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On December 9, 2005, at 2240 eastern standard time, an Embraer EMB-110P1, N790RA, registered to and operated by Business Air Incorporated, doing business as Air Now, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight, lost power in both engines, and collided with trees during a forced landing a quarter-mile away from Orangeburg Municipal Airport, Orangeburg, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage. The commercial-rated pilot reported serious injuries. The flight departed Savannah International Airport, Savannah, Georgia, en route to Columbia, South Carolina, on December 9, 2005, at 2100.
The pilot stated she had flown the airplane the day before the accident and after she landed at the Savannah International Airport, on the morning of the accident, she ordered fuel for the airplane. While exiting the airplane another pilot informed her that he had heard a "popping noise" coming from one of the engines. The pilot of the accident airplane elected to start the airplane and taxied to a run up area to conduct an engine run up. The fuel truck arrived at the run up area and the pilot elected not to refuel the airplane at that time and continued the run up. No anomalies were noted during the run up and the airplane was taxied back to the ramp and parked.
The pilot arrived back at the airport later that day. She did not re-order fuel for the airplane nor did she recall checking the fuel tanks during the preflight inspection of the airplane. The pilot stated she departed Savannah and was in cruise flight when she noticed the fuel light on the annunciator panel flickering. The pilot checked the fuel gauges and observed less than 100 pounds of fuel per-side indicated. The pilot declared low fuel with Columbia Approach Control personnel, and requested to divert to the nearest airport, Orangeburg Municipal. The air traffic controller cleared the pilot for a visual approach to the airport. The pilot keyed the microphone to turn the runway lights on and lowered the landing gear. The left engine quit followed by the right engine. The pilot made a forced landing into the trees about 1/4 mile from the approach end of runway 36. The pilot exited the airplane and telephoned 911 emergency operators on her cell phone. The pilot stated she did not experience any mechanical problems with the airplane before the accident.
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a commercial pilot certificate on September 1, 2004, with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multi-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot also holds a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single engine and instrument airplane and a ground instructor certificate with ratings for advanced and instrument ground instruction. Review of FAA Aero medical records show that the pilot holds a second-class medical issued on October 27, 2005, with no restrictions. The pilot reports having 2250 total flight hours with 195 hours in the Embraer Emb-110P1.The pilot's last biennial flight review was conducted on October 8, 2005.
The pilot has been employed by Air Now for approximately one and a half years and was check out as an Embraer EMB-110 pilot-in-command on October 6, 2005.
The accident airplane was a 1980 model Embraer EMB-110P1, a two place, retractable tricycle gear airplane that was configured for on-demand taxi and freight operations. Review of maintenance records revealed the airplane was installed with two Pratt and Whitney PT6-34 turbo prop engines. The last recorded inspection part of the approved inspection program was conducted on November 2, 2005 at tachometer time 14837.5 and the airplane had flown 52.4 hours since that last inspection.
The 2253 surface weather observation at Orangeburg Airport, Orangeburg, South Carolina was: wind light and variable, visibility 10 miles, clear sky, temperature 37 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 36 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 30.26.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed the fuel tanks were not ruptured and no fuel was present in the fuel tanks. Further examination revealed the cockpit section was separated from the fuselage, and both wing assemblies were buckled.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The pilot participated in a drug-screening test after the accident and the results were negative.
Air Safety Inspector's with the Portland, Maine Flight Standards District Office report that no enroute inspections were performed on Air Now during the year 2005 and the last base inspection for Air Now was performed October 31, 2005 through November 2, 2005; nothing was noted during that inspection.