The “Co-Owner” of a Local Flying School Threatens This Very Blog

Read below to see the message that came over the transom of this little blog yesterday, the very blog you’re looking at right now. It concerns a post from a year and half ago about an airplane crash-landing that resulted in no major injuries

The missive, in its entirety: 

“When you google Flying Vikings your false article comes up. If you do not fix your false statements. I will deal with you. My name is Celine Correa and I am a co-owner of Flying Vikings. You need to report on the many thousands and thousands of flight hours we have done. Call me and I will give you verifiable details no false hoods. You need to correct your article immediately.
 
Celine”

O.K. fine. If anybody wants to go through and find any of the purported “false statements,” well then have at it – that would help me out.

Otherwise, I don’t think I’ll be “reporting” on Flying Vikings’ “many thousands and thousands of flight hours” (is that a lot? My dad, currently pushing up daisies in Virginia, had five figures worth of flying hours with no accidents, AFAIK) in some sort of fairness-doctrine type of deal.

The comments are open on this post, if anyone wants to pipe up. Thanks for your help.

Here it is: 

Another Accident Involving Hayward-based Flying Vikings, Inc.

Today’s headlines include news of the crash landing of a Flying Vikings, Inc. Cessna 172 in Oakland, California.

The San Jose Mercury News earlier reported that N61736 ”had a gas leak,” but now is going with ”mechanical problems” as the cause of this incident. KCBS, which labels this single engine plane the KCBS Radio Traffic Plane, is reporting the pilot claimed the oil pressure guage plummetted just before the engine conked out. This aircraft, built in 1974, suffered “substantial damage” during an incident in 1981.  

The following language, written before today’s accident, appears on the Flying Vikings website:

Since Flying Vikings also has a contract with local news gathering organizations, students are offered opportunities to build time that no other school can. Fly 3 to 6 hours a day and get paid.

A visual aid to help imagine yourself staring at a motionless propeller low over the Bay Area. Click to expand:

175264529_c84380bc84_o-copy.jpg

The dash of a Cessna 172 and a view of Candlestick Park, from the incredible Telstar Logistics Flickrstream

Here’s a photo of a different Flying Vikings aircraft, a Piper that suffered a fatal accident in 2006. Readers may find this link, relating to the Piper crash, of interest, however, it might lead you to unproven speculation about the cause of that tragedy.

The Federal Aviation Administration and Cal OSHA should be able to determine the cause of this forced landing fairly easily.

A relatively happy ending to a scary situation.

So that’s the purported “false article” from 2008.
 
Actually, the only reason I found this incident noteworthy at the time was the number of conflicting reports about the cause of  this incident. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated and concluded the problem was:
 
“A loss of engine power due to oil starvation. The oil starvation event was due to the failure of maintenance personnel to tighten the mounting bolts for the newly installed vacuum pump.”
 
Seems the pump had just been replaced three days earlier and the flight of June 30, 2008 was the first one using the new pump.
 
All the deets from the NTSB, after the jump.
 
Here’s the short version:
 
NTSB Identification: SEA08LA155.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, June 30, 2008 in Oakland, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 8/28/2008
Aircraft: Cessna 172M, registration: N61736
Injuries: 2 Minor.During cruise flight, the pilot noticed the engine was running rough along with a surge in power. He adjusted the mixture to the full rich position, which seemed to smooth the roughness. A few seconds later, he noticed that the engine oil temperature gauge was rising and he diverted towards a nearby airport. The pilot stated that while en route to the airport, the engine lost power and he initiated a forced landing to an open lot near his position. During the landing roll, the airplane struck a large mound of dirt. Examination of the airplane revealed structural damage to the fuselage. Only residual oil was found in the engine. Examination of the engine revealed evidence of an internal oil starvation induced catastrophic failure. The nuts securing the vacuum pump to the mounting pad were loose. About 10 psi of compressed air was applied to the oil cooler inlet port on the engine. Bubbling oil was observed originating from the vacuum pump mounting pad. No further anomalies were noted. Review of maintenance records revealed that the vacuum pump was replaced prior to the accident flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

A loss of engine power due to oil starvation. The oil starvation event was due to the failure of maintenance personnel to tighten the mounting bolts for the newly installed vacuum pump. 

 
And here’s the long version:
 
SEA08LA155On June 30, 2008, about 1240 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N61736, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Oakland, California. The commercial pilot and his passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Flying Vikings Inc. of Hayward, California under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local traffic watch flight that originated from the Hayward Executive Airport (HYW), Hayward, California at 1100.

According to the pilot, during cruise flight, he noticed the engine was running rough along with a surge in power. The pilot adjusted the mixture to the full rich position, which seemed to smooth the roughness. A few seconds later, the pilot noticed that the engine oil temperature gauge was rising and diverted towards the Oakland International Airport (OAK), Oakland. The pilot stated that while en route to OAK, the engine lost power and he initiated a forced landing into an open lot near his position. During the landing roll, the airplane struck a large mound of dirt and came to rest upright.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the right wing and fuselage were structurally damaged. Oil was observed on the undercarriage of the airplane from the engine aft to the empennage.

On July 24, 2008, the airframe and engine were examined by the NTSB investigator-in-charge at the facilities of Plane Parts, Pleasant Grove, Sacramento. The Lycoming O-320-E2D engine, serial number RL-40510-27A, remained attached to the airframe via all four engine mounts. All of the accessories and cylinders remained attached to the engine crankcase. All four nuts that secured the vacuum pump to the mount pad were found loose. Oil was observed on the rear accessory housing below the vacuum pump and between the left and right magneto. When removed, the oil dipstick indicated no oil within the oil sump. All open lines were plugged with end caps and about 10 psi of compressed air was applied to the oil cooler inlet line. Bubbling oil was observed originating from the vacuum pump mounting pad.

The vacuum pump and both magnetos were removed from the engine. The bottom portion of the vacuum pump seal was saturated with oil. The crankshaft was rotated by hand using the propeller and was noted to be extremely stiff. Thumb compression was obtained on all four cylinders. The oil suction finger screen was removed and exhibited metallic debris inside the screen.

The number one and three cylinders were removed and examined. Both cylinders exhibited a normal amount of combustion deposits within the cylinder dome. Both pistons were intact and exhibited scuffing on the piston skirt. All internal connecting rods visually appeared to be intact. The number three and four connecting rods along with the general area of the crankshaft exhibited thermal discoloration.

The left magneto produced spark on all leads when the magneto drive shaft was rotated by hand with impulse coupling engagement. The right magneto produced spark on all leads when the magneto drive shaft was rotated using an electric hand drill.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft propeller flange. One of the two blades was slightly bent aft about 10 degrees and the other propeller blade was undamaged.

Review of the engine logbook revealed that the engine underwent its most recent 100-hour/annual inspection on June 16, 2008 at a tachometer time of 3,036.9 hours and 3,910.6 hours since major overhaul. A squawk sheet located within the airplane indicated that the vacuum pump was replaced after the most recent flight recorded prior to the accident flight on July 27, 2008.

According to the FAA inspector who responded to the accident site, during a telephone interview, the airframe and power plant rated mechanic who installed the vacuum pump reported that he installed the vacuum pump and tightened all the nuts except for the bottom left, which he could not reach. The mechanic stated that he used a screwdriver and hammer to tighten the nut.

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One Response to “The “Co-Owner” of a Local Flying School Threatens This Very Blog”

  1. Whit says:

    I think she’s batshit crazy.