Accidents: December 2011
LEARJET SUFFERS TAKEOFF MISHAP
Bombardier Learjet 55, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 8, 2011–The twinjet skidded off the runway at Salt Lake City International Airport after an aborted takeoff attempt in dry, clear conditions at around 12:30 p.m. The Learjet exited Runway 17 near Taxiway K2 after the left main gear collapsed and came to rest with its left wing in the dirt. The two crewmembers and five passengers were uninjured.
TURBOPROP DITCHES ON HIGHWAY
Socata TBM 850, Hollywood, Fla., Oct.12, 2011–The turboprop single was substantially damaged when its pilot was forced to land on a highway after loss of engine power on a maintenance test flight. The TBM 850 had concluded a 600-hour inspection and departed from North Perry Airport (HWO). With the airplane on final approach, approximately one mile from HWO, the “Fuel Press” warning light illuminated and the engine lost power. Because of the airplane’s low altitude, the pilot decided to make a gear-up landing facing traffic on the northbound lanes of the Florida Turnpike. The two-person crew suffered minor injuries; no one on the ground was harmed.
KING AIR CRASHES WHILE ATTEMPTING RETURN TO AIRPORT
Hawker Beechcraft King Air 100, Vancouver, Canada, Oct. 27, 2011–After reporting an emergency soon after takeoff from Vancouver International Airport, the pilot of the turboprop twin attempted a return and crashed approximately 3,000 feet short of Runway 26L on a street outside the airport. The Northern Thunderbird Air-operated King Air struck a car and burst into flames. The captain was killed in the crash, while the copilot suffered critical injuries. The seven passengers and two occupants of the car were seriously injured. One pedestrian on the street was struck by debris. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the accident.
DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR OFFSHORE TRANSPORT HELICOPTERS
Sikorsky S-76C++, Kanbauk, Burma, July 11, 2011–The twin-turbine helicopter crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Kanbauk en route to an offshore oil platform. One member of the flight crew and two passengers were killed in the accident, and two other passengers sustained serious injuries. Another crewmember and the remaining three passengers suffered minor or no injuries. The HeliUnion-operated helicopter was substantially damaged. The Burmese Department of Civil Aviation is investigating the accident.
AgustaWestland AW139, Brazil, Aug. 19, 2011–Soon after takeoff from an offshore oil platform, the medium twin-engine helicopter crashed into the ocean en route to Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian-registered AW139 sank in more than 300 feet of water. The two pilots and two passengers are presumed to have died in the accident. The Brazilian government is investigating the accident. The helicopter was operated by Senior Taxi Aereo.
TWO RUNWAY OVERRUNS AT KEY WEST
Cessna 550 Citation II, Key West, Fla., Nov. 3, 2011–The twinjet suffered an apparent brake failure on landing at Key West International Airport at the end of a flight from Hollywood International Airport. According to local officials, the pilots said the flight was routine until they landed and applied the aircraft’s brakes. The Citation exited the end of Runway 9 and stopped in the engineered materials arresting system safety overrun. The airplane lost its nosewheel and yoke and suffered damage to its main gear doors. The crew and three passengers were uninjured.
Gulfstream G150, Key West, Fla., Oct. 31, 2011–While landing in clear, dry conditions at Key West International Airport at the end of a Part 91 flight from Stuart, Fla., the twinjet experienced an apparent brake failure. The crew told authorities that the brakes were not operational as they attempted to stop the aircraft and they quickly deployed the thrust reversers.
The Gulfstream exited the departure end of Runway 27 (the end of the runway that did not have an engineered material arresting system). The jet crossed a 600-foot overrun and hit a ditch, shedding its nose gear. It then crossed a gravel access road and cleared another ditch before finally coming to a stop more than 800 feet past the end of the runway. The pilot, copilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries, while the other passenger was seriously injured when his seat detached from its mounting and collided with the bulkhead. The Gulfstream, operated by Jimmie Johnson Racing, suffered structural damage.
GRAND CARAVAN GOES DOWN IN AFRICA
Cessna 208B, Xakanaka, Botswana, Oct. 14, 2011–Shortly after takeoff in VMC from an airstrip near Xakanaka, the single-engine turboprop crashed, killing the pilot and eight passengers. Four other passengers escaped the wreckage with injuries ranging from serious to minor before the Moremi Air-operated charter aircraft was consumed by fire. The Botswana Ministry of Transport and Communications is investigating with assistance from the U.S.
HELO CRASHES IN CANADIAN WILDERNESS
Bell 206L, Clear Lake, Ontario, Canada, Nov. 2, 2011–The Canadian-registered LongRanger was destroyed when it crashed in a remote region of Northern Ontario five miles from Kapuskasing, killing its pilot and two passengers. The helicopter was under charter by a forest products company at the time of the accident. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the accident.
