Monday, August 08, 2022

Diamond DA40 Diamond Star: N723AG: Fatal accident occurred August 07, 2022 at Samuels Field Airport (KBRY), Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky

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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): McCarter, Lawrence

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Louisville, Kentucky

BCCM Aircraft Holdings LLC


Location: Bardstown, Kentucky
Accident Number: ERA22LA362
Date and Time: August 7, 2022, 14:25 Local
Registration: N723AG
Aircraft: Diamond Aircraft DA-40
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On August 7, 2022, about 1425 eastern daylight time, a Diamond Aircraft DA-40, N723AG, sustained minor damage when it was involved in an accident at Samuels Field Airport (BRY), Bardstown, Kentucky. A passenger was fatally injured, and the private pilot and a second passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, shortly after landing, with light rain in the area, the pilot and passengers decided that the passengers could switch seats, with the aft seat passenger trading places with the front right seat passenger and “they were going to make it quick.” After taxiing to the ramp and turning the airplane around to face the taxiway, the pilot parked and opened the canopy with the engine still operating. As the pilot attempted to shut down the engine by pulling out the mixture control, the right front seat passenger had already exited the airplane onto the right wing, stepped off and “ran” into the propeller that was still operating, resulting in fatal
injuries.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Diamond Aircraft
Registration: N723AG
Model/Series: DA-40
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BRY, 669 ft msl
Observation Time: 14:55 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C /25°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 500 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots / , 350°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1400 ft AGL
Visibility: 4 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Bardstown, KY
Destination: Bardstown, KY

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Minor
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 37.814333,-85.499639 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290. 

Aircraft landed and taxied to the ramp where a passenger disembarked and made contact with the propeller.

Date: 07-AUG-22
Time: 19:00:00Z
Regis#: N723AG
Aircraft Make: DIAMOND
Aircraft Model: DA40
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 1
Flight Crew: 1 No Injuries
Pax: 1 Fatal; 1 No Injuries 
Flight Phase: STANDING (STD)
Operation: 91
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
City: BARDSTOWN
State: KENTUCKY

Feleshia Gail Denham
~


Feleshia Denham, 37, of Glendale, passed away Sunday, August 7, 2022, from injuries sustained in an accident.

She was a native of Elizabethtown and attended Severns Valley Baptist Church. She was a fitness enthusiast and loved attending U of L sporting events. Feleshia was quick witted with a contagious smile, was humble, kind, caring and a fun person to be around. She was a loyal friend, a dedicated wife and a loving mother.

She was preceded in death by her father and mother-in-law, David and Linda Denham; grandparents-in-law, Doris and Duel Denham; and great-grandmother, Eva Deana Wash.

Survivors include her husband of 16 years, Chris Denham; a daughter, Emily Denham; her parents, Lisa King of Elizabethtown and Dale (Anita) Wash of Hodgenville; two brothers, Justin Wash and D. J. Wash; a sister, Jessica Wash; her grandmother, Wanda Castle; a brother-in-law, Seth Denham; her mother and father-in-law, Terry and David Tapp; and a host of close friends, who were like family.

The funeral is at 2 p.m. Thursday, August 11, at Severns Valley Baptist Church with Pastor Ray Hicks and Pastor Emory Riley officiating.

Visitation is from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the church.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to your favorite charity.



Feleshia Gail Denham (left)


LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (WDRB) -- A Hardin County woman died Sunday afternoon in an accident involving an aircraft on the ground.

According to Field Houghlin, the Nelson County coroner, the incident took place  just after 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Bardstown Nelson County Airport, commonly referred to as Samuels Field.

Houghlin said 37-year-old Faleshia Denham of Glendale, Kentucky, was a passenger riding in the front seat of the aircraft. While the aircraft was on the ground, Houghlin said she got out of the plane to switch seats with a family member who was riding in the back.

In the process, she accidentally walked into the aircraft's propeller, which was still active, according to Houghlin. She died as a result of her injuries.

Houglin said her cause of death is listed as "blunt force trauma."



Feleshia Gail Denham (right)



A Glendale woman, who friends and family are remembering Monday as a kind, giving and loving person, was killed Sunday in an accident at the airport in Bardstown.

Feleshia Gail Denham, 37, died after being struck by a plane’s front propeller at Samuels Field as she was exiting the plane, Nelson County Coroner Rayfield Houghlin said.


