitting on the runway at 0:33 and ground impact is at 1:02, 29 seconds later. This video is useless for insight on when the pilot actually vocalized his recognition of trouble.

      Delete
    6. what is sad is people just sat and watched. I would jumped in a tug or ran out to the plane with any fire extinguisher. and the big on wheels was right there. for all you know he may have still been alive.

      Delete
    7. Damn...and I thought I was the only one that saw the fire extinguisher by the door! I carry a double sized fire ext. in my car and not for me...but for other situations! There was a 50/50 chance he was still alive, but when untrained employee's run to the crash without an fir ext. they basically killed him! Why didn't the white truck(with fire ext.) drive right up to the crash...what...covid?

      Delete
  23. There's a good reason stalls are performed in excess of 1500 feet AGL.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Have to commend the people running into danger hoping to help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw some running to help but also so many others , like the jet crew, just standing around or continuing with their work. Was there any chance of rescue in the minute or so before the fire took hold , who knew. Controller did a great job of ordering all aircraft to stop and then notifying vehicles and persons that it was ok to be on the ramps and runways.

      Delete
    2. I couldn’t believe all those people just stood there!!! Ridiculous!!!

      Delete
  25. The pilot's cabin that he was headed to at Hungry Ridge Ranch Airport (37ID) was still under construction. Maybe the preliminary report will inform whether he loaded the rear tandem position for the trip to the cabin. With the control stick removed, a lot could be carried. Interference with the rear stick pivot mechanism could result.

    The cabin was photographed on the day before the accident. A video has been made of the photos:

    https://youtu.be/3iQ2guyPeUs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FOD interference with controls is not limited to the cockpit. Elevator control jams have occurred from loose items that migrated to the empennage tail space that houses the elevator bell crank.

      2013 N45R Extra 300 accident:
      https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/83317/pdf

      Article by Patty Wagstaff on control jams from foreign objects:
      https://www.planeandpilotmag.com/article/control-failures/

      Delete
    2. Dale’s wife Cynthia posted on Facebook that they flew the Aerostar into Lewiston the morning of the accident and she drove the car back to the ridge. With the car available to transport any camping gear, why would it be necessary to put much, if any, in the plane?

      Also, she says that despite her tales of Zen and Maintenance, she is sure the maintenance guys did a stellar job. So it sounds like some recent maintenance had been performed.

      AdAware lists 23 flights in that aircraft between May 26 and June 30, sometimes 2 or 3 flights a day. Several were between Hungry Ranch airport and Lewiston, in both directions. It was at Driggs much of the time.

      Delete
    3. Good input on the parallel car trip.

      Looking at ADS-B data from FlightAware, Adsbexchange and Flightradar24 is routine, but it is a surprise to hear that AdAware is branching out to do ADS-B. What link did you use?

      Delete
    4. Just the regular AdAware link. Had to log in to get the 3 months history, but it was free.

      Delete
    5. AdAware? As in Adaware.com, the ad blocking antivirus software?

      Delete
    6. No, FlightAware. I misspoke.

      Delete
    7. Also I heard she would like the video removed from YouTube I totally agree the airport should not release that video to the public should be part of the investigation.

      Delete
    8. Pilots who watch the video and contemplate the possible causes are likely to tighten up their own discipline, preventing similar outcomes. There is a benefit that accrues from the video being available.

      Delete
  26. The airline pilot youtuber has weighed in with an update video.

    It is disappointing that he shows a knife edge freeze frame of the plane where the wing appears as blocky offset segments instead of being in a straight line. He tells his listeners that he does not see control surface deflection based on that awful low resolution image.

    The deployed flaps (highlighted by sun angle shadowing right before impact) are not discernable in that freeze frame image. When you can't see the deployed flaps, you can't see aileron or elevator surface deflection.

    Had hoped he would do better than that.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks to all for their insightful commentary. We may never know the ultimate cause of this accident. But as a pilot, it certainly seems obvious that Snot couldn't control the aircraft for whatever reason. After all the adventure and danger in his aviation life, his number came up . . . sometimes that is all there is to it. The history of aviation is replete with deaths of glorious aviators on one last flight . . . RIP. Sadly Snot has gone on to the great aerodrome in the sky, and we are all destined to follow him one day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good thoughts, woops on Autocorrect changing snort to snot..

      Delete
    2. Re: a possible Maintenance mishap:

      Dale was a stickler for maintenance. It was one of his three credos to his crew to be the best pilots. His wife has listed for sale for $395,000 an aircraft they spent over $800,000 in restoration costs.

      FlightAware records show Dale flew the Marchetti 23 times from May 26 to June 30. The last recorded flight was from Hungry Ridge Ranch to Lewiston-Nez airport the morning of June 30.

      Dale didn’t pick it up until the morning of the July 24 accident. His wife Cynthia wrote that they flew the Aerostar to the Lewiston airport and she drove the car home. Dale should have beat her hone by two hours.

      Juan Browne of Biancolino YouTube channel says it’s extremely easy to install the elevator trim upside down and extremely difficult to catch your own mistake.,After ruling out other theories due to the Marchetti’s unique characteristics making them practically impossible, an improperly installed elevator trim is looking like a real possibility. And Dale had just picked up that plane after it had been at the airport for 24 days.

      Delete
    3. For speculation that trim tabs in opposite deflection is the cause, the fact that the pilot had not flown that aircraft for 24 days brings the non-zero probability that he initially trimmed opposite by pressing the trim switch incorrectly and just did not recover in time.

      He flew lots of other aircraft. Comparisons to those other aircraft trim controls need to be made. Was the accident aircraft trim switch "opposite muscle memory" from the Aerostar trim switch he had last used?

      Delete
    4. Perhaps just different muscle memory from a different physical switch implementation. Maybe hitting the PTT button on the Marchetti while reacting is a clue.

      Here is one Aerostar 601 example trim switch photo:

      https://media.sandhills.com/img.axd?id=7023729233&wid=4326165471&rwl=False&p=&ext=&w=0&h=0&t=&lp=&c=True&wt=False&sz=Max&rt=0&checksum=nfj6WfcA3brRyxIF4enZ4kQwE6aeeOip7qKDNli4MLg%3d

      Delete
    5. The Falcon 20 has a runaway trim procedure. For nose up runaway the airplane is banked until the situation is controllable while the pilot not flying deals with the checklist.
      I have never flown a light airplane within cg limits that I felt would be a problem to control with full nose up trim.
      With a conventional elevator trim tab, if the elevators are locked the trim works backward. IE: nose up trim to pitch the nose down. This is not conjecture about the accident but is a response to come of the crazy theories posted here.

      Delete
    6. True! The counter-intuitive geometry of trim tabs requires switch press opposite the markings if the elevator is bound.

      There is a design hint in there toward eliminating tabs and trimming the entire horizontal stab. That stops the counter-intuitive misinterpretation errors, as you know from your Falcon 20 familiarity, airliners and of course, Art Mooney's M18 and M20 designs. Lowest drag, too.

      Delete
    7. J-3 cub works like that. The entire horizontal stabilizer moves up and down.

      Delete
  28. Comment I read from a pilot who stated he has hours in the Marchetti SM-1019 when landing it needs lot of up trim. If you forget to reset the trim back for take off with flaps set he said 30 Deg at full power with 400 hp it will nose up instantly like in the video. He had this happen to him he was able to trim it down in time. It was also theory that Dale yelling was because he was trying to adjust the trim was grabbing the push to talk button at the same time. The idea that the trim is reversed I can't see how he would not have known that when he landed it I thought this was just a fuel stop he came from the FBO. I might be wrong about that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scroll up and read that they flew into Lewiston that morning in their Aerostar. The flight track of Aerostar N889AC confirms that it arrived a little more than an hour before the accident.

      https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N889AC/history/20210724/1530Z/KDIJ/KLWS/

      Delete
    2. The last of Dale’s 23 flights in that aircraft from May 26 to June 30 was to Lewiston. He had just picked it up from maintenance shortly before the accident.

