Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 Marquise, N44MX: Fatal accident occurred June 07, 2020 at Sioux Falls Regional Airport (KFSD), South Dakota

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

Additional Participating Entity: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Rapid City, South Dakota

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


Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Accident Number: CEN20LA215
Date & Time: 06/07/2020, 0425 CDT
Registration: N44MX
Aircraft: Mitsubishi MU2B
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled 

On June 7, 2020, about 0425 central daylight time, a Mitsubishi MU-2B airplane, N44MX, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 cargo flight.

The flight originated at Snohomish County Airport (Paine Field)(PAE), Everett, Washington, about 2115, and was originally destined for Huron Regional Airport (HON), Huron, South Dakota, for a fuel stop. However, preliminary air traffic control information and weather data was consistent with the pilot diverting to Joe Foss Field Airport (FSD), Sioux Falls, South Dakota, due to weather at HON at the time of intended arrival. The flight landed at FSD at 0140. The final destination was Kokomo Municipal Airport (OKK), Kokomo, Indiana.

Figure 1: Final segment of inbound leg that originated Paine Field Airport (PAE).

According to dispatch records and statements from the fixed-base operator (FBO) personnel, the pilot had misplaced his cell phone and was unable to contact the on-call line service technician (LST) at the FBO for fuel. The operator's dispatcher was unable to get in contact with the pilot and, about 0310, called the FBO for verification the airplane had made it to FSD. The LST responded to the airport and confirmed that the airplane and pilot were on their ramp. The LST gave his phone to the pilot so that the pilot could speak to the operator's dispatcher while the LST retrieved the fuel truck. When the pilot spoke to the operator's dispatcher, he advised that he would be departing FSD enroute to OKK about 0400. The pilot requested the LST fill the tip tanks on the airplane wings with fuel.

Preliminary radar data indicated that the airplane departed FSD from runway 15 at 0426. According to video recordings captured from various facilities at FSD, the airplane appeared to have a normal takeoff roll. After rotation, a high pitch angle was established for initial climb out and the right wing began to dip. As the airplane climbed, the right wing continued to drop with the airplane rolling over to the right side. The airplane noses-over on the right side and continued in a nose down attitude and impacted the ground. Radar track data for the flight began when the airplane reached about 45 ft agl and was limited to 3 radar hits in 3 seconds until the airplane impacted.

Figure 2: Flight track overview in profile. 

The airplane wreckage was located in the infield area north of taxiway B3 between taxiway B and runway 3-21. All four corners of the airplane (both wings, and the nose and tail sections), as well as both engines, were accounted for in the airplane wreckage.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Mitsubishi

Registration: N44MX
Model/Series: MU2B 60
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: McNeely Charter Service, Inc.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions

Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:  
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction:
Lowest Ceiling:
Altimeter Setting:
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Sioux Falls, SD (FSD)
Destination: Kokomo, IN (OKK)  

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal

Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 43.581389, -96.743611 (est)

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.

Four days after the incident, authorities still haven't released the name of the person involved in a fatal airplane crash at Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

The pilot was taking off in a Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 on Sunday around 4:15 a.m. when the twin-engine charter cargo plane encountered a problem and crashed midfield — about half a mile from where he took off, said Dan Letellier, the airport's executive director.

Usually after a fatal airplane crash, local authorities that arrive on scene are responsible for releasing victim information. But Sioux Falls police were turned away at the airport gates at the time of the crash, said police spokesman Sam Clemens.

In turn, each agency that has a hand in investigating the crash has claimed that they either do not have the victim's identity or that it is not their responsibility to release that information.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said that his department didn't handle the crash, since the airport is in SFPD jurisdiction. The South Dakota Air National Guard Fire Department was the emergency responder to the crash, and diverted any inquiries about the crash to Sioux Falls airport management.

But Letellier said he did not know the name of the victim and that information would have to be released by the victim's employer, McNeely Charter Service.

The pilot originally departed from Everett, Wash., to transfer cargo to Huron for McNeely Charter Service. But the pilot was diverted to Sioux Falls around 1:40 a.m. Sunday because of thunderstorms in the Huron area, Letellier said. The pilot was taking off to resume his flight to Huron.

A representative with McNeely Charter Service said they would not be releasing the victim's information.

Other agencies involved in an investigation of an airplane crash include the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB is investigating the crash and plans to release a preliminary report within the next two weeks, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

A representative with the FAA based in Rapid City was on scene Sunday to investigate the crash, since NTSB officials are not traveling to crashes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Knudson said.

Elizabeth Cory, a spokeswoman for the FAA, said the responsibility of identifying the victim belongs to the local coroner's office. The Minnehaha County coroner, Ken Snell, is on vacation until next week and is unable to be reached, according to his office.


A man flying a Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 Marquise aircraft from Sioux Falls to Huron early Sunday morning died after the plane crashed during takeoff, airport officials say.

The man was taking off in the Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 from the Sioux Falls Regional Airport around 4:15 a.m. when the twin engine charter cargo plane encountered a problem and crashed midfield at the airport — about half a mile from where he took off, said Sioux Falls Regional Airport executive director Dan Letellier.

The pilot was the only person onboard. Any other information about the victim will be released after family is notified of his death, Letellier said.

Sioux Falls Regional Airport tower was not operating at the time of the crash, since the airport was uncontrolled between 12 to 5 a.m. The Minneapolis flight center was communicating with pilots coming in and out of Sioux Falls, Letellier said.

The pilot originally departed from Everett, Washington, to transfer cargo to Huron, but he was diverted to Sioux Falls around 1:40 a.m. because of thunderstorms in the Huron area. The pilot was taking off to resume his flight to Huron.

An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board will be in Sioux Falls Sunday afternoon for a preliminary investigation of the crash.

The last crash to occur in Sioux Falls was on Christmas Day in 2018, when a Sioux Falls couple died after crashing into a southern Sioux Falls neighborhood.


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