vald
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Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:45 am

Following a crash of a 208 in ireland on 05-july-2007.
I was thinking of quite a few of Fedex aircraft that crashed & when i lived in the states for almost ten years
(91 till 99) i kinda remember a couple there too.
After i went to AVIATION SAFETY NETWORK site to be honest i was shocked to see how many
occurrences were on the database.
After all its first flight was only 1982 &
approx 1000+ bulit = 134 hull losses over 10% of total production
 
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csturdiv
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:48 am

Did you check to see what the causes were of those crashes? I am sure that not all of the 134 losses can be blamed on the equipment, there is some pilot errors in there somewhere.
An American expat from the ORD area living and working in SYD
 
MEA-707
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:52 am

I don't understand from a safety point of view why it only has one engine while many smaller aircraft have a decent fuel burn and economics with two engines. When the engine fails, you have a problem. In the jungle or mountains or deep sea, a safe emergency landing is difficult. I flew on them though in Honduras and Belize and it were pretty nice flights.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
 
PILOTALLEN
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:53 am

They are just as safe as the pilots flying them. The biggest complaint....besides lack of speed is their ability to pick up a lot of ice. With landing gear struts hanging out, wing struts, belly pod and large wings/tail...but even with the ice just as long as the pilot/pilots are on top of it there won't be too much of a problem. I flew around in one for a winter and it had every trait of every other cessna built, strong, reliable (espeically with the Pratt) and rugged. Ice was the biggest problem and the lack of speed didn't help when building it....but in my opinion its a safe plane
Thats not flying, thats falling with style -Woody
 
dispatcher
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:53 am

Nothing scientific here, only my opinion.. the type of flying they do, single pilot, single engine, night IFR may speak more about the accidents than the plane itself.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:55 am

The Caravan is a popular "step-up" plane for new commercial pilots, i.e. with a fresh commercial certificate in hand, you can go off and pick up some turbine PIC time by flying ungodly early shifts for the local Fedex affiliate...so you have low-time pilots flying boxes at odd hours (single pilot), often IFR in some really lousy weather just to build the time to put themselves into a regional airline cockpit, and I'm afraid that some of those less-than-ideal conditions that I just mentioned contribute to the rather high accident rate  Sad It would be interesting to compare accidents in passenger ops vs. freight ops in the USA, I think we'd see a huge difference  Wink
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2H4
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:00 am

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
I flew on them though in Honduras and Belize

The Caravan is also a popular aircraft in countries that may or may not monitor or enforce safe maintenance and operating practices as well as others. It would be interesting to see where all of the hull losses have taken place.


2H4

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FlagshipAZ
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:02 am

I flew in a float-equipped 208A this past May here at Lake Hood, Alaska. All ten of us flew on this aircraft, line #289 N675HP, on a brief 30 minutes familiarization flight for the summer tourism season, and I gotta tell ya...I love every second of that flight.  Smile I'll do it again in a heartbeat if given the chance. This aircraft is at least 10 yrs old, but whoever the previous owner was, took extremely good care of that bird. So if you have doubt about flying in a Caravan...it should all depends on the maintenance of the individual aircraft, and the pilot's qualifications. You have the last call whether you want to go aboard. But please don't condemn the entire aircraft's production because of several hull losses. Each hull loss is different in their unique situation.
Regards.
"Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." --Ben Franklin
 
BOAT
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:06 am

Even if 50-60% are due to pilot error, that still leaves too many to not question the design and mfg of an aircraft. I had noticed the list of losses of Caravan on ASN a few months ago, and, like Vald, was suprised at the number of crashes. Maybe it has something to do with the type of service and location of many of the aircraft. I expect a very valid explanation forthcoming; as I have said before, the knowledge of members on this Site "blows me out of the water".

BOAT
 
vald
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:14 am

Okay, single engine, single new pilot (low hours), it is a bush plane so maybe it flies alot in unsafe landmass &
the even its loaded to the gills, when things go wrong is there any margin for error?, i mean 10% is 10%. it seams like
whatever way you look at it & IT'S A MODERN AIRCRAFT. it is unsafe. val
 
rfields5421
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:22 am

There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

The aircraft is not unsafe - it has a very good reputation among people who fly them.

