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Aircraft Accidents and Aviation News 2012


Fort Lauderdale, Florida – December 31, 2012
Spirit Airlines Plane Clips Another Plane on Runway
A Spirit Airlines plane carrying 162 people clipped a U.S. Airways plane on New Year’s Eve. No one was injured in the runway incident, which occurred at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The Spirit Airlines Airbus A-320 plane was taxiing to its gate when its wing hit the U.S. Airways plane. A spokesman for U.S. Airways said their company’s plane was parked in an approved spot. The Spirit airplane has since been put back into service, but the U.S. Airways plane will be out of service to repair a damaged tail cone.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended in September that bigger aircraft have cameras installed in order for pilots to see the plane’s wings, which are occasionally hidden from view in the cockpit. The Daily Mail reports that there have been 12 similar incidents since 1993 involving a larger aircraft’s wing clipping another plane.

December 19, 2012
FAA Issues Directive on Gulfstream Jet Power Malfunction
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered a high-priority directive for inspections and potential repairs on hundreds of Gulfstream jets. The agency claims that numerous reports surrounding a problem with powering software that controls panels in the jets forced them to issue the safety directive. The move was announced to avoid the grounding of Gulfstream 350 and 450 models, both popular among consumers. The FAA order will take effect on Monday, and operators of both Gulfstream models will have three days to comply with the inspections.

The FAA stated that these glitches “can mislead cockpit crews by hiding latent defects and possibly causing uncontrolled movement of such panels, called horizontal stabilizers.” This can cause pilots to lose control of the aircraft while in the air. Gulfstream says that they are working on ways to improve the software. As of now, the software glitch is not believed to have been the cause of any crashes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the FAA order is not an emergency directive, though it is unusual considering the agency is requiring fixes to ensure safety “while avoiding the need to ground the fleet.” In total, the directive will affect 200 planes operating in the U.S.

December 18, 2012
Plane Crash in Arizona Kills Pilot
The pilot of a small plane was killed on Christmas day when his plane went down some 40 miles outside of Phoenix. Authorities are not certain when the Piper PA31 plane went down, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said radio contact with the plane was lost at around 5:30 p.m. somewhere in the Mazatzal Wilderness.

AZ Central is reporting that the pilot has been tentatively identified by officials as David Kappes. The Gila County Sheriff’s Office, with help from an Arizona Department of Public Safety helicopter, found the crash site on Wednesday. At this time, it is unknown what caused the small plane to go down. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Rochelle, Illinois – December 10, 2012
Medical Helicopter Crashes in Illinois, Killing Three
A medical helicopter crashed on Monday in a northern Illinois field, killing all three people onboard. The crash killed 65-year-old pilot Andy Oleson, along with flight nurses Karen Hollis, 48, and Jim Dillow, 40. Authorities say the Eurocopter BK117 helicopter, operated by medical helicopter contractor Air Methods Corp., went down at approximately 8:30 p.m near Rochelle. The chopper was heading to a Mendota hospital to pick up a patient. WREX reports that both the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be investigating the fatal helicopter crash.

Roosevelt Lake, Arizona – December 7, 2012
Three Injured in Roosevelt Lake Robinson Helicopter Crash
A Robinson R44 helicopter went down in Arizona on Friday, injuring all three people onboard. The helicopter crash occurred in the afternoon at Roosevelt Lake, which is northeast of Phoenix.

Witnesses say the helicopter crashed in about 60 feet of water, and boaters nearby rescued 62-year-old pilot Fred Cleeves, 64-year-old George Riedel and 49-year-old Julie Barba as the chopper was sinking. All three were airlifted to a nearby hospital. According to AZ Family, Cleeves and Riedel were released over the weekend and Barba is still currently in the hospital. The Robinson helicopter accident is being investigated.

Greensburg, Indiana – December 2, 2012
Small Plane Crash Kills Four

A small plane carrying four people crashed Sunday evening as it was approaching Greensburg Municipal Airport. Everyone onboard was killed. The single engine Piper airplane crashed at around 6:15 p.m. Authorities said the plane was cleared for landing but it never arrived at the airport. The wreckage was found at about 10:45 p.m. in a farm field roughly a mile south of the airport. reports that the identities of the victims have not been released. An investigation is underway.

Owls Head, Maine – November 16, 2012
Small Plane Crashes After Runway Mishap with Truck
Three people were killed early Saturday evening after a small plane hit a pickup truck during takeoff and crashed just outside of Knox County Regional Airport. The Cessna 172 hit the right front end of the truck as it was taking off at the small airport at around 4:45 p.m. The plane then continued to climb to about 150 feet before it veered off and crashed into a wooded area, bursting into flames.

Killed in the crash were William Hannigan III, David Cheney and Marcelo Rugini. The driver of the pickup truck was not injured. Two of the men were students at University of Maine and one was a 2011 graduate.

According to the Kennebec Journal, vehicles travelling on the runway at Knox are commonplace and there is no watchtower at the airport to monitor planes and vehicles. Both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the crash.

Denver, Colorado – November 10, 2012
Southwest Jet Skids Off Runway
A Southwest plane slid off a frozen runway on Saturday after landing at Denver International Airport at around 5:00 p.m. No injuries were reported in the runway incident. Passengers stated that it seemed the plane was carrying more speed than the pilot intended. They also reported hearing “grinding sounds” prior to veering off the runway and onto the grass.

According to the Daily Mail Online, passengers were kept on the ground for 2 hours before they were safely bussed from the taxiway to the concourse. The incident did not have any effect on flights coming into and going out of Denver International Airport.

New Zealand – November 8, 2012
Pilot Killed in Robinson R22 Helicopter Crash
A 52-year-old woman piloting a Robinson R22 helicopter was killed in a crash Thursday evening. She was the only person aboard the helicopter.

The crash occurred on the Criffel Range in the Otago region of New Zealand. Authorities sent emergency rescue teams to the crash site at around 8:40 p.m., where they found “significant wreckage.” Police think the 52-year-old pilot was flying to Queenstown from Wanaka Airport.

According to NZ City, the woman’s name is expected to be released on Friday. An investigation into the Robinson helicopter crash is being conducted by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority.

October 25, 2012
Pilot Dead, Passenger Critically Injured in Small Plane Crash
A pilot was killed and his passenger critically injured Thursday night after the plane they were in crashed during a landing attempt. The Piper Cherokee airplane crashed into Creve Coeur Lake at around 8:40 p.m. after overshooting the runway. Witnesses heard the aircraft “sputtering” during its approach to Creve Coeur Airport.

Both the pilot, 78-year-old Russell Hazelton, and his 69-year-old wife Suzanne were under water in the plane for at least 8 minutes. Mr. Hazelton was pronounced dead at DePaul Hospital, where Mrs. Hazelton remains unconscious and on life support.

According to Gant Daily, authorities are not certain if Mr. Hazelton died by drowning or due to injuries sustained in the crash. An investigation is ongoing.

October 16, 2012
Robinson R44 Helicopter Crashes in Russia, Pilot Killed
A Robinson R44 helicopter crashed in the Tula Region of Russia on Tuesday morning, killing the pilot. The fatal crash occurred at around 4:53 a.m. local (Moscow) time. At this time, it is not known if there were any other passengers aboard the four-seater helicopter. According to The Voice of Russia, authorities are trying to establish ownership of the chopper that went down Tuesday in the Tula Region. An investigation is ongoing.

October 9, 2012
Two American Pilots Facing Retrial for 2006 Brazil Plane Crash
It was announced on Tuesday that Brazil will be retrying two American pilots in absentia for their role in a fatal 2006 plane crash that killed 154 people. The American pilots were flying an Embraer Legacy 600 executive jet owned by ExcelAire Service when it collided with a Boeing 737 operated by Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA. The Embraer jet landed safely, but the Boeing 737 crashed in the Brazilian jungle, killing all 154 people aboard.

In the aftermath of the crash, the two pilots were allowed to leave Brazil, but in a trial last year, they were convicted and sentenced to 52 months of jail time. That sentence, however, was commuted to community service to be served in the United States. The pilots have maintained their innocence and continue to deny any wrongdoing.

The retrial, which is scheduled to begin next Monday, was ordered after prosecutors asked that the sentence for both pilots be increased to 69 months in prison without the possibility of community service.

According to the Associated Press this air disaster was the worst in Brazil’s history at the time. Less than one year after this crash, a jet ran off the runaway killing all 199 aboard.

October 3, 2012
Robinson Helicopter Accident Kills Pilot in Australia
A pilot was killed Wednesday when his Robinson R22 helicopter crashed into the Margaret River in the Kimberley, Australia. A second helicopter pilot witnessed the crash as he was flying back separately to Lawarra Station. After landing his chopper, he tried to swim out to help the pilot of the downed Robinson but was unable to reach him.

This is not the first time a Robinson helicopter has crashed in northwest Australia. Last April, another pilot was killed when her R22 helicopter crashed outside of Fitzroy Crossing. ABC News reports a dive team has been dispatched to the crash site to retrieve the body. Investigators from the Australian Transport and Safety Board are on their way to the crash site.

September 22, 2012
Two Dead After Small Plane Crashes in Roanoke, Texas
A flight instructor and student pilot were killed Saturday afternoon when the Piper PA 28 airplane they were traveling in crashed in a wooded area just outside of Northwest Regional Airport in Roanoke, Texas.

The small plane went down shortly after taking off at around 1:30 p.m. Witnesses and airport staff told investigators that they heard sounds coming from the aircraft indicating that mechanical issues may have played a part in the crash. The student pilot was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash and the flight instructor was rushed to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth where he later died of his injuries.

According to NBC Fort Worth, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating the fatal crash.

September 15, 2012
Small Plane Crash Kills Five Near Springfield, Missouri
A small plane crashed in a rural Missouri field after midnight on Saturday, killing five people. The single engine Cirrus SR22 aircraft crashed shortly after midnight about five miles southeast of Springfield-Branson National Airport.

Authorities say 44-year-old John Lambert and his three young sons, Joshua, 10, McKinley, 15, and Grayson, 16, were killed in the crash. Also killed was 46-year-old Robin Melton. The Lamberts and Melton were flying home from a Kansas City Royals baseball game when the crash occurred.

According to USA TODAY, it is believed that John Lambert was flying the plane. At this time, no one is sure what caused the plane to go down. The Missouri Highway Patrol has handed over the investigation to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It could take up to a year for the cause of the crash to be made public.

September 6, 2012
Helicopter Manufacturer to Pay Sacramento County $1.5 Million Over Crash
The manufacturer of a helicopter that crashed and killed two Sacramento County sheriff’s deputies and injured another near California’s Lake Natoma will pay the county $1.5 million to cover losses stemming from the crash. Deputy Joseph Kievernagel and Deputy Kevin Blount were killed in the 2005 Turbomeca helicopter crash. Deputy Eric Henrikson sustained severe injuries in the crash.

The downed helicopter’s manufacturer Turbomeca agreed to pay the county’s losses in the crash, which include worker’s compensation benefits to the three families. According to the Sacramento Bee, the settlement also included the loss of the helicopter’s use after the crash, travel, investigation costs and punitive damages.

September 1, 2012
Flight Instructor Killed, Two Passengers Injured in Cape Cod Plane Crash
The body of a man who was killed in a plane crash on Cape Cod was identified on Monday. Aaron Mentkowski, 24, was killed on Saturday when the Cirrus SR22 airplane he was in crashed during a landing attempt at Falmouth Airpark. Mentkowski died at the scene. The two other people aboard the plane, 54-year-old Diane Palmeri and 55-year-old Albert Rossini, suffered severe burns in the crash and are currently in serious condition.

According to The Boston Globe, Mentkowski was training Rossini in “touch and goes,” an exercise in which a pilot lands and takes off again without stopping. The company that employed Mentkowski issued a statement saying that he was piloting the plane when the crash occurred, though investigators have not yet publicly stated that Mentkowski was at the controls. An investigation into the crash is being carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board.

August 25, 2012
Two Injured After Small Plane Crash Lands in San Fernando Valley
A small plane was forced to crash-land in a business district of the San Fernando Valley, California on Saturday, injuring both people aboard the plane. The crash occurred in the Pacoima area just before noon. No one on the ground was injured in the incident, even though the plane struck two cars and damaged a building. Authorities say one person aboard the plane was seriously injured while the other suffered moderate injuries.

According to ABC News, investigators remain uncertain where the plane originated from, though it is likely the plane either took off or was set to land at Whiteman Airport, which is not far from the crash site. Saturday’s plane crash in Pacoima is currently under investigation.

August 7, 2012
FAA Suspends Operation That Nearly Caused Planes to Collide at Reagan Airport
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that they have suspended the use of a “traffic-reversing” operation that nearly caused three U.S. Airways planes to collide at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The FAA based its decision to suspend the operation after the July 31 incident, in which air traffic controllers at Reagan Airport reversed the directions from which planes were taking off and landing due to poor weather. The Republic writes that no commercial airports will be allowed to use the maneuver until a standardized protocol is in place for the maneuver. Currently, airports essentially use their own protocol when it comes to traffic-reversing.

July 26, 2012
Olympian and Two Teens Killed in Arizona Plane Crash
A plane crash in Sedona, Arizona has killed Olympian distance runner Pat Porter, his 15-year-old son Connor and his young friend. The fatal plan crash occurred on Thursday morning at around 8:00 a.m.

Authorities say the small plane clipped a fence at the edge of the runway while taking off, then fell hundreds of feet into a ravine where it burst into flames. Porter and the two boys, who were students at Albuquerque Academy, left Albuquerque on Sunday and were due back on Thursday.

Porter was a two-time Olympian, competing in the 1984 and 1988 games as a distance runner. He is survived by his 11-year-old daughter and his wife, who was also an Olympian. KRGQ writes that it could take months to figure out the cause Thursday’s fatal plane crash.

July 21, 2012
Small Plane Crash in Colorado Kills Father and Son
Pilot Jeff Mohret and his nine-year-old son Jackson Mohret were killed in a small plane crash Saturday morning near an airfield in Walsenburg, Colorado. The fatal plane crash occurred at around 11:30 a.m. not far from the runway at Spanish Peaks Airfield. According to authorities, 43-year-old Jeff Mohret was making his approach to land the two-seater Nanchang CT-68 airplane at Spanish Peaks when he crashed in a field roughly a half mile from the airstrip. At this time, it is uncertain what caused the plane to crash. The Pueblo Chieftain writes that the Mohrets were on their way to an air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. An investigation into the crash is ongoing.

July 15, 2012
United Airlines Flight 130 Falls 20,000 Feet, Forced to Make Emergency Landing
Passengers aboard an overnight United Airlines flight bound for London watched in horror as their plane drastically dipped from 40,000 feet to 20,000 feet. The plane, which carried 50 passengers and 9 crew members, was forced to turn around mid-flight and make an emergency landing in Canada.

“We gathered there was something wrong with one of the engines,” said one of the passengers aboard the flight. Passengers were able to gather from data on their on-screen maps that they had lost altitude. The crew was seen frantically running up and down the aisles, and passengers were not told anything about what was happening for some time. A United Airlines spokesperson said that the plane was diverted to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada due to “a mechanical problem with an engine.”

According to the Daily Mail, passengers were later re-accommodated with flights to London.

July 11, 2012
Delta Air Lines Faces $987,500 in Fines over Safety Violations
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed nearly $1 million in fines against Delta Air Lines, Inc. in July for allegedly operating commercial airplanes that were in need of maintenance. “Safety is our highest priority,” said FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta in a statement about the proposed fines. “Operators must follow the proper procedures to maintain their aircraft.”

In February 2010, an FAA inspector noticed chips in the nose of a Boeing 737 airplane during a pre-flight inspection. The chips were in the radome, which is a section of the nose that contains navigational equipment and weather radar. The FAA inspector alerted the flight captain to the damage, who then informed Delta’s maintenance center. Delta maintenance officials then told the FAA inspector that the “the damage was acceptable and no more maintenance was required.”

Undaunted by Delta’s maintenance officials, the FAA inspector conducted more research and found that repairs were, in fact, required. By this time, Delta had already flown the damaged plane 20 times in five days. That was considered an infraction of FAA rules, for which the FAA proposed a $687,500 fine against Delta.

“I find this issue very disturbing,” said John A. Greaves, former airline captain and aviation attorney with Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman. “Delta put the captain in a very precarious position, as well. The dilemma for the captain was whether to continue the flight as the company demanded, or refuse to continue until the repairs were made as the FAA required. If the captain refuses to continue, he or she could face company discipline and the possible loss of a job. If he or she continues the flight, disciplinary action from the FAA could be forthcoming, with the possibility of a license suspension or worse,” Greaves said.

