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Narrative:A Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter carrying 10 skydivers and a pilot, impacted terrain some ten minutes after takeoff from Namur-Suarlée Airport, Belgium. All aboard were killed.
Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter
|Registration:|| OO-NAC |
|C/n / msn:|| 710|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 11 / Occupants: 11|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Phase:|| Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)|
|Departure airport:||Namur-Suarlée Airport (EBNM)|
|Destination airport:||Namur-Suarlée Airport (EBNM)|
The aeroplane was used for the dropping of parachutists from the parachute club of Namur. It was the 15th flight of the day. The aeroplane took off from the Namur/Suarlée (EBNM) airfield at around 13:25 with 10 parachutists on board.
After 10 minutes of flight, when the aeroplane reached FL50, a witness noticed the aeroplane in a level flight, at a lower altitude than normal. He returned to his occupation. Shortly after he heard the sound he believed to be a propeller angle change and turned to look for the aeroplane. The witness indicated that he saw the aeroplane diving followed by a steep climb (major pitch up, above 45°), followed by the breaking of the wing. Subsequently, the aeroplane went into a spin. Another witness standing closer to the aircraft reported seeing the aeroplane flying in level flight with the wings going up and down several times and hearing, at the same time an engine and propeller sound variation before seeing the aeroplane disappearing from his view. The aeroplane crashed in a field in the territory of Gelbressée, killing all occupants. The aeroplane caught fire. A big part of the left wing and elements thereof were found at 2 km from the main wreckage.
The cause of the accident is a structural failure of the left wing due to a significant negative g aerodynamic overload, leading to an uncontrollable aeroplane and subsequent crash.
The most probable cause of the wing failure is the result of a manoeuvre intended by the pilot, not properly conducted and ending with an involuntary negative g manoeuvre, exceeding the operating limitations of the aeroplane.
Contributing safety factors:
· The weakness of the monitoring of the aeroplane operations by the operator.
· The lack of organizational structure between the operator and the parachute club [safety issue].
Other safety factors identified during the investigation:
· The performance of aerobatics manoeuvre with an aircraft not certified to perform such manoeuvres.
· The performance of aerobatics manoeuvre by a pilot not adequately qualified and/or trained to perform such manoeuvres.
· Transportation of unrestrained passengers, not sitting on seat during dangerous phase of the flight.
· The weakness of the legal framework and guidance for aerial work [safety issue].
· The lack of effective oversight of aerial work operations by the BCAA [safety issue].
· The lack of mandatory requirement to install devices recording flight data
on board aeroplane used for parachuting [safety issue].
· Insufficient back protection for the pilot [safety issue].
· No easy determination of the weight and balance of the aeroplane due to the passengers not sitting in predetermined positions [safety issue].
· The issuing by BCAA of two distinct authorizations to the aeroplane operator and the parachute club incorporating some overlaps, which does not encourage the awareness of responsibility of the stakeholders involved [safety issue].
· Possible erroneous interpretation of the maintenance manual [safety issue].
· Violations and/or safety occurrences not reported as required by the Circular GDF-04, preventing the BCAA from taking appropriate action.
· Peer pressure of parachutists sometimes encouraging pilots to perform manoeuvres not approved for normal category aeroplanes.
· Flying at high altitude without oxygen breathing system although required by regulation.
Accident report: http://mobilit.belgium.be/sites/default/files/downloads/13-08%20EN.pdf
Pilatus PC-6 OO-NAC during takeoff from Namur Airport (EBNM), 8 May 2010; (c) H.Ranter
Photo taken by Vaclav Kudela at Namur/Suarlée on 15.09.2007
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