By Skip Munger | News of the Force
[Editor’s Note: AuxBeacon is aggregating this important story from Skip Munger and News of the Force.]
News of the Force has been carefully following a serious incident involving a Civil Air Patrol Cessna 182R, N9386X, operated by the Florida Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, for nearly two weeks now. NOTF has learned that on Saturday, March 25th, the aircraft in question was operated by CAP Lt Col Harry S. Shoemaker, of the Fort Lauderdale Composite Squadron (FL-337) and the Group 6 Aircraft Maintenance Officer on an Air Force-assigned mission with two cadets on board.
The objective of the flight was Powered Syllabus 2 which indicates the cadets were not on their first orientation ride. The flight proceeded normally from the Hollywood-North Perry Airport (KHWO) to the Miami Dade Training and Transition field in south central Florida, nearly 30 miles away.
Upon landing, Shoemaker became distracted with a female cadet who announced she was becoming airsick. Rather than control the airplane to a safe stop, Col Shoemaker attempted to assist the cadet and struck a taxiway light with the aircraft’s moving propeller. Shoemaker reported he struck something metallic and wasn’t sure.
Sources reported he inspected the aircraft for damage and then flew the aircraft back to base in Hollywood, FL. An unnamed mechanic who reviewed the damage done to the aircraft provided the following comment. “It is clearly evident the aircraft suffered substantial damage to the propeller. The pilot is quite lucky he didn’t lose that engine in flight or shake it off the motor mounts. It should have never flown again.
Looking at the prop, the engine will have to be completely torn down and rebuilt. It appears to have been a sudden engine stoppage. Rebuilding the engine is somewhere in the range of $20,000 to $30,000 to repair.”
This isn’t the first time for the Florida Wing with cadet o’rides and blatant safety violations which endangered cadets’ lives. One source advised us that a senior member landed in Pahokee with less than 10 hours on a new engine after it had suffered a failure.
This incident changed CAP Regulation 60-1, which governs the CAP’s flight activities. “No longer can we operate a new engine on Cadet O’Rides.” A Cadet O’ride pilot recently performed no less than 3 rejected takeoffs without taxiing back to the end. The end result: the pilot skidded off the runway into the grass when it was evident the aircraft wasn’t going to clear the tall trees at the departure end. Another source advises, “We almost lost two cadets in Jacksonville when the husband of the former deputy chief of staff flew a similarly damaged aircraft from Fernandina to Jacksonville.”
It would appear the Florida Wing is headed for a serious incident that is going to result in the loss of life if steps are not taken very soon. Shoemaker is a retired captain with Delta Airlines. Obviously his skill and experience should have told him not to depart across inhospitable terrain, but to immediately ground himself and the airplane in Dade-Collier TNT. The failures didn’t stop there.
NOTF has learned that up until yesterday, Shoemaker was an active pilot in the Civil Air Patrol. No one bothered to suspend his flying privileges. NOTF further learned that the aircraft mentioned was not grounded in WMIRS – the official computer system for tracking missions, flight times and aircraft status.
A source told NOTF, “This is a gross failure of leadership which starts at Group 6 and extends all the way to the top. Had we performed like this on active duty, the Air Force would have sent us packing with no second chances. You don’t get a second chance when lives are involved.”
CAP Col Henry Irizarry is the outgoing Wing Commander. NOTF has learned that CAP Lt Col Luis Garcia was chosen by Maj Gen Vazquez, the CAP’s National Commander, as the incoming Wing Commander. After a brief review of the Wing Headquarters’ web page, NOTF has learned that Garcia is listed in several positions of leadership. Our military experience tells us we can’t do every job well. There is definitely a hole in the current leadership structure of the Florida Wing.
We hope the CAP will take notice before a loss of life results.
Read the bulletin on TCM Continental Engines: “PART I – PROPELLER STRIKE INCIDENTS. A propeller strike is: (1) any incident, whether or not the engine is operating, that requires repair to the propeller other than minor dressing of the blades as set forth in Part IB of this Service Bulletin or (2) any incident while the engine is operating in which the propeller makes contact with any object that results in a loss of engine RPM. Propeller strikes against the ground or any object, can cause engine and component damage even though the propeller may continue to rotate. This damage can result in catastrophic engine failure. A. PROPELLER STRIKE INSPECTIONS. Following any propeller strike complete disassembly and inspection of all rotating engine components is mandatory and must be accomplished prior to further operation. Inspect all engine accessories in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
In addition to the engine component inspection requirements set forth in the appropriate overhaul manual, pay particular attention to the following areas while performing the specified non-destructive testing: 1. Crankshaft surfaces forward of the front main bearing journal. These surfaces must be free of sludge, paint or any other substance that could mask reliable magnetic particle inspection indications. 2. Forward crankcase bearing support and adjacent structure.
NOTE: In addition to any part that is damaged, TCM recommends for counterweight equipped engines, replacement of all counterweight pins, bushings, end plates and snap rings regardless of their condition.” For more information on prop strikes, visit http://www.certifiedengines.com/prop_strike.html.
Pilots are taught early on in their training about the dangers of spatial disorientation. The “Death Spiral” as it is typically called, and generally the story of JFK Jr’s demise is told as a reminder of what can happen when you stop trusting your instruments and go with what YOU think is right. Unfortunately this is a lesson that CAP has not taken to heart. CAP has lost its focus on its mission, its members, and worst of all its commitment to the core values we claim to embrace. This happens sometimes when a long established entity starts to get comfortable with where it is. Just like the pilot who gets comfortable with the hours in his log book and stops working the basics he learned in flight training, and then finds himself unprepared in IMC conditions, CAP can find itself looking out the window into IMC conditions completely unprepared to be there. But there ARE safety instruments built into the system that can keep us from tumbling out of control in the “death spiral”.
CAP is in a death spiral. It has been for at least four years, some say longer – much longer. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter when it started, the point is we are in a well-established spin and quickly running out of altitude before this trip ends very badly. How did we get here? Just like JFK Jr, CAP refused to trust the very instruments that are built into the system that would help right the ship. Instruments like the IG system. The IG is supposed to be our primary attitude instrument. It tells us when we are starting to roll and pitch and gives us an opportunity to right the wrong. Instead, CAP ignores, changes, or flat out buries IG complaints. Instruments that give us a hint that something is amiss like when members and\or parents right letters of concern to wings, regions and NHQ. This is a supporting instrument that tells us the situation is getting worse. Once again, instead of taking heed to the message CAP admonishes them for “going outside of the very chain of command they are complaining about”. The aviation equivalent would be “That instrument is a bad instrument. It must be broken and thus replaced.”, when in fact it is giving us a confirming warning sign of danger. What CAP did next is the rookie pilot mistake. Instead of going back to their instruments to figure out what unusual attitude they’re in and recover they went with what they felt and pulled back on the stick. When that happened members responded like a fully enveloped stalled airfoil. Left feeling like they had no other option they went to the BOG, their senators and congressmen\congresswomen, the Air Force IG, and even to upper Air Force staff. At this point the AI is inverted, the altimeter is winding down like a clock, the compass (DG and wet) are spinning like a top and the VSI is buried in the deep 6. What Does CAP do? Do they go back to take a reasonable assessment of what is happening and take the responsible action to recover? No. They pull back even harder believing that if they pull back hard enough the ship will right itself. At this point you are in a JFK Jr. moment.
They say that there is a point in the death spiral where it becomes unrecoverable. I’m not an Aeronautical Engineer so I don’t know if that is true or not, and I really would not want to be the test pilot that test that, but the point is that it is quite possible that CAP is at that point right now. If they are not trusting the very instruments they installed to avert this situation by now, they never will. When you look the reports coming out of the Florida Wing, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Colorado, Hawaii, and the growing list of others you realize this is not simply an isolated issue at a Wing or Region level. This is a systemic problem at the highest levels of leadership in our organization. At a time when funding for the Air Force and other services are at low critical mass, and they are looking for effective yet cheaper ways to accomplish a mission, CAP should be bursting at the seams with missions and opportunities. Instead CAP leadership seems more concerned with their own self preservation checking the Aux Beacon on a daily basis to see what cover up got leaked now. Their focus is now off the mission, and off the instruments. They are yanking back on the stick hoping for a miracle maneuver that will save them. I’m not sure what this organization will look like at our 80th, 90th or even 100th anniversary. Will we even still be around? Will we have impacted the ground so hard that recovering enough pieces to put Humpy Dumpy back together again is infeasible? Only time will tell, but at the speed we are descending, there is one thing for certain; we don’t have much time left
You may want to look into why a former FLWG/CV who worked in the White House at one time was smacked down for Luis Garcia to become the new wing commander… just because the region commander didn’t like who this pick wanted to select for his staff. The pick wants to right Florida Wing, but the good ol’ boy network in South Florida — the Cuban mafia — is about to take the reins. Barry Melton’s to blame for this.
The Cuban Mafia certainly has the reins of FLWG. Shamefully Barry Melton was told by the National Commander to pick his pet Luis Garcia. Why is Irizarry leaving the wing one full year prior to original date? Something is wrong in Denmark here. CAP National could care less, it will simply allow Garcia to come in and run his own flying club. Garcia has never held the position of Group Commander and his time as an Army officer barely qualifies him for CAP leadership. Garcia’s wife Charlene is the Safety Officer for the wing. Aside from being a volunteer safety person for Avantair, (now defunct) that is her only experience. Too much nepotism for the rationale observer.
Steadily, we are seeing higher caliber people not only resign from this corrupt program, but now take on the risk of forwarding evidence of frequent FAA violations and other fraud and taxpayer waste that is commonly concealed by CAP commanders to their personal advantage.
CAP simply cannot keep terminating one Wing Commander after another in Southeast Region as it exposes them. Heather feathers or not, Henry Irizarry was going to be brought to term because the alternative would be too embarrassing for those who tapped him.
After the slander reprisal recently attempted here against a highly respected check-airman, I was appalled in my review of your site at the number of reports and documents showing how common this tactic of personal intimidation and destruction is among the goons and kangaroo courts of Civil Air Patrol.
Expect more evidence.
Florida Wing has seen a number of high quality people start to sit out and take a wait see approach for years now. The recent selection of the Wing Commander is indicative the fix was in. Henry Irizarry beat out Luis Garcia in the last round. This time around we see a good old boy mentality where Luis Garcia was selected for Wing Commander over all of the other candidates who were found more qualified, solely because he was the deputy commander. Garcia wasn’t even recommended by the selection panel as highly favorable. Of 7 candidates reviewed Garcia was number 7. CAP is short on memory that when the Pineda regime was taken out, Luis ran to National Headquarters to hide. He came back shortly into the Cook term. This time around, the fix was in with a rigged system. CAP FLWG is the real loser. So is Garcia going to be the wing commander, deputy commander, A3, et al this time too. A little too much testosterone floating around for a group of people barely over 5 feet tall.
Very pleased to see that your operation is able to investigate and expose all the dirty tricks that corrupt CAP members use to discredit these reports, which require the attention of the FAA.
Ask questions about Civil Air Patrol’s N239TX, a Cessna 172P.
You need to cover this story about clueless Congressional Reps like Clauda Tenney who appears completely unaware of the coverups of accidents, suicides and pederasts in Civil Air Patrol. Why is Tenney so eager to support these abusers?
Why is Tenney so eager to support these abusers?
Simple…… she wants votes and donations. Her political record in NY has not been all that great.
The photos of the prop strike damage are similar to those that were taken in Georgia Wing back when James Rushing was the Southeast Region Commander.
Readers may send any supporting evidence regarding aviation violations, incidents and accidents in Georgia Wing or any other CAP Wing through the standard channel here.
Most know that flying unairworthy aircraft without ferry permits is common operating procedure in CAP.
FAA South Florida FSDO?
Juan Garcia 954-641-6139
Sergio Lopez 954-641-6001
Mark Hemmerle 954-641-6015
Sometimes, in recent years, it feels like the FAA is trying to misbehave to protect the CAP. The FAA is required to investigate CAP’s unsafe flights and cover ups, including this mishap. We absolutely need full transparency and accountability from the aviation safety regulator.