Crash of a Piper PA-46-310P Malibu in Hilton Head: 2 killed

Date & Time: Aug 31, 2003 at 1529 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N70DL
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Hilton Head – Myrtle Beach
MSN:
46-8608001
YOM:
1986
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
2536
Captain / Total hours on type:
186.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2676
Circumstances:
The airplane was returning to the airport for landing. A witness reported it was flying erratically streaming a whitish "vapor trail" from the left wing. Another witness reported the airplane banked abruptly into a steep turn to the left, the nose pitched up, and the airplane sank from view behind the trees. The witness then heard a crash and saw smoke. Examination revealed no evidence of flight control, engine, or propeller malfunction. The left inboard fuel cap was absent from the filler port, and a ground search found the left inboard fuel cap in the grass beside the runway. The JetProp LLC, JetProp DLX Supplemental Flight Manual, Section 4, Normal Procedures Checklist, states, "Left Wing 4.9e, ... Inboard Fuel Tank ... CHECK Supply Visually & SECURE CAP ..." Examination of the JetProp LLC, JetProp DLX Supplemental Flight Manual and the Piper Malibu PA-46-310P Information Manual revealed the following instructions on how to secure the fuel caps: "Replace cap securely." There was no evidence of mechanical malfunction with the fuel cap or the filler port.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane during a VFR pattern for a precautionary landing, which resulted in an uncontrolled descent and subsequent collision with terrain. Also causal was the pilot's inadequate preflight inspection of the aircraft, which resulted in his failure to secure the fuel cap.
Final Report:

Crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2B-35 Marquise in Hilton Head: 1 killed

Date & Time: Aug 1, 2001 at 0751 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N1VY
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Columbia – Savannah – Hilton Head
MSN:
567
YOM:
1972
Flight number:
BKA170
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
4184
Captain / Total hours on type:
483.00
Aircraft flight hours:
11612
Circumstances:
The airplane was on final approach to land at Hilton Head Airport, when according to witnesses, it suddenly rolled to the right, and descended, initially impacting trees at about the 70-foot level, and then impacting the ground. A fire then ensued upon ground impact, and the debris field spanned about 370 feet along an azimuth of about 082 degrees. Examination of the airplane wreckage revealed that left wing flap actuator and jack nut measurements were consistent with the wing flaps being extended to 40 degrees, and on the right wing the flap jack nut and actuator measurements were consistent with the right flap being extended to about a 20-degrees. In addition, the right flap torque tube assembly between the flap motor and the flap stop assembly had disconnected, and the flap torque tube assembly's female coupler which attaches to the male spline end of the flap motor and flap stop assembly was found with a cotter pin installed through the female coupler of the flap stop assembly. The cotter pin, had not been placed through the spline and the coupler consistent with normal installation as per Mitsubishi's maintenance manual, or as specified in Airworthiness Directive 88-23-01. Instead, the cotter pin had missed the male spline on the flap motor. In addition, the flap coupler on the opposite side of the flap motor was found to also found to not have a cotter pin installed. Company maintenance records showed that on April 3, 2001, about 87 flight hours before the accident, the airplane was inspected per Airworthiness Directive (AD) 88-23-01, which required the disassembly, inspection, and reassembly of the flap torque tube joints. In addition, on July 9, 2001, the airplane was given a phase 1 inspection, and Bankair records showed that a company authorized maintenance person performed the applicable maintenance items, and certified the airplane for return to service.
Probable cause:
Improper maintenance/installation and and inadequate inspection of the airplane's flap torque tube joints during routine maintenance by company maintenance personnel, which resulted in the right flap torque tube assembly coupler becoming detached and the flaps developing asymmetrical lift when extended, which resulted in an uncontrolled roll, a descent, and an impact with a tree during approach to land.
Final Report:

Crash of a Beechcraft King Air 90 in Beaufort: 1 killed

Date & Time: Dec 19, 1999 at 2035 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N75CF
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Hilton Head - Beaufort
MSN:
LW-212
YOM:
1977
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
21250
Aircraft flight hours:
10316
Circumstances:
The PIC was cleared for an ASR approach to the destination airport. The co-pilot was looking outside to obtain a visual reference on the destination airport. They broke out of the clouds at about 900 feet, and were descending at about 480 feet per minute. The ceiling was overcast, ragged, and very dark with no visible horizon. The co-pilot looked back inside the cockpit to check the radios when he heard a thump. The PIC had continued the descent below the minimum descent altitude, the airplane collided with the marsh and crashed.
Probable cause:
The pilot-in-commands failure to maintain the appropriate altitude (minimum descent altitude) during an area surveillance radar (ASR) approach, resulting in an in-flight collision with swampy terrain. Contributing to the accident was the co-pilot's failure to maintain a visual lookout during the ASR approach.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61P Aerostar (Ted Smith 601P) in the Atlantic Ocean: 1 killed

Date & Time: Feb 17, 1996 at 2130 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N956AF
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Swainsboro – Hilton Head
MSN:
61-0515-215
YOM:
1978
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
9850
Aircraft flight hours:
2884
Circumstances:
The pilot had departed Swainsboro, Georgia at 1930 EST on an IFR flight. About 12 minutes later, he informed Jacksonville Center that he was very dizzy and could not see. There were no other recorded transmissions from the pilot. The airplane was tracked on radar until radar contact was lost at 2130. The airplane was at a heading of 110 degrees and an altitude of 9,000 feet the entire time. Attempts to locate the airplane by aerial intercept were uneventful. All shipping vessels along the airplane's expected course, were notified of the airplane's estimated fuel exhaustion point. No contact was reported and the search was suspended. Prior to departing Swainsboro, the pilot had mentioned to his wife that he had a headache. A review of the pilot's medical records revealed that he had twice indicated on his application for a medical certificate that he had a medical history of unconsciousness. In addition, he was being treated for hypertension with Norvasc and chlorthalidone prescription drugs.
Probable cause:
Pilot incapacitation.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 414A Chancellor in Statesboro: 1 killed

Date & Time: Apr 27, 1993 at 2003 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N47WD
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Hilton Head – Statesboro
MSN:
414A-0235
YOM:
1979
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
4650
Circumstances:
A student pilot in American AA-1A, N9317L, was on an approach to land on runway 05 of the uncontrolled airport, as a commercial pilot in Cessna 414A, N47WD, was on an approach to land on runway 14. The two runways intersected near their approach ends. The two aircraft collided as they were about to touch down at dusk over the intersection. Witnesses on the ground stated that they observed lights on the Cessna, but did not observe any lights on the American. Witnesses in other aircraft in the area stated that they heard the pilot of the american announcing his position in the traffic pattern and landing intentions, but did not hear the pilot of the Cessna on the Unicom frequency. The pilot of the Cessna stated that he announced his intention to land on runway 14 over Unicom frequency 123.0. The published Unicom frequency for the Statesboro Airport was 122.8.
Probable cause:
Inadequate visual lookout by the pilots of both aircraft. Factors related to the accident were: failure of the pilot of N9317L to illuminate his aircraft navigation lights, and improper radio communications by the pilot of N47WD by selecting the wrong unicom frequency to monitor and announce his landing intentions and position.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle II in Hilton Head: 2 killed

Date & Time: Dec 10, 1987 at 2230 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N777RC
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Hilton Head - Cookeville
MSN:
421A-0149
YOM:
1968
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
4970
Captain / Total hours on type:
162.00
Circumstances:
Aircraft departed coastal airport at night with 400 feet partial obscuration in patchy fog. Ground witnesses who heard aircraft depicted a circling flight path to the right after takeoff. Engine, propellers and turbo teardowns demonstrated both engines were operating at high power and no evidence was found of a pre-impact malfunction. Aircraft never appeared on radar and no communication was attempted after takeoff. Review of pilot records showed atypically low total instrument flight hours. Pic was cleared to maintain runway heading after takeoff and climb to 2,000 feet. Both occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
Occurrence #1: loss of control - in flight
Phase of operation: takeoff - initial climb
Findings
1. (f) weather condition - fog
2. (f) light condition - dark night
3. (c) climb - not performed - pilot in command
4. (c) spatial disorientation - pilot in command
----------
Occurrence #2: in flight collision with terrain/water
Phase of operation: descent - uncontrolled
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 207 Skywagon in Vero Beach

Date & Time: Apr 15, 1976 at 1152 LT
Registration:
N1578U
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Hilton Head - Fort Pierce
MSN:
207-0178
YOM:
1970
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
32000
Circumstances:
En route from Hilton Head to Fort Pierce, the pilot encountered engine problems and elected to make an emergency landing. He reduced his altitude and attempted to land near Vero Beach when the airplane struck trees and crashed. The airplane was damaged beyond repair and both occupants escaped with minor injuries.
Probable cause:
Powerplant failure for undetermined reasons.
Final Report:

Crash of a Beechcraft A100 King Air in Hilton Head: 6 killed

Date & Time: Apr 26, 1975 at 2055 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N700SP
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Savannah - Hilton Head - Jackson
MSN:
B-92
YOM:
1972
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
8
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Captain / Total flying hours:
15657
Captain / Total hours on type:
549.00
Circumstances:
The aircraft was ferried from Savannah, Georgia, to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, for a corporate flight to Jackson, Mississippi. The aircraft was owned and operated by Stribling-Puckett, Inc. The flight to Hilton Head Island was completed without incident. The pilot of N700SP loaded the passenger baggage; a witness to the loading indicated that the pilot loaded the baggage carefully in the baggage compartment in the aft end of the cabin. At 21:45, the eight passengers boarded the aircraft with one passenger seated in the copilot's seat. The engines were started and the aircraft was taxied to runway 3 for takeoff. The aircraft was taxied onto the 300-foot overrun on the south end of the runway, turned 180° on the runway, and made a "running" takeoff. Two pilots, one inside the terminal and another outside, stated that they did not believe the engines were developing full power during the takeoff. However, there were no unusual sounds, and the engines were operating "smoothly." Both of these pilots believed that the takeoff run was excessively long. The aircraft used about 3,900 feet of pavement to takeoff including most of the 300-foot overrun where the takeoff began. After takeoff, the aircraft was leveled off and was flown straight and level for about 1,200 feet. There it struck the top of a tree which was 40 to 50 feet above the ground. After impact with the trees, the aircraft continued 1,200 to 1,300 feet and struck several other trees before it came to rest right side up. Fire erupted some distance behind the aircraft, but progressed toward the aircraft slowly. The slow progression of the fire allowed the three survivors time to escape through a hole in the left front side of the fuselage. Roger W. Stribling, Jr., Vice President of the Stribling-Puckett, Inc, was killed in the crash. Company President Ben Puckett suffered a broken back in the accident.
Those killed were:
Roger Stribling Jr.,
Max Williams,
Henry Clements,
Clark Boyce Sr.,
Eddie Stanton,
Gordon Ellison.
Probable cause:
The failure of the pilot to maintain a positive rate of climb after a takeoff toward an unlighted area in night, visual meteorological conditions. The failure to maintain a positive rate of climb resulted in a collision with trees in the departure path. An overweight condition of the aircraft may have contributed to the pilot's actions. Investigation showed that the aircraft would have been 436 lbs over the maximum gross takeoff weight, with the center of gravity near the aft limit.
Final Report: