N27RA crash

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posted on Jun, 3 2013 @ 02:40 AM
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Ok here's the TERPS for the TTR. The first one is the best possibility with the one exception: The witness or whoever said the jet made a right turn instead of a left turn. However if that person is wrong, then running this approach, with a go around or missed approach, would put them in a perfect position for the crash site. Here ya go:


It takes a bit of knowledge to know how to read TERPS so I highlighted the missed approach procedures in the red box and drew the procedure in blue for ya. But on the chart, the dotted lines after the runway are the missed approach procedures. the D with a number is the mileage from the TACAN, not the runway per se.
EDIT: forgot to add the bottom Missed Approach part...




Here's the rest...


















edit on 3-6-2013 by boomer135 because: (no reason given)
edit on 3-6-2013 by boomer135 because: (no reason given)
edit on 3-6-2013 by boomer135 because: (no reason given)




posted on Jun, 3 2013 @ 01:03 PM
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These are all instrument approaches of course, but a VFR approach throws everything for a loop. However, if the aircraft is trying to turn on lights for the runway, theres a pretty good chance he's not on a VFR pattern, most likely instrument.



posted on Jun, 3 2013 @ 02:06 PM
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The fire dept is not an ATC service, or even an aerodrome information service - they are apparently not on the same frequency as the a/c so have no way of knowing if the a/c has decided to remain in the area or divert somewhere else.


Fire has tower and ground (at least) on their radios. I suspect all fire did was click the PTT to turn on the lights.

You can fly VFR at night in the US. I'm not so sure you could land without lights!

Regarding the USAF flight surgeons and Mr. Palay, the Janets are weird. The pilots are civilians. The USAF owns the planes. Who is in charge?

I never heard they did a missed approach, or to be more accurate, all I know is what was in the report.




After reporting the runway lights in sight, the pilot configured the airplane for the approach and initiated a circling maneuver to the right for a visual straight-in approach to runway 32. During the turn the pilot suffered a sudden cardiac death. Half way through the turn the airplane began a gradual descent until it impacted the ground.


Now I can see the logic in thinking there was a missed approach based on this report. That is, he aborted landing then circled around with a right hand turn. However, if the plane flew to TPH first, which is really common, then a right hand turn would be needed to land on 32.

Many flights to the TTR stay off the range for most of the flight, then approach from north of the base. Given the hour, they could have possibly flown direct, especially since the flight left Groom Lake. But VFR flights do favor flying where the wreckage could be spotted. But that isn't a rule.

I can't add much to this thread, but fire is really "crash" at an airport, so you would think the plane not arriving would be a big deal. But maybe they just woke up some fireman off duty and asked him/her to click the PTT. It wouldn't be the job of fire to note if the plane landed. The fireman could have just as much gone back to sleep.

Basically, they attempted to land at an uncontrolled airport. The DOE flights still do this at the TTR since they have their own set of rules. I have audio of that somewhere.

Regarding the "terps", I thought that was the University of Maryland sports team. ;-) Airnav.com has all the FAA documents. That is something that only happened in the last few years, as I mentioned in the other thread on Groom Lake shutting down. The TTR is a bit less secret these days, though I don't expect to be going to an airshow there in the near future. Well, stuff will be flying, but I won't be on base.

That crash location used to be a "community marker" on Google Earth. I have no idea if it is accurate or not. Many markers on Google Earth are wrong. That is, no one with authority placed them. A few correct markers have been removed, like the location of the Power Line Overlook. I suspect Google honors government take-down requests.

USAF crash reports have a summary, and then testimony. In theory, testimony is never made public. In practice, if the CIA is involved, they release the whole report. But this Janet isn't really military, so maybe there is a way to get the whole report. The idea behind the secrecy is it is better to have everyone be truthful rather than finger pointing and ass covering.



posted on Jun, 3 2013 @ 05:29 PM
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Originally posted by gariac



The fire dept is not an ATC service, or even an aerodrome information service - they are apparently not on the same frequency as the a/c so have no way of knowing if the a/c has decided to remain in the area or divert somewhere else.


