Crash of a Piper PA-31-310 Navajo in Charlotte Amalie

Date & Time: Apr 18, 2006 at 0908 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N554DJ
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Christiansted - Charlotte Amalie
MSN:
31-7612009
YOM:
1976
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
6
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
3400
Captain / Total hours on type:
1800.00
Aircraft flight hours:
6417
Circumstances:
The airplane was making a public use flight between two islands for the purpose of transporting residents of a correctional facility to court hearings. During descent to the destination airport, at an altitude of approximately 1,400 feet, both engines started surging. The pilot's attempts to restore normal engine power were unsuccessful, and he ditched the airplane in ocean water with both engines still surging. The airplane stayed afloat as he and the passengers exited, and then it sank. The airplane was not recovered from the ocean, precluding its examination and determination of the reason for the dual loss of engine power.
Probable cause:
The loss of engine power in both engines for an unknown reason.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 404 Titan II near Pena Pobre: 1 killed

Date & Time: May 13, 2001 at 1933 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N404BA
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Christiansted – San Juan
MSN:
404-0237
YOM:
1978
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1000
Captain / Total hours on type:
103.00
Aircraft flight hours:
12000
Circumstances:
The flight was being handled as a VFR aircraft by air traffic control, was given a discreet transponder code, and was radar contact at an altitude of 4,500 feet. The pilot requested a VFR descent from 4,500 feet, and was cleared to "…descend unrestricted west bound." Radar and radio contact were lost at an altitude of 2,700 feet. The controller tried to re-establish radio contact with the airplane's pilot 10 times before initiating search and rescue efforts. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter found the wreckage, using the aircraft's emergency locator transmitter. The next day a ground search for the aircraft was halted because of hazardous terrain. Search and rescue personnel had to be airlifted into the crash site to remove the victim. A police helicopter was vectored to the crash site by ATC about an 1 1/2 hours after contact was lost with the flight, and the pilot reported that he could not fly near the crash site because of fog. He reported the ceiling about 2,400 feet. The aircraft impacted in heavily wooded, mountainous terrain at the 2,700-foot level of a 3,524-foot mountain. Toxicology test showed that venlafaxine and desmethylvenlafaxine drugs were found in the pilot's blood, and the levels found were consistent with the recent ingestion of more than 10 times a normal dose of venlafaxine.
Probable cause:
Failure of the pilot-in-command to maintain altitude/clearance, resulting in an in-flight collision with rising terrain.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 402C II off Vieques: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jul 8, 2000 at 0455 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N405MN
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
San Juan - Christiansted
MSN:
402C-0221
YOM:
1979
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
2400
Captain / Total hours on type:
235.00
Aircraft flight hours:
13702
Circumstances:
After departure from San Juan, the pilot of N405MN contacted the FAA San Juan Approach Control, was identified on radar by the controller, and told to climb to 7,000 feet. About 1 minute later, the pilot is told to proceed direct to St. Croix. About 4 minutes later, the pilot requested radar vectors to St. Croix, and was told to fly heading 140 degrees. Radar data showed the flight leveled at the cruise altitude of 7,000 feet at about 0444. At about 0453:36, the pilot requested a lower altitude, and was cleared to 2,000 feet. The pilot acknowledged the clearance, and no further transmissions were received from the pilot. The flight began descent from 7,000 feet at about 0454. At 0454:29, the aircraft's transponder reports the flight is at 6,500 feet. At 0454:41, the transponder reports the flight is at 5,600 feet, and at 0454:49, at 4,000 feet. At 0454:53, the transponder reports the flight is at 1,100 feet. The flight is not observed on radar after this. No other aircraft or radar returns are observed near the flight as it began it's descent. One main landing gear tire, wheel, and brake assembly; the left wing lower skin from the area above the wing flap; the left wing baggage compartment door; the right nose baggage compartment door; the cabin floor cover; and some items from the U.S. mail cargo, were recovered floating in the ocean, at points north of the last observed radar contact with the airplane, on the day of the accident and in the days after the accident. The recovered components had damage from being separated from the airplane. None of the recovered components had any fire, heat, or soot damage. The remainder of the airplane was not located and recovered. The depth of the sea in the area of the accident site was reported by the Coast Guard to be about 6,000 feet. U.S. Post Office personnel reported the flight carried 1,517 pounds of U.S. mail. No hazardous materials were in the mail. A 75-pound pouch of mail was recovered from the ocean and identified as having been placed on N405MN. The weather at the time of the accident was reported to scattered clouds with visibility 10 miles.
Probable cause:
The airplanes entry into an uncontrolled descent for undetermined reasons from which it crashed into the ocean.
Final Report:

Crash of a Beechcraft 99A Airliner in Saint-Barthélemy

Date & Time: Dec 31, 1999 at 1055 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N491BB
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Christiansted - Saint-Barthélemy
MSN:
U-97
YOM:
1969
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
7
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
On December 31, 1999, at about 1055 Atlantic standard time, a Beech 99A, N491BB, registered to Alberta Aircraft Leasing Inc., operated by Bohlke International Airways, as a 14 CFR Part 135 on-demand air taxi, experienced a collapse of the main landing gear on landing at St. Barthelemy, (TFFJ) French Antilles. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airline transport-rated pilot, copilot, and seven passengers reported no injuries. The flight originated from St. Croix, (STX) Virgin Islands, about 55 minutes before the accident. The accident was initially reported to the NTSB on January 5, 2000, by the FBI. The pilot stated they departed STX at about 1000. They had to make a 360-degree turn upon arrival at TFFJ due to other arriving traffic. They completed the descent arrival checklist and turned an 8- mile final. At a 1 1/2-mile final the flaps were lowered to the full down position, the propellers were set at 2,000 rpm, airspeed 95 knots, and all three landing gear lights were illuminated. On touchdown the airplane yawed to the left. Right rudder and aileron was applied with negative results. Power was increased and the airplane continued to yaw to the left. The airplane went off the left side of the runway and ground looped, separating the right main landing gear. The airplane came to a complete stop on its fuselage with the nose gear extended. They returned to the airplane on January 3, 2000. The airplane was lifted with a forklift and the left main landing gear was observed in the retracted position. A commuter pilot informed them that he observed the landing on the day of the accident. He stated he observed the left main landing gear moving forward and backwards.

Crash of a De Havilland DHC-6 Vista Liner 300 in Virgin Gorda

Date & Time: Apr 7, 1996 at 0600 LT
Registration:
N143SA
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Virgin Gorda - Christiansted
MSN:
591
YOM:
1978
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
9
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
On April 7, 1996, about 0600 Atlantic standard time, N143SA, a De Havilland DH6, operated by Dolphin Express Airlines crashed on takeoff roll at Virgin Gorda Airport, British Virgin Islands. The flight was a 14 CFR Part 135 scheduled international passenger commuter flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a VFR flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the captain, first officer, and eight passengers reported no injuries. One passenger received minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. The captain stated the while on takeoff roll the airplane veered sharply to the left and she could not exercise directional control. The airplane then departed the runway and crashed through a fence, ripping one wing off the airplane. The airplane was equipped with a CVR that is being removed for further readout.

Crash of a Grumman G-73 Mallard off Christiansted: 1 killed

Date & Time: Oct 28, 1986 at 0915 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N604SS
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Christiansted - Charlotte Amalie
MSN:
J-4
YOM:
1946
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
13
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
10340
Captain / Total hours on type:
195.00
Circumstances:
The pilots lost aileron control shortly after takeoff while in a left turn. The left turning tendencies of the aircraft could not be corrected and the aircraft crash landed in the Caribbean Sea. Post crash inspection of the aircraft revealed the left aileron control cable was trapped within a bundle of electrical wires and cables. This occurred when an electrical cable from a reverse current relay in the right wing to the main junction box in the left cabin area at the center wing was changed and secured. The aileron cable chafed through the protective cover of the large electrical cable. When contact was made with the metal electrical cable the aileron cable arched at several points and separated at two different points causing a loss of aileron control. A passenger was killed while 14 other occupants were rescued.
Probable cause:
Occurrence #1: airframe/component/system failure/malfunction
Phase of operation: climb
Findings
1. (c) electrical system, electric wiring - incorrect
2. (c) maintenance, service of aircraft/equipment - improper - company maintenance personnel
3. (c) electrical system, electric wiring - chafed
4. (c) electrical system, electric wiring - arcing
5. (c) flt control syst, aileron control - separation
6. (c) flt control syst, aileron control - loss, total
----------
Occurrence #2: loss of control - in flight
Phase of operation: climb
Findings
7. (c) aircraft handling - not possible - pilot in command
----------
Occurrence #3: forced landing
Phase of operation: descent
----------
Occurrence #4: in flight collision with terrain/water
Phase of operation: landing - flare/touchdown
Findings
8. Terrain condition - water, rough
Final Report:

