Port Clinton, OH
Sutter Creek, CA
Mesquite airport (yellow box) is approximately 17-miles ESE of Love Field, in Dallas. A new contract control tower was opened in late 2013. The route follows the series of three red arrows, starting at the eastern edge of the satellite view. It is not yet clear if the flight was under radar control, or what was observed by FAA air traffic controllers. If involved controllers filed ATSAP reports, the public may never know what happened. (Images from Flightaware)
Platte Valley, COThe helicopter owner, Mountain One Helicopters, is based at the airport in Erie [KEIK]. Their website lists rates for the Enstrom 280 at $390/hr (basic rental), $425/hr (dual training rental), and $495/hr (commercial/charter), all rates with fuel included. On another page listing ‘Colorado Scenic Tours’, rates for a one-hour flight are $375 (one passenger), $500 (two passengers), $600 (three passengers), and $1,000 (four passengers). As an added bonus, those on the ground get ‘free helicopter noise’.
North Salt Lake City, UT
Clines Corner, NM
The reported tail number [N231JF] was based in Boulder, CO, according to the registration. Flightaware lists a departure from Louisville, KY [KSDF] in the late morning, on a flight that appears to have cancelled IFR and landed near Ponca City, OK [KPNC]. A major arctic air mass was settling over the mid-continent at the time. News video shows it was snowing during the initial response.
Mojave, CANews reports indicate this may have been a commercial flight training accident, based out of the Mojave Airport [KMHV]. At least one article says the responders found the wreckage near Garlock Road and Redrock-Randsburg Road, roughly 25-miles northeast of KMHV.
Baton Rouge, LA
The METAR indicates a dry runway, winds of 9 knots from the east, and a temperature around 87.
10/7/2014:Yosemite National ParkForesta is at the west entrance to the park, just east of El Portal.
The flights reportedly departed the airport [9G0] less than five miles south of KBUF, flew east toward Alden, then returned.
Liberty Township, OH
Excerpt: One home is now uninhabitable – the left side of the family’s house torn open from the crash. The other’s vinyl paneling was warped from the extreme heat of the blaze. A woman and her children, who were in the first home when the crash happened, were not hurt. The crash was first reported at about 8:55 a.m. near Sunrise View Circle. The two-seat aerobatic biplane clipped the home and slid sideways into a backyard, feet away from the yellow-plastic swings of a steel playground. When fire crews arrived to the burning wreckage, the men inside the aircraft were already dead….
Erie, COAirport elevation: 5,119′. METAR weather was reported clear, temperature 51, winds 7- to 9-knots out of the southeast. Gusts in excess of 20-knots developed in the next hour.
Atlantic Ocean (east of Maryland) The flight appeared to make a normal climb to FL210, then proceeded direct to Manassas [KHEF] but kept on flying eastbound. Stepped-down altitudes enroute suggest the pilot lost consciousness while level at 13,000′. Fuel exhaustion at around 3:10PM EDT (times on the graph are CDT).
Mt. Pleasant, SC
The nearest reported weather airport is Chariton, IA [KCNC]. Reports show steady weather (wind, temperature, altimeter) but low broken cloud layers, mist, and light drizzle during the hour before and after the reported crash time.
|Time – Temp – Dew – Wind (Dir/Spd) – Visibility – WX – Cloud layers – Altimeter|
|09 Aug 12:35 pm CDT 72 66 E 7 9.00 OVC012 30.07|
|09 Aug 12:55 pm CDT 72 66 E 5 9.00 OVC013 30.07|
|09 Aug 1:15 pm CDT 72 66 E 9 9.00 OVC013 30.07|
|09 Aug 1:35 pm CDT 70 68 ENE 7 4.00 BR SCT008 OVC013 30.07|
|09 Aug 1:55 pm CDT 70 66 E 7 6.00 BR SCT009 BKN014 OVC021 30.07|
|09 Aug 2:15 pm CDT 70 68 NE 6 3.00 BR BKN015 OVC021 30.07|
|09 Aug 2:35 pm CDT 70 68 NE 5 1.50 -DZ BKN015 BKN022 30.07|
|09 Aug 2:55 pm CDT 70 68 NE 5 3.00 BR BKN018 30.06|
The 1:35PM observation, 15-minutes before the reported accident time, showed 4-miles visibility, mist, clouds 800′ scattered an 1,300′ overcast; ripe conditions for pilot disorientation during an approach, or unintentional entry into clouds.
San Diego, CA
Logan County, OHThe flight was apparently a $50,000 tree trimming contract, operated by Rotor Blade, based in Georgetown, SC. A local news article produced the day before the crash noted the helicopter operated at roughly 100-feet above ground level (AGL), suspending the long set of spinning blades 80-feet below. This helicopter accident is yet another example of dangerous misapplication of helicopters at altitude/speed combinations that are to be avoided according to the manufacturer. Just like with cherry-drying accidents (see 7/23/2014), FAA and NTSB have done nothing to stop these dangerous helicopter uses. See also the aiREFORM page regarding Height/Velocity diagrams.
Bluffton, OHThe flight profile at FlightAware shows a steady climb to 15,000′, a cruise there for 15-minutes, then a steady descent. The last data point was at 3,600′ altitude, more than 2,500′ above airport level. The turn to the east is appropriate for landing southwest at 5G7, but the turn extending so far east before disappearing appears unusual.
Lake Placid, NY
North Captiva Island, FLThe private strip measures only 1,800′ by 100′ wide and is turf, for use by local residents. The island is accessible only by airplane or boat, yet has quite a few homes. The weather at the time of the accident included passing thunderstorms (airport approximately at center of the added purple circle).
Summerfield Township, MI
Fall City, WA
Saluda, VAA woman who witnessed the crash and aided in the rescue said this: “One of the guys was lifting up the part of the plane and another guy was trying to pull a lady out. And I got under and helped untangle her head, I don’t know if it was the seat belt or something, and helped pull her out. The pilot was already gone. I guess he died on impact.”
Lake Elsinore, CA
The crash site is less than a mile southeast of the Chicago Skydive Airport [N82]. It appears that at some skydive airports, powered parachute rides are offered to some who may not quite want to use a parachute. It is not clear how FAA regulates the safety of these commercial flights.
East Patchogue, NY
The weather was a quarter-mile visibility with fog and low ceilings (variable, decreasing from 200′ down to 100′). Any engine failure would have forced a blind landing.
|13 Jun 8:56 am EDT||64||63||E||5||0.25||FG||VV002||29.84|
|13 Jun 8:42 am EDT||63||63||E||6||0.25||FG||OVC001||29.85|
|13 Jun 8:15 am EDT||63||63||E||7||0.25||FG||OVC002||29.85|
|13 Jun 7:56 am EDT||63||62||E||7||0.50||FG||OVC002||29.85|
The deceased had flown down the afternoon before to celebrate his father David’s 99th birthday; David is the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller.
Daytona Beach, FL
Merritt Island, FL
Middletown, OH A TV news video about the story had footage showing how the parachute operation was configured. It appears the twin-engine aircraft parks at the end of a shade tunnel to the main building. Note that, in this particular screen capture, the right prop (small orange circle) is clearly not spinning, but it appears the left prop — closest to the shade tunnel — is spinning. This seems like a risky practice; if an operator needs to keep one prop running while people are walking around the aircraft, shouldn’t it be the one furthest from where people will walk? And, to spin a prop at the end of a designated walking lane … sure looks like an accident waiting to happen.
The airport, KFTG, does not have weather reporting during the overnight hours. The closest METARs are at KDEN, 8-miles to the northwest, showing developing low clouds and mist (BR) even before midnight. The best weather at KDEN was less than VMC. The weather sequence did show slight improvement starting around midnight, before declined again starting with the 1:53AM observation. By 4:26AM, it became very thick (visibility 1/16th-mile, indefinite ceiling 100-feet in fog). Instrument weather (visibility, then condition, then ceiling) is marked in red below.
|KDEN 11:59 pm MDT 56 54 CALM 2.50 BR OVC002 30.19|
|KDEN 12:27 am MDT 55 53 SSE 3 6.00 BR SCT002 BKN005 30.19|
|KDEN 12:53 am MDT 55 53 SSW 3 10.00 SCT002 BKN005 OVC008 30.18|
|KDEN 1:53 am MDT 56 53 WSW 9 7.00 OVC005 30.17|
|KDEN 2:53 am MDT 53 51 SSW 5 4.00 BR OVC005 30.15|
|KDEN 3:06 am MDT 52 51 SSE 3 1.75 BR OVC005 30.15|
|KDEN 3:12 am MDT 52 51 SSE 3 0.50 FG OVC005 30.15|
|KDEN 3:23 am MDT 52 51 CALM 1.50 BR BCFG FEW000 BKN005 30.15|
|KDEN 3:33 am MDT 52 51 SSE 5 0.75 BR VV004 30.14|
|KDEN 3:43 am MDT 51 50 ESE 5 0.25 FG VV004 30.14|
|KDEN 3:53 am MDT 50 48 SE 7 0.25 FG VV004 30.14|
|KDEN 4:26 am MDT 53 52 SSE 5 0.06 FG VV001 30.14|
Atlanta, GA The weather sequence showed consistent west winds. Given the role of the wind as reported, it appears ATC and/or the pilot had requested use of the longest runway, either as RY03 or RY21 (measuring 6,000ft long x 100ft wide).
|KPDK 162053Z 29013G20KT 10SM FEW070 19/02 A3004 AO2|
|KPDK 162153Z 27017G25KT 10SM CLR 19/01 A3006 AO2|
|KPDK 162222Z 29017G21KT 10SM FEW075 19/01 A3006 AO2|
|KPDK 162253Z 29012KT 10SM FEW070 18/01 A3008 AO2|
|KPDK 162353Z 30007KT 10SM CLR 17/M01 A3010 AO2|
Atlantic City, NJ
METARs show fog and visibility at a half-mile at the time of the accident:
|METAR KACY 092354Z 09005KT 1/4SM FG VV002 15/15 A3003 AO2|
|SPECI KACY 100035Z 00000KT 1/2SM FG VV002 15/15 A3003 AO2|
|KACY 100054Z 09004KT 1/2SM FG VV002 15/15 A3003 AO2|
|KACY 100154Z 00000KT 1/2SM FG VV003 14/14 A3003 AO2|
|SPECI KACY 100221Z 09004KT 1/4SM FG VV002 14/14 A3001 AO2|
Bethel, AK — NTSB’s included this: “…the accident airplane was transmitting data for the accident flight, and the airplane was flying at an altitude of approximately 3,400 feet mean seal level (msl) when a fluctuation in altitude, followed by an initial upset occurred. The airplane continued a rapid and steep descent until ground impact. A detailed NTSB analysis of the ADS-B data is pending….” The crash site was at 75′ MSL elevation. Weather was clear and 19°F.
News reports note that the impact caused the closure of McMullen Booth Road between Union and Enterprise streets. Weather was no factor: KPIE 220753Z AUTO 13005KT 10SM CLR 19/16 A3001
An article at 9news.com questions whether the pilot was doing low altitude maneuvers to ‘show off’. Comments discuss the hazards of losing an engine on light twins. Also, some video of the low-altitude circling is posted.
Carson City, NV
Crash debris, including the engine, was found scattered on the forested hillside. [article]
Below is a copy from NOAA.gov, with the sequence of weather observations (METAR). It shows clouds burned off and light winds intensified and became gusty, roughly an hour before the accident. Wind direction was closely aligned to Runway 03, so crosswinds do not appear to be an issue. Times at Lanai are 10-hours behind Greenwich (UTC), thus a 2100 Lanai incident on the 26th happened at 0700 on the 27th (UTC time). [link to AirNav page for PHNY]
Early news details and other online information (automated weather observations, airport information, etc.) was analyzed by aiREFORM. It appears that this may have been a classic example of a pilot facing rapidly changing weather, then rushing a takeoff decision. The Analysis suggests he took off into marginal conditions, and with a tailwind.
Weather was clear and calm. Official sunset was at 6:20PM, and the moon was 71% illuminated and high in the sky (near its meridian passage). The airport data lists trees as a hazard.
This accident happened at [KJWN]. The weather sequence at the time for the larger Nashville airport [KBNA] was: KBNA 032253Z 06008KT 5SM BR OVC009 00/M03 A3028 Translation: at 10:53pm, winds 060 at 8 knots, visibility 5 statute miles with mist, a 900 foot overcast ceiling, temperature right at freezing and dewpoint minus 3 degrees Celsius, altimeter 30.28. Icing would be quite possible.
Aspen, CO The jet inverted during the crash, and exploded in flames. The 54-yr-old co-pilot was killed; the pilot and a dead-heading pilot were both seriously injured. Celebs at the Aspen Airport watched and tweeted.