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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA19LA096
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Friday, February 08, 2019 in
Aircraft: Convair C131, registration: N145GT
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On February 8, 2019, at 1216 eastern standard time, a General Dynamics Convair 131B, N145GT, was destroyed when it ditched in the Atlantic Ocean about 32 miles east of the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF), Miami, Florida. The captain was fatally injured, and the first officer was seriously injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Conquest Air Inc, Miami Lakes, Florida, as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 cargo flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed the Lynden Pindling International Airport (MYNN), Nassau, Bahamas, at 1113.

The flight originated earlier that day from OPF. The first officer stated that the preflight inspection, engine start, taxi, and engine run-up were normal, and they departed with about 900 gallons of fuel onboard. The flight to Nassau was normal until he had to adjust the left engine propeller control to adjust speed for cruise flight. When the first officer manipulated the control, there was no movement on the gauge and the power was stuck at 2,400 RPM. He tried to re-set the propeller control circuit breaker, but to no avail. The captain equalized power on both engines and the flight was uneventful to Nassau. Once on the ground, the captain asked the first officer to send a text message to maintenance control, but the message never transmitted. The captain told the first officer not worry about it and if they were unable to re-set the propeller control on the ground during the engine run-up then they would shut down and call maintenance.

The first officer said that before they began the accident flight, the engines started normally and both propellers were cycled. The left propeller control had re-set itself and they departed for OPF. The first officer said he was flying the airplane, and everything was normal until climbing through 4,000 ft when the left engine propeller control stopped working and the power was stuck at 2,400 RPM. The captain tried to adjust the control and bumped the power up to 2,700 RPM. The captain took control of the airplane and tried to stabilize the power on both engines. He leveled off at 4,500 ft, cancelled their instrument flight rules flight plan, and flew via visual flight rules direct to OPF.

The flight was normal until they began their descent down to 1,500 ft. The first officer could not remember the altitude, but the right engine suddenly backfired and began to surge. They used the checklist to feather the propeller and shut down the engine. The co-pilot said that shortly after, between 10 seconds and two minutes, the left engine backfired and began to surge. As the captain flew the airplane, the co-pilot attempted to handle the emergency. Once he realized they were too low and were going to ditch, he asked the captain what he wanted to do. The captain told him to declare a May Day and brace for impact. The first officer said the impact with the water was violent and the tail had separated from the empennage. The fuselage was filling up rapidly with water. He unbuckled his seat belt/shoulder harness, grabbed the life raft and exited the airplane.

The captain held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. The operator reported he had a total of 23,000 flight hours, of which, 725 hours were in the accident airplane. The captain's last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued on January 22, 2019. He also had type ratings for B-727, B737, CV240, CV340, CV440, and LR-Jet.

The first officer held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. The operator reported he had a total of 650 flight hours, of which, 305 hours were in the accident airplane. The first officer's last FAA first-class medical was issued on August 25, 2018. He held type ratings in the CV240, CV340, and CV440 (second-in-command only).

Weather at OPF at 1253 was reported as wind from 040° at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, broken clouds at 3,600 ft, broken clouds at 5,000 ft, temperature 26°C, dewpoint 17°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.21 inches of mercury.