Crash of a Swearingen SA227AC Metro III in La Alianza: 2 killed

Date & Time: Dec 2, 2013 at 2010 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N831BC
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
CSQ405
MSN:
AC-654B
YOM:
1986
Flight number:
Santo Domingo - San Juan
Country:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
1740
Captain / Total hours on type:
686.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
1954
Copilot / Total hours on type:
92
Aircraft flight hours:
33888
Circumstances:
The captain and first officer were conducting an international cargo flight in the twin-engine turboprop airplane. After about 40 minutes of flight during night visual meteorological conditions, an air traffic controller cleared the airplane for a descent to 7,000 ft and then another controller further cleared the airplane for a descent to 3,000 ft and told the flight crew to expect an ILS (instrument landing system) approach. During the descent, about 7,300 ft and about 290 kts, the airplane entered a shallow left turn, followed by a 45-degree right turn and a rapid, uncontrolled descent, during which the airplane broke up about 1,500 ft over uneven terrain. The moderately loaded cargo airplane was not equipped with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder (CVR) (although it previously had a CVR in its passenger configuration) nor was it required by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. There were also no avionics on board with downloadable or nonvolatile memory. As a result, there was limited information available to determine what led to the uncontrolled descent or what occurred as the flight crew attempted to regain control of the airplane. Also, although the first officer was identified in FAA-recorded radio transmissions several minutes before the loss of control and it was company policy that the pilot not flying make those transmissions, it could not be determined who was at the controls when either the loss of control occurred or when the airplane broke up. There was no evidence of any in-flight mechanical failures that would have resulted in the loss of control, and the airplane was loaded within limits. Evidence of all flight control surfaces was confirmed, and, to the extent possible, flight control continuity was also confirmed. Evidence also indicated that both engines were operating at the time of the accident, and, although one of the four propeller blades from the right propeller was not located after separating from the fractured hub, there was no evidence of any preexisting propeller anomalies. The electrically controlled pitch trim actuator did not exhibit any evidence of runaway pitch, and measurements of the actuator rods indicated that the airplane was trimmed slightly nose low, consistent for the phase of flight. Due to the separation of the wings and tail, the in-flight positions of the manually operated aileron and rudder trim wheels could not be determined. Other similarly documented accidents and incidents generally involved unequal fuel burns, which resulted in wing drops or airplane rolls. In one case, the flight crew intentionally induced an excessive slide slip to balance fuel between the wings, which resulted in an uncontrolled roll. However, in the current investigation, the fuel cross feed valve was found in the closed position, indicating that a fuel imbalance was likely not a concern of the flight crew. In at least two other events, unequal fuel loads also involved autopilots that reached their maximum hold limits, snapped off, and rolled the airplane. Although the airplane in this accident did not have an autopilot, historical examples indicate that a sudden yawing or rolling motion, regardless of the source, could result in a roll, nose tuck, and loss of control. The roll may have been recoverable, and in one documented case, a pilot was able to recover the airplane, but after it lost almost 11,000 ft of altitude. During this accident flight, it was likely that, during the descent, the flight crew did regain control of the airplane to the extent that the flight control surfaces were effective. With darkness and the rapid descent at a relatively low altitude, one or both crewmembers likely pulled hard on the yoke to arrest the downward trajectory, and, in doing so, placed the wings broadside against the force of the relative wind, which resulted in both wings failing upward. As the wings failed, the propellers simultaneously chopped through the fuselage behind the cockpit. At the same time, the horizontal stabilizers were also positioned broadside against the relative wind, and they also failed upward. Evidence also revealed that, at some point, the flight crew lowered the landing gear. Although it could not be determined when they lowered the gear, it could have been in an attempt to slow or regain control of the airplane during the descent. Although reasons for the loss of control could not be definitively determined, the lack of any preexisting mechanical anomalies indicates a likelihood of flight crew involvement. Then, during the recovery attempt, the flight crew's actions, while operating under the difficult circumstances of darkness and rapidly decreasing altitude, resulted in the overstress of the airplane.
Probable cause:
The flight crew's excessive elevator input during a rapid descent under night lighting conditions, which resulted in the overstress and breakup of the airplane. Contributing to the
accident was an initial loss of airplane control for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have
precluded normal operation.
Final Report:

