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VH-PGW PA-31P-350 15 June 2010 Crash Investigation

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VH-PGW PA-31P-350 15 June 2010 Crash Investigation

Old 15th Jul 2010, 05:57
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Breeze01

Ask away, there will be a lot of folk here willing to help with good knowlege of the plane type concerned.

The debates that get going here will be interesting all the same!
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 06:08
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Being the one who alerted Jamair to the fact that these operations were being conducted, I am also asking questions of NSW Health as to WHY patients were being carried in these old aircraft, with "inexperienced" (in comparison to your average RFDS pilot) pilots flying, with no choice in the matter nor the facts, ie. You are not as safe in this aircraft, as you are in an Air Ambulance (RFDS) aircraft.

404, please think before opening mouth. This is a very very valid question that needs to be looked at following this accident.

morno
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 06:31
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Removed due to my having been falsely accused of being associated with media.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 07:08
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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404 Titan

The problem is that the horizontal visibility was 300 metres at ground level up to 2 metres and 800 metres visibility is required from the Cat 1 DA of 357 ft with an actual QNH all the way down to the runway.
Utter the word "mayday" and that requirement goes out the window.

At the point that the wheels would have touched the runway, the pilot's eyes would have been well above 2m, so you point is pedantic at best - he would never have entered the shallow fog, only his undercarriage would have. The only consideration is slant vis, but with what was obviously radiation fog that was rapidly burning off, and a reported vis of 300m, there is no doubt at all that runway markings and lights would have been visible through the layer.

I have also had extensive experience of fog (in the UK, the home of fog), and the shallow stuff is generally not a problem. It's the stuff that forms in a layer 200-300 feet thick that will get you.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 07:58
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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I agree remoak...

the only word I haven't heard mentioned to date is "mayday...mayday...mayday..."
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 09:01
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Les Norton
Despite the fact that the process under which those aircraft were issued their Type Certification was conducted in excess of thirty plus years ago those airframes are getting very tired now
Define tired? Is it how old it is or how many hours on the airframe or a combination of both? A 26 year old airframe with only 6000 hours is well within the manufacturerís tolerance of an airframes life cycle.

Iíve had three engine failures in light twins in my time and without exception they all performed as the manufacturer quoted in the POH. One of the aircraft (a BN2 with 10 POB) in PNG had 22k on the airframe and the others had 10k+. All occurred in the tropics in ISA+10-15 conditions.

morno

Define ďinexperiencedĒ or did you me ďless experiencedĒ. I could make the same derogatory comment to you but I wonít because it detracts from the debate at hand. For the record I actually donít have a problem with Jamairís post. I do have a problem with people labelling all piston twins as junk when thatís quite clearly not the case.

remoak

That can be debated until the cows come home and we would never reach a consensus here. My personal opinion is a Pan Pan call is generally more appropriate with an engine shutdown in a twin rather than a May Day call.

It is the PICís decision as to the relative suitability of an aerodrome for a division after an in-flight engine shut down. My guess is the PIC, considering the nature of the problem at the time decided BK was more suitable. This was probably reinforced by the fact he had just departed from there and knew the actual weather and the forecast for RIC was average and was also probably substantiated by what he saw outside his window.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and Iím sure if the PIC had the chance to do it over again he would probably and I would hope do things differently. I think we all need to put ourselves in his shoes and imagine for a minute how we would have handled the situation knowing what he knew at the time rather than what we know now.

As for the shallow fog debate, letís just agree to disagree. My experience has been that just as Iím flaring the visibility deteriorates substantially to the point it can be dangerous. Remember we are talking about fog here not mist and all that it entails with regards to horizontal visibility.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 09:08
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Jabawocky
...a mostly in control touch down on a large wide runway trumps tracking over suburban Sydney every day...
[email protected]@dy good call.

Finally, some sense.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 09:15
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Facts and logic please.

