Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Boeing A75N1 (PT17) Stearman, N63555, Palm Springs Air Museum Inc: Accident occurred March 02, 2016 at Palm Springs International Airport (KPSP), Riverside County, California


NTSB Identification: WPR16LA078 
  14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, March 02, 2016 in Palm Springs, CA
Aircraft: BOEING A75N1(PT17), registration: N63555
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 2, 2016, about 1250 Pacific standard time, a Boeing A75N1 (PT17), N63555, touched down hard during an aborted takeoff following a loss of engine power at Palm Springs International Airport, Palm Springs, California. Palm Springs Air Museum was operating the airplane under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The local personal flight was departing. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that passing through 200 feet on the takeoff the engine lost power. He elected to abort the takeoff, and the airplane landed hard.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge and inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration examined the wreckage. Both of the main landing gear fractured and separated at the root, and both of the wings buckled. Portions of the bottom cylinders broke off. Fuel was drained from the gascolator, and a water paste test had no reaction indicating that water contamination was not present. There was no external evidence of catastrophic mechanical malfunction. The wreckage was removed to a recovery facility for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Riverside FSDO-21

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -   Biplane pilots are reacting to a Biplane crash landing earlier this week at the Palm Springs International Airport. 

The pilot has been released from the hospital and the Federal Aviation Administration is taking over the investigation.

The air museum said the passenger was a participant in its plane ride program but they can't release any information on that person's condition.

The vintage Stearman Biplane had engine troubles and landed hard at the airport Wednesday afternoon.

Kent Thomas is a pilot for Palm Springs Biplane Rides.

He's been flying airplanes since the late '70s.

"Airplanes, in my opinion, are a very safe way to travel, and the more training you have, the safer they are," Thomas said.

Thomas said with the biplane, the landing is the hardest part.

"This airplane has the third wheel on the tail rather than on the nose. So when you land, this plane has a tendency to want to reverse directions quickly," Thomas said. 

After a quick look around, Thomas shared the secret to success.

"The key to flying any airplane, they say be ahead of the airplane, anticipating what's going to happen in the very near future," Thomas said.

After a 10 minute flight and a smooth landing, Thomas reflected on Wednesday's crash.

"They were able to walk away from the crash, so actually that's a good outcome," Thomas said. 

Fred Bell, with the Palm Springs Air Museum, said the plane is in the hands of the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board and it will be a while before they know what happened.

"We had an airplane act up, just as you would a car or something else that acted up. And we need to figure out why it did what it did. If there are corrective measures, we'll take them at that time," Bell said. 

While the investigation continues Bell said it's business as usual.

As for Thomas, he's confident his plane will continue to be as safe as ever.

Officials at the Palm Springs Air Museum said they'll continue running flights despite losing one of their aircraft.

Palm Springs Biplane Rides will also continue operating as normal.

Story and video:

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - Emergency officials responded to the Palm Springs International Airport on Wednesday after a biplane made a hard landing on the runway, injuring two people on board.

Stearman aircraft biplane has extremely hard landing at Palm Springs International Airport, injuring two people on board.

The extent of their injuries is unknown at this time but both were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

The Palm Springs Fire Department confirmed the information to KESQ and CBS Local 2 shortly after the incident, which occurred at about 1 p.m.

Officials with the Palm Springs Air Museum said the biplane was a Stearman aircraft. Spokeswoman Ann Greer said the biplane reportedly lost power for some unknown reason before making the hard landing.

Palm Springs Airport Director Tom Nolan said the incident shut down airport operations for about 45 minutes. Several incoming and outgoing flights were delayed while crews worked to clear the aircraft from the runway. Runways were back open at about 2 p.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a statement saying the aircraft is a vintage Boeing PT 17 biplane. The tail number is N63555. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident.

The FAA and NTSB don't identify people involved in aircraft incidents, officials said in the statement.

Passengers on other planes were tweeting that they weren't being allowed to deplane for about a half hour in the aftermath of the incident.

Original article can be found here:

Two people were injured after an airplane crashed during an "aborted takeoff" at the Palm Springs International Airport Wednesday afternoon.

Just before 1 p.m., the the biplane reached 200 feet before it lost power and returned to the runway, said Fred Bell, managing director of the Palm Springs Air Museum, which owns the airplane. The plane landed and skidded off runway.

"It doesn't appear anyone was seriously injured," Bell said.

The Palm Springs Fire Department confirmed that two people were taken to a local hospital, but referred other questions to airport officials.

According to Air Traffic Control radio transmissions, the plane crash forced all runways to shut down.

Officials used a flatbed truck to remove the biplane from the runway at about 2 p.m.

The single-engine plane - a 1940s-era Stearman -  is registered to the Air Museum, according to Federal Aviation Records.

It was donated to the museum in January 2010 by Indian Wells residents Wayne and Laura Hoffman.

The FAA has been notified and the crash is under investigation.

Original article can be found here:

Aviation officials are investigating after an antique bi-plane experiencing engine trouble and a small fire crashed at Palm Springs International Airport Wednesday afternoon, sending two people to the hospital and damaging the Stearman aircraft.

The Boeing PT-17’s pilot radioed after taking off from the airport they were having engine problems and had to return, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.

Two people were on the plane, whose tail number is N63555. They crashed while landing at about 12:50 p.m. The plane was “substantially damaged,” Gregor reported.

FAA and National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating.

The two-seat bi-planes were originally used as military trainers, barnstormers and crop dusters. The 1946 Boeing PT-17 is based at the Palm Springs Air Museum, an airport tenant.

The people got out of the plane on their own and were taken to the hospital, Palm Springs Deputy Fire Chief Ron Beverly said. He referred other questions to airport officials.

Palm Springs Air Museum spokeswoman Ann Greer disputed that the plane crashed as reported by the FAA.

“The plane had a hard landing,” Greer said. “It lost power.”

Airport Director Tom Nolan said he had no information about who was in the plane or the extent of possible injuries. The plane was “a little bumped up” but fully intact. Nolan didn’t know if the wheels were down during landing in the airport’s peak season.

The plane had a “disruption in power” and a small fire coming from the engine compartment as it landed “quite hard” on the runway, he said.

Greer couldn’t provide the pilots’ names. She didn’t know if they were staff or volunteers or if they were injured.

A crane lifted the plane onto a flatbed truck and the runway was cleared within 50 minutes, Nolan said.

Original article can be found here:

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