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On January 4, 2007, at 2337 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182P, N55YS, registered to Four Seasons LLC, operated by M. B. Kahn Construction Company Inc., as a 14 CFR Part 91 business flight, collided with trees and the ground, while maneuvering during an instrument approach, in the vicinity of Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Columbia, South Carolina. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The airplane was sustained substantial damage and the airline transport rated pilot, and two passengers were sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated from Newport News Williamsburg International Airport, Newport News, Virginia, on January 4, 2007, at 2028.
Review of transcripts between Columbia Approach Control and the pilot revealed the pilot was cleared for a Localizer Runway 31 approach at Columbia Owens Downtown Airport, Columbia, South Carolina, at 2316. Review of radar data for N55YS, revealed that at 2319 the airplane crossed HIDEE intersection at 1,300 feet (all altitudes msl), 500 feet below the published minimum crossing altitude. At 2320, the pilot informed the north radar controller that he was executing a missed approach and initiated a right turn instead of executing the published missed approach procedure. The north radar controller replied, "N5YS, roger, climb and maintain two thousand one hundred, you're radar contact. " The pilot replied, "two point one and we may as well come over and spend the night with you." The Minimum Safe Altitude Warning alert activated at 2319, and was presented on the north radar controller's display as a recurring "LA" to indicate low altitude. The north radar controller did not issue a safety alert to the pilot. The north radar controller further stated at 2320, "All right sir, hope you're on a heading of three one zero still on the localizer there, don't get too far to the north, I don't know what's out there at that altitude." The pilot replied, "Yankee Sierra." At 2322, the north radar controller instructed the pilot to ident, and the pilot complied with the request. The north radar controller informed the pilot he was radar contact, and was provided radar vectors to the Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
At 2323, the north radar controller made a blanket radio broadcast saying, "Attention all aircraft, tower visibility now at the Metro airport is down to a half mile, we should be getting some new weather here shortly." The north radar controller stated at 2325, "Attention all aircraft atis information now Oscar, visibility is one half and mist, ceiling two hundred overcast, temperature one seven, dew point one seven, wind one three zero at five, altimeter three zero one zero. At 2332, the north radar controller said, "Five Yankee Sierra, you're four miles from MURRY, turn left heading one four zero, maintain two thousand one hundred until established on the localizer, cleared ILS runway one one approach, maintain maximum forward airspeed to the outer marker." The pilot responded, "Okay, one forty, ah two point one till established, cleared ILS one one and we'll hustle it along, Yankee Sierra."
Thirty seconds later, the north radar controller stated, "November five yankee sierra, turn right heading one five zero to join the localizer." The pilot responded, "one fifty to join, Yankee Sierra." Review of radar data at 2334:47 revealed the airplane was over MURRAY at 1,700 feet, heading 101 degrees, at 104 knots indicated ground speed. A low altitude alert was observed on the radar playback from this point on the approach throughout the remainder of the flight. No safety alert was issued to the pilot by the north radar controller. At 2334:54, the controller stated, "Five Yankee Sierra, tower one one ninner point five." The pilot replied, "over to the tower, Yankee Sierra." After communications were transferred to the local controller in the control tower, the local controller was unable to establish radio contact with N55YS. The local controller made numerous transmissions including a low altitude alert, a clearance to land, weather information, runway visual range, and position correlation information; however, the local controller did not receive a response from the pilot of N55YS. Non-ATC recordings revealed the pilot of N55YS responded to the local controller transmissions; however, the radio calls from N55YS while on the local control frequency were not heard by the controller or recorded by the ATC facility.
The Columbia Metropolitan Airport, ATC Control Tower personnel notified the fire department that radar contact had been lost with the Cessna 182 about 1 mile west of Runway 11. Three fire department units were dispatched in a dense fog to search for the missing airplane, which was unsuccessful. A command post/staging area was set up, search grids were established for responding law enforcement personnel, and a foot search was initiated. A runway and ramp check was initiated which was unsuccessful. A State Law Enforcement Detachment helicopter arrived on scene on January 5, 2007, and the helicopter pilot located the wreckage at about 0630.
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued an airline transport pilot certificate on March 31, 2004, with ratings for airplane multiengine land/airline transport pilot, airplane single engine land/commercial pilot, and instrument airplane. In addition, the pilot was issued a flight instructor certificate on December 2, 2004, with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. The pilot held a ground instructor certificate issued on February 27, 1996. The pilot held a second class medical issued on May 2, 2006, with the restriction "must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision." The pilot indicated on his application for the second-class medical certificate that he had accumulated 7,000 total flight hours. The pilot's logbook was not located at the crash site. The pilot indicated on an AIG Aviation Pilot Qualification Form completed on January 3, 2007, that he had 7,100 total hours of pilot-in-command time in all aircraft, and 1,000 hours in the Cessna 172. The pilot did not indicate that he had any flight time in the Cessna 182. Review of the pilot's logbook obtained from his wife revealed the pilot had 7,208.9 hours in all aircraft. The pilot had logged 2,296.4 hours in single engine land airplanes of which 79.9 hours were in the Cessna 182. The pilot's first flight in a Cessna 182 was on July 16, 1990. The pilot's last flight in a Cessna 182 before the accident was on September 24, 1999. The pilot had recorded 4,776.7 hours in multiengine airplanes. The pilot had recorded 514.4 hours of instrument flight, and his last instrument flight was on November 21, 2006, in a Cessna 421. The pilot's last recorded instrument flight in a Cessna 182 was on May 3, 1994. The last instrument proficiency check and flight review was conducted on August 23, 2006.
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot rated passenger, who was seated in the right front seat of the airplane, was issued a commercial pilot certificate on December 12, 2005, with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. In addition, the pilot rated passenger was issued a flight instructor certificate on July 16, 2006, with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. The pilot rated passenger held a second-class medical certificate issued on September 25, 2006, with the restriction "must wear corrective lenses for distant vision, and must possess glasses for near vision." The pilot rated passenger indicated on his application for the second-class medical certificate that he had accumulated 3,500 total flight hours. Review of the pilot rated passengers logbook revealed he had accumulated 2,865 total flight hours of which 2,076.4 hours were as pilot-in-command. The pilot rated passenger had recorded in the logbook that he had 72.7 hours in Cessna 182 models. The pilot rated passenger indicated on an AIG aviation Pilot Qualification Form dated January 3, 2007, that he had 75 total flight hours in a Cessna 182R of which 10 hours were flown in the last 90 days. The last entry in the pilot rated passenger's logbook was June 19, 2006. The pilot rated passenger's last flight review was conducted on December 5, 2005.
The airplane was purchased by M. B. Kahn Construction Company, Inc., from Four Seasons LLC, on January 2, 2007. The Standard Airworthiness Certificate located in the airplane had the registration number of N-84SL. The aircraft registration certificate was not located in the airplane. The Senior Executive Vice President provided the registration certificate to the NTSB on January 5, 2007, which revealed the registration number was N55YS. The two previous owners and M.B. KAHN Construction Company Inc. had not revised the airworthiness certificate, as required by FAR 91.203 A1. Review of aircraft records revealed the last annual inspection was conducted on October 25, 2006, at tachometer time 2,266.3. The tachometer time at the crash site was 2,282.8, which is the airplane's total flight time. The airplane was flown 16.5 hours since the annual inspection. The engine was installed new with zero time on April 20, 1992, and was flown 156.3 hours since installation. The transponder, altitude reporting/static system tests were completed on July 29, 2005, at tachometer 2,132.3. There is no logbook entry indicating a current altimeter test. The pilot's altimeter was removed from the airplane wreckage. Precision Avionics and instruments, Repair Station No. ZV4R714M inspected the altimeter on March 4, 2004. The altimeter was removed, reinstalled, and a static test was last performed on March 5, 2004, at tachometer time 1,943.6. Work Order N0. 4492 from ABBAS Avionics states, "3-Performed 24-Month VFR Certification on the following equipment:
A. Transponder Model KT-76A MFG'D by King S/N 134999.
B. Altitude Reported
C. Static System
All units/systems listed above were tested and are in compliance with FAR 91.411 and 91.413, Appendix E and F."
