PC 12 Down off of NC Coast

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by Kelvin, Feb 13, 2022.

  1. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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  2. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    It is all over the news locally
     
  3. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Looks like was headed to KMRH. Previous flights the legs were straight as a arrow. This flight looked wobbly from the start.
    That’s tough. God bless.
     
  4. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    It appears that they diverted to circle at Ocracoke. Then an abrupt climb/descent.
     
  5. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder En-Route

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    On first blush, seems like a low speed loss of control, possibly even inadvertent flight into IMC. There have been a few other crashes that have had similar profiles. The PC-12 is a relatively easy airplane to fly, so why have these crashes been happening?
     
  6. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    I have great sympathy for the families in their loss, they will have a hard time dealing with all that comes there way.

    The following is a supposition, with support from past events of a similar nature.

    Given the departure heading was completely off the previous trips, there is a distinct possibility that the destination in their navigation devices had been changed by accident. Thus, as they flew, they became puzzled by terrain anomalies, and realized that the were "lost", and started to try to find where they were. Since they were so far from their normal route, this would have been very difficult by visual observation. The destination may have been changed, or the device may have failed, but continued to give erroneous indications, that were not recognized as erroneous.

    If they believed the navigation device itself had failed, a very real possibility, they would not have trusted its depiction of their actual location. Such errors have occurred to pilots that I have known over the years, with better outcomes, but including a total loss of an airplane, but no injuries to the occupants.

    One such flight started at 180 degrees from the desired heading, and a passenger noticed the error after about 15 minutes of flight. The pilot disagreed, pointing out that he was exactly on the proper heading. The magnetic compass disagreed with the pilot and the gyro compass he was using. When that was settled to the satisfaction of all, the plane was turned 180 degrees, and returned home just fine. I was a back seat passenger as the above took place in the front seat. The source of that problem was a 180 degree turn of the aircraft at the gas pump, engine not running, producing a magnetic compass 180 out from the gyro compass.

    Another involved an ADF which kept swinging to various angles for a minute and changing again. The problem was use of a marine beacon chain, with 6 transmitters, each transmitting one minute out of six. The ADF was written off as crazy, and not used to find the nearest airport with gas, resulting in an off airport landing, at a point much further from where the initial determination that gas was critical. A direct flight to the airport with the beacon on the field would have landed with 10 to 15 minutes of fuel on board.

    Lost faith in your navigational devices when you are already far from familiar ground references is disastrous.
     
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  7. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Redacted, my bad.
     
  8. LeePilot82

    LeePilot82 Filing Flight Plan

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    In the area they were coming from and going to, the abrupt heading change over the sound is not surprising. That is Cherry Point’s Restricted area, just because previous flights were direct it doesn’t mean that day the area wasn’t hot. Where they made the first big turn is right about where the restricted area begins. I’ve been flying this area for 25 years, some days Cherry Point is great and lets us cut through, other days its hot and they won’t. Where they ended up, over Drum Inlet, is actually the normal VFR route for those of us flying up and down the beach to get from northern Outer Banks to Beaufort. The initial flight path to me is pretty indicative of leaving Hyde County hoping Cherry Point would let them through, and then when checking on got denied. Where they made the big turn you have two options, east to Ocracoke and south down the beach OR west towards Washington, NC and then down towards EWN and back in.

    I’m not saying they didn’t have an instrument failure at some point, but I find it highly unlikely it was at the point they made the first turn. If Cherry Point said no entry, then they did exactly what I would do, which is fly over to Ocracoke and pick up the beach south and stay east of the restricted area. The flight path all the way to Drum Inlet tells me that up until that point they likely were not “lost”, as they went directly to the most known position (likely GPS waypoint) to pick up the beach.
     
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  9. Kenny Phillips

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    Given the age and instrumentation of a '17 PC-12, there should be more than one of everything, right? It appears that way from what I can find.
     
  10. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I’m afraid this one will be a medical incapacitation.
     
  11. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Because?
     
  12. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Maybe the ducks got even.
     
  13. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Man up and apologize.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2022
  14. geezer

    geezer Line Up and Wait

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    Deviating way out over the ocean seems completely un aware of actual location. The track seemed too random for someone who knew where he was, and if the military was vectoring him away from their space, they would have been on frequency with him when things went bad. A lot to puzzle over.

    Did they carry life vests and an inflatable raft? I think they needed that for venturing out that far.

    Many times when the MOA is hot, the lower altitudes are open, such was the cases when I flew through. Interesting to watch a dog fight far above us.
     
  15. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Odds aren't in your favor. Though if you're afraid it WILL be due to medical incapacitation, I guess less than a 1% chance is good.