Crash of a Convair CV-440-38 in San Juan: 2 killed

Date & Time: Mar 15, 2012 at 0738 LT
Registration:
N153JR
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
San Juan - Saint-Marteen
MSN:
117
YOM:
1953
Country:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
22586
Captain / Total hours on type:
9000.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
2716
Copilot / Total hours on type:
700
Circumstances:
The airplane, operated by Fresh Air, Inc., crashed into a lagoon about 1 mile east of the departure end of runway 10 at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), San Juan, Puerto Rico. The two pilots died, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1251 as a cargo flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight had departed from runway 10 at SJU destined for Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten. Shortly after takeoff, the first officer declared an emergency, and then the captain requested a left turn back to SJU and asked the local air traffic controllers if they could see smoke coming from the airplane (the two tower controllers noted in postaccident interviews that they did not see more smoke than usual coming from the airplane). The controllers cleared the flight to land on runway 28, but as the airplane began to align with the runway, it crashed into a nearby lagoon (Laguna La Torrecilla). Radar data shows that the airplane was heading south at an altitude of about 520 ft when it began a descending turn to the right to line up with runway 28. The airplane continued to bank to the right until radar contact was lost. The estimated airspeed at this point was only 88 knots, 9 knots below the published stall speed for level flight and close to the 87-knot air minimum control speed. However, minimum control speeds increase substantially for a turn into the inoperative engine as the accident crew did in the final seconds of the flight. As a result, the airplane was operating close to both stall and controllability limits when radar contact was lost. Pilots flying multiengine aircraft are generally trained to shut down the engine experiencing a problem and feather that propeller; thus, the flight crew likely intended to shut down the right engine by bringing the mixture control lever to the IDLE CUTOFF position and feathering the right propeller, as called out in the Engine Fire In Flight Checklist. This would have left the flight crew with the left engine operative to return to the airport. However, postaccident examinations revealed that the left propeller was found feathered at impact, with the left engine settings consistent with the engine at takeoff or climb setting. The right engine settings were generally consistent with the engine being shut down; however, the right propeller’s pitch was consistent with a high rotation/takeoff power setting. The accident airplane was not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder (nor was it required to be so equipped); hence, the investigation was unable to determine at what point in the accident sequence the flight crew shut down the right engine and at what point they feathered the left propeller, or why they would have done so. Post accident examination of the airplane revealed fire and thermal damage to the airframe on the airplane’s right wing rear spar, nacelle aft of the power section, and in the vicinity of the junction between the augmentor assemblies and the exhaust muffler assembly. While the investigation was unable to determine the exact location of the ignition source, it appears to have been aft of the engine in the vicinity of the junction between the augmentor assemblies and exhaust muffler assembly. The investigation identified no indication of a fire in the engine proper and no mechanical failures that would have prevented the normal operation of either engine.
Probable cause:
The flight crew's failure to maintain adequate airspeed after shutting down the right engine due to an in-flight fire in one of the right augmentors. The failure to maintain airspeed resulted in either an aerodynamic stall or a loss of directional control.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Grand Commander 690B in the El Yunque National Forest: 3 killed

Date & Time: Dec 3, 2008 at 1205 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N318WA
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Tortola – San Juan
MSN:
690-11444
YOM:
1978
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
9600
Aircraft flight hours:
5286
Circumstances:
The charter flight departed for the destination, where the passengers would connect with another airline flight. The instrument-rated pilot may have felt pressured as the flight departed late. The accident airplane approached the destination airport from the east, descending at 250 knots ground speed from 8,800 feet above mean sea level (msl), on a 270 degree assigned heading, and was instructed to enter the right downwind for runway 10. The airplane's altitude readout was then observed by the approach controller to change to "XXX." The pilot was queried regarding his altitude and he advised that he was descending to 3,200 feet msl. The pilot was asked to confirm that he was in visual flight rules (VFR) conditions and was advised that the minimum vectoring altitude (MVA) for the area was 5,500 feet msl. The pilot responded that “We just ahh,” at which time the controller advised that she missed his transmission and asked him to repeat it. The pilot stated “Ahh roger, could we stay right just a little, we are in and out of some clouds right now.” The controller advised the pilot to “Maintain VFR” and again of the MVA. The controller then made multiple attempts to contact the pilot without result. The wreckage was discovered on the side of a mountain, where the airplane impacted after entering instrument meteorological conditions. Because aircraft operating in VFR flight are not required to comply with minimum instrument altitudes, aircraft receiving VFR radar services are not automatically afforded Minimum Safe Altitude Warning services except by pilot request. The controller's query to the pilot about his altitude and flight conditions was based on her observation of the loss of altitude reporting information. The pilot had not indicated any difficulty in maintaining VFR flight or terrain clearance up to that point. His comment that the aircraft was "in and out of some clouds" was her first indication that the pilot was not operating in visual conditions, and came within seconds of impact with the terrain. The controller was engaged in trying to correct the situation, and despite having been advised of the minimum vectoring altitude, the pilot continued to descend. The airplane was equipped with a terrain avoidance warning system but it could not be determined if it was functional. The pilot owned the charter operation. Documents discovered in the wreckage identified the pilot and airplane as operating for a different company since the pilot did not have the permissions necessary to operate in the United Kingdom Overseas Territories.
Probable cause:
The pilot's continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in an in-flight collision with terrain.
Final Report:

