Miami control was quoted on our local news as them being about 25 minutes out of clearing Customs at Ft Pierce approx 21,500 ft when a hard turn, followed by another hard turn and Mayday without details of the specific problem. Lost from radar and no further comms. A lot of effort is going into finding the lost 13yo boy who was verified on plane leaving Ft Pierce but not found at crash site.
Such a sad story. May the answers be found soon. Wx was rainy over whole state with embedded squalls, but not as strong as our "normal" summer thunder boomers. CNN characterizes the area as swamp; actually it is upland scrub, so search and investigation won't be as difficult.
I can think of about two dozen reasons why an airplane might break up in flight. Assuming, of course, that in the absence of anything other than reports from notoriously ignorant and inaccurate news reporting agencies that an inflight breakup actually occurred.
I will give more credence to a midair being the only possible explanation when the other aircraft involved, or its wreckage, turns up.
I began a thread this morning on the crash, in the forum for private flying, as that is where I suspected such a thread belongs.
My question remains, based upon a service ceiling of 30k, the report being that the plane appeared to run into trouble at 26k, and my assumption (possibly in error) is that the aircraft has a pressurized cabin type:
Would a loss if pressurization lead to quick incapacitation of the pilot and perhaps a spiral / dive/ death spiral, with break up happening well into the dive due to speed being exceeded?
That's where my brain went first, as I have no sense of what autopilot features this aircraft typically carries.
Now that I see what you all are seeing, perhaps flying into bad weather is a more Occam's Razor explanation.
Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 8th Jun 2012 at 20:22.
I don't know how accurate the flight tracking records on FlightAware.com are, but it seems that the aircraft made a sudden 90deg turn to starboard at 12:33 and dropped below its stall speed at 12:35, but maintained FL260:
Some aircraft have an Emergency Descent autopilot mode when cabin altitude climbs well above 8000 feet that turns the aircraft 90 degrees (to get off airway and bring ATC attention) and auto descends to 12,000 feet or so. During the descent their groundspeed would be lowered.
But if the crew was incapacitated and never recovered the a/c should just fly the new heading at 12,000 feet until fuel exhaustion.
Perhaps a fuselage failure initiated emergency descent mode and incapacitated the crew, followed a few minutes later by worsening damage sufficient to depart controlled flight?
Huck: my experiences with Hypoxia in training chambers showed me that at 25 K, it takes about a minute or so to get loopy, for some, and up to three minutes for others. Point? He could have been one of those who goes loopy faster if decompression was what happened.
Don't know about the PC-12 but the Citation Mustang autopilot does have an ED mode. The pilot still has to close the throttles and extend the boards and gear. And they have to be functional at the level off altitude to add power and clean the plane up or you've just delayed the inevitable.