CNN reports that the FAA also proposed a $300,000 fine against Delta over a similar accusation, this time involving the deferred repair of a broken cockpit light in an Airbus A320. FAA rules state that if one of the four dome lights in the cockpit is broken, it must be repaired within 10 days. The FAA says that Delta flew the plane a total of 884 times over the course of seven months with the broken cockpit light.

According to Greaves, “These incidences demonstrate that Delta sees itself as above the regulators’ authority. The FAA is charged by law with the crucial duty of protecting public safety, but, as these circumstances indicate, Delta may not take its duty to public safety so seriously.”

“The public should not be fooled into thinking Delta will be deterred by these fines of up to $1M, because the fines will likely be quietly negotiated down until they become a mere pittance, as is seemingly what often happens when an airline is fined for regulation violations,” Greaves said.

July 11, 2012
Two Robinson R22 Helicopter Crashes in One Hour
A Robinson R22 helicopter crashed Wednesday while attempting to land at Tanumbirini Station in Northern Australia. Luckily, the pilot was able to escape without any major injuries. The engine of the R22 gave out at 100 feet, and the aircraft made a hard crash landing and rolled over. The pilot was rushed to Royal Darwin Hospital by CareFlight. “Considering that his engine quit when he was about a hundred feet in the air, had a heavy landing, from what he told our flight nurse he had a very lucky escape,” said CareFlight director Ian Badham.

Roughly an hour later, another Robinson R22 crashed at Phillip Creek Station in Australia. So far, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau says they believe the R22 struck wires and crashed.

According to ABC, the Bureau is still waiting on more information before deciding how to proceed the investigations of both crashes.

July 10, 2012
12 Injured Due to Turbulence on American Airlines Flight
American Airlines Flight 1780 was met by emergency crews upon landing at Miami International Airport on Tuesday after turbulence injured 12 people. Five of the people aboard the flight were rushed to a nearby hospital after the midair incident. Two out of the five taken to the hospital were flight crew members. The other people injured in the incident were treated at the airport.

The flight, which left Aruba at around 3:30 p.m., ran into severe turbulence roughly 30 minutes before landing. For a full 15 seconds, the severe turbulence shook the plane and threw some passengers from their seats, even launching one woman to the ceiling.

According to CBS News, two other flights were also met by emergency crews upon landing today. One flight bound for St. Louis was diverted to Cedar Rapids after losing an engine. Another flight was diverted after fumes in the passenger cabin made passengers nauseous. There were no serious injuries in those midair incidents.

July 4, 2012
Robinson R44 Crashes in Tallahassee Lake
A pilot was able to swim safely to shore early Wednesday morning after the Robinson R44 helicopter he was flying crashed into Lake McBride near Tallahassee, Florida. The helicopter crashed at around 3:30 a.m. According to a witness, there was a “pop, pop, pop” sound followed by total silence when the crash occurred. The pilot was working on night-time flying requirements called “night currency.” At this time, the pilot’s name is not known by authorities, though a spokesman for Capital Helicopters says the pilot was certified. Capital Helicopters are the registered owners of the downed Robinson R44 helicopter. WCTV writes that investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be looking into what caused the chopper to go down.

June 23, 2012
Four Dead in Oregon Plane Crash
Four volunteers for the Oregon State Fair were killed Saturday afternoon when a Cessna 172 airplane crashed shortly after take-off from the Crow-Mag airfield in Elmira, Oregon. Those who witnessed the fatal small plane crash saw the aircraft begin to lose altitude shortly after take-off, eventually crashing upside down in a wooded area roughly a mile from the air strip. All four people aboard the plane were confirmed dead at the scene of the crash by emergency responders.

According to FAA records, the plane was 56 years old and registered to Charles Bodie of Springfield, Oregon. Local authorities told reporters Monday that the pilot of the doomed plane had rented the aircraft. According to Oregon Live, that the National Transportation Safety Board spent Sunday at the crash site, beginning their investigation, which could take months to complete.

June 15, 2012
Plane Crash at Carroll County Airport Kills Pilot
The pilot of a single engine plane was killed Friday morning after crashing just short of a runway at Carroll County Regional Airport in Maryland. The fatal crash occurred at around 10:10 a.m.

Authorities say 64-year-old pilot Henry Judkins reported mechanical issues to air traffic controllers at roughly one mile away from the airport. Witnesses saw the REMOS GX sport plane vary in altitude before crashing into a grassy area in front of the runway. The plane was completely torn apart with pieces scattered over 100 feet.

Judkins was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma where he was pronounced dead after arrival. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) arrived to assess the scene, and the Carroll County Times writes that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is due to arrive to begin their investigation Friday morning.

June 13, 2012
JetBlue Passengers File Lawsuit Against Airline Over Disruptive Pilot
Ten passengers aboard JetBlue Flight 191 are suing the airline, claiming that they were fearful for their lives after watching the pilot of the flight be restrained and arrested after hysterically screaming in the passenger cabin. The lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in New York state Supreme Court in Queens, accuses JetBlue of being “grossly negligent” for allowing pilot Clayton Osbon to fly. The 10 plaintiffs in the lawsuit against JetBlue are seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress.

On March 27, Osbon had to be physically restrained by passengers and members of the flight crew after running and screaming through the passenger cabin. Passengers overheard Osbon say things like, ” we’re all going down,” “you better start praying right now,” and “the plane will never make it to Vegas.” The New York flight to Las Vegas was forced to make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas after the incident.

