The following information provides an awareness of problems that might be avoided in the future. The information is based on final reports by official investigative authorities on aircraft accidents and incidents.
Pilots New to Aircraft
Bombardier Challenger 600. Destroyed. One fatality, two serious injuries.
The pilots had recently received their type ratings in the airplane, and the captain had asked an experienced Challenger pilot to accompany them on a flight from Tucson, Arizona, U.S., to Aspen-Pitkin County (Colorado) Airport the morning of Jan. 5, 2014. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the destination, with surface winds reported from 290 degrees at 19 kt, gusting to 25 kt. Elevation of the Aspen airport is nearly 8,000 ft, and, due to surrounding high terrain and airport noise restrictions, landings are conducted only to the southeast on the single, 8,000-ft (2,438-m) runway, according to the report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).
The flight crew was given vectors by air traffic control (ATC) to conduct the LOC/DME (localizer/distance measuring equipment) approach to Runway 15. The Challenger was established on the localizer course when the airport tower controller advised that the winds were from 310 degrees at 10 kt. After consulting with the captain and the passenger-pilot, the first officer replied, “OK, missed approach, thirty-three knots of tailwind.” During the go-around, the crew requested vectors for another approach.
The crew encountered even worse conditions on the second approach. They were told that the surface winds were from 330 degrees at 16 kt, and that the one-minute average was 320 degrees at 14 kt, gusting to 25 kt. Nevertheless, they continued the approach. Both the copilot and the passenger provided almost continuous advice to the captain. At one point, the copilot said “thirty-five-knot tailwind … careful.”
The report said that the approach appeared to be stable until the last minute, when airspeed, pitch attitude and power settings began to vary substantially. The airplane’s enhanced ground-proximity warning system generated several “sink rate” warnings. Perceiving that the airplane was too high, the passenger-pilot said, “Lower it. Lower us.” At almost the same time, the copilot, apparently believing that another go-around was in order, said, “No, let’s go.”
Shortly thereafter, the Challenger touched down hard in a nose-low attitude, veered off the left side of the runway and came to a stop inverted. The copilot was killed, and the captain and the passenger-pilot were seriously injured.
NTSB concluded that the probable cause of the accident was “the flight crew’s failure to maintain airplane control during landing following an unstabilized approach.” Contributing factors were “the flight crew’s decision to land with a tailwind above the airplane’s operating limitations and their failure … to conduct a go-around when the approach became unstabilized.”
Ramp Worker Ingested by Engine
Airbus A319. Minor damage. One fatality.
The A319 was on the ramp at Mumbai, India, with 109 passengers and four cabin crewmembers awaiting departure for a flight to Hyderabad the afternoon of Dec. 16, 2015. However, the assigned flight crew was not aboard the aircraft; they were still en route to Mumbai from Rajkot in another aircraft, according to the report by a commission of inquiry appointed by the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The flight crew arrived in Mumbai more than an hour after the A319’s scheduled departure time. They “rushed” to the A319’s ramp in a ground vehicle, boarded the aircraft and commenced pushback seven minutes later, the report said. The engines were started while the aircraft was being towed (pushed back) from the gate.
After the pushback was completed, the captain set the parking brake and radioed the lead marshaller to disconnect his headset. The marshaller acknowledged the instruction before disconnecting. The copilot then obtained taxi clearance from ATC and was asked by the captain if the right side of the aircraft was clear. He replied, “Right is clear.”
The captain did not wait, as required, to confirm that a thumbs-up signal had been received from the lead marshaller before he released the parking brake and began to taxi. Four ground personnel, as well as the tow vehicle, were still in front of the aircraft. Three of the ramp workers ran away from the aircraft when they saw it start to move. The tow vehicle driver drove clear of the aircraft but left the tow bar in place.
The lead marshaller was still wearing his disconnected headset and had his back to the aircraft. As the A319 moved forward, he was ingested by the right engine. The aircraft’s nosewheel struck the tow bar, which subsequently became lodged in the right main landing gear.
The committee of inquiry concluded that the probable causes of the accident were “nonadherence to standard operating procedure and [the] delayed departure of the flight due to improper rostering of crew.”
‘I Assume I Am Not at Your Airport’
Boeing 737-700. No damage. No injuries.
Night VMC prevailed, and the flight crew planned to use the global positioning system (GPS) to line up for landing on Runway 14 at Branson (Missouri, U.S.) Airport on Jan. 12, 2014. “The flight crew programmed the flight management system for the approach and set up the on-board navigation systems accordingly,” the NTSB report said.
The 737, with 124 passengers and seven crewmembers aboard, was nearing Branson when the approach controller advised the crew that the airport was at their 11 o’clock position and 15 nm (28 km) ahead. However, “at the time, that position more closely approximated [the location of M Graham Clark] Downtown Airport,” the report said. “Branson Airport was slightly left, at their 10 o’clock position and almost 20 miles [37 km].”
Spotting what they believed was the destination airport beacon, the crew said that they had Branson Airport in sight. “When the crew identified what they believed to be Branson Airport early in the descent, they did not cross-check or verify the airport position using on-board navigation after that point,” the report said.
The approach controller cleared the crew to conduct a visual approach and told them to establish radio communication with the airport tower controller. “Upon checking in with Branson Tower, the crew was cleared to land on Runway 14,” the report said. “Perceiving they were a little high on the approach … they widened the base leg for descent and then descended below approach control radar coverage as they turned onto final approach. Therefore, from the perspective of the approach controller, this appeared to be a normal flight path into Branson Airport up to the point when radar contact was lost.”
The 737 actually was on final approach to Runway 12 at Downtown Airport. The crew recognized the error after touchdown, when they saw that the runway was much shorter than expected. The runway at Downtown was 3,738 ft (1,139 m) long, compared with the 7,140-ft (2,176-m) Runway 14 at Branson. The crew applied maximum braking and brought the airplane to a stop about 300 ft (91.4 m) from the end of the paved surface. The captain then told the Branson Airport controller, “I assume I’m not at your airport.”
False Fire Warning
Beech King Air B200. Substantial damage. No injuries.
The flight crew had completed an emergency medical services flight and were returning to Moomba Airport, South Australia, the afternoon of Dec. 13, 2016. While turning onto a right base leg, the pilot saw the left engine fire warning light illuminate. He shut down the engine but did not manually feather the propeller. (The auto-feather system had not activated because the power settings were below the activation threshold when the left-engine shutdown was initiated.) The pilot then closed the left firewall shutoff valve, activated the fire extinguisher and increased power from the right engine.
The King Air overshot the turn to final, and the pilot subsequently had difficulty maintaining control of the aircraft and continuing the right turn toward the runway. “The aircraft landed in the sand to the left of the runway threshold and, after a short ground roll, spun to the left and came to rest,” said the report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. The aircraft was substantially damaged, but the pilot and his two passengers were not hurt.
Examination of the left engine revealed no fire damage, and investigators concluded that the fire warning had been a false alarm. The report said that the operator of the King Air previously had considered a false engine warning to be a low risk and had not complied with a manufacturer’s service bulletin providing for replacement of existing optical engine fire detection systems with continuous-loop systems less susceptible to false warnings.
Ice Buildup Triggers Stall
Cessna 441 Conquest. Substantial damage. No injuries.
The airplane had undergone a phase maintenance check at Detroit, Michigan, U.S., and the pilot was conducting a 40-nm (74-km) repositioning flight to Fargo, North Dakota, the morning of Jan. 8, 2016. Fargo had 5 mi (8 km) visibility in mist, an overcast at 700 ft and a surface temperature of minus 7 degrees C (19 degrees F).
“While en route, the airplane experienced a series of avionics and fuel-related anomalies,” the NTSB report said. The pilot requested and received clearance from ATC to climb to 5,000 ft “to get out of icing conditions and sort out the problems.” However, the autopilot, avionics and fuel system anomalies continued, and the left engine began to surge. The pilot declared an emergency and was given vectors by ATC for the ILS (instrument landing system) approach to Runway 36 at Fargo.
A heading-discontinuity message was generated during the approach, and the 441 flew through the ILS localizer course. The pilot then requested and received vectors for the GPS approach to Runway 32. “The pilot reported that about this time, the airplane was picking up ice and he cycled the deice boots,” the report said.
Despite the avionics problems, the pilot was able to conduct the GPS approach. The airplane broke out of the clouds less than a mile from the runway, and the pilot extended the landing gear. “The pilot reported that before he started the flare, he closed the throttle, selected the last notch of flaps and flared at 110 kt,” the report said. “He stated there was shaking and shuddering, but no stall warning, and then the ‘bottom fell out.’” The 441 touched down hard, and the left propeller blades struck the runway.
The pilot was able to taxi the airplane to the ramp. Examination of the airplane revealed 1/2 to 1 inch (1 to 2.5 cm) of rime ice on the wing and tail leading edges. The wing spar and the left propeller blades were found to have been substantially damaged during the hard landing.
Noting that the airplane flight manual specifies that the deice boots should be cycled when ice accumulation reaches 1/4 to 1/2 inch, the report said, “The amount of ice on the wing and empennage surfaces [found] after the accident was consistent with the pilot not cycling the deice boots as prescribed, which resulted in an excessive ice accumulation on approach and a subsequent aerodynamic stall during the landing flare.”
Panel Separates, Hits Stabilizer
Bombardier Q400. Minor damage. No injuries.
The outboard access panel on the left engine was not secured correctly after maintenance was performed at Manchester (England) Airport the night of Dec. 14, 2016. “This was not identified by the engineer completing the task, by the flight crew during the subsequent pre-departure inspection or by the ground operations personnel dispatching the aircraft,” said the report by the U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch.
During the subsequent early morning takeoff, the access panel separated from the engine nacelle and struck and damaged the Q400’s vertical stabilizer as well as navigation antennas on the ground. The absence of the panel and the minor damage to the vertical stabilizer did not adversely impact the aircraft. The flight crew continued the flight and landed the aircraft and its 27 passengers and two cabin crewmembers without further incident in Hannover, Germany.
The report noted that the same panel had separated from the same aircraft a month earlier. “In both cases, the inspections of the panels and aircraft following the event showed that the locking bolts on the panel latches and the bolt-receiving features on the nacelle had not failed or been damaged,” the report said. “As such, in both events the only explanation for the panels departing the aircraft during takeoff was that the bolts had not engaged in the receivers on the nacelle when the latches were shut.”
The report said that the findings of the investigations prompted the manufacturer to produce a label for the access panel and an amendment of the aircraft maintenance manual prescribing proper procedures for securing the panel.
Controlled Flight Into Terrain
Cessna 310R. Destroyed. One fatality.
The pilot had been employed by the on-demand cargo company less than a month and was temporarily restricted by the company to conducting instrument approaches to minimums of 1 mi (1,600 m) visibility and a 400 ft ceiling. The pilot had about 1,900 flight hours, including 422 hours in multiengine airplanes, 75 hours in instrument meteorological conditions and 110 hours at night, according to the NTSB report.
On the night of Jan. 10, 2014, after being delayed a few days while unscheduled maintenance was performed on the airplane, the pilot departed from Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., for a positioning flight to Pontiac, Michigan. The automatic terminal information system at Pontiac indicated that weather conditions were at the published minimums — 2,400 ft (750 m) runway visual range (RVR) and 200 ft — for the ILS approach to Runway 09R at Pontiac.
Nevertheless, the pilot accepted vectors for the approach. He was conducting the final segment of the approach when the airport tower controller cleared him to land and advised that RVR was 2,000 ft (600 m). The pilot acknowledged the landing clearance and continued the approach. The report noted that the pilot was following two business jets that had been landed on Runway 09R.
Recorded ATC radar data showed that the pilot’s approach became unstabilized in airspeed and flight path. The 310 then struck terrain 1,500 ft (457 m) from the approach end of the runway. “The shallow angle of the wreckage path and its length were consistent with controlled flight into terrain,” the report said.
Drugs Likely Impaired Judgment
Piper Chieftain. Substantial damage. One fatality, one serious injury.
The Chieftain had departed from a private airport in Crescent City, Florida, U.S., where no fuel was available, for a 37-nm (69-km) flight to Leesburg the afternoon of Dec. 24, 2012. “About 15 minutes after departure, the pilot advised [ATC] that the airplane was critically low on fuel,” the NTSB report said. “About 5 minutes later, both engines lost total power, and the airplane descended into trees and terrain” about 6 nm (11 km) from the Leesburg airport.
The pilot was killed, and his passenger was seriously injured. Examination of the wreckage revealed that all of the fuel tanks were “essentially empty,” the report said. An autopsy indicated that the 53-year-old pilot had emphysema, hypertension and severe coronary artery disease. However, the passenger told investigators that there was no sign the pilot had become incapacitated before the crash.
Toxicological tests indicated that the pilot had been taking several sedating painkillers and had been using marijuana. The report said that the drugs “likely significantly impaired the pilot’s judgment and contributed to his failure to ensure that the airplane had sufficient fuel to complete the planned flight,” the report said.
Loose Pitch Link Separates
Robinson R44. Substantial damage. Two fatalities.
The pilot, who also was a certified maintenance technician, had performed maintenance on the main rotor blades and was conducting a test flight with another maintenance technician the afternoon of Dec. 2, 2014, to adjust blade track and balance. Witnesses who saw the R44 flying above the airport in Bountiful, Utah, U.S., heard “popping” and “banging” noises, and then saw the main rotor and empennage separate from the helicopter, the NTSB report said.
The R44 then descended and struck a building, killing both occupants. “Witness statements and wreckage documentation were consistent with a main rotor blade striking the tail and subsequently a mast bump, which resulted in the helicopter descending uncontrollably,” the report said. Examination of the wreckage revealed that a pitch change link attachment bolt had not been secured properly and had separated due to vibrational loads.
NTSB determined that the probable cause of the accident was “the pilot/mechanic’s failure to properly secure the pitch link hardware of one main rotor blade to the rotating swash plate, which resulted in the pitch link separating in flight and a subsequent loss of control.”
Controls Bind in Flight
Aerospatiale AS355-N. No damage. No injuries.
The helicopter had been flown in heavy rain and temperatures near freezing on Dec. 29, 2016, and then had been parked overnight with covers installed at Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. When the pilot arrived the next morning to prepare the helicopter for flight, he found that the covers had become saturated and had frozen. He decided to delay the flight until the outside air temperature (OAT) increased sufficiently to remove the covers.
The weather was clear and the OAT was slightly above freezing when the pilot and a passenger boarded the helicopter a few hours later. “On start-up, the main-rotor blades shed water as rotor rpm increased,” said the report by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB). “Pre-start, after-start and pre-takeoff checks were completed, during which the cyclic and collective frictions were adjusted for flight, and no anomalies were noted.”
Shortly after establishing the helicopter in cruise flight at 4,500 ft, however, the pilot felt a resistance in the cyclic control. “Movements to the right were normal, but movements in other directions became progressively stiffer, to a point at which left cyclic control could not be applied,” the report said. The pilot used anti-torque control to turn back to the airport and initiated a slow descent. He told investigators that the pedals and the cyclic also were temporarily difficult to move. After a few minutes, however, all the flight controls returned to normal, and the pilot landed the helicopter without further incident.
A subsequent check of the flight controls showed full and free travel, with no evidence of obstruction or resistance. Tests of hydraulic fluid samples showed them to be within specifications and not contaminated. Ice contamination of the flight control system was suspected of having caused the incident. However, the TSB Engineering Laboratory estimated that it would have taken 30 to 43 minutes for water to freeze in the system. “In this occurrence the helicopter was in sub-zero temperatures for only 12 minutes,” the report said.
The operator had grounded the helicopter during the investigation. “With no definitive cause [of the flight control problem] having been identified through investigation activities, the operator replaced all of the main-rotor flight-control servos as a precautionary measure” and returned the helicopter to service, the report said.
|Date||Location||Aircraft Type||Aircraft Damage||Injuries|
NA = not available
This information, gathered from various government and media sources, is subject to change as the investigations of the accidents and incidents are completed.
|Oct. 3||Almaty, Kazakhstan||Antonov 28||destroyed||5 fatal|
|The An-28 struck terrain about 12 minutes after departing on an air ambulance flight.|
|Oct. 4||Malé, Maldives||de Havilland Canada Twin Otter||substantial||17 NA|
|Thunderstorms were in the area when the floatplane flipped over while landing on a lagoon. All the occupants survived.|
|Oct. 4||Mazamari, Peru||Antonov 32B||substantial||NA|
|The An-32, operated by the Peruvian navy, was carrying 40 to 50 passengers when it overran the runway on landing and struck a building.|
|Oct. 4||Salters, South Carolina, U.S.||Cessna 401B||destroyed||2 fatal|
|The 401 struck terrain after making a low pass over a private airstrip.|
|Oct. 6||Sugar Grove, Illinois, U.S.||Piper Seneca II||substantial||2 none|
|The fuselage and wings were damaged during a forced landing following a power loss from the right engine shortly after takeoff.|
|Oct. 8||Gramzda, Latvia||Robinson R44||NA||1 fatal, 3 serious|
|One passenger was killed when the R44 struck a power line and terrain on takeoff.|
|Oct. 12||Cuilo, Angola||Embraer 120ER||destroyed||7 fatal|
|The Brasilia struck terrain shortly after the pilot reported an engine failure and fire during an emergency medical services flight.|
|Oct. 13||Iloilo, Philippines||Airbus A320-214||substantial||180 NA|
|No fatalities were reported when the A320 ran off the left side of the runway while landing in heavy rain and strong winds.|
|Oct. 14||Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire||Antonov 26-100||destroyed||4 fatal, 6 NA|
|A thunderstorm was passing through the area when the An-26 struck the ocean on final approach.|
|Oct. 16||Molokai, Hawaii, U.S.||Robinson R44||destroyed||2 fatal|
|The R44 crashed in the ocean during an instrument training flight in visual meteorological conditions.|
|Oct. 17||Manaus, Brazil||Cessna 208||substantial||1 fatal, 4 NA|
|One passenger was killed when the amphibious Caravan flipped over while landing on the Rio Negro river.|
|Oct. 18||St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.||Cessna 402B||substantial||4 minor|
|The pilot reported a “fuel critical” condition shortly before the 402 struck two vehicles while being landed on a residential street. The pilot and his charter passenger, as well as two motorists, sustained minor injuries.|
|Oct. 19||Nuevo Saposoa, Peru||Beech King Air 200C||substantial||12 NA|
|No fatalities were reported when the pilot conducted an emergency landing in a wooded area.|
|Oct. 24||Arlington, Washington, U.S.||Robinson R22||substantial||1 fatal, 1 minor|
|The pilot was killed when the R22 struck the water during a low pass over a lake.|
|Oct. 25||Serengeti National Park, Tanzania||Cessna 208B||substantial||3 minor, 8 none|
|Two passengers and the pilot sustained minor injuries when the Caravan veered off the runway and struck a tree while landing at a lodge airstrip.|
|Oct. 27||Lord Howe Island, Australia||Beech King Air B200||substantial||NA|
|The right wing and propeller were damaged when the King Air touched down hard while landing in strong, gusting winds.|
|Nov. 2||Thompson, Manitoba, Canada||Swearingen Metro III||substantial||2 minor|
|One of the pilots reported low oil pressure in the left engine before landing. The Metro veered off the right side of the runway after touchdown.|
|Nov. 2||Las Vegas||Beech B95 Travel Air||substantial||2 minor|
|The Travel Air was on final approach when an engine lost power. The airplane then came to rest in a pond during an emergency landing on a golf course.|
|Nov. 6||Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada||Cessna 208B||destroyed||1 none|
|The right main landing gear collapsed when the Caravan touched down short of the runway on landing.|
|Nov. 6||Larchwood, Iowa, U.S.||Robinson R44||substantial||2 serious|
|The R44 was on an aerial observation flight when it struck a power line and terrain.|
|Nov. 7||Ekimchan, Russia||Antonov 2||destroyed||1 fatal, 1 serious|
|The An-2 struck trees and terrain during takeoff, possibly following a loss of power.|
|Nov. 7||Sulphur, Louisiana, U.S.||Hughes 369D||none||2 fatal, 1 none|
|Two linemen suspended by an external cargo line were killed when they fell 100 ft to the ground after the line was severed by a power line shield line.|
|Nov. 8||Union City, Tennessee, U.S.||Bell 206-L3||substantial||3 minor|
|The emergency medical services helicopter crashed while landing on a steep slope.|
|Nov. 9||Toronto||Bombardier Q400||substantial||41 NA|
|No serious injuries were reported when the Q400’s airframe was damaged during a hard landing on Runway 26. Winds were from 300 degrees at 21 kt, gusting to 32 kt.|
|Nov. 10||Goias, Brazil||Quest Kodiak 100||destroyed||3 serious|
|The aircraft was on a private flight when it crashed under unknown circumstances.|
|Nov. 15||Nelkan, Russia||Let 410UVP||destroyed||6 fatal, 1 serious|
|The twin-turboprop rolled inverted and struck terrain after an engine problem occurred on final approach.|
|Nov. 15||Empakaai, Tanzania||Cessna 208B||destroyed||11 fatal|
|The Caravan was on a charter flight when it crashed under unknown circumstances.|
|Nov. 16||Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives||de Havilland Canada Twin Otter||substantial||15 none|
|The floatplane nosed over into the water after one of its floats hit an object during takeoff.|
|Nov. 17||Placencia, Belize||Cessna 208B||substantial||7 none|
|The Caravan plunged into the Caribbean Sea after its left main landing gear struck a motor vehicle on takeoff.|
|Nov. 19||Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia||ATR 72-600||substantial||NA|
|No injuries were reported when the aircraft encountered wind shear and landed hard.|
|Nov. 19||Stuttgart, Arkansas, U.S.||Bell 407||substantial||3 fatal|
|Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed when the helicopter struck terrain during an emergency medical services positioning flight.|
|Nov. 20||Electra, Texas, U.S.||Robinson R22||destroyed||1 fatal|
|The R22 was on a cattle-herding flight when it struck power lines and terrain.|
|Nov. 22||near Okinawa, Japan||Grumman C-2A Greyhound||destroyed||11 NA|
|The twin-turboprop airplane, operated by the U.S. Navy, stalled and crashed in the ocean, possibly following an engine failure, on approach to land on an aircraft carrier. Seven occupants were rescued; the search for three missing occupants was suspended two days after the crash.|
|Nov. 25||Accra, Ghana||ATR 72-500||substantial||5 minor, 63 none|
|The ATR veered off the left side of the runway after the captain inadvertently moved the steering tiller left when his seat slid full-back on takeoff.|
|Nov. 27||Paris||Embraer Legacy 500||substantial||NA|
|No injuries were reported when the right main landing gear punctured the wing during a hard landing at Le Bourget Airport. The Legacy came to a stop on the edge of the runway.|
|Nov. 28||Simikot, Nepal||de Havilland Canada Twin Otter||substantial||16 NA|
|One passenger and three crewmembers were injured when the Twin Otter veered off the runway after a tire burst on takeoff.|