      Delete
    3. Flight tracking for the Aerostar N889AC shows it was flown to Lewiston Airport on June 25 and apparently remained there until July 20, when it was flown from Lewiston to Driggs.

      Might it have undergone maintenance during those 25 days, or was it simply hangared there? Hillcrest Aviation states it has 5 buildings at Lewiston airport, including a 28,000 sq. ft. hangar.

      That he took top-notch care of his aircraft and cars is evident from his (three) Facebook accounts. His widow has listed his T28C N78378 for sale for $395,000, noting that over $800,000 was invested in its restoration.

      Delete
    4. The N28U sale ad says Teton Aviation Center at Driggs did the May 2020 Annual Inspection. Nothing so far to show that they did not also do the 2021 inspection.

      The Lewiston airport business directory lists businesses with focus on helicopter and Ag aircraft maintenance. Hillcrest is an authorized Bell helo shop. Not a airport that you would expect to seek out to do significant Aerostar maintenance.

      They had a car at the Lewiston Airport for going to the cabin under construction at Hungry Ridge Ranch. Looks like they may have been stationing the two aircraft there in support of the cabin project.

      The assumption that trim got reversed during maintenance at Lewiston has to be weighed against the fact that the pilot frequented Driggs and the Marchetti could be annualed by Teton Aviation Center, who did so previously.

      Delete
    5. The only time I can see that N28U was at Driggs long enough for an annual inspection or maintenance would be several periods in early to mid-June. And of course he flew the plane about a dozen times after mid-June.

      Delete
    6. Early June at Driggs works for a 2021 Annual inspection by Teton Aviation Center to follow the May 2020 annual that Teton Av did at Driggs for the previous owner.

      Annuals being good till the end of the month and not day of the month performed allows a May annual done one year to be followed by starting the annual inspection work on June 1 the next year and "gain" a month. My father did the month gainer annual schedule year after year on his Mooneys.

      Disassembly affecting control rigging or switch wiring in July at Lewiston seems improbable following a June 2021 Annual Inspection that was likely performed again at Driggs.

      Delete
    7. How long does an annual inspection usually take?

      Delete
    8. Search on "annual inspection rates" and you can see hours estimates for annual inspection of listed aircraft on rate sheets you open.

      Video from the Driggs shop that did the 2020 N28U inspection shows they also work on warbirds :
      https://youtu.be/NwwTvxZ6myY?t=17

      Delete
    9. If the maintenance was done at Driggs before mid-June, that lessens the possibility of incorrectly-installed elevator trim cables, because it wss successfully flown nearly a dozen times after that.

      While Hillcrest Aviation appears an unlikely choice to work on the Marchetti since they focus on helicopters, it is an approved FAA Part 145 repair station. And, in 1961 they sold the most single-engine Cessna aircraft in the entire United States. From their website:

      “ In 1960, Hillcrest became a Cessna dealer and an FAA Repair Station. Hillcrest sold Cessna airplanes and used them for charter and flight instruction. In addition, Hillcrest also started an outside maintenance facility for light fixed-wing aircraft. In 1961, the company sold the most single engine Cessna aircraft in the entire U.S.—“Top Gun in 61.” Hillcrest purchased its first Bell helicopter, which was used to spray farm fields and perform firefighting operations, that same year. By the end of the 1960s, the company owned 10 Bell model 47s.”

      Delete
    10. The Marchetti wasn’t registered to Dale’s corporation 717 Aviation Inc. until July 1, 2021.

      Does that make any difference in the date of required annual inspections?

      Delete
    11. The certificate issue date lags new owners purchase date by the time it takes to file the paperwork and get it processed. Change of ownership does not end or extend the 12 month valid period from the prior annual inspection.

      A fresh annual done by a reputable shop, such as the excellent one at Driggs that did the prior annual, is a great pre-buy action. With the sale occurring around the time of annual being due, it would be sensible to have the seller get the annual done before the sale.

      Not knocking Hillcrest, but the history of Driggs annual, the May annual expiration schedule and flight history of N28U makes the presumption that N28U was down for MX at Hillcrest right before the accident very unlikely.

