It’s an unusual fact that, unlike just about any other marketable items, very light jets (VLJs), alcohol and tobacco share one unique characteristic. Even if you have the money, the seller can refuse to sell them to you if you’re not qualified. What’s more, those qualifications are all based on time, measured in years for would-be drinkers and smokers, and in left-seat hours for would-be VLJ pilots. Of course, this is as it should be.
Cessna 441 Conquest, Vestavia Hills, Ala., Dec. 10, 2003–On an IFR flight from Birmingham, Ala., to Venice, Fla., Conquest N441W reached 6,300 feet in its climb to 10,000 feet when it began to lose altitude and deviate from course. Declaring a Mayday, the pilot reported the airplane was in a spin. Several witnesses near the accident site reported seeing the airplane descend from the clouds in a nose-down spiral.
Mitsubishi MU-2B, Hillsboro, Ore., May 24, 2005–The pilot, his wife and another couple aboard Mitsubishi MU-2B N312MA were killed when the twin turboprop crashed moments after taking off. VMC prevailed. Preliminary evidence indicates the left engine was not operating at the time of the accident.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-36, Pittsfield, Mass., March 25, 2004– Royal Air Freight’s MU-2 was substantially damaged and the ATP pilot killed when the airplane crashed in Pittsfield in VMC. The Part 135 trip originated in Pontiac, Mich., about 11:30 the previous evening. The pilot picked up cargo in Rockford, Ill., then flew to Hagerstown, Md., where he dropped off cargo. An IFR flight plan had been filed from Hagerstown, to Bangor, Maine.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-36, Pittsfield, Mass., March 25, 2004–The NTSB determined the cause of the accident was “the pilot’s loss of aircraft control for undetermined reasons, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin and subsequent impact with the ground.”
Asymmetric-thrust accidents continue to occur in normal operations and in training because of “a huge misunderstanding” about how best to retain control of multi-engine aircraft, said a Dutch former test pilot concerned that flight manuals do not reflect definitions of performance used in certification.
Mitsubishi MU-2, Fort Pierce, Fla., June 25, 2006–The pilot of MU-2 N316PR was killed when the airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from Saint Lucie County Airport (FPR) in Fort Pierce in VMC. The ferry flight was on an IFR flight plan to Murfreesboro, Tenn., to have scheduled 100-hour maintenance performed. The airplane was destroyed. The pilot had flown passengers to the Bahamas and returned to the U.S.
An incident on May 4 this year in which a Hawker 800A lost more than 10,000 feet during a post-maintenance stall test underscores the potential risks of stalling swept-wing jets. The Hawker recovered after what the pilot said was a four- to five-g pullout.
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