Accidents: July 2014
Preliminary Report: GIV Crashes on Takeoff at Bedford
Gulfstream IV, Bedford, Mass., May 31, 2014–A Gulfstream IV operating as a Part 91 flight failed to become airborne during its takeoff roll on Runway 11 at Bedford-Hanscom Field and crashed into a gully 2,000 feet past the departure end of the runway. The aircraft was destroyed in a post-crash fire and all seven people on board–three crew and four passengers–died in the accident. Preliminary reviews of the flight data and cockpit voice recorders revealed they were talking about control problems as they reached rotation speed. They attempted to abort the takeoff. Weather at the time of the crash was VFR.
Preliminary Report: Columbian King Air Crash Injures Three
Beechcraft King Air B200, near Bahía Solano-José Celestino Mutis Airport, Colombia, June 2, 2014–The twin turboprop was destroyed while making a gear-up forced landing in a field near the airport immediately after takeoff. The pilot reported a loss of engine power just before the accident. The extent of injuries to the three people on board was not reported.
Preliminary Report: CJ Damaged During Engine Start
Cessna 525 CitationJet, Rickenbacker International Airport, Columbus, Ohio, May 9, 2014–A Citation CJ being operated by Capital City Jet Center under Part 135 was substantially damaged during the engine start procedure. The airplane was pointed in a northwesterly direction with the main cabin door shut and the right engine operating when the crew initiated the start sequence on the left engine. Witnesses quickly notified the crew of a fire in the left engine. The crew then shut down both engines, closed the left firewall shutoff and activated the fire bottle. All four occupants evacuated through the main cabin door, and there were no injuries. The fire was extinguished by aircraft rescue and firefighting crews but substantially damaged the empennage and the left engine pylon. Weather at the time of the accident reported southwesterly wind at 19 gusting to 27 and visibility of 10 miles.
Preliminary Report: Laos Turboprop Crash Kills 16
Antonov An-74TK-300, near Xieng Khouang Airport (XKH), Laos, May 17, 2014–The An-74, operated by the Laotian government, crashed on approach to Xieng Khouang Airport in uncertain circumstances. Three of the 17 occupants initially survived, but two later succumbed to their injuries. Among those killed were the Laotian Minister of Defense, the Minister of Public Security and the governor of Vientiane.
Preliminary Report: King Air Crashes on Sandbar
Beechcraft King Air B200, 6.3 miles southwest of Carmelo/Zagarzazú International Airport, Uruguay, May 27, 2014–A Beechcraft B200 Super King Air crashed on a sandbar in the Río de la Plata, southwest of Carmelo, Uruguay, after the pilot reported engine problems. Five of the nine occupants died in the accident.
Preliminary Report: Pilot Dies in AStar Rollover
Airbus Helicopters AS350B3, Peach Springs, Ariz., May 18, 2014–The AStar, operated under Part 91 by Papillon Airways dba Grand Canyon Helicopters, rolled over after landing at the Ramada landing site at the bottom of the Grand Canyon near Grand Canyon West Airport (1G4). The commercial pilot, a certified flight instructor, died; the helicopter sustained substantial damage. Weather at the time of the accident–approximately 4 p.m.–was reported as VFR. The wreckage was found resting on its right side at the landing pad. Witnesses reported that the pilot landed to perform a “fluid level check.” The pilot exited the helicopter while its engine and rotor blades were turning. It became airborne without the pilot on board and subsequently hit the ground and rolled over. The pilot was struck by one of the main rotor blades.
Preliminary Report: FBO Employee Walks into Propeller
De Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, Middletown, Ohio, June 1, 2014–An FBO employee was killed when she walked into the rotating propeller of a Twin Otter while the aircraft was sitting on the ramp at Middletown Regional/Hook (MWO) Airport, Ohio, at about 2 p.m. The aircraft was being operated under Part 91 by Win Win Aviation as a skydiving flight on the day of the accident. The employee approached the airplane to speak to the pilot, who was still seated in the cockpit waiting for the next load of skydivers to board. AIN was unable to ascertain from precisely which direction the employee approached the airplane.
Final Report: Helicopter Landed Hard After Power Failure
Airbus Helicopters AS350B2, La Monte, Mo., Dec. 19, 2010–The pilot and crew were injured after their emergency medical service AStar landed hard following engine flameout. The NTSB determined the probable cause of the engine failure to be an interruption of fuel flow attributable to air in the fuel lines. Despite extensive post-accident testing, investigators were unable to determine how the air entered the fuel system.
The pilot reported that after liftoff he began to climb vertically to a 125-foot-high hover. As he completed a left pedal turn to depart into the wind and began a slow transition to forward flight, he heard a loud bang and immediately lowered the collective and turned back toward the helipad. Despite his lowering the nose slightly and pulling up on the collective to flare, the helicopter hit hard, spreading the landing skids. The helicopter came to rest on its belly, rupturing the fuel tank. No fire erupted. The pilot turned off the electrical master and told the crew to make a quick exit. The pilot crawled about 20 feet away from the helicopter.
Post-accident examination revealed evidence of low rotor rpm on impact as well as an engine flameout before impact. During the on-site examination, all fuel, oil and air lines and connections were found to be tight. Additionally, the fuel-flow lever was found in the flight detent, and the fuel shutoff lever was found lock-wired in the open position. There was no indication that the fuel filter annunciator light had illuminated during the accident flight, which would indicate that the fuel filter was clogged or that the filter bypass had opened. The on-site examination revealed that the fuel filter cartridge exhibited no anomalies, and the bypass open indicator was not extended. The bypass open indicator also operated normally during subsequent tests.
Examination of the fuel found no contamination, nor was there evidence of ingestion of water, snow or ice that would lead to an engine flameout. The engine was run on a test cell and operated within the manufacturer’s specifications. More tests on the fuel control unit, starting drain valve, overspeed drain valve, pressurizing valve, bleed valve, start electrovalve and fuel injection manifold, as well as a three-dimensional check of the axial compressor, revealed no malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
Although examination of the helicopter’s fuel system revealed that it operated correctly, air was deliberately drawn in during the test and added between the fuel filter assembly and the fuel pumps when the fuel filter assembly drain valve was depressed. Numerous tests failed to induce an engine flameout, although some revealed that at times air could remain trapped in the upper cavity of the fuel filter assembly. The NTSB concluded that undetermined faults resulted in the uncommanded in-flight shutdown of the engine.
Final Report: Regional Jet Skidded Off Ottawa Runway
Embraer EMB-145LR, Ottawa/MacDonald-Cartier International Airport, Sept. 4, 2011–At 3:29 p.m., a jet operated by Trans States Airlines as a United Express flight landed on Runway 32 in heavy rain at Ottawa and skidded off the left side of the runway. Both main landing gear collapsed and the aircraft was substantially damaged. None of the 44 passengers or three crewmembers was injured in the accident and no fire ignited.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada’s (TSB) final report explained that as the aircraft approached Ottawa, the weather included intermittent rain and the wind called for a Runway 25 approach. After a previous overrun incident, however, the company had applied a restriction on aircraft using that runway when the surface was wet and the crew asked for and was given the Runway 32 ILS. Runway 32 was not grooved on the day of the accident.
Because of gusty wind on final approach, the crew increased their approach speed to 140 knots and planned a full-flap landing. At 3:29 p.m., with the aircraft crossing the threshold of Runway 32 at about 45 feet agl and an airspeed of 139 kias, the intensity of the rain increased and the crew selected the windshield wipers to high. At about 20 feet above the runway, engine power was reduced for the flare. Just before touchdown, a downpour obscured the crew’s view of the runway. Perceiving a sudden increase in descent rate, the captain applied maximum thrust on both engines for seven seconds. The master caution light illuminated, and a voice warning stated that the flaps were not in a takeoff configuration.
The aircraft touched down smoothly 2,700 feet beyond the threshold at 119 kias with the airspeed still increasing. The aircraft again became airborne and touched down a second time at 3,037 feet beyond the threshold and 20 feet right of the centerline, with the airspeed increasing through 125 kias. Airspeed on touchdown peaked at 128 kias as the nosewheel was lowered to the ground and thrust levers were pulled back to idle. The outboard spoilers deployed almost immediately, and about eight seconds later, the inboard spoilers deployed. Once the nosewheel was down, the captain applied maximum braking and the crew immediately realized the aircraft was skidding. The captain asked the first officer to also apply maximum braking, but the aircraft continued to skid as the captain attempted to steer it back to the runway centerline.
The aircraft continued skidding and began to yaw to the left. Full right rudder was ineffective in correcting the left yaw. Sufficient water was present on the runway surface to cause the tires to create a 20-foot-high rooster-tail trailing 300 feet behind the aircraft. At some point during the landing roll, the captain partially applied the emergency/parking brake (EPB), but disengaged it when he felt no effect.
The aircraft continued skidding until about 7,500 feet from the threshold, at which point it turned sideways along the runway. The nosewheel exited the paved surface, 8,120 feet from the threshold, at approximately 53 knots and the aircraft came to rest just off the left side of the paved surface. The flight crew carried out the emergency shutdown procedure as per the company Quick Reference Handbook (QRH) and consulted with the flight attendant on the status of everyone in the passenger cabin. The flight crew decided there was no immediate threat and held the passengers on board.
The TSB determined heavy rainfall before and during the landing resulted in a quarter-inch layer of water contaminating the runway surface. The aircraft’s speed during final approach exceeded the company prescribed limits for a stabilized approach, resulting in the aircraft crossing the threshold at a speed higher than recommended Vref. The crew also did not attempt to go around in accordance with company standard operating procedures (SOP). The additional thrust applied in the flare caused the aircraft to touch down 3,037 feet from the threshold at the higher speed. The aircraft tires were also found to be underinflated, which, combined with the gentle touchdown, exacerbated the hydroplaning the crew experienced. Although the crew apparently thought that applying of the parking brake would help slow the aircraft, that action aggravated the situation by disengaging the main landing gear anti-skid system.
Because it was not grooved, Runway 32 already presented a higher-than-normal risk of hydroplaning. Additionally, the TSB warned that pilot training that advises differential braking in skids might be counterproductive. Crews are also often not trained in landing on wet runways when the surface is not grooved. In the end, however, the TSB reiterated that without enforcement action against crews who stray from a company’s SOPs, such excursions will continue.