    I'm always intrigued at how fast people bring up incapacitation after accidents. Kind of a wish-fulfillment sort of thing I guess: They don't want the airplane to be at fault, they don't want the pilot's skills questioned. Far better to be some Latin-named condition that nobody could anticipate, or imbibing in substances that were clearly out of bounds.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  16. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Really? What brought you to this conclusion?
     
  17. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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    I have flown that area a handful of times. Flying through the MOA is routine,. You can see land from the middle of the Sound...

    My speculation that he stalled the plane messing around.
     
  18. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach

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    Idk how you stall a PC12 considering it has a shaker/pusher system. The PC12 is a very capable and easy airplane to fly, but it can turn into a handful in a hurry when things start going south and you don’t know how to manage the automation. Also, at least on the legacy models the autopilot would kick off in even sustained light turbulence, so you have to be comfortable hand flying as well.
     
  19. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The guy flying it was old and likely the only pilot on board. It was just the first thought I had so I shared it in true POA fashion.
     
  20. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach

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    I guarantee you the amount of medical incapacitations is far more than 1%, it’s just that they can only prove it happened 1% of the time. The NTSB deals in absolutes.

    Here’s one from an accident that I followed closely and personally suspect medical incapacitation “Probable cause: "A loss of control for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information."
     
  21. Brad Z

    Brad Z Final Approach

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    Not to mention...you have medical incapacitation and medical related events. There are plenty of medical conditions that do not render the pilot incapacitated, but affect the airman's ability to safely control the aircraft. As certain medical conditions can affect concentration, judgement, vision, etc., I suspect there are plenty of "pilot error" accidents that have an undetected medical element. The whole premise of medical certification is not to absolutely prevent any sort of medical event from ever happening, but to mitigate the risk of such events from happening during flight.
     
  22. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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    Look at the Flight Aware track...
     
  23. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    D93C5F59-92D1-41B9-B28C-B78C5F471DCC.jpeg
     
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  24. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    Looking at the track, I am coming around to your way of thinking.
     
  25. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    It was just the first thing I thought of considering how capable the airplane is in the clouds. The only thing I have heard is the pilot was in his late 60’s. I mean that’s not that much older than me in years but it is a lot older than me…
     
  26. MalibuJim

    MalibuJim Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You nailed it Ron!!! When pilots stop being the dominant factor in accidents, we can start reaching WAY out on our guesses.
     
  27. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Late 60s is old?!
     
  28. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude Gone West

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    An Airbus 330 was stalled from over 30,000' into the ocean.

    Someone can always find a way.



    Wayne
     
  29. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

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    A descent followed by a sharp climb and then a final sharp descent....absolutely horrible.
     
  30. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Maybe the “old” guy was giving the kids a fun ride and things got away from him.

    Maybe he yanked and banked to avoid military jet traffic that strayed out of the MOA.

    Maybe Blackbeard’s ghost rose out of the graveyard of the Atlantic and smote them down.

    Maybe we will just never know.

    But ya know something, it happened just yesterday.
     
  31. sourdough44

    sourdough44 En-Route

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    I read somewhere of lower ceilings in the area, below 1500’? I see they started above 4000’, then came down.

    Anyone have the weather at the time?
     
  32. topgun260

    topgun260 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Anyone notice the red X across the lower display? This photo came from Kathryn's Report.
    [​IMG]
     
  33. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    Certainly true. My homebuilt accident database runs for ~22 years and has ~4,500 accidents. I show about 33 cases where that involved pilot incapacitation... and almost twice as many involving the pilot's loss of control for unknown reasons. And, for that matter, there are an additional 71 cases where the NTSB just threw their hands in the air and said, "Cause unknown."

    But if every one of those unknown cases is actually a medical incapacitation, it STILL raises the total to less than four percent. Not enough to make it the automatic go-to cause when there's no obvious mechanical or pilot issue.

    There are other reasons for unknown loss of control accidents. Suicide, attempted aerobatics, attempted inflight male-female aerobatics, mechanical issues where the evidence is destroyed in the crash, chasing UFOs. I'll certainly grant that SOME are due to undetected medical issues, but there's no way to tell.

    Oh, the line can get quite fuzzy. Anyone here that was on rec.aviation.homebuilt ~20 years ago remember "Badwater Bill" Phillips. Quite a colorful character. Great guy, but he had a huge ego and quite a temper.

