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Old 17th Oct 2009, 09:23   #1 (permalink)
 
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Pilatus PC-12 crash, Netherlands

A Pilatus PC-12 crashed near Weert, in The Netherlands, not long after departure from Budel Airpark yesterday morning. Sadly, both persons on board died in the accident. No emergency was declared to ATC. Local press questioning the safety aspect of the PC-12 with regard to it's airliner-like complexity, but being flown by private pilots.

Perhaps some PC-12 pilots could comment.
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Old 17th Oct 2009, 09:46   #2 (permalink)
 
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Local press questioning the safety aspect of the PC-12 with regard to it's airliner-like complexity, but being flown by private pilots.
Uninformed nonsense, typical of the press.
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Old 17th Oct 2009, 11:18   #3 (permalink)
 
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WX may have been a factor

WX here was decidedly IFR as I had a VFR flight planned myself yesterday which I had to scrub due to the poor viz and heavy winds. The winds were quite strong yesterday also.

Depending on how much time they had on type, either in IFR conditions or with dealing with strong cross-winds, my guess is that the poor weather here yesterday could have played a part.

But we shall have to wait and see what the investigators findings are.
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Old 17th Oct 2009, 11:22   #4 (permalink)
 
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I think a PC12 is capable of flying in IFR conditions.

It is extremely unlikely to be flown on a plain PPL - the utility value would be close to nil. The minimum likely pilot profile is a CPL/IR with loads of hours.
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Old 17th Oct 2009, 13:41   #5 (permalink)
 
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I too personally doubt that the pilot, a company CEO whose a/c it was, only held a PPL. He may well have been an experienced CPL/IR. The a/c was 4 months old.
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Old 18th Oct 2009, 09:45   #6 (permalink)
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peripheral comment

Yes, IR is a good measuring stick for pilot skill in that type of aircraft, in poor wx. I disagree, however, that the PPL vs CPL is as good a tool for measuring pilot skill. Generally, perhaps, but I know a lot of very experienced and well disciplined PPL's with whom I would much rather fly in tough conditions, than many less experienced CPL's I have known. Yes, the CPL has demonstrated a greater skill set upon examination (how to fly), but may not have yet accumulated that wealth of experience to instinctively know when and where to fly...

I flew yesterday in the company of a highly experienced, very well disciplined PPL, in his more than 1M$ privately owned aircraft, and I very much doubt that many newer CPL's could teach me what he did.

If we must judge people at all, let's do it based upon the demonstrated skill and judgement they exhibit, not the letters after their name...

Pilot DAR
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 10:18   #7 (permalink)
 
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CPL vs PPL

First of all PC12, especially new generation models, ale so easy to fly. It is easy to takoff, easy to fly, easy to land aircraft. EFIS is very intuitive, much more better that G1000, or Avidyne Entegra.

I am PPL/IR pilot flying my own PC12. Before I started to fly my own plane, I used services of charter companies a was flown as a customer in Piper Meridien. Since we were flying as a fractional ownership I could act as a PIC with safety pilot on right side. I wish you witness how many times, these "safety" pilots almost killed me. Even the fact, that some of them were not able to simple SHUT UP, when we were established, was distracting. So I am flyng alone, with my own personal WX minima, fully concentrated on my task.

And if we talk CPL vs PPL. CPL pilots fly usually with clients or on a delivery flights. I fly my PC12 also for fun. Just flying into countryide and doing touch and goes on small airfields.
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 10:54   #8 (permalink)
 
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Whilst the causes of this have yet to be established, there is an interesting article in Flyer this month from Brian Lecomber in which he also talks about single engine IFR operation.

I probably wont be popular in this forum saying this but I do worry about single engine IFR operation - it doesnt matter in my book whether you have an expensive turbine or piston they do go wrong and normally at the most inappropriate times (I have had failures with both) and in my view some the weather in europe just isnt good enough for long term safe single engine operation particularly with aircraft that can take a considerable number of PAX like the PC-12 (not in this case but in Montana a PC-12 crash killed 14 - half children).

I know that I am also going to upset the Cirrus, Meridian etc etc guys but I personally do have serious concerns over this even if it may be unfashionable to mention it.

My sympathies to the families
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 11:28   #9 (permalink)
 
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ILBlog;

The simple Shut Up! you want goes against the training of almost every commercial pilot I know. The "sterile cockpit" concept is to stop people talking about the football etc when they should be concentrating on the job in hand. The non-flying pilot should be calling out heights/distances/deviations etc.

As for the PC12 I have about 1500 hrs in them. You are right about the cockpit, it is superb to use, but it is very hard work when it goes wrong, or is set up incorrectly. One instructor I know says that in the event of a major avionics failure the situation is beyond the capabilities of most PPL holders (this guy trains them)

The investigation will eventually discover what has gone wrong in this case, doubtless we will all learn from it.
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 11:30   #10 (permalink)
 
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CessnaCJM

I often wonder what the PC12 is trying to achieve. It is a Multi $million aircraft to purchase yet only has the one engine? When you look at the depreciation going into $100s of thousand dollars a bit of fuel saved on having one engine seems ridiculous.

The single engine brigade quote statistics but all I know is that when I am flying over water, over fog banks, at night, over high mountains, in weather where the cloudbase is nearly on the ground, I get a high level of comfort hearing two engines purring away.

My passengers who know little about aircraft and see the second engine as a spare are often alarmed at the sight of one engine. "What happens if that stops"? " Oh we can glide". But glide to where and into what?

A lot in aviation is to do with perception instilling passengers with a sense of security not only in the aircraft flying them but in the crew.

One pilot!!! "What happens if you have a heart attack or pass out, have a stroke etc"? That is a difficult one to answer.

PPL doesnt sound good to passengers.

PPL sounds like a hobby pilot. CPL, ATPL professional pilot. A lot in aviation is to do with perception.

Single engine, 14 people carrier flown by one solitary hobby pilot ??? No wonder the media jump on that. Unfairly maybe but understandable.

Pace

Last edited by Pace; 20th Oct 2009 at 11:59.
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 11:49   #11 (permalink)
 
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Pace - there is a risk in everything. Driver incapacitation can kill one's family just as easily, yet driving one's family around on motorways is commonplace.

Interesting point about the SE cost saving relative to the DOC of the whole aircraft including depreciation. It is probably still significant though... a PT6 costs a small fortune. I am sure Pilatus can come up with comparative figures for a PC12 v a King Air (which one could then take apart) And ME operation requires a whole lot of other kind of currency and if you get it wrong, you kill yourself very fast, whereas an engine failure in the PC12 just means you look for a field straight away.
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I probably wont be popular in this forum saying this but I do worry about single engine IFR operation
I don't agree. There is a vast spectrum of planes from a 1970 C150 to a well equipped IFR tourer with all the automation, to something like a PC12 with state of the art bizjet-level avionics. The pilot workload will vary massively across this spectrum. Obviously the more complex machine will need more technical knowledge. But the complex machine is also far more capable and in the right hands much safer.

These arguments will carry on for ever. I recall reading, years ago, some writeup from somebody in the UK CAA, expressive grave concern about the widespread use of electrics (yes electrics) in light aircraft, operating things like landing gear and flaps. Gosh whoever wrote that piece was really up to date...

And I am sure a PC12, with its Vs of about 60kt, is perfectly easy to fly conventionally.

I must admit the PC12 is aimed at a rather specific market but then so are most planes in that price range. It has a helluva long range / payload capability, similar to the TBM700, a bit slower, but you don't have to deal with the French and their Gallic shrugs and that has to be worth at least a million
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 12:17   #12 (permalink)
 
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10540

I am not expressing my opinion on single engine V multi other than yes I do feel more comfortable in the situations I posted above with two engines.

It maybe correct re the multi /single stats although I would guess they refer more to the light piston twins rather than turbines.

Re the pilot quality YES there are some very experienced, capable PPLs but the public dont know that!

The public regard the PPL as unprofessional, a hobby pilot, part time, uncurrent, low houred. While they regard a CPL/ATPL as a professional pilot who flies for a living. Its his/her job full time current high houred. Not my opinion but observation of those perceptions.

Especially with the public we are fighting a battle that on the whole most are nervous of flying and it is only too easy to press the wrong button with them and increase their fears.

I hold to it that a PC12 would be seen as a single engine, 14 person light aircraft flown by a solitary hobby pilot by the press. The press, media love having a field day scaring mr Joe public at every opportunity.

Cirrus were very clever with their BRS shute system. Single engine? so what we have a shute that will lower you to the ground safely. What a Marketing angle?

Pace
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 12:25   #13 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pace
The public regard the PPL as unprofessional, a hobby pilot, part time, uncurrent, low houred. While they regard a CPL/ATPL as a professional pilot who flies for a living. Its his/her job full time current high houred. Not my opinion but observation of those perceptions.
Pace, I disagree, the general public don't have a clue what a PPL is never mind, CPL, ATPL or any of the detail of flying privileges. Your observations may be correct re the non flying public with an interest in flying, but they make up a very small minority and are not representative of the general public.
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 12:39   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Pace, I disagree, the general public don't have a clue what a PPL is never mind, CPL, ATPL or any of the detail of flying privileges. Your observations may be correct re the non flying public with an interest in flying, but they make up a very small minority and are not representative of the general public.
They dont know the terms PPL, CPL, ATPL but they do refer to Private Pilot and Commercial pilot/ professional pilot. I have flown quite a lot of different groups of people in corporate aviation so am just passing on my observations of how they regard the aircraft, single pilot ops and qualifications from assurances I have had to make a lot of the time.

Pace
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 12:39   #15 (permalink)
 
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The whole idea of 'whereas an engine failure in the PC12 just means you look for a field straight away' is OK in good weather, and I have had the opportunity to avail myself of similar situations. However, it is the operation of single engine IFR over fog, poor terrain or at night etc and then when the donkey quits where do you look - your GPS?

Having nearly had to put my toe in the water after a break up of a cylinder going to Jersey many years ago making the front page of the Jersey Post for getting there is no comfort against two engines.

IFR flight with TV screens also needs back up steam driven systems to help in the event of failure (of which there seems to be a few).

My view for what its worth is that if the only justification of single engine IFR is cost or indeed 'I can because it has a turbine and they dont fail' (believe me they do!!) then its a pretty poor one.

I accept there is a risk in everything including twins, but if you cant fly a twin in an emergency you perhaps shouldnt be in one and that is surely the same arguement for a single? The real difference is that in a single you are commited to landing irrespective of the weather/conditions whereas hopefully in a twin (if you havent run out of fuel) you should have at least some options. If I had 2m plus to spend on a machine (which sadly I dont) would REALLY make me think twice about having only one engine.
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 12:44   #16 (permalink)
 
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IMHO none of this matters because the right for a PPL to fly a PC12 is safeguarded by the ICAO system.

Obviously a PPL can't fly 14 people on a charter - not even where single pilot single engine PT is allowed.

Also I don't think many privately owned PC12s are configured for 14 seats and actually flying 14 people. Every one I have seen (and I see a fair few) are flying 3-4 people, and more often than not if the owner is the pilot he also has an instructor or a copilot in the RHS. It's a hard lifestyle for the copilot, flying to Cannes, Malaga and other horrible places all the time, and get paid for it

I don't know the owner-pilot % for a PC12 but it will be a lot higher than for light jets which according to the dealers come in at around 2% of sales. But I suspect a good half of the owner-flown PC12s have a semi permanent copilot (CPL/IR/ retired ATP).

Risk is an individual decision. Yesterday I flew straight across the middle of the Pyrenees, FL140 and about 4000ft above the terrain. I'd say the chances of a forced landing were worse than crossing the Alps anywhere (the Alps have a lot of huge canyons) but I wasn't worried. The power setting was about 50% so low stress on the engine... and my DOC (TB20) is about 1/2 of what a twin IO540 engines plane would be costing, for virtually the same speed.
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 12:47   #17 (permalink)
 
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Interesting point about the SE cost saving relative to the DOC of the whole aircraft including depreciation. It is probably still significant though... a PT6 costs a small fortune. I am sure Pilatus can come up with comparative figures for a PC12 v a King Air (which one could then take apart)
10540

The Kingair has hardly changed over the years. Do you spend nearly $5 million on a single engine PC12 and take the massive depreciation? (its a semi detached house at the end of the day) Or buy a Kingair a few years old which has just had fresh engines for 1/3 rd the price.

The Kingair will have got to a low depreciation point the PC12 wont.
Comparing new for new your arguement stands up but I know what I would do

Pace
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 14:49   #18 (permalink)

 
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If one can afford to spend $5mill on a PC12 to go flying for fun, who cares about depreciation? In the US anyway many of these toys are used to offset taxes so these people buy the biggest they can afford.

Quote:
IFR flight with TV screens also needs back up steam driven systems to help in the event of failure (of which there seems to be a few).
So what backs up the steam driven gauges in most aeroplane, the ones with a mean time between failure of 800 hrs? The G1000 has a MTBF of > 2000 hrs and also has a set of steam driven gauges as backup.

Present case excluded at the moment, but has there ever been a case of a SE turboprop suffereing engine failure and killing everyone? I seem to remember a Piper turbine failed in the USA, but as they were at FL300 they glided for ages and made a perfectly good landing on an airport.
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 15:30   #19 (permalink)
 
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So what backs up the steam driven gauges in most aeroplane, the ones with a mean time between failure of 800 hrs?
You mean like the wonderful KI-256 vacuum horizon which will fail; not if but when, and I am not talking about the vacuum pump, either (which will fail even sooner, not if but when) And this wonderful KI-256 product costs a cool $11,000, or $3,000 as an exchange refurb from the USA.

Glass cockpit planes have conventional gauges too. I think most new glass cockpit pilots tend to fly them on the backup instruments

The new v. old argument will run for ever. I am firmly convinced that for most metal planes, assuming a 15 plus year ownership, the total costs over the ownership period are not very different, with the extra huge bonus that the new one will have spent a lot less time collecting dust in hangars. I bought a brand new TB20GT in 2002 and (apart from the fraught warranty politics etc) have not regretted it for a moment. I'd never do the long trips I do in a plane which has as much downtime as so many I see around the place. The reason the picton GA scene is dominated by old metal is because there is very little capital around, but some of the unscheduled maintenance I hear about is eye watering.

The build quality of a PC12 (I see them regularly, close up) is a world away from "our" el cheapo piston powered spamcans
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Old 20th Oct 2009, 16:38   #20 (permalink)
 
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Present case excluded at the moment, but has there ever been a case of a SE turboprop suffereing engine failure and killing everyone? I seem to remember a Piper turbine failed in the USA, but as they were at FL300 they glided for ages and made a perfectly good landing on an airport.
Englishall

Rather than engine failure only maybe the better question would be have there been fatalities due to single engine?
What i am getting at here is that there have been a number of documented TBM700 Torque induced spin fatalities as for actual engine failure I have not checked

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