Preliminary Report: Two Airplanes Crash On Same APA Approach Within 10 Days

 - October 24, 2006, 10:45 AM

Mitsubishi MU-2, Parker, Colo., Aug. 4, 2005– The commercial pilot, the sole occupant of he airplane, was killed when MU-2 N454MA crashed on approach to Centennial Airport (APA), near Denver, at 2:06 a.m. The Flight Line cargo airplane had departed from Salt Lake City International Airport at 12:40 p.m. in night IMC. The pilot had received radar vectors to intercept the localizer for the ILS Runway 35R approach and was told to maintain 8,000 feet until established.


Approximately four miles south of the final approach fix (casse intersection), he was cleared for the approach. The pilot acknowledged and was told to contact Centennial Tower. There was no response from the tower on his first attempt, but he was then cleared to land on 35R. After acknowledging the clearance, the pilot made no further transmissions. The controller advised him “Check altitude…your altitude indicates six thousand four hundred…you appear to be well below the glideslope.” The pilot did not respond. The controller tried to contact the pilot several times but received no response.


The last radar return showed the MU-2 approximately four miles south of the runway at 6,400 feet msl and at 140 knots groundspeed. The aircraft came to a halt inverted, with the nose resting on the bottom of a 20-foot-deep ravine, at an elevation of approximately 6,328 feet msl, approximately four miles south of the runway. The initial impact point was on the top of a ridgeline, about 600 feet south of where the main wreckage came to rest, at an approximate elevation of 6,350 feet msl.


Weather reported at the airport at 2:05 a.m. was wind from 010 degrees at eight knots, visibility 2.5 sm, rain, mist, ceiling broken 1,000 feet, broken clouds at 1,600 feet, overcast ceiling at 2,200 feet, temperature 59 degrees F, dew point 57. The ceiling varied between 600 and 1,300 feet, and the tower visibility was reported as four sm.


The pilot had more than 4,800 hours, with approximately 1,200 of them in the MU-2.


Cessna 425, Lone Tree, Colo., Aug. 13, 2005– On a night IFR flight from Sandpoint, Idaho, to Centennial Airport (APA), near Denver, Sgavit Aviation’s Cessna 425, N425SG, crashed on approach at approximately 8:20 p.m. The commercial pilot and three passengers were killed.


When the pilot reported the casse intersection, on the ILS approach to Runway 35R, the APA tower cleared him to land. The pilot asked what the ceiling at APA was. The controller said it was 500 feet and warned him of a low-altitude alert. The pilot said, “Yeah, we’re a bit low here.” At 8:19:33, the pilot reported “Back on glide-slope.” Twenty seconds later, the controller asked the pilot to “check altitude,” and there was no response. The controller tried to contact the pilot, but there was no response.


At 8:27, the APA automated weather ASOS reported the wind from 010 degrees at nine knots, visibility two sm with decreasing rain, skies scattered at 500 feet, broken at 1,100 feet, overcast at 2,800 feet, temperature and dew point 53.6 degrees F. The airplane was registered to Sgavit Aviation of Littleton, Colo., and the company was operated by the pilot.