Monday, January 18, 2016

Cessna 525 CitationJet CJ1, N711BX: Fatal accident occurred January 18, 2016 in Cedar Fort, Utah

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entities:  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Salt Lake City, Utah
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Honeywell Aerospace; Phoenix, Arizona
Sierra Industries; Uvalde, Texas
Williams International; Walled Lake, Michigan
Ametek Power & Data Systems; Harleysville, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket - - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Donald L. Baker: http://registry.faa.gov/N711BX

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA054 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 18, 2016 in Cedar Fort, UT
Aircraft: CESSNA 525, registration: N711BX
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 18, 2016, about 1000 mountain standard time, a Cessna 525, N711BX, was destroyed following a loss of control and in-flight breakup while maneuvering at altitude near Cedar Fork, Utah. The airline transport pilot and his sole passenger sustained fatal injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight, which was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), Salt Lake City, Utah, about 0950, with an intended destination of Tucson International Airport (TUS), Tucson, Arizona.

According to air traffic control voice communication and radar information, the pilot contacted the SLC departure controller at 0951:59 and reported that he was climbing through 7,500 ft mean sea level (msl) for 10,000 ft (all altitudes are expressed as msl unless otherwise noted). The controller then cleared the pilot to climb to and maintain Flight Level 230 (FL230), and to delete speed restrictions; the pilot confirmed the clearance. At 0952:21, the controller instructed the pilot to maintain 14,000 ft, to delete all speed restrictions, and asked him what speed he was climbing at; the pilot confirmed the clearance and stated that he was climbing at 200 knots (kts). 

At 0955:01, while approaching 14,000 ft the pilot reported that he had a failure with his Flight Management System (FMS), that he was "switching to NAV for a second," and would be exceeding the assigned altitude. This was followed by an unintelligible transmission. At 0955:16, the controller instructed the pilot to descend and maintain 14,000 ft and to fly his present heading. About 10 seconds later, the pilot advised the controller that he had an autopilot failure, and requested a climb to visual meteorological conditions. The controller instructed the pilot to climb and maintain FL180. At 0955:47, the pilot responded by confirming the climb to FL180. The controller then asked the pilot if he needed assistance. The pilot did not immediately respond, and the controller asked him a second time. At 0956:16, the pilot responded "negative," saying that he was "just trying to get to clear skies," and was climbing to FL180. The pilot stated that his "number 2" was working, and that his "altitude" had failed. The pilot concluded the transmission by saying, "…so, uh, my number two is working, climbing to one eight thousand."

At 0956:32, the controller advised the pilot that traffic would be crossing above him at FL190, and that it was important that he level the airplane at FL180; the pilot replied, "We'll be watching." At 0956:45, the controller advised the pilot of two areas of light precipitation directly ahead of the airplane, and asked the pilot if he would need vectors to clear the weather. At 0956:59, the pilot responded that he would appreciate any vectors possible. Shortly thereafter, at 0957:06, the controller asked the pilot to "...paint a picture for me of where you think the clearest skies would be. I can vector you wherever you need to go." At 0957:12, the pilot replied that he was heading to TUS, his altitude would not hold, and that he was hand flying the airplane. About this time, radar showed the airplane beginning a right turn from its previously-established southerly heading to a southwesterly heading, though the airplane had neither been cleared to do so by the controller nor had the pilot informed the controller of the deviation. About 0957:20, the pilot transmitted that he would appreciate any vectors possible. About 15 seconds later, the controller advised the pilot that he was showing him at 17,500 ft, directed the pilot to fly his present heading, and stated that the airplane would be clear of the precipitation in about 4 miles. About 17 seconds later, the pilot transmitted, "...ok, MAYDAY. I do need to get up higher. I am losing different instruments. I'd really like to get clear of weather." At 0958:01, the controller issued the pilot a clearance to climb and maintain FL230, which the pilot confirmed. About 0958:26, the controller amended the previous clearance and instructed the pilot to climb to and maintain FL310, which the pilot initially confirmed, but shortly thereafter stated, "...yeah. I can't even dial that in. Still climbing, passing twenty thousand, so I'm just going to be reading it out to be sure my second is operating correctly."

At 0958:46, the controller stated that he was showing the airplane climbing through 20,200 ft, and asked the pilot if he wanted to continue to TUS; the pilot replied, "That is affirmative." At 0958:53, when the airplane was at 20,700 ft, the controller issued the pilot a no-gyro turn to the left for vectors to the southeast; this occurred about 1 minute 41 seconds after the airplane had turned southwest. Radar data showed that the pilot initiated a right turn from a southwesterly heading at an altitude of 20,700 ft. At 0959:12, the airplane reached an altitude of 21,300 ft. msl, and was still in the right turn. At 0959:13, the controller stated, "November one bravo x-ray. I show you in a right turn. Can you turn left?" At 0959:17, while climbing out of 21,300 ft, the pilot replied that he was "trying to climb."

About 0959:47, the controller advised the pilot that he had lost the airplane's altitude readout, and asked the pilot the airplane's altitude. There were no further transmissions received from the pilot. Between 0959:49 and 0959:58, the airplane descended from an altitude of 21,300 ft to 16,000 ft, with its rate of descent during this time increasing from 9,600 ft per minute (fpm) to 36,000 fpm.

The Utah County Sheriff's Office collected four witness statements. One witness heard a loud boom and about 45 seconds later heard a motor sputtering, followed by seeing a piece of the airplane falling; the piece that he observed was on fire, but the witness could not identify what it was. The witness stated that he heard the plane crash but never saw it. A second witness said he heard a boom but did not report seeing [the airplane]. Another witness heard an explosion while in his house, then went outside and saw debris falling from the sky. The fourth witness reported hearing a loud explosion and heard the airplane descend, but did not hear the impact.

Within hours of the accident, a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector responded to the accident site. The inspector reported that he did not observe ice accumulation on any of the airplane's surfaces during his onsite examination. The inspector stated that it was snowing at the accident site throughout the day.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot was issued an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating on April 8, 2008, which included commercial privileges for single-engine land airplanes, and a A/CE-525S type rating for single-pilot operations.

A review of the pilot's personal logbook revealed that, at the time of the accident, he had accumulated a total flight time of 3,336 hours, of which 3,138 hours was as pilot-in-command, and 2,015 hours was multiengine time. The pilot had 1,588 total hours of turbojet time, all in the accident airplane. The pilot had flown 8.8 hours, 8.8 hours, and 7.9 hours in the last 90, 60, and 30 days respectively. The pilot was current and qualified to operate the airplane in single-pilot flight operations.

On December 1, 2014, the pilot was issued an FAA third-class airman medical certificate with the restriction, "Must wear corrective lenses." At the time of the application, the pilot reported a total flight time of 3,232 hours, of which 55 hours was accumulated in the previous 6 months.

Records provided by FlightSafety International's (FSI) San Antonio Learning Center, San Antonio, Texas, revealed that, since 2011, the pilot had attended CE-525 recurrent training on a semi-annual basis. The pilot attended his most recent CE-525 recurrent training from August 7, 2015 through August 9, 2015. At the time of his training, the pilot reported a total time of 3,113 hours, with 1,563 hours of turbo-jet time in multiengine airplanes. The FSI recurrent training course consisted of 12.5 ground training hours, and 6 hours of flight simulator time, each of which the pilot completed satisfactorily.

As annotated on the FSI Client Information Sheet, the pilot reported under Type of Flight Director: [Garmin] G750; dual Garmin GTN 750 units were installed in the accident airplane in October 2014. According to the FSI Director of Training Operations, FSI does not possess any Citation simulators configured with this avionics suite. Further, the Director of Training stated that FSI did not provide the accident pilot with training specific to the operation and use of the two Garmin GTN 750. At the time of the accident, the pilot had accumulated a total of 97.8 hours of flight time in the accident airplane since the modification had been completed. Additionally, and in a telephone conversation with the NTSB IIC, the FAA Certificate Management Office, which is located in Wichita, Kansas, and who manages the FSI certificate, reported that while recommended to do so, FSI was not required to provide the pilot with specific training for the Garmin 750 and GTX 33 equipment.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane, serial number 525-0299, had a low-wing, T-tail configuration, with retractable tricycle landing gear. The cabin was pressurized, and the airplane was capable of operating at a maximum pressure altitude of 41,000 ft. The airplane was configured for up to 7 occupants, including the pilot(s). It was approved for single-pilot operations provided the pilot-in-command held a CE525 (single-pilot) type rating. The airplane was equipped with two Williams International FJ44-1A medium-bypass turbofan engines installed on the rear fuselage pylons, each of which produced 1,900 lbs. of thrust.

Maintenance

According to Cescom Maintenance Transaction Records provided by Textron Aviation, the airplane's most recent maintenance occurred on January 4, 2016, when the left and right horizontal stabilizer deice boots were replaced at Mesa Citation Service Center, Mesa, Arizona. At the time of the inspection, the airframe had accumulated 2,301.9 hours, the #1 (left engine) 2257.1 hours, and the #2 (right engine) 2205.4 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated about 3 hours since this inspection.

Avionics

During the investigation Sierra Industries provided the following information relative to the Garmin GTN 750 flight management system as installed in the accident airplane:

In October 2014, Sierra Industries installed a Dual Garmin GTN 750 system into a Cessna Citation Jet, Model 525, Serial Number 525-0299. The Garmin GTN 750 is a fully integrated Global Positioning System (GPS), Navigation (NAV), Communication (COMM), and Multi-Functional Display (MFD) system. The installation was approved under FAA Form 337, dated 10/10/2014.

The Garmin GTN 750 is a fully integrated GPS/NAV/COM/MFD system. Each unit is 6.25-inch-wide x 6-inch-high and provides an 800 x 600-pixel display on a 6.9-inch diagonal color liquid crystal display (LCD) screen with touchscreen controls. The unit simplifies pilot workload by providing a visual display of controls and functions. The GTN 750 system has its own Global Positioning System/Satellite-based augmentation system (GPS/ SBAS) and navigator and flight planning function. In addition, the GTN 750 provides VHF Com and VHF Nav radios. The GTN 750 is a certified component with an FAA TSO C146c, and is certified for primary domestic, oceanic, and remote navigation, including en route, terminal, and non-precision approaches, and approach in vertical guidance, such as localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV), lateral navigation (LNAV), and vertical navigation (VNAV).

The airplane was equipped with a Honeywell SPZ-5000 integrated flight guidance system (IFGS), which provided, in part, flight director guidance, an altitude alerting system, and autopilot. For engagement of the autopilot and yaw damper, the autopilot system requires a single directional gyro and two vertical gyro sources; the VG-14A vertical gyro is the primary source for the flight guidance system. This system comprised a display guidance computer (IC-500), air data system, attitude and heading reference (vertical and directional gyros), electronic attitude director indicator (EADI), electronic horizontal situation indicator (EHSI), autopilot controller, mode selector, and autopilot servos. The IC-500 display guidance computer (DGC) was the focal point for the flow of information within the IFGS. It received information from various sensors and control system inputs, and converted this information to pilot-selected formats for display on the pilot's EADI and EHSI.

The #1 VG-14A supplied data to the IC-500 for the pilot's side EADI and EHSI. The #2 VG-14A provided data to the IC-500 for comparison to the #1 VG-14A data and supplied data directly to the co-pilot's side attitude indicator. A cockpit panel-mounted switch allowed the pilot to switch between the #1 VG-14A and the #2 VG-14A to display information on the pilot's side EADI/EHSI.

The two AC inverters provided power to the two VG-14A gyros. The #1 inverter supplied power to the #1 VG-14A, and the #2 inverter supplied power to the #2 VG-14A. Should one of the inverters fail, both gyros can be powered by one inverter when the pilot switches to the inverter that remains powered. The airplane was also equipped with a standby jet gyro attitude indicator with a separate power supply, which supplied emergency power for 30 minutes.

A review of the airplane's maintenance records showed that during October 2014, several avionics components were removed. The replacement avionics consisted of several Garmin GA55 antennas, a Skylight Converter, dual Garmin GTN 750s, which incorporated a Global Positioning System, Navigation and Communication capabilities, a Multi-Functional Flight Display, a Garmin GDL69A XM Weather and Radio remote sensor, a Shadin ADC-200 Fuel Flow Indicator, and dual Garmin GTX33 transponders.

The airplane was also equipped with two AM-250 Barometric altimeters as part of the reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) modification. The pilot's AM-250 supplied ARINC 429 air data information to the Number 1 Garmin GTX33 transponder (XPDR 1) and to the IC-500 DGC; it also supplied ATC encoded altitude data to the IC-500 DGC. The co-pilot's AM-250 supplied air data information to the Number 2 Garmin GTX33 transponder (XPDR 2).

Additionally, the airplane was equipped with one encoding altimeter, P/N 44929-013, S/N 1783. This altimeter was found installed within the left or (pilot's side) instrument panel located below the vertical speed indicator. The altimeter indicated 5,280 feet, and a barometric setting of 30.09 inHg, which was observed at the accident site.

METEROROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0954, the weather reporting facility at the Provo Municipal Airport (PVU), Provo, Utah, which was located about 16nm southeast of the accident site, reported wind calm, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 3,000 ft above ground level (agl), broken clouds at 3,500 ft agl, overcast clouds at 4,000 ft agl, temperature 0°C, dew point -3°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

At 0955, the weather reporting facility at the South Valley Regional Airport (U42), Salt Lake City, Utah, which was located about 18nm north-northeast of the accident site, reported wind calm, visibility 10 miles, scattered clouds at 3,800 ft agl, broken clouds at 4,300 ft agl, overcast clouds at 4,900 ft agl, temperature 2°C, dew point -1°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.09 inches of mercury.

In a review of the weather conditions that the pilot may have encountered during the 10-minute flight, an NTSB Senior Meteorologist reported that the airplane would have ascended through an icing layer during the climb to FL210, with solid instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) likely from 9,000 ft msl through FL250. The flight would have then encountered layered clouds from FL250 through FL320; however, there were no pilot reports available to provide further information regarding the locations of cloud layers between these altitudes. The accident flight was also operating in a layer with super-cooled large drop (SLD) icing and ice crystals. Additionally, AIRMETs for icing conditions and mountain obscuration were valid for the area of the accident site at the time of the accident. No reports of lightning strikes were recorded near or around the accident site at the time of the accident.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Investigators from the NTSB and FAA, accompanied by representative from Textron Aviation, examined the wreckage site the day following the accident.

The wreckage was located in open, flat pasture ground, about 1 nautical mile (nm) southeast of Cedar Fort, Utah, and about 28 nm south-southwest of SLC. The onsite examination revealed that the airplane had experienced an in-flight breakup, with all structural components located at the accident site. Various airframe components were found scattered throughout a rectangular area measuring about 4,000 ft long and about 1,500 ft wide on an approximate 247° magnetic heading.

The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage with attached cockpit assembly and two seats, the cabin area with all five seats, the center wing section, and the aft fuselage extending aft to, but not including the empennage. The center wing section was located near the main wreckage and was separated outboard of the main landing gear on the right wing, and inboard of the landing gear on the left wing. The inboard section of the right wing displayed evidence of extensive thermal damage. The right flap remained attached to the wing, with extensive thermal damage to the bottom of the flap. Additionally, the inboard section of the right wing displayed evidence of extensive thermal damage. The left flap had separated from the wing, and was found upright in the ground next to the main wreckage. The right main landing gear and the nose landing gear were observed in the UP position. The left main landing gear was found separated from the landing gear housing, but remained near the main wreckage. The actuator was observed in the extended position, with damage to the actuator housing near the wing attachment point noted. The wreckage came to rest inverted, slightly on its left side, and oriented on a measured magnetic heading of 42°.

All airframe components, except for both engines, were located northeast of the main wreckage site. They consisted primarily of the outboard sections of both left and right wings, the outboard sections of the left horizontal stabilator, and the airplane's empennage.

The left outboard wing section was located about 3,000 ft northeast of the main wreckage, and was bent and twisted. The left aileron remained partially attached to the wing. About 4 ft of the outboard section of the wing was separated and not recovered. The upper interspar skin was separated from the main body of the wing. The spoiler/speed brake actuator measured 2.25 inches from the center of the bolt to the face of the actuator, with .1 inches of chrome showing. The fuel cap was secure.

The right outboard wing section was located about 4,700 ft northeast of the main wreckage and exhibited top wing skin separation, with the aileron separated mid-span at the outboard attach point. The spoiler/speed brake actuator measured 2.25 inches from the center of the bolt to the face of the actuator, with .5 inches of chrome showing. The fuel cap was secure.

The empennage was located about 1,700 ft east of the main wreckage and was intact, except for its left outboard horizontal stabilator and elevator sections. The separated outboard horizontal stabilator and elevator section was located about 4,100 ft northeast of the main wreckage, and exhibited deformation where it had separated from its mating surface. The leading edge of the vertical stabilizer exhibited a downward-oriented crease about mid-span. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer at all attach points. The rudder trim actuator measured 1 inch.

The right engine and carry-through beams were located about 300 ft north of the wreckage. Fragments of the airframe hardware were found attached to the engine. The outer cowling displayed evidence of impact damage. Fan blades did not display rotational scoring. An initial onsite inspection revealed no catastrophic anomalies with the engine.

The left engine was not located during the initial onsite examination. However, on April 9, 2016, the engine was located about 3,000 ft west-northwest of the main wreckage. The outer cowling displayed heavy impact damage. The engine was subsequently recovered to a secured storage facility in Phoenix, Arizona for further examination.

An examination of the flight control system revealed that the control cables either remained attached to their respective attach fittings or had separated in a manner consistent with tension overload. In addition, several control cables were cut by the recovery personnel.

On March 2 and 3, 2016, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC, and technical support provided by field representatives for Williams International, Honeywell, and Textron Aviation, a detailed examination of the engine and airframe was performed at the facilities of Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona. Additionally, on April 27, 2016, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC, and with the support of a Williams International field technician, the airplane's left engine was examined in detail. The results of the examinations revealed no mechanical anomalies with the airframe or either engine that would have precluded normal operation. (For additional information, refer to the NTSB Summary of Airplane Accident report, which is appended to the docket for this accident.)

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Medical Examiner, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, Utah, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The results of the examination revealed that the pilot was fatally injured due to total blunt force injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted forensic toxicology examinations of specimens from the pilot, and reported that no ethanol was detected in muscle or brain, with no testing performed for carbon monoxide and cyanide. Valsartan (Diovan) was detected in the liver and kidney. Valsartan is a prescription medication used alone or in combination with other medications to treat high blood pressure.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

During the investigation numerous avionics system components were tested with no evidence of
any malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. (Refer to the NTSB System's Group Chairman's Factual Report, which is appended to the docket for this accident, which provides detailed information relative to the operation of each individual component, and its accompanying examination.)

At the request of the NTSB IIC, and under the supervision of an NTSB air safety investigator, on January 17, 2017, the airplane's standby attitude indicator (PN: 5010-1197-09, SN: 6494, Model: AI-804AH) was examined at the facilities of Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona. The examination, which was performed by a Honeywell Aerospace engineer, revealed no evidence to indicate that the component was not operating normally prior to impact with terrain. (Refer to the Honeywell Standby Display – Disassembly and Examination Report, which is appended to the docket for this report, for a detailed explanation of the examination.)

Airplane Performance

After departing SLC about 09:50:30, the airplane flew a track of about 180° for the first seven minutes of flight. About 09:57, it began a tightening right turn that ended in a final radar return at 09:59:58.

The airplane climbed in three distinct segments. The first was after takeoff from 4,200 ft msl (SLC elevation) to 14,800 ft, after which it descended to 14,000 ft between 09:55:30 and 09:55:49. The airplane's equivalent airspeed during this climb was increasing, but less than 190 kts. During the descent, the airspeed increased to over 240 kts. During the second climb segment, which was from 14,000 ft to 18,000 ft, the airspeed continuously decreased to 170 kts. Following the second climb, which ended at 09:57:07, the airplane held its altitude for 14 seconds before descending briefly to 17,400 ft. During the descent, the airplane's speed increased to near 230 kts. The airplane completed its third climb to 21,000 ft, during which its airspeed dropped to about 140 kts. As the airplane leveled from 09:59:03 until 09:59:44, its airspeed increased to 200 kts. The airplane then entered a rapid descent, and the final radar return was at 16,000 ft.

During the second climb, the airplane initiated a right turn at a rate of less than 1° per second. During the third climb, the rate of turn began about 1.75° per second and increased throughout the turn, which necessitated an increased angle of bank. The smoothed bank angle increased rapidly to near 90° before the loss in altitude. The straight calculated bank angle, which anticipates the airplane flying through the next radar point, was 122° of right bank, consistent with a partially-inverted attitude. The next radar point, 4.5 seconds later, recorded an 800-ft loss of altitude.

According to the Aircraft Flight Manual (AFM), "full application of rudder and aileron controls, as well as maneuvers that involve angles-of-attack near the stall, should be confined to speeds below maximum maneuvering speed." For a pressure altitude of 21,000 ft, maneuvering speed (Va) for the airplane could be between 145 and 182 kts depending on whether the airplane was operating at a low gross weight or high gross weight, respectively. Weight and balance calculations indicated that the airplane was operating about 415 pounds below its maximum gross takeoff weight at the time of departure.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Pilot's Abbreviated Emergency/Abnormal Procedures Checklist for the Citation 525, EFIS FAILURE (FLT GUIDANCE COMPUTER FAILURE), states that if a red X appears on either the EADI and/or the EHSI, or both displays are blank, and after having checked and reset the Flight Guidance System circuit breaker and both screens still display a red X, or both are blank, to "Continue the flight by referring to the standby gyro and the pilot's air data and NAV instruments, and cross referencing the copilot's attitude and heading. The autopilot will be inoperative."

According to FAA Advisory Circular AC 60-4A, "Pilot's Spatial Disorientation," tests conducted with qualified instrument pilots indicated that it can take as long as 35 seconds to establish full control by instruments after a loss of visual reference of the earth's surface. AC 60-4A further states that surface references and the natural horizon may become obscured even though visibility may be above VFR minimums, and that an inability to perceive the natural horizon or surface references is common during flights over water, at night, in sparsely-populated areas, and in low-visibility conditions.

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute's "Intro to Aviation Physiology" defines spatial disorientation as a loss of proper bearings or a state of mental confusion as to position, location, or movement relative to the position of the earth. Factors contributing to spatial disorientation include changes in acceleration, flight in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), frequent transfer between visual meteorological conditions (VMC) and IMC, and unperceived changes in aircraft attitude. The publication states that pilots flying in IMC are more susceptible than usual to the stresses of flight, such as fatigue and anxiety, and any event that produces an emotional upset is likely to disrupt the pilot's mental processes, making them more vulnerable to illusions and false sensations.

According to the FAA's Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A), "Va" is referred to as the airplane's calibrated design maneuvering speed. This is the maximum speed at which the limit load can be imposed (either by gusts or full deflection of the control surfaces) without causing structural damage. Operating at or below maneuvering speed does not provide structural protection against multiple full control inputs in one axis or full control inputs in more than one axis at the same time.

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA054
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, January 18, 2016 in Cedar Fort, UT
Aircraft: CESSNA 525, registration: N711BX
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 18, 2016, about 1000 mountain standard time, a Cessna 525, N711BX, was destroyed following an airframe in-flight breakup while maneuvering at altitude near Cedar Fork, Utah. The airline transport rated pilot and his sole passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site at the time of the event. The personal cross-county flight was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed and active at the time of the accident. The airplane departed the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC), Salt Lake City, Utah, about 0950, with Tucson International Airport (TUS), Tucson, Arizona, reported as its destination. 

Initial air traffic control data indicated that shortly after takeoff and while proceeding southbound, the pilot reported that he had experienced a Flight Management System (FMS) failure, and that he needed to fly straight and climb while he tried to program the backup FMS. The controller then instructed the pilot to climb to flight level 310, or 31,000 feet mean sea level, as well as provided the pilot with vectors around light precipitation. Shortly thereafter, the pilot declared a MAYDAY, stated that he was having difficulty with the backup FMS, and that he was hand-flying the airplane. At this time the controller issued the pilot a no-gyro turn to the left to avoid precipitation, after which the airplane's airspeed was observed to fluctuate significantly. The airplane was then observed turning to the right before the radar target was lost. There were no further transmissions from the accident airplane. 

The airplane's wreckage was located in open, flat pasture ground, about 1 nautical mile (nm) southwest of Cedar Fort, Utah, and about 28 nm south-southwest of SLC. A survey of the accident site revealed that the linear debris path of wreckage extended for about 1 nm on a west to east orientation. All of the airplane's primary flight controls were accounted for at the accident site. At the time of recovery, the airplane's left engine had not been located, however, search efforts remain in progress. The wreckage was recovered to a secured storage facility in Phoenix, Arizona, for further examination. 

At 0953, the SLC weather reporting facility, which is located about 28 nm north-northeast of the accident site, reported wind calm, visibility 10 miles, light rain, broken clouds at 2,700 feet, overcast clouds at 4,500 feet, temperature 3 degrees C, dew point 1 degree C, and an altimeter setting of 30.07 inches of mercury.





Obituary 
Donald Baker

Donald Lee Baker, 59, died Jan. 18, 2016, in an airplane accident with his wife, Dawn Hunter-Baker, while returning from a conference in Deer Valley, Utah.

Mr. Baker moved to Tucson 30 years ago. He was raised in Venice Beach, Calif. He was the co-owner of Larsen Baker LLC, a real estate development firm he co-founded in Arizona in 1992 with partner George Larsen. Mr. Baker served as a longtime member of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona’s board and executive committee. He also championed the construction of the Tucson Hebrew Academy, sharing his passion for building and education. He recently earned his master’s degree in real estate development at the University of Arizona, exemplifying his love for learning and growing.

Mr. Baker was preceded in death by his father, Joey Baker. Survivors include his mother, Millie Baker; children, Lindsey and Josh; siblings, Jan and Norman; and ex-wife and friend, Shelley Pozez, along with other members of the Pozez and Lubin families.

A memorial service for Mr. Baker and Ms. Hunter-Baker will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 22 at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Memorial donations may be made to the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona or Tucson Hebrew Academy. Arrangements were made by Evergreen Mortuary.

Source:  http://azjewishpost.com

Dawn Elizabeth Hunter-Baker 
May 8, 1959 - January 18, 2016

Dawn Elizabeth Hunter-Baker of Newport Beach, California entered Don's life in 2008. Passed away January 18, 2016.

Dawn is part of a large and incredibly close family.

Dawn's passing leaves in tears her mother Nancy Drumheller; sisters, Janice MacAlpine (Mac) and Joyce Courville; brother, Darin Drumheller and only nephew, Brandon Bowers.

Dawn was a strong and independent businesswoman when they met and fell in love. They were married on November 11, 2011 on Catalina Island, and Dawn moved her business to Tucson to start their new life together. She became a supporting partner in all of their endeavors. They laughed often, loved deeply and truly enjoyed their life together, albeit too brief. In lieu of flowers, a donation could be made to the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.  

Service
JAN 22. 10:00 AM

Jewish Community Center
3800 E. River Road
Tucson, AZ, US, 85718

Source:  http://www.evergreenmortuary-cemetery.com

  Donald Lee Baker 
May 7, 1956 - January 18, 2016 

We mourn the passing of Donald Lee Baker on January 18, 2016, who was in an airplane accident with his wife Dawn Hunter-Baker while returning from a conference in Deer Valley, Utah.


Don and Dawn were a vibrant couple who cherished their life together and who died living the life they loved. 

Don Baker, 59, moved to Tucson 30 years ago.


Don was raised in the sunshine and ocean waves of Venice Beach, California. He is the loving father of Lindsey and Josh; the dutiful son of Millie and Joey (deceased) Baker; a rock to siblings, Jan and Norman; a caring ex-husband and friend of Shelley Pozez, and a committed member of the Pozez and Lubin families. 


Don is the co-owner of Larsen Baker LLC, and a successful developer in the Arizona firm that he co-founded in 1992 with partner George Larsen. He was loved by George and Margaret, and by the entire Larsen Baker staff and well respected by Tucson's real estate and business community. 


Don's impact on the Tucson community extended well beyond his business.


Don made a lasting mark on the community at large, generously sharing his time, talent and treasures with local, state and national organizations. Donald served as a longtime member of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona's Board and Executive Committee. 


Don also championed the construction of the Tucson Hebrew Academy, sharing his passion for building and education. 


Don recently earned his Maters in Real Estate Development at the University of Arizona, exemplifying his love for learning and growing.


Don cherished his extended family and friends whom are dispersed throughout the country and across the world and are profoundly saddened by the loss of Don and Dawn. Those of us who knew them and loved them know that their memory will live on in all of our hearts. 


A Memorial Service for Don and Dawn will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday, January 22, 2016 at the Jewish Community Center. In lieu of flowers, a donation could be made to the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona or Tucson Hebrew Academy (THA).


Service

JAN 22. 10:00 AM

Jewish Community Center 
3800 E. River Road
 Tucson, AZ, US, 85718 

Source:  http://www.evergreenmortuary-cemetery.com

Donald Baker and Dawn Hunter 


TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -   Authorities have confirmed the identities of two people who were killed in a plane crash in Utah on Monday, Jan. 18. 

Donald L. Baker, 59, and his wife, Dawn Elizabeth Hunter, 55, died when their plane, a 1999 Cessna Citation 525, crashed near Cedar Fort, according to a news release.

Baker was the owner and the pilot of the plane. 

Authorities said Baker had filed a flight plan leaving from Salt Lake City to Tucson.

It appears he encountered some kind of mechanical problems and may have been attempting to return to Salt Lake City.

Witnesses told the Utah County Sheriff’s Office they heard a loud boom and saw the airplane, on fire and coming apart, fall to the ground just before 10 a.m.

"I thought someone had actually hit the building," Cheleae Paiz, a manager of an area market, told Gephardt Daily. "I went outside and looked to see if someone had hit the building when the next thing I knew there were cops headed down the road."

According to his Facebook page, Baker is co-owner of Larsen Baker, LLC., a Tucson-based commercial real estate firm.

He married his wife a few years ago.  

Staff at Larsen Baker, LLC. released a statement Monday that stated they were "trying to digest this tragedy and ask for forbearance in this extremely trying time."

One real estate expert estimated Larsen Baker, LLC. owns more than 2.5 million square feet of retail space in southern Arizona.  

The properties they own include the Marana Marketplace, The Plaza at the Williams Center off Broadway, and the 22nd Street Auto Mall, among others.

Bruce Ash, a certified property manager at the Paul Ash Management company, had known Baker since he moved to Tucson more than 25 years ago. 

"I'm just absolutely devastated ... We traveled together. We would have dinner once a month. Don was not the sort of person to take chances. He was a very, very careful pilot; very fastidious at everything that he did, a very, very experienced flyer. I'm just devastated," Ash said.

Harry Mordka, the former owner of Harvey Mordka Realty, described Baker as a professional who was very good at what he did.  

Mordka said Baker had acquired his family-owned property, the Frontier Village shopping center at Pima and Alvernon, and done a great job in upgrading the store fronts and parking lot.

Baker was also a central figure in Tucson's Jewish community.  

Stu Mellan with the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona described him as a good philanthropist who contributed time, money and expertise into bringing many projects to life.

Baker was a big champion of the Tucson Hebrew Academy and on the board of directors of the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona.

"He was a very heavy hitter. Don was one of the biggest developers and operators certainly here in Arizona, very well respected by all of his peers and by all of his competitors. Everybody thought the world of Don Baker," Ash said.

Authorities said the couple was returning home from a conference in Park City, Utah.  

Sources close to the investigation said Baker made a mayday call for help when he encountered bad weather.


Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com


CEDAR FORT, Utah – A jet plane crash in Utah County has claimed the lives of a prominent Arizona businessman and his wife.

According to Utah County Sheriff Sgt. Spencer Cannon, Donald L. Baker, 59, and his wife, Dawn Elizabeth Hunter, 55, died when their 1999 Cessna Citation 525 crashed in a field near Cedar Fort.


Dispatchers received a call at about 10 a.m. from witnesses who reported seeing an airplane crashing in a ball of flames in a large field just west of Utah Lake, near Provo.


Cannon said they were able to locate two occupants, both of whom are deceased.


According to Flight Aware, a plane registered to Donald L. Baker of Tucson, Arizona, left the Salt Lake International Airport at 9:51 a.m Monday morning, and was headed to the Tucson International Airport. It was scheduled to arrive at 11:33 but the website does not show the plane arriving at its destination.


Sonu Wasu, a reporter with Tucson News Now, said she has spoken with a few of Baker’s colleagues, and they reported a mayday call from Baker was received indicating that he had hit “white-out” conditions, and was requesting permission to fly at higher altitudes when communication was lost.


According to his Facebook page, Baker is a co-owner of Larsen Baker, LLC., a Tucson-based commercial real estate firm. On their Linkedin page they describe the firm as the largest independent retail-commercial property owner in Tucson, managing more than 2 million square feet of commercial space in more than 148 locations throughout Tucson and Southern Arizona.


One real estate expert estimated Larsen Baker, LLC. owns more than 2.5 million square feet of retail space in southern Arizona.


A statement was given to Tucson News Now by Larsen Baker, LLC:


“Donald Baker’s plane was involved in an accident near Salt Lake City, UT. Larsen Baker has not received any official confirmation from authorities. We are trying to digest this tragedy, and we ask for forbearance in this extremely trying time. A statement will be made later this week once more information is known.”


Bruce Ash, a certified property manager at the Paul Ash Management company, told Tuscon News Now that he had known Baker since he moved to Tucson more than 25 years ago.


“I’m just absolutely devastated…we traveled together, we would have dinner once a month. Don was not the sort of person to take chances, he was a very, very careful pilot. Very fastidious at everything that he did, a very, very experienced flyer, I’m just devastated,” Ash said. “He was a very heavy hitter. Don was one of the biggest developers and operators certainly here in Arizona, very well respected by all of his peers and by all of his competitors. Everybody thought the world of Don Baker”


Baker was also a well known figure in a tight knit Jewish community.


In an interview with Tuscon News Now, Stu Mellan with the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona described him as a good philanthropist who contributed time, money and expertise into bringing many projects to life.


Officials said Baker and his wife were returning home from a conference in Park City.


Story, video and photo gallery: http://gephardtdaily.com




CEDAR FORT, Utah - Officials have identified two people killed in a small plane crash in Utah County Monday morning. 

Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon said a witness saw the twin-engine jet go down just before 10 a.m. and saw flames on the south side of SR-73 near Cedar Fort.


Occupants aboard the aircraft were married couple Donald L. Baker, 59, and Dawn Elizabeth Hunter, 55, from Tucson, Ariz.


The crash had broad debris field spreading over an area approximately two miles long and a quarter-mile wide, officials said.


The couple was returning home from a conference in Park City. Baker had filed a flight plan leaving from Salt Lake City to fly back to Tucson.


“It appears he encountered some kind of mechanical problems and may have been attempting to return to Salt Lake City,” officials say.


Story, video and photo gallery: http://fox13now.com




Two people were killed Monday in a plane crash near Cedar Fort in western Utah County.

According to Utah County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Spencer Cannon, a call came in at 10 a.m. of a two-engine passenger jet plane crash. Witnesses said they heard a loud boom, felt a vibration and then saw smoke and flames from a small field about a mile and a half east of State Route 73.

The two people killed in the crash have been identified as the pilot and owner of the plane, Donald L. Baker, 59, of Tucson, Arizona, and his wife Dawn Elizabeth Hunter, 55. According to the sheriff's office, the aircraft was a 1999 Cessna Citation 525.

No foul play is expected, and neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be a contributing factor in the crash, Cannon said.

Baker had filed a flight plan leaving from Salt Lake City bound for Tucson. According to an air traffic control broadcast, Baker lost instrument control mid-flight. However, he reported he could still fly the plane. Radar lost him a few minutes after his emergency mayday call.

"My altitude will not hold right now ... OK -- mayday -- I do need to get up higher, 711 bravo X-ray. I'm losing different instruments. I'd really like to get into clearer weather," Baker said in a radio transmission to an air traffic control tower operator.

The plane was listed as "lost" with the FAA; in flight, the plane stopped transmitting its location.

Cannon believes the plane was possibly flying north to south. The FAA visited the crash site Monday, and the National Transportation Safety Board will arrive on Tuesday. Cannon said the plane had a capacity of eight to 10 people.

Deputies and search-and-rescue crews are on scene. A search perimeter, including a debris field of at least one mile long and up to a half mile wide, has been established as officials try to determine why the plane crashed and attempt to locate the black box.

A witness on the ground, Jordan Jones from El Paso, Texas, said he heard an explosion overhead and the sound of a plane going down, though he never heard an impact. Jones was in the area while making a trailer purchase.

"I heard the explosion. I heard the plane come down," Jones said. "But I didn't hear anything of the plane hitting. ... I waited to hear the explosion, but I didn't hear anything where the plane hit."

Officials cannot confirm if the plane exploded in air or on impact.

Chelene Paiz, owner of the Junction Market, said she heard a loud sound between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. from within the store.

"All of a sudden, I thought someone had hit my building, but I look out and nobody hit my building," Paiz said. "But about 5-10 minutes later, sheriffs head down Station Road."

Weather in the Cedar Fort area was 32 degrees and overcast, with a mix of snow and rain throughout the morning. It is unknown if weather was a contributing factor in the crash.

Police and rescue teams could only access the plane by foot because of the deep snow.

Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.heraldextra.com

Donald Baker and Dawn Hunter 


CEDAR FORT, Utah County — Two people died in a plane crash Monday morning, according to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

Police identified the victims as Donald Baker, 59, and Dawn Hunter, 55, of Tucson, Arizona. The husband and wife were returning home after a conference in Park City when the plane caught fire, according to Cannon.

Baker, the pilot, made a distress call before the plane crashed, Cannon said.

"We had witnesses who saw a plane go down," he said. "They reported they saw flames and heard a large noise or some kind of crash or explosion" around 10 a.m.

A twin-engine jet capable of carrying as many as 10 people went down about a mile east of state Route 73 in Cedar Fort, about three-quarters of a mile away from the nearest home, he said.

Authorities didn't know Monday whether there were additional fatalities aboard the aircraft or on the ground, according to Cannon.

"That debris field covers maybe as much as a mile, so we're going to be spending a lot of time looking there. We know there were at least two occupants, and both of those have died in the crash," he said.

It was not known Wednesday where the flight originated from, Cannon said, but he was certain it wasn't from the Cedar Valley Airport.

Search and rescue crews were expected to aid in the search.

"It's difficult. It's rural, open country there. There's deep snow," Cannon said, expressing concern that the debris from the crash could be buried by snow.

Story, video and photo gallery:  https://www.ksl.com


Tucson businessman Donald L. Baker
(Source: www.larsenbaker.com)


CEDAR FORT, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) Search and rescue crews are sorting through debris and wreckage, Monday evening, after a small twin engine aircraft crashed into a field, killing two people. 

The jet crashed about a mile south of SR-73 around 10:00 A.M.  

Authorities say the aircraft likely malfunctioned somehow, while still in the air.  Witnesses reported seeing flames on the aircraft and debris falling from the sky for nearly a mile before the jet crashed into the field. 

"I heard the explosion first, and then I heard the plane coming down," one witness said.  

"I thought somebody hit the building.  That's what it felt like.  It felt like somebody hit the building, and I went and I looked, and there was nobody out there.  But then, within five minutes the Sheriff's officers were down the street," said Chelene Paiz, who manages The Junction, a nearby gas station. 

The Utah County Sheriff's Office initially responded to the incident and stayed on scene assisting FAA officials, Monday evening.  Authorities say NTSB is expected to show up to investigate the crash further on Tuesday.  

Victims in Cedar Fort plane crash were identified as Donald L. Baker, 59, & Dawn Elizabeth Hunter, 55, of Tucson, Ariz.

The aircraft was a 1999 Cessna Citation 525. Baker had filed a flight plan leaving from Salt Lake City flying to Tucson, Ariz. 

Officials say it appears he encountered some kind of mechanical problems and may have been attempting to return to Salt Lake City.

Story, video and photo gallery: http://www.good4utah.com




(KUTV) Two people have died after a small plane crash in Cedar Fort Monday morning.

According to Utah County Sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon, a small twin-engine jet crashed into a field near Cedar Fort around 10 a.m. Those killed were Donald L. Baker, 59, and his wife, Dawn Elizabeth Hunter, 55, both of Tucson, Arizona.

Cannon said Baker had filed a flight plan from Salt Lake City to Tucson, but it appears the 1999 Cessna Citation 525 aircraft had some type of mechanical problem. The plane may have been on its way back to Salt Lake when the crash occurred, Cannon said.

Investigators are still trying to determine exactly how the crash happened.

Witnesses reported hearing a loud boom and seeing an airplane on fire and coming apart, falling to the ground.

Officials said the debris field was spread over an area about two miles long and a quarter mile wide. Investigators were conducting a search of the area to locate any items from the plane or other evidence that might be related to the crash. Heavy snow and fog made the search difficult.


Story, video and photo gallery: http://kutv.com




An Arizona couple died after a private jet flying from Salt Lake City to Tucson crashed in a snowy field in Utah on Monday morning, officials said.

Deputies from the Utah County Sheriff's Office responded to the crash after residents in Cedar Fort, a small town about 40 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, witnessed the crash of the small twin-engine aircraft at around 10 a.m.

"Witnesses reported hearing a loud boom and seeing an airplane, on fire and coming apart, falling to the ground," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Deputies discovered two bodies in the plane. The victims were later identified as Donald L. Baker, 59, and his wife, Dawn Elizabeth Hunter, 55, both of Tucson.

Baker is the co-owner and principal of Larsen Baker LLC, a prominent Tucson-based company that develops and manages commercial real estate and retail properties. According to the company's website, Baker was responsible for construction, development, acquisition and management of the firm's properties.

The plane, a Cessna 525 CitationJet CJ1, was registered to Baker.

The plane left Salt Lake City International Airport about 10 minutes before the crash and was scheduled to land in Tucson at 11:30 a.m., according to the FlightAware website, which tracks aircraft and flight paths.

Sgt. Spencer Cannon, a spokesman for the sheriff's office, said it appeared Baker experienced mechanical problems and may have been trying to fly back to Salt Lake City.

Search and rescue volunteers helped investigators comb through the broad debris field, looking for clues about the cause of the crash, the Utah authorities said.

Story and photo: http://www.azcentral.com


    

























22 comments:

Anonymous said...

If they did an apu start they would have had both alternator switches off. Not so hard to forget to turn them on. Battery would have lasted about as long as they flew before they "Started losing instruments". Should have had the standby gyro if the battery pack on that was good but maybe didn't or couldn't use it. No electric no autopilot, looking for clear air.

Anonymous said...

i'm assuming you are referring to a GPU, not an APU (ground power unit...an APU is installed in the aircraft). In the CJ1 you have a great big annunciator panel in front of the pilot that says "L GEN OFF" and "R GEN OFF" in amber letters, indicating specifically which generator is off and is ABNORMAL after start/before taxi. you also have an ammeter/voltmeter check that is on the after start checklist. the CJ series was designed with a "dark cockpit" in mind...meaning that if a "light was on" on the annunciator panel (with one or two exceptions) then something was wrong and should be quite obvious to the pilot. your theory is plausible, but i'd like to think someone with his level of experience wouldnt do something that foolish. he sounded pretty collected on the radio transmission when hand flying...seriously doubt your shot in the dark is correct. as for your "not so hard to forget to turn them on"...well...lets just say i strongly disagree and leave it at that.

written by a 7000 hour ATP rated pilot with over 1500 hours in the CJ series (CJ1,2,2+,3, and 4) and several thousand hours in other large cabin business jets.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the Gen off lights are on in the annunciatior panel when the switches are off? I think the switches have to be on and both power relays open to get the lights.

Anonymous said...

Sounds more likely that the aircraft was icing up, the instruments that the pilot reported losing were probably the result of ice forming over the pitot/static ports and AOA vane. This could be the result of failure to turn the anti-ice system on or the systems inability to cope with the amount of freezing precipitation that they encountered.

tanmanski said...

Are you sure the Gen off lights are on in the annunciatior panel when the switches are off?

I think that's a valid question that will have to be answered by someone with expert knowledge of that airplane. In some aircraft its possible the logic would be "switches are off, therefore the system is doing what the pilot commanded and no caution light would be illuminated"....BUT, I seriously doubt Cessna would adopt that logic. In most cases (the planes I am familiar with) if the generator is not supplying power the caution light will be illuminated REGARDLESS of switch selection. There is no "normal" flight regime where generators would be off.

I agree with the experienced pilot poster above. I seriously doubt an experience jet pilot who knew he was flying into IFR, would have skipped over his checklist or somehow missed turning on both generators, then failed to recognize he had done so when electrical problems began to present.

What I think is more interesting is the possibility the aircraft caught fire in the air. That would be highly unusual and cause for intense investigation. Having an electrical failure in bad weather and loosing control is not uncommon, but in flight fires are very rare.(thankfully)

It's also interesting to note the fuselage forward section is largely intact, indicating fairly low forward and vertical velocities on impact. All relative of course, but I believe if that plane was pointed nose down at 300 knots the impact damage would have been much more significant.

I'll be following this investigation to see what the evidence proves, but as of now there seems to be 2 possibilities. 1. The aircraft experienced an electrical failure in bad weather and the pilot lost control before he could return to an airport, or 2. The aircraft experienced an electrical problem which led to a fire and an explosion or loss of control.

Condolences to all who knew the Bakers. I didn't know them personally but obviously a loss to the community.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll probably get flamed for saying this, and I have no intention of defaming the deceased. Most anyone that achieves a single Pilot rating in a jet is a real aviation enthusiast and worthy of respect. However, IMO, unless an "Owner Pilot" is retired military or former professional Pilot, they have no business flying single pilot in a turbojet (or any aircraft) in poor weather. They may be "very experienced" to some and have received excellent training from a FAA approved school, but at the end of the day they are still hobby Pilots that usually have more money than the kind of experience that allows a professional a chance to recover from a bad situation. As a retired airline Pilot and current 525 Citation Pilot I can speak from firsthand experience that many (most?) owner Pilots do not have the ability to handle a true emergency outside of the repetitious and non-lethal simulator environment in which they received their training. Oh, and to answer an earlier question, a off or failed generator will illuminate an amber caution light on the annunciator panel. I don't care to speculate on what happened here, it is a tragedy that is best left to the NTSB. Perhaps it was an unrecoverable situation, although that is unlikely.

Anonymous said...

As a retired airline and CJ series pilot I strongly agree with the above post. In my opinion, an owner rated pilot is exercising poor judgement flying single pilot in a jet, especially in poor weather. In a jet, a multitude of things can go wrong very fast. If two rated pilots were up front, the outcome might have turned out different. Condolences to the family and friends of the couple who lost their lives.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the two comments immediately above this. I am a private pilot who files an MU2 and one has to set personal minimums as a "hobby pilot". In my case my personal minimums are are basically VFR minimums at origination and destination. If around higher terrain then 2000 feet ceiling is a personal minimum I set. Getting into the soup seconds after takeoff is best left to the pros who get paid to do it. If you are going to launch into weather as this gentleman did at the very least brief the approach you would like to use should an emergency arise shortly after departure. The fact that even though an emergency was encountered right after departure the thought of returning to SLC was not considered. If icing was an issue then heading downhill towards a landing when he was told that an aircraft at FL 190 was still in the soup would have been the more prudent decision. I realize this may seem like arm chair quarterbacking but I would never have departed with snow falling and low ceilings. If I had to get back take a commercial flight and pick the airplane up in a day or two.

Anonymous said...

Another ATP and 525/S guy checking in. The above consensus about the GEN switches is correct: Either GEN off bus, whether by failure or switch, will show on the annunciator panel. It's also pretty difficult to miss the pitot/static/AOA anti-ice before takeoff, as that will give you a whole slew of lights too. Not impossible, but unlikely.

I think we all know how it feels to get too overloaded too quickly, and it sounds like that's what happened here for whatever reason. The best we can hope is to eventually learn something valuable from this incident. That's what I'd want if it were me.

RIP

DarkMath said...

I've read about so many of these small jet crashes, the more I read the more I wonder if the FAA needs to mandate a fully automated flight control system. Make it like driving a car and leave the rest up to computers. Then mandate a full parachute system so if all else fails you can float the plane to the ground. I know it sounds draconian but it's just tough reading about such fine people dying such horrible deaths....Sigh....

Anonymous said...

Don Baker and I were close personal friends and we shared a hangar together in Tucson. I want to address the "Hobby Pilot" comments made in this thread. First, Don trained every six months at Flight Safety. He had a very safety oriented attitude. In his past, he successfully landed a P210 without a scratch after it threw a rod over central AZ. Another time, many years ago with his father-in-law at the controls, they lost an engine while IMC in a Cessna piston twin (I can't recall but it may have been a C340.) The aircraft suffered an upset and Don was able to successfully assist with the recovery and safe landing without a wrinkle on the skin. I flew with him many times and Don took a very professional attitude toward all of his operations. He demonstrated good checklist discipline, excellent situational awareness, good airmanship and he maintained his airplane with an open checkbook. Don did his original type rating at Flight Safety where they put him through a very rigorous training program. At the time, his insurance required that he fly 100 hours with a mentor pilot. He eventually accomplished an ATP rating and he had been flying the CJ without incident for nearly 15 years. We'll have to wait to see what the NTSB has to say about it, but Don knew quite well how to hand fly on instruments. In my view, the real trap happens when doubt creeps in about what is working and what isn't. Creeping confusion becomes almost insurmountable during any kind of cascading failure. That kind of confusion isn't restricted to single pilots--just look at the Air France 447 where three pilots were involved.

Anyone with a notion that single pilot jet operators are "hobby pilots" is simply unaware of the safety record for single pilot jets or what it takes to get there. The fact is that the safety record has been excellent for single pilot jet owners. Furthermore, the notion that single pilot turbine operators should stay out of bad weather completely ignores the reality of IFR operations in aircraft that regularly operate in the flight levels.

JH, Tucson/Bend

Anonymous said...

Thanks JH for your input. Well taken. We are all aware that in aviation you cannot refute the fact that sometimes you do not get a second chance. Additionally, IMC in the flight levels is very different than IMC during approach operations. It can get extremely busy on an arrival. Hence, two qualified pilots up front are a lot safer than one. Especially when there are distractions, abnormal or emergency situations in turbine equipment. In a crew environment, both pilots have their specific responsibilities and can handle the situation much better. Especially closer to the ground. An example would be that one pilot is operating the aircraft (flying) while the other is running the QRC, troubleshooting and operating the radio. Fly safe my friend. And thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thurmond Munson certainly launched a long standing attitude about rich guy, hobby pilots flying jets. Even now, it's a common misperception that SP operations are less safe than crewed operations but the accident record doesn't support that conclusion. Here is an article that looks at the issue (and there are many more out there:)

http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/business-aviation/2015-06-05/accident-analysis-single-pilot-versus-two-pilot-there-safety-advantage

The SP accident record is skewed a bit by the accident record in the older 500/501 series Citations and the Premier 1 but it is what it is. Regardless, the record shows fewer accidents in SP operations; though the fatality rate is higher. There is no doubt that having two pilots available to manage a flight is a good thing; however, this (and other) data clearly shows that SP and crew operators in turbofan aircraft achieve a similar level of operational safety.

JH, Tucson/Bend
~5000hr ATP, C500, C510, CFI, CFII

Anonymous said...

NTSB Identification: WPR16FA054 so far considers this to be "an airframe in-flight breakup while maneuvering at altitude"; "at the time of recovery, the airplane's left engine had not been located..."
I know he was not flying the line and had a day job, but "hobby pilot" when the NTSB states "The airline transport rated pilot..."?

Thanks all for the solid comments and the stuff I learned.

Anonymous said...

The real issue here is about risk management. There are a lot of variables to consider. The debate about SP and crew operations will go on for as long as the insurance companies will allow SP operations. The other topic to explore might be complacency. Generally, aviation on all levels is safe. But unfortunately, incidents and accidents do, and will happen.

So sorry JH that you lost your close friend.

Anonymous said...

Subsequent to reading NTSB Identification: WPR16FA054, I am of the opinion that the post that begins "Thanks JH for your input" is spot on. It appears that there was a major distraction that lent to the pilot having major challenges flying the aircraft.

It is much to early to tell. We will all have to see what is said in the final report.

Steven Russell said...

I have also flown with Mr. Baker several times as has JH. Personally, I sat 4 hours with him as we waited a rain storm out over northern Arizona as it just was not worth the risk. I know that none of you knew him like I. He was my mentor for 10 years, and lifetime friend. I had just left his employment the month before, but we talked often and I still sought his advice. He was experienced, methodical and completely professional both in business and always with his flying.

We will never know why he took off that day. I have asked myself 1000 times why he felt the need to fly into any weather. He and his wife are missed deeply by the community that is Tucson!

Anonymous said...

This plane came apart keep in mind. The fact that if that engine starting pulling away from the main fuselage, all kinds of bells and whistles are going to be happening considering how much electrically is powered from the turbines. As to whether the break up started occurring before or after the initial issues is anyone's guess. If you look close to those photos you can see also how one of the wings was torn off, not ripped. That plane was coming apart as it was coming down but not from over speed, or there wouldn't get anything left of that aircraft. Possible the plane was overflown & came apart? Maybe. Possibly a quick hit of extreme turbulence climbing out causing damage,very possible, if you look at the weather and METARs at the time off accident. This man knew how to fly & was not flying out of his bounds. I see airlines pull crap in weather with inferior and low time pilots everyday, that's scary. This guy was more than qualified & not just a push button pilot. He was one of us you know & took it very serious. We all need to wait for the report, it could've been one thing or a number of things, we weren't in that cockpit. My heart goes out to the friends & familes, it's a terrible tragedy. Flying will never be routine & I hope many lives are saved & lessons learned. May the families get answers and closure.

Steven Russell said...

When and where can we find the final NTSB/FAA accident report?

Anonymous said...

Steven the final report will not be out for a while. A year to 18 months is the norm. You can find the report when it is out at NTSB.GOV The preliminary report is out now. The cockpit area looks pretty intact and I am hopeful the NTSB can come up with a definitive probable cause for this accident.

Anonymous said...

At this time the controller issued the pilot a no-gyro turn to the left to avoid precipitation, after which the airplane's airspeed was observed to fluctuate significantly.

'airspeed' should be 'groundspeed'.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the "hobby" pilot comments. As much as people can say the people involved here were proficient, passionate and had recurrent training, it is clear there is a major difference in kind between those flying private for a common purpose with their business and those flying as occupational pilots to earn a living.

AF 447 aside (and there was mostly blame on the system, not the pilots) and other exceptions to confirm the rule, 99% of occupational pilots are trained professionals who respect the plane as a beautiful vehicle that will kill them any chance it gets, yet still need to earn a living from it.

The attitude, the focus and the level of dedication is probably an order of magnitude more. As I know there is also a difference between training and real life, and only occupational pilots are exposed to pretty much everything real life throws at them, including the unexpected that will kill them but rarely.