Crash of a Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander off Vieques: 9 killed

Date & Time: Aug 2, 1984 at 0805 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N589SA
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Vieques - Christiansted
MSN:
38
YOM:
1968
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
8
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
9
Captain / Total flying hours:
723
Captain / Total hours on type:
71.00
Circumstances:
Flight 901A departed the ramp in Vieques about 0755 with eight passengers aboard, all of whom had reserved seats and purchased tickets for Flight 901. The pilot of Flight 901A contacted the UNICOM as he taxied out to the takeoff end of runway 09. The UNICOM operator informed hym that there was no other traffic in the area. According to a mechanic at the airport, after takeoff, the airplane appeared to climb out normally; however, he said that as the airplane turned left in a crosswind departure pattern, it appeared to lose power when about 200 feet above the ocean. He stated that the airplane then gained about 50 feet, while in a nose-high attitude, and that he then heard the engines develop more power, before the plane descended into the ocean. The airplane had crashed into the ocean north of the departure end of runway 09 and about 1/2 mile off shore. The aircraft was destroyed and all nine occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
The failure of the pilot to execute the emergency engine-out procedure properly shortly after takeoff following a loss of power in the left engine because of water in the airplane's fuel system and the failure of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority to remove excess water known to be in the airport's in-ground fuel tank before conducting fueling operations. The pilot's failure to execute the engine-out procedure properly was due to his inexperience in multi-engine airplanes. Contributing to the accident were:
- The air carrier's use of a pilot not certificated for the flight;
- The air carrier's failure to train the pilot adequately;
- The pilot's failure to follow proper practices to detect water in the airplane's fuel tanks;
- The out of weight and balance condition of the airplane;
- The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) incorrect application of 14 CFR Part 135 Rules to commuter air carriers; and (6) the FAA's generally inadequate surveillance of the air carrier.
Final Report:

Crash of a Lockheed L-749A Constellation off Charlotte Amalie: 3 killed

Date & Time: Oct 26, 1981 at 1824 LT
Operator:
Registration:
HI-328
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Christiansted - Charlotte Amalie
MSN:
2607
YOM:
1949
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
18156
Captain / Total hours on type:
988.00
Circumstances:
The four engine airplane was completing a cargo flight from Christiansted to Charlotte Amalie, carrying two passengers and three crew members. While on a night visual approach to runway 09 at Charlotte Amalie-Harry S. Truman Airport, the made a 360° turn to avoid traffic when the airplane lost altitude and crashed into the sea about two miles short of runway threshold. Both passengers were injured while all three crew members were killed.
Probable cause:
Collision with water on final approach after the pilot-in-command misjudged altitude and clearance.
Final Report:

Crash of a Grumman G-21A Goose off Christiansted

Date & Time: Nov 5, 1978 at 0939 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N74676
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Christiansted - Christiansted
MSN:
1172
YOM:
1942
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
8943
Captain / Total hours on type:
443.00
Circumstances:
The seaplane was engaged in a test flight out from Christiansted on behalf of the FAA. While flying off Christiansted, the pilot encountered engine problems and decided to ditch the aircraft few miles offshore. All three occupants were rescued while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
Probable cause:
Ditching following a double engine failure after the pilot attempted operation with known deficiens in equipment. The following contributing factors were reported:
- Improper in-flight decisions,
- Attempted operation beyond experience/ability level,
- Failure of both engines,
- Aircraft came to rest in water,
- 25 rpm flux reported on left engine previous three days of flight,
- 200 rpm during climbout and continued flight.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain off Charlotte Amalie: 1 killed

Date & Time: Nov 3, 1978 at 1949 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N59912
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Christiansted - Charlotte Amalie
MSN:
31-7552034
YOM:
1975
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
5342
Captain / Total hours on type:
24.00
Circumstances:
While approaching Charlotte Amalie Airport on a cargo flight from Christiansted, the aircraft went out of control and crashed into the sea few km offshore. SAR operations were initiated but eventually abandoned after few days as no trace of the aircraft nor the pilot was found.
Probable cause:
Due to lack of evidences as the wreckage was not found, the exact cause of the accident could to be determined.
Final Report: