Sunday, June 21, 2020

Electrical System Malfunction/Failure: Beechcraft C90A King Air, N1551C; accident occurred February 14, 2017 in Rattan, Pushmataha County, Oklahoma

Accident Site Diagram by Pilot:

Statement of Fact by Pilot:
Statement of Fact by Pilot:

Statement of Fact by Pilot:

Statement of Fact by Pilot:

Medical Crew Statement:

Medical Crew Statement:

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
EagleMed LLC; Birmingham, Alabama
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Rattan, OK
Accident Number: CEN17LA121
Date & Time: 02/14/2017, 1145 CST
Registration: N1551C
Aircraft: BEECH C90A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Electrical system malf/failure
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Unspecified)

On February 14, 2017, about 1145 central standard time, a Beech C90A twin-engine airplane, N1551C, was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing following a loss of power on one engine near Rattan, Oklahoma. The pilot and two medical crew members on board were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by EagleMed LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 air medical flight.

The pilot stated that the engine start and airplane power-up were normal. The engine ice vanes were lowered, and the de-icing system was activated as required for ground operations. The ice vanes were subsequently raised before takeoff. Takeoff and climb out were routine, and he subsequently leveled off the airplane at 7,000 ft. mean sea level (msl). The air traffic controller informed him of "heavy rain showers" near the destination airport and he "put the ice vanes down." Shortly afterward, the airplane experienced two "quick" electrical power fluctuation; "everything went away and then came back." "Seconds later the entire [electrical] system failed." Due to the associated loss of navigation capability while operating in instrument meteorological conditions, the pilot set a general course for better weather conditions based upon the preflight weather briefing.

During the attempt to find a suitable hole in the clouds to descend through under visual conditions, the left engine lost power. The pilot ultimately located a field through the cloud cover and executed a single engine precautionary landing. The nose landing gear collapsed, and the airplane sustained substantial damage to the right engine mount and firewall.

A postaccident examination was conducted by Federal Aviation Administration inspectors and operator personnel. The left propeller blades were bent aft and did not exhibit any curling of the blades. The right propeller blades were curled in the direction of rotation. The left- and right-wing fuel tanks did not contain any visible fuel. The left nacelle fuel tank did not contain any visible fuel. The right nacelle fuel tank appeared to contain about one quart of fuel. The three-position Ignition and Engine Start/Starter Only switches on the cockpit instrument panel were in the ON position. The Engine Anti-Ice switches were in the ON position. The cabin medical bed electrical switches corresponding to the inverter and accessories were in the ON position; the remaining medical bed switches were OFF. A postrecovery examination was conducted by the NTSB investigator-in-charge and operator personnel. No anomalies consistent with an in-flight electrical system malfunction were observed. When the airplane battery was initially checked during the exam the voltmeter indicated 10.7 volts; the battery was charged and appeared to function normally thereafter.

The operator reported that 253 gallons (1,720 lbs.) of fuel were onboard at takeoff and the airplane gross weight was 7,838 lbs. The accident flight duration was 3.65 hrs. Airplane performance data indicated that at maximum cruise power, the expected fuel flow would be about 632 lbs./hr., resulting in an endurance of approximately 2.7 hrs. At maximum range power, the expected fuel consumption was about 406 lbs./hr., resulting in an endurance of approximately 4.2 hrs.

Both the pilot and medical crew described a lack of communication and coordination among crew members. The pilot reported that the medical crew became apprehensive as the emergency transpired. On three occasions, as the pilot maneuvered the airplane attempting to locate a hole in the clouds to descend, the medical crew member in the co-pilot seat grabbed the control wheel to keep the pilot from banking the airplane. He subsequently relinquished the control wheel as directed by the pilot. The medical crew attempted to locate the airplane by using cellphones to coordinate with the operator's operations center or by using the cellphone GPS capability. However, these efforts resulted in multiple course adjustments and ultimately failed to encounter visual meteorological conditions before fuel exhaustion on the left engine.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 72, 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): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/20/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/05/2016
Flight Time:  22000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 400 hours (Total, this make and model), 21500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 41 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 24 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Model/Series: C90A A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1994
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: LJ-1365
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 7
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/20/2016, Continuous Airworthiness
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 10485 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 75 Hours
Engines: 2 Turbo Prop
Airframe Total Time: 7862.1 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Pratt & Whitney Canada
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: PT6A-21
Registered Owner: EAGLEMED LLC
Rated Power: 550 hp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MLC, 771 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 49 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1153 CST
Direction from Accident Site: 148°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 700 ft agl
Visibility:  2 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 1100 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 20°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 7°C / 4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: Light - Drizzle; Fog
Departure Point: McAlester, OK (MLC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Idabel, OK (4O4)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 0806 CST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries:3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.238611, -95.253889 


  1. The guy landed plane in emergency conditions! Sound like medical staff made things much more difficult!

  2. This electrical failure is very similar to the N891PC King Air accident. It seems like something common in King Airs that defeats battery connection and drops generator function caused both failures.

    Pilot's statement is quite a read, well worth the time it takes to go through. Med crew unaware or no respect for pilot's skill/background. Flew IFR without succumbing to spatial disorientation while panic med staff interfered, quite an accomplishment to walk away unharmed.

    Pilot's statement:

  3. maybe. Maybe a medical flight crew is used to being in a small plane doesn't routinely ask to return to airport of origin 10 minutes into a flight. Maybe they have some experience as well in crew resource management and are pretty comfortable in their respective roles. Something was wildly wrong in that aircraft, and even if it was purely a mutinous and panicking crew, the PIC's role is to get that plane on the ground safely, not get in some bizarre power struggle in the air to complete a mission.

    Glad they all survived, I hope they all NEVER fly together again.

    1. It's the medical pukes who need to not be allowed on an airplane again.

  4. Just one question: what was the flight experience of the medical crew member who grabbed the control column from the right seat? What licenses and how many hours in instrument conditions and at the controls of a C90? If zero to any of the aforementioned, that individual should have been prosecuted for interfering with a flight crew.

  5. Stepping back from the drama for a moment, consider the skill demonstrated when the pilot dropped through into VFR, picked a field to land in, overflew it (while on single engine) to make sure it would work, then turned around and made a level landing (a "greaser") as indicated by the tire track photos.

    No spin, no stall, no auger-in, no SD crash, no injuries and one quart of Jet-A left over. And he did all that after spending three and a half hours with panicked med crew and minimal backup instruments.

    His Alaska bush pilot and bull riding background may have a lot to do with preserving three lives that walked away unharmed that day.

    Three months after the landing:

    1. Photo 9
      Starter switches were in ON Position.
      Generator WILL NOT come online.
      Battery power Only!

      Maybe the Hero Bull-rider
      Should take more than 8 seconds to run a checklist so the med-crew came safely do their jobs.

  6. Ok..ok, the alarm was raised 10 minutes into the flight so the pilot flew 2hr 30m looking for a place to land? Must of been a hellofa' widespread IFR event. What are the rules concerning lost comms? Fly to your clearance limit and proceed from there. If he had done that or just flew a straight line to VFR conditions then ATC would have known whats up. He gets points for a uninjured crew though.

  7. I like the part about turning on all the switches when they hit IMC... turned on the start switches too! It’s amazing that the battery was able to power the airplane for minutes before all electrical was lost. That pilot was a total and incredible moron.

  8. I’ve flown lots of KA medevac missions and the med crews are a pretty sharp bunch tgat know who the idiot pilots are. They were probably crapping in their flight suits getting in the plane with this hothead.


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