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Author Topic: Plane crash (NGF15D) in Easton, MA (near Mansfield, MA 1B9)  (Read 80143 times)
dave
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« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2008, 10:03:37 PM »

More thoughts on Wake Turbulence -

(all good observations)

We need to think about this stuff.

I am left remembering one quote that has stuck with me for a long time:
"The difference between theory and practice is that in theory there is no difference between theory and practice."

The Bonanza was several miles (!) behind an E135 with 1,000 feet of vertical separation.  I think those winds would have had to be howling a little more for any wake to reach the Bonanza.  But I could be wrong.  I am certainly not an expert.  Far from it.

Again, not saying that there is no way a wake turbulence encounter occurred.  It's a probability game.  I would put my money on not.  Small pistons are sequenced behind transport jets every day at many airports.  From what I have been able to gather, actual wake encounters are more on the rare side.  But they do happen.

Just some more food for thought.  I don't see how the actual flight conditions will ever be uncovered - but the NTSB is good at what they do and, whre possible, they piece things together pretty well.  So we'll see.



« Last Edit: August 14, 2008, 10:06:12 PM by dave » Logged
JALTO
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« Reply #51 on: August 15, 2008, 11:50:08 AM »

chilling audio.....

Does the FAA provide any sort of service for the controller that handled the situation?

Jalto
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« Reply #52 on: August 15, 2008, 12:16:14 PM »

I realize that the controller was busy, but should he not have picked up the "busting" of assigned altitude before he got down to 1200 feet??
I fly out of Norwood Mass, and I know that people can be written up for busting altitude.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #53 on: August 15, 2008, 12:32:54 PM »

I realize that the controller was busy, but should he not have picked up the "busting" of assigned altitude before he got down to 1200 feet??

The controller did pick up on it.  Listen again and you should first hear the controller call the AF pilot when the pilot dropped to 2,300.
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« Reply #54 on: August 15, 2008, 07:37:07 PM »

Per somebody else's comments RE: "I consider that being assigned 3000' under all that "big boy" traffic at 4000', caused the upset leading to the spatial disorientation."

Yah, I'm going with that!  I've reviewed what we have available to us as pilots as we all do.  Luckily, we're not authorized to make the final decision of cause.  But, as we all did, I 'tracked' the flight on flightaware, heard the tapes posted, reviewed Passuur, etc.

My FIRST instinct, before reading any comments on this site, was 'wake turbulence' at the IAF after looking and listening to all the information available above.

The history of the pilot shows nothing but proficiency not only in flying in general, but the specific aircraft as well.  I think he showed his true colors of professionalism of maintaining very adequate control of his composure during what I'm sure was a terrifying experience for him.

Thank goodness we're not all NTSB investigators.  We'd have this 'case' solved.  I'm going with the past posts: WAKE TURBULANCE.



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« Reply #55 on: August 16, 2008, 06:40:15 AM »

Thank goodness we're not all NTSB investigators.  We'd have this 'case' solved. I'm going with the past posts: WAKE TURBULANCE.

You seem to imply that you are a real life pilot ("...what we have available to us as pilots...") so let me first ask this as a baseline:  Are you instrument rated and, more importantly, have you ever hand flown an aircraft in IMC? 
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« Reply #56 on: August 16, 2008, 07:25:39 AM »

After hearing the 'up and down' from the controller, my thoughts turned to the possibility of a structural failure in the tail. I did some searching and found this  at the University of Texas engineering department

http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/archive/general/ethics/vtail.html

To quote: (my bold emphasis)
the V-tail has a very high rate of in-flight failures. Compared with the Model 33, which is the same aircraft with a conventional straight-tail, the V-tail has a fatal in-flight failure rate 24 times as high as the Straight tail Bonanza. In spite of this glaring statistic, Beech claimed that there was no problem with the V-tail, and for many years the public seemed to agree with Beech. However, the deaths from in-flight failures continued to mount. The V-tail Bonanza is a classic tale of a dangerous item, which because of its popularity continued to kill.

That is an alarming statistic!

Tim
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« Reply #57 on: August 16, 2008, 07:43:03 AM »

That is an alarming statistic!

Old news that is not at all accurate nor current in the manner in which you presented it.  If you read the entire article you would have discovered the fact about the FAA releasing an emergency AD and Beechcraft coming up with a collar modification that significantly strengthened the rear stabilizers.

