Pilot fatigue blamed in fatal PC-12 crash

 - October 29, 2009, 5:53 AM

Pilatus PC-12/47E, Sante Fe, N.M., Sept. 29, 2008–The Board attributed the fatal crash to the pilot’s fatigue. On the day of the accident, the sole-occupant pilot had flown eight-and-a-half hours, crossed two time zones and been awake for at least 17 hours. The aircraft crashed three miles north of its destination of Santa Fe Municipal Airport (SAF). Dark night meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight, operating under Part 91 on an IFR flight plan, originated at Teterboro Airport and made an unscheduled fuel stop at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport. The pilot’s last message over Unicom said he was five miles out from the airport. Runway lights were turned on and, according to the witnesses, the airplane approached the airport from the southeast and overflew the area on a ground track consistent with a traffic pattern for one of the runways. One witness reported the airplane initiated a left turn toward the airport, at which time it pitched down and descended at a “steep angle” before cartwheeling. The airplane was destroyed in the crash.