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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 219038
Last updated: 21 October 2020
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Date:23-NOV-2018
Time:17:33 PST
Type:Silhouette image of generic C208 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster
Owner/operator:FedEx Corporation and operated by Westair Inc
Registration: N781FE
C/n / msn: 208B0278
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: None
Location:Meadows Field Airport (KBFL), Kern County, CA -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Cargo
Departure airport:
Destination airport:Meadows Field Airport (BFL)
Narrative:
On November 23, 2018, about 1733 Pacific standard time, the pilot of a Cessna 208B, N781FE, became incapacitated after he reached the airport run-up area at Meadows Field Airport (BFL), Bakersfield, California. The airline transport pilot received minor injuries and the airplane was not damaged. The airplane was owned by FedEx Corporation and operated by Westair, Inc. under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 as an on-demand, scheduled cargo flight. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight that was destined for Ontario, California.

According to the pilot, he notified the company of his arrival at the airport at 1610 and taxied the airplane to the FedEx ramp located at the southeast corner of the airport. He met with FedEx personnel who loaded boxes into the upper cargo area of the airplane. The pilot counted a total of about 41 large boxes, totaling about 36 kg of dry ice among the shipping containers. A FedEx dangerous goods representative approved the shipment as the dry ice weight furnished by the shipper was below the company's operating limit of 76 kg, a weight limitation provided by FedEx for the shipment of dry ice specifically as cargo onboard its Cessna 208B airplanes. He did not open the shipping containers. After the loading was completed, the pilot finished his paperwork and started the airplane at 1729. While taxing to runway 30R the pilot felt "strong sleepiness" accompanied by difficulty breathing. He stopped the airplane at the runway run-up area and closed his eyes.

After the pilot failed to respond to air traffic controllers for 25 minutes, a firefighter illuminated the cockpit and observed an occupant with his head rolled back and his mouth open. The firefighter placed wheel chocks in front of the main landing gear tires to prevent the airplane from advancing. Following several unsuccessful attempts to get the pilot's attention, the firefighter administered a sternal rub, which caused the pilot to move. The firefighter engaged the fuel cutoff to shut down the engine and subsequently disengaged the electrical system. During this time the pilot became more conscious, but his speech was unintelligible. However, moments later the pilot was able to demonstrate to the firefighter that he was coherent by answering a series of relatable questions. The pilot exited the airplane on his own and was transported to the hospital by an ambulance.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector performed a postincident examination of the airplane the following morning at the request of the NTSB Investigator-in-Charge. His inspection discovered numerous boxes labeled "Dry Ice," positioned behind the pilot and stacked to the ceiling of the upper cargo pod. The shipping contents were refrigerated inside thermal bags that had been filled with dry ice pellets and the bags were loosely closed and taped.

The event is being investigated by the NTSB as an incident.

Sources:

NTSB : https://app.ntsb.gov/pdfgenerator/ReportGeneratorFile.ashx?EventID=20181124X14130&AKey=1&RType=Prelim&IType=IA
FAA : https://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=N781FE


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
05-Dec-2018 18:33 Captain Adam Added

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