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Accident
Last updated: 11 December 2017
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 17 December 2003
Time:10:35
Type:Silhouette image of generic CN35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
CASA CN-235M-200
Operator:L'Armée de L'Air
Registration: F-RAIA
C/n / msn: 043
First flight: 1990
Total airframe hrs:4925
Engines: 2 General Electric CT7-9C
Crew:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Total:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 7
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:near Suc-et-Sentenac (   France)
Crash site elevation: 1830 m (6004 feet) amsl
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Toulouse-Francazal Air Base (BA 101) (LFBF), France
Destination airport:Toulouse-Francazal Air Base (BA 101) (LFBF), France
Narrative:
A CASA CN-235M-200 transport plane, F-RAIA, was destroyed in an accident near Suc-et-Sentenac, France. All seven on board were killed.
The airplane was attached to the Escadron de transport 1/62 Vercors (ET 01.062) of the French Air Force. It was based at the Creil Air Base (BA 110).
The CN-235 arrived at Toulouse-Francazal Air Base (BA 101) on December 15, 2003 where it would stay for three days, conducting flights with paratroopers.
F-RAIA departed Francazal Air Base at 09:52 on December 17 on a mission to drop paratroopers over the Tour du Crieu drop zone. There were four crew members on board, the copilot in the left hand seat, a captain in the right hand seat, an instructor and a flight engineer. The passengers were eleven paratroopers and a jump master.
Because of high winds the jump master delayed the jump. Finally, at 10:17 nine paratroopers jumped from an altitude of 12.000 feet.
The captain then informed the controller that he would conduct a low-level navigation flight over the Pyrénées Mountains for a duration of ten to fifteen minutes. The airplane flew through several valleys until the crew encountered rising terrain of the Pic de Pioulou. The crew initiated a climb in order to cross the ridge. During the climb the airspeed decreased steadily until the airplane stalled. It struck terrain at an elevation of 1830 m, about 200 m below the crest.

Probable Cause:

CAUSES OF THE ACCIDENT (translated from original French report):
The accident, which occurred in a delicate aeronautical environment (mountain flying) sees its causes primarily related to the human factor.
It occured during the execution of an unscheduled and unprepared flight phase, by decision of the captain during the flight.
Meanwhile, several factors point to an improvable rigor in actions performed by some crew members of this unit.
A decision to change the mission in flight combines several errors that led to the accident:
- Over-confidence of the crew, unaccustomed to mountain flying, which engaged in a topography of which they underestimated the difficulty, the insidiously, because gradually, increasing slope,
- A lack of decision in the cockpit that originated in the establishment of a "soft consensus" itself resulting from functions, qualifications and personalities of various crew members,
- Incorrect assessment of the situation and the capabilities of the aircraft with regards to the topography,
- A lack of reaction in a degraded situation.

Accident investigation:
cover
Investigating agency: BEAD
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 289 days (10 months)
Accident number: BEAD-A-2003-027-A
Download report: Final report

Classification:
Loss of control

Sources:
» Ministère de la Défense
» Aérosteles : Lieux de mémoire aéronautique


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photo of CASA CN-235M-200 043/62-IA
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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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