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Aircraft down in Montana?

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Aircraft down in Montana?

Old 22nd Mar 2009, 22:31
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Aircraft down in Montana?

17 dead according to Sky News but no further information thusfar...just breaking...anyone hear anything?
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 22:37
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Sorry - see edit - 17 fatalities apparently...nothing coming up on google news though - strange...
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 22:47
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AP initial story

BUTTE, Mont. - A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman says 17 people are dead after a plane crashed while approaching the airport in Butte.

Spokesman Mike Fergus says the single engine turboprop plane departed from Orville, Calif., at about 11 a.m. Pacific time. The pilot had filed a flight plan showing a final destination of Bozeman.

Fergus says the pilot canceled his flight plan at some point and headed for Butte. The plane crashed about 500 feet from the airport while attempting to land and caught fire.
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 23:05
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BBC -


A plane has crashed in the northern US state of Montana, aviation officials say, with reports of some fatalities.
US news reports said a small plane crashed as it approached the airport in the town of Butte.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesman told the AP news agency that 17 people had been killed, with some children among the dead.
The small single-engine plane crashed some 500ft (150m) from Butte's airport while attempting to land, he said.
An FAA spokesman told the BBC that the plane crashed at approximately 1527 local time (2127 GMT).
Les Dorr said the plane was a Pilatis PC-12 Swiss-made turboprop aircraft.
Preliminary information says it was en route from Orville, California to Butte, he said. The spokesman stressed that the numbers of those killed can be very fluid early on in a crash, and that nothing could be confirmed at this stage.

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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 23:42
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FlightAware has some more detail, including the plane's registered owner: FlightAware > News > Pilatus PC-12 turboprop private aircraft crashes in Montana

Questions: is it OK for a plane certified for 12 to be carrying 17, even if they were kids?
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Old 22nd Mar 2009, 23:44
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A Pilatis, eh. Good old BBC. I see it was important to make clear that it was a Swiss-made turboprop aircraft.

The BBC wireless version says it piled into a cemetery. No link to listen again yet.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 00:23
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From the Sacramento Bee:

Plane that crashed in Montana had stops in Vacaville and Oroville this morning
ShareThis
By Phillip Reese and Jennifer Garza
Published: Sunday, Mar. 22, 2009 - 5:15 pm
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 22, 2009 - 5:30 pm

A plane that left Oroville, a small town about 90 miles north of Sacramento, this morning crashed in Montana three hours later, killing up to 17 people, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.

"The plane was in route from Oroville to Bozeman for reasons we don't know," said FAA spokesman Les Dorr. "They diverted into Butte and crashed 500 feet short of the runway."

Tom Hagler, a mechanic at the Oroville airport, said this evening that he arrived at the airport at 11 a.m. and saw the plane. He let about a dozen children who were on the plane use the airport bathroom. The plane didn't refuel.

Hagler said he spoke briefly with the pilot but he didn't recognize the pilot or any of the children. He didn't know if any members of the group were local.

Hagler said he would be surprised if as many as 17 people could have been on the single prop plane.

An FAA spokesman told the Associated Press that the children could have been part of a ski trip.

The plane had left Redlands, CA, early today and flew to Vacaville, according to records at flightaware.com. It stayed in Vacaville for 50 minutes before taking a short flight to Oroville. It was on the ground in Oroville for 30 minutes before leaving for Montana.

Oroville law enforcement authorities said they knew nothing about the plane. No one from Oroville Airport could be reached for comment.

Dorr says the plane was registered to Eagle Cap Leasing Inc. in Enterprise, Ore., but he didn't know who was operating the plane.

Calls to local authorities in Butte were not immediately returned.
Plane that crashed in Montana had stops in Vacaville and Oroville this morning - Latest News - sacbee.com
(Vacaville is <100 miles SSW of Oroville. Redlands in the foothills East of Los Angeles, over 400 miles from Oroville. Speculation: Did they pick up skiers in Redlands, refuel in Vacaville or Oroville, then head to Montana???))

Edit, further speculation: Lunch in Vacaville at the Nut Tree Airport? It's a fun airport to visit.
Nut Tree, Vacaville, CA

Very sad.

Last edited by visibility3miles; 23rd Mar 2009 at 01:14.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 00:36
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Crash Picture

A picture at this link, .:: The Montana Standard ::. , shows a large fire indicating fuel aboard.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 00:51
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Go to Breaking News | Latest News | Current News - FOXNews.com. You will be able to read about the Fed Ex tragedy as well
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 01:01
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17 in a PC 12 ?

Humm, interesting....
To my knowledge a PC 12 accommodates 1 (up to 2) pilots and 6 seats ?!?

Split.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 02:16
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To my knowledge a PC 12 accommodates 1 (up to 2) pilots and 6 seats ?!?
I believe PC 12 will accomodate 9 in commuter configuration plus 2 in the office. 17 that has got to be stacking SLF even if it is childeren.

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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 03:00
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With several thousand hours in the PC-12/45M I can tell you there is NO WAY you can "stuff" 17 people in this plane. If they in fact had 17 they were probably sharing seats and seat belts, illegal as hell. The PC-12 is very docile and well balanced in respect to loading and CG accross a very wide range.

Having flown medical flights into the Enterprise valley, OR (where this outfit was located) I will look into what the deal was on this operator.

Even if the aircraft had an engine failure you should never allow yourself to be in a situation where you can't make the runway. The PC-12 is flown like a glider i.e. always with sufficient energy and altitude to make your intended landing point (Engine or no engine). Operations with this airplane require following similar profiles to noise abatement departures as well as constant rate decents on all approaches with no/minimal drag until landing is assured. Even with an engine failure at 500 feet, it is possible to land back on the departure runway thanks to the extraordinary glide ratio of this plane.

Sad to say the least.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 03:47
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New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/23/us/23crash.html

Re-states fatalities as "14 to 17" (all on board), notes that THIS particular aircraft may have been configured for 12 seats (although not clear if that includes cockpit or just the px seating)

"It was unclear if that many people, including children, could be safely accommodated on the plane...."

"The aircraft was described by F.A.A. officials as a Pilatus PC-12 that was registered to Eagle Cap Leasing of Enterprise, Ore., and was apparently rented from that business."

128CM,EAGLE CAP LEASING INC Oregon registration record

N128CM?

FlightAware > Live Flight Tracker > N128CM

Looks like decision to divert to KBTM took place over Challis, ID - about 100nm out.

Aircraft N128CM Photo by Mike Khansa

Here's a PC-12/45 listed as seating 12 (NOT the crash aircraft)

Pilatus PC-12/45 - N167AR - Aircraft For Sale

Last edited by pattern_is_full; 23rd Mar 2009 at 04:20.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 05:05
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from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine:

PC 12 - Configurations - Standard

Seating up to nine passengers in airline comfort, the PC-12 standard aircraft transports your staff directly to their destinations, avoiding the delays and frustrations created by airline hubs. The excellent range and high speed of the PC-12 provide the best operational flexibility of any aircraft in its class.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 07:44
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17 in a PC-12?
Packed in like sardines...not good, at all.

If this is true, there will hell to pay, legally speaking, in the aftermath.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 07:46
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The only thing vaguely factual (eyewitness) directly related to the impact with the ground so far is this, from the NYT story:

"Witnesses at the scene of the crash said the aircraft was turning at a steep angle as it approached Bert Mooney Airport on the outskirts of Butte at midafternoon when it abruptly went into a nosedive, plunged into a wooded area in Holy Cross Cemetery and burst into flames upon impact."

FlightAware indicates the cruise altitude was FL250, thus an IFR flight plan, and thus presumably the pilot amended the plan to divert to Butte 'sted Bozeman. Whether he gave ATC a reason....? And that reason may have been relatively benign and had nothing to do with the crash itself.

------------

Edit: CNN reporting (01:55 MDT Monday) FAA reporting 14 dead - 7 children, 7 adults. If we assume both cockpit seats were filled (this was a casual private flight, so even if only one pilot, a px might have been riding up front), that leaves 5 seats for 7 kids. Babes in laps?

Crash scene is 500 feet SW of approach end to Rwy 03.

Last edited by pattern_is_full; 23rd Mar 2009 at 08:01.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 08:14
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Also from the NYT story (which includes the first sentence from the Sacramento Bee report):
It was unclear at what point the children boarded the flight. Tom Hagler, a mechanic at the Oroville airport, said he let about a dozen children from the plane use the airport bathroom. They were about 6 to 10 years old, Mr. Hagler said, a lot of really cute kids.
6 to 10 years olds don't weigh much. They cram young children together on school buses.

Dletabravowhiskey or others, could you belt two six-year-olds in one seat? Could you have a six-year-old belted in on an adults lap? Is there enough room?

The Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville was a tourist attraction for decades. It was fun for children because it has a toy (small) train ride and other amusements. However, the "Family Park" area closed on January 14th, 2009, because attendance levels dropped along with the economy. It still has a shopping mall.

Did the pilot know the amusement park closed two months ago?

Did they make two stops to pick up or discharge passengers, to give the children a break, or because there was a problem?

Last edited by visibility3miles; 23rd Mar 2009 at 08:25.
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 08:43
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does anybody know if a PC12 can carry a total of 12 people including pilots, or if the 12 refers to just passengers?
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 09:23
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In the "Commuter" Configuration you have to remove the lavatory module (Explains the potty stop)

We used a single commuter seat in our air ambulance config located in front of the aft door on the bulkhead. I honestly can't see how you could put two kids in a commuter seat.

If the airplane had a corporate config it gets worse and you only have 6 business class seats which "may" be able to seat two VERY small kids (talking infants here), BUT there is no way you could safely strap them in.

Pilot - PIC
PAX - FO/Right Cockpit seat (due to yoke no room for an adult with a child
Seats:
L1
L2
L3
L4
(L5) Is usually not used, the seat track layout allows a seat to be installed in this location.
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5

The aircraft is not approved for more than (11) total occupants. 2 Pilots and 9 Pax. A lap child is a valid case for more than BUT with accounts of 12 kids running into a bathroom, not quite sure what to make of this.

They are now saying between 14-17 people I guess we will see.

DBW
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Old 23rd Mar 2009, 10:07
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Fuel exhaustion?

Please don't flame me... we're all entitled to speculate and discuss..

No record of taking-on fuel en-route...

Diverted from filed destination to one closer...

Observed turning steeply.... (maybe trying to get remaining fuel to outlet points?)

A truly shocking tragedy..... just hope it wasn't bad airmanship bm
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