Feleshia Gail Denham (left)

Feleshia Gail Denham (right)
~


An Elizabethtown woman died in an accident at the Bardstown-Nelson County Airport Sunday afternoon.

At 2:41 p.m. Sunday, first-responders were dispatched to the airport for a reported injury. The Nelson County Sheriff’s Office, Nelson County EMS and Nelson County Fire responded to the airport on Boston Road.

According to a sheriff’s office press release, the accident involved an airplane piloted by Seth Denham with two passengers. While on the ground, one of the passengers walked into the path of the airplane’s propeller and was struck by it.

Feleshia Denham, 37, of Glendale, died at the scene from her injuries.

She is survived by her husband, Chris Denham and one daughter, Emily Denham.

120 comments:

  1. I gotta ask a dumb question here. Don't you enter and leave a DA-40 from the rear of the wing?

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    Replies
    1. Nope, pilot/copilot from front

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    2. A front seat passenger will exit in front of the wing on the right of the plane. Rear seat passengers exit through a single door and climb down using the step in the front left of the plane.

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    3. I own a DA40. I hop on and off from the trailing edge of the wing it is actually lower than the leading edge. Passenger boards from the front and then I have them just slide off the back of the wing. There’s a lot of monkey motion with hand grips in the step on the front. Kind of awkward. There is an option also of putting steps in the back and it is even easier.

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  2. Engine off, then open door or canopy. A lifetime of guilt. Instruction as activity is curious. So sorry to read this.

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  3. Replies
    1. There's probably a civil case that can be made dependent upon the circumstances and what was briefed to the pax. Criminal? Unless it was negligent homicide, meaning the pilot did something incredibly foolish to directly contribute to it, unlikely.

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    2. A commercial pilot is held to a higher standard, in a case like this with a commercial pilot at the wheel the state could charge negligent homicide.

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    3. In civil court? Perhaps. Given that the pilot was likely a relative of her husband any reparations might be handled privately without getting the courts involved.

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    4. Yes, the pilot is culpable. Prior to ingress or egress to the aircraft, the engine is to be shut down. Period. No exceptions. Who could argue otherwise ?

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    5. Agree. 100% on the pilot. Didn't want to do a restart apparently. No such thing as "trying" to shut down the engine by pulling the mixture. Either do or don't. No Mr. in-between. Pilot controls the cabin and the passengers. No punting allowed. RIP unfortunate mom.

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  4. cant even imagine how this could happen
    you cant fix stupid

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    Replies
    1. I can absolutely see this happening with a DA-40. Look at where the wing is positioned relative to the hatch for the front pax. It's designed to have you exit in front of the wing. You can't see a prop when it's moving, and all it would take is turning around and taking a single step after dismounting to run into the prop arc.

      I would only trust a pilot rated pax to do this, and only after a brief where we discuss how they're are required to keep a hand on the leading edge until they reach the wingtip. With a non-pilot pax? No way - shut her down.

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    2. I own a DA 40. I would never let anyone exit with engine running. So sad.

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    3. DA-40 or otherwise. I too own multiple different planes. All can safely be entered or exited with propeller running -- but I don't know of ANYONE that would ever allow it. Including myself. If the door has to be opened for any reason, other than just to let some air in on a hot day, then shut down the engine. What's so tought about that? 30 years of flying and I just don't get it. Do they not want to put one my start cycle on the starter? Or waste another mere 20-30 seconds to start the engine again? I'd love someone here to tell me what possible reasoning would be???

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  5. if stop and go, always point prop opposite, away from direction pax enter / exit from; best practice is shut it down.

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  6. Significant risk of losing balance and taking an extra stride backwards as you utilize the short, high step arms while your back is toward the prop. Possible mid flight seating position change, intending to go right back up. Desire to avoid a hot restart of its Lyc IO360 may have driven the sad decision to leave it running.

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  7. She was a passenger in the front seat; she got out of the plane to switch seats with a family member who was seated in the back. In the process, she accidentally walked into the aircraft propeller which was moving.

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    Replies
    1. Opened the canopy and door with the engine running.

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  8. "A hot restart of its Lycoming IO-360" = I agree and am familiar with the DA40.

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  9. I can see this happening. People from the street who have never been in a propeller plane will be literally amazed at it turning and not be able to see it. I had this guy once fly with me, 30s, he saw the propeller start turning when I started the plane and said: "WHOOOAA! I can't see the propeller anymore this is amazing!". I guess those classes in high school that explain how motion pictures worked by a fast switching of frames impossible to grasp by the human eye would come in handy as well as a bit of common sense. Plus our high tech world where a propeller is a rarity.
    Next time any pilot flies with a passenger make damn sure they understand the propeller becomes almost invisible, because in this era of flat earthers, most ludicrous conspiracy theory believers and others who "do their own research" and question basic scientific facts taken for granted for century after irrefutable empirical proof, you will encounter people who believe they can freely walk into what they don't see.
    I am not arguing the victim here was clueless in any way and my condoleances but I think in this era of dumbing down we may also need to brief passengers on the fact a turning propeller is different visually and you won't be able to see the blades.

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    1. I understand not seeing the propeller but what about the loud noise of the engine and propeller as well as the rushing air. Horrible accident RIP

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    2. Well a car or any vehicle makes a noise. But the fact is 99% of the people in the world now have never seen a propeller plane unless it flew overhead so they are pretty much clueless. Every time I mention I have a plane people think it's a jet. Like 100% of the time. And it of course goes with thinking I am uber-rich too. For most of the 8 billion's humanity an aircraft is a jet and a jet is the only aircraft they know exists. Most people will be amazed by propeller planes and ask where are the engines and where is the trust coming from.

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  10. I've owned a Mooney for more than 3 decades and have lots of friends who own aircraft, and I have to say I have never heard of a single-engine GA aircraft where one exits the wing from the FRONT, right next to the propeller. WTF? What were the designers thinking? Were they thinking at all?
    I rarely have the engine running when passengers enter or exit my aircraft, but it has occurred on occasion. But on a DA-40, aside from the horrible design, allowing a passenger to board or exit while the engine is running is a textbook example of negligence.

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    Replies
    1. The best idea is to shut off the engine whenever someone is going to enter or exit an aircraft. Always. No exception.

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    2. Agree. Shut off the engine when someone is entering or exiting an aircraft. No exceptions. This pilot is culpable, hot start or not.

      The Diamond series of aircraft are a very poor design. It would have made better sense to design ALL entry and exit from the rear of the wing.

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    3. Navion had the same process. There was a step forward of the wing for getting in and out of the aircraft.

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  11. I just looked at some photos of this plane....... wow....... Pilot will probably spend countless hours in Court over this 'cause he failed to shut down the engine and I'll bet a legal group will sue Diamond Aircraft over the really STUPID exit the plane front of wing close to prop Design.

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  12. The pilot is a Dumass plain and simple. He/she has no business being directly responsible and the final authority of the operation of an aircraft.

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    Replies
    1. 91.13 violation... reckless and careless operation of an aircraft. I hope the FAA refers this to the DOJ for perp processing and sentencing.

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  13. I agree. Should have at the very least briefed the passenger prior to opening the canopy or better yet shut the engine down.

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  14. It was a new private pilot taking family members for a ride, how is this considered "instruction"

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  15. Diamond, prepare to have your ass sued for mega millions.

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    Replies
    1. There's probably a line in the POH that explicitly says to shut down before egress of pax. Those things are written by lawyers for a reason.

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    2. Nothing about shutting down before egress of pax in this example:
      https://flydiamondtx.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/DA40-POH.pdf

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    3. I don't know if the pilot could have stopped her. It is my understanding that she got out in a hurry, not wanting to inconvenience anybody too much, including the pilot. In a rush, anyone not a pilot or with some experience around propeller planes does not think about a moving, therefore invisible, propeller. I am paranoid around propellers, moving or not.

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  16. These are very safe airplanes, god bless this family. A wonderful opportunity to share love for aviation that ended in tragedy - very rare to hear of anything like this because flying is so SAFE. Godspeed

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    Replies
    1. If flying small planes is so safe, why are fatal crashes occurring at a greater rate each year?

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    2. Show me statistics backing this up.

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    3. Flying commercial is extremely safe. General Aviation is significantly less safe for obvious reasons, such as inexperienced pilots and the lack of automation and redundancy found on commercial aircraft.

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  17. Sad, no fail safe engineering here.

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    Replies
    1. Not feasible, hence reliance on procedures and training. Like SHUTTING THE ENGINE DOWN BEFORE DISEMBARKING PASSENGERS !

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  18. taken from 'studentpilot.com' .... "The boarding and canopy-opening arrangement precludes the old staple of climbing out while the engine’s running to let the properly endorsed student fly solo (I never liked that anyway). Every boarding and unboarding requires engine shutdown—no exceptions.
    Mounting Up. A boarding step on each side of the lower fuselage extends just ahead of the wing’s leading edge. Before stepping up, reach to the latch (on the airplane’s left side) to swing the forward canopy open. The entire windshield/front canopy pivots upward and forward. Plant a foot on the boarding step, stabilize yourself with a hand on the canopy rail (don’t hang on to the opened canopy itself), and step up onto a narrow walkway on the wing.Then, step down from the wingwalk into the cockpit. Don’t forget that the control stick needs to go between your legs! You maybe able to step directly down onto the floor, but you’ll be tempted to step on the seat first—expect seat cushions to be a high-maintenance item for a well-used, instructional Diamond."

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  19. 91.13 - Careless or reckless operation.

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    1. I agree. Once I saw some “pilot” stop his plane. Put on the breaks but leave the prop spinning and exit the aircraft to grab something in a hangar he forgot. Certificates and ratings should be pulled out for this kind of behavior. Upside for the pilot here to not shutdown the engine: a few seconds not having to restart the engine. Downside: a lifetime of guilt, hopefully incense yanked, endless litigation. That’s some brain power at work here and the FAA should ask his CFI who endorsed him how such a moron ever got his privilege to fly.

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  20. There is no way the pilot should be asking civilians to exit a DA-40 with the engine running, period. They have been thrown into a completely foreign flight environment. Next they are tasked with egressing a plane which they have probably never climbed out of before. It's tricky and unfamiliar. They don't know where the step or proper handholds are. There is strong wind and loud noise. 4 feet in front of the step is an extremely deadly invisible spinning disc. It's far to easy to trip and fall or get disoriented and walk right into it. Incredibly poor risk management.

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  21. Our shop maintained several DA-40 airplanes and we never EVER entered/ exited a running DA-40- it never occurred to us that a pilot would allow this. Unbelievable. RIP passenger.

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  22. Unfortunately, we will all pay for this. The lawyers will sue the crap out of DA for their failure to anticipate “reasonably foreseeable misuse”. In the future, we’ll probably see “PASSENGER EGRESS WITH ENGINE RUNNING PROHIBITED” plastered everywhere as placards and limitations. When common sense needs to be regulated… welcome to more government bureaucracy driving corporate CYA.

    Now I understand why my opaque foil car windshield sunshade has a label that says “REMOVE BEFORE DRIVING”.

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    Replies
    1. You have nailed the failure of our civilization, lawyers.

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    2. Excellent observation; thank god some attorney tried to mandate the removal of our sunscreen for our little Citation.

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    3. Everyone despises lawyers - until they need one.

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    4. ...but the only reason you need one is to defend against the OTHER GUY'S lawyer.

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    5. every defendant has legal defense counsel, a judge and a jury.

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    6. I suppose bashing lawyers is for the benefit of the ignorant pilot responsible for cutting up the mom? Or, are are these the comments of insurance salesmen, brokers, or stock holders? We don't live in Iran or Afghanistan, where one has the benefit of "honor killings" to get retribution, if that is where you are going. In America, we have a legal system that allots liability when a person is responsible for harming or killing another in less than criminal circumstances. That is called the civil justice system. It is a system that helps keep us safe. It is why Pintos don't have exploding gas tanks, Explorers don't flip over like they did, tires are safer, and you have airbags to protect you when a drunk hits you head on. Of course, there are those who long for the good ole days where products were more dangerous.

      In this case, DA has little to no exposure regardless of what's in the POH regarding prop safety for the simple reason that the pilot in command is 100% responsible for allowing passengers to exit into a revolving prop. Makes absolutely no difference where the door is. The only operative fact is the answer to this question: "Did you allow your passenger to exit the aircraft to switch seats while the propeller was rotating?" Answer: "Yes, I did."

      In liability law regarding aircraft, the pilot is charged with the responsibility for safety, not the passengers. The pilot (and no other party) cannot claim the passenger was killed because of a defective warning in the POH or the placement of the doors. Why? For the simple reason that it is the pilot who is charged with the responsibility for not allowing the passengers to walk (or run) into the revolving propeller. No one else. The pilot. If it is a commercial pilot, then that responsibility goes up to whoever put that pilot in the left seat.

      This is similar to a parents' duty not to allow their small children to play on the driveway behind the family car. But, some allow it, and they then back up over their child on the way to get groceries. Whose fault? The owners manual because it does not warn about backing up over your kids?

