Nascar King Air Crew Lost Situational Awareness

 - January 10, 2007, 4:03 AM

The NTSB in its final report released this morning said the crew of a Hendrick Motorsports King Air 200 lost situational awareness and overflew Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport, Va., before crashing on Oct. 24, 2004. IMC prevailed and the turboprop twin had been cleared for the Localizer Runway 30 approach. The pilots and the eight passengers were killed when the twin turboprop hit a mountain eight miles past the airport and one-mile after initiating a “straight-ahead climb.” The NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was the crew’s “failure to properly execute the instrument and missed approach procedures, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.” The crew also “failed to use all available navigation aids to confirm and monitor the airplane’s position during the approach.” Investigators believe the pilots were relying on an installed Bendix-King KLN-90B GPS that was not IFR certified. The crew apparently had the localizer tuned in and they had an ADF and DME to rely on, but the NTSB thinks they were using only the GPS. The passengers, which included Nascar raceteam owner Rick Hendrick’s son, were en route to a race in Martinsville.