Since the early days of powered flight, aircraft performance has been a mainstay of the pilot-training process. By the time pilots reach the left seat of a turbine-powered airplane they understand how their aircraft perform, or at least they believe they do.
Cessna Citation 550 Bravo, Bethany, Okla., May 20, 2002–Citation N13VP was substantially damaged when it hit a perimeter fence and road during a runway overrun after an aborted takeoff at the Wiley Post Airport. The ATP-rated pilot and four passengers were not injured. One passenger sustained minor injuries. VMC prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed for the Part 91 business flight.
The horizontal wake-turbulence avoidance distance currently required when a lighter aircraft is behind a heavier aircraft might have to be doubled when flying behind the new Airbus A380, according to preliminary recommendations by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol, one of three who survived the Nov. 28, 2004, crash of a chartered Challenger 600 at Montrose, Colo., said he saw “chunks of slush” sliding off the cabin roof and across his window while the twinjet was taxiing for takeoff, according to the recently released NTSB factual report. The Air Castle-operated aircraft crashed on takeoff, killing Ebersol’s son, the pilot and the flight attendant.
Cessna 208B Caravan, Portland, Ore., Dec. 24, 2005–The reason for the Caravan’s loss of power on takeoff has not been determined, said the NTSB. The pilot reported, “After becoming airborne, the airplane quit accelerating and a positive climb rate was not established.”
Bell 407, Kalispell, Mont., Nov. 2, 2006–Departing Kalispell Regional Medical Center, the EMS helicopter lost power shortly after takeoff after the flight paramedic pointed out to the pilot an engine “chip light.” The pilot turned back to the hospital helipad but had to make an emergency autorotation landing when the engine quit. The three occupants were not injured, but the tailboom was damaged.
Blackhawk Modifications of Waco, Texas, now has a supplemental FAA type certificate for the Raytheon King Air B200 twin turboprop with PT6A-42 engines, replacing the standard -41 type. Aircraft equipped with this “bolt-on” upgrade–no airframe modification is required–will achieve the same performance as current-production King Air B200s and offer a TBO increase from 3,000 to 3,600 hours.
“Handling is good in pitch but a little hard on bank. After a while you get used to it and Socata can easily correct it. The turboprop is comfortable and well equipped in terms of avionics, and pilot visibility is good at all times. It has a very efficient constant-speed propeller and a powerful engine. But it seems to me that the turbine exhaust temperatures were a little bit high at high altitudes and at maximum cruise speed.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-25, Hillsboro, Ore., May 24, 2005–The NTSB found that the probable cause of the accident was the pilot’s failure to obtain minimum controllable airspeed during the takeoff climb, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control when the left engine suffered a partial loss of power.
A sage old pilot once neatly captured the purpose of business aviation: “People buy airplanes because they want to go places…fast.”