BELARUS CRASH CLAIMS FIVE LIVES
Eurocopter AS355NP Ecureuil II, Vileyty, Belarus, Oct. 20, 2011–The light twin-engine helicopter was carrying a documentary film crew near the Lithuanian border when it crashed and burst into flames, destroying the helicopter and killing the two crew and three passengers. The helicopter was operated by the Belarus Border Patrol, and the Belarusian government is investigating the accident.
TURBOPROP TWIN CRASHES ON APPROACH
Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90, Kaduna, Nigeria, May 24, 2011–While on approach to Kaduna Airport in daylight, the twin turboprop crashed, killing the pilot and passenger and substantially damaging the aircraft. The Nigeria Accident Investigation Bureau is investigating the accident with assistance from the U.S.
SOUTH AFRICA PONDERS FATAL PC-12 CRASH
Pilatus PC-12, Plettenberg, South Africa, Feb. 8, 2011–The PC-12, operated by Majuba Aviation, was destroyed when it crashed in IMC while on approach to Plettenberg Bay Airport. The turboprop single was concluding a flight from Queenstown, South Africa, when it crashed into the ocean near a nature preserve, killing the two pilots and seven passengers. There were no witnesses to the accident.
According to an interim report by the South African Civil Aviation Authority, there was no distress call from the aircraft and the first indication of trouble was when the PC-12 failed to arrive at its scheduled time. The crew spoke with ATC at 16:27 and informed them that they would cancel their requisite flight plan search-and-rescue notice once they landed.
A review of radar footage showed the aircraft disappeared little more than six minutes later. After floating debris was recovered, sonar equipment located the wreckage at a substantial depth, hampering recovery efforts. Examination of the recovered debris showed no evidence of pre- or post-impact fire. Engine analysis revealed no indication of any pre-impact mechanical anomalies with any of its components. Investigators noted that the outer section of the left elevator had detached and was missing. Weather conditions at the time of the accident were overcast with a cloud base of approximately 200 feet above the ocean surface with dense fog and drizzle.
FEW CLUES EMERGE IN FATAL CARGO CRASH
Hawker Beechcraft 1900C, Sand Point, Alaska, Jan. 21, 2010–The turboprop twin crashed into the ocean just after takeoff from Sand Point Airport at the start of an IFR Part 135 cargo flight to Anchorage. The two pilots were killed and the 1900C suffered substantial damage. The accident occurred just before midnight and dark night VMC prevailed. The stop at Sand Point was the aircraft’s fourth destination of the day before the last flight of the day home to Anchorage.
Witnesses told investigators that as the aircraft’s takeoff progressed, the engine noise suddenly changed, followed by the loud sound of impact. The wreckage was located three days after the accident in 45 feet of water and was recovered.
Examination of the engines showed no evidence of pre-impact problems and analysis of the propeller hubs revealed that both were rotating and not feathered at impact. The aircraft was equipped with EGPWS but damage to the system’s memory chip precluded the recovery of any data. The aircraft was modified to allow operations at a maximum takeoff weight of 17,600 pounds. According to the NTSB, after the loading of cargo, the 1900C’s weight at takeoff was 1,393 pounds below maximum, but the location of the cargo and its effect on the aircraft’s balance could not be determined. According to calculations from Hawker Beechcraft, based on the operator’s fueling records, the turboprop would have required an additional 249 pounds of fuel to complete its flight from Sand Point to Anchorage, and at the time of takeoff the aircraft did not have the mandatory 45-minute IFR fuel reserve.
CONTROL LOSS IN IMC FELLED TURBOPROP
Pilatus PC-12/45, Raphine, Va., July 5, 2009–The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane in IMC following a reported instrument failure was the cause of the accident, which destroyed the turboprop single and killed the pilot and three passengers.
During a Part 91 flight from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Florida’s Tampa Executive Airport, the pilot–while flying in IMC 800 feet above the PC-12’s service ceiling–reported to ATC that he “lost [his] panel” and requested and received a heading. The pilot’s last communication a minute later reported he was in a descent. Study of radar returns indicated that the aircraft was in a right descending turn and in the 28 seconds before the last altitude fix, the turboprop had lost 8,600 feet of altitude.
A person on the ground reported hearing a “jet-type” engine in distress followed by silence and a deep thud. At the time of the accident, numerous pilot reports over Virginia indicated light to moderate rime icing from 13,000 to 27,000 feet.
Post-crash analysis ruled out the possibility of a full electrical system failure on the aircraft since the pilot was able to maintain radio contact after the reported panel outage and the aircraft’s transponder beacon was functioning during the descent. The aircraft was equipped with two flight display units each for the pilot and copilot: the upper electronic attitude director indicator (EADI) and lower electronic horizontal situation indicator (EHSI), each of which has its own attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) which is tied into the autopilot system.
NTSB investigators created several scenarios involving specific component failures that would cause possible disruption or disengagement of the autopilot (with accompanying visual and audio warnings) and require corrective action by the pilot to route data to another display unit. Personnel from flight panel manufacturer Honeywell told investigators that analysis on the system conducted as a certification requirement indicate there is no single-point failure that would disable both the EADI and EHSI displays.