According to WTOP, Osbon himself is facing federal criminal charges of interfering with a flight crew, which could land him in jail for up to 20 years if he is convicted. He goes before a judge on Friday in Amarillo to see if he is mentally fit to stand trial.

June 12, 2012
United Airlines Flight Turbulence Incident Injures Five
United Flight 1632 was forced to land shortly after taking off from Houston’s Intercontinental Airport after severe turbulence injured five people. The plane, bound for New York, was diverted to an airport in Lake Charles, Louisiana after experiencing severe turbulence at around 8:41 p.m. A United Airlines spokeswoman said the plane hit turbulence about 30 minutes into the flight, just as flight attendants were preparing to serve drinks. According to a passenger in first class, “several people flew up and hit the ceiling of the plane and then were immediately slammed to the floor of the plane.” Three of the five people injured in the incident were flight crew members. The seriousness of injuries are not known. According to CNN, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating the incident.

June 3, 2012
Firefighting Plane Crashes in Utah Killing Two
Two people were killed on Sunday afternoon after a firefighting air tanker crashed while fighting a wildfire along the Utah-Nevada border. The cause of the crash is unknown at this time, and authorities have not yet released the names of the deceased.

The fatal crash occurred at around 1:00 p.m. in the Hamblin Valley, which is roughly two hours west of Cedar City, Utah. Authorities say the P-2V air tanker, which is owned by Neptune Aviation Services out of Missoula, Montana, was dropping fire retardant on a fire when it crashed. P-2 aircraft date back to the 1940’s but the age of the aircraft that went down Sunday afternoon in unknown. The age and depleted size of firefighting air tankers in the U.S. have been the subject of debate for many politicians in states prone to wildfires. U.S. Forest Service chief Tom Tidwell told ABC News this week that his agency is working towards modernizing the fleet of air tankers.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were en route to the crash site Sunday evening. A full investigation into Sunday’s fatal firefighting plane crash is ongoing.

May 21, 2012
Pilot Still Missing After New Zealand Helicopter Crash
The pilot of a Hughes 500 helicopter is still missing after his chopper crashed in an isolated lake in New Zealand. At this point, the cause of the accident is unknown. Rescue teams are currently searching for the chopper and 35-year-old pilot Michael Graeme Mehrtens, who is an employee with Way To Go Heliservices. Mehrtens is believed to be the only person aboard the helicopter when it went down. It has been reported that the helicopter was contracted by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation to spray for invasive plants. According to TV New Zealand, weather conditions at the time of the helicopter accident were “near perfect.” Information about the crash is still being gathered by New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority.

May 20, 2012
One Killed, Three Injured in Fiery Texas Plane Crash
A 1985 Cessna 210 airplane crashed near a residence and exploded on Sunday evening in Boyd, Texas, killing one person and injuring three others. The fatal plane crash occurred at around 7:25 p.m. in the 1600 block of County Road 4790. According to authorities, the single engine plane took off from the downtown airport in Shreveport, Louisiana and was making its approach to an airstrip when it hit the ground and immediately burst into flames. Steven Dauenhauer, 45, was killed after being trapped inside the burning plane. The three survivors, 19-year-old Colby Dauenhauer, 43-year-old Jason Jarvis and 19-year-old Breann Jarvis were able to escape the wreckage but suffered serious burns. The Jarvises are in critical condition and Colby Dauenhauer is listed in good condition. According to The Star-Telegram, authorities are at this time uncertain what caused the plane to go down. An investigation is ongoing.

May 18, 2012
Plane Crashes after Takeoff in Nevada, Kills Two
An Aero Vodochody L39 plane crashed Friday afternoon in Boulder City, Nevada, killing two men. Authorities say the high-performance jet trainer aircraft apparently lost power before crashing in the desert on the west side of Boulder City airport. The Clark County coroner’s office identified the victims as 65-year-old pilot Doug Gilliss and 65-year-old passenger Richard Winslow. They were the only two people aboard the plane, which was on its way to Van Nuys, California. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Gilliss had his license revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in 2009 for violating federal regulations during an air show in which a fatal crash occurred. He did, however, earn his license back, and was highly respected in the aviation industry, serving as an aviation law professor at three universities and as an expert witness in FAA cases. FAA officials arrived at the crash site on Saturday to investigate.

May 9, 2012
American Man One of Many Victims Killed in Indonesian Plane Crash
A man from Oakley, California is one of many people that are presumed dead after a plane crashed into a volcano in Indonesia on Wednesday. The new Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet-100 airplane crashed roughly 50 miles southwest of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta with 45 people onboard. All are presumed dead. Randi Adler told news media outlets that her husband, Peter Adler, was on the flight.

Authorities say about halfway through the 50-minute flight, the Russian pilot and co-pilot asked for permission to descend from 10,000 feet to 6,000 feet, offering no explanation as to why this action needed to be taken. The plane disappeared from radar immediately following the request.

The flight mostly carried journalists and representatives from Indonesian airlines who were being courted as potential buyers for the new Russian plane. According to the Contra Costa Times, Peter Adler, who was the only American aboard the flight, collected and delivered planes for corporate customers. Rescue workers were able to locate the wreckage on Saturday and have not yet found the flight’s black box recorder. An investigation into Wednesday’s deadly plane crash in Indonesia is ongoing.

May 8, 2012
FAA Seeks Sanctions Against Air Methods and Helicopter Services of Nevada for Deadly Arizona Helicopter Crash
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Tuesday that they will seek sanctions against companies involved in a 2010 LifeNet medical helicopter crash in Tucson, Arizona that killed three people. An FAA spokesman said the agency will seek $50,625 in civil penalties against Air Methods, parent company LifeNet Arizona and the helicopter’s operator, accusing them of breaking several federal aviation rules prior to the fatal chopper crash. The FAA will also seek a $25,000 civil penalty against Helicopter Services of Nevada for faulty maintenance practices.

On June 28, 2010, the LifeNet helicopter departed from Marana, Arizona en route to Douglas when the chopper fell roughly 600 feet straight down into a Tucson backyard and immediately burst into flames. Pilot Alexander Kelley, 61, flight nurse Parker Summons, 41, and paramedic Brenda French, 28, were all killed in the crash.

The proposed sanctions come on the heels of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report that said the crash was likely caused by “a contract mechanic’s mistake and a lack of proper inspection and testing of his work.” The NTSB report goes on to say that prior to the crash, the contract mechanic with Helicopter Services likely only “finger-tightened” bolts rather than using a torque wrench during maintenance work. Furthermore, the maintenance work was not properly inspected by other maintenance personnel, and an on-duty pilot responsible for the post-maintenance inspection failed to follow the manufacturer’s safety protocols.

According to the Denver Post, Air Methods has stated they will appeal any FAA sanctions.

May 5, 2012
Pilot Dies in Wayne County Plane Crash
A Cessna 177 airplane crashed Saturday afternoon at Cherry Ridge Airport in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, killing the pilot. Authorities say 67-year-old pilot Jeffrey Gilbert of Rock Hill, New York was pronounced dead at Geisinger Community Medical Center roughly two hours after the single engine Cessna he was flying crashed and split apart. At this time, the cause of the accident is unknown.

When firefighters arrived at the scene of the wreck, the tail section of the aircraft was propped against a tree and the nose was some 25 feet away. According to the Pocono Record, emergency responders took “life-saving measures” to keep Mr. Gilbert alive but he eventually died of his injuries.

A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in an email that the fatal plane crash is currently under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The NTSB will issue a preliminary report within the next 10 days.

May 3, 2012
Two Dead in Crystal Lake Small Plane Crash
Two men were killed Thursday afternoon in Crystal Lake, Illinois, when the small plane they were traveling in crashed just west of the Lake in the Hills Airport. At this time, the cause of the crash is unknown. The single engine Beech 35 Bonanza went down in a former gravel mine pit on the west side of the airport. According to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) air safety investigator, the plane had either just taken off or was in the pattern for a touch-and-go landing.

Emergency responders had to trek roughly 300 yards through a muddy area to get to the crash site, where they found 65-year-old Hugh Scott Clark and 82-year-old Paul San Filippo dead at the scene. Both men died from blunt force trauma, authorities said. At this time, investigators are uncertain which man was flying the plane. According to the Daily Chronicle, the NTSB expects to complete a preliminary report on Thursday’s fatal plane crash in Crystal Lake within 10 days.

April 25, 2012
Three Killed in San Juan County Plane Crash
The bodies of three men killed in a private plane crash near Canyonlands National Park in Utah were recovered early Thursday morning after an overnight search. The single-engine Cessna airplane went down at around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon near the Dark Canyon Primitive Area in southern Utah.

Authorities say Kyle Richardson, his father Wade Richardson and Larry Newby were killed during a sightseeing tour of southern Utah canyons. The Richardsons flew into Price, Utah and hired Newby to be their guide for the sightseeing journey. It is unclear who was flying the plane, as both Newby and Kyle Richardson were both pilots. It is also unclear what caused the plane to go down. Authorities are certain, however, that all three men died in the crash and not from any other cause.

According to the Star Telegram, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will arrive on Friday to survey the crash site. It will likely take NTSB a few weeks to issue a preliminary report on Wednesday’s small plane crash in southern Utah.

April 12, 2012
Australian Authorities Say Pilot Error Caused Fatal Robinson Helicopter Crash
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued their report this morning on a Robinson helicopter accident last July that killed pilot Jillian Jenyns. The report stated that pilot error caused the Robinson helicopter to crash in Jenyns’s ranch near Fitzroy Crossing. The ATSB concluded that Jenyns, who was the only person aboard the chopper, was not qualified to fly at night, and the Robinson helicopter she was flying was also ill equipped for night flying.April 2, 2012

Five Injured After Small Plane Crashes in Publix Market
A small private plane crashed through the roof of a Publix grocery store Monday evening, injuring five people. The crash occurred in the Northgate Shopping Center in DeLand, Florida. Authorities say the small plane, a Seawind 3000, took off from DeLand Municipal Airport before losing power shortly after takeoff and crashing through the roof of the store. The two occupants of the airplane, Kim Presbrey and Thomas Rhoedes, along with three people in the Publix were injured in the crash. Presbrey and Rhoedes are currently in serious condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Of the three injured from the store, one is currently in serious condition and the other two were released from the hospital. Authorities from the National Transportation Safety Board say it is too early to determine what caused the aircraft to fall from the sky shortly after takeoff. Investigators will likely focus on the plane’s engine because several witnesses said they could hear trouble with the engine before the plane hit the store.

March 15, 2012
Robinson R22 Forced to Make Emergency Landing After Mechanical Failure
On Thursday, a Robinson R-22 helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in a marshy area near Palo Alto, California after the pilot experienced engine trouble. The two-seat chopper landed on its side near Embarcadero Road and Highway 101 at around 4:45 p.m. According to a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the helicopter was approaching Palo Alto Airport before experiencing technical difficulties. The pilot, who was uninjured in the crash, was the only person aboard the R-22. Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating Thursday’s emergency landing near Palo Alto.

March 11, 2012
Small Plane Crash Injures Two, Starts 12-Acre Brush Fire
A Stinson 108-3 airplane crashed in the Sleepy Valley area in Los Angeles County, California on Sunday evening, injuring the two men aboard and starting a brush fire that burned about 12 acres. The crash occurred near Steele Street and Sierra Highway at around 6:42 p.m. Authorities say the small plane crashed during an aborted off-airport landing after it failed to climb above the mountainous terrain near Agua Dulce airport. Both the 50-year-old pilot and the 52-year-old passenger on board the aircraft were able to escape the plane before it was completely engulfed in flames. The two men were taken by helicopter to Henry Mayo Hospital to treat their injuries. The cause of the small plane crash is currently unknown. Authorities from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be investigating the crash.

February 27, 2012
Advisory/Dawson [Lee] v. Robinson Helicopter Company Trial Begins March 5, 2012 in Seattle, Washington
The trial which starts next week, is over the death of Si Young Lee, who was one of four people who perished in the August 2, 2007 Robinson R44 helicopter crash, which crashed shortly after departing the Barbeu Mill logging site near Easton, Washington. After allegedly experiencing a mechanical failure in the tail rotor system, the R44 attempted to land and experienced a low energy impact with the ground, whereupon it erupted in a fire that burned for several days, destroying 485 acres. All four people aboard the helicopter burned to death.

February 19, 2012
Colorado Plane Crash Kills Two and Injures Four
A private plane crashed just short of the runway in Hayden, Colorado on Sunday, killing two people and injuring four others. The fatal crash occurred in the midst of a severe snowstorm just outside of Yampa Valley Regional Airport at 3:40 p.m. Authorities say the twin engine Cessna 414 is registered to Scott A. Humpal, a prominent business man from Woodsboro, Texas. His wife Gaby and the pilot of the Cessna were killed in the crash. Mr. Humpal’s daughter Sara and three others were injured and taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat. At this time, authorities from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are uncertain if mechanical problems caused the plane to crash. An investigation into Sunday’s fatal plane crash in Colorado is ongoing.

February 16, 2012
Failed Rear Rotor May Have Caused Fatal Rescue Helicopter Crash
A helicopter operated by Teton County Search and Rescue crashed on Wednesday, killing one person and injuring another two. The fatal crash occurred in the Wyoming mountains roughly 50 miles northeast of Jackson. Authorities say Ray Shriver, a volunteer with the Teton Search and Rescue organization was killed during an attempt to rescue an injured snowmobiler, Steven Anderson. Mr. Shriver was a longtime resident of Jackson and one of the original founders of the Teton Search and Rescue organization. The pilot of the helicopter and another member of the rescue squad were injured in the crash and taken to St. John’s Medical Center. Anderson later died from his injuries after his snow mobile hit a tree.

Investigators are still piecing together what caused the fatal crash, though local sheriff’s officials have said that a failed rear rotor may have caused the Bell 407 helicopter to go down. The helicopter, built in 2008, is registered to Hillsboro Aviation out of Hillsboro, Washington. Authorities from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating the helicopter crash.

February 9, 2012
Two Dead After Single Engine Plane Crashes Near Morgan, Utah
A man and a woman were killed Thursday when the single engine Cessna they were traveling in went down in Cottonwood Canyon, roughly six miles southwest of Morgan, Utah. The pair were on their way to eastern Wyoming from Mountain Green Airport when the fatal crash occurred. The plane was reported overdue at 7 p.m. Thursday night, but bad weather made the crash site difficult to locate. The wreckage was later found on Friday morning and Morgan search and rescue teams were finally able to access the wreckage by that afternoon. An investigation into Thursday’s fatal plane crash near Morgan is ongoing.

February 7, 2012
Another Airbus A380 Grounded Due to Cracks
Qantas Airways announced that they have grounded an Airbus A380 in their fleet for up to a week due to the discovery of cracks on the jumbo jet’s wings. The cracks were discovered by engineers during a detailed inspection following a flight that was plagued by heavy turbulence. “This cracking is not related to turbulence, or specific to Qantas, but is traced back to a manufacturing issue,” said Qantas in a statement. The Qantas announcement comes nearly a month after Airbus said they had discovered the problem. Airbus has said they believe the cracking problem will continue to be an issue with other aircraft until the French airplane manufacturer has a chance to conduct repairs. In total, engineers discovered 36 small cracks on the Qantas plane. Qantas Airways has a total of 12 Airbus A380’s in their fleet.

February 5, 2012
Robinson Helicopter Forced to Make Emergency Landing at School Playground
The pilot of a Robinson R44 helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing on Sunday morning in Modesto, California after encountering mechanical problems. Luckily, no one was injured in the incident. Witnesses saw the chopper shaking badly as it flew over El Vista Elementary School. After nearly hitting some trees and a soccer goal, the Robinson R44 was able to land safely in a grassy area at the elementary school. The pilot of the chopper said he initially encountered mechanical failure at around 800 feet and the elementary school was the only safe place to bring the two-seater helicopter down. An investigation into the emergency landing is ongoing.

Robinson has come under fire after a string of crashes involving their controversial R44 helicopter in the past few years. Just this past weekend, two filmmakers were killed in an R44 crash in Australia.

The aviation team at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have successfully handled six Robinson helicopter crashes, including three accidents involving the R44 model. Baum Hedlund is currently representing the family of a man killed in a fiery Robinson R44 crash in Washington, as well as the families of two men killed in a Robinson R66 helicopter crash in Colombia, South America.

February 3, 2012
Micron CEO Steve Appleton Dies in Small Plane Crash
Steve Appleton, CEO of Micron Technology, died on Friday morning after an experimental plane he was piloting crashed at the Boise Airport in Idaho shortly after take-off. Appleton was the lone person aboard the Lancair IVP experimental aircraft when it went down. According to authorities, the Lancair plane reached about 100 feet after taking off when Appleton radioed air-traffic controllers saying he was returning to the airport. Seconds later, the plane crashed, immediately erupting into flames upon impact with the ground.

Lancair planes are known for high performance and a high accident rate. The four-seater planes are home built and made of lightweight carbon fiber. They are classified as experimental aircraft, which means they are not subject to the same standards and certifications as planes built in a factory. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent a notice to Lancair operators in 2009, saying the plane’s “fatal accident rate is substantially higher than both personal-use general aviation as well as the overall fatal accident rate for all amateur-built experimental aircraft.”

January 29, 2012
Small Plane Crash Kills Pilot Near York Airport In Pennsylvania
A pilot was killed when his single engine Piper PA-28-180 airplane crashed in a cornfield roughly a mile short of the runway at York Airport in Pennsylvania. The fatal crash occurred on Sunday afternoon near the town of Thomasville, Pennsylvania. Authorities say the plane departed from an airport in Frederick, Maryland at around 11 a.m., bound for New York. It crashed roughly two hours later. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have yet to draw any conclusions from their preliminary investigation. NTSB officials were at the crash site for a few hours on Monday, but it could take months before they are able to determine the cause of the crash.

The Piper PA-28-180 airplane was the second to go down near York Airport in the last month. On December 22, a California man was killed when his plane went down in a field just short of the runway after a cross country flight. An ongoing investigation has revealed that the twin engine plane in that crash did not have power to the right propeller at impact.

January 21, 2012
Couple Killed in Indiana Plane Crash
A husband and wife were killed Saturday night when the small plane they were traveling in crashed in southeast Indiana. Authorities say the 1968 single engine Cessna airplane crashed at 8:41 p.m. in Jennings County, killing 55-year-old Gregory L. Wehr and his 55-year-old wife Candace S. Wehr. The crash site was roughly several hundred yards from County Road 600 South. One witness said she saw fire in the sky before the crash and another man reported hearing what sounded like a racing engine before hearing the sound of an explosion. Investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were on the scene after midnight Sunday to survey the damage. An investigation into the cause of the fatal small plane crash in Jennings County could take many weeks to complete.

January 19, 2012
Two Men Killed in Fiery Robinson Helicopter Crash
A Robinson R44 helicopter crashed in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana on Thursday morning, killing the two men on board. According to authorities, the helicopter took off from the Houma-Terrebonne Airport about an hour before it crashed near Belle Isle. The helicopter, owned by Cenac Marine Services LLC, erupted into flames after crashing into a marshy area, authorities said. Killed in the crash were Cenac employee Lanny Ledet, 43, and experienced helicopter pilot Jason McKean, 40. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have sent investigators to the crash site. It is still unclear what caused the Robinson helicopter to crash. According to the NTSB, This is the eleventh fatal Robinson R44 helicopter crash in the past 12 months.

The aviation attorneys at Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman have represented more than 575 victims in a wide variety of accidents, including many helicopter crashes. Our team has handled several crashes involving Robinson Helicopters, including three accidents involving the R44 model. Baum Hedlund is currently representing the families of men killed in Robinson R44 helicopters that crashed in Washington state and Arkansas, as well as the first crash of the newly designed Robinson R66 turbine helicopter that occurred in Colombia, South America.

January 15, 2012
Small Plane Crash in Cape Cod Kills Two
Two men were pronounced dead Sunday morning when the Piper Comanche airplane they were traveling in crashed in Cape Cod Bay near Saint’s Landing and Cemetery Road in Brewster, Massachusetts. Early in the flight, the pilot of the small plane mentioned to air traffic controllers that smoke had filled the cabin but later said the smoke had cleared out. Air traffic controllers then lost contact with the small plane and a search began shortly after 10 a.m. The victims, a flight instructor and a licensed pilot training for advanced certification, were the only two people onboard the plane. A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the two men were simulating a holding pattern for a local airport when the crash occurred. The FAA is handling a preliminary investigation for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

January 9, 2012
Engineers Want Airbus A380’s Grounded Due to Cracks in Wings
Aircraft engineers with the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association are calling on all Airbus A380 aircraft to be grounded after two A380’s belonging to Singapore Airlines and one to Qantas Airlines were found to have cracks in the wings. The Airbus A380, used by seven airlines worldwide, is the largest passenger aircraft in the world. Along with Singapore Airlines and Qantas, Airbus admitted today that they too had discovered cracks in the wings of their A380 aircraft. Surprisingly, Airbus and the airlines say that the planes in question are safe and repairs to the cracks had already been made. Australian aircraft engineers disagree with both the airlines and the aircraft manufacturer. “We can’t continue to gamble with people’s lives and allow those aircraft to fly around and hope that they make it until their four-yearly inspection,” said Steve Purvinas, secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association. There are currently 67 Airbus A380’s in service around the world, with many more on order from Airbus.

January 3, 2012
Initial NTSB Report: Chopper Hit Trees Before Fatal Florida Crash
A preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) indicated that a Bell 206 helicopter hit several trees before crashing in northern Florida on December 26, killing all three men onboard. The helicopter was on its way to pick up a heart for transplant when the fatal crash occurred at 5:54 a.m in a heavily wooded area 12 miles outside of Palatka Municipal Airport. A veteran pilot, a heart surgeon and a technician from the Mayo Clinic were killed in the crash. Several trees had breaks marking the descent of the chopper before it hit the ground and burst into flames. The first tree strike was about 30 feet above the ground, severing a 50-foot tree. The NTSB investigation into the cause of the fatal helicopter crash could take over a year to complete.



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