Fire has tower and ground (at least) on their radios. I suspect all fire did was click the PTT to turn on the lights.


See www.abovetopsecret.com...

the pilot had tried PTT to turn on the lights, but it had failed - so clearly this fire unit was not on the right frequency.



posted on Jun, 3 2013 @ 07:01 PM
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reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
 


You linked back to this thread?

It isn't clear that just because the pilot couldn't PTT the lights that fire couldn't do it. Lots of strange stuff can happen with radios. For instance, the power to the radio in the Beech could have been weak, making the PTT signal kind of mushy. Or the radio in the plane was off frequency enough to interfere with the landing lights, but not enough for voice comms.

I camped out at Mojave airport during those Space Ship One flights. I got to watch a lot of landing lights turn on via the PTT at stupid oh clock. At least for Mojave, they don't stay on long. Maybe a minute or two. Each landing usually hand two PTT events. One with the plane on approach not really visible. The other with the plane on obvious approach. So I gather the PTT once to find the airport, then PTT again to land.

So perhaps Palay PTTd from a distance, didn't see the lights, then radioed, which is when fire turned them on.

Not really all that relevant, but if you go to inplanesight.org and download the FAa documents for the Janets, some are signed by Palay.

You can also learn a bit about Palay from the comment section of his death notice in the LVRJ. I archived the comments somewhere. I think Palay flew for law enforcement prior to working at Groom.



posted on Jun, 3 2013 @ 07:36 PM
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Originally posted by gariac
reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
 


You linked back to this thread?


Yes.


It isn't clear that just because the pilot couldn't PTT the lights that fire couldn't do it. Lots of strange stuff can happen with radios. For instance, the power to the radio in the Beech could have been weak, making the PTT signal kind of mushy. Or the radio in the plane was off frequency enough to interfere with the landing lights, but not enough for voice comms.


Yes lots of things COULD have happened - but from the information given the a/c's radio was performing adequately, since it was able to contact another tower.



posted on Jun, 3 2013 @ 08:29 PM
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Yep, O2 system ran low, maybe. I think that system should be backed-up.....

When I fly at night, I see everything in yellows and red on the panel.



posted on Jun, 3 2013 @ 09:17 PM
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reply to post by Aloysius the Gaul
 


Except being able to do voice comms is not the same as being able to PTT the lights. That was my point!

For instance, a power supply issue can effect the VFO. AM voice is easy to demod off frequency since it is envelope detection. But the receiver for the lights may not be as forgiving.



posted on Jun, 4 2013 @ 12:05 AM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 





Just got this in my email.


That is the location of the Google Earth Community marker. There is no reason to believe it comes from a source with intimate knowledge of the crash. It is very close to 11KM from the VOR. But of course, if I had to plop down a marker on Google Earth based on the public crash report, I'd be in that general area. The small bit of dry lake just below those coordinates is exactly 11km from the VOR. You can see a small bit of "trauma" to the dry lake like it was scraped.

The real problem here is you really don't know if what people are telling you has any bearing to reality. For instance, it does seem weird to me that a missed approach would not be indicated in the crash report as made public. There is no indication the pilot had an issue with landing lights.

I reviewed the FAA documents on N27RA. It is one of the planes that Palay signed the paperwork. I went through the alterations and there is no indication a cabin door was added. The original owners (Chevy dealership) added a bathroom. ;-)

Janet FAA documents

One way to spot the crash site would be to have imagery prior to the crash. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to exist.



posted on Jun, 4 2013 @ 01:46 AM
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reply to post by gariac
 


Most of what I've gotten has been articles that I can't really find anymore online, and the public spot on Google Earth. But my source also had access to the family shortly after the crash. They took their investigation as far as they could, but don't have the experience, knowledge, and other sources that I have access to, so they approached me to help out if I could.

