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Crash of a Pilatus PC-12 NGX in the Pacific Ocean

Date & Time: Nov 6, 2020 at 1600 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N400PW
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Santa Maria - Hilo
MSN:
2003
YOM:
2020
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
On November 6, 2020, about 1600 Pacific standard time, a Pilatus PC-12, N400PW, was substantially damaged when it was ditched in the Pacific Ocean about 1000 miles east of Hilo, Hawaii. The two pilots sustained no injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 ferry flight. According to the pilot-in-command (PIC), who was also the ferry company owner, he and another pilot were ferrying a new airplane from California to Australia. The first transoceanic leg was planned for 10 hours from Santa Maria Airport (KSMX), Santa Maria, California to Hilo Airport (PHTO), Hilo, Hawaii. The manufacturer had an auxiliary ferry fuel line and check valve installed in the left wing before delivery. About 1 month before the trip, the pilot hired a ferry company to install an internal temporary ferry fuel system for the trip. The crew attempted the first transoceanic flight on November 2, but the ferry fuel system did not transfer properly, so the crew diverted to Merced Airport (KMCE), Merced, California. The system was modified with the addition of two 30 psi fuel transfer pumps that could overcome the ferry system check valve. The final system consisted of 2 aluminum tanks, 2 transfer pumps, transfer and tank valves, and associated fuel lines and fittings. The ferry fuel supply line was connected to the factory installed ferry fuel line fitting at the left wing bulkhead, which then fed directly to the main fuel line through a check valve and directly to the turbine engine. The installed system was ground and flight checked before the trip. According to Federal Aviation Administration automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) data, the airplane departed KSMX about 1000. The pilots each stated that the ferry fuel system worked as designed during the flight and they utilized the operating procedures that were supplied by the installer. About 5 hours after takeoff, approaching ETNIC intersection, the PIC climbed the airplane to flight level 280. At that time, the rear ferry fuel tank was almost empty, and the forward tank was about 1/2 full. The crew was concerned about introducing air into the engine as they emptied the rear ferry tank, so the PIC placed the ignition switch to ON. According to the copilot (CP), she went to the cabin to monitor the transparent fuel line from the transfer pumps to ensure positive fuel flow while she transferred the last of the available rear tank fuel to the main fuel line. When she determined that all of the usable fuel was transferred, and fuel still remained in the pressurized fuel line, she turned the transfer pumps to off and before she could access the transfer and tank valves, the engine surged and flamed out. The PIC stated that the crew alerting system (CAS) fuel low pressure light illuminated about 5 to 15 seconds after the transfer pumps were turned off, and then the engine lost power and the propeller auto feathered. The PIC immediately placed the fuel boost pumps from AUTO to ON. The CP went back to her crew seat and they commenced the pilot operating handbook’s emergency checklist procedures for emergency descent and then loss of engine power in flight. According to both crew members, they attempted an engine air start. The propeller unfeathered and the engine started; however, it did not reach flight idle and movement of the power control lever did not affect the engine. The crew secured the engine and attempted another air start. The engine did not restart and grinding sounds and a loud bang were heard. The propeller never unfeathered and multiple CAS warning lights illuminated, including the EPECS FAIL light (Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System). The crew performed the procedures for a restart with EPECS FAIL light and multiple other starts that were unsuccessful. There were no flames nor smoke from either exhaust pipe during the air start attempts. About 8,000 ft mean sea level, the crew committed to ditching in the ocean. About 1600, after preparing the survival gear, donning life vests, and making mayday calls on VHF 121.5, the PIC performed a full flaps gear up landing at an angle to the sea swells and into the wind. He estimated that the swells were 5 to 10 ft high with crests 20 feet apart. During the landing, the pilot held back elevator pressure for as long as possible and the airplane landed upright. The crew evacuated through the right over wing exit and boarded the 6 man covered life raft. A photograph of the airplane revealed that the bottom of the rudder was substantially damaged. The airplane remained afloat after landing. The crew utilized a satellite phone to communicate with Oakland Center. The USCG coordinated a rescue mission. About 4 hours later, a C-130 arrived on scene and coordinated with a nearby oil tanker, the M/V Ariel, for rescue of the crew. According to the pilots, during the night, many rescue attempts were made by the M/V Ariel; however, the ship was too fast for them to grab lines and the seas were too rough. After a night of high seas, the M/V Ariel attempted rescue again; however, they were unsuccessful. That afternoon, a container ship in the area, the M/V Horizon Reliance, successfully maneuvered slowly to the raft, then the ship’s crew shot rope cannons that propelled lines to the raft, and they were able to assist the survivors onboard. The pilots had been in the raft for about 22 hours. The airplane was a new 2020 production PC-12 47E with a newly designed Pratt and Whitney PT6E-67XP engine which featured an Engine and Propeller Electronic Control System. The airplane is presumed to be lost at sea. The investigation is ongoing.

Crash of a Lockheed C-130H Hercules in the Drake Passage: 38 killed

Date & Time: Dec 9, 2019 at 1813 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
990
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Punta Arenas - Teniente Marsh
MSN:
4776
YOM:
1978
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
17
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
21
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
38
Circumstances:
The four engine airplane departed Santiago de Chile at 1021LT and landed at Punta Arenas for a technical stop at 1444LT. It took off at 1653LT on a leg to Teniente Rodolfo Marsh-Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva Airport located on King George Island, Antarctica, carrying 21 passengers and 17 crew members. After flying a distance of about 390 NM, while in cruising altitude, the radar contact was lost, vertical to the Drake Passage. SAR operations were initiated jointly by the Chilean, Uruguay and Argentine Air Forces which dispatched several aircraft over the area. Two days later, debris were found floating on water. It seems that none of the 38 occupants survived the crash.

Crash of a Cessna 560 Citation Encore in the Atlantic Ocean: 1 killed

Date & Time: May 24, 2019 at 1755 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N832R
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Saint Louis - Fort Lauderdale
MSN:
560-0585
YOM:
2001
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
9016
Aircraft flight hours:
4744
Circumstances:
The airline transport pilot departed on a repositioning flight in the jet airplane. The airplane was in level cruise flight at 39,000 ft mean sea level when the pilot became unresponsive to air traffic controllers. The airplane continued over 300 miles past the destination airport before it descended and impacted the Atlantic Ocean. Neither the pilot nor the airplane were recovered, and the reason for the airplane's impact with water could not be determined based on the available information.
Probable cause:
Impact with water for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information.
Final Report:

Crash of a Lockheed KC-130J Hercules in the Pacific Ocean: 5 killed

Date & Time: Dec 6, 2018 at 0200 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
167981
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Iwakuni - Iwakuni
MSN:
5617
YOM:
2009
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
5
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
5
Circumstances:
The crew departed Iwakuni Airport on a refuelling mission over the Pacific Ocean. By night and in unknown circumstances, the four engine airplane collided with a McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. Both aircraft went out of control and crashed in the ocean some 200 miles off Muroto Cape, Japan. The United States Marine Corps confirms that two Marines have been found. One is in fair condition and the other has been declared deceased by competent medical personnel. All five crew members from the Hercules are still missing after two days of SAR operations and presumed dead. The KC-130 Hercules was assigned to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152 (the Sumos), 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.

Crash of a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne in the Atlantic Ocean: 5 killed

Date & Time: Oct 25, 2018 at 1119 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N555PM
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Andrews - Governor's Harbour
MSN:
31T-7620028
YOM:
1976
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
3
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
5
Captain / Total flying hours:
2778
Copilot / Total flying hours:
12000
Aircraft flight hours:
7718
Circumstances:
The two pilots and three passengers were conducting a cross-country flight over the ocean from South Carolina to the Bahamas. About 30 minutes into the flight, while climbing through 24,300 ft to 25,000 ft about 95 miles beyond the coast, the pilot made a garbled radio transmission indicating an emergency and intent to return. At the time of the transmission the airplane had drifted slightly right of course. The airplane then began a descent and returned on course. After the controller requested several times for the pilot to repeat the radio transmission, the pilot replied, "we're descending." About 15 seconds later, at an altitude of about 23,500 ft, the airplane turned sharply toward the left, and the descent rate increased to greater than 4,000 ft per minute, consistent with a loss of control. Attempts by the air traffic controller to clarify the nature of the emergency and the pilot's intentions were unsuccessful. About 1 minute after the sharp left turn and increased descent, the pilot again declared an emergency. No further communications were received. Search efforts coordinated by the U.S. Coast Guard observed an oil slick and some debris on the water in the vicinity of where the airplane was last observed via radar, however the debris was not identified or recovered. According to recorded weather information, a shallow layer favorable for light rime icing was present at 23,000 ft. However, because the airplane was not recovered, the investigation could not determine whether airframe icing or any other more-specific issues contributed to the loss of control. One air traffic control communication audio recording intermittently captured the sound of an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) "homing" signal for about 45 minutes, beginning near the time of takeoff, and ending about 5 minutes after radar contact was lost. Due to the intermittent nature of the signal, and the duration of the recording, it could not be determined if the ELT signal had begun transmitting before or ceased transmitting after these times. Because ELT homing signals sound the same for all airplanes, the source could not be determined. However, the ELT sound was recorded by only the second of two geographic areas that the airplane flew through and began before the airplane arrived near either of those areas. Had the accident airplane's ELT been activated near the start of the flight, it is unlikely that it would be detected in the second area and not the first. Additionally, the intermittent nature of the ELT signal is more consistent with an ELT located on the ground, rather than an airborne activation. An airborne ELT is more likely to have a direct line-of-sight to one or more of the ground based receiving antennas, particularly at higher altitudes, resulting in more consistent reception. The pilot's initial emergency and subsequent radio transmissions contained notably louder background noise compared to the previous transmissions. The source or reason for the for the increase in noise could not be determined.
Probable cause:
An in-flight loss of control, which resulted in an impact with water, for reasons that could not be determined because the airplane was not recovered.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 208B Supervan 900 in the Pacific Ocean: 1 killed