      Delete
    12. “… the history of Driggs annual, the May annual expiration schedule and flight history of N28U makes the presumption that N28U was down for MX at Hillcrest right before the accident very unlikely.”

      As does his wife’s words the day of the accident. Immediately after writing she knows it wasn’t pilot error because “This pilot doesn’t make mistakes,” she praised the maintenance guys for their “stellar job.” How could she know that if the plane was just out of maintenance that day?

      Would fire destroy evidence of an electrical problem such as runaway trim?

      Delete
    13. Runaway trim has to be conducted by a connection, as in switch contacts that get bridged or temporarily fused, lost switch spring return, or the same effects within a relay that the switch controls. Switch and relay internals will witness okay after limited fire exposure if housings are not crushed.

      Inspecting the interior of the tail section fuselage may determine whether an object forced its way through the reportedly fabric divider behind the rear seat. A portable XM-GPS antenna that got into the empennage tail space brought down Extra 300 N45R in 2013.

      There may be video of him leaving the fuel dock that would show trim tab position at that moment and whether there was incidental movement of the elevator at that point.

      Investigators will find out whether any work was done at Lewiston and whether he loaded any cargo to use in the first two hours before Mrs. would arrive in the car.

      People believing they can discern whether control surfaces moved from the low res video when you can't discern the extended flaps for most of that video throw a lot of bovine squeeze into the discussion, just as not understanding that the audio is un-synchronized has misled interpretation.

      There is also a "collapsed seat frame" discussion going on based on what people think the windows show in the video.

      No guarantee that a defect will be found. Eighteen to twenty four months for the docket and report to find out anything more will be a long wait.

      Delete
    14. Thank you for that detailed explanation.

      Delete
    15. Apartment at Driggs, commute 340 miles by Aerostar to Lewiston where you keep N28U and a car, fly/drive to new cabin under construction 65 air miles away at Hungry Ridge Ranch. Lewiston is a good place for staging the equipment.

      Delete
    16. If you’d like to hear Dale’s radio transmission with the Lewiston tower when he flew his Aerostar N889AC from Driggs to Lewiston the morning of the accident, you can hear it at the following link from about 12:08 to 17:45 or so. It lasts almost six minutes. The ATC advised him, as she did other aircraft, of smoke from a nearby fire.

      https://archive.liveatc.net/klws/KLWS-Jul-24-2021-1700Z.mp3

      Delete
    17. They also had a tiny trailer at the ranch that Cynthia jokingly posted a photo tour of. They would sometimes camp on a nearby neighbor’s property, which Cynthia pointed out in a photo. . Dale posted numerous hunting and fishing photos since last fall, even in the snow. He looked great in desert camouflage.

      Delete
    18. Then it's very possible he just forgot to check what the trim position was before he took off. My experience with some high time pilots is that check list are glossed over most of the time because they done it so many times. What can I say as a passenger I just choose not to take up their offer to fly with them again.

      Delete
    19. There is a trim indicator instrument right beside the flap indicator instrument at the upper left of the instrument panel.

      Since he did extend flaps, there was reason to also scan the adjacent trim instrument. The instruments are located together and those settings are "mentally co-joined".

      Not noticing if the trim tabs were deflected in preflight walk around AND not looking at trim setting that is graphically presented next to the instrument you used to set flaps makes two improbable errors.

      What a huge fail it would be to set flaps and not notice an "up" trim indication right there in plain sight. He had to be better than that.

      Load up the raw panel photo and look at those flap and pitch instruments:

      https://media.sandhills.com/n28u-1977-siai-marchetti-sm1019b/img.axd?id=6061080993&wid=6072144879&rwl=False&p=&ext=&w=0&h=0&t=&lp=&c=True&wt=False&sz=Max&rt=0&checksum=mFJf3dlAuKgHg7XL%2b2h2phU0Yao0DlGsmEOnOQ1pNJA%3d

      Delete
  29. Preliminary report came out, with no statement whatsoever about the as-found condition of any part of the wreckage. Something should have been said about flight control continuity, similar to the prelim on the N25513 crash in St. Augustine and many others.

    https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/103534/pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This NTSB report of a 2003 Beech fatal accident due to misinstalled elevator trim cable includes a lengthy discussion on the subject. Interestingly, the illustration in the Beech AMM was depicted backwards and a second illustration was incorrect, although arrows depicted the correct direction.

      https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20030904X01459&AKey=1&RType=HTML&IType=MA

      Delete
  30. With the exception of the ag planes which I know nothing about, all Pipers from J3 to Pa22 used moveable stabilizer for trim with the exception of J4 and PA15/17 that used trim tabs.