But it is often used in conditions and places where the safety margin is minimal.
As noted above - low time pilots, night IFR, all winter and all weather, cargo airlines, short strips, seldom an ILS, etc.

Probably 40-50 % of all Caravan flights are at night.

Any aircraft flown in those conditions will suffer higher losses than passenger aircraft or low flight time private aircraft.

The engine is extremely reliable and not a real issue. A second engine would make the aircraft too heavy and too expensive for it's primary role as a short haul feeder.

One thing about the Caravan though - it is a very survivable aircraft should it go down. A lot of people walk away from Caravan hull loss crashes.
 
vald
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:25 am

thanks boat,
I'm not for one minute slating the 208,
I don't find it a good looking aircraft but if
10% of a320's, a330's. b737's, b747's where ever the came from & they fly from everywhere.
Q:WOULD YOU FLY ON THEM!
val
 
rfields5421
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:29 am

Quoting Vald (Reply 11):
Q:WOULD YOU FLY ON THEM!

Yes, I love it whenever I get a chance about once every two or three months riding with a friend who does some of those night flights. (Not for FDX)

And if I win the lottery I'm buying one - because that plane I could be certified to fly with my medical restrictions.
 
vald
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:37 am

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 10):
There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

The aircraft is not unsafe - it has a very good reputation among people who fly them.

Most aircraft have a super safe reputation among people who fly them.
Thats why the fly them.
to quote myself

Quoting Vald (Reply 9):
10% is 10%



Quoting Vald (Reply 9):
whatever way you look at it

fact.
val
 
vald
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:40 am

sorry, the last post seams a bit arragant  Wow!
 
RaginMav
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:42 am

Quoting BOAT (Reply 8):
Even if 50-60% are due to pilot error,

Off the top of my head, I'd say 85-95% are due to pilot error (read: Ice). A good friend of mine just got out of them recently, and is starting a job flynig bizjets. He is excited to not have to do battle with the ice any longer!

Also, another friend of mine put one down on a road at night after an engine failure. I don't recall exactly why the engine failed, unfortunately.
 
KELPkid
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:44 am

Quoting Vald (Reply 9):
whatever way you look at it & IT'S A MODERN AIRCRAFT. it is unsafe.

So, okay, what's the point of this post, then? Did you want us to support your forgone conclusion  Yeah sure I, for one, will not.

If you wanted to do this, then your thread title is misleading. Why didn't you just assert "Cessna Caravan is an unsafe aircraft!" in your thread title?

Do you also assert that "crotch rocket" motorcycles are fundamentally unsafe? They are modern (far more modern than a Harley), and quite a few of them end up in crumpled heaps on the side of the road with the rider greviously injured or dead...
Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
 
vald
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:05 am

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 16):
So, okay, what's the point of this post, then? Did you want us to support your forgone conclusion   I, for one, will not.

The point is, sir
There are alot of these planes falling from the sky.
this is not not an A, B, or even a C Thing.
To use your own example,
forget about the person on the bike, car, or PLANE,
if & it is just an if ( don't kill the messager)
if 10% of nissans, honda, HARLEYs, saab's, spacehoppers, whatever failed while moving, is that safe!
that all.
IS IT A SAFE AIRCRAFT (ice & all)
val.
 
2H4
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:26 am

Quoting Vald (Reply 17):
IS IT A SAFE AIRCRAFT (ice & all)

Define "SAFE".

2H4

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FlyUSCG
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:09 am

Quoting Vald (Reply 9):
it seams like
whatever way you look at it & IT'S A MODERN AIRCRAFT. it is unsafe. val

Since you started the thread and didn't do the research, it's you're responsibility to look up all those crashes and put together some numbers showing how many were aircraft related and how many were pilot error. If you are unwilling to do that then I suggest this thread be deleted because it's basically you just saying "The Cessna 208 is unsafe because it had had crashes". We have a 208 wreck from "Scenic" airlines in our crash lab at ERAU Prescott. I did an investigation on it for class and the cause (which we knew already), was pilot error while flying in known icing (also attributed to pilots improper weight and balance). he airplane is completely intact save for the fact it is completely flat except for the tail. I'd say it stands maybe a total of 2 feet off the ground now. All 9 pax and pilot were killed.

