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Author Topic: BUTTE, Montana Plane Crash  (Read 27760 times)
Hollis
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« Reply #45 on: March 23, 2009, 09:38:48 PM »

Prime suspect is now icing. Sound familiar?
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joeyb747
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« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2009, 06:53:28 AM »

Prime suspect is now icing. Sound familiar?

I was looking at the images from flightaware, and noticed weather all along the route. Icing flashed into my mind, but I wasn't sure about it. Who is reporting icing? Just curious.
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mhawke
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« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2009, 09:38:56 AM »

How mountainous is the terrain around Butte? I'm recalling something about horizontal vorticies coming off mountains causing flight upsets. I believe that was in the Colorado Springs area. Any possibility that could have been a factor? I am not familiar with the Butte area.

Just a few miles east of the airport is the continental divide, peaks there in the 8-10K ft range.  Same thing to south of airport.  To west is a large rise.

It is essentially in a valley and surronded by mountains on three sides, and large hill to the west.  I think that is way it is essentially a visual approach.  It has ILS, but from what I know, is flown uncoupled, and the minimums make it essentially a visual approach and landing because the mountains are so close there is no room for error.

It can be interesting to watch the planes fly in, coming over the hills to the north of the airport to land.

I have personaly only flown into Butte once.  I travel there fur business, but fly to Bozeman and drive over.  It seemed for a stretch that everytime I had tickets to Butte, I ended up landing in Helena or Bozeman anyway because the airport was closed.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2009, 09:52:44 AM »

I have personaly only flown into Butte once.  I travel there fur business, but fly to Bozeman and drive over.  It seemed for a stretch that everytime I had tickets to Butte, I ended up landing in Helena or Bozeman anyway because the airport was closed.

AvWeb just put out an article that supported your question about the diversion being farther from the resort:  PC-12 Crash Probed, 14 Dead

The article seems to discount icing as a factor, since the PC-12 is certified for known ice and that the temperature a few thousand feet above ground was above freezing.    It also ponders the idea that this could be nothing more than a classic got-too-slow-while-maneuvering-and-stall/spun-it-in, which seems far fetched given the ex-Air Force, 2,000 hour-in-type pilot flying the aircraft.
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SJ30
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« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2009, 04:43:26 PM »

The airport has an elevation of 5,550 feet above sea level.  Considering the temperature (6c), dew point (-1c), and baro pressure (29.56) taken around the approximate time of the accident the density altitude calculates to 6,302 feet.    Wiki  reports (Pilatus site still unreachable for me) a service ceiling for the PC-12 of 30,000 feet.   

While operating over gross certainly affects the performance of an aircraft, it seems to me that this particular calculated density altitude would not have been a sizable performance detriment to this particular aircraft model. 

However, anything still goes at this point.

Thanks, this is what I was looking for.

Ok, I missed the part about the cancellation from the filed destination over to Butte, which according to Airnav.com, sits at 5,550 msl. 

I called ATIS [Bozeman] yesterday and got information enough to derive the density altitude and it was even lower than what you just listed for Bert Mooney Airport.  So, with a service ceiling of FL300, I guess this should have been no problem for this particular PC.

I hope this is NOT going to be another icing situation......again.  Every PC-12 that I've seen has de-icing boots on the leading edges of both wings and the horizontal.  Though, I've seen none with the boot on the leading edge of the vertical.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2009, 04:45:49 PM by SJ30 » Logged

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SJ30
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« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2009, 05:03:45 PM »

...which seems far fetched given the ex-Air Force, 2,000 hour-in-type pilot flying the aircraft.

Not so sure about that.

A former Navy F-18 Hornet driver once flew an L-39 straight into the ground and smoked it.  One would think that an almost 4,000 hour tactical combat pilot would have no problems handling what had to have been considered a fairly tame jet trainer like the L-39.

During my L-39 research last year, I talked to a current jet warbird type rating check pilot and former Navy combat pilot with about 225 combat missions in Vietnam.  I asked him how it was possible for a Hornet driver to dig a new hole with something like an L-39.  The old fighter pilot said that sometimes, it is possible for the higher performance military jet pilot to forget that he does not have the same amount of raw thrust available to him in a lower performance aircraft and can sometimes forget to not allow the aircraft into the region of reverse command so easily - causing a situation where falling behind the power-curve becomes all too easy for the highly experienced military jet pilot.

Once he put it that way, it made all the sense in the world.  F-18: in general, anywhere from 22,000 to 34,000 lbs of thrust total and greater than 0.9 thrust to weight.   L-39: 3,800 lbs of thrust at 0.37 thrust to weight.  Fall a little bit behind the F-18 and power out of trouble.  Fall a little bit behind the L-39 and there's not enough thrust to bail you out.

I asked him again, how could such a pilot with all that military training make the mistake of forgetting what he was flying?  He said:

"It can happen to the most experienced pilot regardless of what they've flown in the past if they don't pay continuous attention to the new flight environment that their lower performance aircraft places them..."
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2009, 05:39:55 PM »

...which seems far fetched given the ex-Air Force, 2,000 hour-in-type pilot flying the aircraft.
Not so sure about that.

I was actually more impressed with the pilot's time in type - at 2,000 hours of experience in a particular aircraft one would believe that a pilot knows the aircraft pretty well.  As far as being ex-military, that implies to me a discipline not easily matched in the non-professional flying world.

Your point is well taken, though.  As you know the US aviation community just lost Sparky Imeson, the incredibly well-respected mountain flying guru who was killed in an Cessna 180 while, you guessed it, mountain flying.   Really mind boggling that we have lost a few highly experienced pilots as of late.

edit: thesaurus
« Last Edit: March 24, 2009, 05:43:47 PM by KSYR-pjr » Logged

Regards, Peter
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SJ30
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« Reply #52 on: March 24, 2009, 05:58:08 PM »

I did not know about Sparky.  I just read about him over at AOPA.  Sad, really sad and also really bizarre when very experienced people, thought of as being the preeminent expert in a particular area, gets into trouble in their own area of expertise.

I'm not a fearful person - I don't live my life in constant fear of anything.  But, I'm also human and I have to admit that this stuff makes me uneasy at times.  I'm right on the edge of starting my new personal flying career and I have plans to own and operate some pretty high-performance machines.  This stuff just bothers me - sorry, but it just bothers me.

At least, my favorite, Bob Hoover is still around!  The things that he used to be able to do with his Commander are legendary.  The man poured a glass of ice tea [you've got to be kidding] while rolling his commander - and he poured it, back-handed at that!

If I could get Bob as my instructor from Private through my Jet Type, I'd take'em in a heart beat - I don't care how old he might be.  Bob, might be 140 years old, I'd take'em!
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joeyb747
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« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2009, 06:43:52 PM »

How mountainous is the terrain around Butte? I'm recalling something about horizontal vorticies coming off mountains causing flight upsets. I believe that was in the Colorado Springs area. Any possibility that could have been a factor? I am not familiar with the Butte area.

Just a few miles east of the airport is the continental divide, peaks there in the 8-10K ft range.  Same thing to south of airport.  To west is a large rise.

It is essentially in a valley and surronded by mountains on three sides, and large hill to the west.  I think that is way it is essentially a visual approach.  It has ILS, but from what I know, is flown uncoupled, and the minimums make it essentially a visual approach and landing because the mountains are so close there is no room for error.

It can be interesting to watch the planes fly in, coming over the hills to the north of the airport to land.

I have personaly only flown into Butte once.  I travel there fur business, but fly to Bozeman and drive over.  It seemed for a stretch that everytime I had tickets to Butte, I ended up landing in Helena or Bozeman anyway because the airport was closed.

Thanks mhawke. I'm not sure how much stock I'd put into my rotor theory...but the mountainous terrine would support it.

But it's just that, a theory. It floated into my mind, so I thought I'd put it out there.
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kea001
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« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2009, 09:56:59 PM »

This is one big tragedy.

ENTERPRISE - The president of an Oregon corporation that owned the single-engine turboprop airplane that crashed Sunday in Butte, Mont., killing all 14 people aboard, remained in seclusion Tuesday.

"He is grieving with his family," said Enterprise attorney D. Rahn Hostetter , who represents Irving M. "Bud" Feldkamp, 3rd .

Feldkamp is co-owner of the sprawling Lostine River Ranch on the edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness near the town of Lostine. He also is president of Eagle Cap Leasing Inc. , of Enterprise, registered owner of the Pilatus PC 12 aircraft that went down.

Feldkamp lost two of his daughters, two sons-in-law and five grandchildren in the crash. The family had planned to spend a week skiing at the exclusive Yellowstone Club , a millionaires-only resort south of Bozeman.

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/lostine_ranch_coowner_in_seclu.html
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danwaudi
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« Reply #55 on: March 25, 2009, 06:56:59 AM »

I have heard that the pilot had a heart attack, and one of the pax was trying to fly/land the aircraft.
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Switch Monkey
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« Reply #56 on: March 25, 2009, 07:22:14 AM »


[/quote]

The lockeed turn I was refering to was at the Butte end of the flight.  Not a track change.  It was a wide sweeping turn which looks like someone doing energy managment.  He may have also made a judgment based on the capabilites of the airport.  We will likely never know.  The last Pilatus that made a nose down crash like this is still an unknown cause.  There were some pilots that were pulling the breaker on the stick shaker computer because they didn't like the shaker going off at touchdown.  If he did this then there would have been no stall warning. 
[/quote]

What's a "lockeed turn?"
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joeyb747
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« Reply #57 on: March 25, 2009, 12:12:11 PM »

I have heard that the pilot had a heart attack, and one of the pax was trying to fly/land the aircraft.

Wow! Thats tragic. I hadn't heard that. Do you possibly have a link to the story that reported that?
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Hollis
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« Reply #58 on: March 25, 2009, 02:19:39 PM »

I'd classify that report as pure nonsense. How would anyone know?
However, that aspect is being looked into. The latest :

BUTTE, Mont. -Authorities investigating a plane crash that killed 14 say an autopsy on the pilot's body could reveal whether a medical emergency was at fault.
However, Butte-Silver Bow County Coroner Lee LeBreche cautioned that a complete autopsy may be impossible because of the violent nature of the crash. The autopsy was under way Wednesday.
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KSYR-pjr
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« Reply #59 on: March 25, 2009, 02:35:37 PM »

I'd classify that report as pure nonsense. How would anyone know?

That was my first reaction as well but there is one way - Had someone (the right-seater, most likely) on the aircraft made a transmission over the CTAF relating that information.  However, if that actually occurred the news would have been made public by now so I, too, am also very skeptical of any reports of pilot incapacitation.

Without the facts in front of me at the moment but recalling reading them at one point, pilot incapacitation leading to a fatal crash makes up a very low percentage of accident types.
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Regards, Peter
ATC Feed:  Syracuse (KSYR), NY
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