PIPER PA-46-310P MALIBU, OSTENN, FLA., JUNE 14, 2002–Trying to thread through a hole in an area of thunderstorms on an IFR flight from Raleigh, N.C. to Marco Island, Fla., the pilot of Malibu N9143B asked ATC for a deviation 12 miles to the west. He attempted to fly through an area of light radar echoes between the two large areas of heavier echoes.
The NTSB continues its investigation into the April 14 crash of a 1985 King Air 300 while being vectored in VMC to Spruce Creek Airport, a private residential airport community south of Daytona Beach, Fla. One of two occupants suffered serious injuries and the turboprop twin was destroyed when it crash landed in a field.
CESSNA 425 CONQUEST I, SAN JOSE, CALIF., MARCH 6, 2002–The NTSB concluded that the in-flight breakup of Conquest N444JV was caused “by the pilot’s loss of control, which resulted in exceeding of the design stress limits of the aircraft, leading to an in-flight structural failure.” The loss of control was blamed on the loss of primary airspeed reference resulting from pitot tube icing, caused by the internal failure of the pitot heat switch.
2003–The NTSB cited the flight instructor’s inadequate supervision of the flight of Grand Aire Express’s Falcon 20 N183GA, while practicing ILS approaches in IMC with low clouds and rime ice, for causing the airplane to crash.
Israel Aircraft Industries 1124 Westwind, Tocumen, Panama, July 2, 2004–Westwind N280AT, operated by Air Trek as a Part 135 air ambulance flight, crashed into a building shortly after takeoff from the Tocumen International Airport. The airplane was destroyed and all six occupants were killed. A seventh person on the ground was also killed. VMC prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed.
Gates Learjet 35A, New Castle, St. Kitts and Nevis, July 13, 2004–Learjet N829CA, en route VFR from St. Maarten, hit the perimeter fence on approach to Runway 10 at Vance W. Amory Airport, New Castle, St. Kitts and Nevis, sustaining substantial damage. Both wings were damaged, and the left engine partly dislodged from the fuselage and the left fuel tank ruptured. Weather was unknown and there were no injuries.
Learjet 55, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., July 19, 2004–Learjet N55LF overran Runway 31 during its landing roll at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, in VMC. Neither the ATP pilot nor the commercial copilot was injured, but the airplane was substantially damaged. Repositioning the aircraft from Fort Lauderdale International, the crew was expecting to land on Runway 13, but it was closed and the tower told them to land on Runway 31.
The House Appropriations Committee has added a directive to a report on FAA funding for Fiscal Year 2005 that would require the agency to ensure that pilots continue to get the best possible flight briefing and en route information services without user fees.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) assembly is expected to take action later this month on legal guidance for member states to protect safety-data-
collection systems while allowing for proper administration of justice.
The guidance would help nations protect from unwarranted use information collected under systems such as flight operational quality assurance programs and line operations safety audit programs.
Contrary to a popular misconception, most aircraft accidents are survivable. This fact has been documented by the NTSB, which analyzed Part 121 accidents in the U.S. between 1983 and 2000 involving at least one fatality or serious injury in which aircraft were substantially damaged. In the 568 such mishaps studied by the Board, 95.7 percent of the accident aircraft occupants lived.