My (former) Plane is Down

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jaybird180, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    I used to own a share in this airplane.
    http://www.kathrynsreport.com/2017/11/cessna-172s-skyhawk-sp-n474sp-goddard.html

    I talked with the lady that bought my share and she tells me they added a Garmin G5 and somehow an ability to record flight data(???).

    Based on the reports I've read, I'm thinking fuel starvation or disorientation (possible Carbon Monoxide???)
    NTSB report isn't out yet.

    Goodbye N474SP
     
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  2. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    There's a report if you scroll down.

    He hit the treeline trying to land with no lights (or at least he told the trooper there was no lighting).
     
  3. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    Hits you in the gut when it happens. I soloed in N81917. A few weeks before my checkride, someone ran it out of gas at 4am near Richmond in actual IFR with 400' ceilings. By a miracle he broke out over a forest with a single house/yard right in front of him to land in and managed to survive.
     
  4. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Where?
     
  5. F01LA

    F01LA Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sad to see, but always good when the pilot survives. In this case, he walked out. Aircraft was "destroyed" due to contact with trees, but no fire or fuel leaks. I'm not sure he would have been so lucky with other aircraft models.
     
  6. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    From your link:
    Must be a browser issue if we aren't seeing the same thing.
     
  7. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    I thought you meant the NTSB report. I saw the Baltimore Sun report as well as WaPo.
     
  8. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    Then what makes you think fuel starvation or CO2?

    By his account, it looks like he got too low on approach in the dark and clipped the trees. I'm assuming that when he said there was no lighting, he didn't mean runway lights but just that the trees were not lit up and he couldn't see them.

    As an aside, it's one reason I stay high on approaches at night. In a 182, there's no reason not to.
     
  9. Bobanna

    Bobanna Line Up and Wait

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    Exactly. Any approach to landing should provide a view akin to looking down on a table, rather than "driving" the airplane to the runway at low altitude (especially at night, but good approach and landing techniques work day and night). I concur with the initial impression of controlled flight into unlit obstacles on final approach. If I'm following the few details, he was in the treetops a half-mile from the runway. WTF?
     
  10. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    I'm giving the pilot the benefit of doubt that he messed up that bad, which is why I saying CO poisoning as my 1st WAG. The normal approach to 18 would mean that the crash position would be about parallel with the normal position to turn base (albeit he's a bit far). It doesn't look like he was attempting to land on 36 either as the normal approach procedure doesn't put him there. The fuel starvation clue is the lack of fuel spilling as reported by the Trooper.

    Only alternative is that he was doing night t/o and landing practice but another report said the he was returning from Ocean City (there are 2 airports with the same name, one in Maryland and the other in NJ). Neither is too far away. I've done both airports and a return on the same tank of fuel. Standard practice with the club would have him tankering 3.5hrs fuel at minimum but it holds 5hrs. He must've been loitering or doing a round robin of airports and just forgot to get gas.
     
  11. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    How do I find the radio transmission on LiveATC.net?
    It was suggested that something occurred during the flight and he expressed a concern to ATC about the safe outcome of the flight.
     
  12. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    It's weird having planes you've flown crash. Probably even weirder if you've owned it. I probably have about a handful of planes in my logbook during my short 350 hours that no longer exist and one of those crashes was fatal. I don't want to say I've gotten used to it but its definitely not as "weird" as it used to be.
     
  13. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    A while back I searched the NTSB accident database for N-numbers of airplanes in my logbook. I go back to the mid-sixties, so there were a lot of airplanes in my search, mostly trainers (as student and CFI) and rentals.

    It was a little disheartening. A surprising number of them had been in some kind of accident, some very serious or catastrophic. Many of the trainers had hard-landing accidents, some more than one. A lovely Piper Warrior that I had once enjoyed renting was destroyed years later in an apparent suicide crash, and a Navion Rangemaster I once flew also went down under very suspicious circumstances. A Cessna 152 fell victim to a mixture of alcohol and fog, and a Turbo Saratoga and its pilot were lost to an overabundance of air in the fuel tanks. A military-trained pilot flew a Piper Cadet into a box canyon near Las Vegas, and never came out of it.

    There were some serious non-fatals, too. A Mooney 201 hit a house when a go-around somehow went bad. In the early '90s we belonged to a flying club that had a nice '76 Cardinal -- until a few years later when a member ran it out of fuel. At night. :(
     
  14. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    If the engine had quit, I figured he'd of mentioned that in his statement as that's a pretty big detail. He does specifically mention that he couldn't see the trees because they weren't lit, that's why I think it's probably a bad approach at night.

    But we'll see.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  15. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    When I was doing my CFI training, I finished a flight with my instructor. He had a student right after me, so I helped fuel the plane and get it ready for the next flight.

    During that flight the crank shaft came from together and they did an off airport landing. They made it to the ground safely but hit the tree line at the end of the field. Both guys had similar cuts on the forehead from hitting the glare shield.

    The day of my multi engine check ride, the DPE meet me with a very worried looking person standing next to him. The examiner explained that this person needed his ATP check ride and then had a plane ticket back home that afternoon and asked if I would let him use my time for the plane. Sure, no problem.

    During the single engine ILS, the running engine broke. The examiner took over and landed in a very rough field about a mile short of the runway. Minor injuries. I would have been in that plane if I had not been nice to give that guy my time slot. (he passed, my check ride was delayed for a week)

    Yes, aviation can be scary at times.
     
  16. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Nope, he failed.
     
  17. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Closest I've come to a story like Zeldman's is an engine that quit during run-up. I moved a doo-hickey and the engine sputtered and quit and nothing we did got it restarted.
     
  18. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Both of the aircraft I've owned are still flying. One seems to have developed a thing for mountains, it moved to Oregon, and later Tennessee. Theo there is still being flown (or not) by the fellow to whom I sold it.
     
  19. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    A pilot I was talking with about this mentioned that he read somewhere about the engine sputtering. I haven't personally seen it. Low on the approach doesn't explain what he's doing where he was. The pattern is 1/4 mile from the runway, parallel. Pull power to about 15-1700 abeam. Add a notch of flaps and slow to 80KIAS, turn base at 45*, go 2 notches of flaps and slow to 70 KIAS. Landing on 18 you have to dog-leg the final for the sake of the power lines. I've NEVER been that low that trees were a concern, albeit its been 2 years since I've flown there.

    When I was a student doing solo take-off landing practice, I was working on seeing how close I can get to the threshold. I passed right over an 18-wheeler on US-50 and it was low enough that I raised my feet in the cockpit. I decided that I had enough landing practice that day. Again, no issues with trees but again, I wasn't where he was either. This is why I think disorientation. He wasn't where he thought he was & looking for runway lights.
     
  20. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Except those trees were 1/2 mile from the runway threshold and on the other side of a major interstate highway. It's one thing to come in short; it's another to come in a half mile short...

    Perhaps the reporter didn't ask if the engine had quit. Either way, it's best he document his account before taking to reporters.
     
  21. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    liveatc.net/archives, then search on the left side by airport, frequency or text. The relevant frequency I see is 128.0, but it appears that frequency is not recorded by LiveATC.

    Being down in the trees makes no sense, the MDA is 760 at 0.3 miles out.
     
  22. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    The base leg is conducted on the other side of US-50. His distance from the airport is the red-herring that makes this crash non-sensical. With 1-1/2 yrs experience on his Private ticket he should know the local landmarks and procedures. I've talked to several pilots from other places who have a few landings at W00 and they all say they don't like it. I trained there, so it's "normal" for me. I suspect similar for the accident pilot, though I don't know for sure.
     
  23. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I assume all aircraft I've flown will meet their demise at some point. (My plan is to be geographically separate from the airplane when it happens; let's hope)
    We have discussed the end of life for airplanes recently.
    As pilots we accept this about airplanes, just as we are not blind to the fact that a good number of us will be injured or killed in aircraft accidents.
     
  24. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This got me wondering, so I looked up some of my past tail numbers. One involved in a takeoff accident, one took off after being started and hit other planes, and one Cessna 152 I found a picture of it's fuselage stored in the back of a hangar. Couple more are deregistered and assumed scrapped or parted out. Interesting to find out.
     
  25. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    A lot of airplanes are missing from the FAA register because they have been exported to other countries. Sometimes that’s noted in the database, often not. Sometimes googling the serial number helps. I’ve tracked down a number of airplanes in my logbook that are now in foreign countries — a C-152 in Brazil, a C-172P in Colombia, a C-172RG in Argentina, a Warrior in New Zealand, a Saratoga in Australia, an M20K in Germany, a Turbo Arrow in Japan, a Cherokee 140 in Russia ... and this C-150G in Belgium!

    A0198E09-6B12-455B-A0D3-A1BFD25189C4.jpeg
     
  26. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    One of the airplanes I flew early on, caught fire on the ground with nobody in it, and burnt to a crisp.

