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Crash of a Pilatus PC-12 in Lynchburg: 4 killed

Date & Time: Jul 5, 2009 at 1002 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N578DC
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Teterboro - Tampa
MSN:
570
YOM:
2004
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
3
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
4
Captain / Total flying hours:
1873
Captain / Total hours on type:
715.00
Aircraft flight hours:
723
Circumstances:
While in instrument meteorological conditions flying 800 feet above the airplane’s service ceiling (30,000 feet), with no icing conditions reported, the pilot reported to the air traffic controller that he, “...lost [his] panel.” With the autopilot most likely engaged, the airplane began a right roll about 36 seconds later. The airplane continued in a right roll that increased to 105 degrees, then rolled back to about 70 degrees, before the airplane entered a right descending turn. The airplane continued its descending turn until being lost from radar in the vicinity of the accident site. The airplane impacted in a nose-down attitude in an open field and was significantly fragmented. Postaccident inspection of the flight control system, engine, and propeller revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The flaps and landing gear were retracted and all trim settings were within the normal operating range. Additionally, the airplane was within weight and balance limitations for the flight. The cause of the pilot-reported panel failure could not be determined; however, the possibility of a total electrical failure was eliminated since the pilot maintained radio contact with the air traffic controller. Although the source of the instrumentation failure could not be determined, proper pilot corrective actions, identified in the pilot operating handbook, following the failure most likely would have restored flight information to the pilot’s electronic flight display. Additionally, a standby attitude gyro, compass, and the co-pilot’s electronic flight display units would be available for attitude reference information assuming they were operational.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane while in instrument meteorological conditions following a reported instrumentation failure for undetermined reasons.
Final Report:

Crash of a Beechcraft F90 King Air in Lynchburg

Date & Time: Nov 24, 2000 at 1151 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N94U
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Lynchburg - Lynchburg
MSN:
LA-124
YOM:
1981
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
12000
Captain / Total hours on type:
250.00
Aircraft flight hours:
6788
Circumstances:
The pilot was conducting a post-maintenance test flight. An overhauled engine had been installed on the right side of the airplane, and both propeller assemblies had been subsequently re-rigged. Ground checks were satisfactory, although the right engine propeller idled 90-100 rpm higher than the left engine propeller. Test flight engine start and run-up were conducted per the checklist, with no anomalies noted. Takeoff ground roll and initial climb were normal; however, when the airplane reached about 100 feet, it stopped climbing and lost airspeed. The pilot could not identify the malfunction, and performed a forced landing to rough, hilly terrain. Upon landing, the landing gear collapsed and the engine nacelles were compromised. The airplane subsequently burned. Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the propeller beta valves of both engines were improperly rigged, and that activation of the landing gear squat switch at takeoff resulted in both propellers going into feather. The maintenance personnel did not have rigging experience in airplane make and model. As a result of the investigation, the manufacturer clarified maintenance manual and pilot handbook procedures.
Probable cause:
Improper rigging of both propeller assemblies by maintenance personnel, which resulted in the inadvertent feathering of both propellers after takeoff. Factors included a lack of rigging experience in airplane make and model by maintenance personnel, unclear maintenance manual information, and unsuitable terrain for the forced landing.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 414 Chancellor in Marlinton: 1 killed

Date & Time: Nov 28, 1995 at 0940 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N28901
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Sutton - Lynchburg
MSN:
414-0353
YOM:
1972
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
4850
Aircraft flight hours:
3378
Circumstances:
The pilot took off from an uncontrolled airport. He attempted to obtain an IFR clearance and reported that he was VFR at 3,500 feet. While air traffic control personnel were locating the flight plan and coordinating the IFR clearance, they lost radio contact with the pilot. The pilot continued to fly towards his destination, transiting rising mountainous terrain which was partially obscured by clouds. Wreckage was located about 28 nautical miles from the departure airport, at the 4,050-foot level. There was no evidence of mechanical failure or malfunction. According to FAR Part 91.3, the pilot had the ultimate authority for the operation of the airplane, and in the case of an in-flight emergency, had the authority to deviate from flight rules "to the extent required to meet that emergency." According to the AIM, an emergency could be either "a distress or an urgency condition." An urgency condition would exist "the moment the pilot becomes doubtful about position... weather, or any other condition that could adversely affect flight safety." Under FAR Part 91.3, the pilot would have been authorized to climb the airplane under IFR conditions, even if he were to enter controlled airspace.
Probable cause:
The pilot's continued VFR flight into obscured, rising mountainous terrain, and his failure to climb the airplane as conditions worsened. Factors included the rising terrain and the weather obscuration.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne I in Baltimore: 3 killed

Date & Time: Feb 23, 1979 at 1958 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N6123A
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Lynchburg - Baltimore
MSN:
31-7804008
YOM:
1978
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
6522
Captain / Total hours on type:
136.00
Circumstances:
While on approach to Baltimore-Martin State Airport, the crew encountered poor weather conditions. The visibility was reduced to 1/4 of a mile due to low ceiling and fog. On final, the twin engine airplane struck power cables. The captain increased engine power and initiated a go-around before diverting to Baltimore-Washington-Thurgood Marshall International Airport. On approach, while trailing about 1,500 feet of wire, the airplane went out of control and crashed in flames few hundred yards from the runway threshold. A passenger was seriously injured while three other occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
Collision with wires on final approach and subsequent uncontrolled collision with ground due to improper IFR operation. The following contributing factors were reported:
- Foreign material affecting normal operations,
- Low ceiling,
- Fog,
- Visibility about 1/4 mile or less.
Final Report: