Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Dassault Falcon 20E-5, N283SA: Fatal accident occurred October 05, 2021 near Thomson-McDuffie County Airport (KHQU), Georgia

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.

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia
Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA); Paris, France
Dassault Aviation; Paris, France
GE Commercial Flight Safety; Cincinnati, Ohio
Sierra West Airlines; Oakdale, California 

Career Aviation Co

Location: Thomson, Georgia 
Accident Number: ERA22FA004
Date and Time: October 5, 2021, 05:44 Local
Registration: N283SA
Aircraft: Dassault Fanjet Falcon
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air taxi and commuter - Non-scheduled

On October 5, 2021, at 0544 eastern daylight time, a Dassault Fanjet Falcon airplane, N283SA, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near the Thomson-McDuffie County Airport (HQU), Thomson, Georgia. The captain and first officer were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as Pak West Airlines Flight 887 dba Sierra West Airlines, as an on-demand cargo flight under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135.

According to operator records, the flight crew initiated the first flight of the night at 2132 mountain daylight time from their home base of El Paso International Airport (ELP), El Paso, Texas to Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (LBB), Lubbock, Texas. After about a 2 hour and 20-minute ground delay waiting for the freight, the accident flight was initiated from LBB to HQU.

Review of preliminary air traffic control communications provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the flight was in contact with the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (ATL center) for about the final 40 minutes of the flight. At 0503 eastern daylight time, Pak West Flight 887 (PKW887) requested information about the Notices to Airman (NOTAMs) for the instrument landing system (ILS) localizer runway 10 instrument approach procedure at HQU. ATL Center informed the flight crew of two NOTAMs; the first pertained to the ILS runway 10 glidepath being unserviceable and the second applied to the localizer being unserviceable. The controller informed the flight crew that the localizer NOTAM was not in effect until later in the morning after their expected arrival, which was consistent with the published NOTAM.

About 0525, ATL center asked PKW887 which approach they would like, to which they responded with the “ILS runway one zero approach.” The controller responded, “roger, standby for that.” At 0526, ATL center cleared PKW887 to CEDAR intersection which was the initial approach fix for the ILS or localizer/non-directional beacon (NDB) runway 10 approach. 

About 0537, ATL center informed PKW887 that they were 15 miles southwest from CEDAR and “cross CEDAR at or above 3,000 cleared ILS localizer one zero into Thomson McDuffie.” PKW887 readback the clearance and the controller stated it was a “good readback”, however, the controller informed the flight crew that they were transmitting on the “guard” emergency frequency of 121.5, rather than the center frequency. About 1 minute later, the controller advised PKW887 of a telephone number to call to cancel their instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance once on the ground; however, about 0543, PKW887 had just crossed CEDAR and requested to cancel their IFR clearance. The controller advised PKW887 to “squawk vfr” and no further communications were received.

Surveillance video located at HQU showed that about 0539 the airport and runway lights were activated from off to on. About 0542 the airplane’s landing lights came into view in the pitchblack horizon and were subsequently visible for about 2 minutes. The video showed the airplane approaching runway 10 in a relatively constant descent and heading; however, about 25 seconds before the airplane’s landing lights disappeared, a momentary right turn, followed by a left turn and increased descent rate was observed. No explosion or glow of fire was observed when the landing lights disappeared about 0544.

Review of preliminary FAA Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) data revealed that the airplane crossed CEDAR intersection about 2,500 ft mean sea level (msl). The airplane continued toward runway 10 in a descent; the final data recorded was at 0543:54 with the airplane at 800 ft msl and 1.36 nautical miles from the runway threshold. Figure 1 provides an overview of the ADS-B data from the approach and the location of the wreckage.

A search was initiated for the airplane based upon inquiries from the operator’s dispatch to the airport and an active emergency locator beacon near the runway. The airplane was located about .70 nautical mile from runway 10 about 0630.

According to FAA airman and operator records, the captain held an airline transport pilot certificate with a type rating in the accident airplane. He was issued a first-class medical certificate in January 2021. He had accumulated a total flight experience of about 12,000 hours, with 1,665 hours in the accident make and model airplane, of which 1,325 hours were logged as pilot-in-command.

The first officer held a second-in-command type rating in the accident airplane. He was issued a second-class medical certificate in March 2021. He had accumulated a total flight experience of about 11,000 hours, of which 1,250 hours were in the accident make and model airplane.

The initial impact point coincided with broken pine tree branches among a forest where the trees were about 150 ft tall. The debris path was oriented on a heading of about 100° and spanned about 880 ft from the initial impact to the main wreckage area.

The airplane was heavily fragmented, however, there was no evidence of fire. The largest fragments of wreckage were concentrated in three primary areas overviewed in Figure 2. The figure shows the initial impact point and a pop-out drone image that describes the three areas.

All major components of the airplane were located in the debris path. Flight control continuity could not be determined from the control surfaces to the cockpit due to the heavy fragmentation, however, within the fragmented flight control areas continuity was observed. The flaps were observed to be extended, and the right landing gear was observed to be down. The horizontal stabilizer and its jack screw were found to be within a normal envelope. 

Examination of the cockpit found the flap selector in the full flaps 40° position and the landing gear handle was selected down.

Both engines exhibited impact damage and varying degrees of foreign object debris ingestion that had the appearance of wood chips and green vegetation in the center core of the engine when viewed with a borescope. Several fan blades exhibited leading edge gouging, knicks, and torsional twisting.

The airplane was not required to be equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR); however, a CVR was installed. It was located in the debris path near the empennage and was retained for read-out and transcription. The airplane was not equipped with a flight data recorder, nor was it required.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Dassault 
Registration: N283SA
Model/Series: Fanjet Falcon C 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand air taxi (135)
Operator Designator Code: VPOA

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: NightDark
Observation Facility, Elevation: HQU,500 ft msl
Observation Time: 05:50 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 0.64 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1200 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: / ,
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 9000 ft AGL 
Visibility: 7 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Lubbock, TX (LBB)
Destination: Thomson, GA (HQU)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 33.530483,-82.539617 

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.

Claude Duchesne

Raymond Henry Bachman

À Thomson, Georgie, le 5 octobre 2021, à l’âge de 63 ans, est décédé accidentellement monsieur Claude Duchesne, fils de madame feu Rita Lavoie et de feu monsieur Rosaire Duchesne. Il était natif de Québec et demeurait depuis plusieurs années à El Paso, Texas.

Une cérémonie aura lieu en toute intimité.

Il laisse dans le deuil son frère et ses soeurs: Danielle (Lionel Leclerc), Johanne (René Laprise) et Michel ; son neveu et ses nièces : Luc Leclerc (Julie), Sophie Leclerc (Dominic) et Marie-Josée Laprise (Gabriel); ses petits-neveux et petites-nièces : Jolyane, Étienne, Justine, Ludovic et Lucas; ses oncles, tantes, cousins, cousines, ainsi que plusieurs ami(e)s, en particulier ceux du Texas : James, Marie-Laure, Gloria, Robert, Pierre, Peggy, le pasteur de la Life Church El Paso et plusieurs autres.

Claude est allé rejoindre sa mère et son père, ainsi que son grand ami de longue date Clément Carter.

Merci aux compagnies aériennes qui ont permis à Claude d’exercer sa grande passion du pilotage.

Vos témoignages de sympathie peuvent se traduire par un don à l’organisme de votre choix.

Pour renseignements :
Téléphone : 418 658-1600
Télécopieur : 418 658-2415
Courriel : infocomplexe@athos.ca

Raymond Henry Bachman

Raymond Henry Bachman was born on Feb. 10, 1948, in Buffalo, N. Y., to his parents George and Gladys Bachman. In 1967, Ray, as many knew him, met the love of his life, Elma Villegas, and they married on Sept. 9, 1967. After 17 wonderful years spent together in Illinois, Ray and Elma set their sights on the beautiful scenery of Arizona. They staked their claim in Fountain Hills in 1984, where Ray happily lived out the remainder of his life with his wife, daughter, Kristine Chandler, and son, Ryan Bachman.

Among his many inspiring qualities and attributes, Ray will forever be remembered as a kind, loving, humble and hard-working family man who craved life’s many adventures. Ray was first and foremost an accomplished professional and private pilot. He flew worldwide commercially and loved showcasing his jet aircraft in prestigious airshows.

He was a skilled homebuilder, establishing his unique and sought-after trademark from Illinois to Arizona through his creativity and patience for fine detail. He was also a world traveler who loved to experience other cultures firsthand and learn from history’s marvels. He was always striving to satisfy his thirst for knowledge and self-improvement; from avid mountain climbing, which bound him to the Nepalese Himalayas, to skydiving in sunny Arizona, surfing the west coast and Hawaii, snow skiing in numerous mountains, and scuba diving ancient shipwrecks. While Ray never shied away from adventure, his greatest pleasure was simply spending time with his beloved family. There is nothing that Ray would not do for his family and friends. He selflessly placed others’ needs before his own.

Ray passed away on Oct. 5, 2021, in Georgia at the age of 73. Raymond Bachman’s life was full of achievement and dedicated to hard work. He will forever be known as a man who loved the thrill of life’s adventures and explorations, a man who would stop at nothing to be there for others, who loved to laugh, make jokes, and bring happiness and smiles to those around him. Raymond will be remembered for his devotion to family and friends, both near and far.

Raymond is survived by his treasured wife, Elma Bachman; his two loving children and grandson, daughter, Kristine Chandler, her son, Brockton Chandler, son, Ryan Bachman and his wife, Ramona. Raymond is also survived by his dear mother, Gladys Tritle; sister, Patricia Ciccotelli and her husband, Tony; and preceded in death by his father, George, and brother, Donald. Raymond is ultimately survived by many more cherished relatives and loyal friends.

Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life gathering on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, anytime between 1 and 4 p.m. (PST) at Messinger Fountain Hills Mortuary, located at 12065 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills, AZ 85268. Visitation is 1 to 3 p.m. From 3 to 4 p.m. is designated as Celebration of Life for anyone who wishes to say some words about Raymond Bachman. Ray will be laid to rest during a private ceremony at Paradise Memorial Gardens, Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021, followed by a virtual slide presentation and memorial service at 3 p.m. (PST), 5 p.m. (CST).

Two families are mourning. Pilots Claude Duschesne and Raymond Bachman were killed. Bachman’s relative, Rosanna Marlowe, tells NewsChannel 6 the pilots flew together often.  Marlowe says Bachman’s “passion for airplanes started when he was four-years-old.” He earned his pilot’s license when he was 16. Bachman leaves behind a wife of 54 years, two children and one grandson, who he enjoyed building and flying remote-controlled airplanes with. Marlowe says “he will be remembered as a hard-working, conscientious, loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle and friend.”


  1. Old freight dog jet. Last return on Flightaware was N33.5310 W-82.5509 at 800' MSL at just 136kts with a whopping 1572fpm descent rate. Something happened and happened quick. The previous return just a minute and three seconds earlier they were at a 1324fps descent rate at 160kts at 2451' MSL. Pretty much lined up with RWY 10 for Thomsom-McDuffie.

    Pilots already identified with more crash location info in this local story link:


    RIP and prayers for the families of the two pilots.

    1. a whopping 1572fpm descent rate -Huh ???

    2. “fpm” not “fps” and 1572 is not “whopping” in even some of the smallest aircraft. It is, however, of important note at 800’ AGL as well as the trend showing the rate of descent increasing.

      RIP to the crew and condolences to those affected.

    3. Over 1000 fpm under 1000agl is a go around right now stuff.

    4. Max recommended VS at 800 agl would be 800 fps... so double that might constitute "whopping". Especially night/IMC.

    5. "“fpm” not “fps” and 1572 is not “whopping” in even some of the smallest aircraft."

      1) That's why I mentioned 800'. You think a 1500' plus decent rate is good in ANY aircraft at 800' AGL at ANY time, let alone in a dimly lit airport at night breaking out of IMC conditions?

      2) I'm human and trigger brain fingered the second reference to feet per second. That's why my first sentence says "1572fpm".

      "a whopping 1572fpm descent rate -Huh ???"

      Did you miss the altitude they were at?

      All that said, this airport is 500' MSL so the jet was only at 300' AGL at that insane decent rate for their position/altitude (I assumed it was much closer to sea level). Makes it even more dramatic of a decent rate. God I hope you guys don't fly based on reading comprehension.

    6. Some of you need to comprehend and do the math before you start typing your thoughts.

  2. Cargo plane, two pilots lost.

    KHQU Weather at 05:53EDT:
    Wind SE3/Vis 10.00/Wx Overcast/Sky BKN065 OVC085/71F 68F/90%

    News Story:

  3. RIP...my first thought is fuel exhaustion/mismanagement.

    1. Or just plain exhaustion. Assuming it was the same crew that landed in El Paso at 2am on 10/2....then they are airborne at 10pm on 10/4 and the accident happened at 4am 10/5 cst.

      Those are not easy hours to work. Especially, if you're over 70 years old. It's going to be interesting to read what the NTSB learns about how rested they were.

      I wonder if they were doing that rolling rest thing or the company actually had defined rest periods for it's crew?

  4. ILS was out of service per NOTAM. Hand flying the approach, still at 2000' MSL at 3 NM from field while approach plate shows starting down from 2000' at 4.5 NM out. Rural area, not much ground lighting.

    Possible undershoot CFIT while aligning to PAPI after late entrance from above the glideslope.

    !MCN 09/752 HQU NAV ILS RWY 10 GP U/S 2109271104-2110112000EST

    Issuing Airport: (HQU) Thomson-Mcduffie County
    NOTAM Number: 09/752
    Effective Time Frame
    Beginning: Monday, September 27, 2021 1104 (UTC)
    Ending: Monday, October 11, 2021 2000EST (UTC)
    ILS Status
    Runway: 10
    ILS Type: Instrument Landing System
    Component: Glidepath
    Instrument landing status: Out of Service

  5. Why did they continue to land at this uncontrolled poorly lit small town airport with a dead ILS when the better lit and much larger (with 7x24 ATC) Augusta Regional was available just ~25 miles further to the SE? Especially in those stormy Southeastern weather conditions (which are still ongoing as of this posting). Lots of questions here for the NTSB to answer including what rest this senior aged crew had. Being in the late night freight ops business is hard hours that even wears down the 20-somethig whippersnappers after a while.

    1. May have something to do with Amazon's newly opened distribution center at I-20 and US-221, just 13 unimpeded interstate miles from KHQU. Amazon also has distribution centers in El Paso and Lubbock.

      NTSB will document crew rest and the ILS NOTAM but is unlikely to comment about corporate pressures on freight haulers. If you are a freight dog who won't go into the nearby airport where the road hauler is expecting to meet you because ILS is out of service, the assignment probably will be given to someone who will.


    2. They had a long night flying, could probably see the airport lights and knew they were almost there but completely forgot about that tall pine trees coming up below them fast

  6. Duty hours for 135 are pretty stringent:


    Basically covers all the angles so the only way they could have exceeded that is if the flight was a Part 91 repositioning flight. Otherwise even cargo is transport of goods and/or people from A to B for compensation which falls under 135.

    1. Elapsed time from leaving the field at El Paso to the crash in Georgia was only six hours, including the two hours on the ground in Lubbock. ADS-B history suggests N283SA's previous flight operation finished two days earlier, also a night flight, same circadian rhythm.

      The FAR forbids scheduling/performing "flight time during the 24 consecutive hours preceding the scheduled completion of any flight segment without a scheduled rest period during that 24 hours".

      These pilots could have completed the circuit and returned direct to El Paso after a safe landing in Georgia without breaking the 135 crew rest rule.

    2. To all those making assumptions. Don’t do that. You all sound like a bunch of a-holes. Two professional pilots are gone and somehow you think you have whatever it is to determine why or what mistake they they made. That crew probably Had more time in a golf cart riding to the aircraft than your total time. Don’t be a dick. Let them RIP and thank them for their contribution to aviation.

    3. My experience with the FAA's "stringent" duty time requirements are that they don't mean squat. Zero. I flew 135 in jets carrying passengers. Violations were actually written into and printed in the company handbook. Pilots who complained to the feds were soon looking for another job. The local FSDO reacted angrily to anonymous complaints to D.C. and OKC. Continued pressure resulted in token enforcement for a short period, then a return to the old ways, with the offensive wording removed from print in the handbook, but fully understood by all. Absolutely disgusting. The FAA, that is. The operator was just trying to maximize profit, and was allowed to do so. Wink, wink,...
      This particular east coast FSDO was a short walk away, the relationship was a little too comfortable.
      I continue to feel nauseated and angry when dealing with them, can you tell?
      This experience may be unique to this FSDO, but uneven, capricious enforcement, or lack of it, appears to be the norm for the FAA. Notice the lethargy related to the early days of the 737 max problems, followed by the possibly over reactive CYA tactics once the public took notice?

  7. recent flightaware records (back to 7 July) note this as the first flight of N283SA to HQU. Earlier Tues, a Fairchild Dornier SA-227DC Metro (twin-turboprop) (SW4) landed 04:06 EDT.

    1. Might be explained by Amazon's newest distribution center 13 miles from KHQU that opened recently:


    2. To all those making assumptions. Don’t do that. You all sound like a bunch of a-holes. 2
      Professional pilots are gone and somehow you think you have whatever it is to determine why or what mistake they they made. That crew probably
      Had more time in a golf cart riding to the aircraft
      than your total time. Don’t be a dick. Let them RIP and thank them for their contribution to aviation.

    3. Looking at possible contributing factors is normal discussion activity after accidents.

      The mystery is not just the specific cause of this aircraft intercepting the ground short of the runway. There is also the question of whether freight hauling industry realities of needing to achieve on-time arrival at the optimal destination influenced pilot ADM.

    4. I'm sure these guys also played "What if" or "What could have happened" all the time. Most of the pilots I know do it. Whether you buy into the assumptions is up to you but good pilots are always looking for answers to these crashes.

  8. Cleared for the ILS.....Glideslope was OTS

  9. A couple of reports additional, No fire, No Fuel?

  10. My only experience with a Lear is two round trips from Chicago area to Denver. Second flight landed both ways in Iowa. Freight dog operation. I was in the back behind the pilots but stood up so I could see except for takeoff and landing. The second flight was night VFR and all four landings were VERY high rate of descent. 250 knots and high rate of descent 15 miles from the runway. In each case the airplane was on speed and on glidepath at 200 feet AGL. That kind of operation is not unusual, in fact I think is is quite common in lower end of freight dog operations. One must be extremely precise in such operations, the penalty for a small error is death. The Falcon pilots were significantly behind the airplane but I have seen MUCH worse with a satisfactory outcome.

    1. Yeah well the last return of this aircraft was only at 300 AGL and still showing over 1500fpm. That was a terrain collision waiting to happen in a Falcon 20. And I don't know what makes night time freighter operations any more dramatic like they are flying in a war zone because I've never heard of it before.

  11. The freight operators can be broken down into two general categories: 1- UPS, Fed X and a few smaller operators who operate to the same standard.
    2- All others
    There are multiple reasons for what I call the space shuttle approach. One of those reasons went away with the end of canceled check flying. There was significant pressure from the customer to "make schedule". In the Lear, especially if you have a strong tailwind at altitude, the total time on descent can be cut nearly in half. I never asked but I believe that most of the Lears flying checks did space shuttle descents any time traffic and weather allowed it. There are others who flew the same way in larger airplanes for a variety of reasons. I flew with a Captain who used 25% less fuel than any other pilot I had flown with. He could get more out of a given amount of fuel than anyone I ever flew with. We always landed with a generous amount of fuel.
    I only met the guy once but he was a company legend that in good weather he would pull the power back to idle starting descent and say "that's the last we need of those, meaning the engines. Excellent practice for the Canadian 767 that ran out of fuel, likewise the Canadian Airbus that glided into the Canary Islands?? out of fuel and of course Capt. Sully.

  12. Preliminary report is out. No mentions related to fuel or turf blighting.