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N999WB accident description

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Tail numberN999WB
Accident dateDecember 30, 1997
Aircraft typeMitsubishi MU-2B-30
LocationWayne, IL
Additional details: None

NTSB description

History of Flight

On December 30, 1997, at 1703 central standard time, a Mitsubishi MU-2B-30, N999WB, operated by PVS International, Inc., was destroyed when it impacted the ground two miles north of the DuPage Airport, West Chicago, Illinois. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight had departed DuPage Airport on a local training flight and was in the local VFR flight pattern for runway lL. The commercial pilot and the commercial copilot received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was in contact with the local air traffic control tower at DuPage Airport.

A fuel lineman at the airport reported that he had put fuel in the airplane at approximately 1500 on December 30, 1997. He reported that the pilots had just pulled the airplane out of the hangar and were about to go flying. The fuel log indicated that 184 gallons of Jet A had been put on the airplane.

At 2153 (All times UTC), N999WB (9WB) departed Dupage Airport to the west.

At 2227, 9WB radioed O'Hare Approach and requested the GPS 1L approach at DuPage Airport.

At 2238, 9WB was cleared for the approach and was told to switch to DuPage Tower frequency.

At 2242:02, DuPage Tower cleared 9WB to fly the approach to 1L and cleared 9WB to land.

9WB landed on runway 1L and taxied back to 1L for another takeoff.

At 2248:11, 9WB stated, "And tower, uh, Whiskey Bravo. We'll be, uh, simulated single engine on the takeoff. Circle to land same runway."

At 2248:18, the tower reported, "Mitsubishi Nine Whiskey Bravo, roger. Your option left or right traffic."

At 2249:56, the tower cleared 9WB for takeoff from runway 1L.

At 2250:01, 9WB reported, "Cleared to go, Niner Whiskey Bravo, and we'll be in left traffic."

At 2251:48, 9WB reported, "And tower, we're going to continue upwind here a little bit."

At 2251:52, the tower reported, "Mitsubishi Nine Whiskey Bravo, roger. Runway one left. You're cleared to land."

At 2251:56, 9WB responded, "Cleared to land one left, Niner Whiskey Bravo."

At 2256:25, 9WB reported, "And tower, Whiskey Bravo's on final, full stop."

At 2256:28, tower reported, "Whiskey Bravo is cleared to land runway one left."

At 2256:31, 9WB responded, "Cleared to land one left, Whiskey Bravo."

At 2257:58, the tower stated, "Nine Whiskey Bravo, say your destination."

At 2258:00, 9WB responded, "Nine Whiskey Bravo, would like to take it around, uh, two more times."

At 2258:04, the tower responded, "Nine Whiskey Bravo, no problem, sir. Taxi back."

At 2300:36, 9WB stated, "And tower, Niner Whiskey Bravo. We're ready to go one left."

At 2300:41, the tower stated, "Nine Whiskey Bravo, into position and hold one left. Traffic landing two eight."

At 2300:45, 9WB responded, "Niner Whiskey Bravo, in sight."

At 2301:24, the tower stated, "Nine Whiskey Bravo, left or right turn out approved or left or right traffic, your choice. Runway one left, cleared for takeoff."

At 2301:29, 9WB responded, "Okay, Niner Whiskey Bravo. We'll make it right traffic this time. Cleared to go one left, Niner Whiskey Bravo."

There were no further radio transmissions from 9WB.

Witnesses reported seeing an airplane flying northbound from DuPage Airport. They reported that the airplane appeared to be flying slow and at an altitude between 500 to 1000 feet above ground level (agl). They reported seeing the right wing go up as if turning left to the northwest, but then the airplane "barrel rolled" to the left and continued rolling straight down. None of the witnesses reported seeing the airplane impact the ground due to the trees in the area.

A witness who lived north of the impact site reported that, "As I lost sight of the plane into the trees, I noticed the left wing of the plane tilted upward, after which I heard a crash which sounded much like wood breaking."

One witness reported he heard the airplane fly near his house which was located about 1,000 feet to the east of the accident site. He reported that the airplane sounded very low and very loud. He reported that the airplane noise did not sound normal. He reported that the loud noise made by the airplane continued until the airplane impacted the ground.

The airplane impacted the ground in a small pasture in a residential area. A witness who owned the property reported hearing the airplane as it flew over his house and when it impacted the ground. He reported that he ran out to the pasture to render assistance. He reported there was a heavy smell of fuel in the air. He reported there was a small fire near the right wing. He reported the flame was a single flame and about 10 inches in height. He reported the flame was extinguished with snow.

The witness reported that emergency response vehicles arrived at the scene about two minutes after the accident occurred. Although there was no fire, the fire department put water on the aircraft as a precaution.

