BOYNE MICHIGAN KING AIR CRASH-FIVE BLADED PROPELLER CONVERSION COULD BE TROUBLE

The BEECHCRAFT E-90 was originally produced with 3 bladed propellers. An engine failure results in a rapid build-up of drag as the propeller windmills. Once it is feathered to be streamlined with the wind the drag is reduced and the airplane can under the best conditions continue to be flown to a landing.

This airplane was converted to Garrett turbine engines from the Pratt and Whitney PT-6 engines it originally was built with and five bladed propellers which increase climb and are quieter than the original propellers.

The only problem with this conversion is if there is an engine failure these five bladed propellers are like a barn door and the drag which occurs almost instantly may make continued control of the airplane impossible.

Normally a Supplemental Type Certificate of this magnitude would require very intensive testing to make sure that the original flying characteristics of the airplane were not materially compromised but testing is different than the real world of airplane flying.

A five bladed propeller is also very complicated and if it should go to feather or flat pitch it is possible that continued flight is impossible.

The E-90 King Air is a very easy airplane to fly unless an engine failure occurs but no doubt is a handful with a five bladed propeller on top of it.

If the Wolk Law Firm was investigating this accident, the propeller and the testing further to getting the Supplemental Type Certificate would be the first place to look.

This crash like all of them is a very sad occurrence. Two lives lost to their families is a tragedy.

May their memories be a blessing.

Arthur Alan Wolk

November 17, 2021

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BEAVER ISLAND MICHIGAN COMMUTER CRASH-OLD AIRPLANE, TURBULENT FLYING CONDITIONS

The tragic crash of a Brittan Norman Islander twin engine aircraft killing four persons is one reason why flying in old reciprocating powered propeller airplanes is a recipe for disaster.

Long ago I represented Wings Airways, a commuter airline that operated the back then old Britten Norman Islander aircraft. While they were reliable, they were old, noisy and had basic old airplane systems that while they rarely failed were in constant need of repair.

That’s just one of the problems with old airplanes, they break down a lot and usually without much notice.

The other problem with the Islander is that when you load them up, if an engine fails it is not easy to fly.

They have fixed landing gear and struts on the wings so there is a lot of drag.

The winds that day were modest about 15 knots with gusts to 25 miles per hour before and after the accident time. Gusty winds can be challenging especially in the upper Peninsula of Michigan where they vary all over the compass.

At the time of the accident the winds were not unusual but there was likely low-level turbulence and wind shear. I have flown there and with partly cloudy skies it would have been a bumpy ride below the clouds.

For some reason, the aircraft went to Beaver Island, didn’t land and returned about an hour later.

Perhaps the winds and turbulence were too challenging for the pilot who was part-time.

A look at the propellers will be telling to see if both engines were making power but if they prove to be operating normally, I would look at the weight of the passengers and cargo and what the surface conditions were at the time of the crash. The Islander can carry a lot but in gusty bumpy conditions, it can be a challenge. The airplane built in 1970 has carbureted engines which can be a problem since carburetion has long been dispensed with as a less than reliable means of providing a stochiometric fuel air mixture to aircraft engines. That’s a big word but in short means a mixture of fuel and air that will burn properly.

Island Airways will be liable for the loss of those aboard and the injuries suffered by Laney but a very careful review of the simple Islander systems will have to be made to see if anything else contributed to this crash.

May the memories of those killed be a blessing to their families.

Arthur Alan Wolk

November 15th, 2021

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GLEN DEVRIES ACCIDENT MAKES NO SENSE ABSENT AN ENGINE FAILURE

Glen Devries and his instructor were no novices in aviation. Devries was an instrument rated private pilot and his instructor an experienced flight instructor.

The airplane was a later model Cessna 172 with a glass cockpit with up to date avionics.

A training flight in such an airplane doesn’t include anything dangerous and the Cessna 172 has no history of in-flight break-ups or anything else other than seat slips on takeoff and engine failures that have been fatal.

This part of the flight, a descent to an airport should have been a non-event.

Close up pictures of the airplane’s propeller have not yet been published but it may give the first hint of loss of power.

This loss like all the others from airplane crashes are a sad reality in aviation but it will take lawyers and not the NTSB to find out why this airplane crashed.

No doubt that the NTSB will send its “go-team” to investigate this crash because of who perished but so long as it invites Cessna and the engine manufacturer to “help” chances of finding out what really happened are nil.

The Wolk Law Firm extends its condolences to the families of these fine men.

If we are engaged, we will find out why this accident happened like we do in all the others.

Arthur Alan Wolk

November 15th, 2021

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SOUTH CAROLINA FATAL CRASH KILLS YOUNG WOMAN AND INJURES HER AIR FORCE PILOT FATHER

The crash of a Piper PA-32R-300 after the pilot, an Air Force Wing Commander, reported engine trouble is made doubly tragic by the jackals on the internet who criticize the airport selection for this emergency landing. Having suffered an engine problem in a jet fighter myself that resulted in a crash many years ago, I can speak with authority on the mindless commentaries that followed.

Let’s be blunt. Next to an inflight break-up, an engine failure is a pilot’s worst nightmare come true. It means that somewhere an emergency landing must be made, most often not on an airport. This pilot was on approach to the airport but the airplane crashed into trees that resulted in its destruction. It is a miracle that anyone survived and tragically the pilot’s daughter did not. The devastating physical and emotional impact of this tragedy cannot be overstated.

A look at the photograph of the wreckage reveals much. The propeller blades are straight and that means no power to the propeller. It confirms loss of engine power or engine failure as the cause of this accident.

south-carolina-fatal-crash-kills-young-woman-injures-air-force-pilot-fatherSource:  Live 5 News WCSC

This accident will be investigated by the NTSB which will dutifully be “assisted” by the maker of the aircraft, Piper, and the maker of the engine, Lycoming.

Chances of them coming up with the actual cause of power loss are nil.

Once the NTSB finishes with the wreckage it will be the job of air crash litigators, like The Wolk Law Firm, if engaged by the families of the victims, to find the real cause of this power loss.

Our condolences to the family of Madaline Thomey, along with our hope that her father, Colonel Deane Thomey, makes a rapid and full recovery. May her memory be a blessing.

Arthur Alan Wolk

October 26, 2021

The Wolk Law Firm

arthurwolk@airlaw.com

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CESSNA 340A CRASHES UPON ARRIVAL AT MONTGOMERY-GIBBS EXECUTIVE AIRPORT SAN DIEGO-CHALLENGING ATC INSTRUCTIONS, ANOTHER POSSIBLE ENGINE FAILURE AND ANOTHER CRASH BECAUSE OF LAX FAA CERTIFICATION

The Cessna 340A was Cessna’s first attempt at a cabin-class twin. It was derived from the earlier successful non-cabin class Cessna 310. The critical difference was that the 340A was much bigger and had the same turbocharged Continental engines.

The Wolk Law Firm has litigated against Continental Motors for years from accidents related to catastrophic failure of these engines. Continental, now owned by the Chinese Communist Government, always denies responsibility for these engine failures but the history of them cannot be denied.

I remember fifty years ago at Wing’s Field every Continental powered aircraft on the field including mine had a major problem. Cracked crankcases, blown cylinders, failed rocker arm bosses, broken rings, failed crankshafts, burnt valves, swallowed valves, seized bearings and oil starvation are just a few of the many problems, some of which resulted in accidents, but all of which required engine replacement or major repairs.

The Cessna 340A is a nice airplane, large inside, pressurized for comfort, pretty looking on the ramp. But it has a problem that is nearly always deadly. If one of these problem engines fails, the effects on the airplane make it a handful to fly and frequently, all too frequently, there is a crash killing all aboard.

The second problem is called VMC. VMC is the speed below which a failure of the critical engine with the propeller windmilling will cause the aircraft to lose directional control and roll right over on its back suddenly, as in a second or two. Once the airplane starts to roll, it increases its roll rate until it’s impossible to stop.

Pilots are trained to recognize and deal with loss of an engine. In theory, when the engine fails you Identify, Verify, and then Feather the propeller on the failed engine. You accelerate to VMC and roll 3-5 degrees into the operating engine. Unfortunately, by that time you are already dead.

When these airplanes were certified, the manufacturer determined the VMC speed and the FAA bought into it. In truth, only a test pilot who knows he is going to simulate a failed engine can maintain aircraft control at VMC.

For the rest of us, engine failure is a sudden emergency that has pilots swimming in glue until it’s too late. The Cessna 340A doesn’t have auto-feather that helps other aircraft somewhat by moving the dead engine’s propeller blades to a more streamlined position. When an engine fails in a twin, the airplane loses more than fifty percent of its power due to drag and the fact it is now flying sideways. The Cessna 340A is no exception.

A Cessna 340A doesn’t crash like this absent an engine failure and the NTSB and FAA need to look at the engines and then in a mirror because the FAA never should have certified an airplane to be able to suffer an engine failure and still fly when it won’t.

The pilot, a cardiologist who had flown into this airport frequently in this airplane, was on an ILS Approach to Runway 28R, an instrument approach I have flown many times. He was working SOCAL Approach and as usual was getting very crisp, rapid instructions to descend and intercept the final approach course. The last instruction appears to be to descend to 2800 feet and fly heading 250 degrees to intercept the localizer. Typical for SOCAL approach, the pilot didn’t get an approach clearance until later because of his altitude, position and heading for the localizer upon which he was not yet established. The pilot actually asked for the clearance as I have had to do many times as well.

As is not infrequent, the rapid descent required, turn to a new heading and high airspeed causes the airplane to blow right through the localizer. The pilot was cautioned that he was not flying the localizer course to the runway. He also got a low altitude alert from the Controller making the pilot’s workload even higher.

When I listened to the ATC communications, I heard the Controller give the pilot a descent to 2800 feet. That is 1000 feet lower than the normal approach clearance of 3800 feet until established on the approach and no doubt contributed to the pilot’s overload and confusion. I have flown that very approach many times and I have never been given a descent to 2800 feet at that point.

Once the approach was mishandled, the pilot was given a climb to 5000 feet for new vectors for the approach and he acknowledged the new clearance after which control was lost and the crash occurred.

While it would appear that pilot overload may have contributed to this accident, a missed approach would have been a piece of cake if everything was working alright. The fact that the airplane didn’t climb and control was lost may mean that at a very inopportune time one of the engines lost power and a VMC roll ensued. The pilot had adequate experience and ratings for this flight and was familiar with the terrain and procedures to be flown. Something else killed him and an innocent UPS driver on the ground.

The Wolk Law Firm is saddened by yet another Cessna cabin class twin crash and another possible engine failure that may have contributed to it.  I must also say that the vectors and altitudes given by ATC on both instrument approaches to Runway 28 Right at KMYF are often challenging.

May the memories of those killed be a blessing.

Arthur Alan Wolk, October 11, 2021

 

Air Traffic Control audio can be downloaded from LiveATC.net:

https://forums.liveatc.net/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16360.0;attach=11017

Arthur Alan Wolk

The Wolk Law Firm

1710-12 Locust Street

Philadelphia, PA  19103

p: (215) 545-4220

c: (610) 733-4220

f: (215) 545-5252

arthurwolk@airlaw.com

 

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Midair Collision – No Excuse

FAA Order 7110.65, better known as the “Point 65,” sets forth the procedures and phraseology for use by air traffic controllers.  Right up front, this order makes clear that “[t]he primary purpose of the ATC system is to prevent a collision involving aircraft operating in the system.”  Pretty hard to get around that one when a midair collision occurs.  If your very existence is premised on keeping aircraft from running into one another, and they do, well, you get the point. 

On Friday, October 1, 2021, a Piper Archer airplane and a Robinson R22 helicopter collided in the traffic pattern at Chandler Municipal Airport in Arizona.  While the Piper was able to land safely, tragically, the instructor and student in the R22 perished.  Chandler has an air traffic control tower, but it’s not operated by the FAA.  The tower at Chandler is one of more than 250 “contract towers” operated under national contracts awarded to Midwest Air Traffic Control Services, Serco Management Services Inc., and Robinson Aviation (RVA) Inc.  Regardless, the same rules apply.  In this case, the weather was VFR (visual flight rules), which begs the question, how is it possible for two aircraft to collide while flying in the traffic pattern at a controlled airport in visual conditions?  Unfortunately, many people (pilots included) think air traffic controllers are using radar to keep VFR airplanes “separated” at airports like Chandler.  Not so.  While tower controllers may have a radar display available, when the weather is VFR, they will generally be looking out the window and using their eyes (possibly aided by binoculars) to provide proper sequencing/spacing to arriving pilots.  Sounds archaic, and it is.  What’s more, there is no separation criteria like that when aircraft are operating under instrument flight rules (IFR).  So, at a busy airport, with a lot of flight training, is it really surprising to see two aircraft vying for the same airspace while talking to air traffic control?  Another question is whether the Piper and/or the R22 had ADS-B “traffic” information available in the cockpit.  Either way, there is still no excuse for allowing two aircraft to run into one another. 

Alan D. Mattioni

10/11/2021

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HIGHLY MODIFIED SILVER EAGLE CESSNA P-210 CRASH AT DEKALB PEACHTREE AIRPORT KILLS 4- MAYBE TOO HIGHLY MODIFIED.

A Cessna P-210 was the last iteration of the Cessna Pressurized Centurion airplane model, at least Cessna thought so.

The Pressurized Cessna P-210 was equipped with a Continental TSIO-520 piston engine and a three bladed propeller. It cruised at mid-altitudes and a little faster than the standard 210.

Then someone got the idea to change the engine and install an Allison, now Rolls Royce, turbine engine instead.

The propeller was changed as well and the STC was sold to a number of P-210 owners.

It was faster, flew higher, and had a higher rate of climb than the factory airplanes.

But it seems that good is never good enough so a new STC was developed, not by Cessna, that installed an MT, German built light weight five-bladed scimitar shaped propeller on this turbine conversion.

The one thing that seems to have escaped the thinking of designers and modifiers is that a five bladed propeller creates much more drag in the event of loss of engine power than either a four or three bladed propeller, in fact so much drag that the airplane wants to stop in mid-air right now in the event of loss of power.

Now it isn’t clear yet whether this crash was caused by the engine or propeller or both but surveillance video clearly shows the airplane climbing out and then suddenly rolling over on one wing as if it stalled suddenly.

With a properly operating engine and propeller, it is virtually impossible to stall a converted Silver Eagle  P-210 in this manner.

One problem with an airplane with a lot of after-market STC’s (Supplemental Type Certificates) is that the certification requirements are not as stringent and the testing not as rigorous as a factory-built airplane that is certified as an entire airplane.

So, given that a few MT propeller equipped airplanes have recently crashed, a TBM 700 in Ohio and this one at the least recently, a very careful look has to be taken of this propeller and its aerodynamics and functionality, especially if there is a loss of power for any reason.

The Wolk Law Firm extends its condolences to the families who are suffering so much from their losses.

May the memories of those who have passed be a blessing.

Arthur Alan Wolk

10/10/2021

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MICHAEL MISKA OF THE WOLK LAW FIRM WINS IMPORTANT JURISDICTION CASE IN NORTH CAROLINA

Some years back, the United States Supreme Court turned the concept of jurisdiction in this country on its head.  Jurisdiction is the power of a Court to hear a case based on either the systematic and continuous activities of a defendant in a State (general jurisdiction), or some specific act that caused harm in a State but coupled with some continuous efforts to avail themselves of the benefits of the State (specific jurisdiction). What the Supreme Court held in a very simple case that was neither briefed nor argued on jurisdiction was that a defendant could only be sued where it was incorporated or where its nerve center was located. Justice Sotomayor railed at the decision as being on the wrong side of history in a famous dissent.

But based on the Supreme Court’s wrong decision courts all over the country threw out cases unless the strict criteria for exercising jurisdiction was met. Our case in North Carolina captioned Cohen v. Continental Motors, Inc. was one of those cases.

Mike Miska created an excellent record that CMI not only purposely availed itself of the benefits of doing business in North Carolina, made money from its activities there, the part that failed was sold there, the accident happened there and the Plaintiff’s decedents lived in North Carolina so the harm from the defendant’s conduct occurred there.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals interpreting the new Supreme Court more relaxed view on the law of jurisdiction found that CMI indeed should be subject to the power of the North Carolina Courts to hear this case and reversed the lower Court’s decision to throw the case out. A copy of the opinion is attached here.

The Wolk Law Firm is known Worldwide for its tenacity in behalf of its clients.

Arthur Alan Wolk

9/7/21

 

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N560AR CITATION 560XLS+ ACCIDENT AT PLAINVIEW CONNECTICUT LOOKS LIKE AN ABORTED TAKEOFF THAT WASN’T SUCCESSFULLY ACCOMPLISHED BECAUSE OF SUDDEN MECHANICAL FAILURE

 

This terrible accident is speculated the result of mechanical failure. There is no question about that. Cessna Citation 560XLS’s do not crash on takeoff on a clear day with two accomplished pilots aboard without something going terribly wrong. The airplane was not at gross weight, the runway while short was not too short for the takeoff but the balanced field length was about 300 feet longer than the existing runway. What that means is that at gross weight once the aircraft reaches V1, the speed at which engine failure results in continuing the takeoff, the airplane can be stopped on the remaining runway if it is 3900 feet long.

This airplane if the decision was made to abort the takeoff at or before V1, should have been able to stop on the remaining runway but that requires an immediate recognition of engine failure and an immediate decision to abort. All of this assumes engine failure which is very rare in today’s jet aircraft but possible. This aircraft has thrust reversers and perhaps one of them became unlocked or worse started to deploy. Bird strikes during the takeoff can wreak havoc with jet engines and many accidents have occurred due to reactions to that encounter.

Another possibility is a mechanical failure unrelated to the engines, like a control malfunction or jam when the crew attempted to rotate for takeoff which caused the crew to realize that continuing the flight was unsafe and a decision made to abort. That would have been a later made decision and would account for the lack of remaining runway to stop.

Aborting takeoffs is a leading cause of fatal accidents because on short runways a perfect response is required and perfection is usually a judgment call made by Monday morning quarterbacks when an airplane crash occurs.

This accident is eerily similar to another Cessna 560XL in 2019. That aircraft crashed when it couldn’t stop on the runway when the crew aborted the takeoff due to the controls not responding to them pulling back on the control yoke to takeoff. This Citation has a hydraulic actuator to move the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer nose down when the flaps are extended for takeoff. If the stabilizer did not stop at 2 degrees nose down but went further, the crew wouldn’t know that the nose down stabilizer authority exceeded the ability of the elevators to rotate the nose. That would account for the later than usual abort command and the inability to stop on the remaining runway in both accidents. If The Wolk law Firm investigates this accident, that’s where we would first look, an overtravel of the horizontal stabilizer nose down.

A careful review of recent maintenance will be helpful in ascertaining the cause of this accident together with cockpit voice and data recorder analyses. Someone on this flight deck called out a malfunction and crew coordination would have called out the appropriate checklist if a memory item before impact.

I fly a twin-engine jet single pilot and when taking off on a short runway, I often think about what an abort would look like. No one wants it to look like this but there will be lessons learned at great cost because of the tragic loss of life.

Recently my airplane suffered hangar rash that no one owned up to or even mentioned to me before I discovered it on pre-flight. If someone backed this airplane up into a wall hitting the elevators damage to their function could have occurred that would not be visible on a preflight since the tail is so high.

There is also always the possibility of maintenance gone bad, some part that failed causing a warning or malfunction. Even a false warning like engine fire would be enough for any pilot to consider aborting the takeoff.

Hopefully the CVR or FDR will be undamaged as the tail looks like it was spared the fire destruction thus these components should be able to be read and some light shed on the cause.

For the families, their great loss will be aggravated by the NTSB’s insistence on not releasing the wreckage until it releases its report and probable cause determination. The NTSB will be “assisted” in its investigation by both Cessna and the engine maker so the chances of it coming up with an unbiased conclusion are nil in my experience.

The Wolk Law Firm regularly fights the NTSB in Court to gain access to and preserve critical evidence. We wait for no one.

Our condolences to these families who have lost so much. May the memories of their loved ones be a blessing.

Arthur Alan Wolk

9/3/21

 

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PETERSON/ CHRISTENSEN CESSNA 182 ACCIDENT IN BOUNTIFUL UTAH MAKES NO SENSE ABSENT MECHANICAL MALFUNCTION

Three young beautiful young adults, just beginning their lives are dead in what should have been a no risk simple sightseeing flight and return.

They departed Bountiful Utah at 7 P.M., daylight, to view the church of the Peterson’s marriage by air.

A few minutes later they were dead as the airplane crashed into a mountain that should have been plainly visible.

The winds were very light only about 3 knots, the temperature was a hot 90 degrees and the conditions were visual flight rules.

They were flying an old Cessna 182H, built in 1965, and owned by J. Parker Christensen, a new pilot.

Kallie was an experienced pilot who had just been hired by the airlines to start training in November.

The Cessna 182 is a simple airplane to fly when everything works.

The mountains around Bountiful are high around 9,000 feet or more. There were some showers above the mountains that day.

The airplane has a carbureted engine and given the density altitude (about 8000 feet), temperature and the showers, any loss of power would make the airplane incapable of climbing above the peaks or even making it back to the airport.

A careful examination of the ADS-B data showing altitudes, rates of climb and airspeed demonstrate that the climb rate and airspeed was as expected given the weather, loading and age of the airplane but airspeed slowed in an obvious attempt by the pilot to keep climbing as the aircraft passed about 7200 feet above sea level. That occurred either because this normally aspirated aircraft simply ran out of climb capability or the carburetor simply could not keep up with the engine’s power needs.

This should never have happened. There was enough talent, experience and knowledge in that aircraft.

It was well below its gross weight.

Something else caused this accident.

We hope the families are able to learn what the cause was and The Wolk Law Firm can help.

Arthur Alan Wolk

8/24/21

 

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