Monday, November 25, 2013

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Tropic Air P2-SAH: Accident occurred November 25, 2013 near Kibeni, Papua New Guinea






Tropic Air P2-SAH

Cessna Corporation C208B Grand Caravan
Kibeni, Western Province


25 November 2013

The Papua New Guinea Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) was informed of the accident by PNG Airservices Ltd on 25 November 2013 and commenced an on-site investigation. This Preliminary Report, made publicly available on XX December 2013 was produced by the AIC, PO Box 1700, Boroko, NCD, Papua New Guinea. The report is based upon the investigation carried out to date by the AIC in accordance with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Papua New Guinea (PNG)Civil Aviation Act 2010, and the Papua New Guinea (PNG)Civil Aviation Rules. It contains only basic factual and circumstantial information on the accident and does not contain analysis of that information. Readers are advised that the AIC investigates for the sole purpose of enhancing aviation safety. Consequently, AIC reports are confined to matters of safety significance and may be misleading if used for any other purpose. Information in AIC reports and recommendations is provided to promote aviation safety. In no case is it intended to imply blame or liability. Copying or reprinting this report for further distribution in the interests of aviation safety, acknowledging the AICas the source, is encouraged.

The occurrence

On 25 November 2013, a Cessna Corporation C208B Grand Caravan, registered P2-SAH( SAH) and operated by Tropic Air, departed Kamusi, Western Province, for Purari River, Gulf Province, at approximately 13151 Local Mean Time (LMT)on a charter flight under the instrument flight rules (IFR). The aircraft was carrying the pilot and nine passengers (one of whom, in the right pilot seat,was a pilot about to begin training with the operator)plus freight and baggage. Earlier in the day, the aircraft had departed Port Moresby for Kamusi from where it flew to Hivaro and back to Kamusi
before the accident flight. SAH was due to continue from Purari River to Vailala and Port Moresby(Figure 1).   The accident flight route is shown in Figure 2.

At Kamusi,the aircraft was refuelled from drums.Takeoff and climb from Kamusi were normal and the pilot levelled off at 9,000 ft above mean sea level (AMSL)and completed the appropriate checklist. Between Kamusi and Purari River the terrain is mostly flat and forest covered with areas of
swampland and slow - moving tidal rivers (Figure 3). Habitation is very sparse with occasional small villages on the rivers. The pilot recalled the weather was generally good in the area with a cloud base of 3,000 ft and good visibility between build-ups.

Approximately two minutes in to the cruise there was a loud ‘pop’ followed by a complete loss of engine power. After configuring the aircraft for best glide speed at 95 knots, the pilot turned the aircraft right towards the coast and rivers and completed the Phase 1 memory recall items
2 for engine failure in flight. He was assisted by the passenger in the right pilot seat, who switched on the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)and began broadcasting ‘mayday’ on the area frequency 3. Checking the database in the Global Positioning System (GPS), the pilot found the airstrip at Kibeni(Figures 4and 5) on the eastern side of the Palbuna River. Kibeni airstrip is disused,uneven, and short but it was the only open ground in the area on which the pilot could attempt a forced landing.

The pilot, as sisted by the passenger next to him, tried unsuccessfully to restart the engine using the procedure in the aircraft’s Quick Reference Handbook (QRH). The passenger continued to give position reports and to communicate with other aircraft. At about 3,000 ft AMSL the pilot asked for radio silence on the area frequency so he could concentrate on the approach to Kibeni airstrip, flying a left hand circuit to land in a south westerly direction. He  selected full flaps during the final stages of the approach, which arrested the aircraft’s rate of descent and caused it to float. The wheels contacted the ground three times (Figure 5)but this did not slow the aircraft enough to enable the pilot to stop it before the end of the airstrip. 

In order to clear the trees between the airstrip and the river, the pilot elected to pull up on the control column.  The aircraft became airborne again, damaging the crown of a coconut palm as it passed over the trees between the end of the airstrip and the river. The pilot turned hard left and pushed forward on the control column to avoid stalling 4the aircraft. He levelled the wings before the aircraft impacted the water.