Crash of a Douglas DC-3C off Charlotte Amalie

Date & Time: Jul 19, 2006 at 0720 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N782T
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Charlotte Amalie - San Juan
MSN:
4382
YOM:
1942
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
15750
Copilot / Total flying hours:
305
Aircraft flight hours:
32278
Circumstances:
The captain stated that the accident flight was a return flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico, after delivering U.S. Mail. The airplane was empty of cargo at the time of the accident. The first officer was flying the airplane. The takeoff roll and rotation at 84 knots was uneventful until about 100 feet above the ground when the gear was called out to be retracted. At that time, the left engine's rpm dropped from 2,700 to 1,000. He communicated to the first officer that he would be assuming control of the airplane. He then proceeded with verifying that the left engine had failed. Once confirmed, he proceeded with the failed engine check list and feathering the propeller. They advised air traffic control (ATC) of the situation and informed them that they were returning to land. The airplane would not maintain altitude and the airspeed dropped to about 75 knots. The captain stated that he knew the airplane would not make it back to the airport. Instructions were given to the two passengers to don their life vests and prepared for a ditching. The captain elected to perform a controlled flight into the water. All onboard managed to exit the airplane through the cockpit overhead escape hatch onto the life raft as the airplane remained afloat. About ten minutes later the airplane sank nose first straight down. The airplane came to rest at the bottom of the ocean, in about 100 feet of water. The airplane was not recovered. Underwater photos provided by the operator showed the nose and cockpit area caved in, the left engine's propeller was in the feathered position, and the right engine's propeller was in a low pitch position.
Probable cause:
The airplane's inability to maintain altitude for undetermined reasons, following a loss of power from the left engine.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Shrike Commander 500S in San Juan

Date & Time: Feb 28, 2005 at 1120 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N97VB
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
San Juan – Tortola
MSN:
500-3233
YOM:
1975
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
6
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
1038
Captain / Total hours on type:
282.00
Aircraft flight hours:
6943
Circumstances:
The non-Spanish speaking commercial pilot was preparing for a Title 14, CFR Part 135 on-demand charter flight in a twin-engine airplane with gasoline engines. A non-English speaking fuel truck operator inadvertently serviced the accident airplane with 120 gallons of Jet-A turbine fuel. In the pilot's written statement he reported that just after takeoff, with six passengers aboard, both engines began to lose power, and the airplane subsequently descended and collided with tree-covered terrain at the departure end of the runway. An on-site examination of the fuel vender's Jet-A fuel truck disclosed that the dispensing nozzle installed on the truck was the same nozzle as a typical gasoline nozzle. An examination of the accident airplane's fuel caps and fueling ports disclosed that the accident airplane was equipped with round, fuel tank inlet restrictors, that would prevent fueling from a jet fuel nozzle of the appropriate size, but the fueling ports were not placarded with the required statement indicating that only gasoline (av-gas) should be used.
Probable cause:
The fuel truck operator's improper refueling of a gasoline engine powered airplane with jet (turbine) fuel, and the pilot's inadequate preflight, which resulted in a loss of power in both engines and subsequent collision with trees. Factors associated with the accident were the unclear communications between the Spanish-speaking fuel truck operator and the English speaking pilot, and the uel truck operator's lack of familiarity with the accident airplane's fueling requirements. An additional factor was the absence of the required placards adjacent to the fuel filler caps indicating that only gasoline (av-gas) should be used.
Final Report:

