Saturday, December 24, 2022

Swearingen SA226-TC Metro II, N398KL: Accident occurred December 15, 2022 at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport (KICT), Sedgwick County, Kansas

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): Rho, Paul

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Wichita, Kansas

Key Lime Air


Location: Wichita, Kansas 
Accident Number: WPR23LA069
Date and Time: December 15, 2022, 20:28 Local 
Registration: N398KL
Aircraft: Swearingen SA226TC
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi and commuter - Scheduled

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Swearingen
Registration: N398KL
Model/Series: SA226TC
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter air carrier (135)
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site:
Condition of Light:
Observation Facility, Elevation: KICT
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point: -2°C /-9°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 6 knots / , 280°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Dodge City, KS (DDC)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 37.641503,-97.442979 

Date: 16-DEC-22
Time: 03:20:00Z
Regis#: N398KL
Aircraft Make: SWEARINGEN
Aircraft Model: SW4
Event Type: Accident
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 1 No Injuries
Pax: 0
Aircraft Missing: No
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 135
Aircraft Operator: KEY LIME AIR
Flight Number: LYM147

Grumman American AA-5B Tiger, N321GD: Accident occurred December 22, 2022 near Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport (KAPS), Reserve, Louisiana

National Transportation Safety Board - Accident Number: CEN23LA068

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Aircraft departed, experienced engine issues, made a turn back to the airport and crashed short of the runway.  

First Light Inc

Date: 22-DEC-22
Time: 01:54:00Z
Regis#: N321GD
Aircraft Make: GRUMMAN
Aircraft Model: AA-5
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Flight Crew: 1 No Injuries
Pax: 1 No Injuries 
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
Operation: 91

Piper PA-28R-201T Turbo Arrow III, N38444: Incident occurred December 23, 2022 at Gillespie Field Airport (KSEE), El Cajon, San Diego County, California

EL CAJON, California — A  Piper PA-28R-201T Turbo Arrow III landed safely at Gillespie Field after declaring a landing gear emergency Friday night.

According to Heartland Fire Department, several first responders were called to Gillespie Field around 5:30 p.m. following reports of an aircraft in distress.

Fire trucks, ambulances, and other official airport operation vehicles waited patiently near Gillespie Field runways while a four-passenger aircraft circled above in routine fashion of most instances when an aircraft declares an emergency.

Heartland Fire told CBS 8 the airplane declared an emergency once the pilot realized his front landing gear would not deploy.

The pilot reported about 90 minutes of fuel aboard the aircraft when the emergency was transmitted over air traffic control frequencies.

Flight tracking software showed the aircraft performing continuous loops over Gillespie Field and swishing from left to right in an attempt to lower the landing gear manually.

The pilot frequently flew the plane in direct view of controllers in the airport's tower to check if the landing gear had gone down into the landing position.

Video shared with CBS 8 by photojournalist Matthew Weiss showed the aircraft had landed safely by 6:30 p.m. on one of two Gillespie Field runways.

The pilot enthusiastically thanked crews and air traffic controllers on the airwaves for their assistance during the emergency declaration.

No injuries were reported. 

Airbus A321, N674NK: Incident occurred December 23, 2022 at Philadelphia International Airport (KPHL), Pennsylvania

Spirit Airlines Inc 

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania – On a day filled with travel headaches, a U.S. plane bound for Mexico returned to the airport after crew members reported multiple lightning strikes during the flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Spirit Airlines Flight 2214 landed safely at Philadelphia International Airport about 11 a.m. local time Friday. The Airbus 321 was headed to Cancun International Airport.

The airline told FOX Weather that the plane returned to the gate out of an abundance of caution. 

"Our guests have deplaned in the terminal, and we’re currently working on options," the airline said in an email.

The FAA said they are investigating the incident. 

Radar at the time of the reported lightning strikes shows a line of storms was in the vicinity. Several lightning bolts were also detected. A review of the flight path via showed the plane appeared to be in a holding pattern for a while before ultimately landing at the airport in Philadelphia.

This comes as a dangerous blizzard intensified into a bomb cyclone Friday as it wallops the Great Lakes and Northeast with snow, damaging winds and plummeting temperatures, creating a travel nightmare for millions trying to reach their destination for the Christmas holiday weekend. The historic winter storm has placed ground stops at airports across the U.S. as winter alerts are up from Oregon to Florida. 

Southwest Airlines Resumes Normal Flight Schedule After Mass Cancellations Stranded Travelers

The Wall Street Journal
By Alison Sider and Dawn Gilbertson
Updated December 30, 2022 3:47 pm ET

Southwest Airlines worked to return to normal operations Friday, more than a week after the start of an unprecedented meltdown that stranded passengers and drew fire from regulators.

The Dallas-based carrier’s leap from operating 1,600 flights Thursday to roughly 4,000 on Friday more than doubled the size of its operation overnight. The expanded schedule represented a major test of how well Southwest has managed to put itself back together following a winter storm and subsequent operational problems that led it to cancel nearly 16,000 flights.

Executives said Thursday that they believe the airline is up to the task. 

“We’re prepared and we’re ready to do that with minimal disruption,” Chief Executive Bob Jordan said during a call with reporters. Earlier in the day he told employees: “I’m confident, but I’m also cautious.”

As of 2 p.m. ET, Southwest had canceled 43 flights on Friday, far below the roughly 2,500 flights the carrier canceled over several days earlier this week. The vast majority of those had been cut earlier in the week. Overall, about 140 flights across airlines flying to, from or within the U.S. had been canceled Friday, according to FlightAware.

A winter storm that blasted much of the country with extreme cold, snow, wind and ice ahead of Christmas disrupted many airlines’ flights for several days. As rival carriers rebounded, Southwest’s operations continued to deteriorate, and the airline this week deeply slashed its schedule for three days in a bid to stabilize its operation and get planes and crews into the right places.

In Phoenix, where Southwest has a big presence, the security checkpoint wait for the airline’s gates was already 10 minutes and growing at just after 4 a.m. local time. Earlier in the week, lines had been nonexistent as Southwest slashed flights to get back on track.

On Southwest flight 3579, which departed at just after 5:00 a.m. for Denver with fewer than half of its seats filled, the lead flight attendant told passengers more than once that the airline was grateful to have them on board as it resumes its regular schedule.

“Obviously today more than ever, thank you,” he said. “We’re back.”

Southwest executives have attributed the airline’s struggles to the breadth and severity of the storm, which affected dozens of cities where Southwest flies including Denver and Chicago, where many of the airline’s crews are based.

With so many people and planes out of position last weekend, executives have said the scheduling system Southwest uses to reconstruct crew schedules after storms and other events became overwhelmed by the volume of changes required. That left airline staff to try to manually match up available crew and planes, in what executives and union officials have said was an inefficient and laborious process. 

As it works to resume normal operations, Southwest faces heightened scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers who have said they are closely monitoring the airline’s response to the crisis.

Southwest Chief Operating Officer Andrew Watterson acknowledged the high stakes, telling staff in a memo late Thursday that Friday would be “pivotal,” especially heading into another holiday weekend.

“We started today fragile, so I hope that holds together. But we’ll see,” said Casey Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association union.

Kelsie and Chris Pearson said they were thrilled to be heading home Friday morning on Southwest Flight 4454 from Denver to San Diego. They said they spent an extra week in Minnesota due to two Southwest flight cancellations, one on Christmas Eve and another the day after Christmas.

“I had a nightmare this morning before we woke up that our flight was canceled,” Kelsie Pearson said. Chris Pearson said he took up a new hobby during the ordeal: checking planes on FlightAware, a flight-tracking site, so they could handicap their chances of getting out.

Temperatures are likely to be warmer this weekend versus the arctic blast that swept the country last weekend, a forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Weather Prediction Center said. Rainfall could move from west to east, with the possibility of more severe weather in the south early next week.

While the airline has said it was already working to upgrade some of its technology and could accelerate some of those investments, executives have said last week’s storm was unique. They’ve said Southwest’s systems can manage through more typical disruptions.

Southwest shares were 0.4% lower in afternoon trading, while major U.S. stock indexes declined about 1%.

As Southwest ramped back up Friday, it continued to grapple with the hit to its reputation among customers and some employees. Southwest frequently touts its customer-service scores and awards, and in the annual J.D. Power North American Airline Satisfaction Study this year, the airline ranked highest in customer satisfaction in the economy/basic economy category.

“We pride ourselves on having a high level of customer service and doing the right thing for customers, and obviously we have fallen short here in this regard,” Southwest Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green said Thursday.

Southwest also has pledged to reimburse affected travelers, but has shared few details. Executives said Thursday that it could take a number of weeks to process payments for customers looking to be reimbursed for expenses such as hotel rooms and rental cars.

The airline hasn’t yet tallied the total cost, but Mr. Jordan has said the financial impact from the meltdown will likely be significant.

Erika Cada booked her Friday flight from Phoenix to Omaha months ago. Ms. Cada, who said she and two of her children flew on a Southwest flight to Phoenix on Christmas morning with no issues, said she debated rebooking to a later date given all the cancellations this week, but stuck with Friday.

“We waited and today is the day they decided to get back on track,” she said.