Aviation Stories and Aviation News

FYI: Aviation Accidents

On March 26, 2018, about 1053 Pacific daylight time, a Mooney M20E was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from runway 29 at Marina Municipal Airport (OAR), Marina, California. The private pilot/owner received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The airplane was based at Watsonville Municipal Airport (WVI), Watsonville, California. According to WVI operations personnel, about 0954 on the morning of the accident, the pilot parked his car just outside the Airport Operations Office, and came into the office to request a fuel topoff in his airplane, which was in his hangar there. The Operations Supervisor noticed that the pilot’s ability to walk had significantly deteriorated since he last saw the pilot a few months prior, but that the pilot appeared to be in good spirits. Shortly thereafter, the fuel truck pumped 25.4 gallons into the airplane. WVI surveillance cameras recorded the airplane-taking runway 20 for departure at 1035:54 PDT. No radio communications to or from the airplane were recorded either at WVI or OAR, which is located about 15 miles south of WVI.

One witness at OAR, who was located approximately midfield, reported that he saw the airplane lift off, and that the landing gear immediately retracted after breaking ground. He and two other witnesses all reported that they observed the airplane begin an unusually steep climb in an unusually high airplane-nose-up attitude. The airplane then pitched over to an approximately level attitude, and then began to yaw to the left. As it did so, the nose and left wing dropped. At this point in the flight, the airplane entered, via the upper frame edge, the field of view of a surveillance camera that was mounted on a building near the southwest corner of the airport. The left wing was the first item to appear in the frame. At that point the airplane appeared to be on a heading of about 160°, with about a 15° nose down pitch attitude, and in a descending flight path. The airplane continued to yaw left, the pitch attitude continued to decrease, and the trajectory became increasingly steep. By the time the airplane was about 3 airplane lengths above the ground, the pitch attitude was nearly vertical nose down, the top of the airplane was facing the runway 11 threshold, and the trajectory was near vertical. The airplane struck the ground in a near-vertical nose down attitude, fell back onto its underside, and a fire began immediately. The impact site was located just southwest of the intersection of runway 29 and taxiway C, offset about 300 feet from the runway centerline. The vertical distance from the top of the image frame to the impact point was about 10 airplane lengths, or about 230 feet.

Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the bulk of the cockpit and cabin, and their contents, were consumed by fire. The wreckage was recovered to a secure facility for subsequent detailed examination.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an instrument-airplane rating. Review of his logbook revealed that he had a total flight experience of about 2,650 hours. He ceased flying in mid 2014 due to a family illness, and resumed in August 2017. The logbook indicated that he had accrued about 22.6 hours since then, all of which were in the accident airplane. The first 7.1 of those hours were dual instruction with a certified flight instructor.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1965, and was equipped with a Lycoming IO-360 series engine. The pilot purchased the airplane in 1990, and had kept it hangared at WVI since 1999. Maintenance records indicated that the most recent annual inspection was completed on September 22, 2017. As of that date, the airplane had a total time (TT) in service of about 3,517 hours, and the engine had a TT of about 792 hours.

The 1054 automated weather observation at Monterey Regional Airport (MRY), Monterey, California, located 7 miles southwest of OAR, included winds from 110°

How to buy the right airplane!

by Bob Worthington

 

Let me begin by stating that there is no single “RIGHT” airplane for almost anyone. Even if having all the money in the world, I doubt if one could buy the perfect plane that is able to accomplish every single mission flown. Most pilots have constraints and limitations that automatically place restrictions on what we can purchase, for most of us, our chief limitation is financial; we don’t have an unlimited supply of cash available for a plane.
But there are other wants, needs, and limitations we must consider. Buying an airplane concerns more than just selecting what you want. Pilot certification and ratings must be considered, where will it be kept, insurance, operation costs and who will be flying with you. Another concern is maintenance; where will it be done and availability of spare parts. In the selection process, you must be prepared to compromise. This usually begins with why you want a plane, what you expect it to do, and what you can afford.

