Plane Crash - Crozet (Charlottesville), VA

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by wsuffa, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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  2. TedR3

    TedR3 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Single pilot VFR in a jet, low(ish) ceiling, at night, in an area of rising terrain - what could go wrong? The weather in the area of Afton Mountain seems like its always bad.

    Actually, its not the first CFIT at Buck Elbow Mountain:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piedmont_Airlines_Flight_349
     
  3. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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  4. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    "Low(ish) is an understatement. That was a horrid line of storms coming through there, with tornadoes in the Lynchburg area. The Governor has declared a disaster area for the state after the storms.

    And yes, Afton has more than it's share of weather issues - to the point where they installed high intensity lane lighting (looks like runway lights) on I-64
    that come on when there is heavy fog.
     
  5. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    At 8:15 PM, the weather at KSHD (which is west of the mountains) reported heavy rain and thunderstorms. At 9:35 PM, KSHD was reporting heavy rain. At the time of this crash, that weather would have been approaching or hitting the mountains.

    KCHO (northeast of the crash site) was reporting heavy rain around the same time.

    Flight aware shows that the plane took a short flight up and around Richmond earlier in the day.
     
  6. bflynn

    bflynn En-Route

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    This was the radar picture just before 9pm last night - about 8:50. Charlottesville is about 3/4 of of the way from 95 to 81 along 64, about where the red dot is. The major line of storms had passed, but if it was like the rain in Raleigh, what came after was still fairly heavy. Flyable, but certainly enough to raise the risk level significantly.

    radar_va_4-16-9pm.JPG
     
  7. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    Hmm. Gotta be something fishy here. Do people really depart in citations VFR with wx like that?
     
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  8. Fearless Tower

    Fearless Tower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I sure as hell don’t. And none of the other Citation pilots I’ve flown with do either.
     
  9. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    What kind of idiot tries scud running at night in Virginia?! Doing it in a jet no less! Chalk one up to Darwin, though a pity he had to take out a jet to do it.
     
  10. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    I was going to guess that this was an episode of Airplane repo gone bad, but they always have a cameraman on board.
     
  11. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Rumor is that this was the owner/operator of the plane headed to home base to KSHD. Registered owner is Augusta Aviation, and KSHD is in Augusta County. A direct flight path from Richmond to KSHD is pretty close to the crash site.

    Why wouldn't he file, especially given the forecast (and actual) weather?
     
  12. Zeldman

    Zeldman Final Approach

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    I was flying to Albuquerque once at 11,500, day time. ATC calls me and tells me of a Citation that will be passing me on my right at 10,000, VFR. 11,301 foot mountain between us and ABQ.

    Pretty cool watching a jet pass me and lower than me.
     
  13. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I was thinking along those lines as well. Something doesn’t seem quite right with this one.
     
  14. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Used to fly in there 121 often. At night you must be cognizant of the terrain there. Hell day time too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  15. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The decisions that people make never cease to amaze and dumbfound me.
     
  16. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Please remember.... Some Citations are reasonably simple jets, and can be marketed to low time (yet wealthy) folks. There are Citation guys out there with little experience and zero common sense.
    I have no idea about this exact case, but *most* professional pilots would not launch VFR in weather like that.
     
  17. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    Fly an RNAV 23 practice approach into SHD, brings you right over the peak of Massanutten ski area. Kinda drives home the penalty of busting altitude.
     
  18. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Looking at the map, this appears to be Bucks Elbow Mountain (or very close to it), which is the site of the Piedmont crash referenced above. More aluminum on the hill.
     
  19. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    maybe
    "its only 20miles"
    "It's a 6 minute flight"
    "I've done it dozens of times"
    "I know that route like the back of my palm"
    "Its just over the hills there, I can usually almost see it from here"
    "filing, clearance, approach seems like a lot of work for such a short flight"
     
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  20. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Looks like I Follow The Roads,wasn’t successful .
     
  21. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's nowhere near the road. If he'd followed I-64, not only would the terrain be a *little* more forgiving, he'd also have been able to follow the hi intensity (runway-type) lights over Afton Mountain.

    The weather history reported on Buck's Elbow Mountain last night at 9 PM was virtually identical temp and dew point with light wind. We need to wait for NTSB report, but that's a recipe for fog in those mountains.

    https://www.wunderground.com/person...KVACROZE15#history/s20180415/e20180415/mdaily
     
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  22. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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  23. Bobanna

    Bobanna Line Up and Wait

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    Sorry. I thought you said "caveman" on board.
     
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  24. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What about this being a jet makes the accident unique? Instrument-rated private pilots do this sort of stuff all the time. So he had more money than most people who attempt VFR flight in horrible weather and wind up pasted to the side of a mountain? There is otherwise nothing unique or interesting about this at all.
     
  25. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    Speed and complexity is the difference. It would be pretty high-risk in a slow piston single. Add the speed of a jet and you have a compounding of factors: you both have less time to react to information and need more space in which to react. Everything happens faster and bigger in a jet and the cockpit is usually a busier, more complex place in a single-pilot jet. It's not the jet makes it unique, it's that it ramps up the risk significantly. We'd be having the same reaction to a high-speed turboprop, too.
     
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  26. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I understand all that, but my point is this: give a way, any way, that being in a jet makes this any safer. The story here is: guy attempts VFR flight in low-IFR conditions. And it turned out how it pretty much always turns out.

    I say again, there's absolutely nothing unique about this accident. Just a different plane than you normally see.
     
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  27. arnoha

    arnoha Cleared for Takeoff

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    I don't think anyone was arguing the jet would be a safer choice in this situation. It wasn't so much "I can't believe the jet crashed", but rather "I can't believe anyone would do this in any plane, let alone the riskier jet."
     
  28. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    They found a 496 in the wreckage :loco:.
     
  29. MetalCloud

    MetalCloud Line Up and Wait

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    What's that?
     
  30. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A Garmin 496 handheld GPS. Something you would use on some poorly equipped spam-cam to get satellite weather, VFR navigation assistance and an obstacle/terrain database.
     
  31. MetalCloud

    MetalCloud Line Up and Wait

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    Ah. Got it. Wasn't thinking Garmin 496. Brain fart. Was thinking some kind of documentation. That's what I get for reading POA during work. ;)

    And very well summarized! lol
     
  32. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    There is nothing special about a jet for scud running, other than it's faster so you have fewer options if you are headed into cumulogranite.

    But, this is a plane that's capable of flying higher - easily above the max elevations - and high enough to see and pick through some of the weather. Baffles me that he didn't file IFR and use the plane to his advantage.
     
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  33. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    But I don't think flying VFR in nighttime low-IFR conditions is more or less safe regardless of the aircraft. It's just a matter of whether they'll pick up parts of you or just hose you off the wreckage.
     
  34. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    Not that is is safe period, but I would argue flying a jet low altitude low IFR is less safe then flying your average piston plane. The systems are so much more complex, everything happens much quicker, and stall speeds are higher.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  35. mryan75

    mryan75 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Yeah, I get all that, I'm just wondering what the difference in outcome is. To me the answer is nothing. VFR in low nighttime IFR = dead pilot. The only thing that makes this any different from the other hundreds of flying VFR in IFR conditions stories is the plane. And my guess is that the reason for that is, if you're far enough in your flying career to be flying a 525, you've been around the block enough to know how doing something like this usually pans out. A 150-hour PPL holder, not so much.
     
  36. Dave Theisen

    Dave Theisen Pattern Altitude

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    Scud running in marginal conditions doesn’t discriminate. I knew a high time, ex-military, ex-airline pilot who ran his twin Cessna into the side of a mountain just because he didn’t want to pick up the IFR plan he had already filed.
     
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  37. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Bill - I tried to cover that in post #19. That's how I imagine these things, anyway.
     
  38. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 En-Route

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    That's ironic considering that he would have been better off just pirate ship thru IMC to on-top and gone on his merry way. If you're gonna break the law, at least exercise good judgement. ;)
     
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  39. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, I agree with you about the excuses. Still baffles me, though, in part because its not far from home, I've flown over those mountains (or as my friends in the Rockies would say "hills") many times, and because the pilot was based in the Valley, so he should have known... Especially since the mountain that carries I64 is nearby and fogs up so often that the highway department installe runway lights along the sides of the drive lanes after a bunch of accidents.

    This should have been entirely predictable to anyone who flies around ther given the weather and history.

    This was a mile or two from where the Piedmont DC 3 went down way back when.
     
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