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FLALEFTY
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Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:55 am

The NTSB just released some additional data about the August 15, 2019 crash of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Cessna Citation Latitude (N8JR) at Elizabethtown, TN. It appears that an unstabilized approach resulted in too high an approach speed, leading to a hard landing, which caused multiple bounces prior to a runway excursion and post-crash fire. It also appears that Earnhardt, his wife and young daughter and the pilots were very lucky to escape the burning aircraft after experiencing problems with the emergency exit.

I attached the link to the NTSB docket, and a PDF analysis of the FDR which covers the complete accident flight.

https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms/search/hitl ... XTSEARCHT=

https://dms.ntsb.gov/public/64000-64499 ... 637211.pdf
 
dangle
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sat Jul 18, 2020 2:46 pm

So fortunate the passengers (and crew) were able to get out with only minor injuries.

The CVR transcript reminds me of listening to some United Channel 9 conversations that used to make me wonder why United even made these available to passengers who might understandably freak out from what they were hearing. Funniest exchange I heard was while taxiing forever in a blizzard at nighttime in DEN. At one point the tower asks our pilot "Where are you?" to which the pilot responds "I...don't know...there's a 777 in front of us..." I guess that's more specific than "I'm passing a blue light on my left...NOW."
 
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FLALEFTY
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sat Jul 18, 2020 4:29 pm

dangle wrote:
So fortunate the passengers (and crew) were able to get out with only minor injuries.

The CVR transcript reminds me of listening to some United Channel 9 conversations that used to make me wonder why United even made these available to passengers who might understandably freak out from what they were hearing. Funniest exchange I heard was while taxiing forever in a blizzard at nighttime in DEN. At one point the tower asks our pilot "Where are you?" to which the pilot responds "I...don't know...there's a 777 in front of us..." I guess that's more specific than "I'm passing a blue light on my left...NOW."


What's disturbing to about the N8JR crash was the lack of professionalism by the pilots: 1) They didn't bother to file a flight plan (even a VFR flight plan). 2) Assumed they could "see and avoid" encountered traffic in a high-performance aircraft without ATC help (at least VFR flight following). This added to their workload and distracted them during the approach. 3) There was no approach briefing, they just dove down from their cruise altitude and started looking for an airport which they were only vaguely familiar with. 4) No landing checklist callout was heard. 5) Wind conditions (basically calm) would have allowed for landing on RWY 6, which doesn't have as much terrain in the approach course and a long displaced landing threshold. RWY 6 also has a published, RNAV approach. 6) They knew they were going too fast, they also had 2 terrain and one descent rate alert, but they chose to continue to continue the approach anyway. 7) Poor coordination between the 2 pilots led to the PM activating the thrust reversers on the mains contact, while the PF was unaware and attempted a go-around after the second bounce with the thrust reversers still activated.
 
SoCalPilot
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:44 pm

"Do I need to go-around?"

"No".

Wow.

FLALEFTY wrote:
What's disturbing to about the N8JR crash was the lack of professionalism by the pilots: 1) They didn't bother to file a flight plan (even a VFR flight plan).

There's nothing unprofessional about not filing a flight plan. If I'm flying a short hop and the weather is good, I'm not filing a flight plan or talking to ATC, and I don't know any pilots who do unless their company says they have to. There's no reason to, and having to talk to ATC and follow their restrictions just adds to the workload. I haven't filed a VFR flight plan since I went through private pilot training.

FLALEFTY wrote:
2) Assumed they could "see and avoid" encountered traffic in a high-performance aircraft without ATC help (at least VFR flight following). This added to their workload and distracted them during the approach.
If you're a pilot I would brush up on the FAR's a bit. It doesn't matter if you're in a Boeing 737 on an IFR flight plan, it is still the pilot's responsibility to "see and avoid" other aircraft when in visual conditions in accordance with FAR 91.113, even if talking to ATC. Secondly, they most likely wouldn't have been talking to ATC any longer that close to the airport.

