Narrative:SATA flight 530 departed from Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island, at about 09:30 for a flight to Horta on Faial Island. The weather en route was affected by a frontal system with scattered cumulonimbus, heavy showers, turbulence and strong winds from the southwest. The crew decided to alter their flight plan, opting for a route that included approach descent over the channel between Pico and São Jorge islands to intercept the 250 degree VOR/VFL Horta radial. Horta tower initially cleared the flight to FL100. The crew then requested and were cleared to descent to 5000 feet with the instruction of maintaining visual contact with Pico Island. During the descent heavy rain and turbulence were encountered. Seven minutes after initiating the descent, the airplane impacted the northern hillside of Pico da Esperança Mountain (1067 m high) on São Jorge Island in IMC. GPWS alerted the crew 17 seconds before impact.
Probable Cause:CAUSES (translated from Portuguese):
The Investigation Committee determined that the causes of the accident were:
- Failure to respect the safety altitude - the en route controlled flight into terrain;
- Inaccurate dead reckoning;
- No proper use of airborne weather radar as an additional ease of navigation;
- Lack of cross-checking the information of the radio altimeter and barometric altimeters.
- Weather conditions in the area of the accident;
- Lack of autonomous means of navigation on board the aircraft, which could determine its position with greater precision;
Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) - Mountain
» GPIAA RELATÓRIO Nº 21/ACCID/GPS/99
» ICAO Adrep
Official accident investigation report
Flight recorders of SATA BAe ATP CS-TGM which crashed 11 DEC 1999.
Memorial to the victims of this accident
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Ponta Delgada-Nordela Airport, Azores to Horta Airport, Azores as the crow flies is 276 km (172 miles).