Factual Report: Instructional flight fails

 - October 10, 2007, 11:11 AM

HAWKER SIDDELEY HS-125-700A, BEAUMONT, TEXAS, SEPT. 20, 2003–While the crew was practicing stalls, Hawker N45BP, operated by Starflite, of Houston, was destroyed when it went down 15 miles northwest of the Beaumont airport. All three pilots on board were all killed.

The instructor was preparing two pilots for their Part 135 competency and proficiency checks in a practice area. They performed several steep turns and stalls. The second pilot remarked that he had never flown a jet before and would have to get used to its feel. The instructor then asked the first pilot to perform a stall in the approach configuration. The first pilot asked the instructor if he had “ever done stalls in the airplane.” The instructor replied, “It’s been a while.” The first pilot remarked, “This is the first time I’ve probably done stalls in a jet. Nah, I take that back, I’ve done them in a (Learjet).” The instructor said he had stalled “the JetStar on a [FAR] 135 ride.”

The instructor briefed the pilots on the next maneuver, an approach-to-landing stall: “Okay, accelerate back to 200 knots, 5,000 feet. Find the ref[erence] speed. Do the checklist for the ref speed for our weight. We’re at uh 14 and seven is 21. Approach to landing stall is next. What did I say, 21? One twenty two for the ref. Your power is gonna be back at idle, you know. What else? Flaps. You know, approach flaps, gear. You don’t wanna get flaps in there [unintelligible word] late. No, no more trimming past, I think it’s 150 or 160. Recover. Just like a go-around maneuver. Power, positive rate, flaps 10, okay, positive rate. Gear up. Ref plus 20. Flaps up.”

The second pilot questioned the configuration: “So this one the flaps don’t go all the way to 45, they just go to 25?” The instructor-pilot said, “No, full flaps.” They discussed whether the stall should be performed in a turn or straight ahead. It was decided that it would be done straight ahead.

The first pilot asked for approach flaps and then for the landing gear to be lowered. The second pilot then reported, “Flaps 25, set.” The first pilot said, “Flaps,” and the second pilot replied, “Flaps,” and there was the sound of a click. The instructor reminded them, “[three unintelligible words] power,” and there followed the sound of decreasing power. Power decreased to 37 percent N1. The stick shaker sounded. Groundspeed was 192 knots, decreasing rapidly. Altitude was 4,900 feet msl. Power was increased to takeoff power and the instructor said, “Aww, don’t do that now.” Power was reduced to between 30 and 40 percent N1. The first pilot said, “Gimme flaps.” The second pilot asked, “What do you want me to do?” Groundspeed was between 112 and 113 knots. The first pilot said, “Recover.” There was the sound of increasing background noise, and the second pilot said, “Power up, power up, power. Do something, man.” The instructor said, “Power up.” There was no record of any increase in power, even though both engines were operating and controllable by the instructor. Beaumont Approach Control called the airplane but there was no reply.

Twenty-five witnesses were interviewed and the consensus was that the airplane was flying at a low altitude and doing “erratic maneuvers.” One witness said that when the airplane emerged from the overcast, it “seemed to stop in midair,” then it pitched nose down. Several witnesses said the airplane was spinning–some described it as a flat spin–before it struck the marshy ground. One witness said the airplane fell “like a falling leaf.”

The accident site was a water-filled crater that looked like the outline of an airplane, including its nose, wings and forward fuselage. The main body of wreckage was found within 25 feet of the initial impact crater.