ASN Aircraft accident de Havilland DH-114 Heron 2D N575PR Saint Croix-Alexander Hamilton Airport (STX)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Tuesday 24 July 1979
Type:Silhouette image of generic HERN model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland DH-114 Heron 2D
Registration: N575PR
MSN: 14125
First flight: 1957
Total airframe hrs:23045
Engines: 4 Continental IO-520E
Crew:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 2
Passengers:Fatalities: 7 / Occupants: 19
Total:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 21
Aircraft damage: Damaged beyond repair
Location:Saint Croix-Alexander Hamilton Airport (STX) (   U.S. Virgin Islands)
Phase: Takeoff (TOF)
Nature:International Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Saint Croix-Alexander Hamilton Airport (STX/TISX), U.S. Virgin Islands
Destination airport:Saint Kitts-Golden Rock Airport (SKB/TKPK), St. Kitts and Nevis
Flightnumber: 610
The aircraft attained a nose-high attitude after takeoff and started to roll left and right. The aircraft pitched down and up and rolled left and right again while losing altitude. The plane struck the ground about 5500 feet from the runway end and 792 feet right of the extended centerline in a right-wing-down attitude. It appeared that the aircraft had been overloaded by 1060 pounds and that the center of gravity (CG) was 8 inches beyond the maximum rear limit.
The exact identity of this aircraft is uncertain. Prinair Heron N563PR which crashed 5 March 1969 killing all 19 on board was quoted by the NTSB report AAR-70-09 as well as Heron production lists to be c/n 14125. Strangely enough NTSB report NTSB-AAR-80-3 also explicitly states the identity of N575PR being c/n 14125. Also, N575PR / c/n 14125 was still current in the FAA aircraft register in 2004. Probably the identity papers of the real c/n 14125 (N563PR) were used together with another airframe. Possibilities: N557PR (c/n 14077) or N565PR (c/n 14116).

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot's loss of control of the aircraft after take-off because of the aircraft's grossly overweight and out-of-balance condition which resulted from misloading by the company's load control personnel. The misloading was due to the failure of the company to supervise and to enforce its loading procedures. The Safety Board also determines that inadequate surveillance and enforcement by the FAA were causal factors in this accident."

Accident investigation:

Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 248 days (8 months)
Accident number: NTSB/AAR-80-03
Download report: Final report

» NTSB-AAR-80-3

Follow-up / safety actions
The FAA issued an emergency order of suspension, grounding Prinair. FAA investigations revealed many FAR violations (instances were the total weight was not contained on the load manifest, failure to comply with an Airworthiness Directives, failure to maintain records regarding total time in service for 14 airframes etc.)

NTSB issued 3 Safety Recommendations

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photo of de-Havilland-DH-114-Heron-2D-N575PR
accident date: 24-07-1979
type: de Havilland DH-114 Heron 2D
registration: N575PR
photo of de-Havilland-DH-114-Heron-2D-N575PR
accident date: 24-07-1979
type: de Havilland DH-114 Heron 2D
registration: N575PR

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 Saint Croix-Alexander Hamilton Airport to Saint Kitts-Golden Rock Airport as the crow flies is 224 km (140 miles).

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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