Accidents: June 2014

 - June 5, 2014, 4:30 AM

Preliminary Report: Jet Overruns Florida Runway

Cessna Citation CJ3 525, Spruce Creek, Fla., April 27, 2014–Unable to stop on the 4,000-foot Runway 23 at Florida’s Spruce Creek airport, a Cessna CJ3 ran off the hard surface and came to rest partially submerged in a pond off the departure end of the runway. The aircraft remained intact after the accident. None of the three people aboard was injured in the accident.

Preliminary Report: Helicopter Drops Ship’s Pilot During Transfer

AgustaWestland AW109SP, Astoria, Ore., April 4, 2014–The pilot of a container ship being transferred at night to the deck of the boat by a helicopter crew was seriously injured when he fell from beneath the aircraft to the ship’s deck below, fracturing his shoulder. The helicopter’s crew of three–pilot, copilot and hoist operator–operating under Part 133 external load rules, was attempting the transfer to the deck of a moving container ship 15 miles west of the mouth of the Columbia River. The night flight was conducted in light drizzle with a southwest wind at 15 knots. The container ship was steaming heading southeast at 17 knots.

The crew spent several minutes determining a suitable location and eventually agreed to place the pilot on a small open area near the starboard bow. Despite being established in a stationary position relative to the ship, the helicopter pilot could see only a small portion of the ship for station-keeping reference. Just as the ship pilot touched down on the deck of the ship, the helicopter pilot lost visual reference with the ship, and the helicopter began “drifting” aft of the boat.

The hoist operator could not pay out cable fast enough to prevent pulling the ship pilot off the deck and then aft. The hoist operator also lost sight of the ship pilot, and in response, sheared the hoist cable. The ship captain fell a few feet to the ship. He recovered from the fall, and successfully piloted the ship thorough the Columbia River mouth.

Preliminary Report: Rudder Freezes on Jet During Landing

Cessna Citation 560XL, Traverse City, Mich., March 26, 2014–The PIC reported that at about 3:30 p.m., the aircraft experienced a loss of rudder authority while inbound to the Cherry Capital airport near Traverse City. The airplane landed without incident, damage or injuries to the two pilots and two passengers. While the aircraft had been operating under an IFR flight plan from Sarasota, Fla., visual conditions existed at Traverse City at the time of the arrival. The airplane was registered to and operated by NetJets Sales as a Part 91K flight,

Preliminary Report: Single-Engine Turboprop Crash Claims Two

Cessna 208B Caravan, near Kwethluk, Alaska, April 8, 2014–A Cessna Caravan was destroyed when it impacted terrain 22 miles southwest of Kwethluk Alaska, killing both crewmembers. A post-impact fire consumed the majority of the fuselage. Weather near the accident site was reported as clear skies, good visibility and light winds.

The airplane was operated by Hageland Aviation Services, Inc., dba RAVN Connect, Anchorage, Alaska as a day VFR Part 91 training flight. Company flight-following procedures were in effect.

The aircraft departed Bethel airport at 3:22 p.m. Approximately two-and-a-half hours later, Hageland Aviation in Bethel notified the Hageland Operational Control Center (OCC) in Palmer, Alaska, that the airplane was overdue. At 5:54 p.m., the OCC initiated search-and-rescue operations. About 6:39 p.m., a company airplane dispatched to search visually confirmed the airplane had crashed. Alaska State Troopers assisted by the Alaska Army National Guard arrived at the accident scene at 9:05 p.m. and confirmed that both pilots had died at the scene.

The main wreckage was located in an area of level, heavily wooded terrain along a river. From the initial point of impact, the airplane traveled approximately 180 feet before coming to rest in an upright position.

A preliminary review of ADS-B data (the aircraft was ADS-B equipped) by the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) showed the airplane was transmitting data for the accident flight, and was flying at approximately 3,400 feet msl when a fluctuation in altitude, followed by an initial upset occurred. The airplane continued a rapid and steep descent until ground impact. A detailed NTSB analysis of the ADS-B data is pending.

Preliminary Report: Jet Crashes in Mexico Results in Eight Fatalities

BAe Hawker 700, Saltillo-Plan de Guadalupe International Airport (SLW), Mexico, April 19, 2014–A Mexican-registered BAe Hawker 700 was destroyed when it crashed into an industrial park while on a night-time instrument approach to Runway 17 at SLW. All eight people on board were killed. Visibility at the time of the accident was reported as one-half mile in fog with a 200-foot overcast ceiling.

Factual Report: Helicopter Lost Power Just After Takeoff

Airbus AS350B2, Pacoima, Calif., Nov. 12, 2010–The AS350B2 experienced a power loss at 7:48 a.m. in visual conditions, shortly after departure from Whiteman Field, Pacoima, Calif., on a Part 91 newsgathering flight. During the subsequent autorotation and hard landing, the tailboom separated from the aircraft, causing substantial damage to the airframe. Neither of the two people aboard was injured. The helicopter was being operated by Tiny Bubbles Aviation.

The pilot said all systems were in the normal operating range as the post-departure climb was established. Leaving the airport traffic pattern, the pilot noticed a slight, momentary change in the sound of the engine followed shortly by a second and much more pronounced rise in engine rpm that made him think the engine might over speed. He lifted the collective to arrest the rpm rise and prepared for a possible emergency governor operation.

In less than a second, the engine speed reversed from a high-pitched sound to a rapid rpm decrease and he immediately lowered the collective to the full-down position, adjusted the cyclic to establish a 60- to 65-knot attitude and looked for a place to land. Although the helicopter set up for a stable, steady-state autorotation, there was no area directly ahead for an emergency landing that wouldn’t jeopardize people on the ground. He turned the helicopter 90 degrees back toward the airport and quickly realized the helicopter would not clear the 40-foot power lines on the airport boundary. The pilot said he firmly lowered the nose to a 90-knot attitude and one second later raised the collective lever to increase rotor pitch and extend the glide. After he realized he would clear the obstacle, the generator warning light came on.

The pilot believed the airspeed and rate of descent were too high for a safe touchdown and that he was now aimed at an aircraft parking area and airport fuel pit. After crossing the wires, he aggressively rolled the helicopter into a left bank to align it with Runway 30, and added a little collective pitch halfway through the turn. As he completed the turn, he again lowered the collective, increasing the rate of descent, and he raised the nose to trade airspeed to arrest the descent rate. About 20 feet above ground he added collective to slow the rate, but with little effect. He applied all remaining collective firmly just before the skids touched down. The helicopter’s attitude was more nose-high than he preferred, but he had no other options, he said.

The helicopter settled hard on the runway centerline and continued sliding on its skids but began rocking forward quite hard. As the helicopter settled back hard on the skids, the pilot neutralized the cyclic with the machine still sliding at 25 knots with a yaw also beginning at this point. Full left anti-torque pedal had no effect, as the pilot attempted to prevent the helicopter from rolling over on its left side. The helicopter finally came to a stop, upright on the skids. The pilot shut down the engine and noticed upon exiting that the aft one-third of the tailboom was lying on the runway. He also reported white smoke from the exhaust stack. The pilot estimated that the time from the power loss to the helicopter coming to a complete stop was about 18 to 23 seconds.

Later testing and examination of the Honeywell LTS101-700D2 turboshaft engine revealed a degraded power turbine (PT) governor spool bearing, which rendered the PT governor incapable of modulating governor servo pressure to the fuel control. Further examination revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Total time recorded on the engine was 4,042 hours, with 546.5 hours since major overhaul.

Final Report: Pipeline Patrol Helicopter Hits Power Lines

Bell 206, Meeker, Colo., Nov. 3, 2010–The pilot of the helicopter was seriously injured while the observer died when a Bell 206 on a VFR flight collided with power lines in a remote mountainous region near Meeker, Colo. The Safety Board listed the cause of the accident as the pilot’s failure to maintain clearance from electrical power lines during low-altitude flight.

The helicopter departed Grand Junction Regional Airport about 11:56 a.m. headed for Meeker Airport for a low-altitude pipeline patrol using on-board methane gas sensors. The pilot later said he never saw the wires, but that upon impact he immediately realized he had struck wires. The pilot also said the observer sometimes had information about some wires in their flight area, but in this case she never mentioned them.

Two witnesses saw the helicopter strike the wires of a three-phase electrical distribution line that was suspended 95 feet above the valley. The helicopter then pitched 90 degrees nose-down and the rotor system separated from the fuselage, coming to rest about 200 feet from the main wreckage under a three-phase electrical distribution line suspended 95 feet above a gravel road. The electrical wires were supported by poles located 680 feet away from one another on either side of the valley.

The forward section of the cockpit was severed from the main wreckage and found lying in a debris field with the instrument console and cockpit floor. The honeycomb floor in the cockpit was sliced through beginning forward of the pilot left pedal and angling aft through the copilot side of the helicopter. Investigators observed evidence of wire markings on the bottom of the helicopter nose near the copilot seat. The left flight step near the left forward cross tube had a gouge mark consistent with being struck by a wire. Also, a main rotor blade exhibited evidence of span wise separation from contact with a wire.

According to reports, first responders found the observer in the left copilot seat to be secured by the four-point harness, but his right shoulder fitting was found disconnected. Investigators examined and tested the functionality of the observer’s rotary buckle assembly, noting several anomalies. Examination and testing of both the pilot’s and the observer’s shoulder harness reels revealed several anomalies.