      If your virulence against lawyers is because you have been sued, maybe there is a reason. But, take a look in the mirror. Were you at fault? Do you prefer an eye-for-an-eye justice?

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    7. @Maening - Lawyer bashing is just predictable conditioned response driven by sensationalized lawsuit awards such as in the McDonalds coffee spill and BMW touching up undisclosed paint damage on that Alabama guy's new car.

      Those media-conditioned attitudes will change rapidly when large numbers of everyday people begin to need legal representation to remedy getting cut off from being allowed to make payment transactions or losing their job for not conforming to the "current thing" in the times ahead.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1995/05/29/the-case-of-the-4-million-bmw/e6c917e2-1028-4c82-b8b0-e09b56e61779/

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  23. Wow, what a completely avoidable tragedy. I was trained to always shut down when passengers were loading and unloading the plane. With an airplane that loads from the front of the wing like a Diamond, this should be SOP.

    This pilot is going to rightfully live with guilt for the rest of their life!

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  24. Flying skills are important, but good judgement is the most important quality a pilot can have!

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  25. Stupid can't be fixed. Revoke his license.

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    Replies
    1. You think this guy will ever WANT to fly again? Haunted by the sound of the propeller whacking his family member accompanied by a weird airframe shudder, the realization of what just happened, the sight of grotesque trauma, and reliving this nightmare in his head until the day he dies? I can't even...

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  26. His inexperience and lapse of judgement caused his sister in laws death. Tragedy all around, his neice and brother and himself will live with this for the rest of their lives. I offer them peace and prayers as well as for Feleshia.

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  27. crazy sad story went from proud pilot giving rides to tragedy
    in an instant cant fathom leaving an engine running and having
    anyone near my plane my prayers to the family

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  28. If online FAA records are accurate and up-to-date, pilot held only a Student Pilot certificate issued in March 2022. If correct, there was no business for anyone but a CFI in the right seat and no passengers. Likely a very inexperienced and under-credentialed pilot giving a joyride to friends with tragic results. Rest In Peace to the victim.

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    Replies
    1. More likely is he just passed his private and was eager to take people up. FAA records lag.

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    2. You’re probably correct. Though 5 months between Student and Private seems a bit short. Regardless, sad way to learn to cut the motor off.

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    3. Wrong, it was a fairly new private pilot.

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    4. If the pilot was still a student, either (a) actually or (b) in lagging FAA records, it might explain why the FAA classifed the flight as "Activity: NSTRUCTION".

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    5. FACT: It was a private pilot. There was no instructor. It was not an instructional flight.

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    6. FACT: He did not yet get a "common sense" endorsement on his airman certificate.

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    7. Per FAA website:
      SETH RICHARDSON DENHAM
      Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT
      Date of Issue: 7/12/2022

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    8. Brother in-law. Newly minted pilot. I let people change seats with engine running at times, but mine is a Cherokee. There is no way you can even get close to the prop without waking around the wing. Tragic.

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  29. Correction: "Activity: INSTRUCTION"

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    Replies
    1. Curious if any D40 pilots have successfully disembarked a passenger without incident while props active.

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    2. First of all, I can't understand why anybody would do that.

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    3. Why would you even try? If you can’t get the engine to stop and it’s an emergency or something, just hop off the back side of the wing. It’s maybe 18 inches off the ground. There is no rational reason to have done this.

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    4. My DPE for one of my ratings departed without incident with a prop active in my DA-40. There were some factors behind why this made sense, but it's the only time I've ever allowed it.

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  30. GA is a privilege, not a right. To endanger others in and around a running airplane where innocent people could be injured or killed is a contemptible decision. As a flight instructor, I always warned my students against this kind of thinking. With privileges come serious responsibilities.

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    1. The fact is it was poor judgment. I don't think you can't unteach that.

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    2. CFI's can teach every student that a balky hot restart is safer than letting a pax exit for a seat swap with the engine running, but some pilots will still do it. If you are renting to take up people who will swap seats, don't pick a model that requires the pax to go in front of the wing.

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  31. For some reason, the FAA ASIAS entry says "Activiy: Instruction".
    source:
    https://www.asias.faa.gov/apex/f?p=100:96:3985077566396::::P96_ENTRY_DATE,P96_FATAL_FLG:08-AUG-22,YES

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    Replies
    1. That was an error in the printed text. The FAA and NTSB will correct it in their reports before release.

