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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 into the Atlantic Ocean: 1 killed

Date & Time: May 24, 2019 at 1800 LT
Type of aircraft:
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
Circumstances:
While approaching the destination, the airplane continue over the Atlantic Ocean and all communications with the pilot were interrupted for about an hour. Two F-15' were dispatched to intercept the aircraft that entered a dive and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 500 km east of Fort Lauderdale. The pilot did not survive.

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

Date & Time: Dec 6, 2018 at 0200 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Iwakuni - Iwakuni
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 training 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 into 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.

Crash of a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne into 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
Aircraft flight hours:
7718
Circumstances:
On October 25, 2018, at about 1119 eastern daylight time, and about 100 miles southeast of Charleston, South Carolina (CHS), radar contact was lost with a Piper PA-31T, N555PM. The airplane was presumed to have impacted the Atlantic Ocean. The commercial pilot and four passengers were not found and presumed fatally injured. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from a private airport in Andrews, South Carolina about 1047, bound for Governor's Harbor airport, Bahamas (MYEM). The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The pilot's family reported that the airplane departed from its home base, a private runway in Andrews, South Carolina. Preliminary radar and air traffic control data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) showed the airplane departed the area toward the southeast about, 1047. The airplane crossed over the coastline and began a climb to an assigned altitude of 25,000 feet. The climb rate was consistent at 500 feet per minute (fpm), and the airplane remained on course flying toward the assigned airspace fix, named LURKS. When the airplane was about 12 miles from LURKS (about 95 miles southeast of CHS), while climbing through 24,300 feet, the pilot made a garbled radio transmission indicating that he was diverting to CHS. The airplane began a descent at about 1,000 fpm and maintained a course towards LURKS. About 23 seconds later, after several air traffic control requests to repeat the radio transmission, the pilot replied, "we're descending". About 15 seconds later, at an altitude of about 23,500 feet, the airplane turned sharply toward the left, and the descent rate increased to greater than 4,000 fpm. About 25 seconds later, the radar data altitude parameter went invalid, the last reported altitude was 21,500 feet. About 35 seconds later, the pilot transmitted "emergency emergency, five five five papa mike", and no further transmissions were recorded. About 25 seconds later, the last radar position (32.3184N 78.0661W) was recorded at 1119, which was about 3 miles to the left (northeast) of the airplane's original course towards LURKS. That position corresponded to a location about 100 nautical miles east southeast of CHS. The FAA issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) and a search effort was conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard. One of the search airplanes reported an oil sheen on the surface of the water near the last known coordinates; however, neither the airplane nor debris were located. The search effort was cancelled on October 27 at sunset. A review of the airplane maintenance logbooks revealed that the most recent annual inspection was performed on September 5, 2018, and at that time the airframe had accrued a total of 7,718 hours. That inspection included routine maintenance, the replacement of the starter generators on both engines, replacement of the cabin oxygen bottle, and compliance with several airworthiness directive inspections, including AD 2017-02-06, which addresses a potential issue with electrical wiring arcing and fire risk. According to FAA airman records the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane. His most recent medical certificate was issued on March 8, 2018, at which time he reported a total of 2,778 hours of total flight experience. A preliminary review of weather records revealed that there were no convective or precipitation echoes in the area at the time of the accident. Satellite imagery depicted a mid-level layer of clouds in the area with tops estimated at 15,500 feet. An Airmen's Meteorological Information advisory for moderate turbulence was in effect for the region. Atmospheric model results characterized the atmosphere as stable, with a freezing level around 13,000 feet and a shallow layer favorable for light rime icing at 23,000 feet.

Crash of a Cessna 208B Supervan 900 into 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
Circumstances:
The pilot, sole on board, was in charge to convoy the airplane from Saipan Island, in the Pacific, to the New Chitose Airport in Sapporo. The single engine airplane departed Saipan Airport at 0700 (Japan Time) on a nine hours flight. A first check was made with Japan ATC at 1023 and the next fixpoint was scheduled at 1144. ATC tried several times to establish a radio contact with the pilot but this was not possible. As the airplane was following its track, the decision was taken to send two F-4 of the Japan-Self Defense Force. At 1450, a visual contact was established with the Cessna but unfortunately, both military crew were unable to establish a radio contact with the pilot. Few minutes later, the single engine airplane went into clouds when control was lost. It crashed at 1528 into the Pacific Ocean some 120 km east of Sendai. Some debris were spotted floating on water at 1723 and no trace of the pilot, a Norwegian citizen. It was later considered that he died in the accident. The airplane, built in 2001, was converted for geophysical missions with a new 900 hp engine and other special equipments.

Crash of a Grumman G-64 into 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 in a mission to deploy weather buoys in the Atlantic Ocean. While taking off, the seaplane struck something floating on water and came to rest some 425 miles 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.

Crash of a Grumman C-2A(R) Greyhound into 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 into the sea, apparently following an engine failure. Eight crew members were rescued while three are still missing two days after the accident. Those killed were Lt Steven Combs, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment), Airman Matthew Chialastri and 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:
0
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 left 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 went out of control and crashed in unknown circumstances into the Andaman Sea at 1335LT. SAR operations were conducted 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.