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Aircraft down in Montana?

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Aircraft down in Montana?

Old 24th Mar 2009, 02:09
  #61 (permalink)  
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Perhaps the pilot became ill.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 02:16
  #62 (permalink)  
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I would assume that at low speed and if you select reverse the aircraft would be rendered uncontrollable.
I have asked this question of Pilatus engineering personnel and test pilots and have been told that you will lose the acft if you select reverse in flight.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 02:18
  #63 (permalink)  
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Perhaps the pilot became ill.
This is plausible and could be the reason for the diversion.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 08:07
  #64 (permalink)  
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Video of yesterday's second NTSB briefing can be found here.

Very little news facts of interest IMHO that were not already reported here.
The airplane took on 128 gallons of fuel at Vacaville, "topping up" as Mr Rosenker, NTSB, put it.

No specific mention about icing as a factor.
No mention either of witnesses reporting any unusual engine sounds or the lack of engine sound.

Aircraft configured with 2 + 10 seating.
Cabin configured with 8 "executive style" seats (double club arrangement) and 2 "commuter style" seats at rear.
As I understood the briefing, the PC-12 can have a maximum of 2+9 seats i.e. 11 occupants. This particular aircraft was configured with 2+8 seats i.e. 2 pilots seats, one 2+2 club seating group, 2 single seats and 2 "commuter seats" in the back. In other words, a total of 10 seats.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 09:29
  #65 (permalink)  
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For the record and accuracy, could anyone confirm if the PC12 (at least some models), is FAA certified for a total of 12 seats. Hence the 12 in PC12 (I cound not find it on the web).

Similarly the Super King Air B200 is certified for 15 seats and, the Twin-Otter DHC-6-300 for 21 seats -up to 24 with special approval (both acft have a MCTOW of 12,500 lb).


Last edited by avionimc; 25th Mar 2009 at 14:13.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 10:09
  #66 (permalink)  
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For the record and accuracy, could anyone confirm if the PC12 (at least some models), is FAA certified for a total of 12 seats.
The FAA Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) shows a maximum of 9 pax seats and 2 crew seats (9+2). See:

Model PC-12/47E TCDS A78EU Rev 17 Pilatus Aircraft Limited
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 10:27
  #67 (permalink)  
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Deltabravowhiskey, using reverse in flight with the PC12 may induce roll control problems. Strictly forbidden to use anything aft of flight idle on that type as you might on other PT6 engined types such as the PC6 or the Air Tractor.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 10:27
  #68 (permalink)  
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PC12: 9+2=11 Thanks for the link EN48.

Last edited by avionimc; 25th Mar 2009 at 14:11.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 12:20
  #69 (permalink)  
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A quick "google" shows several PC12's advertised for sale with 12 seats.

With one 1 year old infant, that would potentially make 13 "legal".

There was also a 3 year old, who if only a few months younger would also have been an infant.

Sorry if the post appears to be matter-of-fact, because I really do have sympathy for the loss of all on board, children and adults, but it does seem that IF this a/c had 12 seats, then overloading was very very marginal, and probably not the real issue.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 18:18
  #70 (permalink)  
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Seems from previous posts that this A/C was configured for 2+8.

It's not a matter of W&B, but of everyone having:
- A seat
- A belt
- An O2 mask (remember this babe climbs up to 30k)

Someone already took the time to post the pertinent FAR.

14 on board : if the diversion was due to something having gone wrong that's probably the very reason why the pilot did not declare (he did not want to meet a reception committee )
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 19:23
  #71 (permalink)  
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1. I'm not sure I understand the fixation on what seating arrangements Pilatus sells. The PC-12 is marketed as a very flexible design. Once they leave the factory, the seating can be rearranged.

Strip out all the px seats for a cargo-only configuration. OR, if the plane is only being used for people-moving, a 10th px seat can be bolted in beside the (unneeded) rear cargo door.

In post #13 there is a link to a PC-12 for sale that advertises "Seating: 12".

They exist, regardless of whether they appear in the Pilatus sales brochures.

2. Since no one survived, and there is no CVR, and there was no reason given by the pilot to ATC, obviously the purpose for the diversion will remain a mystery unless it left physical evidence that survived the crash. It could have simply been the need for another potty stop (as in Oroville). It could have been the fuel burn was higher than expected, and the pilot though Bozeman would be stretching it a bit too much (which does not mean that he was oh-my-god out of fuel - just playing it safe).

It could have been something much more serious - but there is no evidence at all one way or the other, yet.

Although - if it WAS serious, there are several airports much closer to the point where the plane turned towards Butte (roughly over Challis/Ellis, Idaho). Friedman Memorial near Ketchum, Idaho, for example.

The diversion point is over the highest mountain ranges in Idaho. An encounter with a mountain wave, given the - interesting - passenger seating, might have caused injuries.

But again, I'd have expected a diversion to the NEAREST airport in that case (50nm or less) rather than to KBTM (100nm).
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 22:07
  #72 (permalink)  
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Latest news on the Montana accident.

Just 12 days before the fatal crash of a Pilatus PC-12 killed 14 people in Montana, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an airworthiness directive on the plane, requiring that a safety inspection be performed to check for a problem that could reduce the effectiveness of the plane's controls.
(Liam Savage/AP Photo)

The directive is not effective until March 30th, at which date the owner would be required to do the inspection within 150 flight hours.

Prior to the FAA directive, the plane's manufacturer sent out a service bulletin in January and the European Aviation Safety Agency issued its own directive in late February, regarding potential problems with the plan's stick-pusher.


Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the NTSB, said at briefing on Tuesday that the stick-pusher and its cables were located at the crash site fully intact and that investigators did not see any problems. It is still unclear if the plane's owners had already conducted their inspection and if any problems had to be corrected, NTSB investigators continue to examine the maintenance records of the plane.

At issue, according to the directives, are occurrences where the rear stick-pusher cable clamp shifted forward on the elevator cable.

"This condition," said the directive, "if not corrected, may reduce the effectiveness of the stick-pusher and/or limit elevator control movement." The directive calls for an inspection of the stick-pusher cables.

ABC News aviation consultant John Nance explains that the stick pusher is a built-in backup mechanism that will help the pilot if he or she cannot or has not recovered from an impending stall. In some cases, the stick-pusher acts as a "last ditch effort" to save the plane.

In the case of Sunday's crash less than a mile from the runway in Butte, the plane banked at a sharp angle before nose-diving into a cemetery, killing everyone onboard. The investigation into the cause has been complicated by the fact that the plane did not have any flight data or voice recorders.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 22:43
  #73 (permalink)  
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Is there any way to find out whether this flight was operating under part 91 or part 135? Was these a private flight where the pilot was responsible for the legal number of occupants? Was it commercial? Chartered? Unless the owner was onboard, I suspect somebody out there will be getting legal advice right now.
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Old 24th Mar 2009, 22:44
  #74 (permalink)  
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What ever they went to Butte for probably had nothing to do with the accident. Potty stop or someone feeling ill. Even if it was airplane related I always was hesitant to bring attention to the FAA meeting me if they couldn't help. Some guy said it was icing like Buffalo but that is far fetched even if the NTSB got it in the news today. Sounds like they were high on approach and he tried to maneuver to get it down, stalled and crashed.
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 02:19
  #75 (permalink)  
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If he was high on base and trying to lose altitude, the chance of stalling this PC-12 is quite small. The pilot was an experienced man, not a spring chick out of school. I highly doubt he stalled his plane.
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 03:02
  #76 (permalink)  
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focus to shift from weight to WX

As quoted in AOPA AVIATION eBRIEF dated March 24, 2009:

"As federal investigators began looking into Sunday's deadly crash of a Pilatus PC-12, the focus appeared to shift from weight to weather. Officials said the single-engine airplane passed through a layer of air that was conducive to icing, similar to conditions in Buffalo, N.Y., last month that may have contributed to a commercial crash that killed 50. An AOPA spokesman told the Christian Science Monitor that weight issues would have been evident upon takeoff, while the Montana crash occurred just before landing. "For an accident to take place at the end of a flight, in general, would seem to be indicative that the plane was not over gross and the weight and center of gravity were within tolerances," he said"
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 06:28
  #77 (permalink)  
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could anyone confirm if the PC12 (at least some models), is FAA certified for a total of 12 seats. Hence the 12 in PC12 (I cound not find it on the web).
I don't think the PC21 can accommodate 21 pax...
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 09:30
  #78 (permalink)  
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Three Seventh-day Adventist families are among the 14 victims killed in a March 22, 2009 airplane crash in Butte, Montana. All three families were members or regular attendees at congregations in the Northern California Conference; the three husbands were longtime friends who attended both church-owned Pacific Union College and Loma Linda University.

No cause for the tragedy has yet been determined, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s regional office in Renton, Washington, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying a total of 14 people on board the aircraft – seven adults and seven children – were killed when the plane crashed and burned 500 feet from the runway at Bert Mooney Airport in Butte. The plane had crashed into Holy Cross Cemetery in Butte, officials said.

