April 2013 - Page 2 Aviation Articles

NTSB: Pilot Action, Icing Led To NJ Plane Crash

Article By: David Porter
FMI: bigstory.ap.org

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A pilot's inability or reluctance to fly quickly enough out of icing conditions led to a fiery plane crash on a New Jersey highway median that killed all five people aboard, a federal report published Thursday concluded.

The December 2011 crash claimed the lives of pilot Jeffrey Buckalew, an investment banker; his wife and two children, and Rakesh Chawla, a colleague at New York's Greenhill & Co. Buckalew was the registered owner of the single-engine Socata TBM 700 and had more than 1,400 hours of flight time, according to the report.

The plane had just departed Teterboro Airport en route to Georgia when it began spiraling out of control at about 17,000 feet and crashed on a wooded median on Interstate 287 near Morristown. No one on the ground was injured. Wreckage was scattered over a half-mile area, forcing the closure of the busy roadway for several hours.

The National Transportation Safety Board report concluded that while Buckalew had asked air traffic controllers to fly higher and out of the icing conditions, he may have been reluctant to exercise his own authority to do so, or may have been unaware of the severity of the conditions.

The NTSB attributed the cause of the accident to "the airplane's encounter with unforecasted severe icing conditions that were characterized by high ice accretion rates and the pilot's failure to use his command authority to depart the icing conditions in an expeditious manner, which resulted in a loss of airplane control."

According to the report, an air traffic controller advised Buckalew of moderate icing from 15,000 to 17,000 feet, at which point Buckalew responded, "we'll let you know what happens when we get in there and if we could go straight through, it's no problem for us." The controller then directed him to climb to 17,000 feet.

When the plane reached 16,800 feet Buckalew reported light icing and said "a higher altitude would be great." Seventeen seconds later, he said the plane was experiencing "a little rattle" and asked to be cleared to go to a higher altitude "as soon as possible please."

The controller coordinated with a controller in an adjacent sector and, 25 seconds later, directed Buckalew to climb higher. Within about a minute the plane had reached 17,800 feet and then began an uncontrolled descent.

Ice can form on airplanes when temperatures are near freezing and there is visible moisture, such as clouds or rain. The ice adds weight to an aircraft, and rough accumulations known as rime interrupt the flow of air over wings.

Numerous pilots had reported icing conditions in the area around the time of the accident, including at least three flight crews that characterized the icing as severe, according to the report. One pilot told NTSB investigators his wing anti-icing system "couldn't keep up" with ice accumulation of as much as 4 inches that had developed over a span of five minutes.

Pilots are required to fly under the direction of air traffic controllers but federal regulations allow for some deviation in emergency situations. The NTSB report quotes a part of the Federal Aviation Regulations that reads, "in an in-flight emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot in command may deviate from any rule of this part to the extent required to meet that emergency."

The EAA AirVenture Cup Race Continues Into Its 16th Year

Contacts: Kandi Spangler, President
Vertical Markets, LLC
+1 312.246.2508
[email protected]
www.verticalmarketsllc.com

Dick Knapinski
EAA Communications
[email protected]
+1 920.426.6523
www.eaa.org

Milwaukee, WI - April 12, 2013 - The EAA AirVenture Cup Race (www.airventurecuprace.com) proudly announces that it will continue racing in 2013 with the full support and involvement of EAA.

Race volunteers and EAA Chairman Jack Pelton met earlier this year to coordinate details of the race and establish guidelines for the EAA event. Race officials are still determining the course for this year's event, but plan to hold the race on Sunday, July 28, in advance of EAA AirVenture as they have done for the past 16 years.

"Since the late 1990s, this event has been a showcase of homebuilt aircraft and airmanship," Pelton said. "A dedicated group of EAA-member volunteers and pilots have created a unique event and one that is eagerly anticipated by those who participate and those of us who welcome them to Oshkosh."

"We are very excited to continue the EAA AirVenture Cup Race," stated Eric Whyte, a volunteer for EAA and the race's Chairman. "We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from Jack Pelton and EAA headquarters for this year's race," continued Whyte. "Cross country air racing is an important part of our rich aviation history, and we all want to preserve that experience for participants and spectators for years to come."

Race officials say they have their work cut out for them, given the need for sponsorships and the short amount of time they have until race day. "As the saying goes, 'it takes money for airplanes to fly'; everything else is secondary," said AVC volunteer, Kandi Spangler, who is in charge of finding sponsors for the race. "The EAA AirVenture Race is a great way for companies to gain exposure, especially within the experimental aircraft community," stated Spangler.

2013 marks the race's 16th year, with past flying courses that ranged anywhere from 400 miles to 750 miles cross country towards Oshkosh, WI in advance of EAA AirVenture. Whyte helped launch the race in 1997 when he was an EAA employee, as then-EAA president Tom Poberezny saw the potential in a cross country race exclusively for Experimental category aircraft and homebuilders. The first race in 1998 started in Kitty Hawk, NC, with 10aircraft. Several of them have participated in the EAA AirVenture Cup Race ever since. In 2012, the race started in Mitchell, SD, with more than 50 aircraft participating. On the day before last year's race, AVC volunteers and race participants partnered with the Mitchell airport to host an airport open house, during which over 250 Young Eagle rides were given.

To learn more about the race and available sponsorship opportunities, contact Kandi Spangler at [email protected] or visit the EAA AirVenture Cup Race website at www.airventurecuprace.com.

About the EAA AirVenture Cup Race
The EAA AirVenture Cup Race was founded in 1997 in the spirit of recreating the old Bendix Trophy Race and is dedicated to aviation advocacy and preserving the rich heritage of cross-country air racing. The race is held annually in advance of EAA AirVenture. For more information, visit www.airventurecuprace.com.

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration" and EAA's yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 Welcomes Return Of Gary Sinise And Lt. Dan Band On August 2

Evening concert presented by Disabled American Veterans and EAA Warbirds of America

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (April 11, 2013) — Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will return to EAA AirVenture in 2013 as the grand finale of a daylong salute to veterans at Oshkosh, Wis., on Friday, August 2. Performing for the fourth time at EAA AirVenture since 2008, the popular band will be hosted at by the Disabled American Veterans and the EAA Warbirds of America at the Philips 66 Plaza stage.

Sinise, best known for his role as Vietnam veterans Lt. Dan Taylor in the classic film “Forrest Gump,” and as star of hit TV series CSI: New York, plays bass in The Lt. Dan Band and is a well-known supporter of veterans as well as active-duty military. The concert will be the highlight of AirVenture’s veteran-focused day on August 2.

“Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band have been hugely popular at Oshkosh every year they’ve been here, so it’s great that they’ll be back in 2013,” said Jim DiMatteo, EAA’s vice president of AirVenture features and attractions. “The music and show by Gary and the band are always outstanding, but we all know that we’re doing this to honor all the veterans and active duty personnel who are here at AirVenture.”

The Lt. Dan Band covers everything from Bruce Springsteen to Beyonce, Zac Brown Band to Jimi Hendrix. Following the band’s first concert in front of thousands at EAA’s Theater in the Woods in 2008, EAA Warbirds of America and Disabled American Veterans teamed to also sponsor the band’s return in 2010 and 2011.

“The DAV is thrilled to bring our message of volunteerism and support to our nation’s sick and disabled veterans to EAA AirVenture. We believe the men, women and children who will visit this event are the patriotic, military-friendly citizens that have helped make this nation so great,” said DAV National Commander Larry Polzin. “The DAV is proud to be among this crowd, and meet those who want to know more about our service to veterans. Gary Sinise is a longtime advocate for Disabled American Veterans and continues to shine the light on our mission to fulfill our promises to the men and women who served- as a patriotic and family friendly venue, EAA AirVenture is an ideal setting to feature the Lt. Dan Band.”

About DAV
The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation’s disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served.

About EAA Warbirds of America
EAA Warbirds of America is a non-profit organization within EAA that is dedicated to the preservation of former military aircraft known as “warbirds.” Since 1964, EAA Warbirds of America has worked to “Keep ‘em Flying.”

About EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. Additional EAA AirVenture information, including advance ticket and camping purchase, is available online at www.airventure.org. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. Immediate news is available at www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.

Richmond International to discount fuel on NASCAR weekend

Article written By: Mike Collins of AOPA

General aviation pilots visiting Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Va., April 22 through 28 will save 6 cents per gallon on purchases of 100LL or Jet A fuel. The Capital Regional Airport Commission, which owns and operates the airport, is waiving its 6-cents-per-gallon fuel flowage fee for the week.

The discounts, being offered for the first time, were inspired by the spring 2013 NASCAR weekend at the nearby Richmond International Raceway. “We have two NASCAR races in April and two in September,” said Jon Mathiasen, president and CEO of the commission. “We thought it would be a nice gesture, to not only promote NASCAR but to promote ourselves.”

“Race weekend is our busiest weekend,” said Michael Clarke, general manager of the Richmond Jet Center, one of two FBOs on the field. “Every ramp, every square inch of this airport is full of airplanes.”

Despite the expected traffic, Clarke said parking reservations are not required. “We’ve always been able to accommodate them.” However, visiting pilots who want to see the race will want to reserve a rental car; the track is about a 20-minute drive from the field.

“We welcome them,” said Gene McDonough, president of Million Air Richmond. McDonough agreed that NASCAR weekends are the airport’s busiest of the year, although he said the number of aircraft has dwindled over the years as race teams have moved to bigger airplanes—as large as Boeing 727s and 737s, he said.

Mathiasen said the fuel discounts are available to all GA aircraft during the period, whether based at the airport or transient—and regardless of the pilot’s reason for visiting Richmond.

The airport has worked with the raceway in the past with passengers arriving by airline. “In the terminal building, with the airline traffic, you can definitely see the race fans—they’re wearing the clothing of their favorite drivers,” Mathiasen said. “We wanted to do something with general aviation.”

The commission is developing the east side of the airport to allow for more corporate tenants. Mathiasen said a new access road, ramp, and two hangars already have been built, and he expects a new taxiway project to be under construction by June 2014. “We’ve been very blessed with the corporate growth that we’ve had. With the continued growth of the airport, we want to make sure we have the infrastructure in place for the future.”

NTSB Determines Fatal Missouri Helicopter Accident Was Caused By Fuel Exhaustion, Poor Decision Making And Inability To Perform Critical Flight Maneuver

WASHINGTON -- A pilot’s decision to depart on a mission despite a critically low fuel level as well as his inability to perform a crucial flight maneuver following the engine flameout from fuel exhaustion was the probable cause of an emergency medical services helicopter accident that killed four in Missouri, the National Transportation Safety Board said today.

“This accident, like so many others we’ve investigated, comes down to one of the most crucial and time-honored aspects of safe flight: good decision making,” said NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.

On August 26, 2011, at about 6:41 pm CDT, a Eurocopter AS350 B2 helicopter operated by Air Methods on an EMS mission crashed following a loss of engine power as a result of fuel exhaustion a mile from an airport in Mosby, Missouri. The pilot, flight nurse, flight paramedic and patient were killed, and the helicopter was substantially damaged.

At about 5:20 pm, the EMS operator, located in St. Joseph, Mo., accepted a mission to transport a patient from a hospital in Bethany, Mo., to a hospital 62 miles away in Liberty, Mo. The helicopter departed its base less than 10 minutes later to pick up the patient at the first hospital. Shortly after departing, the pilot reported back to the company that he had two hours’ worth of fuel onboard.

After reaching the first hospital, the pilot called the company’s communication center and indicated that he actually had only about half the amount of fuel (Jet-A) that he had reported earlier, and that he would need to obtain fuel in order to complete the next flight leg to the destination hospital.

Even though the helicopter had only about 30 minutes of fuel remaining and the closest fueling station along the route of flight was at an airport about 30 minutes away, the pilot elected to continue the mission. He departed the first hospital with crew members and a patient in an attempt to reach the airport to refuel.

The helicopter ran out of fuel and the engine lost power within sight of the airport. The helicopter crashed after the pilot failed to make the flight control inputs necessary to enter an autorotation, an emergency flight maneuver that must be performed within about two seconds of the loss of engine power in order to execute a safe emergency landing. The investigation found that the autorotation training the pilot received was not representative of an actual engine failure at cruise speed, which likely contributed to his failure to successfully execute the maneuver.

Further, a review of helicopter training resources suggested that the accident pilot may not have been aware of the specific control inputs needed to successfully enter an autorotation at cruise speed. The NTSB concluded that because of a lack of specific guidance in Federal Aviation Administration training materials, many other helicopter pilots may also be unaware of the specific actions required within seconds of losing engine power and recommended that FAA revise its training materials to convey this information.

An examination of cell phone records showed that the pilot had made and received multiple personal calls and text messages throughout the afternoon while the helicopter was being inspected and prepared for flight, during the flight to the first hospital, while he was on the helipad at the hospital making mission-critical decisions about continuing or delaying the flight due to the fuel situation, and during the accident flight.

While there was no evidence that the pilot was using his cell phone when the flameout occurred, the NTSB said that the texting and calls, including those that occurred before and between flights, were a source of distraction that likely contributed to errors and poor decision-making.

“This investigation highlighted what is a growing concern across transportation – distraction and the myth of multi-tasking,” said Hersman. “When operating heavy machinery, whether it’s a personal vehicle or an emergency medical services helicopter, the focus must be on the task at hand: safe transportation.”

The NTSB cited four factors as contributing to the accident: distracted attention due to texting, fatigue, the operator’s lack of policy requiring that a flight operations specialist be notified of abnormal fuel situations, and the lack of realistic training for entering an autorotation at cruise airspeed.

The NTSB made a nine safety recommendations to the FAA and Air Methods Corporation and reiterated three previously issued recommendations to the FAA.

A synopsis of the NTSB report, including the probable cause, findings and a complete list of the safety recommendations, is available at https://go.usa.gov/TxYT. The full report will be available on the website in several weeks.

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