Accidents: October 2011

 - October 3, 2011, 11:10 PM

Preliminary Report: Chartered Jetliners Suffer Fatal Crashes

Yakovlev Yak-42D, Yaroslavl, Russia, Sept. 7, 2011–The trijet, which was carrying a professional Russian hockey team to its first match of the season, crashed while attempting to take off in clear daylight conditions from Tunoshna Airport. According to witnesses, the jetliner had difficulty obtaining takeoff speed and overshot the end of the runway by more than 1,000 feet. As it finally became airborne the Yak struck an obstruction, broke apart and plunged into the Volga River. Killed in the crash were 37 members of the Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team and seven crewmembers. One crewmember survived with critical injuries. The aircraft’s flight recorders were recovered and delivered to Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, which is conducting the investigation into the accident.

Boeing 737-200, Resolute Bay, Canada, Aug. 20, 2011–While on approach to Resolute Bay Airport at the conclusion of a flight from Yellowknife Airport, the First Air-operated twinjet was destroyed when it crashed into a small hill approximately one mile from the airport, killing the four crewmembers and eight of the 11 passengers. According to reports, there was a 200-foot ceiling with fog and drizzle at the time of the crash. The jetliner’s flight recorders were recovered from the wreckage. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is conducting the investigation with assistance from the NTSB, FAA, Pratt & Whitney and Boeing.

Preliminary Report: Turboprop Crashes during Formation Flight

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Nightmute, Alaska, Sept. 2, 2011–The turboprop single was destroyed and its pilot killed when it crashed after a midair with a Cessna 207 approximately nine miles north of Nightmute. According to investigators, both aircraft (operated under Part 135) took off from neighboring villages at the same time and rendezvoused for the flight to their bases at Bethel Airport. The pilots of the aircraft spoke via discrete radio frequency as they flew side-by-side until the ATP-rated pilot of the Grant Aviation-operated Grand Caravan unexpectedly flew her aircraft above and on top of the 207 operated by Ryan Air. The 208B then struck the 207’s right wing and severed its own tail in the process, causing it to crash and burn. The 207 suffered substantial damage but its commercial pilot was able to make an emergency landing. The pilot of the 207 was uninjured. The accident is under investigation.

Preliminary Report: Indonesian Helicopter Flight Ends in Fatal Crash

Bell 412, Bitung, Indonesia, Aug. 3, 2011–Just after takeoff on a charter flight from Sam Ratulangi Airport in Mandano, the medium twin-engine helicopter struck the side of a mountain, killing the two crew and eight passengers. According to reports, the helicopter encountered a thunderstorm just after takeoff. The Nyaman Air helicopter was headed to a mining site on a nearby island when it went down in dense jungle. One passenger survived the initial crash but died later in the hospital. Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee is conducting the investigation.

Preliminary Report: Medevac Helicopter Goes Down with Patient

Eurocopter AS350B2, Mosby, Mo., Aug. 26, 2011–The light single helicopter was substantially damaged when it crashed after a loss of power. The Air Methods-operated AStar was transporting a patient to another hospital, and the pilot notified the company’s communication center that he less fuel on board than he originally thought. He decided to stop at the Midwest National Air Center (PGH) nearly 60 miles away to refuel before dropping off the patient. The helicopter crashed in a farm field less than two miles from PGH, killing the patient, the pilot, flight nurse and flight paramedic.

Preliminary Report: Loss of Power Downs Socata

Daher-Socata TBM 850, Mt. Pleasant, Wis., Sept. 5, 2011–The turboprop single was substantially damaged and its pilot–the sole person on board–was killed when it crashed into a field while attempting to make an emergency landing at John H. Batten Airport in Racine. According to reports, the aircraft was en route to Waukegan Regional Airport when it began experiencing difficulty maintaining altitude. The TBM crashed less than three miles from the airport.

Preliminary Report: Turboprop Airliner Crashes in Jungle

Swearingen SA.227BC Metro III (M-7 Aerospace is the current certificate holder), Trinidad, Bolivia, Sept. 6, 2011–Air traffic controllers lost contact with the Aerocon Airlines twin turboprop when it was approximately 10 miles from its destination, on approach to Trinidad Airport, at the conclusion of a domestic 237-mile flight from Santa Cruz-El Trompillo Airport. Two days later the wreckage of the Bolivian-registered aircraft was located in a heavily vegetated area near a lagoon, along with the bodies of the two crew members and six of the seven passengers on board. A day later rescuers found the remaining injured passenger, who told them that he had been trapped in the wreckage for 15 hours before finally extricating himself and walking off to seek help.

According to reports, at the time of the crash visibility in the area was obscured by smoke caused by burning of the jungle to clear room for agriculture. Bolivia’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation is investigating the accident. The aircraft’s recovered recorders were sent to Brazil for evaluation.

Preliminary Report: Grand Caravan Crashes in Mountains

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Papua Province, Indonesia, Sept. 9, 2011–The turboprop single was destroyed and its two pilots killed when it crashed in poor weather during a cargo flight to a remote airstrip. The wreckage of the Indonesian-registered aircraft, operated by Susi Air, was found in mountainous terrain. According to reports, thick fog and approaching darkness delayed rescuers from reaching the accident site until the following day.

Final Report: Insufficient Engine Maintenance Downed Turboprop

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Rome, N.Y., Dec 3, 2009–The NTSB blamed the Grand Caravan’s emergency landing on the operator’s inadequate engine wash intervals, which caused compressor blade sulphidation and subsequent turbine blade failure.

The turboprop single was climbing through 7,500 feet after takeoff from Syracuse Hancock International Airport when the pilot heard a grinding noise and noted the gas generator speed indicator had dropped to zero. The engine soon seized and the pilot declared an emergency before landing safely in a field approximately three miles short of the runway at Griffiss International Airport.

Disassembly of the engine by the manufacturer revealed an accumulation of orange dust on the blades and disc with black corrosion blisters observed at various locations. Examination of the dust indicated the presence of calcium and sulphur, and the report noted that sulphates are common in “concrete, runway dust and in marine atmospheres.” The report concluded that “the sulphur in the dust, most likely a salt, was the corrosive element.” Following the accident, the operator increased the frequency of engine water washes from once every 50 hours of operation to weekly, and introduced borescope inspections after every 100 hours of operation.

Final Report: Crews Faulted in Ground Accidents

Gulfstream II, Seattle, Wash., April 8, 2010–The NTSB blamed the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate clearance/distance from a fuel truck during taxiing for the collision that structurally damaged the twinjet’s left wing and caused minor injuries to the fuel truck driver.

The pilot told investigators that after refueling he received permission to taxi from the main terminal at Boeing Field/King County International Airport to Runway 13R for the Part 91 flight’s departure. As he proceeded to the runway he overshot the turn from Taxiway A. ATC then cleared him to perform a turn-around and the pilot began a 270-degree right turn. As the GII’s nose crossed the runway centerline he initiated a shallow left turn into the run-up area. The pilot said he then lost track of the moving fuel truck. The three-person flight crew and three passengers were uninjured.

Gulfstream IV, New York, N.Y., July 27, 2010–The flight crew failed to maintain adequate wingtip clearance from a light pole during taxi, according to the Safety Board. As a marshaller directed the twinjet to its parking area at John F. Kennedy International Airport, the first officer was trying to assess the right wing’s clearance from a blast fence, but could not see the wing tip due to the sun’s position. The captain told investigators that he was aware the wing was close to the fence but obeyed the marshaller, who was signaling him to continue.

The aircraft collided with a light pole located just inside the blast fence. The marshaller told the FAA that she attempted to signal the captain to stop but his attention was directed to the right. The FAA inspector also noted that the first officer never warned the captain to stop or use caution. The aircraft was substantially damaged.

Final Report: Cause Undetermined in Fatal Learjet Crash

Bombardier Learjet 35A, Prospect Heights, Ill., Jan. 5, 2010–The Board determined that an unexplained loss of control caused the crash of the twinjet. The Royal Air Freight-owned and

-operated Learjet 35A was on final approach to Runway 34 at Chicago Executive Airport when it crashed into the Des Plaines River in a forested area. Examination of the wreckage showed no evidence of pre-impact failures; flight control continuity could not be determined due to the severity of the damage.

A review of the aircraft’s CVR showed that it had encountered icing as it descended through 3,000 feet, but it was handled by the aircraft’s icing protection system, which was soon deactivated by the crew. Just after the captain called for full flaps, the crew expressed confusion as to the handling of the aircraft, with a pilot stating, “I don’t like this at all…what the [expletive] is going on?” The first officer then stated “I don’t think that spoileron thing is working for some reason.”

Post-accident studies indicated that the jet’s N1 and true airspeed increased while the bank angle increased to greater than 50 degrees. Eight seconds later the first officer was heard stating “add full power, add full power.” The recording ended six seconds later. A witness at the airport who had watched the aircraft as it turned onto final approach told investigators the bank angle became very steep until the airplane “seemed to snap roll into a stall and then immediately into a nose dive.”

The pilot and copilot were killed in the accident.

Final Report: Lax Preflight Blamed for King Air Door Loss

Hawker Beechcraft King Air 300, Minneapolis, Minn., Dec. 10, 2010–The Safety Board ruled that the pilot’s failure to follow the aircraft checklist and secure the cabin door before departure resulted in loss of the door in flight.

According to the FAA, the turboprop twin was climbing through 7,000 feet after takeoff on a Part 91 flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul International/Wold-Chamberlain Airport (MSP) en route to Sioux Falls, S.D., when the pilot told ATC that he had a cabin pressurization problem. The King Air returned to MSP and landed safely with no injury to the ATP-rated pilot or lone passenger. Examination of the airframe beyond the loss of the door revealed an approximate four-inch hole in the rear fuselage, but no damage to the cabin entry door’s pin holes. Electrical continuity of the door wiring was confirmed and the door-open annunciator light was functional. Two months after the incident, the cabin door was located six miles from the airport. No mechanical anomalies were noted but the door handle was found in the latched position instead of the locked position.