In the 40 plus years of being a pilot, I have owned 9 planes. Four Cessnas, three Mooneys, one Grumman, and one American General. One was new, and the rest were used from 2 to 42 years old. All were compromises between what I wanted, what I needed, what equipment I wanted, and what was available within my price range. Sometimes the amount of money you are willing to spend is not related to what you could spend, but what you are willing to spend.

I had an airplane down for a major rebuild after a collapsed gear. I lived in NM, but the plane was being repaired in AL. I knew I would never fly that plane again, so I would sell it. After being fixed I calculated I could sell it and walk away with $85,000 cash. I arranged an $85,000 line of credit to be paid upon selling my rebuilt plane. I needed a plane but did not to spend any more of my cash. I found and bought a 42-year-old C-182, equipped as I wanted, for $80,000. Six months later, I sold the repaired plane, paying the loan.

All planes I purchased had to be equipped to accomplish my stated missions. Most of my flights were extended IFR cross-country trips. Thus, the plane had to be IFR equipped and have an auto-pilot with altitude hold. Hand-flying 2000 miles in extreme weather is not fun. Most trips included my wife, taking a couple weeks, so we needed baggage capacity. What the plane looked like (inside or out) was of little concern but how the plane operated was. Each time I changed planes, it was for a specific need, which the current plane couldn’t provide.
Flying my first plane, a 172, returning from an 800-mile trip, fighting stiff headwinds. my wife commented on our speed, asking if we could fly faster. In less than 3 weeks I had an almost new 182. The 182 was replaced by a Mooney 231 because it could fly faster and higher for long IFR trips.

In the mid-1980s my career changed from business professor and consultant to full-time non-fiction writer, doing many motorcycle and 4WD articles, flying less. Writing magazine articles reduced my income, considerably, so I sold the Mooney and joined a local flying club. But flying a rental plane doesn’t compare to flying one’s own plane, and I missed teaching. So…. I returned to the university, but this time as a journalism professor, teaching writing.
Then fate intervened, a student with a very unhealthy driving record, smashed into my motorcycle, and me. My left arm was almost chopped off and my left leg was destroyed. My arm was reassembled, but not my leg. Recovery took 9 months and because of my damaged left leg, I couldn’t walk without crutches or a cane. But, a pilot doesn’t need to walk to be able to fly. I received an extensive checkout by a CFII and passed my flight physical so was able to fly again.

I wanted my own plane again, for long distance flying. In ’91 I bought a used, IFR Grumman Tiger. Cross-country trips were interesting, after landing and parking, I would exit, grab crutches and amble away, with on-lookers staring, open mouthed. My disabled leg was deteriorating, needing to be completely rebuilt.

Not knowing the outcome of the procedure, I sold my Tiger before the operation. But the rebuilt was perfect and I could walk again, unaided. I needed another plane. Several months before the operation I test flew a brand-new 1992 American General Tiger. The article compared the new Tiger to my old Tiger. The new Tiger was for sale, so I bought it. The first year, I flew over 500 hours. Yeah, I missed flying.

On a winter trip from Reno, NV back home to NM, I departed IFR to get above the clouds. Unfortunately, we had to climb quickly to our enroute altitude but couldn’t. Luckily, no one else was around so departure let us arrive late. While both Tigers were a lot of fun, our increased demand for IFR flying and a need to fly faster led to selling the Tiger.

As an aside, buying a new plane should avoid expensive maintenance. Not true. Several months after purchase the FAA found a problem with the wings. On some new Tigers, where the wings joined the fuselage, the connection was loose requiring expensive wing removal for repair. My Tiger was one, but still under warranty. Shortly after learning my Tiger needed repairing, the Tiger manufacturer went bankrupt, terminating my warranty.
Next was a Mooney 201, not quite as fast as the 231, but it was faster and more powerful than the Tiger. Eighteen months later, on climb-out in West Texas, the newly rebuilt engine quit, so I made an unscheduled, off-airport landing, totaling the plane but my wife and I walked away.

Needing a plane, I bought an excellent 17-year-old, IFR equipped Mooney we flew for 9 years, the longest we owned an airplane. Trips took us to Canada, Alaska, and the Bahamas. By the mid-2000s, age got the best of us. Almost 70 with injuries due to combat wounds, parachute jumps ending badly, and motorcycle mishaps, getting in and out of the Mooney became difficult. Speed was desired but being easier to enter and exit was necessary.
We traded the 231 for a completely rebuilt (to my specifications), 24-year-old 182 RG. This plane performed perfectly until April 2013, when, after landing at Birmingham, AL, while taxiing, the nose gear collapsed. After several months of renting a plane, I bought another 182, which was described in the beginning of this column. That airplane was sold in 2016 to a pilot who needed a plane for a 1200-mile weekly commute to work.

Buying a plane almost always involves compromise. I try to locate a plane within 600 miles of where I live. I decide what is important (engine time and IFR equipment) and what isn’t (how it looks). I limit my search to what I am willing to pay, what I need/want, and what the market bears. My favorite plane has always been the one currently owned. I have never been dissatisfied with any purchase and never felt remorse for any plane I sold. The key to getting a good plane is to set limitations (compromises) and do your research. Obtain a good pre-buy inspection and learn how to evaluate the plane’s logbooks, taking the time needed to understand the history of the plane. I have bought airplanes with damage histories or missing log books. But the damage or absent logbooks were ancient history, as either the plane had flown successfully for years or most of the vital parts of the plane (such as engine) had long been replaced. Therefore, what had happened or was missing, was no longer a factor.
Finding and buying my “right” plane has always been fun and exciting, and following my rules, I have never regretted any buy.

Buying the right airplane

By Bob Worthington

 

Let me begin by stating that there is no single “RIGHT” airplane for almost anyone. Even if having all the money in the world, I doubt if one could buy the perfect plane that is able to accomplish every single mission flown. Most pilots have constraints and limitations that automatically place restrictions on what we can purchase, for most of us, our chief limitation is financial; we don’t have an unlimited supply of cash available for a plane.

But there are other wants, needs, and limitations we must consider. Buying an airplane concerns more than just selecting what you want. Pilot certification and ratings must be considered, where will it be kept, insurance, operation costs and who will be flying with you. Another concern is maintenance; where will it be done and availability of spare parts. In the selection process, you must be prepared to compromise. This usually begins with why you want a plane, what you expect it to do, and what you can afford.

In the 40 plus years of being a pilot, I have owned 9 planes. Four Cessnas, three Mooneys, one Grumman, and one American General. One was new, and the rest were used from 2 to 42 years old. All were compromises between what I wanted, what I needed, what equipment I wanted, and what was available within my price range. Sometimes the amount of money you are willing to spend is not related to what you could spend, but what you are willing to spend.

I had an airplane down for a major rebuild after a collapsed gear. I lived in NM, but the plane was being repaired in AL. I knew I would never fly that plane again, so I would sell it. After being fixed I calculated I could sell it and walk away with $85,000 cash. I arranged an $85,000 line of credit to be paid upon selling my rebuilt plane. I needed a plane but did not to spend any more of my cash. I found and bought a 42-year-old C-182, equipped as I wanted, for $80,000. Six months later, I sold the repaired plane, paying the loan.

All planes I purchased had to be equipped to accomplish my stated missions. Most of my flights were extended IFR cross-country trips. Thus, the plane had to be IFR equipped and have an auto-pilot with altitude hold. Hand-flying 2000 miles in extreme weather is not fun. Most trips included my wife, taking a couple weeks, so we needed baggage capacity. What the plane looked like (inside or out) was of little concern but how the plane operated was. Each time I changed planes, it was for a specific need, which the current plane couldn’t provide.

Flying my first plane, a 172, returning from an 800-mile trip, fighting stiff headwinds. my wife commented on our speed, asking if we could fly faster. In less than 3 weeks I had an almost new 182. The 182 was replaced by a Mooney 231 because it could fly faster and higher for long IFR trips.

In the mid-1980s my career changed from business professor and consultant to full-time non-fiction writer, doing many motorcycle and 4WD articles, flying less. Writing magazine articles reduced my income, considerably, so I sold the Mooney and joined a local flying club. But flying a rental plane doesn’t compare to flying one’s own plane, and I missed teaching. So…. I returned to the university, but this time as a journalism professor, teaching writing.
Then fate intervened, a student with a very unhealthy driving record, smashed into my motorcycle, and me. My left arm was almost chopped off and my left leg was destroyed. My arm was reassembled, but not my leg. Recovery took 9 months and because of my damaged left leg, I couldn’t walk without crutches or a cane. But, a pilot doesn’t need to walk to be able to fly. I received an extensive checkout by a CFII and passed my flight physical so was able to fly again.
I wanted my own plane again, for long distance flying. In ’91 I bought a used, IFR Grumman Tiger. Cross-country trips were interesting, after landing and parking, I would exit, grab crutches and amble away, with on-lookers staring, open mouthed. My disabled leg was deteriorating, needing to be completely rebuilt.
Not knowing the outcome of the procedure, I sold my Tiger before the operation. But the rebuilt was perfect and I could walk again, unaided. I needed another plane. Several months before the operation I test flew a brand-new 1992 American General Tiger. The article compared the new Tiger to my old Tiger. The new Tiger was for sale, so I bought it. The first year, I flew over 500 hours. Yeah, I missed flying.
On a winter trip from Reno, NV back home to NM, I departed IFR to get above the clouds. Unfortunately, we had to climb quickly to our enroute altitude but couldn’t. Luckily, no one else was around so departure let us arrive late. While both Tigers were a lot of fun, our increased demand for IFR flying and a need to fly faster led to selling the Tiger.
As an aside, buying a new plane should avoid expensive maintenance. Not true. Several months after purchase the FAA found a problem with the wings. On some new Tigers, where the wings joined the fuselage, the connection was loose requiring expensive wing removal for repair. My Tiger was one, but still under warranty. Shortly after learning my Tiger needed repairing, the Tiger manufacturer went bankrupt, terminating my warranty.
Next was a Mooney 201, not quite as fast as the 231, but it was faster and more powerful than the Tiger. Eighteen months later, on climb-out in West Texas, the newly rebuilt engine quit, so I made an unscheduled, off-airport landing, totaling the plane but my wife and I walked away.
Needing a plane, I bought an excellent 17-year-old, IFR equipped Mooney we flew for 9 years, the longest we owned an airplane. Trips took us to Canada, Alaska, and the Bahamas. By the mid-2000s, age got the best of us. Almost 70 with injuries due to combat wounds, parachute jumps ending badly, and motorcycle mishaps, getting in and out of the Mooney became difficult. Speed was desired but being easier to enter and exit was necessary.
We traded the 231 for a completely rebuilt (to my specifications), 24-year-old 182 RG. This plane performed perfectly until April 2013, when, after landing at Birmingham, AL, while taxiing, the nose gear collapsed. After several months of renting a plane, I bought another 182, which was described in the beginning of this column. That airplane was sold in 2016 to a pilot who needed a plane for a 1200-mile weekly commute to work.
Buying a plane almost always involves compromise. I try to locate a plane within 600 miles of where I live. I decide what is important (engine time and IFR equipment) and what isn’t (how it looks). I limit my search to what I am willing to pay, what I need/want, and what the market bears. My favorite plane has always been the one currently owned. I have never been dissatisfied with any purchase and never felt remorse for any plane I sold. The key to getting a good plane is to set limitations (compromises) and do your research. Obtain a good pre-buy inspection and learn how to evaluate the plane’s logbooks, taking the time needed to understand the history of the plane. I have bought airplanes with damage histories or missing log books. But the damage or absent logbooks were ancient history, as either the plane had flown successfully for years or most of the vital parts of the plane (such as engine) had long been replaced. Therefore, what had happened or was missing, was no longer a factor.
Finding and buying my “right” plane has always been fun and exciting, and following my rules, I have never regretted any buy.

FYI: Accident Report

On March 31, 2018, about 1408 Pacific daylight time, an experimental amateur built RV6A was destroyed when it impacted terrain near the Santa Paula Airport (SZP), Santa Paula, California. The private pilot and pilot rated passenger sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Rosamond, California, at an undetermined time with a reported destination of SZP.

Witnesses located adjacent to the accident site and at SZP reported observing the accident airplane on the downwind leg for runway 22. As the airplane neared an area where a turn to the base leg would be performed, the airplane entered a steep left turn, followed by a subsequent spin and descent into the ground. Shortly after impact, a post crash fire ensued.

ntsb
Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted trees and terrain about 0.7 miles east-southeast of SZP. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the 30-foot long wreckage debris path. The airplane came to rest upright on a heading of about 043 degrees magnetic. A majority of the right wing and center section of the fuselage were mostly consumed by fire.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys

by Pierre J. Moeser, MD

Recently, I gave a presentation to the St. Louis Chapter of the Missouri Pilots Association (MPA). The topic was “Emergency Landings Due to Engine Failure.” After the lecture and to my surprise, two pilots (names withheld) admitted to me that they had found themselves in engine trouble while airborne due to their own negligence. In one instance, the pilot did not maintain his airplane properly and in the second case, the pilot did not manage his fuel situation.
While I listened to these two admissions of guilt, the theme song from the TV show “Cops” played in the back of my mind.
Bad boys, bad boys,
Whatcha gonna do,
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
The problem with an airplane accident is that who “comes for you” is often not the NTSB nor the FAA. It is APS Ambulance Service, Baue Funeral Home, your next of kin, etc.

How do we get ourselves into such situations that could have been prevented? Often, the answer is one of the Five Hazardous Attitudes. To review, the Hazardous Attitudes are:

1. Anti-Authority: regarding rules and procedures as unnecessary.
2. Impulsivity: the need to do something immediately without considering alternatives.
3. Invulnerability: the belief that accidents only happen to others.
4. Macho: attempting to prove superiority to others by taking risks.
5. Resignation: the belief that the outcome of any event is simply a matter of chance.

Let’s look closely at one the most common hazardous attitudes, Invulnerability, and the mathematics behind the flawed thinking of “it will never happen to me.”
The reality is that aviation accidents sometimes end in death. The preliminary FAA estimate for the year 2017 is a general aviation (GA) fatal accident rate of 0.84/100,000 hours flown. This accounts for 209 fatal accidents with 347 fatalities. You may calculate your risk of dying in a GA accident by multiplying the hours you fly in a year by 0.84/100,000. If you fly around 10 hours per month, your fatality risk is only 0.1%. Not bad, you think. However, for an aviator included in that 0.1%, the fatality rate is 100%. Unless the fatality rate is zero, someone will perish.

So, how do we improve our odds? Preparation, evaluation, and practice. We must prepare and evaluate ourselves as pilots overall, and at the time of every flight. The same evaluation applies each and every time to the aircraft that we fly. We need to know the flight environment for every flight. External pressures must always be calculated.

Bonus points for those of you who recognized the Personal Minimums Checklist known as PAVE (Pilot, Aircraft, enVironment, External pressures). More on that checklist in a later article.

Missouri Wing Commander

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. –  Chief Master Sgt. Robert M. Dandridge of the Missouri Wing will be Civil Air Patrol’s next national command chief.

Maj. Gen. Mark Smith, CAP’s national commander and CEO, announced the appointment Wednesday.

As national command chief, Dandridge will head CAP’s noncommissioned officer, or NCO, corps, which has about 200 members.

In his new post, he’ll serve as a representative to the national commander, participating in the decision making process, as appropriate, on technical, operational and organizational issues. He will be responsible for reviewing U.S. Air Force, CAP-USAF and CAP wing instructions and policies and providing input and recommending changes for those instructions and policies affecting CAP members.

“I have confidence that Chief Master Sgt. Dandridge will excel in this position,” said Smith. “He had a distinguished 30-plus year career in the Air Force, which included service as the command chief to multiple installations throughout the United Kingdom and Norway, combatant command first sergeant to the U.S. Transportation Command and inspector expertise to a major command. In CAP, his assignments have included serving as the command chief for both the Illinois and Missouri wings.”

Dandridge retired from the Air Force in 2008 as a command chief master sergeant, following three decades of distinguished service, much of it abroad. He joined CAP in 2004 and has served as the Missouri Wing chief master sergeant since 2016. Previously, he served as the Illinois Wing’s chief master sergeant, handling a variety of assignments from 2012-2016.

“With the inherent diversity of Civil Air Patrol and military, I have developed excellent managerial and human resources techniques with which to best deal with a diverse volunteer workforce,” said Dandridge. “The subjects of employee and volunteer satisfaction and developing a positive workplace climate are two of my strongest suits, as well as exhibiting and living the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary core values.”

Dandridge said he looks forward to working with members of CAP’s NCO corps. “I believe our great cadets and officers should have the opportunity to witness NCOs in both categories of cadet and senior membership,” he said.

Dandridge replaces Chief Master Sgt. Dennis H. Orcutt Jr., who has served as national command chief for nearly a year. He is stepping down because of personal and professional obligations.

Aeroshel Aerobatic Team

SHELL AVIATION AND THE AEROSHELL AEROBATIC TEAM CONTINUE PARTNERSHIP
London, United Kingdom –- Shell Aviation today announces that it is has extended its partnership with the AeroShell Aerobatic Team for a further three years. Shell Aviation’s AeroShell Lubricants has been the proud sponsor of the aerobatic display team since 2003, with the pilots relying on the protection that the company’s range of high-quality engine oils and greases provide.

Asked about the re-signing, Team Lead, Mark Henley said: “We are thrilled to have AeroShell on board as our co-pilot for the next three years and we look forward to continuing this strong partnership. As our primary sponsor, AeroShell has been integral in helping the team grow and continue to perform at the high-level our fans expect. I have said this before, but when we fly wing tip to wing tip, there is no other oil I would trust.”
Members (in photo) of the Shell Aviation Lubricants Team and AeroShell Aerobatic Team celebrate the signing of the new agreement in Tallulah, Louisiana. From left to right: Jon Stoy, General Aviation Manager, and Rodney Eckert, Marketing Manager, from Shell Aviation Lubricants, with Mark Henley, Team Lead, Jimmy Fordham, Slot, and Steve Gustafson, Left Wing, from the AeroShell Aerobatic Team.Team, they have performed at hundreds of air shows across North America in their AT-6 Texan Aircraft, which can reach a max speed of 212mph.

With routines that see them make spectacular manoeuvres, the Team rely on the protection provided by AeroShell lubricants’ line-up of high-quality piston engine oils and greases that meet and exceed the high-temperature, high-RPM demands these pilots put on their aircraft.

Heber City Airport Rebranding

HEBER CITY, Utah – Heber City announced the rebranding of the city’s municipal airport with a new logo that parallels the recently refreshed branding of Heber City, while providing an individual identity for the well-established airport. As part of the branding process, the airport’s name was simplified from the Heber City Municipal Airport to Heber Valley Airport in a nod to the airport’s origins when founded as Heber Valley Airport.
The new airport logo features the silhouette of a vintage 1945 P-51 Mustang aircraft flying over the distinctive Timpanogos mountain range. The iconic plane was chosen to reflect the airport’s heritage of serving the aviation needs of the Wasatch Back region since 1947. The aircraft is also an homage to airport co-founder Russ McDonald, who owned and based a P-51, Mustang at Heber Valley Airport.
“Legacy is important to people here and the airport is dedicated to the memory of one of the airport founders, Russ McDonald,” noted Denis Godfrey, Airport Manager.  “For years the Heber Valley was thrilled by the sight and sound of Captain McDonald in his legendary P-51 Mustang of World War II fame. The airfield is named ‘Russ McDonald Field’ to honor him and the spirit of flight above the Wasatch Range, and the new logo echoes that honor.”
The branding links airport operations to Heber City, sponsor of the airport, through usage of the same color palette and fonts, the horizontal “tracks” that frame the words, “Heber Valley”, and the inclusion of Mt. Timpanogos, the strong and ever-present backdrop for both the airport and the town. The logo’s parallel tracks symbolize Heber Railroad, a historical feature of the area that has been turned into a modern attraction, drawing a connection to the past in one direction and the future in the other.
“This new logo resonated with members of the Airport Board, with graphics that simply convey the heritage of the airport, its place within the history of Heber City, and its role in the continued stability and growth of the region,” explained Godfrey. “The tag line, ‘Gateway to the Wasatch Back’, identifies Heber Valley Airport as a key portal to the area, facilitating transit, tourism, and commerce, and serving the cities, townships and unincorporated areas of the region.”
Heber Valley Airport will begin rolling out the new branding on stationery, signage, clothing and other materials beginning this month. T-shirts and other items will be available to locals and visiting pilots soon.
About Heber Valley Airport
Heber Valley Airport (FAA Identifier HCR) is a public use, municipally owned general aviation airport located one mile south of Heber City, Utah. It is a 40-minute drive from Salt Lake City and 20 minutes from Park City, Utah. With 76 aircraft storage hangars and a single 6900-foot long runway, the Heber Valley Airport serves a wide variety of aircraft from gliders to recreational aircraft to business jets. The airport hosts a wide variety of general aviation services such as aviation fuel, maintenance, primary to advanced flight training, and special events such as the Boy Scouts Aviation Merit Badge Encampment. Heber Valley Airport is home to the Commemorative Air Force – Utah Wing, a museum that is dedicated to preserving and sharing U.S. military aviation history.
Founded in 1947 the facility, originally known as Heber Valley Airport, was formed by a group of local residents led by veteran aviator Russ McDonald. The airfield started as a 3300-foot long dirt landing strip where World War II veterans learned to fly under the GI Bill. By the mid-1950’s the airport had transitioned to a general aviation airport with a full time fixed-base operator, offering fueling, parking, maintenance, flight instruction and related services for private aircraft. Today Heber Valley Airport is a preferred entry point for visitors to nearby Park City, UT and to destinations throughout Wasatch and Summit counties seeking to access the famed mountain recreation, and rich arts and cultural events such as the annual Sundance Film Festival, Heber Valley Western Music & Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and The Midway Swiss Days festival.

GPS Disruption for CA

There will be testing of the GPS signals over parts of CA during May starting on 4 May.  Be advised that the GPS signal will be far from accurate if flying in the testing area.

 

GO HERE FOR FAA NOTAM

 

FYI: ACCIDENT REPORTS

From the NTSB website on recent accidents.

On March 25, 2018, about 2137 Central Daylight Time, a Beech V35A was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Hydro, Oklahoma. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from Odessa Airport-Schlemeyer Field (ODO), Odessa, Texas, about 1947, and was destined for El Reno Regional Airport (RQO), El Reno, Oklahoma.

The pilot had departed his home airport, RQO, earlier in the day with the passenger and arrived at ODO about 1345. A line technician who worked at the ODO fixed-base operator (FBO) reported that he added 25 gallons of fuel to the airplane shortly after the arrival. According to another line technician, throughout the afternoon while the pilot was at the FBO, he requested that weather radar and satellite information be displayed on a large monitor, because he was “concerned with the clouds.”

Review of an audio recording from Austin, Texas, Leidos Flight Service, revealed that the pilot called for a weather briefing at 1806, about an hour and a half before his departure. The pilot informed the flight service specialist that he planned to complete a “VFR [visual flight rules] flight” from Odessa, Texas to El Reno, Oklahoma in about 30 minutes and it would be about a 2.5-hour flight. During the 11-minute call, the flight service specialist provided the pilot with numerous weather details pertaining to his flight.

The specialist informed the pilot that multiple Airmen’s Meteorological Information (AIRMET) reports affected his flight. The specialist stated that one AIRMET was for “IFR [instrument flight rules] right at your destination,” developing between 1900–2200, “shortly after you depart Odessa.” The pilot responded by stating that, “I don’t see it as a problem right now, the skies look, and I can see that things are changing out here, but things look to be VFR over here at Odessa right now.” The specialist responded by stating, “It’s not a problem at Odessa, this is about your destination.” He then asked the pilot, “can you go IFR if you need to?” The pilot responded by stating, “Yeah, I can if I need to.” The specialist and pilot continued their weather discussion for another 7 minutes, with the specialist providing current conditions, radar information, winds aloft, pilot reports, notices to airmen, and forecast conditions for the destination area.

Review of preliminary air traffic control audio provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot radioed the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZFW), at 2133, after being handed off from the Oklahoma City Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility. The pilot checked in with ZFW and when asked by the controller, what his intentions were, the pilot stated, “ok, my intentions are now, I’ve got myself out of the clouds, I’m back up on top here, I’m going to try to go out to the west and fly down underneath it.” The ZFW controller responded by asking where he wanted to fly out west, and where he was trying to get back. The pilot stated, “ok, I’m going to try to go out towards Hinton Oklahoma and I’ll try to get on the outskirts of this overcast and try to go underneath it, to go to El Reno [Oklahoma].” The ZFW controller responded by saying “all right sir,” and there were no further communications from the pilot.
Review of preliminary radar data provided by the FAA revealed that the airplane was headed toward the destination airport, RQO, and about 8 miles southwest, at 2125, the airplane turned north and then west toward the town of Hinton, Oklahoma. The airplane continued flying west, past Hinton, and then flew southwest. At 2134, the airplane was about 8 miles southeast of Weatherford, Oklahoma, flying at 3,850 ft. mean sea level (msl), continuing southwest. Subsequently, the radar track showed the airplane enters two left, descending, 360° spiral turns, leveling off about 2,200 ft. msl. The airplane then flew north, for about 20 seconds, with the last radar data point recording at 2137, showing the airplane flying at 2,125 ft. msl, headed 033°, with a 157-knot groundspeed. The last radar point was about 1/4-mile southwest of the accident site. Elevation at the destination airport is 1420 ft. msl.

According to a witness who was traveling in his car, southbound on a road about a 1/2-mile west of the accident site, about the time of the accident, he reported that he observed a “steady red light” and a “steady white light” travel over his car. He continued observing the lights out of his driver’s side window for about 10 to 15 seconds, looking eastward, as the lights continued to get lower in his field of view, and then suddenly, he observed a bright “yellow glow” ignite.
The airplane came to rest upright in a flat, open field, on a magnetic heading of 060°. The airplane sustained extensive impact damage, and evidence of a small post-impact fire was observed. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and flight control continuity was established for all flight controls to the cockpit area.
The airplane was equipped with five seats. The front two seats were found separated from the airframe in the debris field. One front seat lap belt was found buckled with its attached point stitching ripped on one side. The other front seat lap belt was found unbuckled, with one of its attach points stitching ripped. The number 5-passenger seat was the only seat that was found attached to the airframe. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses. The engine separated from the airframe and was found about 220 ft. forward of the main wreckage.

A review of the airplane’s maintenance records revealed, the most recent annual and 100-hour inspection was performed on December 21, 2017, at an airframe time of 3361.17, a tachometer time of 2559.17, and 887.6 hours since major engine overhaul. The tachometer was found in the debris field and it displayed 2583.17 hours.
According to FAA airmen records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land ratings, as well as instrument airplane. The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on January 18, 2018. At that time, the pilot reported civil flight experience that included 4,500 total hours and 2 hours in last 6 months.
A witness reported that at the time of the accident, it was windy, and it was a darker than normal night, as “the moon was not visible.” He reported that other than a farmhouse light, there were no other cars that past him near the time of the accident, the road was not lit, and the fields around the accident site were “pitch black.”

The weather conditions reported about the time of the accident at Thomas P. Stafford Airport (OJA), Weatherford, Oklahoma, which was located 8 miles northwest of the accident site, included an overcast cloud ceiling at 800 ft. above ground level, wind 120° at 11 knots, gusting 18 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, temperature 17°C, and dew point 16°C. The weather conditions at the destination airport RQO, about the time of the accident, included an overcast cloud ceiling at 800 ft. above ground level, wind 140° at 19 knots, gusting 25 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, temperature 18°C, and dew point 16°C.