Country

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 Britten BN-2A-8 Norman Islander off Culebra: 1 killed

Date & Time: Oct 6, 2013 at 0603 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N909GD
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Vieques - Culebra
MSN:
239
YOM:
1971
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1650
Captain / Total hours on type:
1100.00
Aircraft flight hours:
22575
Circumstances:
The commercial, instrument-rated pilot of the multiengine airplane was conducting a newspaper delivery flight in night visual meteorological conditions. After two uneventful legs, the pilot departed on the third leg without incident. Radar data indicated that, after takeoff, the airplane flew over open water at an altitude of about 100 to 200 ft toward the destination airport and then climbed to 2,400 ft. Shortly thereafter, the pilot performed a 360-degree left turn, followed by a 360-degree right turn while the airplane maintained an altitude of about 2,400 ft, before continuing toward the destination airport. Less than 2 minutes later, the airplane began a rapid descending left turn and then collided with water. The wreckage was subsequently located on the sea floor near the airplane's last radar target. Both wings, the cabin, cockpit, and nose section were destroyed by impact forces. The wreckage was not recovered, which precluded its examination for preimpact malfunctions. The airplane had been operated for about 25 hours since its most recent inspection, which was performed about 3 weeks before the accident. The pilot had accumulated about 1,650 hours of total flight experience, which included about 1,100 hours in the accident airplane make and model. Although the pilot conducted most of his flights during the day, he regularly operated flights in night conditions. The pilot's autopsy did not identify any findings of natural disease significant enough to have contributed to the accident. In addition, although toxicological testing detected ethanol in the pilot's cavity blood, it likely resulted from postmortem production.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control for reasons that could not be determined because the wreckage was not recovered.
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 Piper PA-31 Navajo Chieftain off Aguadilla

Date & Time: Oct 27, 2010 at 1740 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N350RL
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Punta Cana - San Juan
MSN:
31-8252049
YOM:
1982
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
1902
Captain / Total hours on type:
38.00
Aircraft flight hours:
4736
Circumstances:
The pilot stated he experienced a high temperature in the right engine and a partial loss of engine rpm while at 9,000 feet mean sea level in cruise flight. He requested and received clearance from air traffic control to descend and divert to another airport. He leveled the airplane at 2,500 feet and both engines were operating; however, the right engine experienced a loss of rpm which made it difficult to maintain altitude. The pilot reduced power in both engines, turned the fuel boost pump on, opened the cowl flaps and the engine continued to run with a low rpm. The pilot elected to ditch the airplane in the ocean, instead of landing as soon as practical at the nearest suitable airport, as instructed in the Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH). Additionally, he shut down the right engine before performing the troubleshooting items listed in the POH. He attributed his decision to ditch the airplane to poor single-engine performance and windy conditions. The wind at the destination airport was from 060 degrees at 6 knots and runway 8 was in use at the time of the accident. The airplane was not recovered.
Probable cause:
The pilot's improper decision to ditch the airplane after a reported partial loss of engine power and overheat on one engine for undetermined reasons.
Final Report:

Crash of a Douglas DC-3 in San Juan

Date & Time: Apr 26, 2009 at 0428 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N136FS
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
San Juan - Charlotte Amalie
MSN:
10267
YOM:
1943
Country:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
50233
Captain / Total hours on type:
7000.00
Aircraft flight hours:
19952
Circumstances:
During taxi to a runway, the instrument panel and cockpit floor erupted in flames. Examination of the wreckage revealed that the majority of the wires contained inside the main junction box had very little damage except for two wires that had insulation missing. The damage appeared to be associated with the routing of the two wires. Both wires were connected to the battery relay and ran through wires in and around the exposed terminal studs. Heat damage was noted on the insulation of wires and other components that were in contact with the exposed wires. The wires ran from the battery relay to the forward section of the cockpit, where the fire started. Due to the fire damage that consumed the cockpit, the examination was unable to determine what system the wires were associated with. Further examination revealed that the fuel pressure was a direct indicating system. Fuel traveled directly to the instruments in the cockpit via rigid aluminum lines routed on the right lower side of the fuselage, where more severe fire damage was noted. Review of maintenance records did not reveal any evidence of the fuel pressure indicating system lines and hoses having ever been replaced; however, they were only required to be replaced on an as-needed basis. The electrical system, instrument lines, and hoses through the nose compartment were required to be inspected on a Phase D inspection; the airplane's last Phase D inspection was completed about 9 months prior to the accident and the airplane had accrued 313.1 hours of operation since that inspection.
Probable cause:
Worn electrical wires and a fuel pressure indicating system hose, which resulted in a ground fire during taxi.
Final Report:

Crash of a Rockwell Grand Commander 690 in San Juan: 3 killed

Date & Time: Dec 3, 2008 at 0813 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N318WA
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
Circumstances:

While approaching San Juan airport, the twin engine aircraft hit El Yunque mountain, few km short of runway. All three occupants were killed, among them two american tourists. For unknown reasons, the pilot was descending to low on approach and the mountain was shrouded by fog.

Crash of a Partenavia P.68 in Adjuntas: 2 killed

Date & Time: Jan 15, 2007 at 0415 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N90KB
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Aguadilla-Ponce
MSN:
365
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
13000
Aircraft flight hours:
9611
Circumstances:

On a private flight from Aguadilla to Ponce at night, the twin engine aircraft struck tree tops and crashed on a mountain slope. No flight plan was filed. Both occupants were killed and the aircraft was destroyed by post impact fire.

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:
On final approach to San Juan-Luis Munoz Marin airport, the aircraft stalled and crashed on a road short of runway. All occupants were injured and the aircraft was destroyed. The aircraft was fueled with Jet A1 fuel, so both engines quit on final.

Crash of a Britten-Norman Islander in Tortuguero: 1 killed

Date & Time: Sep 29, 2004 at 1859 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N902GD
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Mayaguez-San Juan
MSN:
0905
YOM:
1981
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:

While performing a cargo flight from Mayaguez to San Juan, the twin engine aircraft crashed into the lagoon of Tortuguero, few hundred meters off shore. The pilot was killed as the aircraft sunk. The accident occurred in bad weather conditions and turbulences.

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:
On landing, the aircraft bounced twice and veered off runway before coming to rest with its wing separated. 18 passengers and both pilots were injured while the aircraft was written off. According NTSB, the approach configuration adopted by crew was wrong.