Multiple media reports and family members confirm Dr. Erin Jacobson, an ophthalmologist; his wife, Amy Feldkamp Jacobson, a dental hygienist; and children Ava, 3, and Taylor, 4, and Jude, 2, were among the victims. Erin Jacobson was a graduate of Pacific Union College who received his medical training at Loma Linda University. The Jacobsons resided in St. Helena, California, and were members of the Pacific Union College Church.

According to information at the Internet Web site of his medical practice, Jacobson had “a number of hobbies including skiing, cycling and photography. [He was] active in mission work and [had] performed eye surgery in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.”

Also confirmed as victims were Loma Linda University alum Dr. Michael L. Pullen of Galt, California, who had a dental practice in Valley Springs, his wife Dr. Vanessa Feldkamp Pullen, a pediatrician and Amy’s sister, and the Pullen’s children Sydney and Christopher. The Pullens were said to be members of the Lodi-English Oaks Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lodi, California. Michael Pullen also held a degree in Engineering, the Web site for his dental practice said.

Sisters Vanessa Pullen and Amy Jacobson were also both graduates of Loma Linda Academy, said Enno Müller, assistant communication director for the Southeastern California Conference.

The third known set of victims are the family of Dr. Brent D. Ching, a dentist from Chico, California, his wife, Kristen, and their two children, Hailey and Caleb. Ching was a 1998 graduate of Loma Linda University’s School of Dentistry, LLU officials confirmed, and reportedly were in regular attendance at the Chico and Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Churches.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy, and our prayers are with the victims’ families. This is a very personal tragedy for Pacific Union College and our local community,” college president Richard Osborn said in a statement. “All but one of the adults on board the plane graduated from or attended PUC, and there are many on our campus who remember them as students. Our alumni are also grieving this loss, as are many in the St. Helena and Angwin communities who knew and loved the Jacobson family.”

“Tragedies such as this remind us of the importance of our belief in the blessed hope,” said Don C. Schneider, North American division president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. “It is at the second coming of Jesus Christ that events such as this will be eternally healed.”

NTSB acting chairman Mark V. Rosenker told a March 23 news conference that the Swiss-manufactured Pilatus PC-12/45 aircraft was a “turboprop” aircraft and had a single pilot on board. Such aircraft are not required to have cockpit voice recorders or flight data recorders that would supply information to help determine a cause of the disaster. Rosenker said it would be a number of months before a cause is determined.

The plane was originally en route to Bozeman, Montana for a family vacation; during the flight, media reports indicate, the pilot changed plans and chose Butte as a destination.

Amy and Vanessa’s father, Dr. Irving M. “Bud” Feldkamp III, is reported to have owned the company to which the aircraft was registered. Media reports stated Feldkamp is also owner of the Hospitality Dental Group in San Bernardino, California, and Glen Helen Raceway, a motorsports facility in the same city. Feldkamp is a member of the Azure Hills Seventh-day Adventist Church.

David Feldkamp, Bud Feldkamp’s cousin, told the Los Angeles Times that Bud Summerfield of Highland, Calif., was the pilot. David Feldkamp indicated that Summerfield was an “accomplished and careful” pilot who had piloted the Feldkamp family “for 10 years.”

An initial NTSB statement about the March 22 crash stated, “At approximately 3:00 pm MDT a Pilatus PC-12/45 (N128CM) crashed into Holy Cross Cemetery on approach to Bert Mooney Airport in Butte, Montana. Multiple fatalities have been reported.”

At the March 23 press briefing, Montana governor Brian Schweitzer told reporters, “I’m sure that this evening and tomorrow evening, moms and dads, families all over Montana will say an extra prayer for these children and these families.”
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 09:41
  #79 (permalink)  
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Aero-News reports some new facts:
1. the engine performance recorder has been recovered. It measures engine data every minute and may help to give clues about the engine performance.
2. landing gear was down at impact but flaps were not deployed.
3. impact point now slightly more accurately reported as "abeam midfield" instead of "short of the runway".
4. investigators have been able to establish control continuity, "which makes it unlikely that the stick pusher AD referred to in the news was a factor". (I'm slightly unsure if this conclusion is correct. The AD concerns possible restriction of elevator control authority, which is not the same as control continuity).
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Old 25th Mar 2009, 10:57
  #80 (permalink)  
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I think S.F.L.Y. was being sarcastic.....at least I hope he was.
21 ejection seats would make it a very heavy and expensive military trainer
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