Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Loss of Control on Ground: Aero Commander 690, N9175N; accident occurred November 30, 2016 at Scottsdale Airport (KSDL), Maricopa County, Arizona

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Scottsdale, AZ
Accident Number: WPR17LA030
Date & Time: 11/30/2016, 1730 MST
Registration: N9175N
Aircraft: AERO COMMANDER 690
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Positioning 

On November 30, 2016, about 1730 mountain standard time, an Aero Commander 690, N9175N, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at the Scottsdale Airport (SDL), Scottsdale, Arizona. The commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 maintenance relocation flight.

The pilot reported that after a normal landing on runway 21 he began easing the power levers into reverse and applying light braking action to slow the speed. While reaching for the condition levers to bring the propellers back to low RPM, the airplane "darted to the right." The pilot applied left braking and adjusted the engines to low RPM settings to compensate for the veer. Despite his actions, the airplane continued to veer towards the right side of the runway and was approaching the A11 exit sign. The pilot reported that he could have either gotten more aggressive with the corrective actions, and hope to avoid striking the sign, or allow the airplane to exit the runway on what he thought was a hard smooth surface. The pilot chose to exit the runway surface which was the runway safety area (RSA). Once the airplane entered the RSA, the landing gear sunk deep into the rocks which quickly slowed the airplane to a stop.

Security cameras captured the airplane during landing. The airplane touched down near the 1,000 ft runway distance markers and about 1,300 ft further, exited near taxiway A11. The airplane traveled about 50 ft into the RSA, creating deep troughs through the rock layer, and came to a stop about 2,500 ft from the approach end of runway 1.

A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed impact damage to the left side of the fuselage. The impact damage consisted of multiple holes and dents in the fuselage cabin passenger area and window areas. A rock about 2 inches in length was found imbedded in the fuselage and could not be removed during the examination. Several rocks penetrated the passenger area, one impacting the right side window from the inside. The propeller blades had gouging on the leading edges from the midsections to the tips. The right landing gear brake rotor showed light gouging on the braking surface.

The flight control system was examined, and all flight controls moved freely with unobstructed movement. The steering system was operated with the activation of the hydraulic system and the nose landing gear tire was positioned over a grease plate. Actuation of the brakes produced normal steering operation. No evidence of any mechanical malfunctions or failures were revealed that would have precluded normal operation.

The RSA rock layer consisted of about 3-inch sized smoothed river rock. The depth of the rock layer varied from 4-inches to 12-inches deep through the area of the accident site.
Accident Site and Runway Tire Marks

According to the FAA, RSAs are not designed with a particular aircraft in mind. RSA's are designed to provide all aircraft types with the space and time needed to safely come to a stop while avoiding fixed obstacles on the airport that may damage the aircraft and potentially injure or kill the occupants. RSAs are designed to support the aircraft without sinking into the soil and causing an abrupt halt. RSAs can be made of many materials, including rocks. These rocks should be no larger than four inches in size. RSAs, like any other landing/runway ground surface, are not designed for contact by any part of the aircraft other than the landing gear. The design of an RSA does not take into consideration contact by propellers, engines, wings, etc. RSAs around the country have proven to be effective at mitigating damage, injury, and death when runway excursions and overruns occur.

According to the Department of Transportation Advisory Circular (AC 150/5300-13A)- An RSA is defined as a surface surrounding the runway prepared or suitable for reducing the risk of damage to aircraft in the event of an undershoot, overshoot, or excursion from the runway. Also, FAA Order 5200.8, defines that RSA is intended to provide a measure of safety in the event of an aircraft's excursion from the runway by significantly reducing the extent of personal injury and aircraft damage during overruns, undershoots and veer-offs. SDL RSA design and specification drawings show a crushed aggregate depth of 4 inches. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 63, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/11/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  4654 hours (Total, all aircraft), 322 hours (Total, this make and model), 4654 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 21 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N9175N
Model/Series: 690 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1973
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 11071
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 7
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  AAIP
Certified Max Gross Wt.:10251 lbs 
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Honeywell
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TPE 331-5
Registered Owner: AIR WEST INC
Rated Power: 715 hp
Operator: AIR WEST INC
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSDL, 1473 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 43°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / -8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: SAFFORD, AZ (SAD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: Company VFR
Destination: SCOTTSDALE, AZ (SDL)
Type of Clearance: VFR; VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1700 MST
Type of Airspace: Class D

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1510 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 21
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 8249 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 33.613611, -111.921389 (est)

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA030
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 30, 2016 in Scottsdale, AZ
Aircraft: AERO COMMANDER 690, registration: N9175N
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On November 30, 2016, about 1730 mountain standard time, an Aero Commander 690, N9175N, was substantially damaged during a runway excursion after landing at the Scottsdale Airport (SDL), Scottsdale, Arizona. The airplane was registered to and operated by Air West Inc., and was on a maintenance relocation flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot was the sole occupant, and was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight originated from Safford Regional Airport, Safford, Arizona, about 1700.

According to the pilot, the landing on runway 21 was normal and he intended to exit to a taxiway left of the runway; however, shortly after applying reverse thrust, the airplane veered to the right. The pilot applied corrective actions (rudder and brake) to compensate for the veer, but subsequently made a decision to enter the runway safety area (RSA) near taxiway A11, to avoid hitting a runway sign. He also stated that as the airplane entered the RSA, the landing gear sunk deep into the sand and rock. As the airplane came to a stop, about 30 feet into RSA, both propeller blades contacted sand and rocks. The left propeller blades impacted fist sized river rocks sending shards into the left side of the fuselage. The RSA material in this area consisted of about 6 inches of sand and rock covering a layer of fist sized river rock.

The airplane was removed from the RSA, and towed to a non-movement area on the airport.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, the left side of the fuselage had impact damage. Several rocks had entered the fuselage through the skin and side windows from the pilot seat rearward to below the wing. Several structural members were compromised from the damage.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Scottsdale Airport is currently closed after a twin-engine plane veered off the runway Wednesday evening.

Sarah Ferrara, spokesperson for the airport, said the plane left the runway and went about 30 feet into some rocks.

One person was aboard the plane and "appears to be fine," she said in an email to ABC15. The airport's runway was not damaged, she said.

Crews were working to remove the aircraft so the airport could reopen.

Air15 video showed the plane just off the runway with emergency crews nearby.

The airport is located near Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd.

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