Accidents: May 2014
Preliminary Report: TBM 700 Crashes into Reservoir
Daher-Socata TBM 700, Ridgway, Colo., March 22, 2014–All five people aboard the single-engine turboprop were killed when it crashed into the Ridgway Reservoir approximately 20 miles southeast of Montrose, Colo., at 2:16 p.m. The aircraft, which came to rest inverted in 70 feet of water, had departed Bartlesville Municipal Airport (BVO), Bartlesville, Okla., on a Part 91 flight at about 11 a.m. The flight plan listed the TBM’s destination as Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ). ATC cleared the pilot for the Rnav Runway 35 approach into MTJ via the yarub initial approach fix. Shortly afterward, the pilot told ATC the airplane was spinning and that he was trying to recover. Radar contact and radio communications were subsequently lost.
Weather conditions recorded by the MTJ automated surface observing system (ASOS) at 1:53 p.m. indicated a southwest wind at nine knots, a few clouds at 1,500 feet, broken clouds at 3,000 feet and an overcast at 3,900 feet. Visibility was 10 miles with light rain and a temperature of +5 degrees C.
Preliminary Report: AStar Crashes Just After Liftoff
Eurocopter AS350B2, Seattle, Wash., March 18, 2014–The two people in the Part 91-operated news helicopter were killed and one person on the ground was seriously injured when the aircraft crashed and struck an automobile moments after a 7:40 a.m. liftoff from a Seattle TV station’s helipad. A post-impact fire took hold rapidly.
Multiple witnesses saw the helicopter lift off from the helipad and enter a counterclockwise rotation before pitching downward. The helicopter then descended, striking the occupied vehicle and bursting into flames. Preliminary review of three security camera recordings, provided by the Seattle Police Department, confirmed that during the takeoff sequence the helicopter began rotating counterclockwise and climbing slightly in a near-level attitude. The videos also showed the helicopter pitch forward in a nose-low attitude until it disappeared from the camera’s field of view. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight to Renton Municipal Airport (RNT), Renton, Wash.
The helicopter was registered to, and operated by, Helicopters Inc., of Cahokia, Ill.
Preliminary Report: CJ Strikes Utility Pole During Night Instrument Approach
Cessna Citation 525, Elk City, Okla., Feb. 3, 2014–The Cessna CJ, operating under Part 91, was substantially damaged when it struck a utility pole at approximately 11 p.m. following a night instrument approach to Runway 17 at Elk City Regional Business Airport in Elk City, Okla. The pilot did not continue the landing; instead, he executed a go-around and headed to Oklahoma City, landing at Will Rogers World Airport. None of the six passengers or the pilot was injured in the incident.
At 10:53 p.m., the nearest official weather observation site at Clinton-Sherman Airport (CSM), Okla., reported an east wind at five knots, visibility one-and-three-quarter miles in light freezing rain, with a broken ceiling at 200 feet and an overcast layer at 800 feet. The airplane was registered to Yankee Papa and operated by Brink Constructors, both in Rapid City, S.D.
Preliminary Report: JetRanger Damaged During Training Flight
Bell 206B, Bountiful, Utah, Feb. 5, 2014–Neither the flight instructor nor the pilot under instruction was injured when the Bell 206 rolled onto its side during the initial phase of an attempted liftoff from a remote, snow-covered landing zone in the mountains near Bountiful, Utah. The helicopter, however, was substantially damaged. Visual conditions existed at the time of the accident, approximately 2:30 p.m.
According to both pilots, a portion of the flight was being used to practice landings on and liftoffs from snow at a remote landing zone. The two had already completed one landing and liftoff at the same landing zone. After the second uneventful landing, the helicopter sat on the snow-covered ground for a few minutes before the pilots initiated the next liftoff. Just after application of engine power, the forward portion of the right skid sank into the snow and the pilots were unable to arrest the ensuing rollover.
Wind at the landing zone was light, and the helicopter nose was pointed approximately into the wind for the landing and liftoff attempt. Initial site examination by company personnel indicated that there was a soft layer of snow about five to six inches thick overlaying a base of 12 to 18 inches more soft snow. A crust of firmer snow separated the two layers. The helicopter was equipped with “tundra pads” mounted near the rear downtubes of the landing skids. The pilots did not report, and the FAA inspectors did not observe, any indications of pre-existing mechanical deficiencies or failures. Damage to the main rotor blades and the tailboom was consistent with one or both blades striking the tailboom at some point during the rollover.
Preliminary Report: King Air Destroyed on Takeoff
Beechcraft King Air B200, Chandigarh Airport, India, March 27, 2014–A King Air 200 owned and operated by the state government of Haryana in northern India was destroyed when the aircraft failed to become airborne during an attempted takeoff at Chandigarh. None of the nine people aboard, one of whom was the state’s governor, was injured in the accident.
The left wing separated from the aircraft, as did both engines, before it came to rest in the grass beside the runway. The nose section was crushed and the right main landing gear also separated from the airplane. No fire was reported.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Final Report: Citation Rolls Off End of Runway
Cessna Citation 550, Manteo N.C., Oct. 1, 2010–The pilots and their five passengers received only minor injuries when their Citation, operating under Part 91, rolled off the end of Runway 23 at Dare County Regional Airport in Manteo, N.C., at the completion of an instrument approach in poor weather. The copilot, acting as the pilot monitoring, reported the Manteo weather as a broken ceiling at 400 feet with visibility of one-and-a-half miles in heavy rain. The wind was from the north at four knots. The two pilots agreed to fly one approach and divert to another airport if landing conditions at Manteo did not appear to be safe.
The crew requested the GPS 5 approach from Washington Center, but was not surprised to receive clearance for the GPS 23 circle to land on Runway 5, issued to accommodate other IFR traffic. The crew said the Citation was initially fast on the approach, so the copilot could not deploy landing flaps when he normally would have. While the PIC subsequently slowed the airplane, and the copilot extended flaps, the PIC overshot an intersection but managed to get the aircraft back on course a mile from the final approach fix properly configured for landing with the gear down and on reference speed. The PIC preferred that the copilot perform the final checklist silently and the junior pilot complied. As the approach commenced, the PIC decided to land straight in because he did not consider the wind much of a factor.
The copilot saw the runway about 200 feet above minimums–about 440 feet above the runway–and prepared for what he believed would be a go-around. Although the PIC mentioned he was 300 feet high, neither pilot mentioned a missed approach. In reference to the excessive altitude and when the PIC specifically asked the copilot what he thought about continuing the approach, the other pilot responded, “It’s up to you.” The flight crew later said [they believed] the airplane touched down at 100 knots between the 1,000-foot marker and the runway intersection, about 1,200 feet beyond the approach end of the 4,305-foot-long runway. The crew applied the speed brakes, thrust reversers and brakes immediately after the nose gear touched down, and those systems worked properly, but the airplane departed the end of the runway at approximately 40 knots. According to data extracted from the enhanced ground proximity warning system, the airplane touched down about 1,205 feet beyond the approach end of the wet runway, at a groundspeed of 127 knots.
Data from the airplane manufacturer indicated that, for the estimated landing weight, the airplane required a landing distance of approximately 2,290 feet on a dry runway; 3,550 feet on a wet runway; or 5,625 feet for a runway with 0.125 inch of standing water. The chart also contained a note that the published limiting maximum tailwind component for the airplane is 10 knots but that landings on precipitation-covered runways with any tailwind component are not recommended. The note also indicates that if landing with a tailwind cannot be avoided, the landing distance data should be multiplied by a factor that increases the wet runway landing distance to 3,798 feet, and the landing distance for .125 inch of standing water to 6,356 feet. All distances in the performance chart assume a normal approach at Vref, and a touchdown point 840 feet beyond the runway threshold in no-wind conditions, and they include the distance from the threshold to touchdown.
The NTSB determined the probable cause to be the pilot-in-command’s failure to maintain proper airspeed and failure to initiate a go-around, which resulted in touchdown at too high a speed on a short, wet runway and a subsequent runway overrun. Contributing to the accident was the copilot’s failure to monitor the approach adequately and call for a go-around. The Board also faulted the pilots for their lack of proper crew resource management.
Final Report: JetRanger Strikes Power Lines
Bell 206B, Auburn, Calif., Oct. 14, 2010–The helicopter, being operated under Part 91 by Whirl Wide (dba TGR Helicopters), was substantially damaged after it struck an unmarked power line while flying along the American River Canyon northeast of Sacramento. The incident occurred in visual weather at 3:17 p.m. Neither the pilot nor the lone passenger aboard was injured.
The flight had just departed from PG&E’s Auburn Service Center Heliport, in Auburn, Calif., at about 3:15 p.m., and was being repositioned to Mother Lode Service Center Heliport in Angels Camp, Calif. The pilot reported he was flying along the canyon’s west wall when the helicopter experienced a violent vertical vibration at 150 feet. Shortly after entering an autorotation, the helicopter rolled over and came to rest on its right side, touching down on a dirt road. The pilot and passenger did not see any transmission lines along their route of flight, or any mechanical anomalies with the helicopter before onset of the vertical vibration.
California State Parks personnel indicated the helicopter came to rest on its right side, facing southeast with the tail section separated. Additional investigation revealed that there was a downed power line owned by Placer County Water Agency (PCWA). The unmarked line was supplying power for a temporary pumping station used during construction of the PCWA Pump Station, which began in 2003. The line spanned an 800-foot gap across a small divide from a fenced electric substation to a power pole on a high outcropping to the east. The line was removed after the accident.
The NTSB attributed the accident to the pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from the electrical transmission line.