Personnel Information

The pilot was a commercially rated pilot with single engine and multi-engine land ratings and a commercial helicopter rating. He held an instrument rating in airplanes. He was a Certified Flight Instructor in single and multiengine airplanes and was also an instrument instructor in airplanes. He was certified as an advanced ground instructor and as an instrument ground instructor.

The pilot's logbooks were not obtained. He had an estimated 1,175 total flight hours. Witnesses reported that he had about 350 flight hours in the MU-2. However, the pilot indicated on a pilot history form he filled out on October 10, 1997, when he went to flight training at Flight Safety, Houston, Texas, that he had a total of 1,175 hours, 866 hours as Pilot in Command, 80 hours in the last six months, and a total of 250 hours in MU-2's.

A witness reported that the pilot had received his private pilot and commercial pilot ratings at Southern Illinois University. The witness reported that the pilot obtained the single engine instructor rating and instrument instructor rating at American Flyers located at DuPage Airport, West Chicago, Illinois.

The pilot obtained his multi-engine instructor (MEI) rating in November, 1997. The pilot's MEI instructor pilot during his MEI training was the copilot of the accident flight. The copilot's logbook indicated that the pilot and copilot had flown together on seven instructional flights between July 9, 1997, and November 13, 1997. The airplane used for the MEI training was a twin engine Gruman Cougar. The pilots had flown together for 10.1 hours in preparation for the pilot's MEI checkride.

The operator of the airplane reported the pilot had started flying in the right seat of the airplane in September 1995. The pilot flew as copilot in order to build flight time and was not paid while flying as copilot. The operator reported that the pilot had flown about 150 hours as copilot. In September 1996, the pilot started to fly as Captain on the MU-2. The operator reported that the pilot had flown 180 to 200 hours as Captain.

The operator purchased a "Full Service" training contract for the pilot through Flight Safety International, Houston, Texas. The full service contract allowed the pilot to obtain his initial ground school and flight simulator training, and subsequent recurrent ground school and simulator training at Flight Safety. The pilot received his initial training in October 1996. The pilot completed his first recurrent course in April 1997. The pilot completed his second recurrent course in June 1997. The pilot completed his third recurrent course on October 10, 1997. While attending Flight Safety, all of the pilot's flight training was conducted in Flight Safety's MU-2 flight simulator. The pilot did not fly with the Flight Safety instructors in an actual airplane. The pilot's most current Biennial Flight Review and Instrument Competency Check was accomplished in Flight Safety's MU-2 flight simulator on October 10, 1997.

The pilot also attended the MU-2 maintenance course offered by Flight Safety. The pilot attended the maintenance course on MU-2 systems from June 2 to June 12, 1997, for a total of 54 instructional hours.

The copilot was a commercial pilot with single and multi-engine land and instrument ratings. He was a Certified Flight Instructor in single and multiengine airplanes and was also an instrument instructor in airplanes. He was certified as an advanced ground instructor and as an instrument ground instructor. He was a designated FAA ASC (Air Safety Counselor).

The copilot had a total of approximately 4,094 flight hours. 772 hours were in multi-engine airplanes. He had flown approximately 10 hours in multi-engine turbine airplanes. The copilot's logbook indicated that he had not flown an MU-2 before the accident flight.

Aircraft Information

The airplane was a twin engine Mitsubishi MU-2B-30, serial number 530. The airplane seated eight and had a gross weight of 10,800 pounds. The engines were 665 shaft horsepower Allied Signal TPE 331-1-151A engines. The last 100 hour maintenance inspection was conducted on June 20, 1997. The airplane had flown approximately 86 hours since the last inspection and had a total time of 6,275 hours.

The engine logbooks indicated that both engines were overhauled on January 26, 1979. The time since overhaul was about 3,141 hours. A hot section inspection was conducted on February 9, 1988. The time since the hot section inspection was about 1,892 hours.

The propeller logbooks indicated the Hartzell propellers, model HCB3TN-5E, were overhauled on June 20, 1994. The time since overhaul was about 404 hours.

A review of the airplane's logbooks indicated that all Airworthiness Directives (AD's) had been complied with.

Meteorological Conditions

At 1655, weather conditions reported at DuPage Airport were VFR. The sky was overcast at 7,500 feet with 10 mile visibility. The temperature was 22 degrees Fahrenheit and the Dew Point was 14 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind direction was 310 degrees at 7 knots. The altimeter was 29.74.

