Final Report: Practice stalls turned fatal

 - January 29, 2007, 10:54 AM

HAWKER 700A, BEAUMONT, TEXAS, SEPT. 20, 2003–An instructor was preparing two pilots for their Part 135 competency and proficiency checks, doing stalls in a practice area near Southeast Texas Regional Airport, when the Hawker went into a spin and crashed. The NTSB blamed the flying pilot’s failure to maintain aircraft control and adequate airspeed. Contributing factors included performing intentional stalls at too low an altitude to afford a safe recovery, the pilot’s failure to add power in an attempt to recover and the flight instructor’s inadequate supervision of the flight.

The crew performed several steep turns and stalls. One pilot remarked that he had never flown a jet before and would have to get used to its feel. The instructor, listed as pilot-in-command and seated in the jump seat, asked the other pilot to do an approach stall. The pilot asked the instructor if he had “ever done stalls in the airplane.” The instructor replied, “It’s been a while.” The 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 (Lear).”

With flaps extended and gear down, power was reduced to 37-percent N1. The pilot flying questioned the configuration: “So this one the flaps don’t go all the way to 45, they just go to 25?” The instructor said, “No, full flaps.” The straight-ahead stall was initiated at 5,000 feet. As speed decreased to 112 knots, the pilot said, “What do you want me to do?” The other pilot said “Recover.” The instructor-pilot called, “Power up,” but no increase in power was recorded.

The stick shaker sounded and shortly thereafter the CVR recording ended. Twenty-five witnesses described the airplane as flying at low altitude, doing “erratic maneuvers,” seeming “to stop in midair,” pitching “nose down,” “spinning” and looking “like a falling leaf.” The airplane hit marshy ground in a nose-down, wings-level attitude. All three pilots were killed.

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.