MIA04LA133
MIA04LA133

On September 29, 2004, about 1859 Atlantic standard time, a Britten-Norman BN-2A-27 airplane, N902GD, registered to and operated by Air Charter Inc., as Air Flamenco, an on-demand Title 14 CFR Part 135 air taxi flight, crashed into the Atlantic ocean. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area when the flight departed, and no flight plan was filed. The commercial-rated pilot received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight originated in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, the same day, about 1830.

The president/owner of Air Flamenco said that the pilot made a Unicom radio communications call announcing his departure from Mayaguez, en route to Isla Grande Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico. He further stated that the airplane had been transporting bank financial documents, and after the flight did not arrive at its destination, he filed an overdue report.

Upon receiving notification on September 29, 2004, about 2036, search and rescue assets initiated a search for the missing airplane. After several searches, airplane related debris, specific to the missing airplane, was discovered floating in the vicinity of geographic position 18 degrees 29 minutes north latitude, 066 degrees 27 minutes west longitude. In addition, light airplane wreckage and cargo associated with the accident flight was found to have washed ashore at Manatee, Puerto Rico.

Examination of radar track data for the flight showed that after departure the accident airplane climbed to 1,700 feet, and then descended to 1,300 feet at 1840. From 1840 to 1850, the radar data indicated that N902GD was flying east along the northern coast of Puerto Rico at a constant altitude of 1,100 feet. About 1855, the data showed that the airplane climbed to 1,400 feet, and about 1856, it descended to about 1,000 feet. About 1858, the airplane descended to 800 feet, and then to 600 feet before disappearing from radar at 18:59:18.

Weather data showed that a weak upper air trough, a moist low-level southeasterly flow, and associated showers and thunderstorms, had formed over Puerto Rico during the afternoon and evening of September 29, 2004. Synoptic and surface data, satellite imagery, and weather radar indicated that there had been no significant weather in the Mayaguez area at the time of departure, and that visual meteorological conditions had existed at the time of departure.

Infrared satellite data showed the presence of broken to overcast cloud layers off the right side of N902GD's northward radar track over interior portions of northwestern Puerto Rico. In addition, the presence of a southeasterly flow and cloud-top temperatures were consistent with there being an overcast cloud layer after departure, along the airplane's track. Doppler weather radar data for the nominal time of 1838 indicated a 50 dBz (level 5) rain shower about 3 to 5 miles off the accident airplane's right wing from 1837 to 1838, and the data indicated there was very light to light reflectivity along the flight path. Doppler weather radar data for the time period 1855 to 1901 showed a level 4-5 (45-50 dBZ) rain shower along the airplane's track, consistent with the flight having penetrated the rain shower, at which time all radar contact with the flight was lost. A NTSB Weather Group Chairman Factual Report has been provided as an attachment to this report.



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