Author Topic: Crash of N950KA...?  (Read 10594 times)

Offline k8ur

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Crash of N950KA...?
« on: August 07, 2012, 12:16:52 PM »
Re: N950KA Crash in FL

It's always sad to see this, but when a friend told me that they found the body of the pilot's 13 yr old son, .4 miles from the site, I started to look at the pictures.., and read the reports..
The original pix I saw showed the plane's left side only. It showed the cargo door of the PC12 closed, as well as the pilot cabin door, in front of the left wing.  Reports indicated the door as being closed and hard to open also.
Then I found more pix, showing the right side.  Most of the right wing torn off, but not at the root.  The metal shows a tearing pattern, at a diagonal. The fuselage above the right wing, gouged out (making sense of finding of his 13 yr old son almost 1/2 mile from the crash site). The elevators, at the top of the tail, separated from the plane.  The tail section fuselage rivets sheared off from the left side (spin pressure from a clockwise flat spin?). Engine appears intact, not even any windshield damage.
From the RADAR flight data, it looks like he was entering a storm and lost 1000ft on the downdraft, entrance, side of the storm, but still in contact with the controller.  Then a direction change (to avert body of storm?), still talking to controller. Then lost contact and a fast descent (flat spin at apx 20,000 fpm). This seemed to occur just after the pilot was leveling off at 26000 ft. He called Mayday. 
Wx data shows a TS but didn't look that awful on RADAR, and he seemed to be just on the front edge of it at the time.  His initial course was 290+/-3 degrees (i assume AP control and steady climb). 
So - What caused the gouge in the fuselage on the right side, just over the right wing?
If he was level at 26000 ft, entering a storm and experienced negative G-s and the right wing broke apart as a result, I can understand the spin, the tail fuselage pressure from the left side etc., but can't see how the fuselage got damaged.  I think that finding a body .4 miles away points strongly to his exit of the plane via the fuselage hole; seeing that both doors were found shut tight.
Most GA, and all non-pressurized GA don't fly at FL26. If he hit a Commercial flight transitioning FL26, we would hear about that. Everything above 18000 is talking to somebody - except UAVs...
The wingspan of the PC-12 is about 26 ft.  Predator UAV wingspan is 48 ft.
It appears that the pilot just bought the plane this past May. Probably the first trip with his family and not that much time in a PC-12.  Private, Single engine, IFR ticket.
I've been in some pretty bad TS over my years and know and respect what they can do to us. But, this crash needs a little more investigation.  I'd want to know:
How the right wing failed, what caused the hole in the fuselage,  Was the AP engaged when he crashed? What was his heading bug actually set to? Is there any composite material (UAV DNA) found around the tears in the fuselage or wing?
Just curious...
Anyone have any insight based on evidence/science?
Mitch Mitchell,

Offline ZetaByte

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Re: Crash of N950KA...?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2012, 08:13:52 PM »
Possible the right wing, when it failed, struck and opened the hole in the cabin as it ripped free. Being a pressurized aircraft, this would cause a rapid depressurization, and anything (or anyone) not securly fastened inside would, sadly, be ejected through the hole. Positive/negative G-forces, when inside a thunderstorm can alternate very rapidly, violently and unpredictibly. In my 40 years of flying, I've never been in a thunderstorm.

Offline Armageddon

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Re: Crash of N950KA...?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 06:18:34 PM »
I was in a severe thunderstorm with my CFI during my Instrument training in the Atlanta TCA.
We were in a 1976 Cessna 172 as I recall.

It was summer and a front was passing and we had been flying for about an hour and were being delayed getting back into Fulton County Airport due to heave air traffic.

We were over Dobbins AFB under IFR and were directed to fly DIRECTLY into a Level 5 thunderstorm.  The controller advised that there was traffic near us and that we needed to follow his instructions.  The CFI was a very seasoned older gentleman who I trusted 100%.  He also had a good bit of aerobatic experience.

Anyway, a minute or two after being told to fly the heading that was putting us directly into the level 5, we began to climb like I had never seen.   I think it was more than 6,000 fpm.  The instructor had me nose down and full throttle and we were still in a serious climb that would have shamed a Gulfstream.   Small hail began to pelt the plane.

The Instructor who was busy communicating with ATC and deciding what to do had me execute a 180 and almost immediately the controller came on and asked what we were doing and again advised of the traffic in the area.

My CFI ignored the call and took the controls and focused on getting us out of the storm.  I think we were in more trouble than I realized but the cool and seasoned CFI got us out safely.

So, I can say first hand that thunderstorms are no joke.  Oh, I can also say ALWAYS choose your CFI's wisely as your life might depend on it.

Very, very sad to hear of this tragedy.   My prayers to their souls and those who loved them.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2012, 06:22:02 PM by Armageddon »

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Re: Crash of N950KA...?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2012, 06:18:34 PM »