Pilot Crashes After Six Unsuccessful Approaches

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Pilot Crashes After Six Unsuccessful Approaches

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Pilot Crashes After Six Unsuccessful Approaches

By Ofonime Essien


After a 90-minute instrument flight rules flight, the pilot descended toward his home airport in Seagoville, Texas, and attempted six unsuccessful instrument approaches in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC).

The controller terminated three GPS approaches and one instrument landing system approach because the pilot flew through the final approach course; one GPS approach was terminated because the pilot was performing S-turns on final.

Sunset occurred during the third approach attempt.

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After the fourth approach attempt, the controller suggested that the pilot divert to an airport with visual meteorological conditions (VMC), which the pilot declined because of the Beech V35A’s low fuel status.

During the sixth approach attempt, he stated he was “getting tired of flying this airplane.”

The controller offered him vectors to a VMC airport, but he declined, stating he wanted to “keep working until we get it.”

Soon after he made this statement, the airplane turned right toward the final approach course and rapidly descended hitting terrain. The pilot died in the crash.

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The pilot likely either attempted to descend below IMC and/or experienced spatial disorientation, but the investigation was unable to determine the precise reason for the loss of control.

The pilot’s six unsuccessful approach attempts and his decision not to divert to a VMC airport revealed poor instrument flight skills, poor fuel planning, lack of situational awareness, and poor judgment.

A review of medical records revealed that the pilot was using a sedating antihistamine and had several physiological issues, including vision deficits, diabetes, diabetic neuropathy. These conditions may have had an impairing effect on the pilot, but the medical investigation was limited by the degree of damage to the pilot’s body and the extent to which they may have affected the pilot at the time of the accident could not be determined.

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The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s loss of control and subsequent impact with terrain in instrument meteorological conditions.

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA081

This December 2014 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.




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About Author

Ofonime Essien

Mr. Ofonime A. Essien, is a Helicopter Pilot. He is also a Microsoft Certified Database Administrator (MCDBA), Oracle Certified Associate (OCA), a Computer Forensics Expert, a Blogger, Web Master, a Writer and an Entrepreneur. He is an avid reader. He likes motivating others to achieve their dreams through writing and speaking.

1 Comment

John Omesili

December 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Hallo, reading through the post, one thing that strikes me is the trend on investigation carried out after fatal crashes attributed to Pilot errors. Investigators open medical record history that have been hidden to the public and they usually show some not wonderful records as you indicated in your post.

Couldn’t these medical records be investigated before these tragic events to prevent loss? I recently watched the inspirational movie, A Dark Reflection – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Dark_Reflection. It looked like its standard reporting procedure when cause of crash is attributed to Pilot’s error.

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