Wreckage and Impact Information

The airplane wreckage was located about 2 statute miles north of the DuPage Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-In-Charge (IIC) arrived at the accident site at approximately 1835 on December 30, 1997. The extraction of the pilots from the wreckage was authorized by the IIC. During the extraction of the copilot from the wreckage, the copilot's left hand was observed to be on and in front of the power lever knobs.

The airplane impacted in a small pasture in a residential area. The pasture's terrain was flat with trees and shrubs to the north of the impact site and a small pond to the southeast of the site. A small open pasture was located to the southwest of the wreckage. There were no indications that the airplane had hit any of the trees in the area of the wreckage site prior to impacting the ground.

The wreckage indicated the airplane impacted the ground in about a 55 to 75 degrees nose down attitude. The aircraft wreckage heading was 065 degrees magnetic.

The airplane did not travel forward after impact. The right engine, right propeller, and the right wing remained virtually in place after they impacted the ground. The right wing had leading edge crush damage along its entire length. The right wing tip had additional crushing and buckling on approximately the two foot outboard section of the wing. The right wing separated from the fuselage and the rest of the wing at the wing attach fittings at the right wing root. The right engine and propeller were buried in about four to five feet of soft clay soil. The right wingtip tank separated from the right wing and the nose of the wingtip tank was buried in about two to three feet of soft clay near the pond.

The left wing was found with leading edge crush damage along its entire length. The left propeller had separated from the left engine and was found about four feet forward of the left engine with two blade tips exposed and the rest of the propeller buried in about six inches to 1.5 feet of sand and clay soil. The left engine had partially separated from the left wing, and the engine and accessory gear box were partially separated from each other. The wing attach fittings for the left wing were broken. The left wingtip fuel tank separated from the left wing and was located about 30 feet aft and to the left of the left wingtip. An outboard section of left wing flap was found about 40 feet aft and to the left of the left wingtip.

A small tree and bushes in front of the left wing, and a small fence about six feet forward of the left wing and engine exhibited evidence of impact. A propeller slash was evident in a wood post, and a metal fence post was bent over to the south and broken in two from impact.

The fuselage received extensive crushing and buckling during the impact. The nose landing gear was buried in about four feet of clay. The cockpit and cabin area back to the overhead wing root was crushed and destroyed during impact. The fuselage between approximately Fuselage Station (FS) 7250 and FS 8325 had buckled and separated, exposing the environmental control unit. The empennage separated from the fuselage at the fuselage break ring at FS 8895.

The vertical stabilizer had partially separated from its fuselage attach fittings and was laying horizontally to the right. The vertical stabilizer's leading edge was dented between Vertical Stabilizer Station (VS) 1500 and 2190. The rubber boot at that location was torn and pieces of rubber boot were missing.

The left horizontal stabilizer remained attached to the empennage. It did not exhibit leading edge damage or buckling or crushing of the surface.

The right horizontal stabilizer remained attached the empennage. The section of the stabilizer and elevator outboard of Horizontal Stabilizer Station (HS) 1480 exhibited leading edge crush and horizontal crushing and buckling.

The upper surface of the aft cowling ("Boat tail") of the right engine was dented and exhibited a transfer of black material onto the engine cowling. Pieces of the black rubber deice boot material were found near the right engine cowling and wing.

The control cables were checked for continuity. The cables from the cockpit to the rudder, elevator, spoilers, and trim surfaces exhibited continuity.

The spoiler and elevator control columns were examined for continuity. The spoiler chain was twisted and had open links, but was attached to both yoke sprockets and exhibited continuity to the cable quadrant. The right control yoke and control shaft assembly had separated from the column assembly.

The landing gear was found in the fully retracted position. The landing gear traveling nut was at the full aft position indicating landing gear up. The gear position switch in the cockpit was in the up position.

The flap position was determined to be between 0 and 5 degrees of flaps. The traveling nut of the flap position mechanism measured about 25.4 mm from the full up position, which equated to about 1.75 to 2 degrees of flaps. All the flap jackscrews for the inboard and outboard flaps indicated mid-travel between 0 to 5 degrees of flaps.

The rudder trim was determined to be about 10 degrees nose left trim. The rudder trim indicator in the cockpit was aligned with the 10 degrees nose left position. The rudder trim tab was offset to the right of the rudder approximately 5 to 10 degrees. The cables to the rudder trim were not broken during the impact.

The trim ailerons indicated that the right wing trim ailerons were positioned about 10 degrees down, and the left wing trim ailerons were positioned up. The right and left trim aileron actuators' extensions indicated the left trim aileron in the up position, and the right trim aileron in the down position.

The elevator trim was observed in the neutral position. The elevator trim indicator in the cockpit was aligned with the zero trim position. The elevator trim was not offset from the trailing edge of the elevator. The cables to the elevator were not broken during the impact.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.