I agree with everything else you said though. Pretty bad decision-making on the part of the pilots. They had the gear down, full flaps, speed brakes out, and idle power..and they were still fast. You would think that would be a sign.
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:45 pm

FLALEFTY wrote:
What's disturbing to about the N8JR crash was the lack of professionalism by the pilots: 1) They didn't bother to file a flight plan (even a VFR flight plan). 2) Assumed they could "see and avoid" encountered traffic in a high-performance aircraft without ATC help (at least VFR flight following). This added to their workload and distracted them during the approach. 3) There was no approach briefing, they just dove down from their cruise altitude and started looking for an airport which they were only vaguely familiar with. 4) No landing checklist callout was heard. 5) Wind conditions (basically calm) would have allowed for landing on RWY 6, which doesn't have as much terrain in the approach course and a long displaced landing threshold. RWY 6 also has a published, RNAV approach. 6) They knew they were going too fast, they also had 2 terrain and one descent rate alert, but they chose to continue to continue the approach anyway. 7) Poor coordination between the 2 pilots led to the PM activating the thrust reversers on the mains contact, while the PF was unaware and attempted a go-around after the second bounce with the thrust reversers still activated.

I don't really want to pass judgement on anyone involved here, but purely from a safety perspective, there are a lot of things that are quite concerning.

I do find it unusual that there was apparently no filed flight plan. I will occasionally see fast moving jets traversing my sectors VFR without talking to me, and it's always been something I've felt is imprudent, to put it lightly. I believe that any fast moving aircraft should at least have flight following; even with TCAS and ADS-B, conflicts occur very quickly at those speeds. Filing a flight plan, or at the bare minimum requesting VFR flight following, is too simple to avoid for any rational reason given the added layer of safety. Calling center, punching in a squawk, and giving them your type, route, and cruising altitude is not exactly an arduous task. There have been more times than I can count that I've been able to assist VFR pilots avoid potential disaster, and it generally requires minimal effort on my part. There's really just no excuse.

That aside, the fact that they apparently chose to continue with an unstable approach, engage the reversers prior to touching down, and a whole host of other issues raise a number of serious questions about the proficiency and decision-making of these pilots. It's honestly a miracle that everyone walked away from this, and without serious injury no less, because the outcome of this story could have very easily been different. Hopefully there are lessons learned from this. It's always better to learn from near disasters rather than actual ones.
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:55 pm

SoCalPilot wrote:
There's nothing unprofessional about not filing a flight plan. If I'm flying a short hop and the weather is good, I'm not filing a flight plan or talking to ATC, and I don't know any pilots who do unless their company says they have to. There's no reason to, and having to talk to ATC and follow their restrictions just adds to the workload. I haven't filed a VFR flight plan since I went through private pilot training.

I agree, but only for slow movers (King Air and below). I've had a few times where jets or fast moving props (a Piaggio, in one particular instance that comes to mind) opted not to file or talk, and they've caused some pretty serious issues. The unpredictability of a high performance aircraft poses a safety risk to other traffic, in my opinion.

You're right in that the aircraft wouldn't still be talking to ATC while on approach, so it's not entirely related. However, I would say it factors into the overall judgement of the pilots involved. As I said in my previous post, I don't really want to pass my own judgement here, but complacency or cavalier attitudes when it comes to flying is a deadly combination. It seems that at least one of those attitudes potentially occurred in this instance.
 
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FLALEFTY
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sat Jul 18, 2020 6:42 pm

SoCalPilot wrote:
"Do I need to go-around?"

"No".

Wow.

FLALEFTY wrote:
What's disturbing to about the N8JR crash was the lack of professionalism by the pilots: 1) They didn't bother to file a flight plan (even a VFR flight plan).

There's nothing unprofessional about not filing a flight plan. If I'm flying a short hop and the weather is good, I'm not filing a flight plan or talking to ATC, and I don't know any pilots who do unless their company says they have to. There's no reason to, and having to talk to ATC and follow their restrictions just adds to the workload. I haven't filed a VFR flight plan since I went through private pilot training.

FLALEFTY wrote:
2) Assumed they could "see and avoid" encountered traffic in a high-performance aircraft without ATC help (at least VFR flight following). This added to their workload and distracted them during the approach.
If you're a pilot I would brush up on the FAR's a bit. It doesn't matter if you're in a Boeing 737 on an IFR flight plan, it is still the pilot's responsibility to "see and avoid" other aircraft when in visual conditions in accordance with FAR 91.113, even if talking to ATC. Secondly, they most likely wouldn't have been talking to ATC any longer that close to the airport.

I agree with everything else you said though. Pretty bad decision-making on the part of the pilots. They had the gear down, full flaps, speed brakes out, and idle power..and they were still fast. You would think that would be a sign.


I am aware of the FAR's. That said, if it were my job to fly a major sports TV celebrity, who also happens to be the "Face of NASCAR", and his family in a safe and prudent manner, I'd endeavor to operate to the highest safety and procedural standards. I'm certain that Mr. Earnhardt's employer, NBCSN will not be pleased when they read this report. I bet they now insist on him flying NetJets, or Wheel's Up/Delta Private Jets and not fly with his personal pilot/good buddy anymore (the PF of the accident aircraft).

The impetus for the unstable approach of N8JR on the ill-fated August 15, 2019 flight was their needing to start their approach at an altitude well above their (successful) April 15th flight (to the same runway, at the same airport) to avoid unexpected VFR traffic encountered at the top of their descent. This led to the PF conducting an unstable approach to RWY 24 and the subsequent accident.
 
Chemist
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:01 am

I'm a piston VFR pilot, and on any flight more than 25 miles or so I use VFR flight following.
I can't imagine flying a jet and not doing the same.
 
32andBelow
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sun Jul 19, 2020 1:28 am

atcsundevil wrote:
FLALEFTY wrote:
What's disturbing to about the N8JR crash was the lack of professionalism by the pilots: 1) They didn't bother to file a flight plan (even a VFR flight plan). 2) Assumed they could "see and avoid" encountered traffic in a high-performance aircraft without ATC help (at least VFR flight following). This added to their workload and distracted them during the approach. 3) There was no approach briefing, they just dove down from their cruise altitude and started looking for an airport which they were only vaguely familiar with. 4) No landing checklist callout was heard. 5) Wind conditions (basically calm) would have allowed for landing on RWY 6, which doesn't have as much terrain in the approach course and a long displaced landing threshold. RWY 6 also has a published, RNAV approach. 6) They knew they were going too fast, they also had 2 terrain and one descent rate alert, but they chose to continue to continue the approach anyway. 7) Poor coordination between the 2 pilots led to the PM activating the thrust reversers on the mains contact, while the PF was unaware and attempted a go-around after the second bounce with the thrust reversers still activated.

I don't really want to pass judgement on anyone involved here, but purely from a safety perspective, there are a lot of things that are quite concerning.

I do find it unusual that there was apparently no filed flight plan. I will occasionally see fast moving jets traversing my sectors VFR without talking to me, and it's always been something I've felt is imprudent, to put it lightly. I believe that any fast moving aircraft should at least have flight following; even with TCAS and ADS-B, conflicts occur very quickly at those speeds. Filing a flight plan, or at the bare minimum requesting VFR flight following, is too simple to avoid for any rational reason given the added layer of safety. Calling center, punching in a squawk, and giving them your type, route, and cruising altitude is not exactly an arduous task. There have been more times than I can count that I've been able to assist VFR pilots avoid potential disaster, and it generally requires minimal effort on my part. There's really just no excuse.

That aside, the fact that they apparently chose to continue with an unstable approach, engage the reversers prior to touching down, and a whole host of other issues raise a number of serious questions about the proficiency and decision-making of these pilots. It's honestly a miracle that everyone walked away from this, and without serious injury no less, because the outcome of this story could have very easily been different. Hopefully there are lessons learned from this. It's always better to learn from near disasters rather than actual ones.

I have VFR 737s in my airspace that have revenue passengers. Nothing wrong with it
 
DiamondFlyer
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sun Jul 19, 2020 2:43 am

atcsundevil wrote:
SoCalPilot wrote:
There's nothing unprofessional about not filing a flight plan. If I'm flying a short hop and the weather is good, I'm not filing a flight plan or talking to ATC, and I don't know any pilots who do unless their company says they have to. There's no reason to, and having to talk to ATC and follow their restrictions just adds to the workload. I haven't filed a VFR flight plan since I went through private pilot training.

I agree, but only for slow movers (King Air and below). I've had a few times where jets or fast moving props (a Piaggio, in one particular instance that comes to mind) opted not to file or talk, and they've caused some pretty serious issues. The unpredictability of a high performance aircraft poses a safety risk to other traffic, in my opinion.

You're right in that the aircraft wouldn't still be talking to ATC while on approach, so it's not entirely related. However, I would say it factors into the overall judgement of the pilots involved. As I said in my previous post, I don't really want to pass my own judgement here, but complacency or cavalier attitudes when it comes to flying is a deadly combination. It seems that at least one of those attitudes potentially occurred in this instance.



