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Author Topic: Pilatus PC-12 crash  (Read 14395 times)
dylanh
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2012, 02:52:06 AM »

I agree with cphillips103 comment. To expand a bit: AIM 4-2-1.b does specify that "The single, most important thought in pilot-controller communications is understanding....Since concise phraseology may not always be adequate, use whatever words are necessary to get your message across."   Sometimes referred to as using "Plain English". The FARs do not require use of correct phraseology and techniques. Use whatever method is needed to ensure clear understanding.
I think I didn't make myself clear - ironic, since I'm commenting on a communication issue!

My issue is not at all with minor phraseology issues, but with his complete lack of identifying his aircraft in most of his clearance readbacks and responses to ATC.  That's a habit that is successfully trained into pilots from 30-hour students going out on their first solo to 5000 hour ATPs.  There are reasons for it, and reasons that it needs to be a habit.  

To me, it's also an indicator that a pilot understands that lots of little things have their places in the bigger system in which he is operating, and lots of those little things all add together within that system to enhance the safety of flight.

You can excuse it by saying that the frequency and airspace weren't particularly busy, but then what's the point of training important procedures (like clearly ID'ing your aircraft on radio comms) to become habits?  The point is that you want them to be there - automatically - when things get a little tighter, like when you are in congested airspace, or when there's another aircraft with a callsign close to yours on frequency.

To be clear:  I'm not suggesting that the communication issues I'm talking about had anything specific to do with the outcome of this flight.  I'm wondering - admittedly without solid evidence - whether the lax comm procedures (indicated in my mind not by particular phraseology, but by the lack of ID'ing readbacks) might be an indicator of loose habits or procedures in other areas of how the flight was conducted.

In short, I'm not screaming out that I think there's a smoking gun - just saying, "Hmmm, I wonder about this..."
100% agree.  To me, the pilot just sounded "new".  Seemed like ATC comms weren't a finely honed technique he'd learned with many hours actually doing it.  Again, to echo others' comments, his lack of polish was not causal to the crash...but it alludes to an overall lack of experience in my honest opinion.  One comm sticks out in particular: He was given a very easy clearance of radar vectors LAL-SZW-Direct by the Ft. Pierce ground controller.  Yet when given "direct Lakeland", he queries the controller: "Can I trouble you for the identifier for Lakeland?"  What on earth did this guy have plugged into his Garmin 530 (if anything other than DIRECT) before he departed?

I'm not buying the argument that the guy intentionally put his plane into a 22,000 fpm dive due to decompression issues (NOT discounting a decompression), but as the good book (and SIMCOM) teaches you: Gear down, pitch for MMO (barber pole) then, eventually VMO of 236 kts IAS.  This yields decent rates of somewhere north of 4,000-6,000 fpm and gets you to a breathable altitude within 3-4 minutes.  22,000 fpm equates to a tad over 250 kts straight down, 90 degrees. 

We won't know for a long time what contributed to this crash, but the memory card in the EIS panel should hopefully yield some clues as to what bells and whistles went off, and in what order.  One thing I'm convinced of, any weather he was flying through at the time (based on historical data) wasn't enough to hurt this airplane.  22,000 fpm descent rates and poor recovery techniques will. 

The hole in the right rear fuselage and the fact that the 13 year old was found a mile away are troubling.  Will be very interesting to hear the final report on this one.

The Bramlage family suffered greatly and experienced unimaginable horror in their last few minutes of life.  May they RIP.
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