Crash of a Beechcraft 200 Super King Air on Mt Bull: 10 killed

Date & Time: Oct 24, 2004 at 1235 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N501RH
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Concord – Martinsville
MSN:
BB-805
YOM:
1981
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
8
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
10
Captain / Total flying hours:
10733
Captain / Total hours on type:
210.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
2090
Copilot / Total hours on type:
121
Aircraft flight hours:
8078
Circumstances:
On October 24, 2004, about 1235 eastern daylight time (all times in this brief are eastern daylight time based on a 24-hour clock), a Beech King Air 200, N501RH, operated by Hendrick Motorsports, Inc., crashed into mountainous terrain in Stuart, Virginia, during a missed approach to Martinsville/Blue Ridge Airport (MTV), Martinsville, Virginia. The flight was transporting Hendrick Motorsports employees and others to an automobile race in Martinsville, Virginia. The two flight crewmembers and eight passengers were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and post crash fire. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time of the accident.
Probable cause:
The flight crew's failure to properly execute the published instrument approach procedure, including the published missed approach procedure, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the flight crew's failure to use all available navigational aids to confirm and monitor the airplane's position during the approach.
Final Report:

Crash of a Socata TBM-700 in Leesburg: 3 killed

Date & Time: Mar 1, 2003 at 1445 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N700PP
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Greenville - Leesburg
MSN:
059
YOM:
1992
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
730
Copilot / Total flying hours:
8375
Aircraft flight hours:
1049
Circumstances:
The private pilot, who sat in the left seat, was executing the LOC RWY 17 instrument approach in actual instrument meteorological conditions, when the airplane decelerated, lost altitude, and began a left turn about 2 miles from the airport. Subsequently, the airplane collided with terrain and came to rest on residential property. The radar data also indicated that the airplane was never stabilized on the approach. A witness, a private pilot, said the airplane "appeared" out of the fog about 300-400 feet above the ground. It was in a left bank, with the nose pointed down, and was traveling fast. The airplane then "simultaneously and suddenly level[ed] out," pitched up, and the engine power increased. The witness thought that the pilot realized he was low and was trying to "get out of there." The airplane descended in a nose-high attitude, about 65 degrees, toward the trees. Radar data indicates that the airplane slowed to 80 knots about 3 miles from the airplane, and then to 68 knots 18 seconds later as the airplane began to turn to the left. Examination of the airplane and engine revealed no mechanical deficiencies. Weather reported at the airport 25 minutes before the accident included wind from 140 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 1 statute mile, and ceiling 500 foot overcast. Weather 5 minutes before the accident included wind from 140 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 1 statute miles, and ceiling 300 foot overcast.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to fly a stabilized, published instrument approach procedure, and his failure to maintain adequate airspeed which led to an aerodynamic stall.
Final Report:

Crash of a BAe 4101 Jetstream 41 in Charlottesville

Date & Time: Dec 29, 2000 at 2234 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N323UE
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Washington DC – Charlottesville
MSN:
41059
YOM:
1995
Flight number:
UA331
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
15
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
4050
Captain / Total hours on type:
1425.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
4818
Copilot / Total hours on type:
68
Aircraft flight hours:
14456
Circumstances:
The twin-engine turboprop airplane touched down about 1,900 feet beyond the approach end of the 6,000-foot runway. During the rollout, the pilot reduced power by pulling the power levers aft, to the flight idle stop. He then depressed the latch levers, and pulled the power levers further aft, beyond the flight idle stop, through the beta range, into the reverse range. During the power reduction, the pilot noticed, and responded to a red beta light indication. Guidance from both the manufacturer and the operator prohibited the use of reverse thrust on the ground with a red beta light illuminated. The pilot pushed the power levers forward of the reverse range, and inadvertently continued through the beta range, where aerodynamic braking was optimum. The power levers continued beyond the flight idle gate into flight idle, a positive thrust setting. The airplane continued to the departure end of the runway in a skid, and departed the runway and taxiway in a skidding turn. The airplane dropped over a 60-foot embankment, and came to rest at the bottom. The computed landing distance for the airplane over a 50-foot obstacle was 3,900 feet, with braking and ground idle (beta) only; no reverse thrust applied. Ground-taxi testing after the accident revealed that the airplane could reach ground speeds upwards of 85 knots with the power levers at idle, and the condition levers in the flight position. Simulator testing, based on FDR data, consistently resulted in runway overruns. Examination of the airplane and component testing revealed no mechanical anomalies. Review of the beta light indicating system revealed that illumination of the red beta light on the ground was not an emergency situation, but only indicated a switch malfunction. In addition, a loss of the reverse capability would have had little effect on computed stopping distance, and none at all in the United States, where performance credit for reverse thrust was not permitted.
Probable cause:
The captain's improper application of power after responding to a beta warning light during landing rollout, which resulted in an excessive rollout speed and an inability to stop the airplane before it reached the end of the runway.
Final Report:

Crash of a Beechcraft F90 King Air in Lynchburg

Date & Time: Nov 24, 2000 at 1151 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N94U
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Lynchburg - Lynchburg
MSN:
LA-124
YOM:
1981
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
12000
Captain / Total hours on type:
250.00
Aircraft flight hours:
6788
Circumstances:
The pilot was conducting a post-maintenance test flight. An overhauled engine had been installed on the right side of the airplane, and both propeller assemblies had been subsequently re-rigged. Ground checks were satisfactory, although the right engine propeller idled 90-100 rpm higher than the left engine propeller. Test flight engine start and run-up were conducted per the checklist, with no anomalies noted. Takeoff ground roll and initial climb were normal; however, when the airplane reached about 100 feet, it stopped climbing and lost airspeed. The pilot could not identify the malfunction, and performed a forced landing to rough, hilly terrain. Upon landing, the landing gear collapsed and the engine nacelles were compromised. The airplane subsequently burned. Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the propeller beta valves of both engines were improperly rigged, and that activation of the landing gear squat switch at takeoff resulted in both propellers going into feather. The maintenance personnel did not have rigging experience in airplane make and model. As a result of the investigation, the manufacturer clarified maintenance manual and pilot handbook procedures.
Probable cause:
Improper rigging of both propeller assemblies by maintenance personnel, which resulted in the inadvertent feathering of both propellers after takeoff. Factors included a lack of rigging experience in airplane make and model by maintenance personnel, unclear maintenance manual information, and unsuitable terrain for the forced landing.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-31T Cheyenne II in Deerfield: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jul 1, 1999 at 1402 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N602RM
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Jonesboro – Weyers Cave
MSN:
31-7920081
YOM:
1979
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1857
Captain / Total hours on type:
24.00
Aircraft flight hours:
4852
Circumstances:
The pilot was descending the airplane from 23,000 feet for an instrument approach. All communications were normal until after he acknowledged an instruction to contact approach control, when radio contact was lost. Radar contact ceased at 11,300 feet due to radar signal reception difficulties. Contact was lost almost directly over the eventual impact site, which was on the eastern side of a small valley. Witnesses on the western side of the valley had seen the airplane flying near them, at treetop level, eastbound, and clear of clouds. About the same time, on the eastern side of the valley where the airplane would impact trees, then terrain, there was heavy rain. The commercial pilot had about 1,850 total flight hours, and had completed a 'Wings III' flight proficiency program and an instrument proficiency program about two months earlier. The airplane had been on a continuous maintenance program. At the accident site, all of the airplane's control surfaces were found, and the engines and propellers displayed signatures consistent with being under power at impact. There were insufficient remains to conduct an autopsy or toxicological testing. Previously, the pilot's father, two uncles, and a male cousin had suffered fatal heart attacks.
Probable cause:
Loss of control of the airplane due to pilot incapacitation following a heart attack.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 340A in Chesapeake: 2 killed

Date & Time: Mar 16, 1999 at 0950 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N13DT
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Chesapeake – Bunnell
MSN:
340A-0063
YOM:
1976
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
4500
Captain / Total hours on type:
10.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3575
Circumstances:
After takeoff, the airplane returned to the departure airport for an emergency landing. The aircraft was observed in the vicinity of the runway threshold, about 500 feet above the ground, with it's left propeller feathered, when it entered a left bank which increased to about 90 degrees. The airplane then entered a spin, descended, and impacted the ground. Examination of wreckage revealed the camshaft of the left engine had failed as a result of a fatigue crack. No other abnormalities were observed of airframe or engine. The left engine had accumulated about 1,200 hours since overhaul. The pilot purchased the airplane about 1 month prior to the accident. At that time, he reported 700 hours of flight experience in multi-engine airplanes, of which, 10 hours were in the make and model of the accident airplane.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane during a single engine emergency landing, after experiencing a failure of the left engine. A factor in this accident was the failure of the left engine's camshaft due to a fatigue crack.
Final Report:

Crash of a Learjet 45 in Wallops Flight Facility

Date & Time: Oct 27, 1998 at 1456 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N454LJ
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Wallops Flight Facility - Wallops Flight Facility
MSN:
45-004
YOM:
1998
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
13073
Captain / Total hours on type:
767.00
Aircraft flight hours:
339
Circumstances:
The Learjet was participating in water ingestion tests, which required multiple landing rolls through a diked pool on the runway. On one of the landing rolls, the airplane's left main landing gear and nose landing gear tracked through the pool, while the right main landing gear tracked outside the pool. The airplane veered to the left, departed the left side of the runway, and struck a pickup truck parked adjacent to the runway. The airplane came to rest inverted and on fire. Formal hazard identification and risk management procedures were not employed and no alignment cues were in place on the runway to facilitate pool entry alignment. Further, the accident truck, other vehicles, heavy equipment, and personnel were placed hundreds of feet inside the FAA recommended runway-safe and object-free areas during the test.
Probable cause:
The failure of the pilot to obtain/maintain alignment with the water pool, which resulted in the loss of control. Factors in the accident were the inadequate preflight planning of the flight test facility and the airplane manufacturer which resulted in hazards in the test area and the subsequent collision of the airplane with a vehicle.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61P Aerostar (Ted Smith 601P) in Waterford: 2 killed

Date & Time: Apr 27, 1997 at 2052 LT
Registration:
N885JC
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Allentown – Leesburg
MSN:
61-0826-8163434
YOM:
1981
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
1600
Captain / Total hours on type:
525.00
Circumstances:
During arrival at night, the flight was being controlled by a developmental controller (DC), who was being supervised by an instructor (IC). The pilot (plt) was instructed to descend & cross the STILL Intersection (Int) at 3,000 ft. STILL Int was aligned with the localizer (loc) approach (apch) course, 10.1 mi from the apch end of runway 17 (rwy 17); the final apch fix (FAF) was 3.9 mi from the rwy. About 5 mi before reaching STILL Int, while on course & level at 3,000 ft, the plt was cleared for a Loc Rwy 17 Apch. Radar data showed the aircraft (acft) continued to STILL Int, then it turned onto the loc course toward the FAF. Shortly after departing STILL Int, while inbound on the loc course, the acft began a descent. Before the acft reached the FAF, the DC issued a frequency change to go to UNICOM. During this transmission, the IC noticed a low altitude alert on the radar display, then issued a verbal low altitude alert, saying, 'check altitude, you should be at 1,500 ft (should have said '1,800 ft' as that was the minimum crossing altitude at the FAF), altitude's indicating 1,200, low altitude alert.' There was no response from the plt. This occurred about 2 mi before the FAF. Minimum descent altitude (MDA) for the apch was 720 ft. The acft struck tree tops at 750 ft, about 1/2 mi before the FAF. The IC's remark 'you should be at 1,500 ft' was based on an expired apch plate with a lower FAF minimum crossing altitude; the current minimum crossing altitude at the FAF was 1,800 ft. Apch control management had not made the current plate available to the controllers. Investigation could not determine whether a current apch plate would have prompted an earlier warning by the controllers.
Probable cause:
Failure of the pilot to follow the published instrument (IFR) approach procedure, by failing to maintain the minimum altitude for that segment of the approach.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61P Aerostar (Ted Smith 601P) in Chesapeake: 4 killed

Date & Time: Jan 2, 1997 at 1937 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N3CD
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Chesapeake – Atlanta
MSN:
61-0353-108
YOM:
1977
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
3
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
4
Captain / Total flying hours:
2100
Aircraft flight hours:
1949
Circumstances:
The airplane departed the airport and crashed shortly thereafter. Before departure, the airplane was fueled with 120 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. According to the refueler, the airplane had full fuel tanks. The refueler also indicated the pilot had stated he wanted to be airborne prior to the arrival of bad weather. After the accident, the engines and propellers were disassembled and examined. No engine or propeller discrepancies were noted, except (post impact) heat damage.
Probable cause:
Failure of the pilot to maintain proper altitude/clearance above the ground after takeoff. A related factor was the pilot's self-induced pressure to depart before the arrival of bad weather.
Final Report:

Crash of a Douglas DC-8-63F near Narrows: 6 killed

Date & Time: Dec 22, 1996 at 1810 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N827AX
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Greensboro - Greensboro
MSN:
45901
YOM:
1967
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
3
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Captain / Total flying hours:
8087
Captain / Total hours on type:
869.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
8426
Copilot / Total hours on type:
1509
Aircraft flight hours:
62800
Aircraft flight cycles:
24234
Circumstances:
The airplane impacted mountainous terrain while on a post-modification functional evaluation flight (FEF). The pilot flying (PF) had applied inappropriate control column back pressure during the clean stall maneuver recovery attempt in an inadequate performance of the stall recovery procedure established in ABX's (Airborne Express) operations manual. The pilot not flying (PNF), in the right seat, was serving as the pilot-in-command and was conducting instruction in FEF procedures. The PNF failed to recognize, address and correct the PF's inappropriate control inputs. An inoperative stall warning system failed to reinforce to the flightcrew the indications that the airplane was in a full stall during the recovery attempt. The flightcrew's exposure to a low fidelity reproduction of the DC-8's stall characteristics in the ABX DC-8 flight training simulator was a factor in the PF holding aft (stall-inducing) control column inputs when the airplane began to pitch down and roll. The accident could have been prevented if ABX had institutionalized and the flightcrew had used the revised FEF flight stall recovery procedure agreed upon by ABX in 1991. The informality of the ABX FEF training program permitted the inappropriate pairing of two pilots for an FEF, neither of whom had handled the flight controls during an actual stall in the DC-8.
Probable cause:
The inappropriate control inputs applied by the flying pilot during a stall recovery attempt, the failure of the non flying pilot-in-command to recognize, address, and correct these inappropriate control inputs, and the failure of ABX to establish a formal functional evaluation flight program that included adequate program guidelines, requirements and pilot training for performance of these flights. Contributing to the causes of the accident were the inoperative stick shaker stall warning system and the ABX DC-8 flight training simulator's inadequate fidelity in reproducing the airplane's stall characteristics.
Final Report: