Confusion Reigns Over Vegas Media's Use Of Term 'Certified' Aircraft | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

** Airborne 09.19.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.19.14 **
** Airborne 09.17.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.17.14 **
** Airborne 09.15.14 ** HD iPad-Friendly -- Airborne 09.15.14 **

Tue, Sep 09, 2008

Confusion Reigns Over Vegas Media's Use Of Term 'Certified' Aircraft

Area Pilots Reach Out To Educate Public About Experimental Planes

by ANN Senior E-Media Producer Paul Plack

In the wake of deadly back-to-back light airplane crashes into residences near North Las Vegas Airport (KVGT) in Nevada last month, and subsequent comments from the county's aviation authority about banning operation of experimental aircraft there, a group of pilots has come together to form a public outreach.

KTNV-TV reports that last Thursday night, a local pilot group calling itself the Clark County Aviation Association hosted a meeting to gather and answer questions from the public. The complaint prompting the most heated discussion turned out to be not experimental operations, but low-altitude flight.

You might think the heat is off experimental aircraft. You'd be wrong. Following the August 22 crash of an experimental Velocity 173RG at North Las Vegas, it was widely reported in the general media that the aircraft had been built in 2002 and, in a wide variation of layman's terms, had been "certified."

But the NTSB's preliminary report reveals the aircraft, while registered in 2002, just got its airworthiness certificate on March 9 of this year, and there were only 5.1 hours logged at the time of the accident, which claimed the lives of the pilot and two residents of the home struck by the plane. If official reports are accurate, the aircraft was not being flown within its operating limitations.

Normally, a new aircraft awarded an Experimental Amateur Built airworthiness certificate is assigned a designated test area over which to conduct its initial phase of flight testing. A sparsely populated area is normally chosen, but an FAA inspector or Designated Airworthiness Examiner (DAR) has latitude to allow limited access to an airport in a more densely populated area if necessary for reasonable access to maintenance, fuel, or other needed amenities. The period covered is normally the aircraft's first 40 flight hours, but is typically reduced to 25 hours if the aircraft is equipped with a certificated powerplant and propeller.

In the case of N415MK, the Velocity involved in the August 24 accident at North Las Vegas, the powerplant was a certificated Lycoming IO-360-C1C engine, equipped with a certificated MT MTV-18-B electric, constant-speed propeller. The engine was equipped with a supercharger, a deviation from its certificated form, yet the aircraft's operating limitations had been written for the more lenient, 25-hour Phase I test period. The NTSB's preliminary accident report did not specify whether the supercharger was added after the airworthiness inspection, but the builder noted to an investigator that the accident flight was the first following the modification.

The NTSB preliminary reports found the operating limitations for the aircraft were written as follows:

"After a minimum time of (5) hours, and after controllability, airworthiness, and safety checks required by FAR 90.319(b) and chapter 4 of Advisory Circular 90.89A are established and recorded in the airplane logbook the airplane then may complete the remaining hours required in Phase 1 while based at North Las Vegas Airport (VGT); OR, a one time flight to the "Airplane Base of Operations" may also be conducted remaining clear of all densely populated areas and congested airways. NOTE: Airplane Base of Operations: Show Low Regional Airport (KSOW). This airplane must be operated for at least 25 (Twenty Five) hours in the assigned geographic areas"

The plane's maintenance logbook had the required notation, made at 5.1 hours, leaving at least another 19.9 hours, and another logbook entry, to be completed before the plane could legally be used for pattern work at North Las Vegas.

The pilot for the accident flight was 76-year-old Mack Creekmore Murphree Jr., of Dayton, NV an experienced pilot, mechanic and engineer with an ATP rating and 6,250 hours. We may never know whether he made himself aware of the operating limitations against remaining near the airport, or over populated areas. When contacting the tower, Murphree said he'd be staying in the pattern.

When a tower controller noticed the plane was not climbing, he radioed Murphree to ask if the pilot needed assistance. After a pause, Murphree responded four times, with understandable tension in his voice, saying simply, "Going in!"

The NTSB's probable cause report can be expected in about a year...  but it's hard to imagine local airport opponents will wait for it. Even Clark County Aviation Director Randy Walker has called for a ban on flights by experimental aircraft at KVGT.

FMI: Read The NTSB Preliminary Report, Listen To The VGT Tower Audio Of The Accident

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 09.19.14: Cool City R44 Cert, Reno Rumblings, Sierra Re-Jets The CJ

Also: Eclipse Improvements, AEA Urges NextGen GA Fund Adoption, FAA OKs External Cams, GA Accident Rate Declines The FAA has granted an STC to Cool City Avionics for the installati>[...]

Airborne 09.17.14: Boeing/SpaceX Win CCtCap, Flying Docs Endorse, Jetpack Bucks

Also: Chris Heintz, Lear 70/75 Certs, Beluga Birthday, Leap Frogs 9/11 Jump Cancelled, Lawyers Sue NTSB The Commercial Spaceflight Federation congratulates NASA and the winners of >[...]

Aero-TV: AT LAST!!! - Avidyne’s IFD540 Receives Certification

Avidyne's Long-Awaited IFD540 Finally Gets A Chance To Show Its R9 Roots If you are looking for the bells and whistles of modern avionics you missed an opportunity if you were not >[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (09.20.14)

ASTM International ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of i>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (09.20.14): Basic Empty Weight (GAMA)

Basic empty weight includes the standard empty weight plus optional and special equipment that has been installed.>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2014 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC