Did get-there-itis and lack of preflight planning lead to the crash of a Mooney M20J into a power line tower in Montgomery County, Maryland on November 27? The Flight Safety Detectives think so.
The aircraft had taken off from Westchester County, New York, and was bound for the Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg. Around 5:40 PM, for reasons still under investigation, it crashed about a few miles away from the runway. The crash was close to home for Greg, who lives just four miles from the site.
John, Greg and Todd talk about the investigation ahead for the FAA and NTSB. They explore key questions:
This event appears to be a perfect example of the need for preflight planning. The weather forecast called for rain and low visibility. The pilot should have planned alternatives if it was not safe to land at the Gaithersburg airport.
The NTSB just issued an urgent aviation safety recommendation for all operators of DHC-3 Otters to conduct an immediate one-time inspection of the horizontal stabilizer actuator lock ring. This is the result of the NTSB’s initial findings in the ongoing investigation of the Sept. 4, 2022, crash of a De Havilland Canada DHC-3 in Mutiny Bay, Washington.
Accident wreckage reveals evidence related to the horizontal stabilizer actuator. The actuator has two parts that were screwed together and secured with a circular wire lock ring. It appears the lock ring was not seated properly. The two barrel sections unscrewed, leading to a loss of pitch trim control and the loss of the aircraft.
John and Todd explore the ways that components are kept from coming loose in airplanes, including the lock ring that is the subject of this safety recommendation. Get their insider view of the preliminary findings, possible causes of this crash, and probable next steps in the NTSB investigation.
They also talk about the implications for anyone involves in this crash that resulted in loss of life. No one wants to make a mistake, especially one that causes a crash.
The NTSB database has just 74 events involving suicide and the focus of this discussion is the only one that involves a passenger rather than a pilot. The event took place in 2000, when a passenger on a Twin Otter plane intentionally opened the emergency exit door in flight.
As we enter the holiday season, this accident is a reminder of the additional pressures many people experience. The Flight Safety Detectives ask everyone in aviation to be especially diligent.
In this case, another passenger saw the person open the door and tried to keep her from exiting the aircraft. Recent years have shown that unusual things can and will happen on aircraft.
John and Todd discuss the importance of acting when you see something that isn’t right. They wonder how many aviation safety issues have been averted due to the quick actions of someone who noticed something and did something about it.
A look inside the world of experimental aircraft is prompted by John Denver’s fatal crash 25 years ago. Denver was flying an experimental aircraft he had recently purchased. The non-standard placement of the fuel selector valve was found to be at the heart of the issues that lead to the crash.
John, Greg and Todd talk about how experimental aircraft are built and maintained. They talk about how modifications are made, often with little oversight.
The particular Long-EZ plane that Denver purchased was built with the fuel selector valve mounted on the bulkhead behind the pilot’s left shoulder. Using it literally required the use of a mirror and pliers.
The setup, combined with questionable preflight decisions, set John Denver up to fail. Witnesses describe the engine sputtering, a steep nosedive and a crash into the ocean off the California cost. The NTSB concluded that the root cause was issues related to the fuel selector valve.
The Flight safety Detectives offer words of caution to the experimental aircraft community to make sure that safety is top of mind at all times.
A pilot in a Cessna 150 making a short trip in Australia got himself into trying circumstances that led to a crash into trees. This episode dissects the preplanning failures that doomed this 1994 flight.
The pilot took off at 3:50 a.m. on a schedule that would get him home for Christmas. Predicted bad weather caught up with him, and a partial failure of the instrument control panel added to the situation. The plane crashed into trees, and fortunately the pilot was able to walk away.
His choices stacked the deck against him including choosing to fly at night, deteriorating weather conditions, and self-induced pressure to be home for the holidays.
“Every flight has a set of circumstances. It is up to you as the pilot to determine if the circumstances are right before you take off,” Todd says.
Friday, December 2nd, 5-10pm
Join us for a fun-filled evening at the stunning Lone Star Flight Museum at Ellington Field, as we host our 1st Annual South Texas PAMA Casino Night.
Over $5000 in Prizes!
Proceeds from this year's event will provide 2 full-ride A&P Scholarships to an accredited Texas A&P School, and 2 Veteran A&P Prep-Course Scholarships.
Lone Star Flight Museum
Download the event flyer here.
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.houstonpama.com/casino-night.
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