June 2011 Accidents

 - May 28, 2011, 6:10 AM

Preliminary Report: Indian Helicopter Crash Claims Five

Eurocopter AS350B3, Luguthang, India, April 30, 2011–The Ecureuil (Squirrel) was destroyed and its two pilots and three passengers (among them a prominent Indian politician) were killed when it crashed 20 minutes after takeoff on a flight to the Arunachal Pradesh state capital, Itanagar. The Indian-registered aircraft, operated by Pawan Hans Helicopters, was missing for five days before its wreckage was discovered near a remote snow-bound village.

Preliminary Report: King Air Loses Aileron

Hawker Beechcraft King Air E90, Des Moines, Iowa, Feb 15, 2011–While undergoing a “return to operation” Part 91 flight from Des Moines International Airport (DSM) following maintenance, the King Air suffered substantial damage when the right aileron departed during a climb to 18,000 feet msl. The pilot was able to land the turboprop twin at DSM. Neither the pilot nor the passenger was injured.

Preliminary Report: Wind Gust Disrupts Falcon Landing

Dassault Falcon 10, Sellersburg, Ind., March 23, 2011–The twinjet suffered substantial damage to its engines, right wing and forward pressure bulkhead when it exited the runway while landing at Clark Regional Airport at the end of a Part 91 flight. As the airplane touched down, it encountered a gust of wind that lifted its left wing. The pilot attempted to compensate, but the airplane ballooned and drifted off the runway. It touched down and came to a stop in the grass alongside Runway 36. The two-person flight crew and passenger were uninjured.

Preliminary Report: Grand Caravan Strikes Vehicles During Taxi

Cessna 208B, Bakersfield, Calif., March 10, 2011–While taxiing at Meadows Field Airport at the end of a Part 135 flight from Ontario, Calif., the Grand Caravan experienced a loss of directional control and collided with several unoccupied parked vehicles. The FedEx-registered aircraft sustained substantial damage, including a broken wing spar and damaged skin panels. According to the pilot, the turboprop single’s brakes and steering operated normally during departure, but when he attempted to make a 90-degree turn to the company’s unloading area, the airplane did not adequately respond and crashed into two FedEx trucks and a van.

Preliminary Report: Excel Experiences Rudder Icing

Cessna 560XL Citation XL, Bakersfield, Calif., March 10, 2011–During a flight from Baltimore to Nassau, the Bahamas, the NetJets-operated twinjet experienced stuck rudder controls while climbing through 28,000 feet. The copilot disconnected the yaw damper but the rudder remained “frozen” in the neutral position. The crew diverted to Myrtle Beach International Airport. While the airplane was descending through 13,000 feet, normal rudder operation returned, allowing the crew to make an uneventful landing. As the crew disembarked, they noticed water dripping from the belly of the airplane. Further examination found water and ice in an interior compartment through which the rudder and elevator cables are routed. Two similar incidents involving the Excel were noted in December 2010.

Preliminary Report: Bell Goes Down in Fog

Bell 206, Vereda Galan, Colombia, Feb. 18, 2011–The Colombian-registered JetRanger crashed in mountainous terrain soon after takeoff from Bucaramanga and was in IMC at the time of the accident. The helicopter, operated by Heliservice, was destroyed in the crash and resulting fire. The pilot and three passengers were killed. The Colombian government is investigating the accident.

Preliminary Report: Turboprop Twin Loses Power

Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200, Vichada, Colombia, March, 6, 2011–The Colombian-registered King Air was substantially damaged after an emergency landing following a loss of engine power. The flight, operated by Servicio Aereo de Capurgana, was en route to Bogota when it crashed. The two crew and three passengers were uninjured. The Colombian government is investigating the accident.

Preliminary Report: King Air Suffers Aileron Damage during Student Flight

Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90B, Chickasha, Okla., April 11, 2011–The King Air sustained minor damage when two of the three hinges on the right aileron disconnected while the turboprop twin was in the traffic pattern at Chickasha Municipal Airport during a Part 91 instructional flight. The certified flight instructor took control of the aircraft and made an uneventful landing on Runway 35. The CFI, the commercial student pilot and two passengers were uninjured.

Preliminary Report: Landing Gear Fails on Beech 99

Hawker Beechcraft Beech 99, Cedartown, Ga., April 10, 2011–While landing at Polk County Airport at the end of a Part 91 skydiving flight, the pilot noticed only two of the three green gear-down lights were illuminated when he lowered the gear. After an unsuccessful attempt to deploy the gear manually, he decided to land on just the nose and right main landing gear, resulting in substantial damage to the turboprop twin’s left wing and fuselage. The pilot was not injured.

Preliminary Report: Mu-2 Damaged in Runway Departure

Mitsubishi MU-2B-26A, Princeton, Ky., April 3, 2011–As the turboprop twin was completing its approach to Princeton-Caldwell County Airport at the end of a Part 91 flight from Rifle, Colo., its right wing dropped suddenly and the airplane exited the right side of Runway 23. The pilot applied full power in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a ditch, causing the MU-2 to collide with a fence. The airplane was substantially damaged as its wings and fuselage buckled. The private pilot received minor injuries.

Factual Report: Avionics Fault Investigated on Twinjet

Cessna 551 Citation II, Stillwater, Okla, May 5, 2009–The twinjet experienced a temporary loss of control while in cruise flight at 16,000 feet during a Part 91 flight from Stillwater Regional Airport. The pilot told investigators that after leveling off with the autopilot engaged he noticed that the flight director was flagged off and both pilot and copilot attitude indicators were off. He then declared an emergency, reduced the power to idle and pulled back on the flight controls. As the Citation II approached 200 knots, he also lowered the landing gear. As the aircraft broke through the bottom of the clouds, the pilot found himself in a 60-degree bank at approximately 80 knots airspeed. The ATP-rated pilot managed to regain control and all systems began functioning again. He re-engaged the autopilot and continued to the initial destination, Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, and landed without incident.

Subsequent examination of the jet by the manufacturer revealed structural damage to the fuselage and wings, suffered during the rapid descent. The instruments were removed for examination but no anomalies were found and the described failures could not be duplicated.

Factual Report: Investigators Eye Icing In Pc-12 Loss

Pilatus PC-12/45, Hayden, Colo., Jan. 11, 2009–The turboprop single was substantially damaged when it crashed soon after takeoff from Yampa Valley Airport at the start of a Part 91 flight. According to an FBO manager at the airport, at the pilot’s request, the Pilatus was fueled and towed out to the taxiway in heavy snowfall, and line crewmembers described an accumulation of “wet snow” on its wings.

As the pilot prepared for takeoff, the FBO manager reportedly suggested that he obtain de-icing, but the pilot declined. FBO staff who watched the PC-12 depart believe the airplane was not picking up enough speed during takeoff and appeared “heavy,” as it banked to the right before disappearing from view. Radar showed the turboprop entering a steadily tightening right turn after takeoff before crashing and burning approximately one mile from the approach end of Runway 28, killing the private pilot and passenger.

According to FAA de-icing holdover tables, at the temperature at the time of the accident, use of Type I de-icing fluid would result in a four- to six-minute window of protection in moderate snow. In heavy snow, no holdover period is recommended. The PC-12 pilot operating handbook states: “The aircraft must be clear of all deposits of snow, ice and frost adhering to the lifting surfaces immediately before takeoff.”

Final Report: Pilot-Induced Stall Felled Mu-2

Mitsubishi MU-2B-60, Elyria, Ohio, Jan. 18, 2010–The cause of the accident that destroyed the turboprop twin and killed its pilot and three passengers was the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the instrument approach, resulting in an aerodynamic stall, the NTSB determined. The pilot was making his second attempt at an ILS approach after a go-around. A witness reported that he saw the aircraft about 150 feet above the ground in an approximate 60-degree-nose-low attitude and an approximate 80-degree right bank angle. The MU-2 crashed more than 2,000 feet west of the runway threshold.

A radar study performed on the flight indicated that the airspeed decreased to between 95 and 100 knots just before loss of contact. The aircraft’s wings-level power-off stall speed at the accident weight is about 91 knots, according to the Mitsubishi’s flight manual. The ILS approach flight profile indicates a minimum airspeed of 120 knots and 20 degrees of flap. An examination of the wreckage found the flap jack screws and flap indicator in the 5-degree position.

Final Report: Helo Pilot Attempted ‘Lunch Rescue’

MD Helicopters 369FF, Santa Clarita, Calif, May 1, 2009–The pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from the water while maneuvering at low altitude was the cause of the accident that severely damaged the helicopter, according to the NTSB.

The pilot told investigators that one of the passengers he had just transported to a work site had dropped his lunch pail into a reservoir. The pilot unsuccessfully attempted to snag it using a grappling hook on the end of a 40-foot line attached to the helicopter’s cargo hook. He then descended to approximately 10 feet above the surface and tried to use the main rotor blade wash to push the floating lunch pail toward the shore. The grappling hook, still suspended below the helicopter, caught on a submerged obstruction and caused the helicopter to spin twice before the pilot rolled off the power and landed with one skid in the water. Examination of the helicopter revealed a torsional fracture and separation of the tail rotor as a result of the tail-rotor blades striking the water.