Accidents: April 2011

 - March 28, 2011, 10:10 AM

Preliminary Report: Mexican Med Flight Skids Off Runway

Bombardier Learjet 25, Houston, Texas, March 4, 2011–The Mexican-registered twinjet was operating a medical transport flight when it skidded off a runway at Houston Hobby Airport while landing in heavy fog. The flight, which originated from Francisco Sarabia International Airport in the Mexican state of Coahuila, was initially destined for Galveston but diverted to Houston. According to the FAA, the Learjet landed at around 4 a.m. and overran the runway by approximately 1,000 feet, striking several runway lights and a localizer antenna in the process, causing damage to the jet’s left wing. None of the six people on board was injured.

Preliminary Report: Twinjet Strikes Building In Mexico

Bombardier Learjet 24, Pachuca, Mexico, Feb. 18, 2011–The two-member flight crew died and the Mexican-registered twinjet (XB-GHO) was destroyed when it crashed while on approach to Guillermo Villasana Airport at around 11:20 a.m. The Learjet, which was operated by a flight school, suffered an apparent loss of control and struck the wall of a warehouse at a military facility located on the airport. The aircraft was consumed in the post-accident fire. The Mexican government is investigating the crash.

Preliminary Report: Falcon Suffers Gear Failure

Dassault Falcon 20, Lexington, Ky., March 9, 2011–While landing at Blue Grass Airport, the Falcon was substantially damaged when its landing gear collapsed, causing the twinjet to skid to a stop on the runway. The airplane was owned by Nascar driver Greg Biffle. Biffle and his two pilots were uninjured.

Preliminary Report: King Air Loses Electrical Power on Takeoff

Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200, Montpellier, France, Jan. 7, 2011–After the airplane experienced a total loss of electrical power during initial climb in IMC, the crew was forced to make an emergency return to Montpellier-Mediterranee Airport. The gear collapsed on landing. The French-registered King Air suffered minor damage and the two crew and two passengers received minor injuries. The incident is being investigated by the French government’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau.

Preliminary Report: JetRanger Loses Engine Power

Bell 206B III, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, Jan. 14, 2011–While on short final approach for landing after a flight from Kingston to a hotel property, the Jamaican-registered JetRanger suffered a total loss of engine power. The pilot performed an autorotation to a grassy area, but the helicopter skidded on the grass and struck a tree, causing substantial damage to the nose section, main rotor blades and skid. The pilot and two passengers were uninjured. The compressor section of the Rolls-Royce 250-C20B engine was retained for further examination. The government of Jamaica is investigating the accident.

Preliminary Report: S-92 Experiences Control Loss

Sikorsky S-92A, Galliano, La., Jan. 19, 2011–The large twin-turbine helicopter experienced a flight control malfunction during initial descent at the end of a Part 135 flight from an offshore oil platform to Air Logistics Galliano Airport. As the crew approached the destination at approximately 70 knots the Bristow-owned S-92 began a right yaw of more than 100 degrees that could not be arrested by application of left pedal. The crew lowered the nose to regain airspeed, diverted to South Lafourche Airport in Galliano, and performed a roll-on landing, touching down at approximately 72 knots. The crew used differential braking to maintain runway heading. The three crewmembers and 15 passengers were uninjured. Upon examination, the tail rotor pitch change beam retaining nut was found to be missing. The helicopter had recently undergone maintenance.

Preliminary Report: G550 Damaged In Runway Overrun

Gulfstream G550, Greenville, Wis., Feb. 14, 2011–The twinjet suffered minor damage when it overran Runway 30 at Outagamie County Regional Airport. The aircraft was concluding a Part 91 maintenance flight test at the time of the accident. According to investigators, the flight crew reported the loss of a hydraulic system, and the G550 slid approximately 1,000 feet past the pavement, before its left main gear collapsed and it came to rest in a snow covered “safety” area. The flight crew and one passenger were uninjured.

Preliminary Report: King Air Lands on Wrong Runway

Hawker Beechcraft B200, Clifton, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, March 5, 2011–The Venezuelan-registered King Air was damaged when it overran the runway and broke through a fence at Union Island Airport at the end of a flight from Isla Margarita, Venezuela. According to reports, the pilots told authorities they believed they were landing at neighboring Canouan Island. The turboprop twin suffered a collapsed nosegear and damaged propellers. The two crew and six passengers were uninjured. The Eastern Caribbean Aviation Authority is investigating the accident.

Preliminary Report: Engine Problems Eyed In Runway Departure

Gulfstream IV-SP, Hayden, Colo., Feb. 18, 2011–As the Gulfstream began its takeoff roll from Yampa Valley Regional Airport, an apparent engine thrust asymmetry caused it to veer off the runway and come to a halt in nearly a foot of snow and mud. Airport officials had to use airbags to lift the aircraft so boards could be placed under its wheels for towing. The three-person flight crew was uninjured, and the GIV suffered little damage, according to reports.

Factual Report: GIII Ingests Window During Flight

Gulfstream G1159A, Farmingdale, N.Y., March 10, 2010–After takeoff on a Part 135 flight from Republic Airport (FRG), the twinjet experienced a loss of power on the number-two engine while climbing through 35,000 msl. The pilot-in-command told investigators that the crew heard a sound similar to a compressor stall, followed by loss of power on the right engine. He immediately declared an emergency and ran the checklist for an inflight engine shutdown. The flight attendant then came to the cockpit and informed the crew that the number-four outer window on the right side of the GIII had separated. The crew received ATC clearance and returned the aircraft on a visual approach to FRG, where they landed and taxied to the ramp without further incident and no injury to the three-person flight crew or two passengers.

Borescope examination of the engine revealed evidence of a compressor stall and flameout as a result of the window-pane ingestion. Debris was found attached to the high-pressure stage-one turbine blades, which were damaged.

Review of the airplane’s logbooks showed the window had been inspected at all appropriate intervals. An analysis of the window by the NTSB materials laboratory revealed that fractures in the outer pane originated from an area of pre-existing progressive cracking, which did not initiate from local surface damage or scratches. The window showed no signs of impact from aerodynamic forces or any indication of surface crazing. The initial cause of the cracking could not be determined.

Factual Report: Tail-Rotor Failure Eyed in Watery LongRanger Landing

Bell 206L-3, Gulf of Mexico, June 10, 2010–The pilot told investigators that as the helicopter was nearing its destination, an offshore oil platform, he heard a “pop,” after which the Bell pitched down and to the right with strong vibrations. Receiving no response from the pedals, the pilot initiated a full autorotation and reduced power to idle.

According to a passenger seated in the front seat, the helicopter nosed over without warning and the pilot was able to regain partial control, stating, “This ain’t gonna work…we lost our tail rotor.” Before contact with the water, the pilot activated the emergency floats and noted that they began to inflate. After settling gently on the water, the helicopter rolled over almost immediately to the right. The pilot and the two passengers were recovered after 15 minutes in the water by a rescue launch from the platform.

The pilot was uninjured and the two passengers suffered minor injuries. The PHI-owned and -operated helicopter was tied to a tugboat in the rough seas and apparently shed its tailboom during the recovery operation.

Examination of the engine and airframe (sans tailboom) at the company’s Lafayette, La. headquarters revealed no pre-existing anomalies, but a review of the flotation system found the right-side mid float had burst, while the aft float did not fully inflate. The hoses to the two floats were found to be swapped, causing incorrect application of pressure from the system’s helium reservoir. A review of maintenance records showed that the most recent examination of the Bell’s emergency float system was conducted three months before the accident.

Final Report: Previous Damage Led To Beech Gear Failure

Hawker Beechcraft 1900D, Denver, Colo., June 12, 2010–The NTSB determined the cause of the twin turboprop’s gear collapse upon landing was pre-existing damage of the right-hand landing-gear actuator attachment lug, which led to a fatigue cracking and eventual overload failure.

The crew told investigators they heard a loud “bang” as they retracted the landing gear after takeoff from Denver International Airport (DEN) at the beginning of a Part 91 positioning flight to Cheyenne, Wyo. As they circled the airport, the crew lowered the gear and all three annunciator lights indicated “safe,” but the “in-transit” light illuminated as well. After consulting with the company’s maintenance department, the crew landed the 1900D on Runway 35 at DEN. During rollout, the left gear collapsed, causing substantial damage to the aircraft–including a bent wing spar. Neither pilot was injured.

Post-accident investigation of the drag leg assembly revealed that both lugs that attach to the gear actuator were fractured, along with the rig plate. According to the examiners, the damage was pre-existing and served as a stress concentrator that started a fatigue crack.