The Senior Executive Vice president for M. B. Kahn Construction Company stated he was shown the airplane on December 22, 2006. He asked the seller's representative if the airplane was certified for IFR flight. The seller's representative stated it was and also informed him that the airplane had six flight hours since its last annual inspection. The Senior Vice President for the construction company stated he did not look at the logbooks before the accident flight, and he was certain the deceased pilot did not look at the logbooks.
The airplane was filled to capacity with 29.5 gallons of 100 low lead fuel at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, Newport News, Virginia, on January 4, 2007, before departing on the accident flight.
The Columbia Owens Downtown Airport, Columbia, South Carolina special 2330 surface weather observation was: wind-variable at 4 knots; visibility one and one-half miles; light rain and mist, 100 feet overcast; temperature 64-degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 63-degrees Fahrenheit and altimeter 30.11. Remarks rain ended 2259 began 2321.
The Columbia Owens Downtown Airport, Columbia, South Carolina, special 2339 surface weather observation was: wind 130-degrees at 4 knots, visibility three quarters of a mile, 100 feet overcast, mist, temperature 64-degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 63-degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 30.11.
The Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Columbia, South Carolina, special 2323 surface weather observation was: wind-110 degrees at 4 knots; visibility one-half mile, mist, 200 feet overcast; temperature 63-degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 63-degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 30.10. Remarks-surface visibility three-quarters mile runway visual range not observed
The Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Columbia, South Carolina, special 2344 surface weather observation was: wind 130-degrees at 5 knots, visibility one quarter of a mile, 200 feet overcast, fog, temperature 63-degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 63-degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 30.09. Remarks-tower visibility one half mile.
A friend of the pilot rated passenger stated she received a phone call just after 2000 before the airplane departed Newport News, Virginia. The pilot rated passenger stated he was watching the weather, and was concerned about the fog upon their arrival back in Columbia, South Carolina. The pilot rated passenger stated it appeared the weather was moving towards Columbia, South Carolina, and he inquired if it had started raining. The friend stated that it was not currently raining; however, it would probably be raining later on. The conversation was ended and there were no other phone calls received from the pilot rated passenger.
Review of the Localizer Runway 31 approach plate for Columbia Owens Downtown Airport revealed the minimums for the approach are minimum descent altitude (MDA) 660 feet and 1-mile visibility. The minimum crossing altitude at HIDEE intersection is 1,800 feet. The published missed approach requires the pilot to climb to 1,200 feet, then make a climbing left turn to 2,000 feet direct to the Columbia VOR and hold.
Review of the ILS Runway 11 approach plate for the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Columbia, South Carolina, revealed the minimums for the approach are decision height (DH) 436 feet and one half-mile visibility. The glide slope intercept altitude is 2,100 feet. The minimum crossing altitude at the locator outer marker ( MURRAY) is 2,069 feet.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located between Platt Springs Road and Old Barnwell Road, three-quarters of a mile west of the approach end of Runway 11 in a wooded area west of Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Columbia, South Carolina. Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with a 90-foot tree in a left descending turn separating the right wing tip. The airplane continued down the crash debris line on a heading of 080-degrees magnetic. The left wing tip and left wing strut fairing were separated and located 43 feet down the crash debris line. Tree branches with diagonal cuts were present along the crash debris line. A section of the left aileron was located 120 feet down the crash debris line. The outboard right wing separated 6 feet inboard of the right wing tip 206 feet down the crash debris line. The airplane rolled to the right and came to rest on a heading of 240-degrees magnetic. The crash debris line extended 222 feet.
The upper and lower engine cowlings were damaged and remained attached. The engine assembly was displaced to the right in relation to the engine firewall. All four engine mounts were separated. The forward right side of the oil sump was damaged. The left magneto separated from the mounting pad. The right magneto remained in place. The starter separated from the starter adapter-mounting flange. The starter adapter-mounting flange was damaged. The air induction filter inlet was damaged. The left side of the air induction elbow was separated. The right side of the air induction elbow was intact and damaged. All ignition leads were intact and not damaged. The exhaust assembly and muffler were intact and damaged. The oil filter was intact and safety wired. The oil dipstick handle was bent. All cylinders were intact and not damaged except for the cooling fins on the No. 1 cylinder. The carburetor was intact and the mixture lever arm was damaged. The alternator was intact and moved freely by hand.
The nose wheel was separated from the nose strut. The propeller assembly remained attached to the propeller crankshaft flange. The propeller spinner was crushed with evidence of rotation. Two propeller blades were loose in the propeller hub. The first loose propeller blade exhibited span wise scratching extending from the propeller hub outboard 29-inches. The outboard 5-inches of the propeller tip was bent aft. The leading edge of the propeller blade was scratched and the trailing edge had gouges 18 to 24-inches outboard of the propeller hub. Another propeller blade remained attached in the propeller hub. The propeller blade was bent aft 30-inches outboard of the propeller hub. The leading edge of the propeller blade was damaged 26-inches outboard of the propeller hub. The remaining propeller blade was loose and bent aft in the propeller hub. A decrease pitch twist was present 19-inches outboard of the propeller hub and extended outboard to the propeller tip.
The forward and aft cabin areas were compressed aft to the forward cabin doorposts. The windshield and right cabin door separated from the airframe. The right door latch was in the latched position. The left main cabin door remained attached to the airframe and the door latch was in the latched position. The left and right cabin door windows, left and right aft cabin windows and rear window were broken. The cabin roof was buckled upward and compressed aft. The aft carry-through spar was broken 16-inches inboard of the left wing aft attachment point. The instrument panel remained attached to the firewall. The right main landing gear remained attached to the airframe. The left main landing gear strut remained attached to the airframe. The left wheel and brake assembly separated. Flight control continuity was confirmed from both control yokes aft to all flight control surfaces. The cabin floor was buckled upward. The seat rails for the left and right forward seats were broken and remained attached to the cabin floor. The left and right forward seat inboard seat rail secondary seat stops were in place. The left forward seat remained attached to the seat rails. The right forward seat separated from the seat rails. The rear seat remained attached to its attachment points. The left and right forward seat belt and shoulder harnesses were latched and rescue personnel cut the webbing. The right rear seat belt was latched and rescue personnel cut the webbing.
The pilot's altimeter, attitude indicator, pilot heading indicator, right side attitude indicator, right side directional gyro, emergency locator transmitter, and graphic engine monitor were removed for further analysis and examined at an authorized FAA approved repair facility. The pilot's attitude indicator, passenger attitude indicator, passenger directional gyro, and emergency locator (ELT) were benched checked and operated, except for the ELT, which had received internal damage. The pilot's altimeter was benched checked with a Setra Digital pressure gauge model No. 370 last certified on February 14, 2006 and due for re-certification on February 14, 2007. The barometric knob was broken off. The bezel was removed and set to field elevation. The altimeter pressure was tested from the altitude of -1,000 feet to 20,000 feet. All scale errors were within tolerance. The friction error was out of tolerance due to contaminated pivots, jewels, and gears. The altimeter was last inspected on March 4, 2004. A leak check was performed at 18,000 feet and the altimeter was within tolerance. The pilots heading indicator was damaged, disassembled, and revealed no anomalies. The graphic engine monitor was damaged and did not contain any memory.
The right wing separated from its fore and aft attachment points. The leading edge of the right wing was damaged at the wing root extending outboard six and half feet and separated at the aileron flap junction. The right flap remained attached to the flap track and the flap was not extended. Examination of the flap motor confirmed the flaps were in the retracted position. The remaining leading edge of the wing was compressed aft into the forward spar four feet inboard of the wing tip, and a four foot section of the upper wing skin separated five feet inboard of the wing tip. The right wing strut remained attached at the wing and fuselage attachment points. Rescue personnel had cut the wing strut prior to the examination. The right aileron outboard section remained attached to its attachment points. The inboard four feet of the aileron had separated from its attachment points. The right main fuel tank was not ruptured and fuel was present in the fuel tank. The vented fuel cap was in place with a tight seal.
The tail cone remained attached to the fuselage. The left and right side of the tail cone were buckled. The bottom of the tail cone skin separated aft of the baggage compartment. The vertical and horizontal stabilizer assembly separated at the aft end of the dorsal skin. The rudder assembly remained attached to the vertical stabilizer. The top of the rudder assembly was damaged and the balance weight separated. The right outboard two feet of the horizontal stabilizer was crushed inward diagonally to the midspan of the horizontal stabilizer. The right elevator was attached to the horizontal stabilizer and the trim tab remained attached to the elevator and was damaged. The elevator trim tab actuator was measured at .95-inches, which equates to 10-degrees tab down. The left horizontal stabilizer was damaged and bent downward 20-degrees three and a half feet outboard of the tail cone. The elevator remained attached to the horizontal stabilizer.
A 5-foot section of the left wing remained attached to the aft wing attachment point, and separated from the forward wing attachment point. The remaining 8-foot section of the left wing separated five feet outboard of the wing root. The leading edge of the left wing was damaged. The left flap remained attached and was in the retracted position. The outboard 18-inches of the left flap remained attached at the upper skin and was bent upward. The left main fuel tank was not ruptured and fuel was present in the left main fuel tank. The vented fuel cap was in place with a tight seal. A section of the left aileron remained attached at the inboard and middle hinges. The outboard section of the aileron was separated. The leading edge was crushed aft into the forward wing spar. The outboard left wing leading edge 2-feet inboard from the left wing tip was crushed and separated. The wing strut remained attached at the wing and fuselage attachment points. Rescue personnel cut the left wing strut.
The engine was partially disassembled. All sparkplugs were removed. The sparkplugs had light gray deposits and exhibited "normal wear" in accordance with the Champion Check-A-Plug Chart. All cylinder rocker covers were removed and oil was present. The crankshaft was rotated by hand, valve and drive train continuity was confirmed, and continuity was established with all accessory gears. Suction and compression was obtained on all cylinders. The left magneto was rotated freely by hand and no spark was obtained. Oil was observed exiting from the impulse coupling area on the left magneto. The right magneto was rotated freely by hand and spark was obtained from all ignition leads. The carburetor was removed. The accelerator pump was actuated by hand and fuel flowed freely. Fuel was present in the fuel inlet line to the carburetor. The carburetor was disassembled and fuel was present in the carburetor bowl. The fuel inlet screen was removed and no fuel or debris was present. The fuel inline strainer was disassembled and fuel and debris were present. The starter drive was rotated freely by hand. The vacuum pump was removed and the drive coupling was intact. The vacuum pump was disassembled and the vanes and rotor were not damaged.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Medical Examiner at Newberry Pathology Associates, P.A. located in Newberry, South Carolina, conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot, on January 5, 2007. The cause of death was "closed head injury due to airplane crash." The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.
The Medical Examiner at Newberry Pathology Associates, P.A. located in Newberry, South Carolina, conducted a postmortem examination on the pilot rated passenger on January 5, 2007. The cause of death was "closed head injury due to frontal bone fracture due to airplane crash." The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Diphenhydramine 0.026 (ug/ml) was detected in the blood. A non-quantified amount of Diphenhydramine was present in the urine. A non-quantified amount of ranitidine was present in the blood and urine.
The Medical Examiner at Newberry Pathology Associates, P.A. located in Newberry, South Carolina, conducted a postmortem examination on the passenger on January 5, 2007. The cause of death was "closed head injury due to airplane crash."
