On March 31, 2003, at 1312 eastern standard time, a Beech B-60, N215CQ, was destroyed during a forced landing at Bradford Regional Airport (BFD), Bradford, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot received serious injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the business flight that departed from Long Island MacArthur Airport, Islip, New York, and was destined for Gary, Indiana. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that his planned final destination was Cheyenne, Wyoming, with an en route fuel stop at Gary, Indiana. He had departed Islip at 1109, with the fuel filled to capacity, 231 gallons.
The final cruise altitude was 16,000 feet. The pilot reported that the airplane was passing in and out of the tops of the clouds, with the airplane more out of the weather than in it. He observed a drop in the engine oil temperature on both engines to about 50 C or maybe cooler. This was lower than he had normally observed, but the engine oil temperatures were still in the green. He also observed a drop in the outside air temperature from -20 C to -40 C, and the left engine was starting to vibrate.
At 1225, control of the flight was passed to Crosby Radar Section of the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Center (ARTCC).
At 1247, the pilot requested to divert to Erie, Pennsylvania, and added that he may have a problem. The pilot was cleared direct to Erie.
At 1251, the pilot said he had to go to Erie, and he had a problem. He then request the Erie weather and it was given to him.
At 1252, the pilot reported that he was going to shut down his left engine, and he subsequently declared and emergency. About four minutes later, the controller observed the airplane had taken a southwestly heading and advised the pilot. The pilot reported that he was trying to get things under control. At 1258, in response to a question from the controller, the pilot reported that he had his hands full.
At 1302, the pilot requested a closer airport with good weather, and was told that Bradford was located 5 miles away. The pilot requested and received the Bradford weather, and in addition was given the runway information for Bradford.
At 1304:10, the pilot transmitted, " ...we need Bradford now." The pilot was given a descent clearance to 4,000 feet, and requested the approach frequencies which were given to him.
At 1304:29, the pilot reported that he had a double engine failure. He continued to receive radar vectors for the approach to Bradford.
At 1307;41, the pilot requested to be radar vectored inside the outer marker, and controller replied that he was doing that.
At 1308:30, the pilot reported that he just got some engine power back.
The approach controller continued to respond to all of the pilots requests for weather, airport elevation, runway length, and other information.
The last transmission received from the airplane was at 1310:57, when the pilot stated:
"I need the field elevation now."
The airplane was next observed by two witnesses on the airport. They saw the airplane fly over and heard a backfiring sound. The airplane turned to the right, after which it disappeared from view. They then saw black smoke rising from the area where the airplane disappeared from view. They traveled to the area, and saw a man walking toward them.
When interviewed after the accident, the pilot reported multiple occurrences with the airplane. He added that the decision to divert to Erie, Pennsylvania was made after he observed a decrease in engine oil temperature. He increased power, but the engine oil temperature did not change; however, he added that he may not have left the increased power on long enough to make a difference in the engine oil temperature. He then moved the left propeller control and tried to increase engine rpm. However, although the propeller control moved, there was no change of rpm with the engine. The turbocharger turbine inlet temperature (TIT) had decreased down to about 1,000 F. He added that normally he flies with the TIT about 1,580 F.
When he looked at the fuel flow totalizer for both engines, he saw it was reading 20.9 gph on the right engine, and zero fuel flow on the left engine. He then tried to feather the left engine; however, it would not feather. The right engine appeared to be operating normally. The pilot then heard what he perceived was a "pop" from the right engine. Shortly thereafter reported that he had experienced a double power loss.
The pilot did not recall the altitude of the airplane as it descended out of the clouds, but said the airplane was midfield and low. He could see the departure end of the runway ahead, and as he passed over the departure end of the runway, he initiated a right turn of 180 degrees. During the turn, the airplane continued to descend and he leveled the wings and let the airplane settle into an area of small trees. A post crash fire developed, and consumed the fuselage.
The airplane and engines were examined by representatives of Raytheon Aircraft, and Textron Lycoming, under the supervision of an airworthiness inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The airplane impacted in a wooded area on the airport property. The accident site was located about 900 feet north of the approach end of runway 14, and abeam of the 1,000 foot marker on the runway. Trees at the accident site were broken, consistent with a 30 degree right bank as the airplane entered the trees. The debris trail was on a heading of 120 degrees magnetic for about 200 feet. Both engines had separated from the airframe during the impact sequence. The fuselage was destroyed by fire. The landing gear was found extended, and the wing flaps were extended to 15 degrees.
Both engines were run at Textron Lycoming under the supervision of an FAA airworthiness inspector. The left engine ran with no problems noted. The right engine fuel servo had sustained impact damage and could not be used in an engine run. The fuel servo from the left engine was removed and placed on the right engine. The right engine ran with no problems noted.
The right engine fuel servo was examined at Precision Aeromotive under the supervision of an FAA airworthiness inspector. The unit was found to run richer than the maximum specified. In all tests, the richness exceeded the maximum allowed by 5 to 10 percent at higher air flows. The FAA inspector added that nothing was found with the fuel servo that would explain a power loss, prevent the engine from running, or explain the backfiring heard by a witness.
Both propellers were examined at Hartzell Propellers, under the supervision of an FAA airworthiness inspector. The report stated:
"...Both propellers were rotating at the time of impact. The amount of power could not be determined, but the # 1 (right engine) propeller appeared to have less power than the # 2 (Left engine) propeller."
"There were no discrepancies noted that would preclude normal operation. All damage was consistent with impact damage...."
According to data from the FAA, runway 14/32 was 6,499 feet long, 150 feet wide, and had a grooved asphalt surface. Runway 14 was also served by a 4 box VASI with a 3 degree glide path. High intensity runway edge lights were installed.
The 1253 weather observation at Bradford, the last observation prior to the accident, recorded in part: winds from 260 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 1 statute mile, light snow and mist, ceiling 1,100 feet broken, 1,500 feet overcast, temperature -4 C, dewpoint -6 C, and altimeter 29.89.
The 1310 weather observation at Bradford, about 1 minute after the accident, recorded in part: winds from 240 degrees at 10 knots with gusts to 14 knots, visibility 3/4 statute mile, light snow and mist, ceiling 900 broken, 1,500 feet overcast, temperature -4 C, dewpoint -6 C, and altimeter 29.89.
According to performance charts in the Pilot's Operating Manual, the airplane could maintain altitude, or climb with a single engine climb. The configuration to maintain altitude required the propeller to be feathered on the inoperative engine, the landing gear retracted, and the wing flaps retracted. No performance data was available for single engine with the landing gear and wing flaps extended.