Aircraft Accidents and Aviation News 2016

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March 26, 2016

Alabama Medical Helicopter Crash Kills Four, Including Patient

Four people aboard a medical helicopter were killed early Saturday morning when the chopper crashed in Goodman, Alabama. Investigators believe the Alabama medical helicopter crash happened sometime around 12:17 a.m., not long after the Eurocopter AS350 was reported missing.

Local law enforcement officials have said the helicopter, owned by Haynes Ambulance, was dispatched to the scene of a highway accident to pick up a patient who had sustained a broken leg. The Haynes LifeFlight helicopter reportedly crashed in a heavily wooded area shortly after departing from the scene of the car crash.

Officials found the wreckage at around 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning, roughly half a mile from where it departed. Peter Knudson of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) told the media that weather at the time of the Alabama medical helicopter crash was "inclement" and "foggy." The agency will be getting more information on the weather at the time of the crash, as well as visibility conditions.

The victims of the Alabama medical helicopter crash have been identified as 29-year-old helicopter pilot Chad Hammond of Eufaula, 38-year-old critical care nurse Stacey Cernadas of Montgomery, 34-year-old critical care medic Jason Snipes of Chilton County and 27-year-old patient Zach Strickland of Enterprise.

Hammond worked for Metro Aviation Inc. of Louisiana, which was contracted to operate the Eurocopter AS350 for Haynes Ambulance. He was previously a flight instructor for Cloud 9 Helicopters in Florida. Hammond leaves behind a wife and young son.

Cernadas became a flight nurse in September of last year. She also worked as a trauma nurse, and was previously a flight attendant. Her father, Javier Cernadas, told a local news station that his daughter was living out her dream as a flight nurse.

Jason Snipes was previously a supervisor with Regional Paramedical Services (RPS) in Shelby County. Kyle McDonnell, operations manager for RPS of Alabama, said Snipes was a compassionate person and a great paramedic, especially for being so young.

Strickland was only a few hundred feet from turning onto his property when he was involved in the car accident that led to him being picked up by the Haynes LifeFlight helicopter. Friends said Strickland would "bend over backwards for anybody."

At this time, the cause of the Alabama medical helicopter crash is still under investigation by the NTSB. The agency expects to have a preliminary report out within the next couple of weeks. A full report on the Alabama medical helicopter crash will likely take up to a year to complete.

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March 23, 2016

Pilot Injured Robinson R44 Helicopter Crash

The pilot of a Robinson R44 helicopter was taken to an area hospital on Wednesday after the chopper crashed near Oak Island, North Carolina. The Robinson R44 helicopter crash was reported at around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday morning at Cape Fear Regional Jetport/Howie Franklin Field off Long Beach Road.

John Clary, assistant manager at Cape Fear Regional Jetport, told the media that the unidentified helicopter pilot was training with the airport's training school when the crash occurred. Clary said the pilot had just taken off and was about 20 feet off the ground when something went wrong and the chopper plummeted to the ground. The pilot was the only person aboard the Robinson R44.

According to Port City Daily, the injured pilot was taken to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and later released after suffering mostly scratches and bruises, according to Clary. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be investigating the cause of the Robinson R44 helicopter crash.

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March 18, 2016

Cessna 340 Plane Crash in Tampa Kills Two

Two men aboard a twin engine Cessna 340 plane were killed on Friday when the small plane crashed at a Tampa, Florida airport. The Cessna 340 plane crash was reported at around 11:30 a.m. at Peter O. Knight Airport, located near downtown Tampa.

The two men have been identified as 54-year-old pilot, Louis Caporicci of Tampa and 55-year-old Kevin Carreno of St. Petersburg. Carreno and Caporicci were business partners and former roommates at the Air Force Academy.
Witnesses at the scene said the Cessna 340 plane crash occured during take off, after which the plane immediately burst into flames. By the time emergency crews arrived at the scene, the Cessna was completely engulfed in flames. The men were reportedly making a trip to Pensacola.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have indicated that another plane was taking off at or around the same time as the Cessna, though no one is speculating at this time whether this other plane had anything to do with the Cessna 340 plane crash. NTSB investigator, Paul Cox, told the media that they have identified the pilot of the other plane, which was able to take off safely. Cox said the NTSB plans to interview this other pilot in the coming days.

According to records from the Federal Aviation Administration, both Carreno and Caporicci were experienced aviators. Caporicci was a retired Air Force combat pilot and held multiple certificates and ratings as a civilian pilot. Carreno, who attended the Air Force Academy with Caporicci, became an attorney and securities law expert. He also recruited for the Air Force.

Friends and loved ones are in shock over the tragic crash. David Hickman, a fellow graduate of the Air Force Academy who remained a longtime friend of Carreno's, was perplexed when he heard about the crash. He told WFLA that both pilots would have followed a pre-departure checklist because they were trained to do so at the Air Force Academy. He can't imagine what triggered the fatal Cessna 340 plane crash.
An investigation is ongoing.

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February 2, 2016

Two Civil Air Patrol Members Killed in Cessna 182 Plane Crash

Two members of the Civil Air Patrol were killed in a plane crash in Mobile, Alabama on Monday. The single engine plane, a Cessna 182, was reported missing just before 8:00 p.m. Officials are still piecing together when exactly the Cessna 182 plane crash occurred.

The Mobile Airport Authority initiated a search for the missing plane based on its last known coordinates. After searching late into the night, the Cessna 182 plane crash wreckage was discovered by emergency crews in a heavily wooded area near the Mobile Airport at around 1:51 a.m. Tuesday morning. The two men aboard the plane were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Among other things, the Civil Air Patrol helps with charity and humanitarian flights, which is what the two men were doing Monday night. Officials said the two men were returning back to Mobile from a compassion flight in which they transported an individual in need of medical care to Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

An official with the Civil Air Patrol told reporters that the victims of the Cessna 182 plane crash have been identified as 67-year-old pilot Major David R. Mauritson of Fairhope, and 66-year-old mission scanner 2nd Lieutenant Phil J. Dryden of Gulf Shores.

Mauritson had been a CAP member since 1991 and Dryden had just become a CAP member in November of 2015.
According to the Huntsville Times, Mauritson was a veteran pilot with a storied career in aviation. Taught by his mother who was a certified flight instructor, he earned his pilot license as a teen and later went on to graduate from Harvard Medical School.

Mauritson went on to help fly angel flights and other humanitarian missions. As both a doctor and a lawyer, he served as the chairman of the Awards Committee of the Flying Physicians Association, and also belonged to the Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association.

With over 11,000 hours of flight time clocked in over 50 years, Mauritson was a volunteer pilot for Mercy Flight Southeast and for SouthWings.

Dryden, who was a recent addition to the CAP family, was certified in emergency services and trained as a mission scanner. He served as the Mobile, Alabama squadron's assistant operations officer.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will send officials to Mobile to investigate the Cessna 182 plane crash. A preliminary report should be issued within the next couple of weeks.

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January 5, 2016

Two Dead in Eastern Idaho Plane Crash

On Monday, officials in eastern Idaho reported that a small plane went down near the Idaho-Wyoming border, killing two people. A 61-year-old Pennsylvania man and a 17-year-old girl from North Carolina were killed when their small plane crashed near Palisades Reservoir in Bonneville County, Idaho.

Authorities have indicated that the vintage Yak 52 Russian trainer plane crashed at around 4:30 p.m. roughly two miles from the airport in Alpine, Wyoming. According to KTVB, the small plane belonged to Reade Genzlinger of Bryn Athyn. Mr. Genzlinger and 17-year-old MacKenzie Ruston of Chapel Hill were the only people aboard the small plane. Officials say the two were family friends who lived part time in Alpine.

The FAA is investigating the cause of Monday's fatal plane crash in eastern Idaho.

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January 4, 2016

Nebraska Plane Crash Kills Pilot

The pilot of a single engine Cessna was killed on Sunday night when the small plane crashed near Pender, Nebraska. The pilot was the only person aboard the plane.

The Cessna reportedly departed from Columbia, Missouri and was on the way to Sioux City, Iowa when the pilot was diverted to Wayne Municipal Airport in Wayne, Nebraska due to bad weather. According to KTIV, an airport worker said a call came in at around 7:00 p.m. Sunday night asking if the small plane had landed. A crew searched the grounds for any sign of the plane but were unsuccessful.

The search went into the night, extending to the area between Ponder and Concord. Officials finally found the wreckage at around 1:30 a.m. Monday morning and pronounced the unidentified pilot dead at the scene. Law enforcement has not released the identity of the deceased, pending notification of next of kin.

At this time, authorities are uncertain what caused the Cessna to go down. The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have sent investigators out to the crash site. A final report on the crash is expected in 12-14 months.