Final Report: Pilot disorientation blamed in King Air crash

 - August 2, 2010, 9:56 AM

Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200C, North Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands, Feb. 6, 2007–The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch ruled that human factors caused the crash of the British Overseas Territories-registered Super King Air.
Soon after takeoff from North Caicos Airport, the aircraft adopted an excessive degree of right bank, which led to a descending turning flight path that lasted until the aircraft was unable to make a safe recovery. Investigators believe the pilot was likely suffering from spatial disorientation and was unable to recognize the situation in time to prevent the accident. At the time of the accident it was after dusk with no moon and there was little artificial lighting in the area. The twin turboprop crashed into a shallow lagoon approximately one mile from the airport. The pilot was killed and the five passengers were severely injured.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the aircraft was probably under control when it struck the surface and both engines were producing power. The aircraft hit the water in a nearly level attitude, which lessened the damage.

A postmortem examination of the pilot revealed alcohol in his system. While his blood alcohol level was under the prescribed limit, investigators deemed it significant in terms of piloting an airplane and a possible contributor to his disorientation. The authorities also noted that the flight was operated with a single pilot when two were required.