Crash of a Convair CV-440-38 Metropolitan off Tortola: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jul 12, 2004 at 0715 LT
Registration:
N4826C
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
San Juan - Sint Maarten
MSN:
391
YOM:
1956
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
27200
Captain / Total hours on type:
924.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
256
Aircraft flight hours:
45771
Circumstances:
The copilot stated that the pre-flight and run-up before takeoff were performed with no discrepancies noted. After leveling off at 5,500 feet they noticed that the right engine cylinder head temperature and oil temperature was about 10 degrees above the normal parameter for that engine. Shortly after, both pilot's noticed a sharp decrease in the right engine mean effective pressure followed by vibration in the engine. The co-pilot looked at the right engine and informed the pilot that it was on fire around the front lower cylinders. Attempts by the pilot to extinguish the engine fire were unsuccessful. The pilot advised Air Traffic Control of their intention to ditch due to the right engine uncontrolled fire. The co-pilot, handed a life jacket to the pilot and then put his on. The pilot placed his life preserver to the side and did not put it on. While descending the co-pilot opened his side window, but the pilot did not. According to the co-pilot, shortly before ditching the pilot requested 10-degrees of flaps but the flaps did not move. Both pilots were at the controls of the airplane for the ditching. A review of maintenance records revealed that the right engine was installed on the airframe on May 14, 2003 at 45,660.5 hours total airframe time. A complete "C" Check was accomplished on June 15, 2004 at a total time of 45,741.8 hours with no discrepancies noted. The airplane ditched into the Caribbean Ocean 29 miles southeast of Beef Island, Virgin Islands, in an undetermined depth of water, neither the pilot or the airplane wreckage was recovered.
Probable cause:
The in-flight fire on the number two engine, for undetermined reasons.
Final Report:

Crash of an ATR72-212 in San Juan

Date & Time: May 9, 2004 at 1450 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N438AT
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Mayaguez - San Juan
MSN:
438
YOM:
1995
Flight number:
AA5401
Country:
Crew on board:
4
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
22
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
6071
Captain / Total hours on type:
3814.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
2000
Copilot / Total hours on type:
20
Aircraft flight hours:
19276
Aircraft flight cycles:
18086
Circumstances:
Flight 5401 departed Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, for San Juan about 14:15. The captain was the nonflying pilot for the flight, and the first officer was the flying pilot. The takeoff, climb, and en route portions of the flight were uneventful. At 14:37, as the flight approached the San Juan traffic area, the ATIS reported that winds were 060 degrees at 17 knots and gusting at 23 knots. Shortly thereafter, the captain briefed a Vref (the minimum approach airspeed in the landing configuration before the airplane reaches the runway threshold) of 95 knots and told the first officer to "stand by for winds." At 14:43 SJU Terminal Radar Approach Control cautioned the pilots of possible wake turbulence from a preceding Boeing. The captain told the first officer to slow down to about 140 kts. At 14:46, the local controller cleared the airplane to land on runway 08. The first officer turned the airplane left toward runway 08 and transitioned to the visual approach slope indicator. At 14:49, the captain stated, "you better keep that nose down or get some power up because you're gonna balloon." The airplane descended below the glideslope, causing a GPWS "glideslope" alert. The airplane was about 45 feet above ground level and traveling at 110 knots indicated airspeed when it crossed the runway 08 threshold. After the airplane crossed the runway threshold, the captain stated, "power in a little bit, don't pull the nose up, don't pull the nose up." At 14:49:39, the captain stated, "you're ballooning," and the first officer replied, "all right." The airplane touched down for the first time about 14:49:41 and about 1,600 feet beyond the runway 08 threshold with vertical and lateral loads of about 1.3 Gs and -0.10 G, respectively. Upon touchdown the captain stated, "get the power," and, 1 second later, "my aircraft." The first officer responded, "your airplane." The airplane had skipped to an altitude of about 4 feet and touched down again two seconds later about 2,200 feet beyond the runway 08 threshold. The airplane then pitched up to an angle of 9° while climbing to an altitude of 37 feet and the engine torque increased from 10 to 43 percent. About 14:49:49, the pitch angle decreased to -3°, and the engine torque started to decrease to 20 percent with the pitch angle decreasing to -10°. The airplane touched down a third time about 14:49:51 at a bank angle of 7° left wing down and about 3,300 feet beyond the runway 08 threshold and with vertical and lateral loads of about 5 Gs and 0.85 G. The ATR pitched up again to 24 feet and landed a fourth time about 14:49:56 (about 15 seconds after the initial touchdown) and about 4,000 feet beyond the runway 08 threshold. This time the airplane pitched down to -7° and that it was banked 29° left wing down. The airplane came to a complete stop on a grassy area about 217 feet left of the runway centerline and about 4,317 feet beyond the runway threshold.
Probable cause:
The captain’s failure to execute proper techniques to recover from the bounced landings and his subsequent failure to execute a go-around.
Final Report:

