On December 4, 2004, approximately 1441 central standard time, a Convair 580 twin-engine airplane, N161FL, registered to and operated by IFL Group, Inc., of Waterford, Michigan, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain following a loss of directional control while landing at McAllen-Miller International Airport (MFE), near McAllen, Texas. The airline transport pilot (ATP), commercial pilot, and mechanic were not injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan was filed for the local flight that was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The maintenance flight originated from MFE approximately 1354. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a telephone interview with an NTSB representative, the 9,500-hour airline transport pilot stated that the left propeller had recently been worked on, so he was performing a post-maintenance test flight to verify the condition of the propeller. During the flight, the crew shut down the left engine and then restarted the engine. After the engine was restarted, the propeller was not operating properly, so the crew elected to secure the engine and return to the airport for a single-engine landing.
The crew proceeded to execute the instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 13. After breaking through the overcast ceiling at 500 feet above the ground, the crew prepared for a full-stop landing on runway 13 ( 7,120- foot long, by 150- foot wide). Just prior to touch-down, the crew noticed that the alternator light was illuminated and the hydraulic pressure gauge indicated "0" pressure. The landing gear was already extended and the flaps were partially extended, and since they were on a single-engine approach, the crew elected to land the airplane.
The pilot reported that upon touch-down, he immediately turned on the direct current (DC) hydraulic pump. He then realized he was unable to use steer the airplane due to the lack of nose wheel steering, and the wheel brakes were ineffective. The pilot was unable to maintain directional control and the airplane veered to the right and exited the runway. The airplane collided with the airport perimeter fence and continued down into a drainage ditch. There was no post-impact fire.
The first officer submitted a written statement that described the same sequence of events.
Examination of the airplane by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, revealed structural damage to the fuselage. Additionally, the leading edge of both wings exhibited large impact marks from the fence posts.
The operator reported that following the accident, the airplane was examined by a company mechanic. No leaks were found, and there appeared to be a sufficient amount of normal hydraulic fluid in the system. The operator also reported that the DC hydraulic pump switch did not appear as if it had been turned on and added that the switch was underneath a switch guard that was in place.
At 1353, the automated weather observing system at MFE reported wind from 350 degrees at five knots, five statute miles visibility, mist, overcast clouds at 500 feet, temperature 59 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 57 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of Mercury.