Many accidents, while not boring to the participants, have a predictable regularity – Crosswind landings or gear-ups, for example. There’s not much we don’t know about the cause and cure for either. They get cataloged in Air Safety Foundation’s database where they form the basis for topic and initiative areas for future education or awareness. But others pique our curiosity.
What brought this to mind was a fatal Cessna 441 accident in Oregon last week. Obviously, it’s way too soon to know why things went sour but a normal landing in light winds turned into a disaster. Witnesses saw the Conquest porpoise a few times and then saw what looked like an attempted go-around. What’s unusual about this? Two things: First, pilots flying turboprops usually know how to land especially without confounding factors, such as night, IMC, short runways or adverse winds. Secondly, how did what is usually just an embarrassing, if somewhat expensive, incident become a fatality.
The coding on this accident for our database will be challenging because the initial event occurred on landing, from what we now know. The fatality occurred on go-around which is five times more likely to result in a fatality than landing where there are seldom any serious injuries. The NTSB also has difficulty with this and we sometimes code something differently if we think there is compelling logic
We don’t yet know the pilot’s background or training but this accident is now on the ASF Watch List. When more information comes in we’ll revisit to see what may be learned and passed along.
As communications becomes more encompassing – web for example – I ‘d invite your thoughts on the watch list. Is there a better way to communicate the lessons learned than what we’re currently doing?