    ReplyDelete
  31. The Snodgrass prelim report doesn't work. Any alternative URLs?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. KR copied it into the ^^top of the page^^.
      Just now went to CAROL, re-got the link and it opened for me. Here it is again:

      https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/103534/pdf

      Delete
    2. Try this: https://bit.ly/37FK7Ii

      Delete
    3. The URLs still don't work for me. Will try another browser. I did go to the NTSB site but could not locate the report. Could be I'm in dumb mode.

      Delete
    4. OK, never mind. My FireFox browswer has mutated to an automatic file save without showing the file on the browser page. Got it now.

      Delete
    5. Seems like something has broken the NTSB website I used to use now all I can do is download those PDF files.

      Delete
    6. In Firefox, go to preferences, general, and find:
      Applications
      Choose how Firefox handles the files you download from the web or the applications you use while browsing

      Click the PDF line, then use the pulldown menu and select "open in Firefox" to make the reports open in the browser instead of downloading, or select "ask every time" if you want a choice box to open for pdf's.

      Delete
    7. Yep. That's correct. I am using my backup laptop, but it never did this before, so sumpin happened, mebbe an update. Anyway, it's corralled now.

      Anyone have any update on the veracity that Snort had a jammed / locked stick in the back? The video sure seems to show that.

      Delete
    8. Just a head’s up that LiveATC archived recordings are available for only 30 days, unless you pay to get recordings up to a year old.

      Here is the link to the 2-minute 6 seconds radio transmission of the crash. At 20:38, Dale can be heard saying, “…testing.” * His final shout is at 22:43-44.

      *As has been pointed out, the audio doesn’t always capture the beginning of a transmission.

      The video posted with the airport footage of the crash has him shouting helplessly at the 59-60 second mark — just 16 seconds after taking off —and crashing two seconds later. But we know there was actually 36 seconds of silence between his last routine word, “takeoff” and his final utterance. Rather than show the 20 seconds he sat silently prior to takeoff, the video inexplicably shows him talking back and forth to the tower during takeoff.

      Cutting out more than one minute (1 minute 6 seconds) from the audio is not only wrong, but grossly unfair to both the ATC and the pilot. It leaves viewers with a false impression.

      Audio of the fatal takeoff:
      https://archive.liveatc.net/klws/KLWS-Jul-24-2021-1830Z.mp3

      Audio from earlier that day when he landed at Lewiston from Driggs in his Aerostar N889AC.
      https://archive.liveatc.net/klws/KLWS-Jul-24-2021-1700Z.mp3

      Delete
    9. To add to the cautions about the video, lots of people say they don't see the elevators move, but ignore the fact that the video resolution is too low to detect elevator movements.

      The frames where you don't see the extended flaps can't show the elevator position. The video does not support making audio timing or control deflection judgements.

      Delete
    10. When facing the camera, you see no control inputs

      Delete
    11. It's astonishing that anyone would believe that control deflections would be visible when the extended flaps are not visible in the same image.

      Delete
    12. "Rather than show the 20 seconds he sat silently prior to takeoff, the video inexplicably shows him talking back and forth to the tower during takeoff.

      Cutting out more than one minute (1 minute 6 seconds) from the audio is not only wrong, but grossly unfair to both the ATC and the pilot. It leaves viewers with a false impression."

      The video description contains an explicit warning about the audio and video not being synchronized, and explains that silence was truncated for the first portion of the recording.

      Delete
    13. Notice that having the video description contain the warning about the audio and video not being synchronized was not noticed by many, igniting vigorous erroneous commenting about pilot comms. The lesson there is you need to put the warning on screen while it plays.

      Randomly placing his yell where they did, knowing that it could not be determined where in the flight sequence he yelled, was a terrible falsification.

      Delete
  32. The flaps are clearly visible and deployed during the unfortunate dive to the ground, anyone can see that. Elevator or Aileron deflection is too small to see, if deflected at all - however upon impact the elevators do move but it may be due to impact forces, you can see it if you freeze frame and follow the video, which knowing Snort so well is extremely punishing for me to view. This entire crash sequence has haunted me since it occurred. Dale would have done everything to save his life out of automatic second nature professional aviator flying skills & responses. Obviously something was beyond his control, like a non moveable flight control, where trim input is reversed and nose down trim becomes nose up trim. Once this occurs there is no time to recognize. reverse your input and recover at that attitude and altitude. After cheating death for over 50 years in the highest performance jet aircraft and most dangerous at war conditions his life is lost in this situation- very, very sad but a reminder it can happen to any of us at any time. Love you Dale, proud to have helped put you in the most patriotic aircraft after 9/11 - the red, white & blue, stars & bars F86F - it was a highlight of my aviation career - Godspeed my friend and RIP - you absolutely deserve it for everything you've done to keep America safe and to train, entertain and inspire future aviators - you will always be my hero and till we meet again you will never be forgotten !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that tribute.

      To clarify the recent history of N28U, Dale apparently did not fly the Marchetti from May 26, as previously thought. He did not arrive in Idaho for another week.

      Somebody flew it, but it appears It wasn’t Dale. His wife Cynthia wrote on Facebook that they were en route from Florida at that time - and posted a video on the ground - and flight tracking for their Aerostar N889AC confirms they were in Ruidoso, New Mexico on June 3 and flew to Idaho the same day.*

      *A 3-month flight history of any aircraft is available for free on FlightAware with log in - click ‘Show more history” at the bottom left.

      After maintenance - which Cynthia referred to soon after the accident, writing, “the guys did a stellar job” - it looks like Dale only flew the Marchetti during the 12 days from June 17 to June 30, at which time he flew it to the Lewiston airport, where it remained for 24 days until he picked it up the morning of the accident.

      Delete
    2. Grab any frame between takeoff and impact at 1:02 and enlarge it enough to take a close up look at the elevator. What you get is a heavily pixelated, indistinct image.

      Can't determine anything about control deflection during the airborne flight phase from that. Controls may not have actually deflected, but saying "you don't see it" requires higher image resolution than what has been made available so far.

      The video:
      https://youtu.be/EvODKP32Vq4

      Delete
  33. Good obit and follow-on comments about Snort here:
    https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/pilotonline/name/dale-snodgrass-obituary?pid=199683639

    He had a lot of fans and old shipmates and squadronmates.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His wife Cynthia mentioned there was a minor error in his obituary that she felt would be unhappy about.

      I suspected one error might be his graduation date from the University of Minnesota. It’s listed as August, 1972. But he married Robin Reif, a doctor’s daughter and hometown girl, and mother of his two daughters, in July, 1972, so it seemed more likely he graduated in June, 1972 and August was merely the date he reported for military duty - which I have now confirmed:

      CONFIRMED: On page 146 of the University of Minnesota June 15, 1972, commencement program is the following entry: DEPARTMENT OF NAVAL SCIENCE Ensign, USN - Dale O. Snodgrass, Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y. (along with 5 other graduates in the same category). It states ‘June’ at the bottom of that page. The ceremony was held at 7:30 pm on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. “Additional copies of this program are available from the Department of University Relations, S-68 Morrill Hall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455.”

      https://bit.ly/3jbrAu8
      https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/57602/1972-commencement.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

      Delete
    2. P.S. Robin’s maiden name was Roettinger when she married Dale July 8, 1972. The outdoor reception was held at the Snodgrass home on Lake Ronkonkoma. From a newspaper article at the time.

      Delete
  34. Thanks for the correction and follow-up.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Preliminary is out. Odd to see it state "the pilot had the airplane refueled in Lewiston" as if he had flown it in there on the accident morning.

    https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/103534/pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, as if the plane hadn't been sitting at the airport since 10:35 am on June 30. I would want to know where at the airport it had been during those 24 days and who all had access to it.

      Delete
  36. This prelim is identical to the one released 8-14-2021

    ReplyDelete
  37. ok where is some info on what was in the back of that plane ? and, was the seatbelt around the rear stick ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it's true that the Mrs was going to the cabin in the car from Lewiston in parallel, the pilot would only need to carry whatever he didn't want to wait for her to bring up that he needed to use during the time between landing and her arrival.

      Definitely would not have loaded camping gear in the plane, but hey, the tuber that said somebody told him camping gear was loaded also said the N3RB pilot murdered a co-pilot who was not aboard.

      Delete
    2. His wife posted he planned to spend his first night in his nearly-completed cabin at Fort Snort the day of the accident, so it doesn't seem like much camping gear would be needed. They already had an 18-foot trailer there to sleep in.

      Dale was recently listed by the FAA as manager of Hungry Ridge Airport, 37ID. He bought 150 acres adjacent to the airstrip and called Fort Snort the "super exciting news in my life" during what may be his last video interview with WingNut and RockHead in May. H was an ardent outdoorsman who loved to hunt and fish.

      Delete
  38. I'm beginning to wonder if the control stick became disconnected from the floor pivot. Maybe someone here knows what attaches the stick to the floor pivot in this aircraft. I was looking at a helicopter today and under the boot is a collar that locks it down when done properly. It looked like Dale had control of the plane during takeoff and correction of a right wing drop after rotation - it's after that that it rotates, then over rotates. If he moved the stick to the left to raise the right wing and pulled back to rotate and the stick came out of the floor pivot he may have had the mic switch mashed and transmitted his last words as he held the disconnected stick in his hand, unable to push the nose over. Just a possibility. Not sure how much spring loaded forward that stick has, anyone know ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pivot on the floor that has the front stick mounted in it is likely to use the same parts as in the rear stick mount. Where the rear stick has a removable pin, the front stick is likely to have a thru fastener not designed for removal without tools. Photo of rear stick shows the removable pin there (shiny knob).

      Direct link to the N28U rear tandem interior photo:
      https://media.sandhills.com/n28u-1977-siai-marchetti-sm1019b/img.axd?id=6061080999&wid=6072144879&rwl=False&p=&ext=&w=0&h=0&t=&lp=&c=True&wt=False&sz=Max&rt=0&checksum=mFJf3dlAuKhm8vSJDyh93G2ktGthnEu4GwXb3yWSo1g%3d

      Delete
  39. The un-synced audio in the what you haven't seen video really fouled up the accident discussion. The person editing the video chose to insert the pilot's yell at a point in the flight that adds dramatic effect.

    If investigators work out an accurate alignment of FAA recorded audio to camera system imaging, it will be possible to know where in the flight sequence the yell out actually occurred.

    If the yell out occurred early enough in the climb, that could take the intentional "hanging on the prop" takeoff theory off the table.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Since there was no observable movement of any of the control surfaces, the hanging the prop theory has fallen by the wayside.

    While I fault the video uploader for truncating audio silences longer than one-half second, as he notes in the video description, I don't have a problem with where he placed the final words. From liftoff to crash was, to my eye, less than 10 seconds. Juan Browne pointed out it would take a few seconds to realize something was wrong, which left almost no time to recover. In my opinion he would not have yelled much, if any, earlier or later than is shown.

    Since the ATC recording was publicly available without charge for only 30 days, I captured it on video, just as it was released, with running time stamp, for further reference, or posting if it appears necessary.

    The audio recording shows there was about 36 seconds between his verbal acknowledgment of "takeoff" and his final words. But the key measure was the very brief seconds the plane was in the air. It happened so fast.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only thing dumber than trying to guess when he yelled is pretending that the low res video imaging that pixelates when enlarged proves that something didn't happen.

      Try this experiment. Walk outside and look to see if Mt. Everest has snow on it. I just went out and looked and nope, you can't see any snow on it from my house either. That makes two of us - we proved there is no snow on Everest. So many midwits on the internet!

      Delete
    2. The date is kind of heartbreaking, but since nobody knew the exact date of his famous 1988 fly by of the USS America, I tracked it down from U.S. Navy archives.

      Friday, July 22, 1988, practice run - day of the still shot by Sean E. Dunn.
      Saturday, July 23, 1988, Dependent's Day cruise on CV-66 (USS America) - date of the movie footage.

      It was 33 years almost to the day.

      Source: page 2 of the following pdf
      https://www.history.navy.mil/content/dam/nhhc/research/archives/command-operation-reports/aviation-squadron-command-operation-reports/vfa/VFA-102/PDF/1988.pdf

      Delete
  41. His controls were locked. Look at the video. No aileron input. No rudder input. No elevator input. All control surfaces were "faired". That probably rules out a Wt. and Bal. problem. He would have tried to correct an un-commanded pitch up with some or all of the controls. But nothing is showing. Not sure if: "According to a family member, the pilot had the airplane refueled in Lewiston and planned to fly to...", means he just landed in Lewiston for fuel. If so that would eliminate any issues due to recent mtx., if he was on his 2nd flight that day. This type of accident has happened 100's of times, it's most often W and B, or the controls are locked, or both. Improper rigging during major mtx. has happened of course, but as always that should have been caught during preflight. The Youtube guy that goes on and on about the control lock is an idiot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His wife said they flew from Driggs to Lewiston in their Aerojet that morning.and the flight history of both aircraft, N889AC and N28U, confirms they arrived in Lewiston in the Aerojet about an hour and a half before the accident, and also that the Marchetti was last flown on June 30, to Lewiston. So it appears the Marchetti had not been flown in 24 days.

      Re the fuel issue, someone whose name I will leave out posted the following on Facebook soon after the accident: "He flew to Lewiston because Grangeville is out of fuel. He went to depart and after becoming airborne and flying down the runway for approximately 1000' doing a standard climbout. His left wing dropped and went in to the ground. His motor was not dead. I have a lot more however I will not post anything more."

      The NTSB preliminary report put the distance traveled at 450 feet rather than 1000 feet. The preliminary report quoting the family member did not imply he just flew the Marchetti that day.

      Delete
    2. That was his second flight that day, but in different aircraft. His transmission with the same tower controller as later lasted more than 8 minutes. She mentioned to him, as well as other pilots at that time, about smoke from surrounding fires.

      Delete
  42. The preliminary report on N28U can be contrasted with the N52900 SNJ Geico Skytyper report, which although the SNJ was also fire and crash damaged, included informative examination of the airplane details.

    Puzzling that no examination of the airplane details were reported for N28U when you see what was included in the prelim for the N52900 crash.

    The N52900 Geico SNJ prelim, for comparison:
    https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/103732/pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew Swick vs Todd Gunther -- Mr. Gunther does a much, much better job with detailed reports and analysis.

      Delete
  43. Reminds me of the crash that killed Lewis Katz near Boston a while back. The pilots forgot the gust lock...the jet went nowhere but out the runway and they botched everything especially the checklists.

    ReplyDelete
  44. NTSB'S determination that the gust lock was on and that no controls check caught it is a reminder that even highly regarded pilots are not immune to the pitfalls of skipped checklist items.

    Although a controls check should have been performed, the lack of a highly visible tab flag or other noticable visual feature to indicate engagement of the gust lock was a missed backup reminder in the design of the gust lock bar.

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  45. I was unaware who he was until I met him at a small airfield outside Gainesville, FL around 1999-2000. We were towing gliders, and out of nowhere comes an F4U (Snodgrass) and an AT-6 (Patty Wagstaff). I think one of them got fuel and both had to use the restroom. It was nice to meet them, but it would have been nicer if they had used the CTAF before making an overhead pattern (break) with 2 gliders and a tow plane in the mix.

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    1. That's because they're above it all and consider you a nobody. Typical. He died for what he did to you, that's good to know.

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