According to the family, the Air Force told them after the accident that the crash occurred as the aircraft was performing "another approach" to the TTR runway. This would lead anyone to believe that either he went missed approach, which doesn't make sense because he didn't even come close to following missed approach procedures, or for some reason he couldn't land on the runway he was lined up on, so he circled in an overhead pattern to line up with a different runway (like he was giving someone time to turn the lights on for him).

There is also at least one article that says an investigator said that it was possible that "the passengers were all asleep when the pilot became incapacitated behind the closed cockpit door". The same article mentions that Palay tried to turn the lights on six or seven times, and was unable to. He then called back to another control tower, who called the TTR fire department to turn them on.


During a span of six minutes, from 3:52 a.m. when the plane was 24 miles
southeast of the Tonopah airfield until 3:58 a.m. when Palay radioed that he
had the runway lights in sight, he had tried to no avail to activate the runway
lights from the cockpit.
He finally had to radio an air traffic controller at another location who in turn
telephoned the Tonopah Fire Department at the airfield to switch on the
runway lights.


This isn't the easiest to read, but if you zoom in, you can see where it talks about a cockpit door.





posted on Jun, 4 2013 @ 10:59 AM
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reply to post by boomer135
 


So it looks like the weather wasn't a factor. Here's the Weather Underground historical report for that day, and it seems pretty nice. Calm winds, no precipitation, visibility 10 miles...

TTR weather



posted on Jun, 4 2013 @ 04:53 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Can you at least cite these sources? Is the Times the LA Times. I may be able to get Lexus/Nexus data. I can't even find the reporter's name on Google.

Incidentally, the Tonopah Auxiliary Airfield isn't the TTR.
Tonopah Auxillary Airfields
It may not be the best researched article. The unspecified investigator (FAA/USAF?) may have said cockpit, and the writer thought he said cockpit door. If you ever worked with the press, they usually get a few things wrong. You are never given a chance to proof what they write.



posted on Jun, 4 2013 @ 05:15 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 





visibility 10 miles


Note that 10 miles is the maximum visibility you get in a weather forecast. That is, 10 miles is really 10+ miles.

The weather services usually get the figure from the closest AWOS on their network. I've been fooled in the past by that, i.e. the visibility is from another location.
Visibility

Checking the aviation weather, there is no AWOS online for the TTR. The closest is KTPH.
AWOS

KTPH should be good enough, but I recall one visit to the range where the weather around route 6 was clear but the TTR couldn't be seen from Brainwash Butte. The TTR has a lot of water in the area, relatively speaking for the desert. It is one place I don't camp out in a tent since you will get some sort of visit by a critter during the night.

The USAF added a weather station on the range since the KDRA weather was kind of useless for the higher elevations. It is KBJN. I have no idea what those initials stand for. During Red Flag they broadcast the AWOS in the civilian air band.
KBJN



posted on Jun, 4 2013 @ 06:46 PM
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reply to post by gariac
 


I got them in my email, as images for the most part. The one by Bruce Rolfsen is for the Military Times. I found the headline on a search engine, but it wouldn't pull up the article. It was reprinted in the Air Force Times, and I believe the Army Times as well. He is a staff writer for them.



posted on Jun, 5 2013 @ 07:28 AM
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The USAF added a weather station on the range since the KDRA weather was kind of useless for the higher elevations. It is KBJN. I have no idea what those initials stand for. During Red Flag they broadcast the AWOS in the civilian air band.
KBJN


I got a guy who might be able to tell us what it stand for. He works at Scott though so probably not at work yet
.

I'll throw in another .02. Who the hell gave them permission to land? If the aerodrome was closed (i.e. had to contact another tower to call the fire to get the lights turned on), then why the hell was he authorized to land there? Gariac maybe you can answer that.

from airnav

Airport Operations Airport use: Private use.
Permission required prior to landing
Activation date: 07/1969
Sectional chart: LAS VEGAS
Control tower: yes
ARTCC: LOS ANGELES CENTER
FSS: RENO FLIGHT SERVICE STATION NOTAMs facility: TNX (NOTAM-D service available)
Attendance: WKD 1300-0300Z++ C'___' WKEND AND HOL. Pattern altitude: TFC PAT: RECTANGULAR 7000' MSL 1500' AGL, OVERHEAD 7500' MSL 2000' AGL. Wind indicator: yes Segmented circle: yes Lights: ACTVT RY 14/32 HIRL, KEY 3 TIMES FOR LO INTST, 5 TIMES FOR MED INTST, 7 TIMES FOR HI INTST, PAPI RY 14 AND PAPI RY 33, ALSF-1 RY 14 AND ALSF-1 RY 32 - FREQ 257.95. ALSF-1 RY 14 AND ALSF-1 RY 32 OPER HI INTST ONLY.


I'll have to admit, I flew from 2000-2006 in the Air Force, I've landed at some crazy places before (groom, edwards, etc, never tonopah though, just flew above it for F-117 day contact currency for their pilots) and I've never heard of lights being able to be turned on by PTT so this is new to me. Now planes have intercom, maybe not this one cause it could be quiet like an airliner on the inside but a KC-135 per se you cant hear the person talking to you without using the intercom. Is there a chance that jet had an inplane intercom so to speak and was using that instead of like COMM1 or COMM2 and he was using that by mistake to turn the lights on?

Also, notice the times Tonopah is open. Those are in Zulu and I believe that's either -7 or -8 hours depending on what time of the year it is. Subtract 1300 from 7 or 8 and you get an open control tower at 5 or 6 am. So we know the tower was closed.

This one had me cracked up though. same source airnav

MISC: NO CLASSIFIED MATERIAL STOR

One of our most classified airfields can't store a secrets bag??


Ok so back to my original question, who authorized them to land at tonopah, and why is the control tower at a base like that not open at night? I understand the F-117's weren't there anymore but maybe this is just gibberish to fool people into thinking that they don't fly at night there. So did Groom tell them it was ok to land?

Zaphod's OP:


According to the official report, on March 16, 2004, Beechcraft N27RA departed McCarren International with 19 passengers on board. They made the first stop, where 15 passengers deplaned. The aircraft with 4 passengers and pilot remaining onboard departed at 0343L for the Tonopah Test Range airport. The pilot radioed ahead to have the runway lights turned on during his approach. At just before 0400L he reported runway lights in sight and began a right turn to perform an overhead approach, and line up for a straight in approach to the runway. During this turn, the pilot appears to have suffered from sudden cardiac death, which allowed the aircraft to go into a descent, and impact the ground. Killed in the crash were pilot David D. Palay Sr, Derrick L. Butler, Michael L. Izold, Daniel M. Smalley, and Roy A. Van Voorhis. The aircraft impacted 7 miles short of the runway, which seems an awfully long way away from the runway for a standard overhead approach.


17 minutes would be about right I guess if it was coming from Groom. I'm guessing he was coming from Groom, hit the TACAN around 3000' agl, made a right hand turn to line up VFR for RWY 32.

Or set up the ILS for runway 14, missed approach due to lighting issues, followed the procedures and after the missed approach while making the turn, he crashed seven miles from the base.

Ok I'm done ranting. Too many things to consider here...

Oh btw speaking of PTT lights, we have switches at Union Pacific (my day job) where we PTT the radios we have and put in a code to line them a certain way to go down a certain track. For example, if we want to go from one track to a different on we would push "#331 for yard three, switch three to line normal and #333 for yard three, switch three reverse. Interesting little tidbit. Just one more move for the FRA to clear the one man crew concept and get rid of Conductors.
edit on 5-6-2013 by boomer135 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 5 2013 @ 12:51 PM
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reply to post by boomer135
 


Even after the N27RA crash, you can still land at the TTR when the tower isn't operating. I heard a DOE (Energy callsign) do that. Nellis control has some "line" that amounts to "you are on your own."