Crash of a Learjet 25B in Fort Lauderdale

Date & Time: Feb 20, 2004 at 2157 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N24RZ
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
San Juan – Fort Lauderdale
MSN:
25-159
YOM:
1974
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
4500
Aircraft flight hours:
4104
Circumstances:
The captain and first officer were conducting a CFR Part 135 on-demand charter flight, returning two passengers to the accident airplane's base airport. The multi-destination flight originated from the accident airport, about 16 hours before the accident. On the final leg of the flight, the flight encountered stronger than anticipated headwinds, and the first officer voiced his concern several times about the airplane's remaining fuel. As the flight approached the destination airport, the captain became concerned about having to fly an extended downwind leg, and told the ATCT specialist the flight was low on fuel. The ATCT specialist then cleared the accident airplane for a priority landing. According to cockpit voice recorder (CVR) data, while the crew was attempting to lower the airplane's wing flaps in preparation for landing, they discovered that the flaps would not extend beyond 8 degrees. After the landing gear was lowered, the captain told the first officer, in part: "The gear doors are stuck down.... no hydraulics." The captain told the first officer: "Okay, so we're gonna do, this is gonna be a ref and twenty...All right, probably not going to have any brakes..." According to a ATCT specialist in the control tower, the airplane touched down about midway on the 6001-foot long, dry runway. It continued to the end of the runway, entered the overrun area, struck a chain link fence, crossed a road, and struck a building. During a postaccident interview, the captain reported that during the landing roll the first officer was unable to deploy the airplane's emergency drag chute. He said that neither he nor the first officer attempted to activate the nitrogen-charged emergency brake system. The accident airplane was not equipped with thrust reversers. A postaccident examination of the accident airplane's hydraulic pressure relief valve and hydraulic pressure regulator assembly revealed numerous indentations and small gouges on the exterior portions of both components, consistent with being repeatedly struck with a tool. When the hydraulic pressure relief valve was tested and disassembled, it was discovered that the valve piston was stuck open. The emergency drag chute release handle has two safety latches that must be depressed simultaneously before the parachute will activate. An inspection of the emergency drag chute system and release handle disclosed no pre accident mechanical anomalies.
Probable cause:
The pilot in command's misjudged distance/speed while landing, and the flightcrew's failure to follow prescribed emergency procedures, which resulted in a runway overrun and subsequent collision with a building. Factors associated with the accident are the flightcrew's inadequate in-flight planning/decision making, which resulted in a low fuel condition; an open hydraulic relief valve, and inadequate maintenance by company maintenance personnel. Additional factors were an inoperative (normal) brake system, an unactivated emergency drag chute, the flightcrew's failure to engage the emergency brake system, and pressure placed on the flightcrew due to conditions/events.
Final Report:

Crash of a Mitsubishi MU-2B-35 Marquise in San Juan: 2 killed

Date & Time: Apr 15, 2002 at 1500 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N45BS
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Christiansted - San Juan
MSN:
558
YOM:
1972
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
10583
Captain / Total hours on type:
768.00
Aircraft flight hours:
7236
Circumstances:
The flight departed VFR, and when near the destination airport, was advised by air traffic control to hold VFR over the "plaza" and to make left 360 degree orbits. Several witnesses reported light rain was occurring at the time of the accident; there was no lightning or thunder. One witness located where the airplane came to rest reported observing the airplane emerge from the base of the clouds in a 45-degree left wing low and 20 degrees nose low attitude. He momentarily lost sight of the airplane but then noted it rolled to a wings level attitude. He also reported hearing the engine(s) "cutting in an out." Another witness located approximately 1/4 mile north of the accident site observed the airplane flying eastbound beneath the clouds in a right wing and nose low attitude, he also reported hearing the engine(s) sounding like they were "cutting in and out." A pilot-rated witness located an estimated 1,000 feet from where the airplane came to rest estimated that the ceiling was at 300 feet and there was light drizzle. He observed the airplane in a 45-degree angle of bank to the right and in a slight nose low attitude. He stated that the airplane continued in that attitude before he lost sight of the airplane at 250 feet. The airplane impacted trees then a concrete wall while in a nose and right wing low attitude. The airplane then traveled through automobile hoists/lifts which were covered by corrugated metal, and came to rest adjacent to a building of an automobile facility. Impact and a post crash fire destroyed the airplane, along with a building and several vehicles parked at the facility. Examination of the airplane revealed the flaps were symmetrically retracted and landing gears were retracted. No evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction was noted to the flight controls. Examination of the engines revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction; impact and fire damage precluded testing of several engine accessories from both engines. Examination of the propellers revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Parallel slash marks were noted in several of the corrugated metal panels that covered the hoists/lifts, the slashes were noted 25 and 21 inches between them. According to the airplane manufacturer, the 25 inch distance between the propeller slashes corresponds to an airspeed of 123 knots. Additionally, the power-off stall speed at the airplanes calculated weight with the flaps retracted and 48 degree angle of bank was calculated to be 122 knots. Review of NTSB plotted radar data revealed that the pilot performed one 360-degree orbit to the left with varying angles of left bank and while flying initially at 1,300 feet, climbing to near 1,500 feet, then descending to approximately 800 feet. The airplane continued in the left turn and between 1502:10 and 1502:27, the calibrated airspeed decreased from 160 to 100 knots. At 1502:27, the bank angle was 48 degrees, and the angle of attack was 26 degrees. Between 1502:30 and 1502:35, the true heading changed indicating a bank to the right. The last plotted altitude was 200 feet, which occurred at 1502:35. A NTSB weather study indicated that at the area and altitude the airplane was operating, NWS VIP level 1 to 2 echoes (light to moderate intensity) were noted. Additionally, the terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) for the destination airport indicated that temporarily between 1400 and 1800 (the flight departed at approximately 1436 and the accident occurred at approximately 1503), visibility 5 miles with moderate rain showers, scattered clouds at 1,500 feet, and a broken ceiling at 3,000 feet.
Probable cause:
The failure of the pilot to maintain airspeed (Vs) while maneuvering following inadvertent encounter with clouds resulting in an inadvertent stall and uncontrolled descent and subsequent in-flight collision with trees, a wall, and a building.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 441 Conquest II near Río Grande: 5 killed

Date & Time: Jan 5, 2002 at 1423 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N441AW
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Culebra – San Juan
MSN:
441-0199
YOM:
1981
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
5
Captain / Total flying hours:
3609
Captain / Total hours on type:
1494.00
Aircraft flight hours:
5200
Circumstances:
The pilot was on a visual rules flight from Culebra, Puerto Rico to San Juan, Puerto Rico. No flight plan was filed and a weather briefing was not obtained. The pilot contacted San Juan Radar Approach Control 10 miles east of Fajardo, Puerto Rico and the controller stated the airplane was in radar contact 3 miles east of Fajardo airport. The pilot was instructed to enter a right downwind for runway 10 south of plaza Carolina. The pilot acknowledged the transmission and reported he was at 1,600 feet. Two minutes later the controller stated on the radio frequency, radar contact was lost. The airplane was located by ground personnel on the side of El Yunque Mountain. Review of weather data revealed a weak cold front extended over Puerto Rico. Satellite imagery at the time of the accident revealed a band of low clouds obscuring the accident site. A police helicopter pilot who attempted to reach the crash site reported instrument flight conditions. Examination of the airframe, flight controls, engine assemblies and accessories revealed no anomalies.
Probable cause:
The pilot continued visual flight flight into instrument flight conditions resulting in an in-flight collision with terrain. Low clouds were a factor.
Final Report: