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Author Topic: BUTTE, Montana Plane Crash  (Read 42063 times)
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

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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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SJ30
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« Reply #60 on: March 26, 2009, 12:58:54 PM »

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

Autopsy.
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joeyb747
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« Reply #61 on: March 26, 2009, 07:10:54 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.

No offense SJ30, but read the last line of the post I quoted, from "however" on.
I'm not sure we will ever know what happened.
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kea001
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« Reply #62 on: March 26, 2009, 07:22:32 PM »

Associated Press reported that the pilot crashed 'short' of the runway. Considering the orientation of the cemetery, it looks like he overshot it.


from KRON4 (San Francisco t.v. station)

"According to National Transportation Safety Board Keith Holloway, there were seven adults and seven children aboard the single-engine prop plane that crashed in Holy Cross Cemetery in Butte about one-quarter to one-half-mile short of Runway 33."

                                                                   ###

Note: The cemetery is halfway down the runway. You can't land in the cemetery and land short, unless you ty to land perpendicular.

                                                                   ###              
from Montana Standard

  • It originated from Redlands, Calif., Municipal Airport on Sunday. It stopped at Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville, Calif., and Oroville, Calif., to pick up additional passengers.
  • In Vacaville, the pilot added 128 gallons of fuel, probably topping off his 400-gallon tank, enough to fly for more than three hours.
  • It departed from Oroville at 12:10 MST with a destination of Bozeman. Summerfield listed Butte in the flight plan as an alternate landing site.
  • At 1:59 p.m., the pilot contacted Salt Lake City’s Air Traffic Control center to request a destination change to Butte.
    He did not give a reason. Rosenker (NTSB) said the plane was cleared for a landing in Butte.
  • The plane moved to a lower altitude and again at 2:05 p.m. again requested the diversion to Butte.
    Again it was granted, and at 2:27 p.m. Salt Lake City Air Traffic Control asked the pilot if he had the airport in sight.
  • Summerfield (pilot) indicated “he had one more cloud to maneuver around,” according to Rosenker.
  • One minute later, the pilot reported he had visual confirmation of the airport.
  • Two minutes later, the Air Traffic Control attempted to contact the plane and received no response.
  • By 2:33 p.m., the Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff’s Office had received numerous calls about the crash.
  • Rosenker said initial witness reports say the nose pitched down about 90 or 95 degrees before impacting the ground.
  • He said he talked with one witness with aviation experience who said the plane was “west of the runway, west of the runway centerline and too high to land.” The witness said he saw the plane bank to the left, fly further west, roll, pitch down and descend out of view.
  • There is no air traffic control at Bert Mooney Airport, but a local fixed-base operator was monitoring the radio. He heard the pilot call “final approach for runway 33” just before hearing the crash. The wreckage was found less than a mile from that runway.

http://www.helenair.com/articles/2009/03/24/state/55st_090324_buttefolo.txt

                                                                   ###

Note: So considering where the plane landed and the witness statement, it looks like he missed his approach. Then he crashed.

Google map - Butte, Montana
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 07:48:28 PM by kea001 » Logged
joeyb747
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« Reply #63 on: March 26, 2009, 08:30:58 PM »

From kea001s' post:
"The witness said he saw the plane bank to the left, fly further west, roll, pitch down and descend out of view."

So if I am reading this correct, the witness saw the airplane "ROLL", and "PITCH DOWN", like the airplane was inverted, and pitched towards the ground?? Do we know for sure the attitude of the airplane just before the crash?


Landed short?? That makes no sense at all. I concur with the missed approach theory. Possibly tried to make to sharp of a turn for the load on the airplane, destabilized the airframe, and lost control.

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kea001
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« Reply #64 on: March 26, 2009, 08:34:38 PM »

From kea001s' post:
Do we know for sure the attitude of the airplane just before the crash?

"Initial reports indicate the plane was flying at 300 feet."

Partial timeline of Montana plane crash
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_11978587

Possibly tried to make to sharp of a turn for the load on the airplane, destabilized the airframe, and lost control.

I wouldn't think he would have made a sharp turn BECAUSE of the weight. Considering his experience, one would think he would have gone straight on through and made a wide turn after the runway.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 08:43:27 PM by kea001 » Logged
joeyb747
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« Reply #65 on: March 26, 2009, 09:37:44 PM »

From kea001s' post:
Do we know for sure the attitude of the airplane just before the crash?

"Initial reports indicate the plane was flying at 300 feet."

Partial timeline of Montana plane crash
http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_11978587

Possibly tried to make to sharp of a turn for the load on the airplane, destabilized the airframe, and lost control.

I wouldn't think he would have made a sharp turn BECAUSE of the weight. Considering his experience, one would think he would have gone straight on through and made a wide turn after the runway.


I was actually referring to the attitude of the airplane, wether the airplane was inverted or not.

I would hope that he would not have made a sharp turn strictly based on the weight of the load...but this seems like a stabilization upset. The crash site was adjacent to the runway, about half way down, like he missed the approach, and attempted to turn back to the left (west) for another approach, and misjudged the turn.
Maybe I'm off base here...I am not totally failure with the performance envelope of the Pilatus.
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kea001
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« Reply #66 on: March 26, 2009, 09:59:59 PM »

Sorry. Should have sprung for the bifocals.

Something else I just thought about. I found this on flightaware.

Remarks
DEER IN VICINITY OF AIRPORT.
http://flightaware.com/resources/airport/KBTM

                                                         ###

Plane kills deer on Bert Mooney runway
The Montana Standard - 11/18/2005

"A SkyWest airplane ran over and killed a deer on the runway at the Bert Mooney Airport after landing around 11 p.m. Wednesday.

“It is a serious event,” said Rick Griffith, the airport’s manager. “We try to avoid that, and we take steps to avoid it. But our fence is 7-feet high, and deer can jump the fence.” Griffith is unsure how the deer got onto airport property. In some areas, it has been replaced with 8-foot high fence, but the airport cannot afford to replace five miles of the airport’s fence line.

Deer are especially hard to keep off airport property, but all kinds of animals can be a nuisance, Griffith said. The last time an airplane hit a deer at Bert Mooney was about 15 years ago.

http://www.mtstandard.com/articles/2005/11/18/newsbutte/hjjeiiibjbjbfe.txt


« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 10:28:10 PM by kea001 » Logged
joeyb747
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« Reply #67 on: March 26, 2009, 10:05:41 PM »

Sorry. Should have sprung for the bifocals.

 grin I'm getting there too!  grin
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« Reply #68 on: March 27, 2009, 11:37:45 AM »

Avweb is reporting today that there is still no working theory at this point about this crash and that the investigators are focusing in the reason for the diversion as a starting point in the investigation:

NTSB: "No Working Theories" In PC-12 Crash Investigation

The article states that there was no stress in the pilot's voice when he requested the diversion nor was an emergency declared, which again implies that the reason for the diversion was not mechanical in nature.

Here is an idle, probably regrettable thought I had today about this accident given the facts, most notably the location of the accident in relation to the runway and the pilot's military background.  What about the idea that this was an overhead break maneuver gone awry?

There are perfectly legitimate reasons for overflying an airport before entering the pattern to land and the military uses the overhead break as a way to combine inspecting the runway with ensuring the aircraft can reach the runway at all times while on a visual approach.   This airport has an AWOS so unless it was unavailable it seems unlikely the pilot would have overflown the airport for wind direction assistance alone.
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« Reply #69 on: March 28, 2009, 08:39:37 AM »

I have a question, i haven't really been following aviation news until somewhat recently (about November). Is it common for this amount of plane crashes to occur in such a short span of time? I mean so far there's been (In no particular order) The Turkish plane crash, the smaller (Angel flight I believe?) crash in Massachusetts, the Buffalo crash, the Hudson crash, the small plane crash off of Australia, and now these two. (I'm probably missing some too)  Is this ordinary huh
Also try FAA.gov under Data and Research
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« Reply #70 on: March 28, 2009, 09:45:56 AM »

Pretty guttsy move to do an overhead in a PC12 with a load of pax (if that were the case). Anyone ever see the video of a B52 doing an overhead maneuver at Fairchild AFB, stalling the wing and nosing it in?
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joeyb747
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« Reply #71 on: March 31, 2009, 07:52:21 PM »

Pretty guttsy move to do an overhead in a PC12 with a load of pax (if that were the case). Anyone ever see the video of a B52 doing an overhead maneuver at Fairchild AFB, stalling the wing and nosing it in?



Was this the vid you were referring to? Pretty shocking.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 08:05:55 PM by joeyb747 » Logged

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