Accidents: January 2014

 - January 2, 2013, 4:05 AM

Preliminary Report: King Air Crash Kills Two

Beechcraft King Air C90, Springdale, Ark., Nov. 1, 2013–The private pilot and passenger were killed when the turboprop twin hit terrain four miles southeast of Springdale Municipal Airport. The aircraft was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed before the Part 91 flight departed Pine Bluff Airport headed to the northwest at approximately 5 p.m. The flight was apparently headed for Bentonville.

While en route and about nine miles southeast of Fayetteville, Ark., the pilot called Fort Smith approach control and said he wanted to change his destination to Fayetteville because he was low on fuel. He then realized he needed an airport even closer and the controller suggested Springdale. The pilot contacted Springdale Tower and reported he was low on fuel, and the tower controller cleared the aircraft to land. Thirty seconds later the pilot said he wouldn’t be able to make the airport. No further radio communications were received.

A witness saw the aircraft pull up abruptly and then hit the ground in a right-wing and nose-low attitude. The investigation later revealed power lines about 300 feet short of the impact point. The left wing and nacelle tank were both empty and neither propeller had been feathered.

Preliminary Report: EMS Crash Claims Three

Eurocopter AS350B3, Somerville, Tenn., Oct. 22, 2013–The helicopter was on a Part 91 positioning flight to pick up a patient at Whitehurst Field Heliport in Bolivar, Tenn., with a pilot, nurse and respiratory therapist aboard when it disappeared after missing a regular position report. Visual weather conditions were reported in the area.

Satellite tracking data showed that the helicopter, operated by Memphis Medical Center Air Ambulance Service, dba Hospital Wing, departed Memphis at 5:47 a.m. and flew east along U.S. Highway 64. About 18 minutes later, and for an as yet undetermined reason, the helicopter entered a climb and started a right turn away from the intended course. The last data point indicated a course of 146 degrees at 98 knots groundspeed and an altitude of 1,560 feet msl. Other company helicopters arrived on the scene not long after the first aircraft disappeared and saw a fire on the ground.

The helicopter was destroyed by a post-impact fire after hitting trees and coming to rest in a soybean field. There were no survivors.

Preliminary Report: MU-2 Crashes Near Home Airport

Mitsubishi MU-2, Owasso, Okla., Nov. 10, 2013–The commercial pilot, who also held a flight instructor certificate, was returning to his home airport at Tulsa International (TUL) from Salina, Kan., on a Part 91 personal flight when the aircraft crashed about five miles north of TUL. The pilot was killed on impact; the aircraft was destroyed in a post-crash fire.

The pilot departed Salina at 3 p.m. on an IFR flight plan. As the MU-2 approached Runway 18L at TUL about 45 minutes later, the tower cleared the aircraft to land but added a speed restriction of 150 knots. As the aircraft passed the outer marker, about 5.6 miles from the end of the runway, it began a left turn away from the centerline that prompted a query from ATC. The pilot reported that the left engine was shut down. At the crash site, the left engine propeller blades were found in a feathered position. He did not respond to further ATC requests.

Radar data showed the airplane completed a 360-degree left turn near the Runway 18L outer marker at 1,100 feet msl before radar contact was lost. Several witnesses saw the airplane in a shallow left turn with reported altitudes ranging from 400 to 800 feet agl. They also reported that the landing gear was down and one propeller appeared to be stopped. As the airplane continued in a left turn, the wings began to rock back and forth at a 10- to 15-degree bank. The MU-2 then made a right turn, followed by a left turn that developed into a steep spiral to the left.

The aircraft crashed in wooded terrain, coming to rest upright on an easterly heading. The left propeller was found in the feathered position, the landing gear was down and the flaps were set at 20 degrees.

Preliminary Report: Helicopter Catches Skid on Landing

Bell OH-58C, Omaha, Texas, Oct. 23, 2013–The helicopter was being operated in visual conditions for the trip from Winnsboro, Texas, to Omaha, Texas, by Reynolds Aviation under Part 137 for an agricultural mission. During the landing with a load of chemicals on board, the left skid dug into high grass and loose dirt, spinning the machine around and bringing the main rotor blades into contact with the tailboom. The pilot was not injured, but the helicopter was substantially damaged. No mechanical malfunctions were reported before the accident.

Preliminary Report: E190 Crashes Near National Park in Namibia

Embraer E190, near Bwabwata National Park, Namibia, Nov. 29, 2013–An Embraer E190 operated by Linhas Aereas de Mocambique (LAM) crashed on the outskirts of Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park while en route to Luanda Airport, Angola, from Mozambique’s Maputo International Airport. The flight departed Maputo at 9:26 a.m. and was scheduled to arrive in Angola about three hours 45 minutes later. ATC lost radio contact with the aircraft approximately two hours after departure, with no distress call reported. Search teams located the wreckage the next day and said it seemed to indicate the aircraft had been flying on airway UG853 from the Maun VOR toward agram intersection at the border between Namibia and Angola. All 33 people on board were killed.

Preliminary Report: Caravan Crashes in Alaska

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, near St. Mary’s Airport, Alaska, Nov. 29, 2013–The turboprop single was operating a regularly scheduled passenger flight for ERA Alaska for the 92-mile flight between Bethel and St. Mary’s with a stop in Mountain Village, when it crashed in a remote area four miles east of St. Mary’s Airport near the Yukon River. Four of the 10 people aboard, including an infant, died in the crash. Weather in the St. Mary’s area at the time of the accident was reported as one mile visibility with a temperature of -8 degrees C. No cloud cover was reported.

Preliminary Report: Helicopter Damaged on Training Flight

Eurocopter AS350, Kailua, Kona, Hawaii, Oct. 29, 2013–A flight instructor received minor injuries when the helicopter in which he was providing training landed hard at Kona International Airport following a loss of tail-rotor RPM. The student, a commercial pilot, was not injured.

The helicopter was substantially damaged. Since the mission was to practice emergency procedures for electronic fuel governor failures, the instructor set the governor switch to manual while the helicopter was on the ground with the engine running. The student then handled the takeoff and flew for about 10 minutes to become familiar with operating the twist-grip throttle. While on final, the student noticed a drop in main rotor rpm and applied full twist-grip throttle, but rpm continued to decline. The instructor’s attempts were also unsuccessful, and in the ensuing hard landing the tailboom separated from the fuselage.

Air Medical Resource Group was operating the helicopter as a training flight.


Preliminary Report: Metro Freighter Accident Kills Two

Swearingen SA227-AC, near the Sabana Hoyos district of Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Dec. 2, 2013–The Metro, operated by IBC Airways as a cargo flight, departed Santo Domingo at 7:26 p.m. for the leg to San Juan. The aircraft crashed near a cemetery in the Sabana Hoyos district on the northern portion of the island. Both pilots were killed and the aircraft was destroyed. No weather reports were available at the crash site for the time of the accident.


Factual Report: Helicopter Hits Vulture at 1,300 Feet

Eurocopter AS350B2, Madison, Miss., Oct. 20, 2013–The pilot of the Part 135 helicopter reported climbing through 1,300 feet when he felt what he described as an explosion that knocked his visor up and away from his eyes, restricting his vision as well as his ability to communicate with the other two people aboard. The pilot managed to put his visor back down and land the aircraft safely with no human injuries reported.

Both windshields were destroyed and the center post and cabin shell were damaged. The doors were also found open, with onboard medical equipment missing. On the ground, a crewmember said he had seen a black bird fly toward the helicopter from above and left but did not have enough time to call it out. Analysis of onboard residual feathers and a photograph of the suspect bird carcass indicated the helicopter had collided with a black vulture, which can weigh up to 4.8 pounds.

Final Report: Helicopter Incident Blamed on Improper Maintenance and Pilot Preflight

Bell 206, Gulf of Mexico oil platform, July 12, 2010–The JetRanger was on final approach to an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico when the pilot raised the collective to perform a go-around. The helicopter did not respond normally, with torque indications remaining fixed at 45 percent. The pilot began a slow climb and diverted to an airport on land at a cruise speed of about 60 knots. Completely deprived of collective pitch control, the pilot made a running landing on the runway, touching down at about 45 knots. The helicopter came to a stop in the grass about 100 feet past the end of the runway.

Post-flight examination revealed several fasteners missing from the top clevis of the collective control tube, which caused the control tube to disconnect from the collective pitch arm on the swash plate. The missing fasteners were found loose on the deck in the transmission compartment.

Records showed that maintenance to reinstall the transmission and main rotor hub had been completed about six flight hours before the incident and that several mechanics and two pilots had examined the helicopter before the incident flight without noting anything unusual. The NTSB listed the probable cause as improper reassembly of the collective flight controls by maintenance personnel, as well as an inadequate post-maintenance inspection by both the mechanics and the pilots.

Final Report: Premier Crashed at AirVenture

Beechcraft 390 Premier, Oshkosh, Wis., July 27, 2010–The ATP-rated pilot and his passenger were seriously injured when their Premier stalled and crashed short of Runway 18R while landing at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The NTSB investigation determined the cause of the crash to be the pilot’s failure to bring both engines to full power during a go-around.

The pilot, with more than 9,000 hours logged, made his approach from a left-downwind position to Runway 18L but failed to monitor the tower frequency and did not hear the controller clear a Piper Cub for an immediate departure before the jet’s arrival. He also missed the controller’s instruction to the Cub to make an immediate left turn after departure, a maneuver intended to clear the taildragger from the jet’s path.

The Premier pilot told investigators that while still on base leg, he became concerned his arrival would conflict with the Cub on takeoff roll. He also overshot the runway centerline during his turn to final, which placed the airplane to the right of the runway.

At this point the pilot decided not to land because of the apparent conflict with the Cub. He later told investigators he initiated a go-around, increasing engine power slightly, but not to takeoff thrust, as he looked for more traffic. He estimated he advanced the thrust levers “probably a third of the way to the stop,” and, as he continued to look for traffic, the stall warning stick-shaker and stick-pusher systems activated almost simultaneously. The right wing stalled and the airplane hit the ground in a nose-down, right-wing-low attitude.