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PA

Crash of a Piper PA-61P Aerostar in Donegal Springs

Date & Time: Aug 19, 2017 at 1642 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N7108
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Donegal Springs - New Orleans
MSN:
61P-0405-142
YOM:
1967
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
400
Captain / Total hours on type:
1.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3957
Circumstances:
The aircraft was substantially damaged during takeoff from the Donegal Springs Airpark (N71), Marietta, Pennsylvania. The commercial pilot was not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. According to the pilot he was hired by the owner of the airplane to reposition it from N71 to New Orleans, Louisiana. After completing a preflight inspection and engine run-up, he taxied the airplane to the active runway for takeoff. During the takeoff roll, the airplane swerved to the right and the pilot corrected to the left and aborted the takeoff; however, the airplane departed the left side of the runway and collided with an embankment. According to a mechanic, who was hired by the airplane owner to conduct a pre-purchase inspection of the airplane; the pilot was planning to deliver the airplane and had not previously flown the make and model of the accident airplane. He reviewed the operation of the airplane's systems with the pilot, including a specific discussion of the steering and braking systems, and then left the airport. The mechanic later received a call from the pilot who informed him about the accident and during a subsequent conversation the pilot stated that the airplane "got away from him." Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the right wing was buckled, and the right main landing gear separated from the trunnion mount. Examination of the flight control system and the nose wheel steering system did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. During an interview with the FAA inspector, the pilot stated that he had never previously flown the accident airplane make and model, or any multiengine airplanes with engines capable of producing more than 300 horsepower each. The weather conditions reported at the Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which was located about 10 miles north of the accident site, included wind from 230° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, ceiling few at 6,000 ft, temperature 31° C, dew point 19° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.85 inches of mercury. At the time of the accident the airplane was departing with a quartering tail wind.

Crash of a Piper PA-31-325 Navajo in State College: 2 killed

Date & Time: Jun 16, 2016 at 0830 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N3591P
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Washington County – State College
MSN:
31-8012081
YOM:
1980
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
12493
Captain / Total hours on type:
718.00
Aircraft flight hours:
16040
Circumstances:
The commercial pilot was completing an instrument flight rules air taxi flight on a route that he had flown numerous times for the customer on board. Radar and voice communication data revealed that the airplane was vectored to the final approach course for the precision approach and was given a radio frequency change to the destination airport control tower frequency. The tower controller issued a landing clearance, which the pilot acknowledged; there were no further communications with the pilot. Weather conditions at the airport at the time of the accident included an overcast ceiling at 300 ft with 1 mile visibility in mist. The wreckage was located in densely-wooded terrain. Postaccident examination revealed no evidence of any mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The wreckage path and evidence of engine power displayed by numerous cut tree branches was consistent with a controlled, wings-level descent with power. A radar performance study revealed that, as the airplane crossed the precision final approach fix 6.7 nautical miles (nm) from the runway threshold, the airplane was 800 ft above the glideslope. At the outer marker, 5.5 nm from the runway threshold, the airplane was 500 ft above the glideslope. When radar contact was lost 3.2 nm from the threshold, the airplane was about 250 ft above the glideslope. Although the airplane remained within the lateral limits of the approach localizer, its last two recorded radar returns would have correlated with a full downward deflection of the glideslope indicator in the cockpit, and therefore, an unstabilized approach. Further interpolation of radar data revealed that, during the last 2 minutes of the accident flight, the airplane's rate of descent increased from 400 ft per minute (fpm) to greater than 1,700 fpm, likely as a result of pilot inputs. During the final minute of the flight, the rate decreased briefly to 1,000 fpm before radar contact was lost. The company's standard operating procedures stated that, if a rate of descent greater than 1,000 fpm was encountered during an instrument approach, a missed approach should be performed.The airplane's relative position to the glideslope and its rapid changes in descent rate after crossing the outer marker suggest that the airplane never met the operator's stabilized approach criteria. Rather than executing a missed approach procedure as outlined in the company's operating procedures, the pilot chose to continue the unstabilized approach, which resulted in a descent into trees and terrain. It is unlikely that the pilot's well-controlled diabetes and effectively treated sleep apnea
contributed to the circumstances of this accident. However, whether or not the pilot's multiple sclerosis contributed to this accident could not be determined.
Probable cause:
The pilot's decision to continue an unstabilized instrument approach in instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31P Navajo in Doylestown

Date & Time: Sep 8, 2013 at 1030 LT
Registration:
N57JK
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Cambridge - Doylestown
MSN:
31-7530020
YOM:
1975
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
1612
Captain / Total hours on type:
1054.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3952
Circumstances:
Following a normal landing, the pilot felt no wheel braking action on the left wheel, and the brake pedal went to the floor. The pilot attempted to maintain directional control; however, the airplane departed the right side of the runway and traveled into the grass. The landing gear collapsed, and the airplane came to a stop, sustaining structural damage to the left wing spar. Postaccident examination confirmed that the left brake was inoperative and revealed a small hydraulic fluid leak at the shaft of the parking brake valve in the pressurized section of the cabin. Air likely entered the brake line at the area of the leak while the cabin was pressurized, rendering the left brake inoperative.
Probable cause:
A leaking parking brake valve, which allowed air to enter the left brake line and resulted in the eventual failure of the left wheel brake during the landing roll.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 441 Conquest in York: 1 killed

