Crash of a Canadair CL-601 Challenger in Ox Ranch

Date & Time: Jan 13, 2019 at 1200 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N813WT
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
3016
YOM:
1983
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
6
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The aircraft, owned by a limited liability company and operated by an airline transport pilot, impacted terrain following a runway excursion at the Ox Ranch Airport (01TX), Uvalde, Texas. The captain, first officer flight attendant, and 6 passengers on board were not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damaged. The airplane was operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 charter flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that originated at Addison, Texas, and was destined 01TX. A representative for the airport reported that the airplane on landing hit hard and the tire either popped or the landing gear tore off. About two-thirds of the way down runway 35, the airplane slid off the right side of the runway. The airplane proceeded through a ditch and struck a perimeter fence before coming to a stop. The right main and nose landing gear were collapsed and damaged. There was also damage to the right wing, right inboard flap, nose of the airplane, and the vertical stabilizer. At 1155, the weather conditions at Garner Field Airport (UVA), Uvalde, Texas, 24 nautical miles southeast of 01TX was wind 340°at 12 kts., visibility 10 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 63°F, dew point 43°F and altimeter 30.17 inches of Mercury.

Crash of a Douglas C-47B in Burnet

Date & Time: Jul 21, 2018 at 0915 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N47HL
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Burnet – Sedalia – Oshkosh
MSN:
15758/27203
YOM:
1945
Location:
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
10
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
A Douglas C-47, named "Bluebonnet Belle", was involved in an accident during takeoff from runway 19 at Burnet Municipal Airport, Texas, USA. The aircraft came to rest in the grass next to the runway and burst into flames. The captain, crew chief, and 4 passengers sustained serious injuries, 1 passenger sustained minor injuries, and the co-pilot and 5 passengers were not injured. The aircraft was to be flown to a fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The co-pilot, who was the flying pilot reported that prior to the flight, it was briefed that he would perform the takeoff. He stated that the captain taxied the airplane to the runup area, where all pre-takeoff checks were completed; the captain then taxied the airplane onto runway 19. The co-pilot further stated that he then took control of the airplane, provided a pre-takeoff brief, and initiated the takeoff sequence. About 10 seconds into the takeoff roll, the airplane drifted right, at which time he applied left rudder input. This was followed shortly by the captain saying that he had the airplane. The captain, who was the non-flying pilot, reported to the NTSB that during the initial stages of the takeoff roll, he didn't recall the airplane swerving to the right, however, recalled telling the co-pilot not to push the tail up because it was heavy; he also remembered the airplane swerving to the left shortly thereafter. The captain stated that he yelled "right rudder" three times before taking control of the airplane. He said that as he put his hands on the control yoke, he noticed that either the tail started to come down or the main wheels were either light or were just coming off the ground as it exited the left side of the runway. The captain said that he knew the airplane was slow as he tried to ease it over [to the runway] and set it back down. Subsequently, he felt the 'shutter of a stall," and the airplane turned to the left and impacted the ground. After the airplane came to a stop, a post impact fire ensued, during which all the occupants of the airplane egressed through the aft left door. A video of the takeoff and accident sequence shows the aircraft accelerating on the runway, with the tailwheel leaving the ground very briefly. A few seconds after the tailwheel touched down again, the aircraft seems to drift off the left side of the runway. The aircraft banks right, causing the left hand main landing gear to become airborne. The right hand wing tip touched or almost touched the ground before the aircraft became airborne. The left wing dropped and the wing tip touched the ground, causing the plane to slew to the left and touch down again. The right hand main gear then seems to fold as the aircraft comes to rest in a cloud of dust. Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane came to rest upright on a heading of about 113° magnetic, about 145 ft east of the left side, and 2,638 ft from the approach end of runway 19. The post impact fire consumed the fuselage from the nose cone aft to about 3 ft forward of the left side cargo door along with a majority of the wing center section. No evidence of any flight control locks was found installed. The tailwheel locking pin was found in place and was sheered into multiple pieces. Vegetation (grass) within about 200 ft of the main wreckage was burnt from the post impact fire. The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