    Kinda the Aviation version of a dumpster fire, which explains my Aviation “career”thus far. LOL.

    And why the hell is my iPad always capitalizing Aviation now?! iOS... speaking of dumpster fires...
     
  27. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    N9336H was the second plane I took lessons in. I flew it six times (lessons 2-7). It was destroyed and a flight instructor killed later that year due to a maintenance issue (oil line to oil cooler not replaced at engine overhaul as per manufacturer instructions). It really gave me pause at the time.

    NTSB accident id:20050113X00046

    John
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 9:21 AM
  28. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    The plane in the picture was converted to a low rider.
     
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  29. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Dunno about that. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Well, there may be lessons to be learned from them.

    The plane I soloed in, N6693W, an ancient Cherokee with an overhead crank and no toe brakes, was destroyed when a student at his solo botched a go-around. Apparently he attempted a go-around at a minimal altitude and it never was easy in that plane, especially when DA is above 8,000. In fact I have almost done the exact same thing that he did: decided on a go-around and was unable to climb, while wind was blowing me off the centerline. I did it at Sandia Airpark and almost flew into a house. The root cause was... I forgot to release the rudder that I was holding for crosswind. That was enough to prevent the airplane from accelerating. Once I remembered to fly coordinated, I started climbing and buzzed someone's house. We don't know if the guy who crashed did the same thing, but he drifted a couple hundred feet off the centerline and crashed into a hangar. Ripped both wings off the airplane and walked away with no serious injuries.

    People still laugh about that crash, BTW. His luck was amazing. There was no fire, for one. All the gas was ripped clean off and left on the outside of the hangar, while the engine proceeded inside. He hit right between two steel beams. Also, the hangar's owner was out flying and the student missed the car that was parked inside.

    The crash was way more serious in N28GX, a Remos GX, in which I had some 60 hours. It was a dual fatal caused by a spin from a crosswind-to-downwind turn. It was a good warning to me. I stalled that airplane many times, and did it uncoordinated too. Basically, they did a John Denver thing: spun an airplane that's supposed to be benign. The PIC was a lady with 130 hours and her passenger was an experienced guy who wasn't an instructor. He was a president of a local EAA chapter for years. I can see some mis-coordination between the pilots contributing. Still, a loss of control is a loss of control and the lesson is that it can catch you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017 at 9:23 AM
  30. Glenn D

    Glenn D Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would think that he was not current at night... was low because it is easy to be low at night, and hit the trees.... I do not fly at night, but want to get up and start, with a CFI,... My Dad said to be careful as he knows all to well about being low at night... every time we landed at night he was religious about calling altitude numbers during landing so as to not be low..
     
  31. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    My Mooney is a re-import. It spent a while in Japan, then received a new tail number when it came back. The Japanese logs are... verbose. And fascinating. Those people have a thing for bureaucracy.
     
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  32. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

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    I've often wondered how many people on this forum have (unknowingly) flown another member's plane at some point.
     
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  33. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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  34. Ken Ibold

    Ken Ibold Final Approach

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    Yeah, it is. Especially when it's still your airplane and one of your best friends is flying it. 4 people and two dogs incinerated. It's been, what, almost 6 years and I still think about it almost every day.
     
  35. Kevin Riley

    Kevin Riley Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello Jaybird180 and everyone else,

    I'm am the maintenance officer and a board member in the club that owned and flew N474SP.
    There is speculation that the pilot was not night current. Looking at his scheduled flights for the past year I think that is a fair assumption.

    Now to the accident.
    The pilot launched out of Ocean City Maryland at about 4:30 pm. He flew to Ocean city and back so he had plenty of fuel since it's about 50 minutes both ways. We always fuel it before parking it.
    The pilot walked away from it and actually made the 911 call. He was taken to the local shock trauma center and passed with flying colors (no pun intended)

    I was at W00 when it happened. The pilot called for airport advisories and was informed "winds out of the south at 5, runway 18 favored". He then set up a downwind for 36. We noticed that while he was on final and the dispatcher called and again informed the pilot the winds an 18 favored. The pilot responded "Copy that, 18" executed a go around and set up downwind for 18. We watched him fly downwind but he remained at pattern altitude until his turn to base. Not necessarily a bad thing but most start their decent abeam the numbers. As he started his base turn and diapered behind the hanger I walked to the runway to watch his final to landing and he never showed up. All the time the engine sounded fine.
    I went back the office and told the dispatcher I think he went down. Shortly after that they got a call from the police about an "aircraft in distress". The dispatcher made a call and reported the ELT was pinging.
    We checked the Flight Aware and Flight Radar sites and the last ping the both had was the aircraft on final, not lined up with the runway, but to the right of the center line at 400'/60kkts. His final fight track was never pointed at the runway according to those two sites.

    Lighting.
    The runway lights were up and running fine. Just before he got to W00 there was another plane in the pattern practicing night landings and PCL was working.
    Then there is RT 50. You can't miss it.

    The trees.
    The trees in that area are no more than 12' high and the largest drunks are about 3-4" at the base. With the highway, runway lights and PAPI the trees should not be an issue.

    The crash site.
    I went to the crash site with the recovery crew on Saturday and the evidence I saw does not jibe with what the pilot reported.
    The aircraft landed upside down with the nose pointed at the airport on a decline. More on the later. There was almost no damage path through the trees and these trees were about 10-12' high. The trees closest to the plane, about 6 feet away, where broken off about half way down their trunks were as the 10'-12' trees about 6-8' behind them were untouched. I have pictures. That leads me to believe he came down at a relatively steep angle upside down. There were no scrapes on the wheel pants, freshly painted, underside of the cowling, belly or horizontal stabilizer/elevator.

    My speculation.
    The pilot got behind the curve, was off center line to the right and attempted to get it back, crossed up the controls and spun in at low altitude leaving the plane upside down with the nose at the airport. Low enough to just role over on it's back with enough forward momentum keep it from going straight in.
    As to the declining terrain I speculate that that is what saved the pilots life. He did not hit on the flat but the decline may have been close to the angle the the airframe was at when it impacted.

    The new avionics.
    Since he survived with minor injuries this is what brings a tear to my eye.
    We got the plane back just three weeks before this happened.
    We had just updated the panel with a Garmin stack consisting of a GTN 750, a GTX 345 ADS-B out and in transponder, Flight Steam 510, two G5s one to replace the attitude indicator and the to replace the DG which in turn eliminated the vacuum system. The G5 the replaced the DG is also an HCI ounce to activate a light plan in the GTN 750. the sad part is the insurance company had not yet been notified of the install.
    The G5s and CTN 750 record fight data like Foreflight and Cloud Ahoy so if the NTSB or FAA pulled that data they have a better picture than I do.
    I found out form a friend in that business if no one dies and there's no major property damage they typically don't pull the data due to their labs being backed up.
    I was able to get about 4 hours with the new gear and I have to say I loved every second of.
    The plane has not been released by the FAA yet but when it is I'll be taking to the insurance company about the possibility of removing the new avionics for the next plane. Our avionics guy said he can do a full bench test if they pass we can put them in whatever plane we get.
    We are having a board meeting Monday Night to discus the future of the club.

    So that is what I have so far.
    We will have a far better picture when the NTSB and FAA publishes their reports.
     
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  36. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    Kevin,

    Thank you for your reply.

    We on PoA seem to love to speculate. We know that we are usually wrong in our WAG, so it helps us tremendously when someone involved can tell us the story. Just about everyone here reads about accidents with the hope we may learn something that will help us avoid an accident.

    I will speak for us all and say we are extremely happy to hear that the pilot on board not only survived but was able to walk away from the crash.

    Welcome to the board and we hope you will stick around.!!
     
  37. Kevin Riley

    Kevin Riley Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks,
    I will update when I have more information.
     
  38. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Kevin, would having receipts for the avionics installation possibly persuade the insurance company to cover them? I know I'm automatically covered for something like 30 days when I buy another vehicle, but I don't know if this is typically allowed under aircraft insurance. Something to ask them about maybe. If not, I hope they all bench test fine and you get to reinstall them in another plane. Glad the pilot is well and safe.
     
  39. Kevin Riley

    Kevin Riley Filing Flight Plan

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    That's a good idea. I did send a copy of the log book showing the installation and he also has pictures of the panel. I ask the adjuster about that.
     
  40. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    Welcome to POA. If it was a stall/spin accident in the pattern, the pilot got REAL lucky and the trees might have even cushioned his impact. Regardless, it will be interesting to see what FAA/NTSB determine. Regardless, what was reported in the news stories above doesn't jive with what happened.

    Regarding the avionics; in theory the insurance company should either pay you the increased value for the avionics, or allow you to remove them. In reality, read your policy to see how this might be handled. You're talking tens of thousands of dollars of value potentially lost.