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 5):
The Caravan is a popular "step-up" plane for new commercial pilots, i.e. with a fresh commercial certificate in hand, you can go off and pick up some turbine PIC time by flying ungodly early shifts for the local Fedex affiliate

From what I've heard from FedEx 208 pilots, that is completely UN-true. Getting a job flying a 208 for FedEx right now is harder than getting a job flying a CRJ-900 at a major regional. I was just hired into US Airways Express with a grand total of 300.1 TOTAL time. FedEx 208's usually require at least 1,500 total plus at least 500 (yes five hundred) cross-country time. Now small 208 charters may be a step up for new commercial pilots, but 208 cargo in the US is not a first job for new commercial pilots.
Go Trojans! Fight On!
 
rfields5421
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:43 am

Quoting Vald (Reply 17):
The point is, sir
There are alot of these planes falling from the sky.
this is not not an A, B, or even a C Thing.
To use your own example,
forget about the person on the bike, car, or PLANE,
if & it is just an if ( don't kill the messager)
if 10% of nissans, honda, HARLEYs, saab's, spacehoppers, whatever failed while moving, is that safe!

No there are not a lot of these planes falling from the sky.

What is the accident rate per year?

Is it trending up or down?

What is the accident rate by geographic distribution?

What percentage of the hull-write off crashes are without injuries/ serious injuries/ fatal?

What are the primary groupings of accidents - day/night - VMC/IMC - landing/takeoff/enroute ?

Most importantly - what is the accident rate for non-hull right offs? With the same evaluation factors?

Let's take a look at the data for Cessna aircraft accidents and incidents in the US over the past 10 days:

http://www.faa.gov/data_statistics/accident_incident/preliminary_data/

Total: 29 (The C560 bird strike @ Trenton is reported twice)

Fatal: 2

By Aircraft Type (# incidents by damage level: N=None; M=Minor; S=Substantial; D=Destroyed)

C150 - 2 N; 3 M;
C152 - 1 M;
C172 - 7 M;
C177 - 1 M;
C180 - 1 S (F)
C182 - 1 M; 2 S;
C185 - 1 S;
C190 - 1 S;
C206 - 1 M; 2 S;
C210 - 1 D (F)

C310 - 1 M;
C340 - 1 S;
C337 - 1 S;

C560 - 1 M;
C650 - 1 M;

No 208's.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:49 am

Acutally your initial # is wrong - # 1,000 was delivered in Oct 1998

There are over 1,600 still flying in the world today - 7.65% loss
 
lowrider
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:57 am

Yes, provided it is flown by a competent pilot who respects its limitations, and does so despite pressure from the employer to do otherwise. The fact that it is turbine powered and equiped and certified for known icing may lead some into a false sense of security. It is a very marginal aircraft in anything over moderate icing. A quick look at the design should reveal that. Next question...
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L-188
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:00 pm

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 22):
fact that it is turbine powered and equiped and certified for known icing may lead some into a false sense of security. It is a very marginal aircraft in anything over moderate icing.

Agreed, you can't fly it like you would an Otter or Beaver in Ice.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
lowrider
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:02 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 23):
Agreed, you can't fly it like you would an Otter or Beaver in Ice.

There is little that will. I hope the Twin Otter going back into production is a big success.

You know, I was about to make a joke about an icy Beaver, but it would probably get me banned.

[Edited 2007-09-27 05:07:37]
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bok269
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:06 pm

Quoting MEA-707 (Reply 2):
aircraft have a decent fuel burn and economics with two engines.

But Cessna determined that It would have much better of both with one.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
n685fe
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:29 pm

Quoting KELPkid (Reply 5):
with a fresh commercial certificate in hand, you can go off and pick up some turbine PIC time by flying ungodly early shifts for the local Fedex affiliate...



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 5):
just to build the time to put themselves into a regional airline cockpit,



Quoting KELPkid (Reply 5):
interesting to compare accidents in passenger ops vs. freight ops in the USA, I think we'd see a huge difference



Quoting Vald (Reply 9):
Okay, single engine, single new pilot (low hours), it is a bush plane so maybe it flies alot in unsafe landmass &
the even its loaded to the gills, when things go wrong is there any margin for error?, i mean 10% is 10%. it seams like
whatever way you look at it & IT'S A MODERN AIRCRAFT. it is unsafe. val

I suggest that the both of you put your heads together to come up with one sensible or knowledgeable statement. First of all there is no way in hell that you are going to get a job with Mountain Air or Corporate Air to fly the C208. They require something like 2000tt with at least 500 pic in a turbine. Also, it would be next to impossible for them to insure you while you were flying it, even if you bought one it would be hard for you to insure it until you gained enough hrs with a flight inst. I don't even want to go into why you think it is unsafe.

Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 19):
From what I've heard from FedEx 208 pilots, that is completely UN-true. Getting a job flying a 208 for FedEx right now is harder than getting a job flying a CRJ-900 at a major regional. I was just hired into US Airways Express with a grand total of 300.1 TOTAL time. FedEx 208's usually require at least 1,500 total plus at least 500 (yes five hundred) cross-country time. Now small 208 charters may be a step up for new commercial pilots, but 208 cargo in the US is not a first job for new commercial pilots.

I know several of these pilots who have fly the C208, like their route, home every night. I asked one pilot how much time he had, he paused for a while and said he didn't know he had quite counting 5-10 years ago. There are of course some who don't have nearly that much time but they are by no means green either.
psp. lead by example
 
rfields5421
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:44 pm

Fedex operators have lost 5 of the 50 aircraft written off since Jan 1 2002

But they lost 13 in the 10 years before that

The overwhelming thing which stands out while looking at the data cited by the OP is how many go down in bad weather - most of those in winter.

Or like the pilot in Ireland - try to fly VFR in near IMC and hit obstructions on approach.
 
rongotai
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:49 pm

Well I fly about 20 times a year on the Soundsair Caravan service from Wellington (NZ) to Koromiko (Picton). This is a route that is 90% over water that experiences 30kt plus winds about 60% of the time. At the Koromiko end approachs in either direction curve through mountain saddles where violent up and down draughts are more often experienced than not experienced, and where the valley floor runway is windshear prone.

I am entirely comfortable with the aircraft. Soundsair have, in fact, had one hull loss in 20 years of operation, but it was a pilot error incident. I am less comfortable on their Islander despite the two engines (it bounces around more). In 15 years of using this service I've never experienced a cancellation due to the a/c going tec. The airline even provides IFE in the form of terrified tourists on every flight.

I would say that this is a typical passenger carrying Caravan operation, providing substantial operational challenges. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the aircraft. Vald would be more rational if he were to say that there are risks in travelling on the sorts of sectors that Caravans often fly. He is wrong to blame the resultant stats on the aircraft.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flissphil/110795687/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flissphil/110793931/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flissphil/110797804/in/photostream/

[Edited 2007-09-27 05:52:13]

[Edited 2007-09-27 05:55:31]

[Edited 2007-09-27 05:56:33]

[Edited 2007-09-27 05:57:33]
 
rfields5421
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 1:10 pm

The Twin Otter have lost 246 aircraft out of 844 produced - 29% lost - Production run 1964-1988 - 138 hull losses - 16.3%

AN-24 - 1100 aircraft - 139 losses - 12.64%
AN-26 - 550 aircraft - 99 losses - 18%
AN-32 - 120 aircraft - 55 losses - 45.8%
JS-31 - 381 aircraft - 23 losses - 6%
Be-99 - 239 aircraft - 45 losses - 18.83%
ATR 42 - 343 aircraft - 17 losses - 5%
Do-228 - 290 aircraft - 30 losses - 10.34%
Emb-110 - 500 aircraft - 91 losses - 18.2%
Let-410 - 1100 aircraft - 92 losses - 8.36%

Fokker 28 - 241 aircraft - 42 losses - 17.4%

The numbers never tell the whole story and are often misleading.
 
rfields5421
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 9:40 pm

One thing this discussion and research has proven to me - don't fly the C-208 in icing conditions, and get out of icing/ on the ground as soon as possible if it develops.
 
kstatepilot
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:38 pm

Quoting Lowrider (Reply 22):
t is a very marginal aircraft in anything over moderate icing.

Tell me any aircraft that is to be flown in hard ice! Even the CRJ that I fly we get out of the ice ASAP. You aren't supposed to takeoff and fly in ice in any aircraft.

The Caravan is a very safe aircraft. I would gladly fly one or fly in one.
 
planespotting
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:39 pm

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 30):
One thing this discussion and research has proven to me - don't fly the C-208 in icing conditions, and get out of icing/ on the ground as soon as possible if it develops.

More like - flying the Caravan into known icing conditions is risky, but if pilot reports show only light to moderate rime or clear ice, you'll likely be OK if conditions are better farther down the line. However, one should stay out of icing conditions if there is no known break in weather, unless they are close to the destination or have some other way out. Flying in ice in any aircraft is a dangerous situation (my buddy who flies the CRJ for an east coast commuter operation had a stick shaker on approach last year because of ice buildup on the wings) but it can be managed in certain aircraft - it ALWAYS requires caution. Cavalier attitudes about icing can kill any pilot.
Do you like movies about gladiators?
 
Jano
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:38 pm

I just flew Pacific Wings' Cessna 208B Caravan from OGG to MKK and HNL on Sep 19. The flights were 30 minute hops and were some of my best and most interesting flights and not for a moment I felt unsafe.
The Widget Air Line :)
 
dhhornet
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:47 am

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 29):
The Twin Otter have lost 246 aircraft out of 844 produced - 29% lost - Production run 1964-1988 - 138 hull losses - 16.3%

AN-24 - 1100 aircraft - 139 losses - 12.64%
AN-26 - 550 aircraft - 99 losses - 18%
AN-32 - 120 aircraft - 55 losses - 45.8%
JS-31 - 381 aircraft - 23 losses - 6%
Be-99 - 239 aircraft - 45 losses - 18.83%
ATR 42 - 343 aircraft - 17 losses - 5%
Do-228 - 290 aircraft - 30 losses - 10.34%
Emb-110 - 500 aircraft - 91 losses - 18.2%
Let-410 - 1100 aircraft - 92 losses - 8.36%

Fokker 28 - 241 aircraft - 42 losses - 17.4%

The numbers never tell the whole story and are often misleading

A lot of the above are the type aircraft that operate in difficult environments so this will always reflect in the figs.
The Caravan is of sound design and used for so many types of flying. Just like the twotter!
 
2H4
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Fri Sep 28, 2007 3:36 am

Quoting RFields5421 (Reply 29):
The Twin Otter have lost 246 aircraft out of 844 produced - 29% lost - Production run 1964-1988 - 138 hull losses - 16.3%

A search of the NTSB database (back to the early 1960s) reveals a total of 127 accidents.

Of these, a total of 31 (or approximately 25%) occurred in Alaska. Alaska does not have the reputation of being the most forgiving environment.

A total of 17 accidents occurred in places like:

  • Panama (1)
  • Guadeloupe (1)
  • Costa Rica (2)
  • American Samoa (4)
  • Puerto Rico (2)
  • Laos (3)
  • Saudi Arabia (1)
  • Agana (1)
  • Kenya (1)
  • Peru (1)


In addition, at least two departed remote airfields and were never seen or heard from again.

The operating environments in which the Twin Otter/Caravan/Beaver/etc aren't quite the same as municipal airports in the suburbs of the American midwest. Thus, it is wise to take this factor into account before attempting to label the aircraft "unsafe".

Quoting DHHornet (Reply 34):
A lot of the above are the type aircraft that operate in difficult environments

 checkmark  checkmark  checkmark 


2H4

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lowrider
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RE: Is The Cessna 208 Caravan A Safe Aircraft?

Fri Sep 28, 2007 11:31 am

Quoting Kstatepilot (Reply 31):
Tell me any aircraft that is to be flown in hard ice! Even the CRJ that I fly we get out of the ice ASAP. You aren't supposed to takeoff and fly in ice in any aircraft.

Apples and oranges. The Caravan spends a much higher percentage of any given flight in the conditions where icing is most likely to occur. Rarely did I have any concerns about icing in the CRJ. In the Caravan, it could be a nightly concern. Some aircraft handle a load of ice better than others. A few of the factors seem to be how much excess power the aircraft has, and what sort of low speed characteristics the wing has. Also, if you have a surface that needs a lot of VGs to keep the airflow attached, it is probably not a good aircraft in ice. 1900's, Dash-8s, and Saab 340s, are routinely flown in what could be called "hard ice", and, with a little prudence on the part of the crew, handle it well.
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