    He was taking off in his Lancair Legacy when the canopy opened and his wife and his belongings started to spread over the landscape of Utah. Probable cause was "The pilot failed to secure the canopy prior to takeoff, resulting in his inability to control the aircraft during the takeoff." Bill died, his wife was badly injured but recovered (with no memory of the accident). WPR09LA016

    Yet, Lancairs can fly with open canopies. My opinion...knowing Bill... is that he blew his stack when the canopy opened. I think his attention focused on the canopy, and he was trying to close it, screaming cuss words, up until the point the Lancair merged with the desert floor.

    The situation REALLY would have cranked Bill up. He'd fended off a lot of criticism about the Lancair...he'd bought it from a "hired gun," and there were questions about the legality of its certification. He was a very competent pilot, and while he was quite willing to be kidded, he would get riled up at any perceived serious slight on his flying ability.

    And here he was: Either he'd failed to close the canopy, or his brand-new Lancair had a mechanical issue. Neither was something that would sit well with him. He wouldn't have wanted to see the smirks on the faces of the people at the airport. Personally...if he'd gotten the canopy closed, I think he just would have continued on his way. He was rich enough, replacing that was lost wouldn't be a problem. He could even turn it into a funny story.

    But at the time, I doubt he was laughing.

    But then we come to the OTHER half of the NTSB Probable Cause...the contributing factors. "Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s impairment from prescription medications and possible obstructive sleep apnea."

    Part of Bill's larger-than-life online persona was the hint that he was a bit crazy. He used to joke about taking "Thorazine and ant poison" to make it through his day.

    Yet... the autopsy after the accident revealed quite a bit. "'Significant conditions' of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease" was found... as well as "acute mixed drug intoxication." Post-mortem toxicology testing found acetaminophen, diazepam, dihydrocodeine, doxazosin, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and nordiazepam. None of which had been listed on his last medical, 18 months earlier. He wasn't actually legal to fly with that load.

    Was he more likely to get fixated on the canopy issue with that drug cocktail in him? Damn it Jim, I'm an engineer, not a doctor.

    But in my database, I *did* list this accident as "Pilot Miscontrol." He had almost 5,000 hours. Even with the drugs, I listed this as failure of pilot skills, not incapacitation. He was quite capable of flying the plane, even with his medication load. He'd been taking those medications for months if not years, and had flown the plane ~150 hours.

    But did his medications cause him to fixate on the canopy at the expense of maintaining flight? We'll never know.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  34. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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    Yes. That picture was taken on the ground as I understand it before they left. It was posted to
    FB at 1059 am Sunday by one of the people killed in the crash.


     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2022
  35. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    There are more pictures floating about and there are no ❌
     
  36. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    Owner operators. It's a ridiculously easy airplane to fly but as @DavidWhite said things can go to hell pretty quickly if left unattended. It's a "slow" airplane but you can still get behind it.


    It's an NG. It would have had the full Honeywell suite.


    The avionics just aren't on yet.
     
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  37. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    The altitudes of the mishap flight make me think VFR into IMC. The plane’s recent history that I looked at I was all 20-minute flights at VFR altitudes. The mishap flight was the same, including descent to a proper VFR altitude when they turned around. But I don’t know what the weather was like.
     
  38. DavidWhite

    DavidWhite Final Approach

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    VFR into IMC should be a non-event if you’re an instrument rated pilot, unless you’re in a non-fili airplane and icing is involved. Either execute a 180 and get out of the conditions or dial up center, fess up, and get an IFR clearance.

    I can’t imagine someone would be flying around in a Pilatus without an instrument rating, because I don’t think there is an insurance company in existence that would let that happen without charging the hull value as a yearly premium. The PC12 is an incredibly stable and safe IFR platform.
     
  39. pilotrick

    pilotrick Pre-takeoff checklist

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    [

    Thanks for bring this up. Bad Water Bill could fly anything with wings. He would talk to you until he was blue in the face and keep going. He was a true son of a ***** and I miss him to this day.
     
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  40. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude Gone West

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    "Should be" is the key part. Unfortunately the data says IR pilots have issues with it. Who knows, maybe those pilots would have problems flying in IMC on purpose too. Then there's the whole thing about people not liking to "fess up".

    They could have not been up to the task, or just having a very off day. I've heard pilots flying IFR asking to go descend the MSA, sometimes they ask multiple times, as if the answer is going to change. They wanted to skip the approach and just fly visually to the airport, except they were at the MSA and still in the clouds. I've also heard pilots picking up an IFR clearance in the air that clearly didn't know the phonetic alphabet; they needed multiple repeats and they read back "a" and "b" instead of "alpha" and "bravo".

    Just because they have an IR doesn't mean they are good at it, or maybe they are not good at all times. Could have been great at it years ago, but have gotten rusty over the years. Plenty of people have an IR and just fly "gentleman's IFR".