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    2. Thanks for the information, AnonymousThursday, August 11, 2022 at 7:02:00 AM EDT

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  32. Many years ago, my instructor was a check airman as well. After the air work was complete, and the student had landed for the final time, his practice was to instruct the potential pilot to drop him at the FBO, go park the aircraft, and meet him in the conference room. If he was allowed to exit the aircraft with the engine running, he failed his ride, then and there.

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  33. “I can’t teach good judgement, but I can observe it’s absence”

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  34. Terrible echo of the late Jack Newton, Australian golf player who walked into a spinning propeller in 1983. He survived but with horrific injuries. Awful.

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  35. Lots of time as pilot in command of a DA40. I NEVER entered from the front of the wing. NEVER. I wasn't even aware that was the intended design; I am skeptical that is actually the case. Regardless, I am deeply saddened for all involved.

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    Replies
    1. Our family owns a DA40. We use the step in front of the wing for entering and disembarking aircraft. The engine is always shut down beforehand.

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    2. "I wasn't even aware that was the intended design..." As an owner of a DA40, I'll say you are incredibly ignorant if you didn't realize it is designed as front entry for all occupants. Or maybe you are stretching the truth about your experience in a DA40 as anyone who has flown one can easily understand it is a front-entry step up. If the former, you shouldn't be flying, or operating a motor vehicle of any kind.

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    3. What did you think the 2 boarding steps in front of the wing were for?

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  36. I believe the pilot and the victim share their last names, so they are probably closely related. Doubly sad.

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  37. The DA40 is by far the safest GA aircraft ever produced. No way Diamond should be liable for the pilot's unbelievable laziness and stupidity for not shutting down the engine. My deepest sympathies to the poor woman who lost her life due to that stupidity and to her family.

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    Replies
    1. If a jury can be shown that the POH for that s/n aircraft has nothing about shutting down before egress of pax, the pilot's actions may not matter much to Diamond's resulting legal exposure. Nothing can be found in this example POH about shutdown for pax load/unload:

      https://flydiamondtx.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/DA40-POH.pdf

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    2. From the POH:

      WARNING
      Before starting the engine the pilot must ensure that the
      propeller area is free, and no persons can be endangered.

      There are also warnings about using external power and proximity to propeller area. He had an engine running and the pilot did not ensure that the propeller area was free, and his passenger was endangered.

      If Diamond was required to put every silly thing like "don't stick your hand in the propeller" it would be a useless document. I think their POH covered normal operation well. I'd hope Diamond is not sued over this. The family could probably have a nice claim to the pilot's estate though. But, all family.

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    3. Jury would compare the warnings about starting and ext power to not warning about a running engine while using the unusual forward of the wing step and immediately make the award. Diamond will settle without risking trial and issue errata sheets to fix up the POH with the new warning.

      A caution on load/unload with the engine running reflects comparable level of regard for hazards as a starting warning. Absurd to trot out the "don't stick your hand in the propeller" strawman as if such a thing would be comparable.

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    4. Jury would compare the warnings about starting and ext power to not warning about a running engine while using the unusual forward of the wing step and immediately make the award.

      As a (professional) attorney and (amateur, private) pilot:
      Not remotely that simple. A jury "immediately make the award" is as unlikely as even reaching jury. Strict liability claim could be attempted but I would give this low chance of success given that this hasn't happened in normal use. If the counsel could find 5 near misses and a few other similar deaths, this would change significantly and would support a dangerous design.

      I do agree settlement would be likely but not due to strict liability.
      Mainly to prevent risk of trial for both sides, and showing the unpredictable jury awful images as you said.

      Don't make contact with propeller is not a "straw man", it is specific warning example, don't be silly. Diamond warns do not hand start props, some manufacturers don't.

      The point is specific warnings can become ridiculous. A warning "propeller may become invisible" is less extreme exaggeration, and not norm for all prop planes.

      I think Diamond is in reasonable shape, but would not exclude their insurance counsel just reaching settlement if the operator did not have pockets.

      Google "Lauren Scruggs" if you are not already familiar.

      Delete
    5. Ethical response would repeat the straw man in original form of "don't stick your hand in the propeller", not an adjusted "Don't make contact with propeller". That lack of honesty and aversion to accuracy by making that misrepresentation casts doubt on the "attorney" self-representation.

      Delete
    6. That lack of honesty and aversion to accuracy by making that misrepresentation casts doubt on the "attorney" self-representation.


      Nice try, but nope, sorry.

      The point stands, one can give varying degrees of specific warning examples, and any educated reader will understand (and most educated juries). Broad failure to warn user will be an uphill battle. Specific warning difficult, diamond would have to know unusual danger exists and that the individual warning is required to prevent injury, and would be facile to argue against this.

      Regarding examples, look up "sorites paradox" if you do not know what that is already. It is simultaneously "valid" and "in-valid" but a very good rhetorical technique that works well, your armchair claims notwithstanding.

      Delete
  38. One would have to wonder how the husband and his brother (the pilot) move forward from this tragic incident.

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    1. By subjecting his daughter to a local TV news interview the following day..... bizarre

      Delete
  39. What's most important is that we learn from this. Remember, the FARs are generally written with blood. Standard practices and procedures are often written from bent metal.

    Was the pilot's fault? Sure. Should be we be throwing barbs at him? No. This could have been any of us. So far I've avoided to bend metal or harm anyone, but I certainly have changed (improved) my ways based on incidents which others have caused at my home field.

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  40. >Was the pilot's fault? Sure. Should be we be throwing barbs at him? No. This
    >could have been any of us.

    Was waiting for this idiotic statement to appear. NOPE, this will never be me, because I don't have ANYBODY leave or enter my plane with the propellor spinning.

    This is not a mistake or slip or lapse or just unlucky gust of wind. This is horrifically bad judgment, and not something that "just happens." That is FAA hazardous resignation attitude.

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    1. I agree we shouldn't throw barbs, but I also agree that it wouldn't happen to somebody extremely careful.

      Delete
  41. DA-40 or otherwise. I too own multiple different planes. All can safely be entered or exited with propeller running -- but I don't know of ANYONE that would ever allow it. Including myself. If the door has to be opened for any reason, other than just to let some air in on a hot day, then shut down the engine. What's so tought about that? 30 years of flying and I just don't get it. Do they not want to put one my start cycle on the starter? Or waste another mere 20-30 seconds to start the engine again? I'd love someone here to tell me what possible reasoning would be???

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    1. Newby pilot in the rental may have decided to leave it running to avoid balky hot start he experienced during prior flights. If the battery was nearing the end of it's service life, diminished cranking amps and a weak first start at his origin airport would have greatly contributed to the unwise decision at pax swap.

      Delete
    2. Ahh, the archaic GA piston engines. When was the last time you pondered about starting your car engine? When

      Delete
  42. >Or waste another mere 20-30 seconds to start the engine again? I'd love someone
    >here to tell me what possible reasoning would be???

    As another person said, it can be a lot more than 20-30 seconds of fumbling around if the person does not know the hot start technique of the engine / aircraft. He was new, probably didn't want to lose passengers confidence "WHAT? THE ENGINE WON'T EVEN START?" and may have been concerned he couldn't even get it started.

    The planes I fly have a pretty complex hot start procedure and if you get it wrong there can be vapor lock or flooded engine.

    Not defending his terrible decision, but these are the likely reasons.

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    1. Well thanks for explaining it. I have a 421 among several that I own (and it has a finnicky "hot-start" procedure). But I dunno. I'd still shut it down if someone had to get out. I was even asking myself the question: if someone else was in the left seat and I had to get out would I trust myself to walk around the front if they left it running. And after 30+ years of flying and knowing exactly where the prop is, I still don't think I'd even walk around and do it. What if the left seater foot slipped on the brakes? Or they passed out? -- and I'm front of the plane for a moment. What if I tripped? Whole thing scares me. This kind of accident seems to happen way to often over the years. I took off out of Midway about 25 years ago on way back to Wash DC and while I was still with Tower someone reported a grounds crew woman had turned around and walked straight into a turbo prop propeller. I can't remember why it was being reported on the Tower freq but it was (as I was on climb out). And I remember every PIC's voice cracking for the next few minutes afterwards and they hadn't even "seen" it like the pilot reporting in. Very unnerving. Has nothing to do with this accident -- but it does show how easy it is to become complacent with a spinning prop, no matter what you're experience level (even that grounds crew person who worked around them all day long)

      Delete
    2. Walking into props amid the noise and breeze seems inexplicable, but consider this near-miss story from personal experience regarding human perception:

      An electrician was performing routine inspection of field circuit brush rings on an operating 330 Megawatt power station generator. This was done by entering the enclosure that houses the brush rigging through a walk-in door and using a strobe to "stop" the 3600 RPM shaft and look for burn marks. Adjustment of the strobe flash rate allowed the seen image to be rotated very slowly and give a look all the way around the surface of the rings.

