Thursday, June 6, 2013
The NTSB has highlighted what it sees as five general aviation trouble areas
The Safety Board targeted five areas that come up frequently in accident investigations as subjects for five Safety Alerts and a series of videos featuring regional air safety investigators sharing their experiences and observations, while providing advice on how pilots and mechanics can avoid mistakes.
The first Safety Alert is titled, "Is Your Aircraft Talking to You? Listen!" It notes that more accidents involving powerplant system or component failure could be avoided if pilots were better attuned to indications of growing mechanical difficulty and more responsive to small issues so they don't become in-flight emergencies ending in accidents. It cites a Beech 36 engine which, it suggests, was trying to tell the pilot all wasn't well prior to the accident.
The accident occurred shortly before 4 a.m., while the pilot was flying the RNAV/GPS approach for runway 24 at Bowman Field Airport, Louisville, Ky. The airplane had taken off from Chicago's Midway Airport. The commercial pilot, who had 2,300 hours and was the only person on board, was killed. Weather was reported as six miles in mist with an 800-foot overcast and wind from 330 degrees at three knots. The pilot reported an emergency due to "engine failure." The airplane went down in an open field in a golfing community.
A mechanic at Bowman Field told an investigator that he saw the airplane on the field, and he had seen it fly on several occasions, and knew the engine had been recently overhauled. Several weeks before the accident, the mechanic talked to the pilot when the pilot was conducting a ground run. The pilot said that he was having an oil pressure problem and asked the mechanic about oil pressure adjustments. The mechanic explained the system to the pilot and advised him to have the problem checked out.
A worker at an FBO at Midway said the airplane landed there just before midnight and the pilot ordered fuel. After taxiing out for departure, the plane came back to the FBO and the pilot said there was a problem. The airplane was put into a hangar and the pilot contacted a maintenance facility on the airport. The maintenance facility was unable to work on the airplane until morning, so the pilot had the airplane pulled out of the hangar and managed to start the engine after several attempts. The airplane departed Midway at about 2:20 a.m.
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