Have you ever considered that they don't file/talk to you, because they know that you're going to send them very far out of the way to get where they need to go? We used to do that all the time at the 135 carrier I worked at (granted, hauling boxes). Often it was significantly faster to not file or talk to ATC unless you absolutely had to.
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zeke
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sun Jul 19, 2020 3:05 am

FLALEFTY wrote:
3) There was no approach briefing, they just dove down from their cruise altitude and started looking for an airport which they were only vaguely familiar with.


If I was flying a short sector like that I would not be doing an approach briefing in flight either, have it all setup and briefed before departure.

FLALEFTY wrote:
6) They knew they were going too fast, they also had 2 terrain and one descent rate alert, but they chose to continue to continue the approach anyway.


The underlying issue is the terrain on the approach end which requires a steep approach, in my view gear down and flap 2 before descending would have been prudent. Descent rate alert may still go off on a stable steep approach.

FLALEFTY wrote:
7) Poor coordination between the 2 pilots led to the PM activating the thrust reversers on the mains contact, while the PF was unaware and attempted a go-around after the second bounce with the thrust reversers still activated.


I didn’t read the PM selected reverse, where did you see that ?

As for going around with the TR deployed, firstly a go around is normally prohibited on all types after reverse is selected. What happened here is they selected reverse (without spoilers) when the aircraft was on ground, that was valid which enables the hydraulics to unlock, then it bounced so the in air signal is generated, so the hydraulic safety in air cutoff activates. However aerodynamic forces then deploy the TR when the are not deployed in the cockpit. as a result of them being deployed it tells FADEC not to allow max thrust.

“ The first touchdown, at 19:37:49.6UTC on the runway numbers, was at 126 KIAS, -600 fpm, and 1.4 Gs, and lasted 0.6 seconds. All three gear registered on-ground simultaneously. Speed brakes were not extended after touchdown. 0.4 seconds after gear-on-ground, thrust reverser deployment was commanded by moving throttles to the reverse idle position, but the aircraft was airborne again before the command could be executed. The throttles were left in the reverse idle position. The aircraft touched down a second time 1.2 seconds later for 0.4 seconds, nose first, then right main gear, at 1.6 Gs, but the left main gear did not register on-ground. The aircraft touched down a third time 1.8 seconds later for 0.6 seconds, at 1.7 Gs, on the runway thousand-foot marker. All three gear registered on-ground, the still-active thrust reverser deployment command was executed, and the thrust reversers unlocked 0.4 seconds after touchdown. The throttles were advanced to idle, sending a thrust reverser stow command nearly immediately after thrust reversers were unlocked, but aircraft gear status changed to in-air nearly simultaneously.
As the aircraft went airborne, the in-air status triggered a cut in hydraulic power to the thrust reverser actuators, which allowed the unlocked thrust reversers to be pulled open by aerodynamic forces. The amber T/R UNLOCK CAS message posted and the Emergency Stow switches began flashing. Throttles were advanced to Max Takeoff 0.7 seconds later, but the thrust reversers reached full deployment 0.4 seconds after that, and the FADECs prevented an increase in engine thrust. The red T/R DEPLOY CAS message posted, and the Emergency Stow switches continued to flash.”

I don’t know enough about the type to know if the use of speedbrakes on final after gear down also played a part in them not being deployed on touchdown.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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atcsundevil
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Sun Jul 19, 2020 4:00 am

DiamondFlyer wrote:
Have you ever considered that they don't file/talk to you, because they know that you're going to send them very far out of the way to get where they need to go? We used to do that all the time at the 135 carrier I worked at (granted, hauling boxes). Often it was significantly faster to not file or talk to ATC unless you absolutely had to.

I'm not sending anyone anywhere if they're VFR flight following.

32andBelow wrote:
I have VFR 737s in my airspace that have revenue passengers. Nothing wrong with it

That might work for your airspace, but it doesn't usually work out that well for mine. Too many arrival and departure flows and not a whole lot of space to work with.
 
 
filejw
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:58 am

Cowboys.........
 
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BN727227Ultra
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Thu Sep 24, 2020 1:44 pm

filejw wrote:
Cowboys.........


Get-There-Itis.
 
DashTrash
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Re: Latest NTSB data from the Dale Earnhardt Jr. jet crash

Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:51 pm

zeke wrote:

I don’t know enough about the type to know if the use of speedbrakes on final after gear down also played a part in them not being deployed on touchdown.


I’m not aware of any Citation that opens the boards automatically on touchdown under any condition.


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