The aircraft came to rest inverted (Figure 7)and partially submerged, and immediately filled with water. After a short delay while he gained his bearings under water, the pilot was able to undo his harness and open the left cockpit door. He swam to the surface, opened the door at the rear of the fuselage, and helped the surviving passengers to safety on the river bank.He mad e several attempts to reach those still inside the aircraft. When he had determined there was nothing further he could do to reach them, he administered First Aid to the survivors with materials from the aircraft’s First Aid kit. After approximately 20 minutes, villagers arrived in a canoe and transported the pilot and surviving passengers across the river. About 90 minutes after the accident, they were airlifted by helicopter to Kopi, located 44 km north east of Kibeni.

Flight crew information

The pilot was 39 years old and held a PNG Commercial Pilot Licence issued on 2 October 2012 and a Class 1 medical without restriction valid until 21 August 2014. He was endorsed to fly Cessna C208 type aircraft. He had a total of approximately 2,200 flying hours of which 800 hours were on the Cessna C208. Aircraft information The aircraft was a Cessna Corporation C208B Grand Caravan, serial no. 208B1263, manufactured in the USA in July 2007. It was powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-114A turbopropeller engine, serial no.PCE-PC1411, fitted with a McCauley 3GFR34C703 three - bladed variable pitch propeller.  It was registered in Papua New Guinea as P2-SAH on 27 September 2007 and its Certificate of Registration and Certificate of Airworthiness were both valid at the time of the accident. The aircraft was seriously damaged during the accident
by impact forces and immersion in water. The left wing became completely detached during the impact sequence and, although the pilot reported that it floated back to the accident site on the incoming tide in the minutes after the impact, it could not be located by the AIC despite a search downstream by helicopter. During the evening of 27 November 2013, the aircraft wreckage was lifted onto a barge (Figure 6) and transported to Panakawa (27 km south of Kamusi).

Representatives of the engine manufacturer travel led to Panakawa on 1 December 2013 and removed the engine and associated components under the supervision of the AIC. The engine was transported by air to Port Moresby where initial investigation revealed substantial internal damage.

Weight and balance

The exact quantity of fuel on board and takeoff weight at Kamusi are not known. The Daily Flight Record (DFR) form on which this information was recorded was recovered from the wreckage but it was too badly damaged by immersion in the river to be legible. The aircraft manifest forms completed before departure from Hivaro and Kamusi indicated that SAH departed Kamusi with 51 kg of freight and baggage in addition to the nine passengers and the pilot. The aircraft was loaded according to the approved ‘quick trim ’ system detailed in the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM) and the pilot reported that, on departure from Kamusi,   it was approximately 200 kg under its maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 3,900 kg. Flight recorder information The aircraft was fitted with an Altair ADAS Plus engine condition trend monitoring (ECTM) unit serial no. 1135. The ECTM unit was submerged in the river at Kibeni for approximately 54 hours until the aircraft was lifted onto the barge. It was then removed from the wreckage, washed in freshwater, wrapped in damp cloths, and sealed in a plastic bag. The following day, 28 November 2013, it was transported to Port Moresby and placed in a bucket of fresh water at the AIC. On 29 November 2013, it was shipped to the manufacturer in the USA for data download. Aerodrome information The runway at Kibeni is oriented 030/021 degrees.  The landing distance available is 430 metres.  It is 120 ft above mean sea level (AMSL)and the surface is undulating and overgrown with grass and weeds. It was formerly used when the area was being actively logged but has been disused for some time. The threshold of runway 21 is approximately 60 feet above the river, with the tops of coconutpalms and other trees above the level of the runway.

Further investigation

The investigation is continuing and will include

  • analysis of the operator’s maintenance system and maintenance documentation
  • data from the aircraft’selectronic engine trend monitoring equipment
  • inspection of engine components including the compressor turbine discassembly
  • disassembly of the compressorrotor assembly for visual inspection
  • precautionary inspection of the engine controls and accessories (propeller governor, overspeed governor, fuel pump, fuel control unit, fuel heater)

Adam Reid

The mother of an Australian man killed in a plane crash in Papua New Guinea lost another child earlier this year. 

 Melbourne man Adam Reid, 38, died when the Cessna Grand Caravan operated by his employer Tropicair crashed in PNG's Gulf province on Monday.

PNG nationals Stanley Kovi and Joyce Kori were also killed in the crash. Six other passengers and the pilot survived.

Mr Reid's older brother Matthew was killed in a head-on collision with a semi-trailer in New South Wales earlier this year.

Their cousin Noel Nealon says the family is devastated, especially their mother Cheryl.

"What do you say to a mother who lost two of her three children that she cherished?" Mr Nealon said.

"All she wanted to be was a mother and to lose them is such a tragedy."

Mr Reid was an observer on the flight and had recently relocated from Melbourne to PNG to get more pilot hours.

Mr Nealon says his cousin dreamt of becoming a pilot for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

"He wasn't even flying. He was just an air observer in the plane so whether he needed to be there or not, but unfortunately it happened," Mr Nealon said.

Pilot issued mayday call

The CEO of PNG's Accident Investigation Commission, David Inau, says the pilot made a forced landing after experiencing engine trouble.

"The pilot did put out a mayday call and did state that he was having engine problems," he said.

Investigators are today trying to move the submerged wreckage of the plane onto a barge to retrieve the bodies of those killed in the crash.

Tropicair has suspended its operations while an investigation is carried out.

 The airline involved in a crash in Papua New Guinea which killed three people, including an Australian man, has suspended its operations.

The airline involved in a crash in Papua New Guinea which killed three people, including an Australian man, has suspended its operations.

Victorian man Adam Reid, 38, died when the Cessna Grand Caravan operated by his employer Tropicair crashed in Papua New Guinea's Gulf province on Monday.

PNG nationals Stanley Kovi and Joyce Kori were also killed in the crash. Six other passengers and the pilot survived.

Tropicair has suspended its operations while an investigation is carried out.

In a statement the company says the plane made a forced landing in a river but gave no indication why.

Tropicair chief executive Tony Honey says it is too early to draw conclusions about the cause of the crash until the facts are established by independent investigators.

A MELBOURNE mother is reeling after suffering the loss of a second son in just 12 months, following a plane crash in Papua New Guinea. 

 Adam Reid, 37, was one of the passengers killed after a Cessna 208 Caravan flown by Tropicair reported an engine failure.

It would later veer into a river after attempting an emergency landing.

Of the 10 on board, seven escaped including the pilot.

Three others - Adam, an infant and a third person - perished after being trapped underwater inside the plane.

So far it is unclear if Adam was the only Australian on board.

The loss was compounded for Adam's mother Cheryl Reid, who lost her other son Matthew in a horrifying head-on crash near Ballina only nine months ago.

According to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the pilot sent a mayday call from 30 nautical miles west of Kikori, which itself is 500km north-west of Port Moresby, at 5pm on Monday.

Mrs Reid learned of the crash soon after from Tropicair management.

Adam was acting as an observer in the flight as part of his life-long ambition to become a pilot for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Adam's cousin Noel Nealon told APN of the devastation felt by Adam's mother to have lost a second child "she loved with all her heart".

Mr Nealon said Adam was a quiet and private man, but one who adored his nephew.

"He has a very special nephew named Hudson, who he absolutely adored," Mr Nealon said.

He joined Tropicair just three weeks ago, excited by the challenge of flying over the notoriously challenging Papua New Guinea landscape.

The ATSB is yet to learn whether its help will be requested for the ensuing investigation.

Adam is survived by parents Cheryl and Graeme Reid, sister Julie Townsend, her husband Adam, and their son Hudson.

An Australian man is among three people killed in a plane crash in Papua New Guinea.

The single-engined Cessna Caravan operated by Tropicair crashed into a river while flying from Kimusi to Purari in Gulf province yesterday afternoon.

The Accident Investigation Commission says 10 people were on board and seven survived.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that a 38-year-old Victorian man was one of the three people who died in the crash.

A spokeswoman says consular officials are in contact with the man's family.

The other two victims were Papua New Guinean nationals.

The ABC understands rescuers have spent today trying to retrieve the bodies of the dead from the submerged wreckage of the plane.

The survivors were initially taken to a nearby Oil Search camp and then moved to the company's medical clinic in neighboring Southern Highlands province.

Tropcair says it is waiting to contact the families of those who died before making a public statement.

The company has been flying in PNG for 15 years.