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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 25505
Last updated: 17 October 2017
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Date:09-DEC-1999
Time:12:04 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic PA31 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain
Owner/operator:Twin Air
Registration: SE-GDN
C/n / msn: 31-730552
Fatalities:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Gammeldammsberget, 8 km NW of Sundsvall -   Sweden
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Domestic Non Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Sundsvall-Timrå Airport (SDL/ESNN)
Destination airport:Göteborg Landvetter Airport (GOT/ESGG)
Narrative:
The aircraft was destroyed when it crashed into high ground at Gammeldammsberget, 8 km North West of Sundsval, shortly after take-off from Sundsvall-Timra Airport. Last contact with the flight was about 4 minutes after take-off when the pilot advised ATC that he was having problems with his 'compass.'

The accident happened in daylight (12:04 Local Time) but in poor weather. All eight persons on board - pilot and seven passengers - were killed. Weather at the time of the accident was: Wind, 120 degrees/11 knots, and visibility 500 metres in heavy snow. The aircraft was operating a flight to Goteborg Landvetter Airport.

The aircraft had taken off from Runway 16 at Sundsvall-Timra, and was expected to climb straight ahead to a minimum height of 1,000 feet before commencing a right turn to intercept the 207 degree Radial from Sundsvall, to headv Southwest, towards Megen. However, the right turn continued through 180 degrees, so that the aircraft ended up reversing its course and flying towards the Northwest.

When the pilot was asked his intentions he replied that he "had a problem with the compass" and asked for directions, Air Traffic Control advised him that he was climbing towards the Northwest and to make a left turn through 90 degrees, as the aircraft was approaching high ground. The pilot did not respond and did not appear to start a turn.

About 15 seconds Later, ATC told the pilot to ‘climb as soon as possible!’ Again there was no response from the pilot but, shortly after this, the aircraft was seen on radar to climb steeply, while its speed rapidly decayed. Control was then apparently lost and the aircraft crashed.

After the accident both the Course Pointer and the Heading Bug were found jammed on a heading of 340 degrees, and the Nav 1 appeared to be set up for the Sundsvall Runway 34 ILS frequency. The previous day, when the flight had come up to Sundsvall, Runway 34 was in use and, as it was an IFR flight, it is assumed that the pilot set up the aircraft in preparation for an ILS approach to that runway.

However, in the event, the weather was good and the flight was cleared for a straight-in visual approach. It is believed that the pilot forgot to change these settings prior to departure.

After take-off and initial climb it is suggested that the pilot engaged the autopilot. The autopilot would then have brought the aircraft round onto a heading of 340 degrees, which was set up on the Heading Bug. Subsequently, when the flight instruments showed values that were totally unexpected, the pilot is believed to have made the ‘classical mistake’ of thinking that the instruments were wrong.

The pilot had a business relationship with his passengers and worked for their company as a consultant. Therefore, after arrival at Sundsvall, he accompanied them to their business meeting and, later, dined with them, not getting back to the hotel until about midnight. The next morning they were picked up at eight o’clock and attended another meeting.

The pilot consequently did not get to the airport until 11:15 and then had to have the aircraft refuelled and clean the snow off it in conditions of strong winds and continuing heavy snow fall. This work would have been physically strenuous, and also took time so that other preparations for departure would have been rushed or omitted.

As a probable result of this the pilot either did not realise or ignored the fact that the aircraft was 300 kg above its MTOW (Maximum Take Off Weight) and that its C of G (Centre of Gravity) was at or beyond the aft limit. Once airborne, it would have been difficult to trim the aircraft and achieve a stable climb at the correct airspeed. This would have added to the pilot’s work load, increased his stress and distracted him from correctly analysing the reason for the apparent problem with the aircraft’s heading. Additionally, the pilot had heart disease and diabetes (two medical conditions which should have disqualified him from flying) and these conditions may have impaired his performance further.

Finally, when the pilot was told that he was flying towards high ground and to climb with some urgency, it is suggested that he ‘instinctively and perhaps in a state of panic’ pulled the control column back. The aircraft pitched up and stalled.

Sources:

1. http://www.havkom.se/virtupload/reports/rl2000_40.pdf
2. http://www.planecrashinfo.com/1999/1999-70.htm
3. http://www.baaa-acro.com/1999/archives/crash-of-a-piper-pa-31-navajo-chieftain-in-sundsvall-8-killed/
4. http://www.ascendworldwide.com/download/Cust/WAAS167_Complete.pdf


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
30-May-2011 02:23 Masen63 Updated [Time, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
25-Jun-2015 20:57 Dr. John Smith Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
25-Jun-2015 21:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
13-Sep-2017 22:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Location, Source, Narrative]
13-Sep-2017 22:35 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]
13-Sep-2017 22:36 Dr. John Smith Updated [Narrative]

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