Thursday, August 23, 2012

Beechcraft 65-80 Queen Air, RP-C824 (and) Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, RP-C4431

Beechcraft 65-80 Queen Air, RP-C824

   Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II, RP-C4431

Crash Analysis
August 23, 2012, 7:41pm

The fatal crash last August 18 in Masbate of the twin-engine Piper Seneca bearing Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and three others in Masbate and the crash of a twin-engine Beechcraft Queen Air at the Don Bosco Subdivision, Paranaque City, last December, 2011, bear a similarity.

This could explain why both airplanes plunged uncontrollably to the ground.

Senior Insp. June Paolo Abrazado, Robredo’s aide who survived the crash, testified that the Piper Seneca’s right engine malfunctioned and eventually quit while they were in mid-air.

He said that when the plane ditched off Masbate, he clambered out of the aircraft before it sank and was rescued later by fishermen.

“The pilot was looking for the runway to make an emergency landing while the plane, which had already lost its right engine, was flying very low over the city,” Abrazado said in a written testimony in Filipino.

Then he said: “The plane began to swoop nose down when the pilot glided it to the right. It was then that the pilot lost control of the plane.”

Compare this story with that of the Beechcraft, whose crash was caught on video by an amateur photographer, which appeared on ABS-CBN news last December 14, 2011.

Capt. Amado Soliman, then Officer-in-charge of the Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board (AAIIB) who reviewed the footage, said the airplane had a malfunctioning right engine shortly after take-off from the Manila Domestic Airport.

However, after being given clearance by the control tower for a re-landing, the Beechcraft turned towards the “dead” engine instead of towards the “good” engine, which is on the left-hand side of the airplane.

Abrazado’s statement clearly said: “The plane began to swoop nose down when the pilot glided it to the right…, and then the pilot lost control of the plane, is similar to the video cam of the Beechcraft, which was seen “slowly turning right, then going into a spiral that continued until the plane hit the ground, followed by a column of smoke and fire.”

Aviation experts have said, time and again, that when a twin-engine airplane loses one of its engines in flight, the instruction is for the pilot to gain altitude and when sufficiently high, make the turn towards the functioning engine.

Higher altitude gives the pilot enough room to recover if the plane goes into a spin or spiral.

The lower the altitude, the less height to recover from a spiraling airplane, experts said.

A retired pilot interviewed for this piece said that the malfunction of one engine would require the skillful maneuver of the airplane, especially when turning, so as not to aggravate an already bad situation.

The veteran pilot added that if one of the two engines quit, the turn should be made towards the “good” engine and not towards the “dead” engine, again so as not to aggravate the turn that would lead into a spiral which would be hard to recover from if the pilot’s altitude is low.

Many eyewitnesses said the Piper Seneca airplane was flying very low over Masbate airport.

Now, if the pilot indeed made the turn to the right, where the “dead” engine is located, the ensuing spiral would leave him no room to recover.


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