Saturday, July 17, 2021

Beechcraft V35B Bonanza, N112TW: Fatal accident occurred July 16, 2021 near Angwin Airport-Parrett Field (2O3), Napa County, California

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Sacramento, California 

Aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances in a vineyard and post crash fire. 


Date: 16-JUL-21
Time: 17:00:00Z
Regis#: N112TW
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 35
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: FATAL
Total Fatal: 3
Flight Crew:  1
Pax:  2
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: SUBSTANTIAL
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: EN ROUTE (ENR)
Operation: 91
City: ANGWIN
State: CALIFORNIA

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation may contact them by email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov. You can also call the NTSB Response Operations Center at 844-373-9922 or 202-314-6290.

Robert Nicholas and his daughter, Shauna Waite

Shauna and James Waite 

42 comments:

  1. I don't see a skid trail to the scene of the crash.

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    1. And I don't really see much evidence of the left wing,

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    2. That and I don't see the left wing. It's burnt up, but you think you would at least see an outline in the vegetation.

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    3. The left wing is likely at or near the tree which the aircraft hit, prior to coming to rest in the vineyard.

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    4. First hand info: it was a stall and a dive, after an unsuccessful go-around. There had been a propeller strike on the runway during one of the several bounces (on his attempt to land) that bent the propeller and hindered his climbout.

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  2. There is an extensive discussion of the crash on the BeechTalk forum. Details in the local media report a missed approach that clipped trees. FlightAware shows the plane was high and fast coming in.

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  3. Second-hand info: bounced, attempted go-around, clipped trees, stalled.....

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    1. Yep I got the same 2nd hand info. Stall/spin after a go-around. Maybe max gross + density altitude, or retracted the flaps all at once with insufficient airspeed, or maybe forgot to put the power in. CFIs make us practice this for a reason. Too many accidents due to botched goarounds.

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  4. This is my home drome and I know some eyewitnesses. There was no wind and weather was clear. They indicate the plane was far faster than normal and seemed to dive to the runway. Th plane bounced twice, struck the prop and thereafter was unable to climb impacting trees. There was no radio communication.

    Speculating, It seems possible the pilot was not flying the plane, perhaps was incapacitated, and a passenger was trying to get it on the ground.

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    1. If you are correct on your speculation of a pilot medical issue...there were actually 2 licensed pilots on this plane. One was much more experienced than the other. I knew 2 of the people on this plane fairly well and may have met the 3rd one time. I have no knowledge of who was flying at the time.

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  5. I had the chance to meet this gentleman and his wife at El Monte airport a few months back while having breakfast -- he took me out to N112TW and let me sit in the right seat. I have to say that the aviation community has truly suffered a loss as he was such a kind guy. My sincerest condolences to his family.

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  6. Another too fast, NO FORWARD SLIP DONE approach. He bounced, made many mistakes on the Go Around from flare maneuver, stalled the airplane. Crashed it.

    Too many USA CFI's are afraid of teaching real Forward Slips. And many dont teach Go Around From Flare either. Too many skip teaching those maneuvers. See the results. A shame for whoever didnt test for that.

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    1. If you have to slip you Bonanza you should already have been going around

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    2. How very, very true. I’ve owned and flown V tail bonanzas since the 80’s, I’ve never slipped one to make the landing. I’ve gone around more times that I can ever count, usually due to crosswinds. The decision to go around is best made when you are initially on final, not when you are about to flare. It’s all about being on a stabilized approach. Waiting to the last minute to either force a landing or initiate a go around increases the risk factor exponentially.
      I stopped instructing students a decade ago, and the worst habit I focused on was the inability to recognize an unstabilized approach. I held that as high in importance as stall spin recovery. No matter the aircraft I instructed in, or the rating my student was going after. As a matter of fact, I found that pilots training for their multi engine rating had the hardest time, as a group. So, it matters not the type of aircraft or time in log books, some bad habits or self imposed necessities will and can kill you.
      My most sincere condolences to those who suffered a loss in this tragedy.

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  7. From resident - lives on Angwin Airport-Parrett Field grounds. The Federal Aviation Administration asked him to give them a detailed report....

    "This is my account… It was nice meeting you this afternoon, even even if under these difficult circumstances. Since you asked me to detail what I witnessed today, here's my memory of it. Background: I work from home most of the time, and our property is at the North end of the Angwin Airport; and we have a front deck that overlooks the majority of the runway and field. I have my morning coffee and work from there when the weather is nice. Trees block one small section of the runway in the middle of the field from my view, but I can see about 90% of it, including both ends. Aviation is one of my hobbies, and I enjoy watching the traffic and listening to the Angwin (and Yolo) Unicom on 123.000. Because we are in fire season, I also watch air traffic on flightradar24 to see what air traffic is nearby, looking for the DF tail numbers that Cal-Fire uses. This morning, at around 8:35 am, I heard N112TW (a male voice) notify the Angwin Unicom that he was approaching from the South to enter the pattern for runway 16. The first thing I noticed that was unusual was that he called using "Parrett Unicom" instead of the ordinary "Angwin Traffic" or just "Angwin" for his transmission. The second notable thing I noticed is that he entered the downwind leg at around mid-field and called "One One Two Tango Whisky is high approach on downwind for left traffic one six Parrett Unicom." I looked on flightradar24, and he was at 5,000' or so, and most traffic is around 2,700 or 2,800' on the downwind leg. He then fairly quickly called "One one two Tango Whiskey is left base one six Parret Unicom." In my mind, I was wondering how a Bonanza was going to shed the altitude and still slow enough for him to land. The last transmission I heard was "One one two Tango Whisky is short final one six Parrett Unicom." I noticed the third and most unusual item was his high descent angle and speed he was carrying as he passed our house towards the runway. My initial thought was with that much speed (maybe 40-50% faster than the average plane passing by,) he would fly over the field, go around and try the approach again. To my surprise, he attempted the landing and bounced much higher than I've ever seen, maybe ten or more feet, then started porpoising. The third contact with the runway was the steepest and hardest that I could see, and I thought he might have struck the prop. That was just past the North end windsock from my perspective. Some mid-field trees obscured my view for about a second, and when I saw him again, he was flying but very low. It seemed like he firewalled the throttle but was not gaining any altitude. I saw him barely clear the planes and trees on the far end of the runway and was very low as he crossed the vineyard to the South. I then saw him dip the left-wing, apparently trying a last-ditch effort to avoid contact with a pine tree, but was unsuccessful. The wing appeared to impact the tree (I can now see the impact scar on that tree with binoculars,) then almost like it was in slow motion, the plane spun inverted to the left, nose down, and I could see the top of the canopy and wings as it disappeared from my sight behind the hill. Within a couple of seconds, the black smoke came rushing upwards. From my perspective, I didn't hear any sound of the impact, possibly because it was over the hill from me. My phone shows that I called 911 at 8:40 am to report the crash, then drove to the airport, then the crash site to see if I could assist any potential survivors, regardless of how unlikely that might be. Once at the site, I could immediately tell that there was no chance of survival for any plane occupants. I hope I am not leaving out any critical details, and I wish you the best in your investigation."

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  8. The pilot was a good friend of mine, highly experienced in that plane and a conservative, risk averse flyer.

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  9. Looks like he had owned the airplane for almost 20 years. It doesn't make sense. That's a rookie mistake.

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    1. I'm guessing daughter was flying and dad was working the radios with the husband in the back seat. Looks like she got her PPL back in 2019, so that would comport with an inexperienced aviator behind the stick.

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    2. The daughter was a friend of mine and was also a good pilot with a reasonable amount of time in bonanzas. she was also very risk adverse.

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  10. If your friend was highly experienced in that airplane I would have to guess he wasn't actually flying the airplane. So sad.RIP

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  11. Just because the "pilot/owner" apparently was sitting in the left seat, does not mean He was actually flying and manipulating the controls. As mentioned before, the two other persons onboard were also pilots.

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    1. If a competent pilot was in the left seat he must have been incapacitated to let that happen. Plenty of opportunities to end that crash before it happened.

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  12. I lease aircraft to retail customers and I have seen first hand how age adversely affects mental acuity in even highly experienced pilots. One elderly but very experienced pilot totaled one of my planes taxiing for takeoff, he wasn’t even anywhere near the runway. Took out a couple of other planes too. He really didn’t have a good explanation for what happened, I don’t think he understood it either.

    I’m 62, I’m not ageist, it’s just that we all lose our physical and mental capacities as we get older. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

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    1. I've given quite a bit of instruction to senior students and it is always very challenging for both of us. Their physical reflexes just aren't where they need to be and causes many problems. Aeronautical Decision Making (sort of a mental reflex) is an another area that seems to suffer.

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  13. My dad stopped flying at 81, he had a hard time deciphering tower instructions. Safety always came first with him. Former test pilot during WWII and taught instrument flying the last twenty years of his life. He had a club in NJ with five Pipers and couldn’t believe the stupid mistakes pilots made-especially those with Ph.D.s. I lost 3 great, dear friends on July 15 in the crash at Dinsmore, CA. That pilot was 69 years old.

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  14. Many of these Model 35 bonanzas have a throwover single yoke so if that is the case they should have a good idea who was PIC. I have a lot of time in Bonanzas and I have never had to slip one on final approach or any other time. Power off full flaps they sink like a rock. I would guess the most likely scenario here is a medical emergency.

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  15. Most of the comms to SOCAL were a female voice. https://archive.liveatc.net/kral/KRAL2-Jul-16-2021-1300Z.mp3

    2:10 3:30

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    1. Female voice at that second time hack says:
      "Three Two Owe Two Tango Whiskey" and something about climbing. The N112TW track in that time period shows 320 degree heading entering KONT Class C.

      https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a0355f&lat=33.839&lon=-117.539&zoom=10.9&showTrace=2021-07-16&trackLabels&timestamp=1626440976

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  16. Regarding comments about aging and ability, some observations:

    1. The pilot exhibited correct cognitive function in recognizing and announcing "high approach on downwind for left traffic". He knew he was high and communicated that fact, making sure any other aircraft listening on CTAF would be on the lookout for an aircraft higher than expected on downwind.

    He was not impaired or diminished in his perception or understanding of the relationship between airfield elevation and his altimeter reading or responsibility to communicate the unusually high altitude in the pattern.

    2. It is notable that the high and fast approach to Angwin also included overshooting the turn to final, having to correct the track significantly to get aligned with the runway.

    3. Recorded tracks for the previous five landings (linked below) show no overshot turns, very precise and uniform throughout, including the day before the accident flight. The pilot was current and precise.

    Now look at the track of the accident approach in the sixth link.

    The hypothesis that Pilot Nicholas was losing his mental acuity due to age does not ring true looking at those five recent landings and considering his communication during approach on the accident day. It also seems unlikely that he would mishandle the follow through from recognized high pattern entry or fail to perceive the need to go around much earlier if he had the controls throughout the approach.

    Remaining possibilities are sudden onset impairment or delay in making the decision to transfer the throw-over single yoke (if so equipped) back to Pilot Nicholas at a critical time in the approach.

    Landing 1:
    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a0355f&lat=33.577&lon=-117.135&zoom=13.5&showTrace=2021-06-02&trackLabels
    Landing 2:
    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a0355f&lat=33.577&lon=-117.135&zoom=13.5&showTrace=2021-06-21&trackLabels
    Landing 3:
    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a0355f&lat=33.577&lon=-117.135&zoom=13.5&showTrace=2021-06-28&trackLabels
    Landing 4:
    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a0355f&lat=33.577&lon=-117.135&zoom=13.5&showTrace=2021-07-12&trackLabels
    Landing 5:
    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a0355f&lat=33.577&lon=-117.135&zoom=13.5&showTrace=2021-07-15&leg=2&trackLabels

    Accident approach:
    https://globe.adsbexchange.com/?icao=a0355f&lat=38.591&lon=-122.428&zoom=13.2&showTrace=2021-07-16&trackLabels

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    1. Older male pilots have great difficulty in accepting the fact that they no longer have the 'Right Stuff'. Professional pilots, and former professional pilots, do much better of course. But, like the racers who blame their slower lap times on their car or bike, or the wide receivers who are the last to realize they've 'lost a step', the effects of aging are inevitable and insidious.
      One solution? Park that male ego in the hangar and fly a simpler aircraft. Replace that King Air with a Caravan, the Mooney with a Carbon Cub. If sometime in the hopefully distant future you buy the farm, well, nothing wrong with leaving life while doing what you love. Just don't take others with you when you go!

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    2. LiveAtc recorded daughter piloting during the flight. The possibility that Dad was working CTAF and watching for traffic coming into Angwin while daughter applied full attention to performing the landing can no longer be ruled out.

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    3. LiveATC recorded that the daughter was on the radios, but it’s not confirmation either was piloting - could be good CRM or it could be one person flying but the daughter grabbing the radios every now and then.

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    4. Yea, cause it's so much fun to talk on the radio.

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    5. It is natural for people to be reluctant to accept that a pilot visiting parents out of state may have flown a botched landing at a unicom field that was ideal for having a go at it on a nice day.

      If N112TW was dual-yoke equipped and not throw-over single yoke, it would be hard to explain why Dad did not go missed from the bad approach well before things got out of hand.

      If throw-over single yoke equipped, the fact that daughter was not riding in the back seat has to be considered.

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    6. There was a significant descent rate while in a fairly steep turn at speed. Makes me wonder if vertigo set in?

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  17. Plane was single throw-over yoke.

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    1. Yes this model was single throw over yoke unless modified. The non-flying pilot would have been unable to salvage the landing.

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  18. As sad as it may be to accept it certainly seems like Shauna might have been the one piloting.

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  19. Preliminary report mentions one propeller blade missing a portion of its tip (length missing is not specified). Nothing was stated about whether prop strike marks could be found on the runway.

    Excessive vibration from prop imbalance may have caused the pilot to reduce throttle setting after clearing that first tree line at the airport boundary.

    https://data.ntsb.gov/carol-repgen/api/Aviation/ReportMain/GenerateNewestReport/103492/pdf

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    1. Preliminary report. "Examination of the accident site (see Figure 1) revealed that the departure end of runway 16 was about a half- mile (1/2 mile = 2640 feet) from the first identified point of contact (FIPC); a 50 ft tree."
      as
      @ AirNav "Angwin Airport Runway 16 Obstructions: 50 ft. tree, 1000 ft. from runway, 210 ft. left of centerline, 16:1 slope to clear"

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    2. Another example of outdated or incorrect obstruction data. The tree line that borders Airport Way at the airport boundary measures 770 feet from where the prelim report marked as the end of the runway. Street view image below shows those as well established trees going along the boundary, not 210 ft. left of centerline. How many years out of date is the FAA's database?

      Street view of airport boundary trees:
      https://goo.gl/maps/NiGQPLWbLtbcpwoj8

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