Posts Tagged Piper Navajo crashes in Riverwoods IL

Plane crashes in Riverwoods – update

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a brief preliminary summary report about the plane crash in Riverwoods on November 29th. Other postings on the crash can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE.

NTSB Identification: CEN12FA086
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Monday, November 28, 2011 in Riverwoods, IL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31-350, registration: N59773
Injuries: 3 Fatal,2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On November 28, 2011, about 2250 central standard time, Lifeguard N59773, a Piper PA-31-350, an emergency medical services (EMS) flight, operated by Trans North Aviation Ltd, sustained substantial damage when it impacted trees and terrain in Riverwoods, Illinois. The pilot declared an emergency, reported that the airplane was out of fuel and the flight was coasting direct to the destination airport, Chicago Executive Airport (PWK), near Wheeling, Illinois. The airline transport pilot and two passengers sustained fatal injuries. The pilot-rated passenger and medical crewmember received serious injuries. The non-scheduled domestic on-demand passenger flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. An activated instrument flight rules flight plan was on file. The flight departed from the Jesup-Wayne County Airport (JES), near Jesup, Georgia, about 1858.

Fueling records show an airplane was fueled at JES with 165 gallons of aviation gasoline (avgas).

Preliminary review of a recording of the approach controller’s frequency revealed that the pilot requested to fly direct to the outer marker navigation aid. The controller indicated a heading for the flight to conduct an instrument approach. The pilot then declared an emergency. The controller inquired if the flight was still heading to PWK. The pilot reported that he was unable, out of fuel, and that the airplane was “coasting.” The controller asked if the field was insight. The pilot reported negative and asked for the cloud tops. The controller indicated that the cloud deck was 1,400 feet overcast. The pilot responded that the flight was coasting down and that the pilot would report visual contact. The pilot further indicated that the flight was flying direct to PWK. The controller advised a low altitude alert and the flight acknowledged that alert. The controller asked if the pilot had the field in sight. The pilot reported affirmative. The flight was cleared for the visual approach to runway 16 and the pilot was informed to cancel the flight’s IFR flight plan. The controller further indicated that the change to airport’s advisory frequency was approved. There was no further recorded radio communication with the EMS flight.

The Riverwoods Police Department received an initial 911 phone call about 2250. The first responders found the wreckage near a residence northwest of the intersection or Portwine and Orange Brace roads.

The pilot held an airline transport certificate and he held a first-class medical certificate.

The pilot-rated passenger held a commercial pilot certificate and he held a second-class medical certificate

N59773, was a Piper PA-31-350, Chieftain, twin-engine, retractable landing gear, conventional semi-monocoque design airplane with serial number 31-7652044. The airplane had a maximum gross weight of 7,000 pounds. A 350-horsepower Lycoming TIO-540-J2BD engine and a 350-horsepower Lycoming LTIO-540-J2BD engine powered the airplane.

At 2252, the recorded weather at PWK was: Wind 350 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition overcast 1,400 feet; temperature 2 degrees C; dew point -2 degrees C; altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.

At 2352, the recorded weather at PWK was: Wind 360 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition overcast 1,400 feet; temperature 2 degrees C; dew point -2 degrees C; altimeter 29.97 inches of mercury.

The airplane impacted trees and terrain in a heavily treed residential neighborhood about 3 nautical miles northeast of PWK. The wreckage path was about 250 feet in length from the first found impact tree to the main wreckage on a magnetic heading of about 130 degrees. The airplane was found fragmented along the path. The left propeller separated from its engine and was found 32 feet west of the main wreckage. The airplane fuselage came to rest facing about 280 degrees magnetic. An on-site inspection confirmed that the fuselage, empennage, wings, and all flight control surfaces were located within the wreckage debris path. The landing gear were found in the up position in their wheel wells.

The left and right throttle levers were found in the full forward position. Both left and right mixture levers were found in the forward rich position. The left and right propeller levers were found in the forward high RPM position. The Hobbs meter read 2848.8 hours. All four magneto switches were in the on position. The left fuel boost pump switch was in the on position and the right fuel boost pump switch was in the off position. Both the left and right fuel tank selectors were selecting their respective inboard fuel tanks. The crossfeed valve was found in the on position. All fuel caps were in place in their filler necks. Approximately 1.5 ounces of a liquid consistent with avgas was found within the airplane fuel system. All four electric fuel pumps were operational when electrical power was applied to them. The flap jackscrew was consistent with retracted flaps in the up position. Left and right engine control continuity was established. Flight control continuity was established.

Both engines’ crankshafts were rotated and each engine exhibited gear and valve train continuity. All cylinders produced thumb compression and suction. Both dual magnetos produced sparks at all leads. All removed sparkplugs exhibited the appearance of normal combustion. Both engines’ turbocharger impellers spun when rotated by hand. The left and right propellers were found in the feather position.

Images from the scene can be found HERE.

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Plane crashes in Riverwoods – update

Another article about Monday’s plane crash comes from the Antigo Daily out of Wisconsin. Antigo is near Mattoon, home to flight medic Maynard Blodgett who survived the crash.

A Mattoon man is recovering in a Chicago-area hospital today after his medical transport airplane crashed Monday evening,

Maynard Blodgett, an emergency medical technician with the Birnamwood fire department, was working as a medic on the Eagle River-based Trans North Aviation flight when it crashed in suburban Chicago, killing three of the five people on board.

According to WSAW-TV, Blodgett contacted Birnamwood Fire Chief Randy Berger on Tuesday to let the department know he was involved in the crash and recovering at a hospital.

The plane was carrying patient John Bialek, 80, of Streamwood, Ill. and his 75-year-old wife, Ilomae Bialek, as well as Blodgett and two pilots, according to Ron Schaberg, the aviation company’s president. The Bialeks were both killed in the crash.

The pilot had filed an instrument flight plan, meaning the plane was being tracked on radar and the pilot was in constant contact with controllers as it flew toward Chicago, Cory said.

The Bialeks were flying back to Chicago from their home in West Palm Beach, Fla. to be closer to relatives as he was being treated for a blood infection.

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Plane crashes in Riverwoods – update

The Daily Herald today has a follow-up article about Monday’s plane crash. They reference recordings from the cockpit to the controllers:

Someone on board the Piper PA-31 medical plane that crashed in Riverwoods radioed air traffic controllers claiming the plane was out of fuel and coasting, a control tower audio recording shows.

The call to the Chicago-area Terminal Radar Approach Control in Elgin declared an emergency just before the plane crashed Monday night near Portwine Road, according to audio recordings.

The pilot — or a pilot-rated passenger who may have been manning the radio — told an air traffic controller the plane was out of fuel and unable to make it to Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling.

In the audio recording, a voice on the plane is heard telling a controller, “We are declaring an emergency.”

The controller asks: “Lifeguard 773” — the plane’s call sign — “Do you still want to land at Palwaukee?”

A different voice on the plane replied: “Unable. We are out of fuel and we are coasting.”

The entire article can be found HERE.

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Plane crashes in Riverwoods

At approximately 10:45PM on Monday, the Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District received a call reporting a brush fire in the 600 block of Portwine Road in Riverwoods. Station 52 companies responded to the address and were unable to locate a brush fire, but they were flagged down by a resident who reported a plane down in a wooded area between two houses down the street.

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11

Firefighters survey the crash site as others inside the plane work to free one of the passengers. Larry Shapiro photo

At the same time RED Center received additional calls reporting a house fire and a plane into a house. As they were filling out the alarm, the Lincolnshire companies found the crash site which was within 30 feet of a house. There was a small fire that was addressed with a pump can and firefighters began assessing the plane’s five occupants, one of which was out of the wreckage of the twin engine plane when crews arrived.

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11

The flight medic is attended to by paramedics before being transported. He sustained several injuries but was out of the wreckage supplying information to the firefighters when they arrived. Larry Shapiro photo

The Chicago Tribune reports that:

The plane, owned by Trans North Aviation, was transporting the patient, his wife, two pilots and a flight paramedic to the Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling, about five miles south of the crash site, according to Ron Schaberg, owner and president of the South Carolina company.

The patient was being brought to a local medical facility for an undisclosed medical issue, Schaberg said.

The aircraft, which passed a safety inspection earlier that day, picked up the unidentified male patient fromWest Palm Beach, Fla. just before 6 p.m., but made a fuel stop in Jesup, Ga. before continuing on to Chicago Executive, Schaberg said.

The crash came just after the pilot reported that the plane was having a fuel problem.

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11

One of the plane's passengers is loaded into a Buffalo Grove ambulance for transport to Lutheran General Hospital. He later died. Larry Shapiro photo

Three passengers were removed from the plane and transported to Lutheran General and Condell hospitals. Two others were pronounced dead at the scene, and the victim that was transported to Lutheran General Hospital, the patient being transported from Florida, subsequently died.

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11

The debris field is quite large as is the number of trees that were hit by the plane as it descended. Larry Shapiro photo

The wreckage remains in place overnight until investigators can examine the crash site in the daylight. There is a debris field of some 500-1,000 feet through a wooded area which reportedly includes parts high a tree.

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11 Prospect Heights Crash Truck

The Prospect Heights Fire Department responded to the scene with this 4x4 Titan ARFF. Larry Shapiro photo

The Chicago Tribune reports that plane to be a Piper Navajo, but the company website states that they fly a Piper Chieftain, and the Travel-Care Air Medical Transport site mentions a Piper Cheyenne II XL operated by Trans North.

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11

Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Squad 51 provided additional scene lighting, power, and water as companies removed the victims from the wreckage. Larry Shapiro photo

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11

Lincolnshire firefighters assist the Lake County Coroner's office personnel with removing one of the victims. Larry Shapiro photo

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11

The rear of the plane spun around into this tree severing the tail section. Larry Shapiro photo

plane crash in Riverwoods IL 11-28-11

The right side wing and engine of the Piper twin-engine plane. Larry Shapiro photo

Larry Shapiro and Tim Olk were at the scene. Larry has a gallery HERE and Tim has a gallery HERE. Mutual aid came from Deerfield, Long Grove, Libertyville, Countryside, Buffalo Grove, Prospect heights, and Wheeling.

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