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Aaron747
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Wed Oct 13, 2021 5:24 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Today, there’s little excuse for an IFR-equipped plane not to have highly reliable electronic instruments, a second attitude indicator and an autopilot. He’d be saddened deeply by crashes like this one. We keep crashing planes the same way despite training opportunities, lessons learned, better equipment. The weather here wasn’t challenging he was , from what I gather, this pilot was fairly current, if not perhaps in basic instruments. Lacking FDR and CVR data, it’ll be tough to figure out.


I think you're absolutely right - the underlying current of most of his columns was that if you're prepared and have the right attitude, most of these incidents are 100% preventable. I tried to take a lot of that spirit to heart, especially in my first couple hundred hours, and looking back that prevented a lot of stupid decision-making one would be prone to in their early 20s. I distinctly remember a flight where I was heading over to KMRY, things were peachy on my side of the mountains, but as I closed on the Salinas valley the marine layer was just starting to break up yet still blowing inland. The next time I looked up from my chart an area that looked okay had become very patchy and that was my path to the field. I could see a couple mountaintops poking through patches to the left and decided it just wasn't my day to get MRY in my book, and headed home. The next time I was on with ATC they said 'we're still MVFR but several other guys are getting out of here' and I felt justified the more experienced saw it the way I did.

I never finished my IFR rating due to funds, but when I get back in the saddle and finish that, I'll certainly retain those attitudes and build on them.
 
N1120A
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:48 am

The misinformation is stunning, but unsurprising.

This was absolutely not a VFR into IMC flight. He was on an IFR flight plan.

Light GA airplanes fly IFR in the San Diego area constantly and with great safety. MYF and SEE are both significantly busier airports than SAN is, with MYF potentially to have its tower upgraded to a level higher than SAN has. There are almost certainly thousands more precision/precision-like approaches into MYF per year than into SAN, due to the fact that MYF has its ILS and LPV approaches to the prevailing wind runway. Pilots fly them constantly and ATC works them constantly. I've talked to the controller who tried to save this man countless times on the radio and he is fantastic, giving smooth vectors and the best possible service.

The pilot was indeed instrument rated and apparently commuted twice a week FROM MYF to YUM. Being based at MYF, he definitely would have been instrument current and should have been proficient given just how often one needs to shoot an approach into MYF. I am also based at MYF and fly nearly as much as he did.

Now, one major factor is that it was windier than normal and much more of a crosswind than the usual onshore flow. That means it would have been bumpy, especially in the clouds. Another factor is that, coming from the East, the MVAs are quite high until rather close to the ILS/RNAV 28R final approach course, which means you can easily get very fast in a powerful, slick airplane like a 340 and need to find a way to slow down early instead of putting the nose down and letting the props drive you. Being too fast in those bumps could have easily cause the kind of spatial disorientation that you can't recover from. The key is to be on the instruments and even on the controls, even if the autopilot is on.

In the communications, it seemed like he started getting confused by the comment that he was to expect the ILS 28R, circle 23. That procedure doesn't happen often, but does happen when the crosswind exceeds about 10-11 knots. It is not a big deal - you follow the ILS down to the MDA for circling, then execute basically a sweeping left base to 23, which actually has the same LDA as 28R. Under stress though, it seems like he somehow ended up with tunnel vision.

Some locals have said that the aircraft was equipped with a GFC600 autopilot, which is - in many ways - the most advanced autopilot built for any plane on earth, even compared to an airliner. It won't land the airplane itself (the GFC700 with autothrottles will do that in an emergency though), but it is fully coupled, digital and rock solid. If that was the case, this truly is a senseless tragedy. That said, even with one of those ancient Cessna 400 autopilots the 340 came with, you can recover the airplane into a level attitude and get brought back around.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Wed Oct 13, 2021 9:01 am

N1120A wrote:
The misinformation is stunning, but unsurprising.

This was absolutely not a VFR into IMC flight. He was on an IFR flight plan.

Light GA airplanes fly IFR in the San Diego area constantly and with great safety. MYF and SEE are both significantly busier airports than SAN is, with MYF potentially to have its tower upgraded to a level higher than SAN has. There are almost certainly thousands more precision/precision-like approaches into MYF per year than into SAN, due to the fact that MYF has its ILS and LPV approaches to the prevailing wind runway. Pilots fly them constantly and ATC works them constantly. I've talked to the controller who tried to save this man countless times on the radio and he is fantastic, giving smooth vectors and the best possible service.

The pilot was indeed instrument rated and apparently commuted twice a week FROM MYF to YUM. Being based at MYF, he definitely would have been instrument current and should have been proficient given just how often one needs to shoot an approach into MYF. I am also based at MYF and fly nearly as much as he did.

Now, one major factor is that it was windier than normal and much more of a crosswind than the usual onshore flow. That means it would have been bumpy, especially in the clouds. Another factor is that, coming from the East, the MVAs are quite high until rather close to the ILS/RNAV 28R final approach course, which means you can easily get very fast in a powerful, slick airplane like a 340 and need to find a way to slow down early instead of putting the nose down and letting the props drive you. Being too fast in those bumps could have easily cause the kind of spatial disorientation that you can't recover from. The key is to be on the instruments and even on the controls, even if the autopilot is on.

In the communications, it seemed like he started getting confused by the comment that he was to expect the ILS 28R, circle 23. That procedure doesn't happen often, but does happen when the crosswind exceeds about 10-11 knots. It is not a big deal - you follow the ILS down to the MDA for circling, then execute basically a sweeping left base to 23, which actually has the same LDA as 28R. Under stress though, it seems like he somehow ended up with tunnel vision.

Some locals have said that the aircraft was equipped with a GFC600 autopilot, which is - in many ways - the most advanced autopilot built for any plane on earth, even compared to an airliner. It won't land the airplane itself (the GFC700 with autothrottles will do that in an emergency though), but it is fully coupled, digital and rock solid. If that was the case, this truly is a senseless tragedy. That said, even with one of those ancient Cessna 400 autopilots the 340 came with, you can recover the airplane into a level attitude and get brought back around.


This is excellent information as usual, thanks 1120A. The San Diego media have not been very detailed in reporting the aviation aspects of the case, even though there's a wealth of folks in the area they could interview.

https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/ne ... re-mourned

And contrary to GF's earlier comments, the NTSB is indeed handling the case.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:38 pm

Ah, very good. A lot of GA accidents are handed to the local FSDO, but the NTSB has the final say on who investigates any transportation accident. Headlines can become a decider. Over the COVID period a lot of investigations were not done well, field work esp. Government agencies have hidden. I presented a colleague his 50-year FAA Wright Award—the local FSDO ASI couldn’t attend. We met in a parking lot, he handed me the box and left. Huge party on a beautiful outdoors, most vaccinated, “no public gatherings” was the Washington guidance. I kid you not.
 
N1120A
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:23 pm

No one is closing SEE or MYF. They're just far too critical to infrastructure in the area and way too busy.

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Ah, very good. A lot of GA accidents are handed to the local FSDO, but the NTSB has the final say on who investigates any transportation accident. Headlines can become a decider. Over the COVID period a lot of investigations were not done well, field work esp. Government agencies have hidden. I presented a colleague his 50-year FAA Wright Award—the local FSDO ASI couldn’t attend. We met in a parking lot, he handed me the box and left. Huge party on a beautiful outdoors, most vaccinated, “no public gatherings” was the Washington guidance. I kid you not.


There's no question that NTSB has been delegating tons to FSDO, especially since COVID. Because this involves both loss of the pilot and losses on the ground, I think that is driving NTSB involvement.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:35 pm

Didn’t take Juan Browne long to get his commentary up:

https://youtu.be/3Qp7oSPnnUY
 
JayinKitsap
Posts: 2680
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Thu Oct 14, 2021 1:40 am

The big red button is a decent concept. A pilot should be in full control of the situation but too often things go awry where things are suddenly at the point of no return. Pressing the magic button where the autopilot levels to straight flight alone, or does the 180 to get out of the soup could save more than half those going into spatial disorientation from crashing.

The 178 seconds seems scarily right for the time it takes spatial disorientation to onset. Losing the visual horizon causes a distinct loss of orientation. We sense the downward force of gravity, but it is really the acceleration vector, adding in a hard bank can rotate the vector 45 degrees or more. Unless we cross check to the horizon we are lost for position. Entering clouds if we are on a straight course the vectors are stable and we can continue to use them, an organic autopilot so to say. Disrupt that and the subtle banks get emphasized, and losing it happens fast.

I read up a bunch after Kobe's crash. Spatial disorientation is far worse in a helo, due to its extra freedom of motions in so many ways. The very experienced pilot, an instrument instructor with lots of hours didn't make 178 sec within the cloud. Had he held on for 30 sec more he would have broken out.
 
FlyingElvii
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:15 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Collins taught me that operations are hazardous, not an airplane, an approach or an airport. Operations are managed by assessing and avoiding or mitigations risk, which might mean a divert, a canceled flight or a safe one. When he was active, we had a vacuum pump with a MBTF of about 500 hours. Back up was needle, ball, and airspeed which was difficult for the proficient.

Today, there’s little excuse for an IFR-equipped plane not to have highly reliable electronic instruments, a second attitude indicator and an autopilot. He’d be saddened deeply by crashes like this one. We keep crashing planes the same way despite training opportunities, lessons learned, better equipment. The weather here wasn’t challenging he was , from what I gather, this pilot was fairly current, if not perhaps in basic instruments. Lacking FDR and CVR data, it’ll be tough to figure out.

I actually like writing, especially for work on aviation or safety topics. It requires one to analyze, question what is asserted and do interesting research. I’m too blinkered and set in my ways for this stuff—I’m rushed because of household stuff, using a touch keyboard is awful and I’m peripherally attentive. I love beating up our guys on technical writing—using jargon, failing to explain acronyms, leaving gaps.

Sad to think something as inexpensive as a $900 Dynon D-3, or even Forefight with Synthetic Vision could have saved his lie.

There was another one of these today outside of Milwaukee. Similar circumstances, in a Glastar Sportsman. An all too common occurrence. (Gorgeous plane if you have never seen one).
 
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Aaron747
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Thu Oct 14, 2021 2:42 am

FlyingElvii wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Collins taught me that operations are hazardous, not an airplane, an approach or an airport. Operations are managed by assessing and avoiding or mitigations risk, which might mean a divert, a canceled flight or a safe one. When he was active, we had a vacuum pump with a MBTF of about 500 hours. Back up was needle, ball, and airspeed which was difficult for the proficient.

Today, there’s little excuse for an IFR-equipped plane not to have highly reliable electronic instruments, a second attitude indicator and an autopilot. He’d be saddened deeply by crashes like this one. We keep crashing planes the same way despite training opportunities, lessons learned, better equipment. The weather here wasn’t challenging he was , from what I gather, this pilot was fairly current, if not perhaps in basic instruments. Lacking FDR and CVR data, it’ll be tough to figure out.

I actually like writing, especially for work on aviation or safety topics. It requires one to analyze, question what is asserted and do interesting research. I’m too blinkered and set in my ways for this stuff—I’m rushed because of household stuff, using a touch keyboard is awful and I’m peripherally attentive. I love beating up our guys on technical writing—using jargon, failing to explain acronyms, leaving gaps.

Sad to think something as inexpensive as a $900 Dynon D-3, or even Forefight with Synthetic Vision could have saved his lie.

There was another one of these today outside of Milwaukee. Similar circumstances, in a Glastar Sportsman. An all too common occurrence. (Gorgeous plane if you have never seen one).


Normally I'd agree, but I think the big red button may be more applicable to a case like this one. The curious thing is ATC got his attention with 'say altitude' after two calls saying he was climbing when ATC could see he was not. He had to look at his altimeter to call back '2500' but it still didn't register that he wasn't climbing. Must have really been into the tunnel thinking mode at that point to not realize it was impossible to be at that altitude at his power setting if he were actually climbing. At that point, can simply say 'I'm in real trouble' and hit that red button.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:17 am

Assuming this is NOT a medical event, being seriously spatially disoriented is a very powerful experience. While the plane is obviously is a very bad way, your vestibular senses are telling you something very different. Now, press “Big Red Button”; plane is upright, but your vestibular senses are now thoroughly confused—you feel in a very bad way. You have to experience it in a Barany chair to understand it. We had guys pushing the inert stick against the simulator, throwing up.

Next, the red button has to fly the plane—a 180 doesn’t always work.

Fly formation in cloud for a few hours—you begin to think the tanker is doing rolls and loops.
 
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Aaron747
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Thu Oct 14, 2021 3:25 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Assuming this is NOT a medical event, being seriously spatially disoriented is a very powerful experience. While the plane is obviously is a very bad way, your vestibular senses are telling you something very different. Now, press “Big Red Button”; plane is upright, but your vestibular senses are now thoroughly confused—you feel in a very bad way. You have to experience it in a Barany chair to understand it. We had guys pushing the inert stick against the simulator, throwing up.

Next, the red button has to fly the plane—a 180 doesn’t always work.

Fly formation in cloud for a few hours—you begin to think the tanker is doing rolls and loops.


Remaining totally in cloud is obviously a different deal, but presumably here you'd be out of the patch of breaking marine layer and able to see again in short order off that 180. Knowing it would vary by individual, what would be the usual recovery time from vestibular overdrive to be able to take stock if you're back out in the sun?
 
Noshow
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Thu Oct 14, 2021 8:03 am

I still don't get why some owner and regular IFR pilot on that route would suddenly loose situational awareness like this? He will have encountered bad sea fog, mountain turbulence and clouds many times and managed to find out. He knew the approaches and variants. After his comms confusion with ATC it looks like some medical issue? Like he could not cope with the higher work load towards the approach phase for some reason.
 
Redd
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Re: C340 Crash In KSEE Neighborhood

Thu Oct 14, 2021 9:05 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Spatial D is a very powerful stressor and it takes experience and discipline to ignore it and orient oneself by the flight instruments. It’s not near as simple as looking at the speedometer on your car.


I remember my first time flying into clouds with my instructor. It took everything I have to fly according to the instruments. I felt the plane was banking, climbing, descending, banking some more, all the while the attitude indicator was showing straight and level. Crazy experience.

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