Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Accepting A Bad Situation

It’s better to accept a poor outcome than to create a disastrous one

At 9:35:44, the captain stated, "Let's do the approaches real quick," referring to the approach checklist. At 9:35:51, the first officer called, "Approach briefing," and the captain replied, "It's gonna be the ILS to three zero."

At 9:36:46, Rochester Approach instructed the flight to descend to 3,000 feet at the pilots' discretion, and turn right heading 190 degrees. Then, the controller gave weather information for OWA, which he said was about 20 minutes old and included winds 320 degrees at eight knots; visibility 10 miles or more; thunderstorms, clouds scattered at 3,700 feet and overcast at 5,000 feet; lightning in the distance in all quadrants.

The CVR recorded the captain and first officer discussing their weather radar display, with the captain saying, "I don't know what…we're looking at on this thing," and the first officer replying, "Well, neither do I." At 9:38:07, Rochester Approach radioed that a couple of heavy cells were located about five miles north and northeast of OWA.

At 9:38:50, the captain stated, "Approaches are done." The first officer responded, "Approaches are done." The captain said they were descending to 3,000 feet, and would have to start getting the airplane "slowed up."

At 9:39:58, the CVR recorded the captain calling for, "Flaps one [15 degrees]." The first officer stated, "One and indicating," to which the captain responded, "Why don't you really quickly go over and…ID that thing [the ILS]? See if the localizer's even right?" At 9:40:21, Rochester Approach cleared the flight for the ILS. The first officer then confirmed that the localizer frequency was correct and stated, "Loc's alive." At 9:42:00, the captain reported the runway in sight and canceled IFR.

At 9:42:09, the first officer contacted the FBO and stated that the flight was about eight miles out, and that they would be dropping off passengers. At 9:42:22, the CVR recorded an increase in background noise consistent with landing-gear extension. From 9:42:24 to 9:42:38, the CVR recorded the FBO talking to the first officer about refueling.

At 9:42:37, the captain stated, "Three green, no red, pressure's good, back to zero, steerings clear," indicating that the three green landing-gear annunciators were showing down-and-locked; that the hydraulic pressure was good; that the air brakes had zero pressurization and that the nosewheel-steering handwheel was clear.

The captain said, "Flaps two [25 degrees]," then told the first officer to "go through the before landings, make sure you got it all….down indicating down." At 9:44:25, the CVR recorded an electronic voice stating, "Four-hundred [feet]." At 9:44:29, the captain stated, "I'm goin' right to the tiller [ground steering] and the brakes." Three seconds later, an electronic voice said, "Three-hundred [feet]." Immediately thereafter, the captain said, "Slowin' to ref [reference landing speed]." At 9:44:47, the electronic voice alerted, "Two [hundred feet] minimums minimums," which was immediately followed by the first officer stating, "Air valves are shut [yaw] damper to go," and then, "Damper." At 9:45:04, the CVR recorded a sound consistent with tires rolling on a prepared surface, followed 2.5 seconds later by a sound similar to the air brakes moving to the OPEN position.

At 9:45:08, the first officer stated, "Dumped," followed immediately by, "We're not dumped." The first officer was referring to the deployment of the lift-dump feature of the air brake and flap systems, which is used to help decelerate the airplane on landing. About 1.5 seconds later, the captain replied, "No we're not," and, at the same time, the CVR recorded a sound similar to the air brake handle moving to the DUMP position. Ten seconds later, the CVR recorded a sound similar to the air brakes moving to the SHUT position. The captain then stated, "Flaps," and, about the same time, the CVR recorded increasing engine noise. At 9:45:27, the captain stated, "Here we go….not flyin'…not flyin'." At 9:45:36, the CVR recorded the electronic voice warning, "Bank angle, bank angle." The CVR stopped recording at 9:45:45.

The airplane ran off the runway end, then lifted off the ground six seconds later. The airplane hit the runway 30 localizer antenna support structure, which was about 1,000 feet from the runway end. It eventually came to rest in a corn field beyond a dirt access road that borders the airport, which was about 2,136 feet from the runway end.


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