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N11ZK accident description

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Tail numberN11ZK
Accident dateJuly 29, 2000
Aircraft typePeters RAF 2000
LocationManistique, MI
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 29, 2000, a Peters RAF 2000 GTX, N11ZK, piloted by an Airline Transport Pilot, was presumed missing after not completing a visual flight rules (VFR) flight planned flight with an assumed departure of 1540 eastern daylight time. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The aircraft has been presumed destroyed and the pilot presumed to have been fatally injured. The fight departed from Schoolcraft County Airport (ISQ), near Manistique, Michigan, at approximately 1545 and was destined for Otsego County Airport, near Gaylord, Michigan.

The aircraft was fueled with 16.6 gallons of "avgas" at ISQ at 1513 and was observed departing ISQ at 1545 on a southeast heading. (See appended fuel receipt.)

An aircraft, similar in type and color to N11ZK, was observed flying over Beaver Island, Michigan, on a southeast heading. The witness stated he observed the aircraft "at about 4:05 to 4:15 PM." A sectional chart was reviewed and Beaver Island was found to be along the course of a direct flight from Schoolcraft County Airport to Harbor Springs Airport. (See appended chart with depicted course.)

The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), United States Coast Guard, Civil Air Patrol, and Michigan State Police were notified and search and rescue missions were commenced. The AFRCC stated, "AFRCC received a 292259Z July INREQ from the Lansing, MI, Flight Service Station (FSS) via the Aeronautical Information System. The VFR flight plan proposed a 291940Z July departure from Schoolcraft County Airport, MI (ISQ) to Otsego Community Airport, MI (GLR), via Harbor Springs Airport, MI (D87). Filed altitude was 2500 feet, airspeed 70, time enroute 2+15, fuel onboard 2+45, with ETA at destination of 292155Z July. Pilot's name and cell phone number, the aircraft color (red/black/white) and the aircraft registration number were included in the INREQ. Remarks indicated an assumed departure. The Lansing FSS issued an ALNOT an hour later at 292359Z July. The Michigan State Police was the overall agency in charge for the interstate search for this missing aircraft. The Michigan and Wisconsin Civil Air Patrol Wings, U.S. Coast Guard District 9 (Cleveland), and U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City participated in the search. Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center and the 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah, assisted by researching radar data to try to ascertain a last known position. Minneapolis Center and 84th RADES were only able to provide limited radar data due to the aircraft's low altitude. Civil Air Patrol thoroughly searched the route of flight and the areas around possible radar returns to no avail. All leads provided by local citizens were also thoroughly investigated with negative results. Coast Guard District 9 suspended their search at 1620Z 10 August 00. Michigan State Police suspended their search 2200Z 10 August 00." (See appended reports.)

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held an Airline Transport Pilot and Flight Engineer certificates. He held an airplane multiengine land rating with commercial privileges in airplane single engine land and rotorcraft gyroplane. He held a first class medical with a limitation that he must wear corrective lenses. That medical certificate was issued on April 24, 2000. He listed 17,600 hours of total flight time and 300 hours of flight time in the last six months at the time of that medical.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The aircraft was a Peters RAF 2000 GTX gyroplane, N11ZK, serial number H2-93-4-107.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather stations in proximity to the filed route of flight recorded the following meteorological conditions:

At 1555, the Schoolcraft County Airport, Manistique, Michigan, weather observation was: Wind 130 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 24 degrees C; dew point 19 degrees C; altimeter 30.04 inches of mercury.

At 1651, the Pellston Regional Airport of Emmet County, Pellston, Michigan, weather observation was: Wind 100 degrees at 11 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition few 4,500 feet scattered 15,000 feet broken 25,000 feet; temperature 28 degrees C; dew point 17 degrees C; altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.

At 1753, the Otsego County Airport, Gaylord, Michigan, weather observation was: Wind 070 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition scattered 4,000 feet; temperature 25 degrees C; dew point 16 degrees C; altimeter 30.04 inches of mercury.

At 1735, the Antrim County Airport, Bellaire, Michigan, weather observation was: Wind calm; visibility 5 statute miles; present weather mist; sky condition clear; temperature 23 degrees C; dew point 22 degrees C; altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

To date, the wreckage has not been located.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Aeronautical Information Manual stated the following.

5-1-4. FLIGHT PLAN - VFR FLIGHTS a. Except for operations in or penetrating a Coastal or Domestic ADIZ or DEWIZ a flight plan is not required for VFR flight.

REFERENCE - AIM, NATIONAL SECURITY, PARAGRAPH 5-6-1.

b. It is strongly recommended that a flight plan (for a VFR flight) be filed with an FAA FSS. This will ensure that you receive VFR Search and Rescue Protection.

REFERENCE - AIM, SEARCH AND RESCUE, PARAGRAPH 6-2-7 GIVES THE PROPER METHOD OF FILING A VFR FLIGHT PLAN.

c. To obtain maximum benefits from the flight plan program, flight plans should be filed directly with the nearest FSS. For your convenience, FSS's provide aeronautical and meteorological briefings while accepting flight plans. Radio may be used to file if no other means are available.

NOTE - Some states operate aeronautical communications facilities which will accept and forward flight plans to the FSS for further handling.

d. When a "stopover" flight is anticipated, it is recommended that a separate flight plan be filed for each "leg" when the stop is expected to be more than 1 hour duration.

e. Pilots are encouraged to give their departure times directly to the FSS serving the departure airport or as otherwise indicated by the FSS when the flight plan is filed. This will ensure more efficient flight plan service and permit the FSS to advise you of significant changes in aeronautical facilities or meteorological conditions. When a VFR flight plan is filed, it will be held by the FSS until 1 hour after the proposed departure time unless:

1. The actual departure time is received.

2. A revised proposed departure time is received.

3. At a time of filing, the FSS is informed that the proposed departure time will be met, but actual time cannot be given because of inadequate communications (assumed departures).

f. On pilot's request, at a location having an active tower, the aircraft identification will be forwarded by the tower to the FSS for reporting the actual departure time. This procedure should be avoided at busy airports.

g. Although position reports are not required for VFR flight plans, periodic reports to FAA FSS's along the route are good practice. Such contacts permit significant information to be passed to the transiting aircraft and also serve to check the progress of the flight should it be necessary for any reason to locate the aircraft.

EXAMPLE - [1] Bonanza 314K over Kingfisher at (time), VFR flight plan, Tulsa to Amarillo. [2] Cherokee 5133J, over Oklahoma City at (time), Shreveport to Denver, no flight plan.

h. Pilots not operating on an IFR flight plan and when in level cruising flight, are cautioned to conform with VFR cruising altitudes appropriate to the direction of flight.

i. When filing VFR flight plans, indicate aircraft equipment capabilities by appending the appropriate suffix to aircraft type in the same manner as that prescribed for IFR flight.

REFERENCE - AIM, FLIGHT PLAN IFR FLIGHTS, PARAGRAPH 5-1-7.

j. Under some circumstances, ATC computer tapes can be useful in constructing the radar history of a downed or crashed aircraft. In each case, knowledge of the aircraft's transponder equipment is necessary in determining whether or not such computer tapes might prove effective.

A party to the investigation was the Federal Aviation Administration.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.