      Upon seeing a mark on one of the rings, the strobe was set to "stop" the view of the rings there and the electrician shouted to me "Do you see that?" over the noise and fury of the screaming machine. The electrician had to reach out and stop my hand from continuing toward the ring in the "Do you mean here?" hand movement that resulted.

      The experience was a surprise. The "stopped" visual perception from the strobe completely overcame the situational awareness and hesitation that any person should have before reaching out toward the large whirling shaft, rings and energized brush rigging amongst the noise and air currents inside the enclosure.

      Being careful about staying clear of moving belt drives from years of having worked on operating engines didn't crossover at all to protect from the altered perception that the strobe image created.

      When experienced ground crew walks into a prop, it might be complacency but our primitive human perception simply cannot be relied upon for untrained passengers to adequately respond to noise and airflow from a nearby moving propeller, as the strobe story illustrates and the steady pace of mishaps reflects.

      Delete
  43. absolutely avoidable..condolences to the family

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  44. This one defies explanation. A pilot didn't use common sense and killed a lovely young woman.

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  45. The pilot shall be charged with involuntary manslaughter. Plain and simple. You can't just kill someone and walk scott free from it assuming it wasn't in a justified self defense.

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    1. Charges would have to conform to Kentucky statutes, which include murder, manslaughter 1st/2cnd degree and reckless homicide.

      Text of the reckless homicide statute states "A person is guilty of reckless homicide when, with recklessness he causes the death of another person.

      Kentucky's definition of reckless:
      "Recklessly" -- A person acts recklessly with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.

      This pilot can't wiggle out of that specific "fails to perceive" language. Shutting down before letting pax begin their exit would certainly be the standard of care for a reasonable person given that the boarding steps on that aircraft are in front of the wing.

      Kentucky manslaughter 1, 2 and reckless homicide statutes:
      https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/statutes/statute.aspx?id=44471
      https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/statutes/statute.aspx?id=49016
      https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/statutes/statute.aspx?id=19720

      Intentionally, knowingly, wantonly, recklessly definitions:
      https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/statutes/statute.aspx?id=19651

      Delete
  46. From the prelim report: "As the pilot attempted to shut down the engine by pulling out the mixture control,". This is BS and the criminal pilot knows it. His lawyers made him write that. He claims the passenger jumped without his approval. It takes also 1/2 second to shut down the engine. What a liar.
    Reminds me of this pilot caught with a .32 BAC and he claimed his clothes were smelling alcohol because someone in a hotel hallway dropped a bottle of vodka and the alcohol splashed on his clothing. Yeah right. Not even man enough to admit fault and take the jail time/suspensions. This guy is a danger to society if this is his mentality. Typical victim blaming on the perp. Bundy also accused his victims to be too pretty and provoking his sexual desires and he was the victim of that.

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  47. The pilot's story in the prelim makes no sense.

    Think about the elapsed time (sitting there with the engine idling) required to open the canopy and wait for your right front pax to extract themselves by scootching up into standing position with feet on the seat bottom and then stepping out. If the original plan was to shut down, there was no reason to delay the shutdown while all of that was being accomplished.

    The comment in the preliminary about the pax swap of "they were going to make it quick" adds further doubt that a shutdown was planned.

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    1. >The comment in the preliminary about the pax swap of "they were going to
      >make it quick" adds further doubt that a shutdown was planned.

      Exactly, the quickness has nothing to do with it, unless he was worried about the Hobbs running, i.e. engine still on.

      He should be doubly punished for not being honest and coming clean.

      Perhaps he wants to do it for his own continued mental denial of his role in this tragedy, but he needs to come to terms with his actions, not pretend that super-speedy lady jumped out of plane into prop before he could move a red knob 2 inches.

      Delete
    2. His plane isn't the only thing with a 2 inch knob.

      Need to admit errors and learn.

      Delete
  48. It seems to me the forward canopy as hinged from the front would have been difficult to push up and stay open with a prop blast even at idle. That aside, I wonder if she backed up with a cell phone camera to take a picture which is not unusual. I read (a) DA-40 POH and about the only thing said is 4-13, 4-14 says the Pilot is responsible for making sure the propeller area is clear before starting the engine. Other POH's are notably sparce in this area too about propeller safety. Perhaps that needs to change all around.

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    1. it seems to you?
      You can easily open the diamond's canopy with the engine idling...
      You can taxi around with it open if you wanted to.

      Delete