Friday, April 24, 2020

Pilatus PC-12/47, N477SS: Accident occurred April 23, 2020 near Mesquite Metro Airport (KHQZ), Texas

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dallas, Texas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Mesquite, TX
Accident Number:CEN20LA159 
Date & Time: 04/23/2020, 1600 CDT
Registration: N477SS
Aircraft:Pilatus PC-12/47 
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business

On April 23, 2020, about 1600 central daylight time, a Pilatus PC-12 airplane, N477SS, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Mesquite, Texas. The pilot received serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations 91 cross-country flight.

Preliminary reports indicate the pilot reported to air traffic control that he was losing engine power. The pilot then said he was going to divert to Rockwall (airport) and accepted vectors to the airport. The pilot then reported the loss of engine power had stabilized, so he wanted to return to DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth International airport). A few moments later the pilot reported that he was losing engine power and he needed to go back to Rockwall. The controller reported that the Mesquite airport (HQZ) was at the pilot's 11 o'clock position and about 3 miles and gave a heading.

The pilot reported that he was going to perform a 360° turn to set-up for a left base for the Mesquite Airport.

The airplane impacted terrain in a muddy field, short of the airport. The airplane's wings separated in the accident and a post-crash fire developed near the wings.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Pilatus
Registration: N477SS
Model/Series: PC12 47
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:No
Operator: Boutique Air
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Commuter Air Carrier (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KHQZ
Observation Time: 1554 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 11°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / 12 knots, 20°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.76 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Dallas, TX (DFW)
Destination: Muscle Shoals, AL (MSL)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None
Total Injuries:1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:

As he watched a small plane go down in Mesquite, Steven Glasscock wished he was in the cockpit.

“I wanted to be in there with him. I wanted to help him. I wanted to be in that cockpit. I was really familiar with that airport and the environment. I’m a flight instructor and I’ve taught a lot of students out there,” said Glasscock.

Glasscock had just landed from a flight with a friend when they overheard there was an emergency aircraft inbound.

He said as a stranger jumped in their car to head towards the field where the plane would touch down, he hopped in the passenger seat.

A mile later when they’d driven as close as they could get, he hopped a barbed wire fence and began to run.

“The field that I was running through was extremely muddy, and it was hard to run through. It was almost like a nightmare when you can’t run is what it felt like. My boots were just bogging down in the mud, and that’s when I heard someone scream,” said Glasscock.

On a plane built to hold nine, there was fortunately only one. And in that moment, Glasscock knew the pilot was alive and in need of help.

“He was injured really badly, so every time I attempted to pick him up he screamed. I said, ‘I know it hurts man, but I’ve got to get you out of here.’ And he said, ‘I know’,” said Glasscock.

He managed to pull the man a short distance from the plane before heading back in to cut power and use a fire extinguisher, hoping the flames from the wings that had ripped off nearby wouldn’t spread to them.

It was something he easily knew to do as he found himself dealing with the exact plane he once flew.

“It’s kind of surreal. It really is that I just happened to be there,” said Glasscock.

Shortly after, police and then fire and rescue crews arrived. They helped the pilot onto a CareFlite and made sure the fire was contained.

Today, Glasscock’s just grateful the pilot got away with his life from a crash those who watched were sure he wouldn’t survive.

The pilot of a single-engine plane was forced to make an emergency landing Thursday afternoon after losing power in an engine, the FAA says.

The Pilatus PC-12/47 came down at about 3:35 p.m. in a field near northwest of Lawson and Scyene roads, just north of the Mesquite Metro Airport.

The pilot departed Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport about 15 minutes before the crash, according to Lynn Lunsford with the Federal Aviation Administration, and told air traffic controllers the engine lost power moments before hitting the ground.

The condition of those onboard has not been confirmed, but NBC 5 has learned CareFlite transported one person to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas.

A gouge was visible in the field where the plane apparently first touched down before turning and coming to a stop. Most of the fuselage remained intact, though the starboard wing was separated from the plane and was seen burning in the field.

According to data on FlightRadar 24, the aircraft departed DFW Airport to the north and flew toward The Colony before heading southeast toward Plano north of Garland. From there it went south, circled and came down south of U.S. Highway 80 east of Mesquite.

Mesquite Metro Airport, which was closed to traffic following the crash, reopened at 4:39 p.m.


  1. ATC communication:

  2. Some video of the final approach as seen from the airfield they almost reached:

  3. Flightradar track plot:

  4. Hope the pilot recovers from the injuries. Unfortunate that he did not take the first available airfield as he had started to do before deciding to try to get back to his originating airfield.

    This accident proves again that a decision to operate thru the failure to reach the home field mechanic doesn't always work out.

    1. You would be correct ... Let this be a lesson to all.

      BTW,sometime ago I mentioned this exact possibility regarding the Surf Air fleet operating out of KSQL. I believe the reply was that this could never happen. For that reason I felt very sorry for the person making the comment hoping they were not a pilot.

      ADM is very challenging for most; but one should not scrutinize if they were not there.

    2. Even though he momentarily tried to go back to DFW, he still had plenty of altitude to make Mesquite once the engine totally kicked the bucket, as he had to do a 360 to lose alt. Poor altitude management in the glide if anything.

    3. It's good that he didn't continue to Rockwall - 3300'x45'with a hump in the middle and powerlines at the approach end of 17 and other issues. OK for regular traffic but not a Pilatus with engine issues.

  5. It's a shame that a medically untrained person was the first to render aid. Insisting upon moving a severely injured person without proper neck and spine restraint was foolish and unnecessary. Working to keep fire away from the cabin while EMT's arrive to the scene would have been much wiser.

    1. Fuel spill between the wings and the fuselage could have ignited very quickly. I'd rather be paralyzed than burn. He's probably glad you weren't trying to save him - I know I would be.

    2. You are an idiot! As a career Fire Captain for over 30+ years let me assure you that although C Spine Precautions are always a consideration...saving a life is the priority! Your comment is spoken like the typical medic that has very little experience and tunnel visions into only patient care instead of entire situational watch too many moviesmovies.... :-)

    3. Hey, I was going to call the guy an idiot, not fair! I suppose the first responder should have put on his safety glasses and other PPE before rendering aid. Hope you're not the person who responds to any emergency, anywhere. Dweeb

    4. "It's a shame that a medically untrained person was the first to render aid. Insisting upon moving a severely injured person without proper neck and spine restraint was foolish and unnecessary."

      I'll be sure to take note of that if you are ever upside down in a gas leaking on fire vehicle crash and can't egress on your own. Should I call 911 and be put on hold for "official" instructions first while they call an on-call medic?

  6. Too many questions to ask. If this was a ferry flight, was the preflight done, shortened, bypassed? Fuel amount? Pilot on meds (legal or illegal) that would affect his adm? Did he practice engine out procedures in a sim?

  7. The guy who ran across the muddy field to pull the pilot from the burning aircraft is a hero of the highest order. Injuries be damned, he did not want to watch a helpless man burn to death!

  8. PT6 failure in flight is not a common enough occurrence to reveal the glider flight capabilities of more than just a few single-PT6 pilots.

    Power loss determination should be fairly straightforward given the post accident condition of this airframe.

  9. Was it a flame out or a power roll back is the question on everybody's mind. I can see you reaching for the ignition and emergency power lever in your mind, after you establish best glide.