Crash of a Boeing 757-27A in San José

Date & Time: Apr 7, 2022 at 1024 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
HP-2010DAE
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
San José – Guatemala City
MSN:
29610/904
YOM:
1999
Flight number:
DHL7216
Country:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The airplane departed San José-Juan Santamaría Airport runway 07 at 0940LT bound for Guatemala City, carrying two pilots and a load of various goods. When the crew reached FL210, he declared an emergency and reported technical problems with the hydraulic system. After being cleared to return, the crew followed a holding pattern and the aircraft landed on runway 07 at 1024LT. After touchdown, the crew initiated the braking procedure then the aircraft started to veer to the right, apparently to vacate via taxiway Delta and Kilo. It skidded to the right, made an almost 90° turn, descended a bank, lost its undercarriage and came to rest in a grassy area located about five metres below the runway elevation, broken in two. Both pilots evacuated with minor injuries.

Crash of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan in Punta Islita: 12 killed

Date & Time: Dec 31, 2017 at 1216 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
TI-BEI
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Punta Islita – San José
MSN:
208B-0900
YOM:
2001
Country:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
10
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
12
Captain / Total flying hours:
14508
Captain / Total hours on type:
11587.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
453
Aircraft flight hours:
12073
Circumstances:
The two pilots were conducting a commercial charter flight to take 10 passengers to an international airport for connecting flights. The flight departed a nontower-controlled airport that was in a valley surrounded on all sides by rising terrain, with the exception of the area beyond the departure end of runway 21, which led directly toward the Pacific Ocean. The accident airplane was the second of a flight of two; the first airplane departed runway 3 about 15 minutes before the accident airplane and made an immediate right turn to the east/southeast after takeoff, following a pass in the hills over lower terrain that provided time for the airplane to climb over the mountains. Both a witness and surveillance video footage from the airport indicated that, 15 minutes later, the accident airplane also departed from runway 3 but instead continued on runway heading, then entered a left turn and descended into terrain. Analysis of the video determined that the airplane reached a maximum bank angle of about 75° and an airspeed below the airplane's published aerodynamic stall speed before impact. Examination of the airplane was limited due to impact and postcrash fire damage; however, no defects consistent with a preimpact failure or malfunction were observed, and the engine exhibited signatures consistent with production of power during impact. The captain was appropriately rated and had extensive experience in the accident airplane make and model. He had been employed by the accident operator for about a year in 2006 and had recently been re-hired by the operator; however, records provided by the operator did not indicate that he had completed all of the training and check flights required by the operator's General Operations Manual (GOM). The first officer was appropriately rated but had little experience in the accident airplane. The GOM also stated that pilots would receive additional, airport-specific training before operating to or from airports with special characteristics; however, the operator provided no listing of such airports, including the airport from which the accident flight departed. The pilots' experience at the departure airport could not be determined. It is possible the psychiatric diagnoses in 2011 were correct and the pilot suffered from a number of conditions which can cause a variety of symptoms. However, given the extremely limited information, what his symptoms were around the time of the accident, whether they were being addressed or effectively treated, and what his mental state was at the time could not be determined from the available information. Therefore, whether or not the pilot's medical or psychological conditions or their treatment played a role in the accident circumstances could not be determined by this investigation. There were no weather reporting facilities in the vicinity of the airport. Although the airport was equipped with two frames for windsocks, no windsocks were installed at the time of the accident to aid pilots in determining wind direction and intensity. Although a takeoff from runway 21 afforded the most favorable terrain since the airplane would fly over lower terrain to the ocean, it is possible that a significant enough tailwind existed for runway 21 that the pilots believed the airplane's maximum tailwind takeoff limitation may be exceeded and chose to depart from runway 3 in the absence of any information regarding the wind velocity. Performance calculations showed that the airplane would have been able to take off with up to a 10-kt tailwind, which was the manufacturer limitation for tailwind takeoffs. The witness who saw the accident reported that he spoke with the pilots of both airplanes before the flights departed and that the pilots acknowledged the need to use the eastern pass in order to clear terrain when departing from runway 3. The reason that the flight crew of the accident airplane failed to use this path after takeoff could not be determined. It is likely that, after entering the valley ahead of the runway, with rising terrain and peaks that likely exceeded the climb capability of the airplane, they attempted to execute a left turn to exit the valley toward lower terrain. During the steep turn, the pilots failed to maintain adequate airspeed and exceeded the airplane's critical angle of attack, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and impact with terrain. Performance calculations using weights that would allow the airplane to operate within manufacturer weight and balance limitations at the time of the accident indicated that it was unlikely that the airplane would have had sufficient climb performance to clear the terrain north of the airport. However, the airplane would likely have had sufficient climb performance to clear terrain east of the airport had the crew performed a right turn immediately after takeoff like the previous airplane.
Probable cause:
The flight crew's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering to exit an area of rising terrain, which resulted in an exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the flight crew's decision to continue the takeoff toward rising terrain that likely exceeded the airplane's climb capability, the lack of adequate weather reporting available for wind determination, and the lack of documented training for an airport requiring a non-standard departure.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Sabreliner 75 in San José

Date & Time: Sep 3, 2007
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N726JR
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
San José – Cartagena
MSN:
370-4
YOM:
1971
Country:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
During the takeoff roll from San José-Juan Santamaria Airport runway 07, one of the tyre burst. The captain decided to abandon the takeoff procedure and initiated an emergency braking manoeuvre. Unable to stop within the remaining distance, the aircraft overran, lost its undercarriage, hit obstacles and came to rest near the perimeter fence. All six occupants escaped uninjured while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.

Crash of a Gippsland GA8 Airvan in Monteverde National Park: 1 killed

Date & Time: Nov 2, 2006 at 0530 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
TI-BAH
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
San José – Liberia
MSN:
GA8-05-069
YOM:
2003
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
The pilot, sole on board, departed San José-Alajuela-Juan Santamaria Airport at 0500LT on a positioning flight to Liberia-Daniel Oduber Quiros Airport located in the Guanacaste cordillera. About 30 minutes into the flight, the single engine aircraft crashed in unknown circumstances in the Monteverde National Park. The aircraft was destroyed and the pilot was killed.

Crash of a Britten-Norman BN-2A-26 Islander near Guapiles

Date & Time: Mar 7, 1997 at 0900 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N851JA
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Tortuguero – San José
MSN:
913
YOM:
1981
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
6
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
En route from Tortuguero to San José, the pilot lost control of the airplane that crashed in a triple canopy jungle near Guapiles. All seven occupants were rescued and the aircraft was destroyed.
Probable cause:
Engine failure in flight for unknown reasons.

Crash of a Boeing 737-2K6 in San José

Date & Time: Nov 17, 1991
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
EI-CBL
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Tegucigalpa-Managua-San José
MSN:
20957
YOM:
1974
Country:
Crew on board:
6
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
36
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The copilot was the pilot-in-command on approach to runway 07 at San José-Juan Santamaría Airport. On final approach, the crew encountered poor weather conditions and limited visibility due to fog and was unable to locate the runway and its lighting system. On short final, the captain realized that the aircraft was not properly aligned on the glide and took over controls. He attempted to correct the trajectory but the unstable aircraft continued to descend and landed to the right of the runway. The aircraft rolled for about 1,500 metres when it struck a drainage ditch. Both main landing gears were torn off and the aircraft came to rest on its belly in a grassy area. All 42 occupants evacuated safely while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.
Probable cause:
The following factors were reported:
- Poor approach planning,
- Lack of crew coordination,
- The captain failed to initiate a go-around procedure while the aircraft was unstable and not properly aligned,
- Wrong approach configuration,
- Lack of visibility due to poor weather conditions.

Crash of a Boeing 727-22 in San José

Date & Time: May 23, 1988 at 1706 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
TI-LRC
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
San José – Managua – Miami
MSN:
18856
YOM:
1965
Flight number:
LR628
Country:
Crew on board:
10
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
16
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
During the takeoff roll on runway 07, at V1 speed, the captain started the rotation but the aircraft failed to respond. The crew decided to abandon the takeoff procedure and initiated an emergency braking maneuver. unable to stop within the remaining distance, the aircraft overran, crossed a ditch and came to rest in a field, bursting into flames. All 26 occupants escaped with minor injuries while the aircraft was destroyed by a post crash fire.
Probable cause:
Excess weight in the front cargo hold displaced the centre of gravity to the forward limit. Two additional trim units would have been required for takeoff.

Crash of a Douglas C-47-DL on Mt Irazú: 4 killed

Date & Time: Apr 19, 1984 at 1400 LT
Operator:
Registration:
TI-SAA
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
San Andrés – San José
MSN:
4231
YOM:
1941
Country:
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
4
Circumstances:
While cruising at an altitude of 7,500 feet in marginal weather conditions, the aircraft struck the slope of Mt Alto Santa Rosa located by the Mt Irazú (volcano). The wreckage was found few meters below the summit and all four crew members were killed.
Probable cause:
Controlled flight into terrain.

Crash of a Boeing 727-21 in San José

Date & Time: Sep 3, 1980 at 1437 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N327PA
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Miami - San José
MSN:
19036
YOM:
1966
Flight number:
PA421
Country:
Crew on board:
6
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
67
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
On final approach to San José-Juan Santamaría Airport, the crew encountered poor weather conditions. In limited visibility due to rain falls, the airplane descended below the glide until the right main gear struck the ground 15 meters short of runway 07 threshold. On impact, the landing gear was torn off. Out of control, the airplane struck the ground, lost its undercarriage then slid on several dozen meters before coming to rest. All 73 occupants escaped uninjured while the aircraft christened 'Clipper Meteor' was damaged beyond repair.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31-310 Navajo off Cahuita

Date & Time: Dec 1, 1979 at 1900 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
TI-RCP
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Panama City - San josé
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The twin engine airplane was performing a flight from Panama City to San José, carrying one pilot, the President of the RECOPE Group, and his wife (RECOPE - Refinadora Costarricense de Petróleo). En route, the pilot informed ATC about an engine failure and was cleared to divert to Puerto Limón Airport for an emergency landing. While descending by night, he realized he could not make it so he ditched the aircraft about 150 meters off Cahuita, some 30 km southeast of Puerto Limón Airport. Both occupants were injured and rescued while the aircraft was lost.
Probable cause:
Engine failure for unknown reasons.