There was something seriously wrong with this aircraft, or it's pilot. We do not yet know what.
This was not a Chieftain, it was a Mojave, and it was pressurised, and capable of maintaining about 15,000 ft with one engine inoperative. It had apparently flown only about 5,000 hours. Many of our airliners have flown about ten times that, or more. Many Chieftains have also flown much more than that. And also RFDS PC12's. The The NT Airmed Kingairs for the new top end contract are also "old".
I am saddened to see that some posts on here appear to to criticise the integrity of the operation, (dung heap etc) and by association, the people involved.
We must wait for more information before making any such statements.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 09:32
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Its not about the age of the aircraft but the hours it has on the airframe etc and the maintenance it has had.. i liken it to a 3 yr old cab with 400000k's on the clock.....
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 09:51
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Blue line in the Mojave is 101kts.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 10:01
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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G'Day Breeze,

What was your question?

And you may wish to consider that if you are a witness providing some 'official input' to ATSB into the enquiry, you may wish to retain your 'uncontaminated' recall of your interpretations and simply keep what you already have, fresh in your mind, as you may/may not - get 'sidetracked' here by some answers which may/may not be 'correct'........

Not all respondents are experts, IMHO........

Best Regards
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 10:15
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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My personal opinion is a Pan Pan call is generally more appropriate with an engine shutdown in a twin rather than a May Day call.
Whatever, it doesn't really matter. A PAN is more correct but either will immediately remove any requirement for the PIC to observe any rule or procedure, which is the point I was making.

My guess is the PIC, considering the nature of the problem at the time decided BK was more suitable.
Yes I think we all agree on that, the main debate is over whether you should EVER abandon a perfectly good runway underneath you for a more convenient one some distance away. I don't think that you should, simply because if you go for the one beneath you, the chances or crashing are very close to zero. If you go for the distant runway... you might make it, you might not. Why risk it? There is really only one answer to that question, and we all know what it is... and it starts with a "c"...

I think we all need to put ourselves in his shoes and imagine for a minute how we would have handled the situation knowing what he knew at the time rather than what we know now.
My point is that it shouldn't even be a question of that. Prudence demands that you take the SAFEST POSSIBLE course of action AT ALL TIMES. If you always do that, none of this stuff ever needs to be discussed, and two people would be alive right now.

Remember we are talking about fog here not mist and all that it entails with regards to horizontal visibility.
Mist is a complete no-brainer. Fog might be an issue if the vis was, say 50m, but it wasn't, it was 300m. You should be able to get a Mojave stopped in 300mm without too many problems. So what exactly is the issue? Even if - and it's a big if - you were to lose visual reference as you touched down, what is the worst that could happen? As opposed to what actually did happen in this accident? Even just watching the HSI should be enough to slow down safely without leaving the runway at Richmond... and that would only be necessary if you lost all visual reference... which simply won't happen in those conditions.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 11:20
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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I've been watching this topic fairly closely, and have resisted the urge to comment, mostly out of sensitivity to those involved. Hopefully what I have to say will not be constriued as "having a go", because that is sincerely not my intention.

I grew up not 500 metres from the crash site. I did nearly 10 years in G/A (mostly out of Bankstown), and accumilated about 1600 hours in PA31 aircraft with several operators. I can tell you now, I feel so sad about this whole episode that I almost want to cry!

As stated in the report, other information may come to light, and there for the grace of God..., but whether to land at RIC or not to land at RIC, IMHO appears to be a moot point. WHY, WHY, WHY, did the pilot sacrifice invaluable altitude rather than adopt a drift-down. I know it's easy to be an armchair critic, but I've had failures in PA31's and was taught early on: Initial actions, blue-line, power to maintain min ROD, declare a PAN, take stock. After the initial shock, that should reasonably take no longer than a minute, in that time he lost over 1200 feet!

I think it can be said that the pilot probably didn't realise the lack of performance available untill after his rapid (in anybody's language) descent from over 7000 feet down to 1500 feet at 12 miles BK! If he had taken stock, ie: ROD at blue-line with max power available on the "good" engine, he just may have discovered a "curve-ball" with at least some altitude to spare.

Engine failures, even in ageing G/A aircraft are still relatively rare, and perhaps there lies part of the problem. I now have the benefit of between 6-8 engine failures a year, both at altitude (failure management and performance/decision making), and EFATO's, (critical handling/performance/decision making) conducted over 4 sim sessions twice a year. Even so when it happens for real the initial reaction is usually "holy sh!te!" It's what you do subsequently of course that makes the difference.

I hope for the sake of the families and friends, and the wider aviation community, that some of the questions are eventually answered. As is the way with these things, maybe some changes to the way people are trained might help reduce the risks in the future.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 12:26
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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WHile there were points during the return to Bankstown where the aircraft descended at or close to 1000 fpm, for the most part the rate was more like 700 fpm, and after 3000' the rate slowed to 500fpm and then 300 fpm.

To my mind this indicates that the pilot was initially descending at a 'normal' rate towards 2500', with power in the 'good' engine reduced for the descent, and under a mistaken belief that power would be available to hold 2500' or descend as required slowly to 1000' prior to final once the airfield was in sight.

A perfectly normal and understandable response to an engine out in a relatively high performance twin. The aircraft failed to respond when asked for the expected power from the 'good' engine, and to my mind that must be considered to be the primary cause of this unfortunate accident.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 12:32
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Agreed Krusty

On the last thread I posted a youtube video of the Thompsonfly 757....no sooner had it happend it was a MAYDAY and they were give whatever airspace they wanted.

Same could have happened here. If he still had enough performance from one engine to do better than blue line and not lose height, it would have been far better to do BK at 7000 approx and orbit in. ATC would have given it to him.

I see the report says filled with AVGAS, I wonder does this really rule out kero in the fuel?
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 12:48
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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My point exactly nojwod. The aircraft I currently fly has far superior One Engine Inoperative performance to the Mojave, but if we lose an engine we Always adopt a driftdown with max continuous power on the "good" one. If we arrive over our intended point of landing at a much higher altitude than normal, then great. It's money in the bank.

Gidday Jaba'. I've only heard third hand that several other aircraft were filled from the same source without incident. Some-one in the know might be able to confirm however?
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 12:52
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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I saw that too Jaba. I imagine that that was specifically put in there to clarify that this was not a case of the wrong fuel.

Of course I could be wrong but it does make sense.

For the ATCOs: What is the SOP for this scenario with respect to altitudes? If the pilot's not declared a PAN or MAYDAY do you still have to direct a descent if otherwise required (i.e. airspace you've no control over or priority traffic). (I say priority traffic as no emergency was declared in the case of my question.)

Anyway, lesson learnt. With a loss of performance maintain what you've got. Maybe an exception would be in IMC and upon spotting a hole good enough for a visual approach.

FRQ CB
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 15:09
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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For those attacking the decision not to utilise Richmond, I would have most likely made the same decision. As such, I feel the denigration of those who cannot defend themselves is not righteous.

Granted I have very little local or type knowledge, though fog and fog are different animals. Conditions reported (though with best intentions), are often highly variable, with changes by the minute rather large at times.

I would not like to arrive in a marginal, committed situation, only to find nothing visible. So many times I have been wrong in my expectations with fog, it simply is an animal that commands respect. I do not enjoy playing with it, even with options.

The media reports today, reading far to much into the inital reports make me sick. You ignorant headline grabbing bastards.

Last edited by sparcap; 15th Jul 2010 at 17:28.
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 22:03
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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We are not attacking anyone not here to defend themselves. Questioning decissions maybe but none of us are calling him a reckless fool.

I would not like to arrive in a marginal, committed situation, only to find nothing visible.
No none of us would, but precission approach, in a controlled manner V crowded suburban streets, power/phone/cable TV wires everywhere at 200kph....NO WAY!

As for whatever the Media are doing.....why would you be surprised? You did sum that up quite well indeed
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Old 15th Jul 2010, 23:01
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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The Mojave is a great aircraft, just a little heavy. There is only one reason why the Mojave would not maintain height on one engine and that is if the operating engine was "sick". The pilot possibly guesstimated that he could reach YSBK on his descent.....he miscalculated, gee he was only 3nm from the threshold. he lost a lot of height in the turn which he couldn't regain.

Fog viz....well its bloody hard to land in fog, those that have had to be there understand where i am coming from. Landing in fog with a sick aircraft against the calculated chance of returning to and reaching base......it was his call. If the poor bugger had made it, there wouldn't be a post on here, but he didn't. A command decision with the cards stacked against you both ways.... is a very difficult one.
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