Accidents: February 2012

 - February 2, 2012, 3:10 AM

Preliminary Report: Turboprop Crashes on N.J. Highway

Daher-Socata TBM 700, Morristown, N.J., Dec. 20, 2011–Shortly after takeoff from Teterboro Airport (TEB), the turboprop single crashed on a highway median, killing all five people and one dog on board and closing the roadway for hours. The TBM 700 was headed to Atlanta’s DeKalb-Peachtree Airport on an IFR flight plan. According to transcripts of the conversation between the pilot and ATC, the pilot was aware of the presence of icing conditions in the area. Icing was reported as light to severe. Witnesses told investigators that the aircraft made a spiral dive, shed a wing and crashed into I-287 in Morris County, approximately 30 miles southwest of TEB. The airplane exploded on impact, creating a widespread debris field.

Preliminary Report: Bizjet Damaged during Night Taxi

Cessna 550 Citation II, Moline, Ill., Nov. 22, 2011–The pilot told investigators that while he was taxiing to a parking space near the FBO at Quad City International Airport at night, he lost sight of a parked unoccupied airplane while following the ramp marshaller’s instructions. As the twinjet made a 180-degree turn, its left wing struck the parked aircraft’s forward fuselage and nose gear, damaging the Cessna’s wing.

Preliminary Report: Turboprop Falls Short on Final Approach

Daher-Socata TBM 700, Lyon Bron, France, Nov. 9, 2011–While on approach at the conclusion of a flight from Toussus-Le-Noble, France, the U.S.-registered single-engine turboprop crashed in IMC conditions. The sole-occupant pilot was killed and the airplane was destroyed. The French government is investigating the accident.

Preliminary Report: Fuel-Starved Turboprop Makes Emergency Landing

Cessna 208 Caravan, Mesquite, Nev., Dec. 17, 2011–The turboprop single lost power while carrying a group of skydivers to the drop zone. The pilot signaled the group to jump, feathered the prop and attempted a forced landing on the airport runway. The Caravan was substantially damaged when it went off the end of the runway, crossed a road and came to a stop on a golf course. One of the two people on board suffered minor injuries, while the other was uninjured. The pilot told investigators that the aircraft ran out of fuel due to poor fuel management.

Preliminary Report: Turboprop Destroyed after Runway Departure

Pacific Aerospace 750XL, Okbibab, Papua, Dec. 17, 2011–As it landed at Abmisibil Airport at the conclusion of a flight from Jayapura, the Indonesian-registered PAC-750XL operated by the Aviation Missionary Association skidded off a “slippery” runway and fell into a ravine. The turboprop single then caught fire and exploded, killing the pilot. The four passengers suffered serious injuries. Indonesian authorities are investigating the accident.

Preliminary Report: Medevac Helicopter Goes Down in Florida

Bell 206B, Green Cove Springs, Fla. Dec. 26, 2011–The JetRanger was on an early-morning Part 135 flight to a Gainesville, Fla. hospital to pick up an organ for transplant when it vanished from radar. Its wreckage was located four hours later in a remote wooded area near Palatka. The pilot, doctor and medical technician were killed in the crash.

Preliminary Report: Twinjet Experiences Frozen Controls

Cessna 560XL Citation Excel, Ocoee, Fla. Dec. 2, 2011–After the crew declared an emergency during a flight from Naples, Fla., to Washington Dulles Airport, the twinjet landed safely at Orlando International Airport after experiencing an in-flight pitch trim malfunction. According to the crew, while approaching FL410, they received a “pitch trim miscompare” warning and disconnected the autopilot. They told investigators that they had to apply considerable forward pressure on the yoke to maintain level flight and the manual pitch trim control was frozen. During descent, the trim wheel released and the system returned to normal. Post-landing inspection revealed the left and right elevator trim actuators were contaminated with moisture.

Preliminary Report: Iced King Air Crashes into a House

Hawker Beechcraft King Air F90, Midland, Texas. Dec. 2, 2011–While on instrument approach to Midland Airport at the end of a Part 91 flight from Wharton, Texas, the pilot reported an accumulation of moderate to severe ice, which obscured his windshield. After conferring with ATC, the pilot attempted to execute a missed approach. As the aircraft began to bank, the pilot disconnected the autopilot and quickly entered a stall. The King Air crashed into a house approximately one mile from the approach end of Runway 25. The pilot, the sole person on board, escaped the burning aircraft with serious injuries. There were no ground injuries reported.

Factual Report: VLJ Damaged in Last-Second Go-Around

Eclipse Aviation EA-500, Nome, Alaska. June 1, 2011–The VLJ suffered substantial damage during an attempted go-around while landing at Nome Airport. The pilot told investigators that while on short final approach at the conclusion of a flight from Anadyr, Russia, he believed he would not be able to land due to high airspeed and began to initiate a go-around. He neglected to lower the gear during the approach and the twinjet’s fuselage struck the runway as he was attempting to gain altitude. The pilot was able to lift the jet off the runway and maintain control. He then performed the go-around and landed the aircraft without incident on his second attempt.

During a test flight the next morning, the pilot noted a vibration “like a violent nose wheel shimmy.” Inspection revealed that the Eclipse’s center wing carry-through structure was cracked. Data from the aircraft’s diagnostic storage unit revealed that during the accident flight, the jet’s airspeed during approach never dropped below 140 knots, and the gear handle remained in the up position.

According to the aircraft’s flight manual, a visual and aural landing-gear warning will sound under certain conditions with the aircraft below12,500 feet msl, airspeed below 140 knots, power at less than 30 percent and the flaps extended to LDG setting. The pilot reported the aircraft’s flaps were inoperative during the accident flight. Examination by the NTSB investigator revealed the flaps were stuck in the retracted position due to an over-traveled inboard flap actuator. Under those circumstances, the airplane would not have generated a landing-gear warning.

Factual Report: Pilot Decisions Eyed in Runway Overrun

Cessna 525A CJ2, Nashville, Tenn., June 15, 2011–While landing at John C. Tune Airport, the twinjet was substantially damaged when it exited the runway and struck the ILS antennas. The pilot-in-command (who was not a certified flight instructor) told investigators that one of the owners of the aircraft, who held a student license, was at the controls during the approach. VMC prevailed at the time and an IFR flight plan had been filed. As the aircraft was vectored to final, the PIC told the student pilot that the aircraft was “really high” and accepted the controls. Despite sink-rate warnings from the CJ2’s GPWS advising the pilot to “pull up,” he continued with the landing. The aircraft touched down approximately 1,500 feet down the wet 5,500-foot runway. The PIC reported that he could feel the jet’s antiskid braking system working, but it could not stop the aircraft.

Final Report: Weather Blamed for Sovereign Damage

Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign, Eagle, Colo. Feb 13, 2010–The airplane’s encounter with localized severe-to-extreme mountain wave turbulence was the cause of substantial damage to both of the twinjet’s wings, according to the NTSB. After leveling from a climb at 18,000 feet, en route to Eagle County Airport on a Part 91 repositioning flight, the Sovereign experienced extreme turbulence, which caused a loss of control lasting less than a minute. Post-flight inspection of the airplane revealed overstress had caused wrinkling and debonding of portions of the wing skin. Surface stations in the area reported high sustained winds with significant gusts at the time of the incident. An airmet advisory was in effect for the upset location and altitude, warning of moderate turbulence, icing and mountain obscuration.

Final Report: Pilot Disorientation Faulted in Meridian Loss

Piper PA-46-500TP Meridian, Mendoza, Texas. Dec. 7, 2009–The pilot’s spatial disorientation was to blame for his loss of control and the subsequent crash of the turboprop single, according to the Safety Board. While on approach to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), the pilot began receiving vectors from AUS radar approach controllers. Weather at the time of the accident included 1.25-mile visibility with an overcast ceiling at 200 feet and cloud tops at 3,000 feet.

After he was established on the localizer portion of the ILS approach in VMC conditions above the clouds, the pilot received a rapid series of vectors that included a left 90-degree turn, a descent and a 180-degree right turn back toward the localizer course. During the right turn and descent, the Meridian continued turning with increasing bank and crashed, killing the pilot and passenger. The controller told investigators that he issued the directions to increase spacing on the outbound and inbound legs. When asked about his familiarity with spatial disorientation, the controller responded that turning or descending “into the soup” can cause those conditions. According to the Board, the rapid and large heading changes the controller issued, in combination with a descent clearance, likely contributed to the pilot’s disorientation.