Accidents: December 2013

 - December 1, 2013, 12:35 AM

Preliminary Report: LongRanger Crashes on Oil-rig Run

Bell 206L, Belle Chase, La., Oct. 8, 2013–Operating under Part 135, the LongRanger crashed shortly after takeoff from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, destroying the machine and killing the pilot. Two of the three passengers aboard were seriously injured; the third escaped unharmed.

Weather at nearby New Orleans Naval Air Station at the time of the accident was reported as calm wind, some mid-range scattered clouds and visibility of 10 miles. There were also some patches of fog.

A witness on the rig said all appeared normal as the helicopter lifted off for the trip back to Belle Chase when suddenly it descended steeply toward the water with the floats deployed. The helicopter rolled over on its side after impact.

Preliminary Report: Caravan Lost in Mexican Mountains

Cessna 208B Caravan, Sierra de La Giganta Mountains, Mexico, Oct. 14, 2013–The Cessna turboprop single was operating a scheduled passenger trip for the carrier AereoServicio Guerrero when it went missing between Loreto Airport and Cicuad in the Baja peninsula. ATC received no distress call. The wreckage was later found in the mountains. None of the 14 people aboard survived the impact.

Preliminary Report: New Helicopter Owner Dies in Crash

Bell UH-1V, near Cordes Lake, Ariz., Sept. 21, 2013–The Huey had just departed Sedona Airport in VMC conditions at approximately 11:50 a.m. when it struck the ground and exploded five miles northeast of Cordes Lake, killing the two people on board. The helicopter, operating under Part 91, had appeared at a local fly-in at Sedona and took on no fuel before departure.

The private-pilot owner had recently purchased the aircraft. A local FAA examiner said the pilot, who received his rotorcraft rating in a Hughes 269, had approximately 100 hours total time flying helicopters at the time of the accident.

The helicopter’s debris trail measured approximately 1,700 feet long, with the bulk of the helicopter, including the cockpit/cabin, engine, transmission, tail boom and tail-rotor assembly, located in or near the impact crater. The main rotor assembly, which included the two blades and the hub, was found 600 feet east of the debris trail. Investigators found no evidence of pre-impact failures of the engine, reduction gearbox, transmission or tail-rotor drive assemblies. The only evidence of fire was observed in and around the main impact crater.

Preliminary Report: Malaysian Twin Otter Crash Claims Two

De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, Kudat Airport, Malaysia, Oct. 10, 2013–The turboprop twin was operating a regularly scheduled passenger trip for MASwings, a subsidiary of Malaysian Airlines, when it crashed while landing at Kudat, striking the side of a house approximately 500 feet to the right of the Runway 22 centerline.

Weather at the time of the crash–approximately 2:50 p.m.–indicated some scattered clouds at 1,400 feet and good overall visibility. The wind, however, was variable from the west and southwest at 17 knots gusting to 31.

The copilot and one passenger died, and four of the other 16 aboard were injured. The right wing separated and the nose section was destroyed as a result of the accident. Two people in the house escaped unharmed. This is the third crash of one of the carrier’s Twin Otters, but the first with fatalities.

Preliminary Report: CJ2 Crash Kills All Aboard

Cessna CitationJet CJ2, Santa Monica, Calif., Sept. 29, 2013–The C525 left the runway while landing on Santa Monica’s Runway 21 and struck three hangars. The aircraft exploded, killing all four people aboard. The NTSB is investigating the accident.

Preliminary Report: Caravan Leaves the Runway

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Selous Game Preserve, Tanzania, Oct. 12, 2013–The Caravan, operated by Shine Aviation and based at Dar es Salaam, attempted to depart the game preserve carrying two people but left the runway and struck nearby trees. Injuries to those aboard were not reported.

Preliminary Report: Brasilia Destroyed on Takeoff at Lagos

Embraer EMB-120RT Brasilia, Lagos, Nigeria, Oct. 3, 2013–Thirteen of the 20 people aboard the Embraer Brasilia twin turboprop died when the chartered aircraft, operated by Associated Aviation, crashed during the takeoff roll at Lagos-Muhammed International Airport. Three other passengers later died from their injuries in a local hospital.

Shortly after the takeoff roll began, the pilots received an aural warning of a configuration error alerting them to an improper flap setting. A few seconds later another warning “takeoff, auto-feather” alerted them to a possible power problem in the right engine. The right prop also auto-feathered during the takeoff roll after the fire handle was pulled. An unknown amount of time passed after the “80 knots” call when the first officer asked if they were going to abort the takeoff. There was no V1 or Vr call recorded in the cockpit and the captain elected to continue. Immediately after liftoff the aircraft began drifting to the right and failed to climb. Ten seconds after rotation the stall warning sounded, and the aircraft hit the ground in a 90-degree right bank. A fire erupted soon after impact.

Preliminary Report: Canadian Caravan Accident Claims Pilot

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Sept. 25, 2013–The sole-occupant pilot of the Caravan, operated by Morningstar Air Express, filed a flight plan for a local trip in the vicinity of Sault Ste. Marie. The aircraft went overdue and was located the next morning through its ELT signal. Debris was found floating in the waters of Hudson Bay, 310 miles east of Churchill, Manitoba, some 930 miles from Sault Ste. Marie. No explanation has yet surfaced about how the local flight became nearly a 1,000-mile journey. The pilot’s body was not recovered and he is presumed to have perished in the crash.

Preliminary Report: Citation Crashes During Climb-out from Wichita

Cessna Citation I, near Derby, Kan., Oct. 18, 2013–The pilot and passenger of a Citation I were killed when the aircraft crashed at about 10:15 a.m. shortly after departure from Wichita. The aircraft was last recorded on radar climbing through 15,200 feet headed for its cruise altitude of FL320 for the trip to New Braunfels, Texas. A witness told local media that the aircraft shed a wing before impact. Icing was reported in the area at the time of the accident.

Preliminary Report: Dornier Accident in Chile Kills Two

Dornier Do-228-202K, near Viña del Mar Airport, Chile, Sept. 9, 2013–The weather was reported as poor in the region near the airport when the Do-228 turboprop twin, operated by CorpFlite, arrived on a repositioning flight at approximately 9:50 a.m. During the approach, the aircraft struck power lines and trees before hitting the ground. Both pilots aboard were killed.

Final Report: King Air Pilot Lost Control of Aircraft

Beechcraft King Air 100, Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia, Oct. 27, 2011–Poor pilot preflight action initiated the chain of events that ended in the fatal crash of a Northern Thunderbird Air Beechcraft King Air 100, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB).

The aircraft departed Vancouver International Airport for Kelowna, British Columbia, with seven passengers and two pilots on board. About 15 minutes after takeoff, an oil leak prompted the crew to return to Vancouver, but they did not declare an emergency. At 4:11 p.m., about 300 feet above ground level and about half a mile from the runway, the aircraft suddenly banked left and pitched nose-down. It hit the ground and caught fire before coming to rest on a roadway just outside the airport fence. Passersby helped evacuate six passengers, and fire and rescue personnel rescued the remaining passenger and the pilots. The aircraft was destroyed, and all seven passengers were seriously injured. Both pilots later died from their injuries.

Local video cameras confirmed that before takeoff the King Air crew did not conduct a complete preflight of the aircraft either before or after it was pulled out of Northern Thunderbird Air’s hangar. As the aircraft waited for passengers to board, a gathering oil puddle beneath the left engine attracted the captain’s attention, but no further action was taken. The wind was light and the sky clear as the aircraft climbed through 16,000 feet after departure. It was then that the crew identified an oil leak on the left engine. The pilots received a clearance back to Vancouver as they ran the “low oil pressure” checklist. The crew agreed to a normal approach unless the oil pressure dropped below 40 psi, in which event the engine would be shut down and the propeller feathered.

ATC turned the King Air on a seven-mile final for a visual approach to Runway 26L and asked a few moments later whether the pilots would need any emergency equipment. The crew declined, and the aircraft was cleared to land at a point 3.5 miles out on final. It was here that the crew lowered the landing gear and set the flaps for 30 degrees. Flaps went to 60 degrees just before the 500-foot callout. The GPWS announced the King Air’s speed as initially slightly fast, then on Vref and finally five knots slow at approximately 94 knots. Vmc (minimum controllable airspeed) on the King Air is listed as 85 knots, meaning the pilot may not be able to control the aircraft at or below that speed.

The CVR recorded a sudden change in propeller noise, and as the captain applied power to return to Vref speed, the aircraft immediately rolled left and pitched nose down about 50 degrees. The crew was able to level the wings and reduce the nose-down pitch to about 30 degrees before impact on a major arterial road outside the airport fence. Fortuitously, traffic lights had provided a gap in road traffic before impact. A fire began shortly after impact as bystanders rushed to help the injured out of the aircraft.

The investigation revealed that the two Pratt & Whitney Canada engines on the accident aircraft were subject to a service bulletin–1506R2–for the preflight inspection of the engine oil reservoir caps. The service bulletin did not require immediate attention, but was considered significant enough that Transport Canada issued a service difficulty bulletin on the same topic in 2006 as a pre-flight reminder about checking that the oil reservoir caps were properly fastened before flight. Initial examination of the accident aircraft’s engines revealed the left reservoir cap was unlatched.

The TSB determined that in addition to the reservoir cap allowing engine oil to escape, initiating the problem, the crew took no action upon discovering the puddle before takeoff. On final approach, the flying pilot allowed the aircraft’s speed to drop close enough to Vmc that the application of full power to the right engine when the left one ceased operating was enough to cause an immediate roll to the left. The aircraft’s height above the ground left little room for the crew to recover even though they apparently attempted to reduce power on the right engine in the final few moments of the flight.