Accidents: January 2012

 - January 1, 2012, 4:10 AM

Preliminary Report: Eng Helo Crashes in Australia

Eurocopter AS355F2 Ecureuil II, Lake Eyre, Australia, Aug. 18, 2011–The light twin helicopter, operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, was destroyed when it crashed and burned shortly after takeoff. The pilot and two passengers, including a well-known Australian journalist, were killed. Weather at the time of the accident was reportedly fine and clear. The accident is under investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Preliminary Report: Turboprop Ditches after Engine Trouble

Piper PA 46-350P Malibu, Caribbean Sea, Nov. 24, 2011–The pilot of the turboprop-converted Malibu was forced to ditch after suffering a loss of engine power approximately 119 miles from Martinique during a ferry flight to Brazil. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries upon impact but escaped the aircraft before it sank. They were rescued by a French Navy Helicopter.

Preliminary Report: Learjet Suffers Landing Mishap

Bombardier Learjet 35, Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela, Sept. 17, 2011–At the conclusion of a Part 91 flight from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport in Florida to Arturo Michelena Airport in Venezuela, the U.S.-registered twinjet was substantially damaged upon landing. The flight crew and five passengers were injured. The accident is under investigation by the Venezuelan government.

Preliminary Report:Turboprop Twin Makes Two-point Landing

Hawker Beechcraft King Air B200, Wonderboom, South Africa, Nov. 16, 2011–While landing at Wonderboom Airport, the pilot attempted to lower the landing gear, but turboprop twin’s right main gear refused to deploy because of a broken hydraulic actuator. The pilot alerted airport authorities, and emergency services covered the runway in foam. The pilot landed on the nose- and left-hand wheels and kept the right wing off the ground as long as possible. The King Air suffered scraping damage to its belly cargo pod and the right wingtip, along with damage to the right-hand outer flap section and right propeller. The two pilots and one passenger were uninjured.

Preliminary Report: Avanti Flips after Landing

Piaggio P.180 Avanti II, Flint, Mich., Nov. 16, 2011–During a flight from Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to West Bend Municipal Airport, the crew of the Avantair-operated turboprop twin declared an emergency as a result of a reported problem with the left engine. The P.180 diverted to Bishop International Airport, and as it landed, veered to the right and exited the runway. It then flipped over and came to rest upside down, suffering substantial damage. Post-accident investigation showed partial separation of the left wing and empennage from the fuselage. The crew and two passengers received minor injuries.

Preliminary Report: Off-Taxiway Excursion Damages Jet

Bombardier Learjet 60, Lafayette, Ind., Oct. 11, 2011–While taxiing from the ramp area at Purdue University Airport at night, pilot attempted to taxi the twinjet across a 50-foot-wide grassy area after its nose wheel departed the pavement during a turn. The Learjet then struck a drainage ditch, causing substantial damage to the aircraft’s delta fins on the underside of the aft fuselage. The two crew and two passengers were uninjured.

Factual Report: Few Clues Emerge in Fatal Cargo Crash

Hawker Beechcraft 1900C, Sand Point, Alaska, Jan. 21, 2010–The turboprop twin crashed into the north Pacific Ocean just after takeoff from Sand Point Airport on Popof Island at the start of an IFR Part 135 cargo flight to Anchorage. The two pilots were killed and the 1900C suffered substantial damage. The accident occurred just before midnight and dark night VMC prevailed. The stop at Sand Point was the aircraft’s fourth destination of the day before the last flight of the day, home to Anchorage.

According to witnesses, as the aircraft’s takeoff progressed, the engine noise suddenly changed, followed by the loud sound of impact. The wreckage was located three days after the accident in 45 feet of water and was recovered. Examination of the engines showed no evidence of pre-impact problems, and analysis of the propeller hubs revealed that both were rotating and not feathered at the time of the accident. The aircraft was equipped with EGPWS, but damage to the system’s memory chip precluded the recovery of any data.

The aircraft was modified to allow operations at a maximum gross weight of 17,600 pounds. According to the NTSB, after the cargo was loaded, the 1900C’s weight at takeoff was 1,393 pounds below maximum, but the location of the cargo and its effect on the aircraft’s balance could not be determined. According to calculations from Hawker Beechcraft, based on the operator’s fueling records, the turboprop would have required an additional 249 pounds of fuel to complete its flight from Sand Point to Anchorage (575 nm distant), and the aircraft at the time of takeoff did not have the mandatory 45-minute IFR fuel reserve.

Factual Report: Wind Gust Derails Falcon Landing

Dassault Falcon 10, Sellersburg, Ind., March. 23, 2011–The twinjet departed the runway as it landed at Clark Regional Airport at the conclusion of a Part 91 flight, causing substantial damage to the aircraft. Night visual conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. According to the captain, the wind reading from the airport’s AWOS indicated 19-knot winds from 310 degrees, gusting to 27 knots. The captain told investigators that the landing reference speed was 110 knots, which included a five-knot gust factor.

As the Falcon touched down on its main gear, a wind gust raised the aircraft’s left wing. The captain attempted to counter the gust with left roll input as he reduced the airplane’s pitch. The aircraft became airborne and drifted off the runway into the grassy area alongside, where it touched down again.

Post-accident examination revealed damage to the right and nose landing gear, both wing spars and the forward pressure bulkhead. Both engines showed signs of FOD ingestion past their first compressor stages. The captain, first officer and lone passenger were uninjured.

Final Report: Crew Oversight Results in Emergency Landing

Cessna Citation 560XL Excel, White Plains, N.Y., May. 28, 2010–The flight crew’s failure to ensure that the cabin door was secured and locked before takeoff was to blame for its opening in flight, according to the Safety Board. Shortly after takeoff from Westchester County Airport, the main cabin door of the NetJets-operated twinjet opened, causing the crew to declare an emergency and make an uneventful return to the airport. The two pilots and two passengers were uninjured.

The copilot told investigators that he closed the cabin door during his passenger-safety briefing, and rotated the handle, but could not remember which direction he rotated it. He also could not recall whether he looked at the door post locking indicator lights or the cockpit indicator. A review of the CVR showed the crew noting “cabin door closed” and “lights out” during the engine start checklist.

Examination of the door following the incident found that it sustained damage due to over extension and scraping against the runway, but the pre-catch mechanism appeared to operate normally and there was no indication of any damage to the door lock mechanism. The annunciator lights on the Door Lock panel and Cabin Door warning functioned normally, including the illumination of the Master Caution indicator when the door was opened.

According to the operator’s expanded normal procedures, engine start checklist, after being cleared for takeoff, the pilot monitoring should ensure that all annunciator lights were extinguished except for the Ground Idle light. Because of the close proximity of the amber-colored Cabin Door annunciator light and the white-colored Ground Idle annunciator light, the Board reasoned it was possible that the flight crew inadvertently overlooked the illuminated Cabin Door light before takeoff.

Final Report: Swiss Investigation Faults Crew

Dassault Falcon 100, Samedan, Switzerland, Feb. 12, 2009–The crew’s attempt to land at Samedan Airport in VMC without adequate visual references from an unfavorable initial position was the cause of the crash, according to the Swiss Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau. The pilot and copilot were killed in the accident while the lone passenger was seriously injured. The twinjet was destroyed in the crash.

The crew misjudged the rapidly changing weather conditions that prevailed in the area of the mountain airport at the time of the accident. Based on review of the CVR data and examination of the wreckage, investigators determined that at some point during the final 10 minutes of the flight, the aircraft’s EGPWS was deactivated by the intentional or accidental pulling of its circuit breaker.

According to the CVR transcript, the pilot of the Bermuda-registered twinjet did not see the runway until less than 10 seconds before the aircraft touched down on the left side of Runway 03. The jet hit right wing low, drifted left and struck a snow bank, which, combined with the braking action, spun the aircraft. It broke it into two pieces when it collided with the snowbank at the corner of the intersection of the apron taxiway.

Investigators found that on final approach the pilots had exceeded the Falcon 100’s maximum speed for extending the slats and flaps by 15 knots and violated its maximum speed for extending the landing gear by 30 knots. The bureau also found that the more than 13-foot-tall (4 meter) snowbank along the runway did not comply with ICAO guidelines.

According Swiss authorities, the pilot had been involved in several additional runway excursions during the course of his career, including others at Samedan.

The report also faulted the crew for the lack of a coordinated working method in terms of crew resource management.

Final Report: Unsteady Descent Caused Crash

Daher-Socata TBM-850, Salem, Ohio, May. 19, 2011–The pilot’s failure to maintain a stabilized glide path resulted in the turboprop single’s touching down short of the runway, the NTSB ruled. The accident occurred at the conclusion of a Part 91 flight in IFR conditions.

The pilot told investigators that he thought the airplane was too high on final approach, but seconds later he felt that the aircraft “literally dropped out of the sky.” He applied full power and pitched the nose up in an attempt to perform a go-around, but “application of power was too late.”

The TBM’s left main gear struck the ground approximately 120 feet short of the runway approach threshold at Salem Airpark, damaging the aircraft. The pilot and two passengers were uninjured; one passenger suffered serious injuries. Data retrieved from the aircraft’s Garmin GPS 1000 MFD indicated that that the TBM’s airspeed varied from 71 to 81 knots IAS during the 10 seconds before the accident. The airplane’s operating manual states that its stall speed in landing configuration with landing flaps is 64 knots IAS at maximum gross weight.