Crash of a Piper PA-31P Navajo in Laredo: 2 killed

Date & Time: Mar 8, 2018 at 1030 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N82605
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
31P-7730010
YOM:
1977
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
4243
Aircraft flight hours:
3185
Circumstances:
On March 8, 2018, about 1038 central standard time, a Piper PA-31P airplane, N82605, impacted terrain during an approach to the Laredo International Airport (KLRD) Laredo, Texas. The commercial rated pilot and student pilot rated passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual, as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 fight. Visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site about the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. Shortly after departing runway 18R, the air traffic controller contacted the airplane and reported that smoke was coming from the left side of the airplane. The pilot reported "… we're gonna fix that". The airplane turned back to the airport and was cleared to land on runway 18L. Witnesses reporting seeing the airplane overhead trailing smoke or approaching the airport before the crash. Several airport security cameras captured the accident airplane airborne. A review of the video noted a white smoke trail behind the airplane. The smoke trail stops while the airplane is in the left downwind for the runway. The airplane initiated a left turn and as the airplane approaches the runway the bank angle increased. The airplane impacted terrain in a nose down, near vertical attitude; a post-crash fire ensued. The front of the airplane cabin/cockpit area was largely destroyed by the impact and fire. The major components were located at the crash site, parts were distributed between the aft cabin and the impact crater; however, several fragments of the airplane were scattered away from the impact point. Both wings were separated from the fuselage and had heavy thermal and impact damage. Both 3-bladed propellers had separated from their respective engines. Both engines had separated from the wing nacelles and were located near the fuselage. Both left and right engines had heavy impact/thermal damage. The engines were removed and examined on-site in a facility nearby. The engines turbocharger's V-band clamps were found in-place on the turbos exhaust system.

Crash of a Beechcraft B60 Duke near Ferris

Date & Time: Mar 1, 2018 at 1100 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N77MM
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Addison – Mexia
MSN:
P-587
YOM:
1982
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
6400
Captain / Total hours on type:
2200.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2210
Circumstances:
The pilot in the multi-engine, retractable landing gear airplane reported that, during an instrument flight rules cross-country flight, about 5,000 ft above mean sea level, the left engine surged several times and he performed an emergency engine shutdown. Shortly afterward, the right engine lost power. During the emergency descent, the airplane struck treetops, and landed hard in a field with the landing gear retracted. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, the engine mounts, and the lower fuselage. The pilot reported that he had requested 200 gallons of fuel from his home airport fixed base operator, but they did not fuel the airplane. The pilot did not check the fuel quantity during his preflight inspection. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Airplane Flying Handbook, Chapter 2, page 2-7, pilots must always positively confirm the fuel quantity by visually inspecting the fuel level in each tank. The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause:
The pilot's improper preflight inspection of the fuel level, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to lower the landing gear before the emergency landing.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31T1 Cheyenne in Tyler: 2 killed

Date & Time: Jul 13, 2017 at 0810 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N47GW
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Tyler - Midland
MSN:
31T-8104030
YOM:
1981
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
17590
Aircraft flight hours:
5685
Circumstances:
The airline transport rated pilot and passenger departed on a cross-country business flight in a twin-engine, turbo-propeller-equipped airplane in day, visual meteorological conditions. Shortly after takeoff, the airplane banked left, descended, and impacted terrain about 1/2 mile from the end of the runway. There was not a post-crash fire and fuel was present on site. A postaccident airframe examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Examination of the left engine found signatures consistent with the engine producing power at impact. Examination of the right engine revealed rotational scoring on the compressor turbine disc/blades, and rotational scoring on the upstream side of the power vane and baffle, which indicated that the compressor section was rotating at impact; however, the lack of rotational scoring on the power turbine disc assembly, indicated the engine was not producing power at impact. Testing of the right engine's fuel control unit, fuel pump, propeller governor, and overspeed governor did not reveal any abnormities that would have accounted for the loss of power. The reason for the loss of right engine power could not be determined based on the available information.
Probable cause:
The loss of engine power and the subsequent pilot's loss of control for reasons that could not be determined because post-accident engine examination revealed no anomalies.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan in Alpine

Date & Time: Jul 3, 2017 at 1815 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N9714B
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Alpine – Midland
MSN:
208B-0153
YOM:
1989
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The aircraft was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Alpine, Texas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by Martinaire Aviation LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as a cargo flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the instrument rules (IFR) flight, which departed about 1812 from Alpine-Casparis Municipial Airport (E38), Alpine, Texas, with an intended destination of Maverick County Memorial International Airport (5T9), Eagle Pass, Texas. While climbing through about 500 ft agl, the pilot heard a loud bang, followed by a squealing noise and an immediate loss of engine power. The pilot released back pressure on the controls and pulled the propeller control to feather. During the forced landing, the right and left wings were damaged due to impact with power poles and the airplane came to rest in a field.

Crash of a Pilatus PC-12 in Amarillo: 3 killed

Date & Time: Apr 28, 2017 at 2348 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N933DC
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Amarillo – Clovis
MSN:
105
YOM:
1994
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
5866
Captain / Total hours on type:
73.00
Circumstances:
The pilot and two medical crew members departed on an air ambulance flight in night instrument meteorological conditions to pick up a patient. After departure, the local air traffic controller observed the airplane's primary radar target with an incorrect transponder code in a right turn and climbing through 4,400 ft mean sea level (msl), which was 800 ft above ground level (agl). The controller instructed the pilot to reset the transponder to the correct code, and the airplane leveled off between 4,400 ft and 4,600 ft msl for about 30 seconds. The controller then confirmed that the airplane was being tracked on radar with the correct transponder code; the airplane resumed its climb at a rate of about 6,000 ft per minute (fpm) to 6,000 ft msl. The pilot changed frequencies as instructed, then contacted departure control and reported "with you at 6,000 [ft msl]" and the departure controller radar-identified the airplane. About 1 minute later, the departure controller advised the pilot that he was no longer receiving the airplane's transponder; the pilot did not respond, and there were no further recorded transmissions from the pilot. Radar data showed the airplane descending rapidly at a rate that reached 17,000 fpm. Surveillance video from a nearby truck stop recorded lights from the airplane descending at an angle of about 45° followed by an explosion. The airplane impacted a pasture about 1.5 nautical miles south of the airport, and a post impact fire ensued. All major components of the airplane were located within the debris field. Ground scars at the accident site and damage to the airplane indicated that the airplane was in a steep, nose-low and wings-level attitude at the time of impact. The airplane's steep descent and its impact attitude are consistent with a loss of control. An airplane performance study based on radar data and simulations determined that, during the climb to 6,000 ft and about 37 seconds before impact, the airplane achieved a peak pitch angle of about 23°, after which the pitch angle decreased steadily to an estimated -42° at impact. As the pitch angle decreased, the roll angle increased steadily to the left, reaching an estimated -76° at impact. The performance study revealed that the airplane could fly the accident flight trajectory without experiencing an aerodynamic stall. The apparent pitch and roll angles, which represent the attitude a pilot would "feel" the airplane to be in based on his vestibular and kinesthetic perception of the components of the load factor vector in his own body coordinate system, were calculated. The apparent pitch angle ranged from 0° to 15° as the real pitch angle steadily decreased to -42°, and the apparent roll angle ranged from 0° to -4° as the real roll angle increased to -78°. This suggests that even when the airplane was in a steeply banked descent, conditions were present that could have produced a somatogravic illusion of level flight and resulted in spatial disorientation of the pilot. Analysis of the performance study and the airplane's flight track revealed that the pilot executed several non-standard actions during the departure to include: excessive pitch and roll angles, rapid climb, unexpected level-offs, and non-standard ATC communications. In addition to the non-standard actions, the pilot's limited recent flight experience in night IFR conditions, and moderate turbulence would have been conducive to the onset of spatial disorientation. The pilot's failure to set the correct transponder code before departure, his non-standard departure maneuvering, and his apparent confusion regarding his altitude indicate a mental state not at peak acuity, further increasing the chances of spatial disorientation. A post accident examination of the flight control system did not reveal evidence of any preimpact anomalies that would have prevented normal operation. The engine exhibited rotational signatures indicative of engine operation during impact, and an examination did not reveal any preimpact anomalies that would have precluded normal engine operation. The damage to the propeller hub and blades indicated that the propeller was operating under high power in the normal range of operation at time of impact. Review of recorded data recovered from airplane's attitude and heading reference unit did not reveal any faults with the airplane's attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) during the accident flight, and there were no maintenance logbook entries indicating any previous electronic attitude director indicator (EADI) or AHRS malfunctions. Therefore, it is unlikely that erroneous attitude information was displayed on the EADI that could have misled the pilot concerning the actual attitude of the airplane. A light bulb filament analysis of the airplane's central advisory display unit (CADU) revealed that the "autopilot disengage" caution indicator was likely illuminated at impact, and the "autopilot trim" warning indicator was likely not illuminated. A filament analysis of the autopilot mode controller revealed that the "autopilot," "yaw damper," and "altitude hold" indicators were likely not illuminated at impact. The status of the "trim" warning indicator on the autopilot mode controller could not be determined because the filaments of the indicator's bulbs were missing. However, since the CADU's "autopilot trim" warning indicator was likely not illuminated, the mode controller's "trim" warning indicator was also likely not illuminated at impact. Exemplar airplane testing revealed that the "autopilot disengage" caution indicator would only illuminate if the autopilot had been engaged and then disconnected. It would not illuminate if the autopilot was off without being previously engaged nor would it illuminate if the pilot attempted and failed to engage the autopilot by pressing the "autopilot" push button on the mode controller. Since the "autopilot disengage" caution indicator would remain illuminated for 30 seconds after the autopilot was disengaged and was likely illuminated at impact, it is likely that the autopilot had been engaged at some point during the flight and disengaged within 30 seconds of the impact; the pilot was reporting to ATC at 6,000 ft about 30 seconds before impact and then the rapid descent began. The airplane was not equipped with a recording device that would have recorded the operational status of the autopilot, and the investigation could not determine the precise times at which autopilot engagement and disengagement occurred. However, these times can be estimated as follows:
- The pilot likely engaged the autopilot after the airplane climbed through 1,000 ft agl about 46 seconds after takeoff, because this was the recommended minimum autopilot engagement altitude that he was taught.
- According to the airplane performance study, the airplane's acceleration exceeded the autopilot's limit load factor of +1.6 g about 9 seconds before impact. If it was engaged at this time, the autopilot would have automatically disengaged.
- The roll angle data from the performance study were consistent with engagement of the autopilot between two points:
1) about 31 seconds before impact, during climb, when the bank angle, which had stabilized for a few seconds, started to increase again and
2) about 9 seconds before impact, during descent, at which time the autopilot would have automatically disengaged. Since the autopilot would have reduced the bank angle as soon as it was engaged and there is no evidence of the bank angle reducing significantly between these two points, it is likely that the autopilot was engaged closer to the latter point than the former. Engagement of the autopilot shortly before the latter point would have left little time for the autopilot to reduce the bank angle before it would have disengaged automatically due to exceedance of the normal load factor limit. Therefore, it is likely that the pilot engaged the autopilot a few seconds before it automatically disconnected about 9 seconds before impact. The operator reported that the airplane had experienced repeated, unexpected, in-flight autopilot disconnects, and, two days before the accident, the chief pilot recorded a video of the autopilot disconnecting during a flight. Exemplar airplane testing and maintenance information revealed that, during the flight in which the video was recorded, the autopilot's pitch trim adapter likely experienced a momentary loss of power for undetermined reasons, which resulted in the sequence of events observed in the video. It is possible that the autopilot disconnected during the accident flight due to the pitch trim adapter experiencing a loss of power, which would have to have occurred between 30 and 9 seconds before impact. A post accident weather analysis revealed that the airplane was operating in an environment requiring instruments to navigate, but it could not be determined if the airplane was in cloud when the loss of control occurred. The sustained surface wind was from the north at 21 knots with gusts up to 28 knots, and moderate turbulence existed. The presence of the moderate turbulence could have contributed to the controllability of the airplane and the pilot's inability to recognize the airplane's attitude and the autopilot's operational status.
Probable cause:
The pilot's loss of airplane control due to spatial disorientation during the initial climb after takeoff in night instrument meteorological conditions and moderate turbulence.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III in Huntsville: 1 killed

Date & Time: Apr 25, 2017 at 1038 LT
Registration:
N421TK
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Conroe – College Station
MSN:
421C-0601
YOM:
1979
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1567
Captain / Total hours on type:
219.00
Aircraft flight hours:
7647
Circumstances:
While conducting a post maintenance test flight in visual flight rules conditions, the private pilot of the multi-engine airplane reported an oil leak to air traffic control. The controller provided vectors for the pilot to enter a right base leg for a landing to the south at the nearest airport, about 7 miles away. The pilot turned toward the airport but indicated that he did not have the airport in sight. Further, while maneuvering toward the airport, the pilot reported that the engine was "dead," and he still did not see the airport. The final radar data point recorded the airplane's position about 3.5 miles west-northwest of the approach end of the runway; the wreckage site was located about 4 miles northeast of the runway, indicating that the pilot flew past the airport rather than turning onto a final approach for landing. The reason that the pilot did not see the runway during the approach to the alternate airport, given that the airplane was operating in visual conditions and the controller was issuing guidance information, could not be determined. Regardless, the pilot did not execute a precautionary landing in a timely manner and lost control of the airplane. Examination of the airplane's left engine revealed that the No. 2 connecting rod was broken. The connecting rod bearings exhibited signs of heat distress and discoloration consistent with a lack of lubrication. The engine's oil pump was intact, and the gears were wet with oil. Based on the available evidence, the engine failure was the result of oil starvation; however, examination could not identify the reason for the starvation.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to identify the alternate runway, to perform a timely precautionary landing, and to maintain airplane control. Contributing to the accident was the failure of the left engine due to oil starvation for reasons that could not be determined based on the post accident examination.
Final Report:

Crash of an Embraer EMB-505 Phenom 300 in Houston

Date & Time: Jul 26, 2016 at 1509 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N362FX
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Scottsdale - Houston
MSN:
500-00239
YOM:
2014
Flight number:
LXJ362
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The aircraft was substantially damaged during a runway excursion on landing at the Sugar Land Regional Airport (SGR), Sugar Land, Texas. The two pilots sustained minor injuries; the sole passenger was not injured. The airplane was registered to FlexJet LLC and operated by Flight Options LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as a corporate/executive flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at the airport; however, instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the local area. The flight was operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The flight originated from the Scottsdale Airport (SDL), Scottsdale, Arizona, at 1029 mountain standard time. The pilot-in-command reported that he flew an instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 35 (8,000 feet by 100 feet, concrete) and then transitioned to a visual approach. The approach and landing were normal; however, after touchdown the brakes seemed ineffective. He subsequently activated the emergency brake at which time the airplane started to slide. The airplane ultimately departed the end of the runway and encountered a small creek before coming to rest.

Crash of a Rockwell Grand Commander 690B in Hare: 2 killed

Date & Time: Apr 9, 2016 at 0951 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N690TH
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Georgetown - Georgetown
MSN:
11487
YOM:
1978
Location:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
25975
Copilot / Total flying hours:
1351
Copilot / Total hours on type:
65
Aircraft flight hours:
9002
Circumstances:
The private pilot, who was the owner of the airplane, and a flight instructor were performing a recurrent training flight. Radar data showed that the airplane departed and climbed to an altitude about 5,000 ft above ground level. About 5 minutes after takeoff, the airplane conducted a left 360° turn followed by a right 360° turn, then continued in level flight for about 2 minutes as it slowed to a groundspeed of about 90 knots, which may have been indicative of airwork leading to slow flight or stall maneuvers. The airplane then entered a steep bank and impacted the ground in a nose-low attitude. Both engines and propellers displayed evidence of operation at the time of impact, and postaccident examination revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airframe or engines. The instructor had a history of obstructive sleep apnea. The investigation was unable to determine how well the condition was controlled, if he had symptoms from the condition, or if it contributed to the accident. Toxicology testing revealed low levels of ethanol in specimens from both pilots; however, it is likely that some or all of the ethanol detected was a result of postmortem production, and it is unlikely that alcohol impairment contributed to the accident. Toxicology testing also detected the primary psychoactive compound of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and its metabolite, tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THCCOOH), in specimens obtained from comingled remains; the investigation was unable to reliably determine which pilot had used the impairing illicit drug. Additionally, it is not possible to determine impairment from tissue specimens; therefore, the investigation was unable to determine whether THC impaired either of the pilots or if it may have contributed to the accident.
Probable cause:
A loss of control while maneuvering for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the
airplane.
Final Report: