Factual Report: MU-2 May Have Stalled on Approach

 - October 16, 2006, 1:56 PM

Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, Ferndale, Md., May 14, 2004–Epps Air Service MU-2 N755AF was destroyed when it hit trees and the ground while approaching Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) in VMC. The ATP-rated pilot was killed.

The pilot had advised that he had the airport in sight, and the controller cleared him to descend to and maintain 2,500 feet. He was cleared to land on Runway 33R and was advised of traffic departing. His acknowledgment of the transmission was his last contact.

Radar returns showed the airplane was on a westerly track, north of the airport, that bypassed the approach end of Runway 33R, consistent with a modified downwind for Runway 15L. Along that track, the airplane descended to 700 feet. Just before reaching an abeam position for 15L, the airplane began a left turn back toward the southeast. The last radar return was in the approximate position of the wreckage site, with the airplane at 200 feet.

A witness said the airplane was “flying abnormally.” He noticed it making “swaying motions as if it were going to bank left, then right, and back left again.” As the airplane neared a tree line, its “nose flipped up and back.”

The BWI tower supervisor saw the airplane enter a “midfield downwind” for Runway 33R, “low and tight.” As the supervisor “questioned his approach, [the airplane] banked left and appeared to stall and then crashed.” Both engines indicated power was being produced at the time of impact, and there was no evidence of mechanical failure.

The pilot had 5,800 hours and a Challenger 600 type rating. He completed his most recent Part 135 proficiency check on Feb. 9, 2004.