TEST AND RESEARCH
According to the Leesburg Federal Contract Facility/Automated Flight Service Station, the pilot filed an IFR flight plan at 1728 from Newport News Williamsburg International Airport, Newport News, Virginia, to Columbia Owens Downtown Airport, Columbia, South Carolina. The pilot listed Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Columbia, South Carolina, as his alternate airport. The pilot stated during the flight plan briefing that he had received his weather briefing online. The Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at Newport News stated pilots could obtain Internet weather briefings from a computer at the FBO; however, there was no way to retrieve or determine what information the pilot had requested.
Review of flight publications at the crash site revealed that the United States Government Flight Information Publication, IFR En-Route Low Altitude Approach Chart L-19 and L-20 expired on March 17, 2005. The IFR En-Route Low Altitude L-26 and L-27 Chart expired on May 12, 2005.
Review of Federal Aviation Regulation 91.169, IFR flight plan: Information required states, "(C) IFR alternate airport weather minima. Unless otherwise authorized by the administrator, no person may include an alternate airport in an IFR flight plan unless appropriate weather reports or weather forecasts, or a combination of them, indicate that, at the estimated time of arrival at the alternate airport, the ceiling and visibility at that airport will be at or above the following weather minima…. (A) For a precision approach procedure. Ceiling 600 feet and visibility 2 statute miles. (B) For a non-precision approach procedure. Ceiling 800 feet and visibility 2 statute miles."
FAA Order 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, paragraph 2-1-6. Safety Alert states in part: "Issue a safety alert to an aircraft if you are aware the aircraft is in a position/altitude which, in your judgment, places it in unsafe proximity to terrain, obstructions, or other aircraft. Once the pilot informs you action is being taken to resolve the situation, you may discontinue the issuance of further alerts. Do not assume that because someone else has responsibility for the aircraft that the unsafe situation has been observed and the safety alert issued; inform the appropriate controller.
1. The issuance of a safety alert is a first priority (see para 2-1-2, Duty Priority) once the controller observes and recognizes a situation of unsafe aircraft proximity to terrain, obstacles, or other aircraft. Conditions, such as workload, traffic volume, the quality/limitations of the radar system, and the available lead time to react are factors in determining whether it is reasonable for the controller to observe and recognize such situations. While a controller cannot see immediately the development of every situation where a safety alert must be issued, the controller must remain vigilant for such situations and issue a safety alert when the situation is recognized.
2. Recognition of situations of unsafe proximity may result from MSAW/E-MSAW/LAAS, automatic altitude readouts, Conflict/Mode C Intruder Alert, observations on a PAR scope, or pilot reports.
3. Once the alert is issued, it is solely the pilot's prerogative to determine what course of action, if any, will be taken.
a. Terrain/Obstruction Alert. Immediately issue/ initiate an alert to an aircraft if you are aware the aircraft is at an altitude which, in your judgment, places it in unsafe proximity to terrain/obstructions. Issue the alert as follows:
LOW ALTITUDE ALERT (call sign),
CHECK YOUR ALTITUDE IMMEDIATELY.
THE (as appropriate) MEA/MVA/MOCA/MIA IN YOUR
AREA IS (altitude),
or if an aircraft is past the final approach fix
or the outer marker,
or the fix used in lieu of the outer marker (precision approach),
and, if known, issue
THE (as appropriate) MDA/DH IS (altitude)".
The NTSB requested a flight check of Columbia Metropolitan Airport on January 5, 2007. The FAA Technical Operations Services National Aircraft Accident Representative determined that a Post Aircraft Accident Flight inspection was not required.
The passenger-rated pilot's logbook was released to the Senior Executive Vice President of M. B. Kahn Construction Company Inc. on January 7, 2007. The aircraft logbooks were released to the International Loss Management Insurance Adjuster on January 10, 2007. The pilot's logbook was released to the Senior Executive Vice President of M. B. Kahn Construction Company Inc. on January 19, 2007. The wreckage and components retained for further examination were released to Atlanta Air Recovery, Griffin, Georgia, on January 24, 2007.
This report was modified on January 25, 2008.