Civilian aircraft operators get on the CALP (civilian aircraft landing permit or something like that) list so they can land at military bases. So there is a "one off" permission and a more permanent permission. The CALP list went FOUO once the powers that be figured out the plane spotters were using it as the Rosetta Stone of spook companies. I have an old CALP list somewhere. It is probably FOIA-able since it is not a secret and there is no compelling law enforcement exclusion from FOIA.

Now Groom and maybe the TTR have their own version of the CALP. We know Lockheed (LMCO) PC-12s have been to Groom, so they are on the list.

You have to wonder how much Classified Material is in print form these days. Sandia has all the secure networks.

I was watching the Frontline tweak of the old "Top Secret America" show. They added a small blip about the Boston bombings. Anyway, in the show you can see a scene where someone has one of those classified material bags under their arms. Presumably with the cheesy padlock. I just can't see that kind of paper being shuffled around in 2013.

Regarding trains, there is a whole radio monitoring community that studies those switching signals. I think they are in the 900MHz range. They map the codes to the physical locations. (There is no encryption, so in theory anyone can switch the tracks.) I don't monitor trains, don't consider me too knowledgeable about it. I just know people that are in the hobby.

Not so far from the Antelope Valley is the Tehachapi loop, a track where the train can loop over itself if it is long enough. There is a sign on route 58 indicating a turn off to get to a viewing location to see the loop.



posted on Jun, 5 2013 @ 01:05 PM
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Here are the main articles from the time.








Palay is portrayed as a drug user who hid his high blood pressure medical conditions from everyone. I will be posting some more information shortly. Thank you Zaphod for all your help.



edit on 5-6-2013 by STANDARD because: pictures too large



posted on Jun, 5 2013 @ 02:17 PM
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reply to post by gariac
 


More or less the secrets bag I'm refering to is the bag booms carry around (to this day) with the kyk 13 and the dtd along with authinication codes among other things like that days mode 4 and other things that are classified up to secret, sometimes top secret depending on the mission. And they don't have locks just cheesy little string things with numbers on them. Lol



posted on Jun, 5 2013 @ 03:02 PM
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reply to post by boomer135
 


Security bags...GSA approved! ;-)

When you research at the National Archives, you have to use similar bags. It takes great will power not to laugh at this procedure. Just think about it. You are at the CIA terminals where they monitor your use via camera and who knows what else. But then you carry the documents, which at this point are no longer secret, to a desk to get the security bag. Your documents are then in the bag until you reach the security desk, where they are given to you. And then I put them on the internet. Go figure.

The CIA crash reports are the real thing. [I gave Shawdowfax a shoebox full of them.] You get the full testimony of the pilots and those associated with the flight. They are sometimes 500 pages. Thankfully the CIA provides the paper.

While the TSA is the king of silly rules, they don't have the monopoly. NARA has their own set of silliness. For instance, I once tried to enter the archives with the flashlight that I leave on my keyring. Whoop whoop whoop danger danger. No flashlights allowed. But I can bring a freakin' smartphone with flash and camera. Argh!



posted on Jun, 5 2013 @ 03:11 PM
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reply to post by STANDARD
 


So Palay can see the runway lights, but then they are off and have to be turned on? I'm going to FOIA the crash report. I'll report back in 3 months if it ever arrives. I don't know if it is standard procedure, but I always get a call from JAG when I file for FOIAs regarding crashes. They ask why I want the report. But any answer seems good enough. Usually I just say "I want to find the crash site" and that isn't alarming to them at all.

Filing a FOIA with the FAA gets me a calls as well. Not always from the lawyers. I find it baffling but just shrug it off. Sometimes the lawyer can be useful since they know everything, while all you will get is the redacted document. The lawyer can help you figure out the next thing to FOIA.

efoia page

I couldn't find the crash report in the USAF reading room.





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