Ever since the accident at Buffalo, NY there has been a great amount of speculation about the cause of the accident. From the start there has been conversation about "icing" as a cause, coupled with the flight using the autopilot during icing conditions.
Now, I understand that it is recommended to hand fly the aircraft in icing, and to not use the autopilot. The problem is, apparently, that when you disengage the autopilot you don't know what the aircraft may do because of the ice buildup on the airframe.
Now some details of the accident have been released, and it is reported that the crew got a stall warning and the stick pusher engaged but still the aircraft pitched upward 31 degrees before turning almost 180 degrees and dropping onto a house in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence Center, near the outer marker for Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
The sequence of events, which included a 45-degree dive with a 106-degree right bank ended 26 seconds later in the fireball on the ground, killing 49 people on the plane and one on the ground, the owner of the house.
As the investigation continues it will be interesting to see what they determine as the real cause of this accident, so stay tuned and perhaps we can all learn something to help us stay out of trouble as we navigate the airways.
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
When asked why he was referred to as 'Ace':
Because during World War Two I was responsible for the destruction of six aircraft, fortunately three were enemy.
— Captain Ray Lancaster, USAAF.