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Author Topic: N115WF Challenger Crash at Aspen  (Read 9919 times)
Rick108
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« on: January 05, 2014, 04:27:19 PM »

About 2:20 EST a Challenger 60 crashed at Aspen, second landing attempt after executing a missed for a 30 kt gain.  Here is the relevant audio I pulled from the 1900z tapes.  Very sad...
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Rick108
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2014, 04:37:11 PM »

Here is a picture of the accident aircraft, and the FlightAware path.
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cptbrw
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2014, 04:55:44 PM »

According to Pitkin Co. Sheriff one dead and two injured in this crash.  So sad...
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dave
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2014, 04:59:50 PM »

Very sad.   RIP.

Attached is another copy of the audio that I put together.
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Jeffgingras
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 09:34:52 PM »

Might have been the third attempt at the approach for N115WF.  At the 27:15 mark of the 1830z recording, the crew acknowledges an instruction to intercept the localizer.  FlightAware track shows an overshoot.  Then at the 28:10 mark they are instructed to fly heading 120, and are vectored around for another attempt.

At the 28:24 mark, an arrival hold is announced for Aspen, presumably to allow an opportunity for the dozen or so aircraft waiting on the ground to depart.  5WF is the last aircraft scheduled to arrive before this hold becomes effective.  During its final attempt, the wind is reported as 330 degrees at 16 knots, with gusts to 25.  That's a significant tailwind component.

Interestingly, around the 7:15 mark, Dotcom 2541 goes missed, and then Flexjet 339 has its approach clearance cancelled shortly thereafter.  At the 14:45 mark, Gulfstream N7HB breaks off the approach to "resolve an issue," eventually diverting to Rifle.  This requires the trailing Learjet XA-VAL's approach clearance to be cancelled.  The re-sequencing of these aircraft appear to cause Skywest 6425, at the 18:57 mark, to be notified of a delay, resulting in that aircraft diverting to Grand Junction due to fuel status.

A difficult and tragic day for all involved.  Thoughts and prayers for the Challenger's passengers and crew.

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texmextrader
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« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 01:13:07 PM »

Sunday after new years.   Lots of traffic out of Aspen.  If you listen to the tapes, there's plenty of info.  Excellent.  The ATIS weather reports are also very informative into this situation at the time of each recording.

The airport was dealing with lots of aircraft wanting to depart and also icy conditions and deicing of aircraft.  They were lining them up for quick departures on rwy 33.   winds were out at 330 to 310 so  landings with a tailwind on rwy 15.   As the weather changed pilots were reporting windshear of 10 to 20 knots previous to the accident on arrival on rwy 15.

Interesting is at 14:33 when N7HB, a gulfstream, aborted the landing the tower also cancelled the approach of XA-VAL on his first attempt. At that moment the tower spent a bit of time keeping separation between the two aircraft  on the cancelled approach.

Aircraft on arrival were held by approach waiting for departing aircraft to leave to make room for arrivals to land.  with the tapes you get a taste for many conversations that not all pilots are aware.  Tower and ground were focused on the aircraft on the ground and making sure they were aware of the weather conditions through ATIS prior to departure.  Tower was receiving and advising arriving and departing traffic of the windshear as each aircraft arrived safely.  The arrival pilot would report the windshear and the tower would attempt to alert the inbound aircraft of possible tailwind windshear prior to landing.

The aircraft ahead was a falcon  XA-VAL mexico plane that landed safely on his second attempt and reported a windshear of 20 knots to the tower.  The pilot of the incident aircraft, also from mexico, was informed caution by tower of a 20 knot tail windshear and the pilot reported 33 knot tailwind and called missed.  Passed back to approach they were sequenced on a missed approach back to the runway 15.   I suspect on this second attempt the tailwind windshear was still present.  The tower informed the pilot that there was a wind out of 330 at 16 gusting to 25 and he was cleared to land on 15.   I suspect the pilot wanted to land.  If the falcon can do it he can do it and instead he came in hard and fast.  The NTSB reported the crash triggered the ELT.  There was a pilot, co-pilot and deadhead pilot on board.  The copilot passed.  Other two pilots were taken to the hospital.

NTSB also reported that they did not take on fuel at tuscon.  Previous fueling was most likely toluca, Mexico departing full.
So with all the holding on arrival at aspen and the missed approach, maybe the fuel level was also an issue in the decision to attempt to land the second time and not call another missed approach.

Sometimes the wisest choice is to declare a missed approach when the situation doesn't look good at that moment and then immediately file to the alternate.  The second attempt will always be more daring as a pilot will try to correct for the difficult landing ahead.  So the second time around the problem hasn't gone away, but the pilot has become more brave in an attempt to conquer the difficulty.     Choosing the alternate airport can sometimes be the best choice and should never be left out.

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blakepilot
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2014, 02:53:34 PM »

Sometimes the wisest choice is to declare a missed approach when the situation doesn't look good at that moment and then immediately file to the alternate.  The second attempt will always be more daring as a pilot will try to correct for the difficult landing ahead.  So the second time around the problem hasn't gone away, but the pilot has become more brave in an attempt to conquer the difficulty.     Choosing the alternate airport can sometimes be the best choice and should never be left out.

While it's taught in every flight school around the world to divert if the prevailing conditions aren't favorable for landing/approach, this still doesn't account for the mindset of many charter pilots that they have VIP/high-paying passengers/owners waiting, those people have high expectations, diversion isn't an option unless all other options have been exhausted, and the stress that piles on when all those things are combined.  It easy to say, from here, that diverting is the wisest choice (which I'm not denying), but that still doesn't account for the paycheck mindset.  I don't think the pilot was trying to be brave as much as he was looking to satisfy his duty to be on time for that high-paying passenger/owner.  Furthermore, you can clearly hear the stress in his voice from calling missed through the second approach and crash.  KASE also presents a special set of circumstances, as tailwind landings >10kts are commonplace in the winter.  It wasn't the most well-thought plan, but I'm sure the pilot felt he didn't have another choice to some degree.  As is said early and often, complacency kills.
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stidesforty
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2014, 03:00:27 PM »

How lucky is the plane in the run-up area after the incident that had a chock wedged in between its gear and gear door?  Sounds like if WF hadn't gone down, this one might have had a major issue on take-off!
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