Accidents: April 2013
Preliminary Report: Twin Turboprop Crashes in Peru
Beechcraft King Air 200, near Matibamba, Peru, March 6, 2013–Nine people died in the crash of a Peruvian King Air 200 at 8:30 a.m., on a flight to Pias Airport in west central Peru. The aircraft, operated by Aero Transporte, had been chartered to carry seven employees from Lima to a local mining site. The aircraft struck a wooded hillside in unknown weather conditions.
Preliminary Report: Jet Crashes in the French Alps
Hawker Beechcraft Premier IA, Annemasse, France, March 4, 2013–A six-year-old Premier IA operated by Global Jet Luxembourg bound for Zurich, Switzerland, crashed shortly after takeoff from Annemasse Airport, killing two of the three occupants. A passenger in the cabin sustained serious injuries. The aircraft had just departed Annemasse’s Runway 12 when it struck a house less than a mile from the airport before hitting the ground, where it was destroyed by fire.
Preliminary Report: Russian Turboprop Crashes in Ukraine
Antonov An-24RV, near Donetsk Airport, Ukraine, Feb. 13, 2013–A chartered Antonov An-24RV, operated by Ukraine-based South Airlines and carrying football fans from Odessa to a game, crashed on approach to Donetsk Airport (UKCC), killing five of the 52 people aboard. Although the aircraft caught fire after the accident, the other 47 people aboard escaped.
Weather at the time of the accident was reported as visibility one-eighth of a mile in fog, although the RVR was also reported as 2,460 feet with an indefinite ceiling of 100 feet. Temperature and dew point were both +1 degree C.
Preliminary Report: Turboprop Freighter Crashes in Alaska
Beechcraft 1900, near Dillingham, Alaska, March 8, 2013–A Beech 1900 operated by Ace Air Cargo crashed in the Muklung Hills region some 20 miles northeast of its destination as it approached Dillingham Airport (PADL) during a short early-morning flight from King Salmon (PAKN). Dillingham was reporting gusty wind with seven miles visibility in light rain with an overcast at 1,500 feet. Both pilots were killed in the accident. The aircraft had been cleared for the approach to Dillingham. When it did not arrive, it was located with the help of its ELT at the 2,000-foot level on the south side of the Muklung Hills. Peaks rise to just over 2,100 feet in the vicinity of the accident.
Preliminary Report: Two Fatalities in Turboprop Training Accident
Beechcraft King Air E90, Casa Grande, Ariz., Feb. 6, 2013–Both occupants of a King Air were killed when their aircraft hit the ground near Casa Grande Airport (CGZ) in good weather at 11:35 local time. The Part 91 flight had departed Marana Regional Airport (AVQ), Arizona, about an hour earlier with a private pilot in the left seat and a certified flight instructor (CFI) in the right. The two pilots mentioned to ground personnel that they planned to practice maneuvers in the local area and do some touch-and-goes, so they did not file a flight plan. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane pass over Runway 5 at AVQ in a steep left turn at 200 to 300 feet agl and with the nose pointed steeply downward just before impact.
Final Report: Pilot Confusion Blamed in Airliner Go-around
Airbus A330-202, Tripoli, Libya, May 10, 2010–All 104 people aboard an Airbus A330 operated by Afriqiyah Airways were killed when the aircraft crashed approximately 850 feet from the approach end of Runway 9 at Tripoli International Airport. The Airbus was attempting a go-around following an NDB non-precision nighttime approach upon arrival from Johannesburg, South Africa. Libya’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spent nearly three years investigating the crash.
As the flight approached Tripoli, the ATIS was reporting clear skies, with five miles visibility and calm wind with a temperature/dew-point spread of three degrees. Shortly before the accident, another pilot on the tower frequency cautioned the Airbus crew to be alert for low stratus clouds near the runway. The CAA report indicated that the first officer was the pilot flying, and the captain was the monitoring pilot. All seemed normal during the autopilot-guided approach until the terrain warning system generated a “Too Low, Terrain” warning on short final. Fifteen seconds after initiation of the go-around, the aircraft began to pitch down. The Airbus hit the ground 15 seconds later in a 4,400-fpm descent and was destroyed in the post-impact fire.
The cockpit voice and digital flight data recorders indicated that the first officer correctly set the flight guidance system for a 3.0-degree glidepath before beginning the approach, and that the flight approached the runway in the landing configuration with all checklists complete at a speed of 128 knots. The minimum descent altitude (MDA) was also correctly set as 620 feet msl.
As the aircraft approached the MDA, the terrain warning system called “100 above minimums,” to which the captain responded “continue,” and the first officer acknowledged. Six seconds after arriving at the MDA and two miles from the missed approach point, the first officer questioned whether they should initiate a missed approach. The captain did not reply. Six seconds later the terrain warnings told the crew they were again too low and the captain called for a missed approach. Two seconds later the first officer disconnected the autopilot, selected takeoff/go-around on the thrust levers and pitched the nose up to 12.3 degrees, and the aircraft began to climb as the landing gear was retracted.
Approximately 20 seconds before impact, nose-down sidestick inputs were made, and the aircraft’s altitude began to decrease as the pitch angle dropped to 3.5 degrees nose-down. The terrain warnings began again, calling, “Too Low. Don’t Sink. Pull Up,” which continued until impact.
Post-crash examination indicated that at various times during the go-around both pilots were attempting to control the aircraft manually using their respective sidesticks, the captain attempting to override the first officer with the button on his sidestick. The captain never spoke of any concerns to the flying pilot during the go-around, and he did not say he was attempting to override the first officer’s control inputs.
During the accident investigation, the aircraft maintenance records were examined and indicated the aircraft was well maintained, noting only one “repetitive snag” in the aircraft’s systems: a problem with the priority pushbutton on the captain’s sidestick. The priority button essentially decides whether the captain’s or the first officer’s control stick actually delivers computer inputs to move the flight controls. The captain’s button was reported as sticking intermittently.
A review of the crew’s medical records revealed that the captain’s blood pressure was found to be outside tolerances for a first-class medical, although his doctor had issued the certificate anyway. The Director General of Civil Aviation in Libya later revoked that medical examiner’s authority.
The CAA report says the crew might have expected an easy approach, based on the reports of good weather by Tripoli Metars at Tripoli and fatigue after a nine-hour transcontinental flight ending in the middle of the night. But with the crew of the aircraft landing ahead cautioning of low stratus clouds near the threshold, the approach was not to be a simple one; and yet the captain seemed to hesitate during the first officer’s initial question about aborting the approach.
The CAA believes the low clouds might have induced some spatial disorientation in the captain, causing him unknowingly to override the first officer and pitch the aircraft’s nose down. Post-crash examination revealed that the override pushbutton on the captain’s sidestick was slow to release. Combined with the captain’s silence, it could have created uncertainty about which pilot was actually controlling the aircraft.