With these retrofit strengthening kits mandated by the FAA a couple of decades ago as well as a recurring spar inspection AD, V-tails have no more of a history breaking up in flight than any other aircraft flown into an area of extreme turbulence (read:  thunderstorm or strong turbulence off the lee side of a mountain) or those where the pilot has lost control in IMC and then attempted to exert drastic control forces in an attempt to pull out.

Additionally, if you noticed the crash pictures you would have seen the distinctive V-tail with its ruddervators still connected to the charred wreckage.   This aircraft did not break up in flight.

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Regards, Peter
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« Reply #58 on: August 16, 2008, 05:01:40 PM »

Hi all...

I am an instrument pilot in training, and one should consider the pilot's physical and mental well-being before and during the flight.  I listened carefully to the recording (thanks for the posting .. excellent job of stitching it together) and the pilot seemed flustered for some reason.  When I make similar mistakes in my training, they seem to compound and you get less self-confident as time goes on.  Any distractions after making errors, no matter how small could become a major distraction.  He was pretty much a solid overcast, which is not a lot of fun to fly in for a while.  He flew as close as 15m from the airport after crossing 128 and then had to turn back south to enter the approach.

He made three errors in all, but the last one was fairly serious, but not a killer unless the root cause was something was distracting him from performing the task.  He flew through the localizer.  But, ATC never cleared him for the approach, which could have been a little upsetting because it is not normal procedure. 

In this case as the others, ATC corrected his course but I think whatever was bothering him earlier in the flight with the errors made, now distracted him much worse and took his attention from keeping the localizer centered and at altitude.

One cannot rule out that wake turbulence contributed to the accident, but I think his physical and/or mental well-being has to be brought into question when he was so distracted to not adhere to ATC requests.

I feel for the family and friends of the pilot and his passengers.  I lost my instructor to an in-flight break-up accident. 

regards,
Paul
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dave
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« Reply #59 on: August 16, 2008, 06:24:48 PM »

I am an instrument pilot in training, and one should consider the pilot's physical and mental well-being before and during the flight.  I listened carefully to the recording (thanks for the posting .. excellent job of stitching it together) and the pilot seemed flustered for some reason.  When I make similar mistakes in my training, they seem to compound and you get less self-confident as time goes on.  Any distractions after making errors, no matter how small could become a major distraction.  He was pretty much a solid overcast, which is not a lot of fun to fly in for a while.  He flew as close as 15m from the airport after crossing 128 and then had to turn back south to enter the approach.

Instrument flying is challenging and the Instrument Rating is one of the more challenging pilot ratings to obtain.  It is very easy for mistakes to compound - and it can happen quite rapidly.  If the pilot is not able to recognize mistakes rapidly and recover them, sometimes the results can be fatal.  So your comments here are right on and I hope you succeed in your instrument training and learn all the important lessons.

He made three errors in all, but the last one was fairly serious, but not a killer unless the root cause was something was distracting him from performing the task.  He flew through the localizer.  But, ATC never cleared him for the approach, which could have been a little upsetting because it is not normal procedure. 

Another thing about aviation accidents is that they are frequently a series of errors; it's not always just one thing.  The pattern here appears to match your observations.  Except for one comment - the fact that ATC never cleared him for the approach is not abnormal at all.  This is a perfectly normal procedure, that is, to vector a pilot and then instruct him to intercept the localizer (or other type of final approach course). "Turn left to 060, intercept the localizer" were the instructions in this case, instructions the pilot acknowledged.  Whether or not one is cleared for the approach is irrelevant.  The controller was building the final stream of traffic - he might have decided to pull an aircraft out of the flow and other possibilities....so he held off on the approach clearance until he was sure the spacing was going to work, and sure the pilot joined the final.  It happens all too often that a GA pilot has some kind of flying issue - had he been cleared and then lost radio contact then the traffic management situation would have become a lot more complex for the controller and all the rest of the arrivals.  As reliable as things are, controllers always need to have lost comms in mind - as well as ensuring separation despite lost comms.

In this case as the others, ATC corrected his course but I think whatever was bothering him earlier in the flight with the errors made, now distracted him much worse and took his attention from keeping the localizer centered and at altitude.

One cannot rule out that wake turbulence contributed to the accident, but I think his physical and/or mental well-being has to be brought into question when he was so distracted to not adhere to ATC requests.

I feel for the family and friends of the pilot and his passengers.  I lost my instructor to an in-flight break-up accident. 

The determination of this will be left to the NTSB and you may be right.  Nothing can be ruled out until the investigation is complete.

Very sorry to hear about you losing your instructor - that is sure to shake any pilot up, just like the loss of the generous pilot who lost his life along with two other wonderful people in this flight.

Dave
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nhpilot
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« Reply #60 on: August 17, 2008, 03:56:48 PM »

...........one should consider the pilot's physical and mental well-being before and during the flight.  I listened carefully to the recording (thanks for the posting .. excellent job of stitching it together) and the pilot seemed flustered for some reason. 

Thought the same thing...reference post above. Sometimes what's on paper doesn't reflect true competency.

RIP to all~
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DoctorOfLove
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« Reply #61 on: August 18, 2008, 02:31:01 AM »

Appeal to authority:

I have flown numerous Angel Flights to Logan
I have hit jet wake once in my career, squarely, violently, on short final to 4R at Logan.
I have had a vacuum pump failure in IMC.

His radio behavior wasn't as crisp as you shoot for, but had he landed and flown for another 20 years, it would have seemed nothing out of the ordinary (except, at the end, when he more or less wasn't responding to calls from the controller, answering a low altitude alert with his heading, apparently).  I've heard much worse, even in IMC at big airports like Logan (um, er, say again...) and no one crashed.

A wake turbulence encounter of any significance would have killed the flight immediately.  It is difficult to overstate the violence of a jet wake encounter.  IMC at 3000?  You would be a lawn dart.  There would have been no leveling off at 1200, and no further radio calls.

My guess?  He had a medical emergency.  A stroke, a heart attack, a fainting spell.  It would explain the behavior of the aircraft.  He passes out, the plane starts a descent.  He regains conscious control briefly, realizes he was low, mis heard the controller's low altitude alert (he had flown through the localizer, I could see the confusion over what the controller was asking for).  He started a climb, stated his heading, had another medical event, that was that, plane entered a final spin.

My wake encounter was on a clear sunny day, maybe 300 feet above 4R, with jet traffic departing to the east underneath me (11?).  Flew through a big jets wake (an A340 I think) at a right angle.  My plane rose and fell 6 feet faster than you could comprehend the event.   Had I been lined up with the departing traffic, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that that would have been it.    The overwhelming power of the event was incredible (in the true meaning of that word).  Landed uneventfully, mechanic never found anything wrong with my plane.  Ground crew at Logan saw it and asked me about it, my comment was "holy sh*t".  I have 2100 hours, lots in bad weather and I have never hit turbulence even remotely approaching it.  Maybe flying directly into a tornado would match it.

Yeah, yeah, I'll just roll my plane through it, you think.  Um no.  And in IMC at 3000?  You wouldn't even know what happened.  Lawn dart.  On the scope one second, gone the next.  So no, he didn't hit wake turbulence.  If the angel flight pilot had a jet wake encounter in IMC, and regained control while still in IMC while losing only 1800 feet, then he was a fantastic pilot.  In which case, it makes no sense that he couldn't finish the flight.   He had a medical emergency.

As far as Angel Flight having three accidents after many years of having none?  Random doesn't mean even, it means random.   Be another 20 years before they have another.
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« Reply #62 on: August 18, 2008, 06:20:52 PM »

To the poster who commented that the pilot seemed slightly out of sorts over the radio, I agree that on one of the check-ins, he seemed slightly distracted as he read back the altimeter, but from that point onward, his radio work seemed sharp as ever, reading back new heading assignments instantly, including calculating a new heading when assigned '10 degrees right' by ATC.

He calculated the new heading wrong. Or, he calculated it correctly but wasn't flying the assigned heading before he was issued the 10 degree change.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 06:31:09 PM by Bassman » Logged
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« Reply #63 on: August 19, 2008, 11:02:44 AM »

Bassman, how do you figure that?
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« Reply #64 on: August 20, 2008, 03:48:41 PM »

Wake Turbulence - Some more "food for thought" and certainly not the answer.

A book written by Rich Stowell - "Emergency Maneuver Training" in 1996, chapter 8, ppg 129 - 136, dealing with wake turbulence; "In the Pattern, Invisible Tornadoes, Aircraft Configuration Effects, Atmospheric Effects, Separation, Elevation and Being Prepared."

Not the usual AIM stuff.  One interesting piece of information relates that: "As a vortex
looses altitude, the surrounding atmospheric pressure increases.  The mounting pressure compresses the vortex, causes its temperature to rise.  As the vortex warms up, it becomes more buoyant and its rate of descent slows.  It may eventually level off at a constant altitude until its energy dissipates

Also covered is that temperature inversions and turbulence can break up vortices's quicker.

Another good source is undaerocast.com, UND podcasts in the ATC section.  The podcast on WT mentions separation standards of 3 miles between arriving traffic, the exception being 757 traffic where separation is 5 miles.

Both these sources are worth a look - a very good refresher - no matter what your thoughts are on this accident.

Concluding:

"Weather never ceases to be flying's torment",  North Star Over My Shoulder by
Bob Buck.
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nhpilot
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« Reply #65 on: August 21, 2008, 12:37:38 PM »


His radio behavior wasn't as crisp as you shoot for, but had he landed and flown for another 20 years, it would have seemed nothing out of the ordinary.......

My guess?  He had a medical emergency.  A stroke, a heart attack, a fainting spell.  It would explain the behavior of the aircraft.  He passes out, the plane starts a descent.  He regains conscious control briefly, realizes he was low, mis heard the controller's low altitude alert (he had flown through the localizer, I could see the confusion over what the controller was asking for).  He started a climb, stated his heading, had another medical event, that was that, plane entered a final spin.


Doc,

That's the point that was being made. He didn't sound "right" from the get-go. Sure we've all heard worse on the radio and nothing ever comes of it, but this one unfortunately did. You have to feel that being "mentally or physically" incapacitated may have possibly contributed.

As far as the wake turbulence issue, unless he encountered one and got disoriented over several minutes, I agree it would have ended much more abruptly.

As a side note, I recently hit some wake (B747) over the North Atlantic (even with an offset) in a Gulfstream and can tell you that it doesn't care about the size of the airplane it chooses.................it will get your attention and rattle your fillings clear out.  shocked
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Dog6
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« Reply #66 on: August 26, 2008, 11:01:16 AM »

The preliminary info NTSB is available at ntsb.gov

At the monthly list for August, the 12th.

http://ntsb.gov/ntsb/AccList.asp?month=8&year=2008

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« Reply #67 on: August 26, 2008, 02:48:37 PM »

Based on the NTSB report, and the audio clip, I would agree with other commenters that the poor guy was beginning to have progressively serious medical problems and was not able to 'follow' his instruments. He was probably unconcious when the aircraft spun.
I base part of that on a similar experience years ago. Had a pilot pass out cold. Fortunately I was in the cockpit also, but didn't realize what was happening until we were rolling through 90 degrees and I saw him slumped over. Didn't take me long to grab the controls and recover! He also recovered by the time we got back to the airport. Turned out he had had a heat stroke. 
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Robin Rebhan
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« Reply #68 on: August 29, 2008, 08:00:22 PM »

Lately over the past few months or so. I have noticed more pilots on these clips that have become confused or befuddled. Most thank goodness,  without incident. I somewhat wonder if there isn't a new "medication that is wrong for you" out there? Or if there isn't something else going on medically?

Could be we just have more good people here getting better at capturing and recording incidents like these and bringing them to our attention.

This accident really touched my heart, because $$ permitting I look forward to getting my commercial pilot and flying for Angel Flight.
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« Reply #69 on: August 29, 2008, 09:06:26 PM »

This accident really touched my heart, because $$ permitting I look forward to getting my commercial pilot and flying for Angel Flight.

You don't (yet) need a commercial certificate to fly for Angel Flight.  A private pilot certificate with an instrument rating and 250 hours total time (and perhaps 25 hours on instruments - I forgot if this is also a requirement) will qualify you to fly for Angel Flight Northeast.
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« Reply #70 on: August 31, 2008, 03:07:20 PM »

Based on the NTSB report, and the audio clip, I would agree with other commenters that the poor guy was beginning to have progressively serious medical problems and was not able to 'follow' his instruments. He was probably unconcious when the aircraft spun.

Nothing but pure speculation. The preliminary NTSB report indicates no medical problems whatsover. However, it clearly indicates the pilot had lost control of the situation and the airplane:

"1014, when the flight was at 3,600 feet and approximately 1.3 nautical mile northwest of the localizer at 170 knots ground speed"

"1017, ...controller then advised the pilot that the altitude indicated 2,300 feet, then immediately informed him radar contact was lost. ...The controller advised the pilot that the airplane was at 1,200 feet, issued a low altitude alert...instructed the pilot twice to "climb immediately." The pilot responded "5 Delta's climbing."

"The recorded radar data indicated that the flight climbed to 2,700 feet at a ground speed of 85 knots."

"The recorded radar data indicated the airplane then descended to 2,400 feet at a ground speed of 68 knots" This was probably AFTER he had stalled the airplane during the abrupt climb to 2,700 feet, or he pushed over just as the aircraft was stalling. At this point, it was over.

I fail to understand why so many of you want to attribute this classic loss of spatial orientation and a stall/spin to medical deficiencies, structural failure, and wake turbulence when no evidence whatsoever exists for it.

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« Reply #71 on: August 31, 2008, 03:24:11 PM »

I fail to understand why so many of you want to attribute this classic loss of spatial orientation and a stall/spin to medical deficiencies, structural failure, and wake turbulence when no evidence whatsoever exists for it.

I tend to be in agreement with your assessment but there could always be some other factor to consider as the final link in this accident that will never be uncovered in the investigation due to the condition of the aircraft and pilot post-crash.  For example, one factor that may have led to the loss of spatial orientation could have been vacuum or AI instrument failure, not pilot error directly. 

Considering the fact that this approximate 1955 aircraft was not flown by the owner, questions come to my mind such as, did it have a modern, IFR-rated GPS and moving map (which together provide excellent situational awareness, even on an ILS)?  Were squawks related to maintenance, especially avionics, timely addressed?  How about preventive maintenance related to avionics?

In my opinion, to truly understand how quickly things can go wrong between level, coordinated, and controlled flight and unusual attitude leading to a loss of spatial orientation (especially in a Bonanza) in IMC, one has to have experienced hand-flying in IMC firsthand.  As an active instrument pilot of a Bonanza I can attest to the speed at which an aircraft in IMC could slip into an unusual attitude due to either instrument scanning distraction (reaching for a chart or rereading an instrument approach's minimums) or even improper instrument scanning (focusing on only one gauge too long due to cockpit task overload).
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« Reply #72 on: August 31, 2008, 05:24:23 PM »



I fail to understand why so many of you want to attribute this classic loss of spatial orientation and a stall/spin to medical deficiencies, structural failure, and wake turbulence when no evidence whatsoever exists for it.



Because that is the central purpose of an intertubes message board.  Rank speculation and rumor.

And there isn't no evidence:  he sounded bad, he crashed in a 43 year old v tail bonaza, and logan has plenty of wake turbulence to go around.  That seems to provide some evidence supporting all three rank speculations and rumors.

Two years from now, when no one remembers, the NTSB will come out with a probably unsatisfactory report (unsatisfactory because of the absence of a cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder) and in the mean time, there will be plenty of other stuff to speculate rankly about. 

Based on the only evidence available, my opinion, he stroked out.
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1958MM
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« Reply #73 on: August 31, 2008, 06:14:29 PM »


Based on the only evidence available, my opinion, he stroked out.
[/quote]

That's just it, there's no evidence whatsoever that "he stroked out." There's just as much evidence that he was zapped by an E.T. in a nearby UFO.

On the other hand, if there is an autopsy that indicates medical incapacitation, then there would be such evidence that he "stroked out."
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« Reply #74 on: August 31, 2008, 06:39:39 PM »


In my opinion, to truly understand how quickly things can go wrong between level, coordinated, and controlled flight and unusual attitude leading to a loss of spatial orientation (especially in a Bonanza) in IMC, one has to have experienced hand-flying in IMC firsthand.  As an active instrument pilot of a Bonanza I can attest to the speed at which an aircraft in IMC could slip into an unusual attitude due to either instrument 

Even though there's no indication of medical distress in the pilot's voice, as a Bonanza pilot you should be able to listen to the other sounds on the recording to determine what's happening. As a former Bonanza pilot, I think I hear it.

But it's really a moot point, isn't it? We been advised that when a 43 year old V-tail Bonanza crashes, that's evidence for structural failure. And we know how many planes have crashed at Logan because of wake turbulence.
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