Date & Time: Dec 22, 2011 at 1725 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N48BS
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Long Beach - York
MSN:
441-0125
YOM:
1980
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1409
Captain / Total hours on type:
502.00
Aircraft flight hours:
5995
Circumstances:
Toward the end of a 6 hour, 20 minute flight, during a night visual approach, the pilot flew the airplane to a left traffic pattern downwind leg. At some point, he lowered the landing gear and set the flaps to 30 degrees. He turned the airplane to a left base leg, and after doing so, was heard on the common traffic frequency stating that he had an "engine out." The airplane then passed through the final leg course, the pilot called "base to final," and the airplane commenced a right turn while maintaining altitude. The angle of bank was then observed to increase to where the airplane's wings became vertical, then inverted, and the airplane rolled into a near-vertical descent, hitting the ground upright in a right spin. Subsequent examination of the airplane and engines revealed that the right engine was not powered at impact, and the propeller from that engine was not in feather. No mechanical anomalies could be found with the engine that could have resulted in its failure. The right fuel tank was breeched; however, fuel calculations, confirmed by some fuel found in the right fuel tank as well as fuel found in the engine fuel filter housing, indicated that fuel exhaustion did not occur. Unknown is why the pilot did not continue through a left turn descent onto the final approach leg toward airport, which would also have been a turn toward the operating engine. The pilot had a communication device capable of voice calls, texting, e-mail and alarms, among other functions. E-mails were sent by the device until 0323, and an alarm sounded at 0920. It is unknown if or how much pilot fatigue might have influenced the outcome.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain minimum control airspeed after a loss of power to the right engine, which resulted in an uncontrollable roll into an inadvertent stall/spin. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the airplane's right engine for reasons that could not be determined because no preexisting mechanical anomalies were found, and the pilot's subsequent turn toward that inoperative engine while maintaining altitude.
Final Report:

Ground collision with a Cessna 550 in Reading

Date & Time: Aug 3, 2008 at 1519 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N827DP
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Pottstown - Reading
MSN:
550-0660
YOM:
1990
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
12100
Captain / Total hours on type:
2690.00
Aircraft flight hours:
5008
Circumstances:
The air traffic controller, with both ground and local (tower) responsibilities, cleared the accident airplane to land when it was about 8 miles from the runway. Another airplane landed in front of the accident flight, and the controller cleared that pilot to taxi to the hangar. The controller subsequently cleared a tractor with retractable (bat wing) mowers, one on each side, and both in the “up” position, to proceed from the terminal ramp and across the 6,350-foot active runway at an intersection about 2,600 feet from the threshold. The controller then shifted his attention back to the airplane taxiing to its hangar, and did not see the accident airplane land. During the landing rollout, the airplane’s left wing collided with the right side of the tractor when the tractor was “slightly” left of runway centerline. Calculations estimated that the airplane was about 1,000 feet from the collision point when the tractor emerged from the taxiway, and skid marks confirmed that the airplane had been steered to the right to avoid impact. Prior to the crossing attempt, the tractor operator did not scan the runway, and was concentrating on the left side bat wing. Federal Aviation Administration publications do not adequately address the need for ground vehicle operators to visually confirm that active runways/approaches are clear, prior to crossing with air traffic control authorization, thus overlooking an additional means to avoid a collision.
Probable cause:
The air traffic controller’s failure to properly monitor the runway environment. Contributing to the accident was the tractor operator’s failure to scan the active runway prior to crossing, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s inadequate emphasis on vehicle operator visual vigilance when crossing active runways with air traffic control clearance.
Final Report:

Crash of an Eclipse EA500 in West Chester

Date & Time: Jul 30, 2008 at 1830 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N333MY
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Philadelphia - West Chester
MSN:
113
YOM:
2007
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
6300
Captain / Total hours on type:
93.00
Aircraft flight hours:
98
Circumstances:
During landing at its home airport, the airplane overran the runway and traveled down a 40-foot embankment before coming to rest against trees and sustaining substantial damage. According to the pilot, his speed on approach was a little fast but he thought it was manageable. Recorded data from the accident airplane revealed that 20 seconds before touchdown, when the pilot selected flaps 30 (landing flaps) the airspeed was approximately 27 knots above the maximum flap extension speed, and as the airplane touched down its airspeed was approximately 14 knots higher than specified for landing. The runway had a displaced threshold with 3,097 feet of runway length available. Skid marks from the accident airplane began approximately 868 feet beyond the displaced threshold, and continued for about 2,229 feet until they left the paved portion of the runway.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to obtain the proper touchdown point, and his excessive airspeed on approach.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 550 Citation II in Butler

Date & Time: Jan 24, 2007 at 0905 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N492AT
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Winchester - Butler
MSN:
550-0472
YOM:
1983
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
22700
Captain / Total hours on type:
1200.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
1758
Copilot / Total hours on type:
85
Aircraft flight hours:
10735
Circumstances:
The Citation 550 was being repositioned for an air ambulance transportation flight, and was on approach to land on a 4,801-foot-long, grooved, asphalt runway. The airplane was being flown manually by the copilot, who reported that the landing approach speed (Vref) was 106 knots. The pilot-in-command (PIC) estimated that the airplane "broke out" of the clouds about two miles from the runway. Both pilots stated that the airplane continued to descend toward the runway, while on the glide slope and localizer. Neither pilot could recall the airplane's touchdown point on the runway, or the speed at touchdown. Witnesses observed the airplane, "high and fast" as it crossed over the runway threshold. The airplane touched down about halfway down the runway, and continued off the departure end. It then struck a wooden localizer antenna platform, and the airport perimeter fence, before crossing a road, and coming to rest about 400 feet from the end of the runway. Data downloaded from the airplane's Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) revealed that the airplane's groundspeed at touchdown was about 140 knots. Review of the cockpit voice recorder suggested that the PIC failed to activate the airplane's speed brake upon touchdown. Braking action was estimated to be "fair" at the time of the accident, with about 1/4 to 1/2 inches of loose, "fluffy" snow on the runway. The PIC reported that he thought the runway might be covered with an inch or two of snow, which did not concern him. The copilot reported encountering light snow during the approach. Both pilots stated that they were not aware of any mechanical failures, or system malfunctions during the accident; nor were any discovered during post accident examinations. According to the airplane flight manual, the conditions applicable to the accident flight prescribed a Vref of 110 knots, with a required landing distance on an uncontaminated runway of approximately 2,740 feet. The prescribed landing distance on a runway contaminated with 1-inch of snow, at a Vref of 110 knots was approximately 5,800 feet. At Vref + 10 knots, the required landing distance increased to about 7,750 feet.
Probable cause:
The copilot's failure to maintain the proper airspeed, and failure to obtain the proper touchdown point, and the pilot-in-command's inadequate supervision, which resulted in an overrun. Contributing to the accident was the PIC's failure to activate the speed brake upon touchdown and the snow contaminated runway.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 414 Chancellor in Johnstown: 2 killed

Date & Time: Dec 26, 2006 at 1555 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N400CS
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Morgantown - Teterboro
MSN:
414-0613
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
3547
Aircraft flight hours:
5904
Circumstances:
The airplane encountered in-flight icing, and the pilot diverted to an airport to attempt to knock the ice off at a lower altitude. During the instrument approach, the pilot advised the tower controller of the ice, and that it depended on whether or not the ice came off the airplane if she would land. As the airplane broke out of the clouds, it appeared to tower personnel to be executing a missed approach; however, it suddenly "dove" for the runway. The tower supervisor noticed that the landing gear were not down, and at 75 to 100 feet above the runway, advised the pilot to go around. The airplane continued to descend, and by the time it impacted the runway, the landing gear were only partially extended, and the propellers and airframe impacted the pavement. The pilot then attempted to abort the landing. The damaged airplane became airborne, climbed to the right, stalled, and nosed straight down into the ground.
Probable cause:
The pilot's improper decision to abort the landing with a damaged airplane. Contributing to the accident were the damage from the airplane's impact with the runway, the pilot's failure to lower the landing gear prior to the landing attempt, and the in-flight icing conditions.
Final Report:

Crash of a Douglas DC-8 in Philadelphia

Date & Time: Feb 8, 2006 at 0001 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N748UP
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Atlanta-Philadelphie
MSN:
45948
YOM:
1967
Flight number:
UPS1307
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
25000
Captain / Total hours on type:
16000.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
7500
Copilot / Total hours on type:
2100
Aircraft flight hours:
67676
Circumstances:
On final approach, crew informed ATC that a smoke warning light came on. The aircraft landed normally but stopped in flames on runway 27R. All three occupants escaped without any injury. Fire fighters extinguished the fire at 04:00LT. The aircraft was partially destroyed by fire.
Probable cause:

Crash of a Pilatus PC-12 in State College: 6 killed

Date & Time: Mar 27, 2005 at 1348 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N770G
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Naples-State College
MSN:
0299
YOM:
1999
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
5
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Captain / Total flying hours:
1645
Captain / Total hours on type:
173.00
Aircraft flight hours:
1523
Circumstances:
On final approach in bad weather conditions, the aircraft hit the ground in a nosedown attitude and crashed in an open field located 25 yards from the Centre County Correctional Facility, near Bellefonte. All occupants were killed. The aircraft was making an ILS approach at the time of the accident. Unstabilised approach and aerodynamic stall due to low speed.