Cessna T-50, N41759: Fatal accident occurred September 02, 2013 in Lenox Township, Pennsylvania

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA402
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 02, 2013 in Lenox Twp., PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/08/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA T-50, registration: N41759
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot departed at night on the final leg of a cross-country flight without getting an update on weather information he had been provided by a briefer about 3 1/2 hours before the accident. At that time, the briefer cautioned the pilot about instrument flight conditions with ceilings below 1,000 feet and advised him that visual flight rules flight was not recommended throughout his entire flight route due to a convective SIGMET and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings in effect throughout that area. The pilot acknowledged the information and stated that he would “look at weather radar.”

One witness, whose home was located 2 miles southeast of the destination airport, observed the airplane flying low in a valley just above the trees and below the surrounding ridgelines. He stated that the sound of the engines was loud and continuous as the airplane flew out of his sight from the west to the east, returned, and then flew westbound just above the tree tops. The airplane then flew off in the direction of an “enormous black cloud with lightning flashing out of it” and eventually out of his view. Examination of the wreckage and the wreckage path revealed evidence of engine power at impact, and no preimpact mechanical anomalies with the airplane or flight control system were found that would have precluded normal operation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s intentional visual flight into night instrument meteorological conditions and thunderstorms and his improper decision to takeoff without getting updated weather information after a briefer cautioned him during a previous flight that visual flight rules flight was not recommended along his route, which resulted in collision with trees and terrain during a visual approach.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 2, 2013, about 2030 eastern daylight time, a Cessna T-50, N41759, was destroyed during collision with trees and terrain in Lennox Township, Pennsylvania, while maneuvering to land at Huf Airport (PS50), Harford, Pennsylvania. The airplane was consumed by a post-crash fire. The airline transport pilot/owner and private pilot passenger were fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from William T. Piper Memorial Airport (LHV), Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, about 1940. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The accident flight was the final leg of a cross-country flight that originated from Antique Airfield, IA27, Blakesburg, Iowa. The pilot landed at LHV and purchased fuel at 1937, before continuing to PS50. He told the line service technician who fueled his airplane that he would be “home in 38 minutes.”

Information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane was the subject of an ALNOT, and was located by the Pennsylvania State Police on September 8, 2013. One witness was outside with his dogs when his attention was drawn to the airplane flying low in the valley, “just above the trees,” and below the surrounding ridgelines. He reported that it was dark outside, and that there was a severe electrical storm in the area.

The witness stated that the sound of the engines was loud and continuous, and that the airplane sounded “like a WWII airplane” as it flew out of his sight from the west to the east, then returned, and flew westbound “right on top of the trees” in the valley below the ridgeline immediately off its left wing. The airplane then flew off in the direction of an “enormous black cloud with lightning flashing out of it” and eventually out of his view. His home was 300 feet lower in elevation and less than a mile southeast of the crash site.

Other witnesses in their homes that surrounded the crash site described hearing an airplane “low” and “really loud” as it maneuvered nearby. One witness went outside her home and said the sound of the airplane suddenly stopped. She saw a flash in the vicinity of the crash site, but couldn’t determine if it was lighting or a fire.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot/owner held an airline transport pilot certificate with multiple ratings. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on April 3, 2013. He reported 18,300 total hours of flight experience on that date. The pilot’s logbooks were never recovered; therefore his total time in the accident airplane make and model could not be determined.

The pilot-rated passenger held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, single engine sea, and instrument airplane. Her most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued May 6, 2013. She reported 834.5 total hours of flight experience on that date.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1944. Examination of maintenance records revealed the most recent annual inspection was completed on April, 2013, at 3446.1 total aircraft hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 2054, the weather conditions reported at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP), 26 miles south of the accident site at 962 feet elevation, included few clouds at 4,300 feet, and scattered clouds at 6,000 feet. There was 10 miles visibility; the temperature was 24 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.74 inches of mercury. The wind was from 100 degrees at 4 knots.

Records provided by Lockheed Martin Flight Services revealed that the pilot received an in-flight weather briefing around 1700 on the evening of the accident. Convective SIGMET 23E and Stormwatch 510 were in effect across the entire state of Pennsylvania, and specifically in the area surrounding the accident site at the time of the accident. The briefer cautioned the pilot about IFR conditions with ceilings below one thousand feet, and completed his briefing by advising that VFR flight was not recommended in the area surrounding his home airport, due to the severe thunderstorm watches and warnings in effect. The pilot replied, “Roger, understand, we’ll look at weather radar thank you much.”

Lockheed Martin Flight Services provided no further services to the accident airplane on the date of the accident.

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, the end of civil twilight was at 2002, and the moon was below the horizon.According to the Susquehanna County Sheriff, at 2044, a MEDEVAC helicopter was grounded at the scene of a traffic accident near the crash site due to the electrical storm.

An NTSB Senior Meteorologist provided a synopsis of the weather in the area of the accident around the time of the accident, which revealed the following:

The National Weather Service (NWS) Surface Analysis Chart for 2000 on September 2, 2013 depicted a low pressure system and an associated occluded frontal system extending into New York and Pennsylvania, ahead of the front a squall line or active band of thunderstorms was depicted across eastern New York and ending near the Pennsylvania border immediately north of the accident site.

The NWS issued Convective SIGMET 49E at 1955 EDT for a line of severe thunderstorms immediately west of the area moving eastward at 30 knots, with tops to 45,000 feet, hail to 2 inches, and wind gusts to 55 knots. The advisory implied severe to extreme turbulence and low-level wind shear associated with the storm. A review of lightning data indicated over 1,500 cloud-to-ground and in-cloud lightning flashes with this thunderstorm complex. The Convective SIGMET was updated at 2055 EDT and included the accident site continuing to warning of a line of severe thunderstorms moving eastward at 25 knots.

The NWS radar mosaic for 2100 depict the accident site on the northern edge of a large area of intense to extreme echoes in the range of 50 to 60 dBZ associated with the area of severe thunderstorms, which was located immediately north of AVP.

FAA Advisory Circular 00-24C as well as the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) recommended 20-mile avoidance of storms or radar echoes identified as “severe.”

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Huf Airport was a private airstrip owned and operated by the accident pilot. The turf runway was oriented north/south, 2,185 feet long, 100 feet wide, at 1,600 feet elevation.

In a telephone interview, a friend of the pilot’s revealed that the pilot had developed his own GPS instrument approach procedure into his home airport “in case the weather got bad.” He went on to say that the pilot had told him about the approach, but didn’t think the pilot had ever used it.

Huf Airport was approximately 2 miles northwest of the accident site.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the accident site on September 9, 2013, about 1,400 feet elevation, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented 280 degrees magnetic, and was about 360 feet in length. The initial impact point was in a treetop about 45 feet above the ground. The second tree strike was approximately 185 feet farther along the wreckage path, about 35 feet above the ground. The twin trunk displayed sharp, angular cuts consistent with the dimension of the propeller blades. The initial ground scar was almost immediately in front of the main wreckage, which came to rest twisted, completely consumed by fire, and with the cockpit area facing opposite the direction of travel. Several pieces of angularly cut wood, of varying thickness, were found along the entire length of the wreckage path.

Flight control cable continuity was established from the cockpit area to the flight control surfaces.

The engines and propellers were significantly damaged by fire. Several cylinder heads and one propeller blade were melted away on the left engine, which exposed the piston domes in the cylinders.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Forensic Associates of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania performed the autopsy on the pilot as authorized by the Susquehanna County Coroner. The pilot died as a result of multiple traumatic injuries.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, did not perform forensic toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot, as the samples were unsuitable for testing.

http://registry.faa.gov/N41759

http://www.antiqueairfield.com

NTSB Identification: ERA13FA402
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, September 02, 2013 in Lenox Twp., PA
Aircraft: CESSNA T-50, registration: N41759
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On September 2, 2013, about 2100 eastern daylight time, a Cessna T-50, N41759, was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain near Lenox, Pennsylvania, while maneuvering to land at Huf Airport (PS50), Harford, Pennsylvania. The airline transport pilot and private pilot were fatally injured, and the airplane was consumed by post-crash fire. Night instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from William T. Piper Memorial Airport (LHV), Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Preliminary information from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the airplane was the subject of an Alert Notice (ALNOT), and was located by the Pennsylvania State Police on September 8, 2013. One witness described the night of the accident as dark, and stated there was a severe electrical storm in the area. He was outside when his attention was drawn to the airplane; flying “just above the trees” and through the valley, below the surrounding ridgelines. He reported that it sounded “like a World War II airplane” as it flew eastbound over his house, then returned, heading west, before flying out of view in the direction of “an enormous black cloud with lightning flashing out of it.”

Other witnesses in the vicinity of the accident location described hearing an airplane “low” and “really loud” as it maneuvered nearby. One witness went outside her home and said the sound of the airplane suddenly stopped. She saw a flash in the vicinity of the crash site, but couldn’t determine if it was lightning or a fire.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site on September 9, 2013, about 1,400 feet elevation, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was oriented 280 degrees magnetic, and was about 360 feet in length. The initial impact point was in a treetop about 45 feet above the ground. The second tree strike was approximately 185 feet farther along the wreckage path, about 35 feet above the ground. The twin trunk displayed sharp, angular cuts consistent with the dimension of the propeller blades. The initial ground scar was almost immediately in front of the main wreckage, which came to rest twisted, with the cockpit area facing opposite the direction of travel. Several pieces of angularly cut wood, of varying thickness, were found along the entire length of the wreckage path. The engines and propellers were significantly damaged by fire. Several cylinder heads were melted away, which exposed the piston domes in the cylinders.

Preliminary information from Lockheed Martin Flight Services revealed that the pilot had received a weather briefing and was advised that visual flight rules (VFR) flight was not recommended in the area surrounding his home airport. A Significant Meteorological Information (SIGMET) advisory was in effect for the area surrounding the accident site at the time of the accident.

At 2054, the weather conditions reported at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP), 26 miles south of the accident site at 962 feet elevation, included few clouds at 4,300 feet, and scattered clouds at 6,000 feet. There was 10 miles visibility; the temperature was 24 degrees C, dew point 19 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.74 inches of mercury. The wind was from 100 degrees at 4 knots.

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, the end of civil twilight was at 2002, and the moon was below the horizon.

 

susq-plane-search

 

Story

HARFORD TOWNSHIP– A plane missing since Labor Day was found Sunday morning, crashed in a field on Bartholomew Road.

While officials say the plane departed from Ohio Monday, and stopped for refuling near Williamsport, neighbors say the search only began after the plane’s owners, a local pilot and his wife missed a meeting with a friend on Thursday.

While the Susquhanna County coroner could not confirm the identities of the people on board, friends and neighbors say local pilots Tom and Elaine Huf have been missing since their plane disappeared.

Neighbor Henry Blanco says, “They have been missing for several days, you have to assume the news isn’t going to be good when we get it.”

The pair was well know for their passion for enthusiasm and traveled to air shows around America in their vintage twin engine Cessna T-50.

The plane was a familiar sight in their Harford Township neighborhood, and the pair lived next to a private air strip and hangar on Route 547.

The woman who owns the property where the plane went down believes she heard the crash.

“I heard an airplane overhead and the plane didn’t sound right to me,” says Barbara Sloat.”It sounded like it was hovering, it went on for 3 or 4 minutes but it sounded like forever, then I didn’t hear it anymore.”

Sloat says on Tuesday she told a family member about the disturbing sounds, but at that time nobody knew the plane was missing.

Friday the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patol began searching from the sky, trying to locate the plane’s beacon. Then on Saturday crews began looking around the hills in southestern Susquehanna County. On Sunday they came to Sloat’s property.

“I told them it sounded like it went up on my hill, and that’s where they went and that’s where they found them.”

Searchers on ATV’s found the wreckage of the plane and the two bodies inside Sunday around 10:30 AM.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but investigators say there were thunderstorms reported in the area Monday evening. The investigation will now be turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

http://wnep.com

 

Harford Township, Susquehanna County– “Very disappointed, very disappointed.”

Disappointment is how a neighbor described the flight tragedy in Susquehanna County. State police, local first responders and civil air patrol spent the weekend searching for a downed aircraft. The Harford Volunteer Fire Chief said the Cessna T-50 twin-engine plane was discovered Sunday morning. The bodies of the pilot and a passenger were also found.

“My heart goes out to his family and friends,” said Dave Sansky.

Sansky said he knows the pilot. Sansky lives in Kingsley, not far from the private airfield off Route 547 in Harford Township. That’s where authorities set up a command center trailer.

“Just a few quads driving around, and I saw people looking into the woods,” said Sansky.

Sansky said he’s familiar with the plane that crashed, because he liked to watch the pilot show off his stunts in the sky.

“A lot of tricks, a very talented man,” said Sansky. “He used to go straight up and down in the air, do stalls, cut his engine off, do somersaults and all kinds of tricks.”

Sansky said the pilot had a lot of experience, so he was surprised to hear about the tragedy.

“We would watch him all the time,” said Sansky. “When we would hear him, we would come running outside just to watch him do his tricks. He’s going to be missed.”

Authorities have not released the names of the victims, and the investigation continues in Susquehanna County.

http://www.pahomepage.com

Lenox, PA (WBNG Binghamton) The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed Sunday a plane found by Pennsylvania State Police burned in a cornfield is the same aircraft that went missing Sept. 2.

The Cessna T-50 crashed with one or two people aboard the vintage World War II twin engine plane, the FAA said.

The plane was found burned out, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Investigators from the National Transportation and Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are at the crash site 10 miles north of Factoryville Twp.

The FAA said the plane disappeared on Labor Day, Sept. 2.

The pilot did not file a flight plan, so the plane’s departure and arrival points for the day cannot be confirmed, according to the FAA.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

The burned remains of a small plane missing since Labor Day has been found in a northeastern Pennsylvania field.

The National Transportation Safety Board says two people were believed to have been onboard the Cessna T-50.

NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson says the plane took off Monday in Sandusky, Ohio, destined for Wilkes-Barre.

State police say the plane was found at about 10:30 a.m. Sunday in Lenox Township, about 40 miles north of its destination.

Knudson did not have any immediate information on the pilot or passenger.

http://www.timesonline.com

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY, Pa. — The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a plane crash in Pennsylvania.

FAA officials say a World War II vintage twin engine aircraft was found destroyed by fire in a corn field in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. They believe one or two people were on board, but no further details were released about occupants.

Investigators say the pilot didn’t file a flight plan, so they’re unable to confirm departure or destination information.

An aircraft was reported missing back on September 2nd, but officials are not sure if it is the same plane.

The cause of the crash is still unknown at this time.

http://centralny.ynn.com

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances, the 2 persons on board were fatally injured, alert notice issued, wreckage located in a field September 08,2013, near Factoryville, Pennsylvania

HARFORD TOWNSHIP — The coroner says he cannot yet identify two bodies found inside the wreckage of a missing plane in Susquehanna County.

The plane was found Sunday in a field along Bartholomew Road near Kingsley.

Investigators think it came down last Monday after refueling near Williamsport.

Search crews say the plane is registered to Tom and Elaine Huf, who live near where the plane crashed.

Investigators say there were thunderstorms in the area when the plane went down, but they are not sure exactly sure what caused it to crash.

http://www.timesleader.com

http://www.toledonewsnow.com

HARFORD TOWNSHIP– A plane missing since Labor Day was found Sunday morning, crashed in a field on Bartholomew Road.

While officials say the plane departed from Ohio Monday, and stopped for refueling near Williamsport, neighbors say the search only began after the plane’s owners, a local pilot and his wife missed a meeting with a friend on Thursday.

While the Susquehanna County coroner could not confirm the identities of the people on board, friends and neighbors say local pilots Tom and Elaine Huf have been missing since their plane disappeared.

Neighbor Henry Blanco-White says, “They have been missing for several days, you have to assume the news isn’t going to be good when we get it.”

The pair was well know for their passion for aviation and traveled to air shows around America in their vintage twin engine Cessna T-50.

The plane was a familiar sight in their Harford Township neighborhood, and the pair lived next to a private air strip and hangar on Route 547.

The woman who owns the property where the plane went down believes she heard the crash.

“I heard an airplane overhead and the plane didn’t sound right to me,” says Barbara Sloat.”It sounded like it was hovering, it went on for 3 or 4 minutes but it sounded like forever, then I didn’t hear it anymore.”

Sloat says on Tuesday she told a family member about the disturbing sounds, but at that time nobody knew the plane was missing.

Friday the Pennsylvania Civil Air Patrol began searching from the sky, trying to locate the plane’s beacon. Then on Saturday crews began looking around the hills in southeastern Susquehanna County. On Sunday they came to Sloat’s property.

“I told them it sounded like it went up on my hill, and that’s where they went and that’s where they found them.”

Searchers on ATVs found the wreckage of the plane and the two bodies inside Sunday around 10:30 AM.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but investigators say there were thunderstorms reported in the area Monday evening. The investigation will now be turned over to the FAA/NTSB.