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Crash of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan in Pellston: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jan 15, 2013 at 2000 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N1120N
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Pellston - Lansing
MSN:
208-0386
YOM:
1994
Flight number:
MRA605
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1921
Captain / Total hours on type:
34.00
Aircraft flight hours:
10132
Circumstances:
The pilot landed at the airport to refuel the airplane and pick up cargo. The pilot spoke with three employees of the fixed base operator who stated that he seemed alert and awake but wanted to make a "quick turn." After the airplane was fueled and the cargo was loaded, the pilot departed; the airplane crashed 1 minute later. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. An aircraft performance GPS and simulation study indicated that the airplane entered a right bank almost immediately after takeoff and then made a 42 degree right turn and that it was accelerating throughout the flight, from about 75 knots groundspeed shortly after liftoff to about 145 knots groundspeed at impact. The airplane was climbing about 500 to 700 feet per minute to a peak altitude of about 260 feet above the ground before descending. The simulation showed a gas generator speed of about 93 percent throughout the flight. The study indicated that the load factor vectors, which were the forces felt by the pilot, could have produced a somatogravic illusion of a climb, even while the airplane was descending. The postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Based on the findings from the aircraft performance GPS and simulation study, the degraded visual reference conditions present about the time of the accident, and the forces felt by the pilot, it is likely that he experienced spatial disorientation, which led to his inadvertent controlled descent into terrain.
Probable cause:
The pilot's inadvertent controlled descent into terrain due to spatial disorientation. Contributing to the accident was lack of visual reference due to night conditions.
Final Report:

Crash of a Beechcraft 60 Duke in Carp Lake: 5 killed

Date & Time: Dec 14, 1985 at 1538 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N24RT
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Pontiac – Pellston
MSN:
P-329
YOM:
1975
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
5
Captain / Total flying hours:
910
Captain / Total hours on type:
9.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2684
Circumstances:
During arrival, the pilot reported a problem with his #1 nav, but said he would try to make an ILS approach. He said he would return to Pontiac, if his ILS did not work. ARTCC cleared him for the ILS runway 32 approach and instructed him to contact Pellston radio (FSS). At 1525, he called the FSS and reported he was 20 miles south. At approximately 1534, the FSS specialist heard an aircraft fly over, but did not know if it was N24RT. He asked the pilot if he was making a missed approach. The pilot gave a negative reply and reported he was picking up the glide slope, then said he was having trouble with his #1 nav. A witness about 6 miles north and west of the airport saw the aircraft on a northerly heading at about 200 feet agl. About one minute later, the aircraft collided with trees, crashed and burned approximately 8 miles from the airport at an approximately elevation of 900 feet. The airport elevation was 720 feet. The nav equipment was too badly damaged during the accident to be tested. According to the aircraft radio log, the last VOR check was on 9/10/83. The pilot had logged 5.4 hours of instrument time during the previous 6 months, but had not logged any approaches. All five occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
Occurrence #1: in flight collision with object
Phase of operation: approach
Findings
1. (f) comm/nav equipment - erratic
2. (f) operation with known deficiencies in equipment - continued - pilot in command
3. (f) in-flight planning/decision - improper - pilot in command
4. (f) lack of recent instrument time - pilot in command
5. (f) weather condition - low ceiling
6. (f) weather condition - snow
7. (c) ifr procedure - not followed - pilot in command
8. (c) missed approach - not performed - pilot in command
9. (f) object - tree(s)
----------
Occurrence #2: in flight collision with terrain/water
Phase of operation: descent - uncontrolled
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne II in Pellston: 3 killed

Date & Time: May 13, 1978 at 1650 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N82271
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Bridgeville - Boyne Falls
MSN:
31-7820044
YOM:
1978
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
15000
Captain / Total hours on type:
600.00
Circumstances:
On approach to Boyne Falls Airport, the pilot was unable to locate the runway and decided to divert to the alternate airport of Pellston-Emmet County. On final, he encountered poor weather conditions with fog and a visibility reduced to 3/8 of a mile. In a 200 feet ceiling, he failed to realize his altitude was too low when the brand new twin engine airplane struck trees and crashed two miles short of runway 32. The aircraft was destroyed and all three occupants were killed. At the time of the accident, the visibility was below minimums.
Probable cause:
Collision with trees during a missed approach due to improper IFR operation. The following contributing factors were reported:
- Inadequate preflight preparation,
- Low ceiling,
- Fog,
- Visibility half a mile or less,
- Alternate forecast below minimums.
Final Report:

Crash of a Learjet 23 in Pellston: 6 killed

Date & Time: May 9, 1970 at 2128 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N434EJ
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Detroit - Pellston
MSN:
23-046
YOM:
1965
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Captain / Total flying hours:
7760
Captain / Total hours on type:
2142.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3530
Circumstances:
The approach to Pellston-Emmet County was initiated in limited visibility due to clouds. On final, the crew failed to realize his altitude was too low when the airplane struck trees and crashed in flames few miles short of runway threshold. The aircraft was destroyed and all six occupants were killed, among them Walter Reuther, President of the American Union of Workers in the Automotive Industry.
Probable cause:
Illusions produced by the lack of visual cues during a circling approach over unlighted terrain at night to a runway not equipped with approach lights or other visual approach aids . These illusions, which made the pilot think that he was higher than his true position, were made more acceptable to him because of a strong possibility of an erroneously high indication on his altimeter.
Final Report:

Crash of a Douglas DC-3A in Chicago: 1 killed

Date & Time: Mar 8, 1964 at 2356 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N410D
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Pellston – Chicago
MSN:
4970
YOM:
1942
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
28
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
5232
Captain / Total hours on type:
923.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
550
Copilot / Total hours on type:
15
Aircraft flight hours:
37744
Circumstances:
A Douglas DC-3A, N410D, operated by and registered to Hansen Air Activities, crashed into an occupied house 7-1/2 miles west-northwest of the Chicago O'Hare International Airport at 2356 c.s.t., March 8, 1964. The copilot sustained fatal injuries and three of the 28 passengers received minor injuries. None of the six persons in the house were injured. The aircraft was damaged substantially. The crew was attempting an ILS approach to runway 14R in instrument flight conditions when turbulence was encountered, accompanied by a rapid accretion of airframe icing. The crew was unable to maintain directional stability or altitude, and abandoned the approach. After leaving the approach course, the aircraft continued to descend in an uncontrolled condition until it crashed.
Probable cause:
The Board determines the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the crew to utilize available de-icing equipment and engine power to maintain positive control of the aircraft under conditions of rapid airframe ice accretion and vortex induced turbulence.
Final Report: