Thursday, January 07, 2021

Zenith CH701, N701JV: Incident occurred January 07, 2021 near Lake Sonoma, California

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

Aircraft experienced engine issues, made an emergency landing in mud at Lake Sonoma and nosed over. 

Date: 08-JAN-21
Time: 00:30:00Z
Regis#: N701JV
Aircraft Make: ZENITH
Aircraft Model: CH701
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91

A small plane made an impromptu landing Thursday afternoon in northwestern Sonoma County near Lake Sonoma, drawing a large search party for the downed aircraft, which resulted in no injuries to the lone person aboard.

The incident, which was called in as a plane crash, was reported by the CHP at 4:29 p.m. to Redcom, the county’s dispatch center, with a given location near Dry Creek Road and Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road, northwest of Healdsburg.

The report drew Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies, a CHP helicopter and firefighters with the Cloverdale, Dry Creek Rancheria and Northern Sonoma County fire districts to the area, where they eventually found the plane on a ranch near Cooley Ranch Road and Rock Pile Road, Northern Sonoma County Fire Chief Marshall Turbeville said.

“It was on a sandbar,” Turbeville said of the plane. “Luckily the water was low, so there was an area that was kind of flat to land.”

Deputies also located the plane’s sole occupant, who was uninjured and had walked to a nearby home after the unplanned landing, Turbeville said. It did not appear that the plane was damaged, he added.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation into the cause of the Zenith CH701 landing Thursday afternoon, said Ian Gregor, an agency spokesman.

Carver County, Minnesota: Resident keeps eyes on sky after alleged flybys

One might expect to hear airplane noise living close to an airport, but not out in rural Carver County. But that’s been the case for some time now, according to rural Cologne resident Dave Larson.

Larson lives just north of Maria Lake, and the areas south of Cologne and around Hamburg and Carver have been literally buzz-bombed with small aircraft flights, he says. The flights often start at 7 a.m. and sometimes don’t end until 7 p.m. The noise has gotten so bad that Larson has considered selling his place.

The small planes originate from Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, generally air traffic from flight schools.

“I didn’t notice the noise as much when I was working, but now that I’m retired and at home it has become very noticeable,” Larson said.

So noticeable that he has been tracking flight activity and repeatedly filed complaints with various agencies like the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), flight schools, even individual pilots. In the process, Larson has learned about an app call Flightracker24, where he can actually follow flight activity and flight paths, even individual aircraft numbers. Larson also has gotten to know the names of a few agency contacts, even their direct lines.

“Most of the people around me are farmers. They’re either too busy, or not the type to complain,” said Larson. But he is not afraid to voice his concerns.

And apparently, he’s not the only one.

During the third quarter of 2020, almost 9,500 complaints had been filed about flights originating from Flying Cloud, according to MAC reports. That’s more than five times the number of complaints filed during the same period in 2019.

Ironically, while commercial flights may be down do to COVID-19, small airports in the metro area are bustling thanks in part to a soaring interest in flying lessons, the Minneapolis StarTribune reported Nov. 30. Flying Cloud and Anoka County-Blaine are seeing a spike in activity as pilots and aspiring pilots brush up on skills, earn flying credentials, or learn to fly a plane.

Not surprisingly, the increase in flight activity has led to an increase in complaints.

The complaints range in order by number to noise, noise frequency, time of flights, and planes flying low – beneath height limits.

“Many community members have reached out to us, and both the MAC and members of the Flying Cloud Airport Advisory Commission have had extensive communication with members of the community and pilots about the repetitiveness of FCM training flights,” said Jennifer Lewis, MAC community relations coordinator.

To help alleviate concerns, MAC leaders and staff met with each flight school at Flying Cloud to share the feedback and discuss various measures to help reduce the impacts, according to Lewis.

In addition to those flight school meetings, separate meetings were held with aircraft operators in numerous virtual settings to share information about noise abatement flight procedures and pilot awareness for sensitive areas. The latest meeting was held Dec. 5.

Larson himself also received a personal letter recently from an FAA regional lead about the issue.

He says he has gotten responses like those before, and sometimes flight activity backs off for a while, only to resume again. For example, there was a lull right after Thanksgiving, but by the following Wednesday, the flights were back.

“It has gotten a lot better, but some planes are still a problem, almost to the point of harassment” said Larson. He continues to keep an eye on the sky, a vigilant ear out for noise, and vows to continue the flight fight.

Central Nebraska Regional Airport (KGRI) to consider three airline bids

GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska (KSNB) - Grand Island airport and city officials have to choose an airline to provide federally subsidized Essential Air Service (EAS) to the Central Nebraska Regional Airport.

The current contract between the Department of Transportation (DOT) and American Airlines to provide EAS to Grand Island expires in June. American currently runs about 12 flights per week between Grand Island and Dallas-Fort Worth.

Three airlines submitted bids to the DOT for Grand Island Service:

American Airlines to continue 12 flights a week to Dallas using a 50-seat jet from the American Eagle regional carrier;

Boutique Airlines to provide 42 weekly round trips between Grand Island and Denver using an eight-seat single engine turbo-prop airplane;

SkyWest Airlines to provide 13 weekly round trips between Grand Island and Denver and Grand Island and Chicago using a 50-seat aircraft. SkyWest is affiliated with United Express and currently serves the Kearney Regional Airport with flights to Denver and Chicago.

Executive Director Mike Olson told Local4 that the Hall County Airport Authority will choose the preferred contract at its January 20 meeting. The Grand Island city council will also have to approve that choice. The airport authority would then notify the DOT of its preference. The DOT would then have final approval for the EAS carrier.

Beechcraft A90 King Air, N256TA: Fatal accident occurred June 21, 2019 near Dillingham Airfield (PHDH), Mokuleia, Hawaii

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

Additional Participating Entities: 

Federal Aviation Administration AVP-100; Washington, District of Columbia
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Honolulu, Hawaii
Transportation Safety Board of Canada; Ottawa, FN
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

Accident Report Detail:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:
Location: Mokuleia, HI 
Accident Number: WPR19MA177
Date & Time: 06/21/2019, 1822 HST
Registration: N256TA
Aircraft: Beech 65A90
Injuries: 11 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Skydiving 

Executive Summary

On June 21, 2019, about 1822 Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, a Beech King Air 65-A90 airplane, N256TA, impacted terrain after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield (HDH), Mokuleia, Hawaii. The pilot and 10 passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was owned by N80896 LLC and was operated by Oahu Parachute Center (OPC) LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a local parachute jump (skydiving) flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the pilot’s aggressive takeoff maneuver, which resulted in an accelerated stall and subsequent loss of control at an altitude that was too low for recovery. Contributing to the accident were (1) the operation of the airplane near its aft center of gravity limit and the pilot’s lack of training and experience with the handling qualities of the airplane in this flight regime; (2) the failure of Oahu Parachute Center and its contract mechanic to maintain the airplane in an airworthy condition and to detect and repair the airplane’s twisted left wing, which reduced the airplane’s stall margin; and (3) the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) insufficient regulatory framework for overseeing parachute jump operations. Contributing to the pilot’s training deficiencies was the FAA’s lack of awareness that the pilot’s flight instructor was providing substandard training.

On June 21, 2019, at 1822 Hawaii-Aleutian standard time, a Beech 65-A90, N256TA, collided with terrain after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield (HDH), Mokuleia, Hawaii. The commercial pilot and ten passengers sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was owned by N80896 LLC, and was being operated by Oahu Parachute Center (OPC) under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a local sky-diving flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

According to the owner of OPC, the accident flight was the fourth of five parachute jump flights scheduled for that day. Two flights took place between 0900 and 0930 and the third departed about 1730 on the first of what OPC called, "sunset" flights. The occupants on the accident flight included the pilot, three tandem parachute instructors and their three customers, and two camera operators; two solo jumpers decided to join the accident flight at the last minute.

The passengers were loaded onto the airplane while it was on the taxiway next to the OPC facility on the southeast side of the airport. A parachute instructor at OPC observed the boarding process and watched as the airplane taxied west to the departure end of runway 8. He could hear the engines during the initial ground roll and stated that the sound was normal, consistent with the engines operating at high power. When the airplane came into his view as it headed toward him, it was at an altitude of between 150 and 200 ft above ground level and appeared to be turning. He could see its belly, with the top of the cabin facing the ocean to the north. The airplane then struck the ground in a nose-down attitude, and a fireball erupted.

The final second of the accident sequence was captured in the top left frame of a surveillance video camera located at the southeast corner of the airport. Preliminary review of the video data revealed that just before impact the airplane was in an inverted 45° nose-down attitude.

Runway 8/26 at Dillingham Airfield is a 9,007-ft-long by 75-ft-wide asphalt runway, with displaced thresholds of 1,993 ft and 1,995 ft, respectively. A parachute landing area was located beyond the departure end of runway 8, and the standard takeoff procedure required a left turn over the adjacent beach to avoid that landing zone. The displaced threshold areas had been designated for sailplane and towplane use, with powered aircraft advised to maintain close base leg turns to assure separation.

The airplane came to rest inverted on a heading of about 011° magnetic, 500 ft north of the runway centerline, and 5,550 ft beyond the runway 8 numbers, where the takeoff roll began. The debris field was confined to a 75-ft-wide area just inside the airport perimeter fence. The cabin, tail section, and inboard wings were largely consumed by fire, and both wings outboard of the engine nacelle sustained leading edge crush damage and thermal exposure. Both engines came to rest in the center of the debris field, and fragments of the vertical and both horizontal stabilizers were located within the surrounding area.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N256TA
Model/Series: 65A90
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: Oahu Parachute Center
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PHHI, 840 ft msl
Observation Time: 0456 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 5000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 180°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 7000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Mokuleia, HI (HDH)
Destination: Mokuleia, HI (HDH)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 10 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 11 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 21.580556, -158.188333

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The NTSB released a report into their findings of a deadly 2019 plane crash on Oahu’s North shore.

The June 21 crash of a skydiving plane operated by the Oahu Parachute Center killed the pilot and 10 passengers in a fiery wreck.

NTSB investigators found that the pilot’s “aggressive takeoff maneuver” was the probable cause of the Beech King Air 65-A90 airplane slamming to the ground near the fence of Dillingham Airfield shortly after takeoff.

The report says the maneuver “resulted in an accelerated stall and subsequent loss of control at an altitude that was too low for recovery.”

Among the victims of the crash were both local aviation enthusiasts, and visitors from out-of-state.

Other contributing factors of the crash included the pilot’s lack of training and experience with the handling qualities of the airplane, the NTSB said.

Maintenance was also overlooked, according to the investigation. Investigators said mechanics failed to “detect and repair the airplane’s twisted left wing, which reduced the airplane’s stall margin.”

NTSB officials also highlight what they consider to be insufficient regulations by the FAA over parachute jump operations. This led to training deficiencies for the pilot, and the FAA’s lack of awareness into substandard training.

The NTSB’s full report will be published in the coming weeks.


Federal safety investigators said today that the pilot of a skydiving plane that crashed in 2019 on the North Shore, killing all 11 people on board, had not received training to become a competent pilot.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in response to these findings, called on the Federal Aviation Administration to better monitor the effectiveness of flight instructors.

The plane banked sharply before plunging to the ground shortly after takeoff from Dillingham Airfield on June 21, 2019. Pilot Jerome Renck and his 10 passengers were killed in the deadliest civil aviation accident in the U.S. since 2011.

Renck had failed three initial flight tests in his attempt to obtain a pilot certificate, instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate, the NTSB said. The pass rate for other students taught by the same instructor was just 59% over a two-year period ending in April 2020. The average pass rate for students of all flight instructors is 80%, the agency said.

The board called on the FAA to develop a system to automatically alert its inspectors to flight instructors whose students’ pass rates fall below 80%

The board quoted from the FAA’s Aviation Instructor’s Handbook, which says the goal of instructors is “‘to teach each learner in such a way that he or she will be come a competent pilot.’” In Renck’s case “the flight instructor did not achieve that goal,” the NTSB said.

The FAA said in a statement it is working closely with the NTSB to investigate the crash.

“The agency takes NTSB findings and recommendations very seriously. The FAA will carefully evaluate and consider all findings and recommendations the NTSB issues as a result of this investigation,” it said.

Documents that the board released in October painted a picture of a pilot who took unnecessary risks and pushed the limits of his skills to give passengers a thrilling ride.

The plane was operated by Oahu Parachute Center, which lacked permits for skydiving flights, according to state records. The owner, George Rivera, received a permit in 2010 under a different company name for parachute repairs and rigging but not skydiving.

Renck, a French national, was the company’s only pilot at the time of the crash.

The plane had undergone repairs after a crash in 2016 in California badly damaged the tail section. In that incident, skydivers struggled to jump out as the plane went into a spinning dive.

The NTSB previously said FAA records showed that Robert Seladis, a contract mechanic who worked on the plane, had his certificate revoked in 2005 after falsifying records on two planes. He regained his certificate in 2015.

Seladis was interviewed a few days after the crash, then stopped talking to investigators, who were unable to get the plane’s logbooks from him, the NTSB said.

Boeing Reaches $2.5 Billion Settlement of U.S. Probe Into 737 MAX Crashes

Agreement with Justice Department allows aerospace giant to avoid prosecution

The Wall Street Journal 
By Dave Michaels,, Andrew Tangel and Andy Pasztor
Updated January 7, 2021 6:49 pm ET

Boeing Co. will pay $2.5 billion to resolve a Justice Department criminal investigation and admit employees misled aviation regulators about safety issues that led to two deadly crashes of the 737 MAX, authorities said.

The settlement, which was filed Thursday in Dallas federal court, would lift a legal cloud that has hung over the aerospace company for about two years since the fatal crashes. Federal prosecutors had been investigating the role of two Boeing employees who interacted with the Federal Aviation Administration about the design of the 737 MAX and how much pilot training would be required for the new model.

The settlement includes a $243 million fine as well as $2.2 billion in compensation to airline customers and families of the 346 people who perished in two MAX crashes.

The plane maker was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., but will avoid prosecution on that charge as long as it avoids legal trouble for a period of three years. The deal also calls for Boeing to comply with any ongoing investigations, including probes by foreign law-enforcement and regulatory authorities, and to beef up compliance programs, according to its agreement with prosecutors. .

The FAA—which is conducting its own civil investigation of Boeing’s activities surrounding the MAX and could levy additional fines and penalties—didn’t have any immediate comment

The MAX debacle has dogged Boeing ever since one of the aircraft crashed in Indonesia in late 2018 and another in Ethiopia in early 2019. After the second accident, regulators around the globe grounded the aircraft, preventing Boeing from delivering a bestselling moneymaker. The plane maker came under investigation by the Justice Department, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Transportation Department’s inspector general and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Planes piled up, the manufacturer halted production and its frustrated board ousted senior executives including then-CEO Dennis Muilenburg. Last year the company estimated the MAX crisis had cost it around $20 billion for airline compensation and the factory pause.

Boeing Chief Executive David Calhoun said the Justice Department deal appropriately acknowledges how the company fell short of its values and expectations.

“This resolution is a serious reminder to all of us of how critical our obligation of transparency to regulators is, and the consequences that our company can face if any one of us falls short of those expectations,” Mr. Calhoun said in an internal memo.

Boeing’s total monetary sanctions qualify as one of the biggest corporate criminal resolutions of the Trump administration.

The company previously set aside $1.8 billion to compensate airlines and aircraft leasing companies, according to a securities filing. The company said Thursday it would book an additional $744 million in charges in its fourth-quarter results.

About 20% of the money Boeing was ordered to pay will go to the families of the crash victims. The company must contribute $500 million to a fund for their relatives and heirs. A claims administrator will decide who should receive the money, and the payments don’t affect or limit any legal claims the victims might make against Boeing.

Boeing shares fell about 1% in after-hours trading Thursday after closing at $212.71.

The court documents provide the most detailed narrative yet of what Boeing did—and failed to do—before and after certification of the MAX fleet, including its initial refusal to cooperate with federal investigators.

The criminal probe focused on the actions of two former Boeing pilots who were key liaisons with the Federal Aviation Administration on technical questions required to certify the MAX for commercial flying.

Court documents filed Thursday don’t identify the two individuals, but The Wall Street Journal has previously reported they are Mark Forkner and Patrik Gustavsson.

Neither Mr. Forkner nor Mr. Gustavsson was charged Thursday. An attorney for Mr. Forkner declined to comment.

“Patrik Gustavsson never hid anything from the FAA or any pilot,” his attorney, James F. Bennett, said. “He did the exact opposite throughout his time at Boeing and has been completely committed to the safety of passengers and crew. Any claim to the contrary is false.”

Boeing acknowledged that the pilots deceived the FAA to get approval for MAX training requirements. Prosecutors determined that the two employees illegally interfered with an FAA group’s responsibilities by providing “incomplete and inaccurate” information about an new flight-control system, known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System or MCAS, which resulted in important data being withheld from FAA training experts and ultimately pilots.

Accident investigators in part blamed MCAS for pushing the aircraft into fatal nosedives. The system was only supposed to affect the plane’s aerodynamics during certain high-speed turns. But Boeing later expanded its scope, making it possible that MCAS could activate across “nearly the entire speed range for the 737 MAX, including low-speed flight,” according to the resolution.

According to a statement of facts included with Boeing’s settlement agreement, the former Boeing pilots were eager to avoid a mandate for more expensive, simulator training for MAX pilots. In one email cited in the agreement, a pilot wrote that “nothing can jeopardize [sic] level b,” referring to a less costly type of training that could be done on a laptop or tablet. The other pilot wrote: “if we lose Level B [it] will be thrown squarely on my shoulders.”

One of the pilots persuaded the FAA to remove mention of the new automated system from the pilot manuals as the company sought to avoid federal requirements that MAX pilots undergo simulator training. After the pilot seemed surprised how the system behaved in a flight simulator, he told his counterpart in a 2016 chat message: “So I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),” according to previously disclosed internal company messages.

Emails that emerged showed the pilot told his FAA counterpart that pilots would only encounter the system in extreme circumstances.

In determining the amount of the penalty, the Justice Department said it gave Boeing credit for ultimately cooperating with the investigation, as well as for voluntarily adopting enhanced internal safety controls, management changes and additional oversight of management pilots.

But the documents also say that Boeing’s cooperation was delayed and only began after the first six months of the DOJ’s Fraud Section’s criminal inquiry. During the early stages, Boeing’s response “frustrated the Fraud Section’s investigation.”

The agreement doesn’t require the appointment of an outside compliance or ethics monitor, a move sometimes imposed by prosecutors in major cases of corporate wrongdoing. But Boeing does have to provide the DOJ with periodic reports on its internal compliance program and efforts to improve it.

The MAX, which was grounded from March 2019 until November 2020, recently returned to commercial service after aviation authorities in the U.S. and Brazil approved a slate of fixes to the jet. Air-safety agencies in Canada, Europe and elsewhere are expected to take similar steps in coming weeks.

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche, N7305Y: Incident occurred January 05, 2021 in Arkadelphia, County, Arkansas

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas

Aircraft landed gear up. 

Arkadelphia Aircraft Services Inc

Date: 05-JAN-21
Time: 14:06:00Z
Regis#: N7305Y
Aircraft Make: PIPER
Aircraft Model: PA30
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: MINOR
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91

System/Component Malfunction/Failure (non-power): Murphy Rebel, N616PM; accident occurred January 04, 2021 in O'Brien, Suwannee County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

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

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: O'Brien, Florida
Accident Number: ERA21LA100
Date and Time: January 4, 2021, 11:40 Local
Registration: N616PM
Aircraft: Murphy Rebel
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot of the amphibious airplane reported that during takeoff, when the airplane was about 1,000 ft down the 2,750-ft-long grass runway, he was unable to raise the airplane’s nosewheel. He increased the flap setting, but the airplane could not leave the ground. Because the airplane was beyond the pilot’s normal takeoff abort point, he reduced the throttle fully and applied the brakes. The airplane then departed the runway end and impacted a fence and two roadside ditches before coming to rest. The airplane’s fuselage was substantially damaged during the accident sequence. After coming to rest, a fire ignited in the dry grass under the airplane’s right main tire and was extinguished by the pilot and passenger.

Following the accident, the pilot towed the airplane back to his hangar, and noticed during that process that the right wheel brake was sticking and that the right wheel had left a groove through the grass. A subsequent examination of the right wheel and brake revealed that the right wheel rotated freely but with some resistance noted from the brake. The pilot reported that there were no other mechanical anomalies with the airplane. Given this information, it is likely that the airplane’s right brake was partially engaged during the takeoff, which restricted the airplane’s ability to accelerate to an adequate flying speed and the pilot’s ability to pitch to a normal takeoff attitude. This condition resulted pilot’s eventual decision to abort the takeoff, and the subsequent runway overrun. Had the pilot noted this lack of acceleration earlier during the takeoff, it is possible that the takeoff could have been aborted with sufficient runway remaining to avoid the runway overrun.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A partially engaged right wheel brake, which restricted the airplane’s acceleration and the pilot’s ability to pitch to takeoff attitude, and resulted in an aborted takeoff and subsequent runway excursion.


Aircraft Brake - Malfunction
Aircraft Airspeed - Attain/maintain not possible
Aircraft Pitch control - Attain/maintain not possible

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Sys/Comp malf/fail (non-power) (Defining event)
Takeoff-rejected takeoff Runway excursion

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 69, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: BasicMed With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: January 29, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: November 5, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1265 hours (Total, all aircraft), 500 hours (Total, this make and model), 1104 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 20.1 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 4.7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Passenger Information

Age: Male
Airplane Rating(s): 
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s):
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): 
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: 
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Murphy
Registration: N616PM
Model/Series: Rebel
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special) 
Serial Number: 1
Landing Gear Type: Unknown; Float
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: April 1, 2020 
Condition Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1730 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2465 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O320-E2D
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 150 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PIE, 11 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 11:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 307°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 20°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.11 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 7°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: O'Brien, FL 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Lake City, FL (LCQ)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: Suwannee Belle Airport 9FLO
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 54 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 020 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2750 ft / 85 ft 
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 30.089803,-83.086307 (est)

Air Methods Corporation: Judge greenlights class action lawsuit against aviation company

Civil Action No 19-cv-00484-RBJ

Greenwood Village, Colorado - One month after a Greenwood Village-based air ambulance company agreed to pay $825,000 to settle allegations that it violated Federal Aviation Administration regulations, a judge has greenlit a class action lawsuit from employees claiming they were underpaid.

Flight paramedics and nurses in Michigan, New Mexico and Illinois sued Air Methods Corporation in February 2019, alleging the company failed to properly compensate them for overtime hours in accordance with their states’ wage laws. They attempted to bring the legal action on behalf of employees in their same situation because they “have been damaged, in large part by fraud,” through Air Methods’ unjust enrichment, the federal complaint reads.

Air Methods paramedics and nurses work 24-hour shifts, with eight hours of the day being “sleep time” that the company pays for. If employees receive at least five hours of uninterrupted sleep, the entire sleep time does not factor into overtime compensation. In the three states covered under the lawsuit, there are roughly 634 such employees.

"I was required to be on base for my entire shift and was required to be ready to respond promptly to emergencies that required air ambulance services," stated Susan Brzezinski, who worked for nearly six years in Michigan for Air Methods.

The plaintiffs deemed such a calculation a violation of wage laws. Last year, 450 Air Methods employees in California benefited from a $78 million settlement following similar claims involving overtime and employee breaks.

That proceeding also resulted in a change to Air Methods’ policies that “put our teammates first,” a spokesperson for the company said.

In a December 29 order, U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson certified the lawsuit as a class action in Colorado, rejecting Air Methods’ argument that employees who spent part of their workweeks outside of their home states were not covered by those states’ wage laws.

“Air ambulance employees based in geographic areas where their flights frequently cross state borders and whose hours in either or both states alone would not exceed 40 in a week would lose the protections that air ambulance employees who rarely or never cross state lines have, even though their work weeks would be the same,” he wrote. “AMC’s argument, seemingly created in the effort to avoid class certification, is not persuasive.”

Jackson added that litigating claims on an individual basis would be “impractical,” given that compensation could be as low as $1,000 for some employees. The judge did, however, dismiss the plaintiffs’ claim of unjust enrichment against Air Methods, finding their wage claims by themselves would provide the remedy they sought.

Following Jackson's order, Air Methods filed a motion to dismiss the case. The Fair Labor Standards Act, the company argued, “expressly allows employees who are on duty for 24-hours or more to agree with their employer to exclude sleep periods of no more than eight hours from hours worked, provided the employer furnishes adequate sleeping facilities and the employee usually can enjoy an uninterrupted night’s sleep.”

Air Methods also contended that each of the three states now covered by the class action lawsuit appears to allow similar exemptions of sleep time from wage calculations. 

The plaintiffs, by contrast, alleged Air Methods was asking the court to "make new law for the states" because their treatment of sleep time was not explicitly in line with federal law.

Jackson has set a jury trial to begin on July 12.

In November, Air Methods agreed to pay $825,000 to settle claims from the U.S. Department of Justice that it had “severely corroded” pilot tubes on one of its aircraft. A Federal Aviation Administration inspector discovered the defects, which have implications for autopilot functionality. The company denied that it was in violation of safety regulations or that the corroded tubes presented a significant risk.

Air Methods conducts 65,000 transports per year, amounting to approximately 150,000 flight hours.