310 Down in Jacksonville, FL

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  • #84639

    This just happened. FlightAware says “Landed over an hour ago” as I type this.

    http://www.firstcoastnews.com/topstories/article/337823/483/Small-plane-crashes-into-retention-pond

    http://flightaware.com/live/flight/N98BT/history/20131208/2145Z/KFPR/KCRG

    METARs at the time showed right around mins:

    KCRG 082340Z 06003KT 2SM BR OVC002 18/17 A3020 RMK AO2
    KCRG 082339Z 05003KT 2SM BR OVC002 18/17 A3020 RMK AO2
    KCRG 082333Z 06004KT 2 1/2SM BR OVC002 18/17 A3020 RMK AO2

    🙁

    #101922

    Dang. Looks like it was about due south of the numbers for Rwy 5, maybe a mile from the end of the runway.

    #101949

    I met the pilot and saw the plane one of my recent trips to Florida. He seemed like a nice person and had a nice aircraft.

    He was with his two daughters, I believe 19 and 20.

    I put the data into Foreflight and listened to the tapes from LiveATC trying to figure out what went wrong as this was a little close to me.

    You can put this information (converted from FlightAware tracking data) into ForeFlight to see his track from the last point at 5,000 feet down to the final point:

    29.7886N/81.2747W 29.8431N/81.2833W 29.8953N/81.2922W 29.9622N/81.3056W 30.0167N/81.3167W 30.0647N/81.3253W 30.1256N/81.3389W 30.1800N/81.3500W 30.2181N/81.3903W 30.2622N/81.4158W 30.2958N/81.4492W 30.3047N/81.4825W 30.3300N/81.5064W 30.3258N/81.5161W 30.3261N/81.5233W

    As you can see, it’s clear he’s on the GPS or ILS 32. Since the plane was WAAS equipped (or so I recall), I imagine he was on the GPS.

    Outside the IAF he’s at 1,900 feet. However, prior to GS intercept he has already descended below that to 1,400 feet. He was supposed to be at 1,900 until GS intercept, and even if he’s doing a LNAV-only dive & drive then he’s still supposed to stay at 1,900.

    You can see that at no time after the IAF is he at or above a reasonable glidepath or mandated minimum altitude. He does track the inbound for both GPS and ILS closely, starting out on one side of the inbound course and then going to the other, but it doesn’t look to my eye to be extremely far off. Then again, I don’t really know what the cockpit indications are at this point. I imagine it will be at least half scale off and definitely full scale below.

    Listening to the tapes from LiveATC I don’t hear much. He’s cleared to land and told that there was a Cherokee that made it in 30 minutes earlier with 300/200 foot ceilings. (Which is useless given the dynamic weather.) There’s a call from Craig tower saying that he’s below glideslope and giving the altimeter. He responds roger and I don’t know what else. Later he says something like “I missed it, we’re going around.” He doesn’t identify his aircraft but the voice should sound familiar. Tower then gives him an odd instruction (I think it’s tower, but they have JAX approach on the same frequency) which sounds to me like “fly heading 280 degrees” which sounds like it was acknowledged. That could be why the final track turns toward the West.

    Bottom line is that I can’t figure out why there was a crash. Yes, the approach was below glidepath and below mandatory minimums prior to intercept. Yes, the approach didn’t seem especially stabilized. However, the track log is pretty reasonable laterally and if he executed a missed approach climb properly (even with the odd instruction) then there shouldn’t have been much of a problem.

    It’s a sad day but I don’t know what sort of additional lessons we can learn here without additional information.

    1. Watch your altitudes and be at the correct altitude during the entire approach.

    2. Stabilize your inbound course and don’t overcorrect.

    3. Go missed correctly. Get the plane climbing and clean ASAP.

    <sigh>

    EDIT: The LiveATC tapes have a “Cactus” (AirTran) going missed somewhere. It’s not clear to me (since someone mentions Executive at least once), but it’s probably KJAX not KCRG. There are other aircraft following the QUBAN1 STAR as well. I can’t imagine there were two inbound to KCRG simultaneously. The weather was definitely variable and low.

    My very first actual instrument approach as a certificated instrument pilot was to RVR1800 at a Cat II ILS airport (KTPA) in my Mooney in the 90s. It’s definitely possible to make an approach in 200 foot overcast and 2 miles visibility on an approach with 200-1 minimums, if there is sufficiently good approach lights. (We saw the lights at 200′ and the runway at 100′, which was exactly as it should be, back on that approach.) Incidentally my friend in the right seat on that flight was also the person who introduced me to this unfortunate pilot. That was our second approach; the first being to a different runway there that was just Cat I.

    #101951

    Looks like Craig is “Executive”:

    http://www.airnav.com/airport/KCRG

    Another sad day for sure.

    #101957

    Looking at the tracklog data at 1900 feet. It looks as if he was briefly there, then started losing altitude and airspeed. This suggests to me a possible mis -onfiguration (gear earlier, flaps more than normal, power lower, etc.) that was missed in the scan.

    Winds were light on the ground. The ground speed seems a little low to me. What is typical in a 310?

    Eric

    #101960

    Interesting thoughts, Doug. I’m not familiar with the norms down there, but it seems that when there’s an ILS, that’s what tower normally advertises, and WAAS or not, he should have been set up for whatever approach he was assigned. That said, it looks like the two have identical paths, so regardless he should have been on the same glide slope and realistically it shouldn’t matter.

    I’m guessing that somehow things got botched up on the missed. Maybe he hadn’t prepped for the first part afterwards, or was too slow and let the flaps up too quickly?

    #101962

    This is a very sad situation. I’m a big believer that when you are a single, non-professional pilot flying to ceilings below 500ft you should have a good autopilot and use it for the approach. I’m not a professional pilot and if you look at the true history of my flying career, I would bet that less than 25% of all of my flights have ended in an IFR approach and probably less than 5% had ceilings lower than 500ft. My point being that we rarely are IMC and even more rarely fly low approaches. Knowing that, and even though I practice approaches, if the ceilings are forecast to be lower than 500 ft, a working autopilot is a go, no go item. I also like to know that I have an easy to get to alternate with 800 or higher ceilings.

    #101964

    The last 20 minutes of the Flightaware track and graph must be some sort of anomaly due to the impact? Correct?

    #101973

    Approaches down to mins single pilot are going to be some of the most challenging events for any pilot. Many get distracted looking for the runway before mins. A two-pilot environment absolutely helps here – whenever we were doing approaches as a crew, the briefing was always pilot flying focuses on the instruments, pilot not flying monitors and looks for the runway. Works much better and is much safer.

    #101979
    quote TDUPUIS:

    Interesting thoughts, Doug. I’m not familiar with the norms down there, but it seems that when there’s an ILS, that’s what tower normally advertises, and WAAS or not, he should have been set up for whatever approach he was assigned

    I always request the GPS approach if it has an LPV and the airport isn’t particularly busy. I’ll fly the LPV any day over an ILS. I practice ILSes a lot more than I fly them in actual. LPV is incomparably better and doesn’t have the radio and sensitivity issues of the ILS. I find that almost all ILSes have a near-identical LPV overlay these days (as seems to be the case at KCRG).

    I have done ILSes at 160-170 KIAS in the 310. Going into Chicago Midway, for example, you can expect to be told to keep your speed up so I offer 160. I practice that under the hood as well. Needless to say you’re not in landing configuration when you do this.

    The speed of the aircraft varies a lot in the last 12 minutes. It seems the approach was never really stabilized at any point. The picture of the aircraft on the ground suggests to a friend that it’s CFIT. However, I don’t think there’s anything “C” about it. Another friend thinks the pictures suggest a stall/spin or a Vmc rollover. I don’t know what to think. Flightaware indicates the pilot was probably very familiar with KCRG. That could go two ways, though.

    It will be interesting to see what the NTSB has to say.

    Cheers,

    Doug

    #101981

    Rather than Vmc, I’d wonder if more just stall/spin as a possibility. Got too slow and/or pulled flaps up too fast from a landing configuration. Stall awareness and recovery in IMC can be more challenging.

    #101983
    quote TDUPUIS:

    Rather than Vmc, I’d wonder if more just stall/spin as a possibility. Got too slow and/or pulled flaps up too fast from a landing configuration. Stall awareness and recovery in IMC can be more challenging.

    A friend just forwarded another picture. It looks like an overhead shot probably taken by someone’s camera phone on a local flight. I’ll try to attach it. (Note that’s pure speculation, I don’t know the source of the picture.)

    The aircraft seems to be upright. The nose is obliterated and the props/spinners are not apparent. The wing locker hatches are open. I don’t know if this is because they were opened by investigators or they came open due to force of impact. The tail part of the fuselage seems to be compressed a little bit into the central part. The tip tanks are not apparent nor is the horizontal stabilizer.

    I suppose this leads credence to my friend’s CFIT thoughs. It probably isn’t Vmc rollover and if it’s a stall it’s not a spin.

    <sigh>


    Attachments:

    #101990
    quote TDUPUIS:

    Approaches down to mins single pilot are going to be some of the most challenging events for any pilot. Many get distracted looking for the runway before mins. A two-pilot environment absolutely helps here – whenever we were doing approaches as a crew, the briefing was always pilot flying focuses on the instruments, pilot not flying monitors and looks for the runway. Works much better and is much safer.

    I am with you Ted. A coordinated crew makes a big difference!

    #102018

    At the risk of sounding like a “line shooter” I would venture to sugest that Im one of the more experiencd IFR pilots on this forum, going right back to my misspent youth flying night/all weather fighters with the much coveted “Blue Ticket”, which had no weather/ceiling/visibility limits, we just flew and got back down by GCA, or the GIB picking up reflectors from the runway end using his AI radar,{often a pile of oil drums} or a combination of ADF and the GIB doing his thing in the rear seat. Now heres the rub, AT NO TIME DO I ALLOW OUR 421B TO BE FLOWN SINGLE PILOT IFR! I just dont see why folks dont take an extra body along in the right seat, they dont have to be high time pilots to help things go smoothly when the chips are down, we pay our second pilot a healthy wage, but this is made up in the huge reduction in our insurance rates, just my view but reading the crash rate for both Canada and the USA its time to re-think this single pilot IFR flying.

    #102043
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