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Mystery Surrounds Recent Accidents

by John M. White |

The accidents in Buffalo of a Dash-8 Q-400 aircraft and the Pilatius PC-12 near Butte, MT do not appear to be as simple and straight forward as some of us originally thought.  Click on image to enlarge

It appears from the flight recorders of the Dash 8 that all aircraft systems were operating normally, including the stick shaker and the deviation of flight controls.  Even though ice was present on the airframe it does not appear that alone can account for this accident.

With respect to the PC-12, the mystery starts with why the aircraft diverted from Bozeman, the original destination, to Butte where the accident occurred.  Out of CG and over gross seem to be ruled out despite the fact that there were 14 on board this 10 place seating as 7 of the passengers were small children.

We can expect that the NTSB will blame the crew, at least in part, for both of these accidents.  The NTSB may also never know what the cause of the accidents were, but they will certainly try.

All of this brings to mind the fact that aviation is a dangerous endeavor.  I remember when we first started flying business jets it was easy to become complacent because we had a lot more power than we had in piston aircraft, and the performance of these aircraft were spectacular compared to piston twins.  Staying alert and focused was sometimes easy to ignore.

The truth is no pilot would ever endager passengers, let alone him/herself, so we can be confident that if crews make mistakes it is not on purpose.  I hope the NTSB can figure out what happened, and that we can all learn from those results.

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!

JetAviator7

The three worst things to hear in the cockpit:
The second officer says, "Oh shit!"
The first officer says, "I have an idea!"
The captain say, "Hey, watch this!"

— anon.



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