Date & Time: Sep 27, 2018 at 1528 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
VH-FAY
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Saipan - Sapporo
MSN:
208B-0884
YOM:
2001
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
13600
Aircraft flight hours:
9291
Circumstances:
The pilot of a Cessna 208B aircraft, registered VH-FAY (FAY), was contracted to ferry the aircraft from Jandakot Airport, Western Australia (WA), to Greenwood, Mississippi in the United States (US). The pilot planned to fly via the ‘North Pacific Route’. At 0146 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on 15 September 2018, the aircraft took off from Jandakot Airport, WA, and landed in Alice Springs, Northern Territory at 0743. After landing, the pilot advised the aircraft operator that the aircraft had a standby alternator fault indication. In response, two company licenced aircraft maintenance engineers went to Alice Springs and changed the alternator control unit, which fixed the problem. Late the next morning, the aircraft departed Alice Springs for Weipa, Queensland, where the pilot refuelled the aircraft and stayed overnight. On the morning of 17 September, the pilot conducted a 1-hour flight to Horn Island, Queensland. About an hour later, the aircraft departed Horn Island with the planned destination of Guam, Micronesia. While en route, the pilot sent a message to the aircraft operator advising that he would not land in Guam, but would continue another 218 km (118 NM) to Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. At 1003, the aircraft landed at Saipan International Airport. The next morning, the pilot refuelled the aircraft and detected damage to the propeller anti-ice boot. The aircraft was delayed for more than a week while a company engineer travelled to Saipan and replaced the anti-ice boot. At 2300 UTC on 26 September, the aircraft departed Saipan, bound for New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido, Japan. Once airborne, the pilot sent a message from his Garmin device, indicating that the weather was clear and that he had an expected flight time of 9.5 hours. About an hour after departure, the aircraft levelled out at flight level (FL) 220. Once in the cruise, the pilot sent a message that he was at 22,000 feet, had a tailwind and the weather was clear. This was followed by a message at 0010 that he was at FL 220, with a true airspeed of 167 kt and fuel flow of 288 lb/hr (163 L/hr). At 0121, while overhead reporting point TEGOD, the pilot contacted Tokyo Radio flight information service on HF radio. The pilot was next due to report when the aircraft reached reporting point SAGOP, which the pilot estimated would occur at 0244. GPS recorded track showed that the aircraft passed SAGOP at 0241, but the pilot did not contact Tokyo Radio as expected. At 0249, Tokyo Radio made several attempts to communicate with the pilot on two different HF frequencies, but did not receive a response. Tokyo Radio made further attempts to contact the pilot between 0249 and 0251, and at 0341, 0351 and 0405. About 4.5 hours after the pilot’s last communication, two Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) aircraft intercepted FAY. The pilot did not respond to the intercept in accordance with international intercept protocols, either by rocking the aircraft wings or turning, and the aircraft continued to track at FL 220 on its planned flight route. The JASDF pilots were unable to see into the cockpit to determine whether the pilot was in his seat or whether there was any indication that he was incapacitated. The JASDF pilots flew around FAY for about 30 minutes, until the aircraft descended into cloud. At 0626 UTC, the aircraft’s GPS tracker stopped reporting, with the last recorded position at FL 220, about 100 km off the Japanese coast and 589 km (318 NM) short of the destination airport. Radar data showed that the aircraft descended rapidly from this point and collided with water approximately 2 minutes later. The Japanese authorities launched a search and rescue mission and, within 2 hours, searchers found the aircraft’s rear passenger door. The search continued until the next day, when a typhoon passed through the area and the search was suspended for two days. After resuming, the search continued until 27 October with no further parts of the aircraft found. The pilot was not located.
Probable cause:
From the evidence available, the following findings are made with respect to the uncontrolled flight into water involving a Cessna Aircraft Company 208B, registered VH-FAY, that occurred 260 km north-east of Narita International Airport, Japan, on 27 September 2018. These findings should not be read as apportioning blame or liability to any particular organisation or individual.
Contributing factors:
• During the cruise between Saipan and New Chitose, the pilot very likely became incapacitated and could no longer operate the aircraft.
• The aircraft’s engine most likely stopped due to fuel starvation from pilot inaction, which resulted in the aircraft entering an uncontrolled descent into the ocean.
Other factors that increased risk:
• The pilot was operating alone in the unpressurised aircraft at 22,000 ft and probably not using the oxygen system appropriately, which increased the risk of experiencing hypoxia and being unable to recover.
Final Report:

Crash of a Grumman G-64 in the Atlantic Ocean

Date & Time: Aug 25, 2018
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N1955G
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Elizabeth City - Elizabeth City
MSN:
G-406
YOM:
1954
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
5
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The crew departed Elizabeth City CGAS in North Carolina to deploy weather buoys in the Atlantic Ocean. Several landings were completed successfully. While taking off, the seaplane struck an unkknown object floating on water and came to rest some 680 km east off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. All five crew members evacuated the cabin and were later recovered by the crew of a container vessel. The aircraft sank and was lost.
Probable cause:
Collision with an unknown floating object while taking off.

Crash of a Grumman C-2A(R) Greyhound in the Philippines Sea: 3 killed

Date & Time: Nov 22, 2017 at 1445 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
162175
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Iwakuni - USS Ronald Reagan
MSN:
55
Flight number:
Password 33
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
9
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Circumstances:
The aircraft was on its way from Iwakuni Airbase to the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) cruising in the Philippines Sea on behalf of the 7th Fleet. It is believed that while approaching the supercarrier, the airplane stalled and crashed in the sea, apparently following an engine failure. Eight crew members were rescued while three were still missing two days after the accident. The wreckage was localized on 29 December 2017 at a depth of 5,640 meteres.
Those killed were:
Lt Steven Combs, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment),
Airman Matthew Chialastri,
Aviation Ordnance Airman Apprentice Bryan Grosso.

Crash of a Shaanxi Y-8F-200W into the Andaman Sea: 122 killed

Date & Time: Jun 7, 2017 at 1335 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
5820
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Mergui – Yangon
YOM:
2016
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
14
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
108
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
122
Aircraft flight hours:
809
Circumstances:
The aircraft departed Mergui (Myeik) Airport at 1306LT bound for Yangon, carrying soldiers and their family members. While cruising at an altitude of 18,000 feet in good weather conditions, radar contact was lost with the airplane that crashed in unknown circumstances in the Andaman Sea at 1335LT. SAR operations were initiated and first debris were found at the end of the afternoon about 218 km off the city of Dawei, according of the Myanmar Army Chief of Staff. It is believed that none of the occupants survived the crash. Brand new, the aircraft has been delivered to the Myanmar Air Force in March 2016. The Shaanxi Y-8 is a Chinese version of the Antonov AN-12 built post 2010. The tail of the aircraft was found a week later and both CFR and DFDR were recovered and transmitted to the Army for further investigations.

Crash of an Antonov AN-32 in the Bay of Bengal: 29 killed

Date & Time: Jul 22, 2016
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
K2743
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Tambaram - Port Blair
MSN:
08 09
YOM:
1986
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
6
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
23
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
29
Circumstances:
The twin engine aircraft departed Tambaram AFB (southwest of Chennai) at 0830LT for a 3-hour flight to Port Blair, in the Andaman Islands. While cruising at the assigned altitude of 23,000 feet about 280 km east of Chennai, the aircraft entered a left turn then an uncontrolled descent until it crashed in the sea. SAR operations were initiated but definitively abandoned on 3 October 2016 as no trace of the aircraft nor the 29 occupants was found.