Cirrus Fatal yesterday and I learned something about Class B floors

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by FastEddieB, Nov 27, 2019.

  1. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Last night a Cirrus apparently flew straight into a mountain just north of Las Vegas.

    Lots of comments on COPA so far. The pilot was experienced, familiar with the area and a former ATC controller, which makes the accident hard to explain.

    One thing which struck someone - and me - as odd was that they would establish a floor to Class Bravo with a mountain sticking up into it:

    [​IMG]

    (The red circle is a TFR for the accident site)

    Maybe this is common, but it seems potentially dangerous to find a mountain right where you’d be maneuvering beneath a Class Bravo shelf.

    Tragic, regardless.
     
  2. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    There is always some sort of terrain under the floors, is there not?
     
  3. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    I believe the comment is that it's above the floor, not below it.
     
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  4. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    Thank you. Sorry if I was unclear.
     
  5. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    Doesn’t their avionics have all kinds of terrain avoidance alerts?? Would be interested to see the FlightAware track if available
     
  6. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    This was a very early model, which would have shown terrain but not necessarily alerted to it.
     
  7. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    You have to be careful around the LA area.. there are many Charlie and Bravo here that can look misleading on the charts but give very little (if any) terrain clearance

    The type of terrain avoidance depends on the model.. and how vigilant you are with it. The screen can be all red and the voice shouting "terrain" but people have also landed gear up with the horn blaring

    The pilot is always the weakest link

    The mountains around there can be killers... this guy died avoiding the Phoenix Bravo in a twin commander


    ..also, type doesn't really matter, I don't believe there is any known correlation between CFIT crashes and common GA aircraft
     
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  8. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    By the way, why don't more people earn and fly with an IFR flight plan.. it seems like so much extra work to avoid the bravo's, be on your own, for what ultimately is (in my opinion) a less safe and higher workload flight.. not that IFR guarantees safety.. but you wouldn't be monkeying around avoiding airspace.. you just go where they tell you (basically)
     
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  9. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    I fly an 01 and there is no terrain alerting or even awareness in the system.
     
  10. geezer

    geezer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Instrument flight plan and ATC assistance does not preclude flying into mountains, in sight of the airport. The controller in question swore under oath that he had never seen the mountain, although it was clearly visible as he drove to work each day, for years. Every body died except the controller vectoring the flight to the ILS. The flight was diverted to Dulles due to high cross winds at National. The Captain and First Officer had never flown to Dulles previously.

    A little personal to me, as a controller tried to fly me into the same mountain, on an IFR flight plan, but I refused to remain at my assigned altitude, and announced I would declare an emergency if I did not get a climb immediately. The climb was approved, and I crossed Mt. Storm at 1,000 feet AGL.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWA_Flight_514
     
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  11. Walboy

    Walboy Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've been with a friend as a safety pilot at night who lost situational awareness. I was insisting that he change course to avoid rising terrain and he insisted we were fine. About that time, ATC came on the radio and suggested a heading to take us away from terrain. It was only then that he acknowledged his loss of situational awareness. This was a pretty experienced pilot. We headed home, things were pretty quiet in the cockpit.
     
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  12. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Yeah. That B could use a little more 'sectorization.' It's still mostly on the old upside down wedding cake concept. But at the end of the day, ya gotta know where you are, where the rocks are and where you are going.
     
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  13. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    It certainly does not.. however, in this case and in the Twin Commander case above they likely wouldn't be dead as they wouldn't have been making an effort to avoid the Bravo
     
  14. Fiveslide

    Fiveslide Line Up and Wait

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    That silence was probably more distracting than you'd think. He was most likely diverting too much brain power to thinking of the embarrassment of being wrong and the dark thoughts about how he could have killed you both.
     
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  15. Walboy

    Walboy Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think it's easy to lose situational awareness when you're task saturated, get instructions you weren't expecting, and have too many "toys" in the cockpit that divert attention.
     
  16. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Just going where "they" tell you is so dangerous of an attitude I can't stifle myself. An attitude of only going where "you" feel it's safe to go liberates you from fear and uncertainty and ensures your safe passage.
     
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  17. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    A Maximum Elevation Figure of 8500 ft is depicted for that quadrangle. The use of MEFs for night flights standard student training.
     
  18. Bill Greenwood

    Bill Greenwood Ejection Handle Pulled

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    No pilot, no controller is infallible. Years ago Ricky Nelson's older brother David was a guard fighter pilot, I think In a F4 coming east at night out of San Diego. He followed atc instructions right into the mountains.
    I just looked this up and its not correct, not even close, so I don't know who, but I recall something like this. I learned to fly there, but it has been 50 years.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  19. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not a fair example to use today since the FAA has since implemented changes to the AIM and the controller’s manual.

    Personally, I have a bigger gripe as to why a safety alert wasn’t issued than the content of the clearance. I don’t have a controller’s manual from 1974 but I would think safety alert procedures would be in it.
     
  20. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    You've got somebody else's brother in mind.
     
  21. geezer

    geezer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not a fair example to use today since the FAA has since implemented changes to the AIM and the controller’s manual.

    Velocity 173, that crash was in December 1974.

    My controller vectored me at 1500 feet due west toward that 1700+ foot mountain in 1992. I would hope that the FAA had done something by then.
    My refusal to stay at the assigned altitude is the only reason I am posting here today.

    My point is, just following a controllers instructions will not keep you alive.

    If the pilot of the Cirrus had been in vectors, he PROBABLY would not have been sent into that mountain, but that is not a certainty.
     
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  22. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Dean Martin’s son?
     
  23. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    Color me surprised, superstition Mountain take II. The blue invisible line kills again. Nothing new.
     
  24. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  25. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 En-Route

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    Meet the Fokkers
    Might be time to install a Brynon system, with a Cirrus Airspace Recognition Laser. (C.A.R.L.)
     
  26. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    It was indeed Dean Martin's son, whose F-4 flew into terrain just a few miles from where the Learjet carrying Frank Sinatra's mother hit ten years earlier.
     
  27. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    I agree a circular cutout around that peak would have helped.

    I know I’m wrong, but at first glance I might mistakenly assume that flight in that sector at 6,500 was safe. Throw in a little fatigue or inattention and I think that chart sets the stage for tragedy.
     
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  28. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Another unfortunate accident ending in a fatality. RIP
     
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  29. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    Certainly odd, seems a little lazy on the part of the people who designed the chart.. does this imply that tunneling, or even hiking around that mountain, requires a Bravo clearance?

    Yup! That giant blue "8,5" is a good indicator that staying below a 6,500 foot shelf will likely be unsafe

    Context and being able to comprehend statements relative to their subject is important.. quite the straw man you built here.. PoA's pedantry strikes again!
    1) I indicated "basically" .. no where in my post did I indicate that you should "just" go where ATC tells you and this guaranteed safety
    2) "they" are not telling you anything.. as the PIC you agree to the route they cleared you on, and should be vigilant of the instructions given, notice that my post did not say "blindly do what they tell you".. it said "you *basically* go where they tell you" .. you agree to a clearance on the ground and fly that.. it saves you the hassle of monkeying around trying to avoid Bravo's because you're too lazy to talk to ATC or intimidated by it.. if they vector you or deviate you from the course then it is your responsibility to ensure safety of that (the "basically" part of my statement).. in this example I highly doubt his IFR clearance (among the thousands given) would have put him into that mountain, but, if it had, that would still be on him to only accept a clearance or instruction he can safely handle
    3) not sure why people seem to be piling onto controllers here, and going back to the 1970s for an example and "I once had someone vector me towards a mountain" .. just somewhat recently a 777 was saved by ATC near LA after their crew (english as second language) made a wrong turn and almost blasted into the mountains.. from my experience ATC is very careful with terrain, you're just about guaranteed to get a terrain alert from ATC when on the published RNAV for 17 at SEE

    I'm not sure what to make of this, if it's hyperbole or serious. I'm hoping not serious.. "feelings" have no place in the cockpit and you should never be liberated of vigilance. I think it would be crazy to argue that VFR flying is safer than IFR flying since in VFR you get to go only where "you" feel it's safe.. I'm confused.. just going where you feel is safe didn't help this guy: http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2018/03/mooney-m20j-n6201n-fatal-accident.html

    Did anyone claim this? I don't think anyone claimed this in the thread, yet there seems to be a groupthink controller blame here. Keep in mind that the vast majority of CFIT are not the result of ATC driving pilots into mountains.. it's people hitting powerlines, mountains, etc., all on their own volition.. just a few years ago we had a guy in a Mooney (read: not Cirrus "not-a-real-pilot") tracking a VOR in IMC not talking to anyone and blasted into a mountain side something like 200' below the summit: http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2018/03/mooney-m20j-n6201n-fatal-accident.html

    This person's Cirrus likely had an extremely basic magenta line, likely fed by the same 430 that's been around since the 90s. If he had been tracking a VOR or just flying by "dead reckoning" he'd be dead either way if he's staying under a 6,500 Bravo shelf and not realizing there's a 6,900 peak sticking up into it

    I totally agree... we've always visualized airspace as going up in the air, and unless it say "SFC" that there is room under it
     
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  30. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    For those that are surprised, you do realize the outer shelf of Class C is based on the elevation of the primary airport and has nothing to do with terrain under the outer shelf?
     
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  31. dbahn

    dbahn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lot's of instrument rated pilots don't fly with an IFR flight plan.

    I won't do it unless I'm current, even though I would often feel perfectly comfortable doing it in VMC or limited IMC if I was "slightly" out of legal currency. I've been instrument rated for almost 40 years, but I've stuck to that principle for all of them.
     
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  32. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    The FAA has an interesting article about controlled flight into terrain.. I cannot easily linked to it now but it is worth a Google
     
  33. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    You missed my point. I wasn't talking about GPS track lines on a panel, I was talking about the blue lines in the sectional that define these airline regulatory-captured chunks of airspace (to be fair, that whole chunk of surface area to the NE of LAS is all Red Flag DOD-driven).

    The gentrification of the sky is killing people, good bad or indifferent. ATC user fees would have similar effects wrt scud running and pirate IMC. Don't shoot the messenger, I'm just pointing at the receipts.
     
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  34. dbahn

    dbahn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    One thing I remember about it is that many of the pilots are actually instrument rated.
     
  35. geezer

    geezer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Tantalum, I am not bashing controllers as a group, but pointing out the necessity of the PIC providing terrain clearance on his own.

    When the PIC requests higher 3 times and is refused, and the present altitude is going to be fatal in a matter of minutes, you, as PIC have a right to be more than simply annoyed. I was going to land at Dulles and take the subject up with the tower chief, but my wife vetoed that, the delay would cause us to arrive at our destination after dark, and the runway was unlighted.

    The actual phrase that changed his mind about whether he could give me a higher altitude was "I would like to revise my destination to Dulles now". That got the immediate clearance to climb.

    Can you give any clear explanation why a controller would keep a pilot on an IFR plan so low all the way from College Park, past Dulles airport? I have nho clew. I hated being that low across the city of Washington DC, with no hope of gliding to a safe place if something went wrong. That was the only time that I have been held low for a transit of any city.
     
  36. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    So I have watched this air Safety accident report before. What strikes me odd was the statement about FAA policy dictated denying flight following foe the surrounding airports of the Phoenix TRACON. Why is that?? Is that true?? The class Bravos near me must be more accommodating.
     
  37. Bill Greenwood

    Bill Greenwood Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Velocity etc. thanks for the sad info, it was driving me nuts, it has been almost 50 years. I was starting to see his face. I think he was also a lower level pro tennis player, could be wrong about that . I think he had dark hair like Dean, but I don't think I would have remembered his name.
     
  38. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

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    D'oh! Thanks. My bad
     
  39. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    This airplane in somewhat similar CFIT circumstances, in the Vegas area (this was about 13 nm to the SW of Las Vegas) did have terrain proximity information available through the G1000 on board.

    Note this regarding Bravo from the controller about 12 minutes before impact:

    At 1905:29, the pilot made the following transmission: "Las Vegas departure, Cap Flight 2793 is with you. We're leaving, ah, twenty-seven hundred for ten point five." The controller responded, "Cap Flight twenty-seven ninety-three, Las Vegas departure. Ident, and ah, remain outside of class Bravo airspace." The pilot acknowledged the controller's instructions.

    https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb....ev_id=20071121X01832&ntsbno=SEA08FA023&akey=1
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  40. tonycondon

    tonycondon Gastons CRO (Chief Dinner Reservation Officer)

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    Sad,

    I recall there was a similar accident in the Phoenix area a few years back that actually resulted in them raising the class B floor, allowing more clearance from the terrain.

    I also understand that that the latest redesign of the Salt Lake Bravo provided more room over the ridge line, which would prevent this sort of thing.