Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Cessna 172S Skyhawk, N505LP: Accident occurred December 22, 2020 in Culpeper, Virginia

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

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Washington, District of Columbia

Washington International Flight Academy LLC

Location: Culpeper, VA 
Accident Number: ERA21LA092
Date & Time: December 22, 2020, 12:00 Local 
Registration: N505LP
Aircraft: Cessna 172S
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N505LP
Model/Series: 172S NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCJR,316 ft msl
Observation Time: 11:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C /-3°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 16 knots / 29 knots, 290°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 5500 ft AGL
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Gaithersburg, MD (GAI)
Destination: Culpeper, VA

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 38.52582,-77.859583 (est)

Boeing 767-300, N760CK: Incident occurred January 03, 2021 in Los Angeles, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Los Angeles, California

Aircraft was discovered having damage to the left wing tip.

Kalitta Air LLC

Date: 03-JAN-21
Time: 21:19:00Z
Regis#: N760CK
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 767
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: CARGO
Flight Phase: STANDING (STD)
Aircraft Operator: KALITTA AIR
Flight Number: CKS1820

Boeing 737-700: Incident occurred January 05, 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Oregon

Aircraft struck a bird. 

Date: 05-JAN-21
Time: 14:33:00Z
Regis#: SWA1115
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 737
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 121
Flight Number: SWA1115

Boeing 787-800, N782AM: Incident occurred January 04, 2021 at Cancun International Airport (MMUN), Quintana Roo, Mexico

National Transportation Safety Board accident number: DCA21WA071 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dallas International Field Office

Aircraft struck a bird on takeoff. 


Date: 03-JAN-21
Time: 12:10:00Z
Regis#: N782AM
Aircraft Make: BOEING
Aircraft Model: 787
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 121
Aircraft Operator: AERO MEXICO
Flight Number: AM549
Country: MEXICO

Beech 1900C, N31702: Incident occurred January 05, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Antonio, Texas

Aircraft returned to San Antonio due to a pilot injury. 

UAS Transervices Inc

Date: 05-JAN-21
Time: 16:35:00Z
Regis#: N31702
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 1900
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: NONE
Activity: CARGO
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 135
Aircraft Operator: AMERIFLIGHT
Flight Number: AMF1830
State: TEXAS

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage, N997MJ: Incident occurred January 06, 2021 at Culpeper Regional Airport (KCJR), Virginia

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Richmond, Virginia

Aircraft left main gear became stuck in the mud when taxiing from FBO. 

Flight Resources LLC

Date: 06-JAN-21
Time: 00:10:00Z
Regis#: N997MJ
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA46
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAXI (TXI)
Operation: 91

Sedona Airport (KSEZ), Yavapai County, Arizona

Officer, suspect injured in confrontation

Michael Paul Bergsma, 37, was reportedly shot during the arrest.

Thomas Dylan Trantham

Cynthia A. Griffin

December 20, 2020

A Sedona police officer was injured and a suspect was shot following a reported auto theft, in what is now the department’s second officer-involved shooting of the year. Both the officer and suspect were transported to Verde Valley Medical Center on Cottonwood as a result of their injuries.

The suspect who was shot was identified as Michael Paul Bergsma, of Cooks Michigan, and formerly of Walker and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

According to Sedona Police Chief Charles Husted, on December 20, at 10:31 a.m., a call from staff members of the Sedona Airport terminal reported that three adults — two men and one woman — reportedly went through the airport terminal and onto the tarmac portion and allegedly stole one of the airport-owned trucks and then drove it on the tarmac.

Airport staff called police and three officers arrived less than 10 minutes later.

When they arrived the three suspects had reportedly abandoned the vehicle on the tarmac-side of the terminal.

Husted said the three reportedly came back through the terminal and police confronted them in the parking lot.

The suspects were allegedly uncooperative and did not comply with the officers’ commands and reportedly refused to identify themselves. One of the suspects, the 37-year-old Bergsma, fled on foot back into the terminal. One of the officers gave chase on foot while the other two stayed with the remaining suspects.

The other two suspects were identified as 40-year-old Cynthia A. Griffin, of Havre de Grace, Maryland, and 43-year-old Thomas Dylan Trantham, of Tarzana, California, formerly of Texas.

During the foot chase onto the tarmac the officer deployed a less-lethal beanbag shotgun but the shot was not effective. Bergsma allegedly continued to flee. Husted said the officer continued to pursue Bergsma.

Bergsma then turned and came back toward the front of the terminal in a courtyard. The officer managed to apprehend Bergsma and a physical alternation ensued.

“It’s important to note that this portion of the story is all eye-witness account by airport employees who witnessed this whole thing unfold,” Husted told the Sedona Red Rock News on scene at around 2:30 p.m. “The officer involved has not been interviewed yet. This is not based on his story but rather the eyewitnesses.”

Husted said the officer struggled to detain Bergsma and take him into custody.

“The suspect then went after the officer’s firearm and tried to take it away from him,” Husted said. “The officer managed to discharge the firearm in defense of himself. I don’t have an exact round count but it’s my understanding it was very low.

“The suspect was struck with the shot fired but it didn’t cause him to comply and he continued to fight with the officer. At that time a second officer heard the shot and ran over to the location to provide assistance. The second assisting officer then deployed his conducted energy device [Taser] and then the two officers were able to overpower the suspect and take him into custody.”

Sedona Fire District arrived on the scene and transported both the officer and Bergsma. Husted said on scene that he didn’t have specifics on the injuries but that he believes Bergsma was shot in the torso.

SPD officers, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office deputies, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement personnel and Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers later arrived at the scene.

Bergsma is a Tier 2 registered sex offender in Michigan. He was convicted on two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the second degree in December 2005 and is currently listed as “non-compliant” on the state of Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety deployed its officer-involved shooting team which will independently investigate the cause and circumstances of the incident. Additionally, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office is supporting the scene, sending their Crisis Response Team and assisting with any Sedona calls for service as needed.

“I really want to thank the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, their staff, Sheriff [Scott] Mascher for their immediate response and outpouring of support to help manage this scene and the fallout from all that’s involved in an officer-involved shooting. I would also like the Department of Public Safety for stepping up to conduct an impartial investigation into the officer-involved shooting. Most of them come up from Phoenix, so they are starting to arrive now.”

The two other suspects are in custody and charges for the three were pending. Their names, along with names of the officers involved, had not been released at the scene.

Regarding his officer, Husted said, “He’s pretty banged up but I’m just very thankful he was able to fight through this attack and defend himself and survive the incident and take the individual into custody.”

Cottonwood Airport (P52), Yavapai County, Arizona

Skystar Kitfox Series 5 Vixen, N153PR

COTTONWOOD – Police are still on the lookout for a red and white airplane plucked from the Cottonwood Airport on New Year’s Eve. 

Just before midnight, thieves forced their way into the Cottonwood Airport and stole an airplane that was inside a box trailer, according to Cottonwood police.

“The trailer and plane have not been recovered,” Cottonwood police said Thursday.

“There was not much video surveillance at the airport. I was told the city purchased additional cameras to expand the areas that are monitored up there,” Cottonwood Det. Matthew Strickland said.

“The subjects entered the airport and stole a box trailer which contained an airplane. These subjects also stole airplane parts while inside,” police said. “The total loss is estimated between $70,000 - $80,000,” police said at the time.

“Subjects were able to gain entry into the Cottonwood Airport by disabling and forcing the main gate open,” police added.

The airport is surrounded by security fencing and signage.

“Federal agencies have been notified/utilized. As for the intended use of the stolen plane and parts, we can only speculate as to why it was stolen and for what purposes,” said Strickland.

He pointed out that the thieves took the time to steal compatible propellers for the plane. The photo on the plane provided by the police has the airplane number N153PR on the wing.

The Flight Safety Foundation Safety Network website, which put out an incident notice for the stolen plane, said it was a Skystar Kitfox Series 5 Vixen and is owned by a private pilot.

Anyone with information should contact the Cottonwood Police Department at (928) 649-1397. Yavapai Silent is offering an award of up to $450 for information leading to an arrest at 1-800-932—3232 or

COTTONWOOD, Arizona — Police are searching for a stolen airplane from the Cottonwood Airport in Yavapai County.

Just before midnight on New Year's Eve, Cottonwood police say the suspects were able to gain entry into the airport by disabling and forcing the main gate open.

The suspects then entered the airport and stole a box trailer which contained an airplane. They also stole airplane parts while inside.

The total loss is estimated between $70,000 - $80,000.

Anybody with information is asked to contact Cottonwood Police Department at (928) 649-1397. You can also contact Yavapai Silent Witness which is offering an award up to $450 for information leading to an arrest.

Yavapai Silent Witness can be contacted at 1-800-932—3232 or

Visual Flight Rules encounter with Instrument Meteorological Conditions: Cessna T210K Turbo Centurion, N272EF; fatal accident occurred January 02, 2017 in Payson, Gila County, Arizona

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; Scottsdale, Arizona 
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors Group; Mobile, Alabama 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Payson, Arizona
Accident Number: WPR17FA045
Date & Time: January 2, 2017, 09:37 Local
Registration: N272EF
Aircraft: Cessna T210K 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: VFR encounter with IMC 
Injuries: 4 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The non-instrument-rated private pilot departed his home airport with three family members on a cross-country visual flight rules (VFR) flight over mountainous terrain. The forecast weather conditions called for instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and mountain obscuration due to clouds, precipitation, and mist along the route of flight and at the accident site. The co-owner of the airplane, who held an instrument rating, had reviewed the pilot's flight plan and the forecast weather conditions two days before the accident and informed the pilot that he should drive to his destination as the weather would not allow for VFR flight. However, the pilot elected to proceed with the flight contrary to the co-owner's recommendation. The pilot entered the flight route into the Foreflight mobile application but did not receive any weather briefings from flight service or the mobile application before departure.

GPS data recovered from an electronic display device installed in the airplane showed that the airplane departed, entered a climb on a northerly heading, and maintained this direction for the remainder of the flight. After the airplane reached a peak altitude of about 8,000 ft above mean sea level (msl), it descended to 7,000 ft msl and then gradually descended to about 6,000 ft msl, where it remained until near the end of the flight. The airplane subsequently impacted the tops of trees on the rising face of a cliff about 6,600 ft msl. The orientation and length of the wreckage path were consistent with a controlled flight into terrain impact. Track data from the GPS showed that the airplane maintained a straight course after its departure all the way to the mountain rim, which had a published elevation between 6,700 feet msl and 8,000 feet msl. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures.

A medical study revealed that each of the 4 fatally injured occupants sustained severe traumatic injuries that would have been rapidly fatal. Furthermore, the study showed there was no evidence to suggest that faster identification of the accident or earlier medical attention would have changed the outcome.

Although the autopilot switch was found in the "ON" position at the accident site, the autopilot was likely not engaged as the airplane's ground track and altitude varied, consistent with the pilot hand flying the airplane.

A weather study revealed that the airplane departed in visual meteorological conditions (VMC) and likely entered a combination of VMC and IMC after it climbed above 7,000 ft. Minutes later, the airplane encountered IMC and did not return to VMC for the remainder of the flight. The pilot's descent from 8,000 ft to 7,000 ft and then to 6,000 ft, occurred after the airplane entered IMC and indicates that he may have been attempting to return to VMC by descending, but was unsuccessful. Upon encountering IMC, the pilot could have turned around and returned to VMC, but he elected to continue and descend about 750 feet below the lowest peak terrain elevation in the area. The airplane's altitude increased rapidly by about 500 ft just seconds before the airplane impacted terrain suggesting that the pilot may have been alerted by the onboard terrain awareness warning system, which had been successfully tested by the co-owner, or observed the terrain and maneuvered to avoid the impact

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The non-instrument-rated pilot's improper decisions to begin and to continue a flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.    


Personnel issues Qualification/certification - Pilot
Personnel issues Decision making/judgment - Pilot
Environmental issues Below VFR minima - Decision related to condition
Environmental issues Mountainous/hilly terrain - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute VFR encounter with IMC (Defining event)
Enroute Loss of visual reference
Enroute Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)

On January 2, 2017, about 0937 mountain standard time, a Cessna T210K, N272EF, was destroyed when it collided with mountainous terrain near Payson, Arizona. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to N9402M Aviation, LLC, of Phoenix, Arizona. The personal flight was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country flight that departed Scottsdale Airport (SDL), Scottsdale, Arizona, at 0912 and was destined for Telluride, Colorado.

According to the co-owner of the airplane, the pilot planned to fly from SDL, where the airplane was based, to Colorado with his family for their annual vacation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provided a radar track for an airplane with a 1200 transponder code that corresponded with the airplane's departure time and route. The radar data indicated that the airplane departed SDL at 0912 and proceeded north. The final radar target was at 0937:39, at a Mode C altitude of 6,700 ft mean sea level (msl), and about 0.07 nautical miles (nm) east of the accident site. According to the FAA, the pilot did not receive VFR flight following services or contact any of the low altitude sectors along his route of flight.

An Electronics International MVP-50P electronic display device was recovered from the wreckage and forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for data recovery. The small battery used to power the unit's internal clock had become dislodged, and the unit reverted to an unset time setting. As a result, the flight and engine data time stamps in this report differ by about 20-minutes from the actual time derived from the FAA radar data.

Engine data retrieved from the MVP-50P indicated that the fuel flow, manifold pressure, and rpm increased at 09:33:05, consistent with departure performance. GPS and flight data retrieved from the unit showed the airplane's groundspeed rise from 0 knots and its altitude increase from 1,437 ft, which is about SDL's field elevation, consistent with a departure. The airplane then climbed to the northeast before turning left to a north heading for the remainder of the flight. The engine parameters did not indicate any anomalies during the flight. At 0943:59, the airplane reached a peak altitude of 8,029 ft and subsequently descended to about 7,850 ft. The airplane maintained this altitude within 30 ft for about 2 minutes and then climbed to 7,936 ft briefly before entering a descent and reaching about 6,651 ft at 0947:44. In the next minute, the airplane climbed to about 6,900 ft and then, at 0950:28, descended to and maintained about 6,200 ft, within 100 ft, for about 2 minutes 30 seconds. The last recorded data occurred while the airplane was in a 10-second climb at 0953:06, a GPS altitude of 6,767 ft, and about 0.22 nm from the accident site. In the airplane's final 12 seconds of flight, fuel flow decreased from about 20 to 17.4 gallons per hour, manifold pressure decreased from about 31 to 28 inches of mercury, and rpm remained unchanged.

Track data from the GPS showed that the airplane maintained a straight course after its departure all the way to the accident site located at the mountain rim, which had a published peak elevation that varied between 6,750 feet msl and 8,077 feet msl.

Family members became concerned on the afternoon of January 2 as they had not heard from the flight and were unable to reach the occupants on their cell phones. Around 2100, they notified local law enforcement who traced the flight's location using the pilot's and his wife's cell phones. An alert notice, or ALNOT, was issued at 2252 by Denver Center, and the wreckage was subsequently discovered the following morning at 0427 in a wooded area on the rising face of the Mogollon Rim, a cliff that extends across northern Arizona.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 44, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/10/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/11/2016
Flight Time:  295 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He did not hold an instrument rating. The pilot's most recent third-class medical certificate was issued on April 10, 2015, with no limitations. At the time of the exam, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 295 total flight hours of which 14 hours were in the previous 6 months.

The last recorded flight in the pilot's logbook was dated August 28 with the remark "Flight Review," but the logbook did not indicate the year the flight took place. An entry in the back of the logbook showed that the pilot's most recent flight review was conducted on May 11, 2016. His previous flight review was dated August 27, 2014.

According to FAA records, the pilot purchased the airplane in 2011. In February 2014, the pilot sold 50% of the ownership to an individual who responded to an advertisement that he posted on an internet website. This individual stated that he developed a friendship with the pilot through their co-ownership of the airplane. He stated that the accident pilot sometimes flew with him as a safety pilot when he practiced instrument approaches, but he did not believe that the accident pilot had aspired to become instrument rated. According to the co-owner, the accident pilot made less than five total cross-country flights each year, and his local flying normally took place ahead of his cross-country flights and was for the purpose of maintaining his currency to carry passengers.

The pilot's business partner flew with the pilot on three occasions and observed him watching a moving map on an iPad during one of the flights. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N272EF
Model/Series: T210K K
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1970
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 21059302
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/21/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 16 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4307 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer:  Continental Motors Group
ELT: C91  installed, activated, aided in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-520-CCR
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 310 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1970 and registered to N9402M Aviation, LLC on July 22, 2011. The airplane was powered by a turbocharged, direct-drive, air-cooled, 310-horsepower Continental TSIO-520R engine. A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on October 21, 2016, at a tachometer time and total time of 4,307 hours. The engine logbook indicated that a 100-hour inspection was completed on October 21, 2016, at which time the engine had accrued 311 flight hours since major overhaul. At the time of the accident, the tachometer time was 4,323 hours.

A fuel receipt obtained from Signature Flight Support at SDL showed that the pilot purchased 42 gallons of 100 LL aviation grade gasoline at 0845 on the day of the accident. The co-owner reported that he was the last person to fly the airplane before the accident flight. He returned the airplane with about 44 gallons of fuel onboard about 4 days before the accident.

The owners installed a Garmin 750 GPS that was equipped with a Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS) and an engine analyzer in April 2016. The co-owner routinely updated the GPS databases and tested the TAWS system.

An estimate of the airplane's weight and balance was computed using the occupants' weights reported by the medical examiner. The baggage weight was determined by adding the weight of the baggage recovered by the medical examiner to the weight of the baggage that remained with the wreckage. The center row left seat had been removed from the airplane, and two weight and balance scenarios were computed. The first scenario (labeled "Graph no. 1" in the "Weight & Balance Computation" document in the NTSB public docket) assumed that the 218 pounds of baggage was split between the center and aft rows, and the second scenario (labeled "Graph no. 2" in the in the "Weight & Balance Computation" document in the NTSB public docket) split the same baggage weight between the center row and the baggage compartment. Computations showed the airplane's center of gravity within the moment envelope for both scenarios. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PAN, 5156 ft msl
Observation Time: 0935 MST
Distance from Accident Site: 11 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition:  
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / 1°C
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 300 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots, Variable
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation; Unknown Obscuration
Departure Point: SCOTTSDALE, AZ (SDL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: TELLURIDE, CO (TEX)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 0912 MST
Type of Airspace: 

Weather Conditions at Time of Accident

At 0935, the weather conditions recorded at Payson Airport (PAN), Payson, Arizona, elevation 5,157 feet, located about 11 nm south of the accident site, included wind variable at 4 knots with gusts to 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, overcast ceiling at 300 ft above ground level (agl), temperature 2°C, dew point 1°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

Visible satellite imagery showed extensive cloud cover over the accident site with the clouds moving from west to east. Sounding data and infrared satellite imagery were used to determine the likely cloud cover that the airplane encountered along the route of flight. Figure 1, which depicts the cloud cover and the airplane's flight track, shows that the airplane departed in visual meteorological conditions (VMC) and entered a combination of IMC/VMC when it climbed above 7,000 ft. The airplane then entered IMC when it crossed over the Mazatzal Mountains, about 20 nm south of the accident site, and remained in IMC for the rest of the flight.

Figure 1 – Cloud Cover with height (Color Fill) and Accident Flight Track (Line)

A pilot weather report made near the time of the accident reported cloud tops at 11,000 ft about 40 nm west of the accident site. Another report made about 1 hour after the accident reported cloud bases between 5,900 ft and 6,400 ft and cloud tops about 8,000 ft about 50 nm northwest of the accident site. Pilot reports of light rime icing were made about 90 minutes after the accident took place and 45 nm northwest of the accident site.

Weather Forecasts

Airmen's meteorological information (AIRMET) advisories SIERRA and TANGO were issued at 0745 and were valid for the accident site at the time of the accident. AIRMET SIERRA forecasted IMC and mountain obscuration conditions due to clouds, precipitation, and mist, and AIRMET TANGO forecasted moderate turbulence below FL180.

An area forecast issued at 0445 and valid at the time of the accident called for a broken to overcast ceiling at 9,000 ft with cloud tops at 10,000 ft and a south wind gusting to 25 knots.

Sedona Airport, located 35 nm west-northwest of the accident site at an elevation of 4,830 ft, issued a terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) at 0433 that was valid at the time of the accident. The TAF called for wind from 180° at 11 knots with wind gusts to 20 knots, greater than 6 miles visibility, light rain showers, scattered clouds at 200 ft agl, a broken ceiling at 400 ft agl, and overcast skies at 1,200 ft agl.

The National Weather Service office in Flagstaff, Arizona, issued an area forecast discussion (AFD) at 0343 that discussed the likelihood of IFR conditions along south- and west-facing higher terrain. The AFD specifically mentioned that the Mogollon Rim was likely to have scattered light snow, rain, and rain shower conditions.

Weather Briefing

There was no record of the pilot receiving a weather briefing from Lockheed Martin Flight Service (LMFS), the Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS), or ForeFlight Mobile before departure. The pilot did not file a flight plan with ForeFlight Mobile but did enter route information at 0826 for a trip from SDL to Telluride Regional Airport. The pilot did not look at any weather imagery before or during the flight using ForeFlight, LMFS, or DUATS. It is unknown whether the pilot retrieved weather graphics or text weather information from other internet sources.

Two days before the accident, the pilot asked the co-owner to research the weather forecast and cross-check it against the pilot's flight plan to Telluride. After reviewing his flight plan and researching weather, the co-owner informed the pilot that Sunday and Monday, the day before and the day of the accident, were not options and suggested that the pilot drive to Telluride. The co-owner, who was an instrument-rated pilot, stated that he would not have personally flown this route because of the weather forecast.

For further meteorological information, see the weather study in the public docket for this investigation. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 34.429722, -111.277778 

The airplane came to rest on the south face of the Mogollon Rim about 11 nm north of PAN at an elevation of about 6,601 ft. The initial impact point (IIP) was identified by an aluminum fragment embedded about midway in a 50-foot-tall tree and several broken tree branches that came to rest a few feet beyond the IIP. An initial ground scar was marked by airplane fragments and loose dirt about 40 ft forward of the IIP. Portions of the wings and elevators were found along the debris path from the IIP to the main wreckage, about 80 ft from the IIP.

The main wreckage was comprised of the engine, fuselage, and tail section, which was displaced about 30° upward from the ground. The rudder, aileron, and elevator cables were traced from the cockpit to their respective control surfaces. The flap jackscrew measured about 4.4 inches, consistent with a flaps retracted position. The elevator trim actuator screw was separated from the actuator body.

The airplane was equipped with a 2-point restraint system for each occupant and no shoulder harnesses. The passengers' lap belts were each found in the clasped position. Only a portion of the pilot's lap belt was recovered and two of the passengers' belts had separated at their airframe attachment points. The third passengers' lap belt had been cut by recovery personnel.

Both wing fuel tanks were breached and exhibited an odor that resembled 100 low lead aviation grade gasoline. The fuel strainer bowl was removed, and it contained several ounces of uncontaminated liquid of a color and odor that resembled aviation grade gasoline. The fuel selector valve, which was positioned on the left fuel tank detent, was subsequently rotated to each of the three fuel tank ports, and no obstructions were observed.

The vacuum pump functioned normally when manipulated by hand; both vanes and the carbon rotor were intact and unremarkable. The autopilot switch was found in the "ON" position.

The engine displayed a dent and several cracks on the rear left side of the crankcase consistent with impact damage. All six cylinders remained attached to their cylinder bays. The throttle and metering assembly was partially separated from its mount. Multiple ignition leads from the ignition harness were severed from their respective spark plugs. The exhaust system remained attached to the engine and displayed crush damage. The cabin heat exhaust heat exchanger did not display any leaks.

Rotational continuity was established throughout the engine and valve train when the engine crankshaft was manually rotated using a hand tool. Thumb compression and suction were obtained for all six cylinders. The cylinder combustion chambers and barrels were examined with a lighted borescope, and the cylinder bores, valve heads, and piston faces displayed normal operation and combustion signatures. The cylinder overhead components, comprised of the valves, springs, push rods, and rocker arms, exhibited normal operation and lubrication signatures.

An examination of the top and bottom spark plugs revealed varying degrees of impact damage, but signatures consistent with normal wear. The oil filter exhibited impact damage; however, the filter pleats were not contaminated with metallic debris. The oil sump pickup screen did not display any blockage, and the oil pump did not display any anomalies.

Disassembly of the fuel manifold revealed a fluid consistent with aviation grade gasoline inside the valve body. While the fuel screen did not display any obstructions, the unfiltered side of the valve displayed some contaminates. The fuel nozzles were not obstructed except for nozzle Nos. 3 and 5, which were impacted with mud and dirt. Fuel nozzle No. 2 was not recovered.

The throttle body metering unit was removed from its engine accessory housing, and the fuel metering portion of the unit was disassembled. The internal components appeared normal, and the inlet fuel screen was free of debris with the exception of a trace amount of fibrous material.

The left magneto had separated from its mounting flange, and the magneto housing was cracked open exposing its internal components. A small amount of movement was achieved through the magneto drive, and the magneto did not produce a spark. The right magneto remained attached to the accessory case and was capable of normal rotation through the magneto drive. The impulse coupling operated normally and produced spark on all six posts in the correct order.

The three-blade, variable-pitch propeller was attached to the propeller flange. Two propeller blades were attached to the propeller hub, and the third blade was found in the debris path. One blade exhibited "S" bending at the blade tip and aft bending about mid-span. Another propeller blade displayed aft bending deformation, and the remaining propeller blade exhibited forward bending, leading edge polishing, and a gouge towards the blade root. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner, Tucson, Arizona, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy report indicated that the pilot's cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries."

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological tests on specimens recovered from the pilot. A carboxyhemoglobin saturation test revealed no evidence of carbon monoxide in the pilot's cavity blood. The pilot's toxicology results were negative for ethanol and positive for tadalafil in his cavity blood.

Tadalafil, marketed under the trade name Cialis, is used to treat erectile dysfunction and symptoms of benign prostatic hypertrophy. Another brand of Tadalafil, marketed under the brand name Adcirca, is used to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension.

Additional carboxyhemoglobin tests for two of the three passengers did not indicate a presence of carbon monoxide in the heart blood of either occupant. A medical study showed that each of the four occupants suffered severe traumatic injuries. 

Tests And Research

Emergency Locator Transmitter

The airplane was equipped with a Pointer, model 3000, FAA technical standing order type C91 emergency locator transmitter (ELT), which broadcasts radio signals on the emergency radio channel 121.5 MHz. Aircraft receivers monitoring the emergency channel that intercept an ELT signal can announce the signal along with their position to Air Traffic Control. According to a representative of the FAA, the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) received four ELT reports from aircraft that intercepted ELT signals near PAN between 0938 and 0942 on the day of the accident. The FAA representative further reported that the four ELT reports were immediately forwarded to the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC). The reporting of ELT signals is governed by FAA Job Order Chapter 5-2-8, which requires ARTCC to send the signal reports directly to AFRCC.

AFRCC receives Cospas-Sarsat distress alerts sent by the United States Mission Control Center and is responsible for coordinating the rescue response to the distress. According to the United States Government Federal Register, the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system only processes signals from 406 MHz ELTs as they ceased processing signals from 121.5 MHz ELTs beginning February 2009. This decision was the result of problems with the frequency band, which inundated search and rescue authorities with inaccurate and false alerts, which impacted the effectiveness of lifesaving services.


Skylar and Victoria Falbe