Pilots Reported ‘AC Voltage’ Issue before Fatal Crash

 - April 30, 2019, 12:08 PM

Eight minutes after taking off from University-Oxford Airport and seconds before the April 13 crash of a Rockwell Sabreliner near New Albany, Mississippi, the crew reported an electrical malfunction, according to a preliminary NTSB report. The twinjet was on a Part 91 IFR personal flight in IMC to Alabama’s Hamilton-Marion County Airport when it went down in remote wooded terrain, killing the two pilots and passenger.

According to ATC recordings, at 3:06 p.m., after the jet took off and was climbing through 1,300 feet, controllers advised of moderate to severe precipitation in the area and provided a clearance to 11,000 feet. At 3:08 p.m., ATC asked the pilots for their altitude (the transponder was not emitting Mode 3A information) and informed them of moderate to heavy precipitation along their route. The crew acknowledged the radio call and told ATC they were climbing through 9,000 feet for 11,000 feet.

The airplane maintained an approximate heading of 080 degrees from 3:06 p.m. until about 3:10 p.m., when it turned right to about 120 degrees. Two minutes later, the airplane made a left turn to about 040 degrees and ATC asked the crew if they were having navigation issues or if they were deviating. The flight crew responded they were deviating but that they also were having “AC voltage problems.”

The last radio call received from the aircraft was an acknowledgment of a heading assignment to 095 degrees at 3:13 p.m. However, the airplane began a right turn to about 270 degrees when radar and radio contact was lost.

At the crash site, the NTSB said broken trees indicated the airplane attitude at impact was about 50 degrees right bank and 20 degrees nose low. “The wreckage was highly fragmented and spread over an area about 800 feet wide and 1,500 feet long.” The CVR was recovered.