the Beech 1900 Pitch Problem rears up again
A prime Candidate for grounding and design-fixing?

 

Any chance the elevator had been misrigged a la the Charlotte USAir Express Beech1900D?

Plane Carrying Two Crashes Off Cape Cod

YARMOUTH, Mass. - A plane carrying two crew members crashed Tuesday off Cape Cod, a spokeswoman for Colgan airline said.

The conditions of the two pilots was not immediately known. It was on its way from Hyannis to Albany, N.Y., said Mary Finnegan, a Colgan spokeswoman.

She said initial reports that the plane was carrying as many as 21 passengers were not accurate.

The plane is operated by Colgan Air, which is a carrier for U.S. Airways Express serving Cape Cod. It was in the middle of a "repositioning" flight, not a scheduled flight, Finnegan said.

The plane crashed 3 miles short of the runway at Hyannis Airport.

An aerial view of the crash site showed debris floating in the water.

"Our thoughts and prayers are that our crew members are OK," Finnegan said.

Colgan Air provides service to 31 cities and 11 states on the East Coast. It has hubs in Boston, New York, Pittsburgh and Washington.

Associated Press --

The plane, a Beech 1900, crashed 3 miles short of the runway at Hyannis Airport.

An aerial view of the crash site showed debris floating in the water.

"Our thoughts and prayers are that our crew members are OK," Finnegan said.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the pilot declared an emergency shortly after takeoff and was returning to land at Hyannis when the crash occurred about 3 miles off land. The plane was a Beechcraft 1900, the FAA said.

Rescue crews from area fire departments were on the scene. Television images from the crash site showed a small boat in the water near submerged sections of the plane, and a Coast Guard helicopter was hovering overhead.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Amy Thomas confirmed that two people on board. She described the plane as at twin engine Beechcraft with seating for 19 passengers.

CNN:

......The two members of the Colgan Air flight crew are still missing and no bodies have been recovered, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The search for the crew was called off at dusk, just hours after the 3:38 p.m. EDT crash. Officials expect to resume the search Wednesday morning.

Colgan Air identified the crew members as Capt. Scott Knabe, 39, of Cincinnati and 1st Officer Steven Dean, 38, of Euless, Texas.....

Knabe was hired as a first officer at Colgan in 2001 and upgraded to captain in January of this year. He was based at Hyannis and had 2,886 hours of flying time, half of them in the Beech 1900, Colgan Air said. Knabe had an accounting degree from Ohio State, held an airframe and power plant license and performed aerial surveys before joining Colgan, the company said.

Dean was hired last year, the company said. He also was based in Hyannis and had 2,500 total hours of flying time with 682 in the Beech 1900. Before joining Colgan, Dean was a flight instructor on single-engine aircraft, a pilot for a Dallas company, and a flight simulator instructor, the company said.
 

Boston Globe:

According to witnesses and one aviation source, the plane's movements suggested problems with controls that move the plane's nose up or down, such as elevators, which are moveable parts on the plane's tail. That has heightened concern at the National Transportation Safety Board, which is sending personnel who worked on the January crash in Charlotte, N.C., of another Beech 1900 to assist in the investigation, a federal transportation official said. Investigators are studying an outside contractor's maintenance of tail controls as a cause of that crash, which killed 21 people.

Joel Finley, a 30-year-old pilot from Sandwich, was the next in line to take off on Runway 24 behind the Colgan plane as he headed for tuna spotting. As the plane took off, Finley said he noticed its tail "porpoise a bit" -- move up and down like a porpoise. "As soon as he got up in the air he declared an emergency over the radio," Finley said in a telephone interview. "He banked left, he was going to turn left and return to Runway 33. A minute after that, the tower controller said that the plane fell off the radar."

Finley said the pilot reported a "runaway trim" problem, referring to the portion of the horizontal tail wing that controls the plane's equilibrium and "eases the pressure on the stick" or pilot controls.

An aviation source said a controller watching the airplane on radar thought it was performing as if there was a problem with the plane's elevators, tail flaps that help move the plane's nose up and down.

Chris Tarozzi, 19, of Centerville, an air dispatcher for Air Cape Cod at the Barnstable airport, said people at the airport told him that the plane's crew had asked for and received a special permit for a "ferry flight" to Albany to fix a "trim tab," a component that helps control the plane. But Tarozzi said he had no direct knowledge of the flight crew's plans.

* * * * *

Cape Cod Times (edited for here):

Tim Travis, a spokesman for Raytheon Aircraft Co., which manufactured the Beechcraft 1900D: Runaway trim can cause a pilot to lose control of a plane, but it is not a common cause of crashes, Travis said. "I don't think you could point to trim as a factor in a large number of accidents," he said.

Federal investigators are looking at the possibility of trim malfunctions in another Beechcraft 1900D crash in Charlotte, N.C. Twenty-one people were killed in the January crash, which was a US Airways Express flight operated by Air Midwest Airlines.

Investigators in that crash also are looking at a possible sudden shift in balance in the plane and recent maintenance.

John Nichols saw the plane. "It almost looked like a meteor came out of the sky. It looked like someone tossed it straight down into the water."

Several beachgoers at Kalmus Beach in Hyannis said they noticed the plane flying parallel to the beach. It was flying smoothly, but was going down fast and steep. "It just dropped right out of the sky," said Lynn Spaulding.

Marstons Mills resident Bruce Reid said the plane's motor was running when he first spotted it. Then suddenly it went quiet.

* * * * *

Cape Cod Times

Capt. Scott A. Knabe followed his dream to become a pilot even though it meant leaving his accounting career in his early 30s. Knabe, 39, of Cincinnati died along with First Officer Steven Dean, 38, of Euless, Texas, when their 19-passenger aircraft plummeted into Nantucket Sound yesterday afternoon.

They were the only two on board and had been taking the plane to Albany International Airport for a

 future passenger flight.

Knabe made his short life count. He followed his passions "even from a young age," said his mother, Alice Knabe of New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

He became an accountant after graduating from Ohio State University, she said. But then he developed an interest in flying, and got the hours necessary to become a commercial pilot when he was 33 or 34.

He flew spotter planes to find forest fires in Kentucky to complete his hours, said his mother.

"Before that, he was very active in the Indy car racing," Mrs. Knabe said. "Not as a driver, but in the pit crew."

Knabe has worked for Colgan Air since 2001. He was hired as a first officer at Colgan in 2001 and upgraded to captain in January this year. He was based in Hyannis and had 2,886 hours of flying time, 1,358 of them in the Beechcraft 1900, according to US Airways Express. He held an airframe and powerplant license.

Knabe was not married. His father died three years ago. He is survived by his mother, a brother and a long-time girlfriend in Cincinnati.

Dean, a Colgan Air employee since 2002, was married and had an 8-year-old daughter, said Mary Finnigan, spokeswoman for Colgan Air.

Before joining Colgan, Dean was a flight instructor on single-engine aircraft, a pilot for a Dallas company and a flight simulator instructor, according to US Airways. He had 2,500 hours of flying time with 682 hours in the Beechcraft 1900.

Finnigan said the death of the two crew members devastated Colgan, a company of 550 employees, and more than 200 pilots.

"We're a small, close-knit family," she said.

Boston Globe:

Charles J. "Chuck" Colgan, company chairman, told an airline trade publication recently that the airline is now doing its own heavy maintenance as a cost-cutting effort. "We used to farm all that out before," he said.

There have been three fatal crashes involving Beech 1900D planes since 1998, according to the FAA.

Tarozzi [FBO?] was fueling a plane when he saw the airport's emergency vehicles scurrying on the tarmac. On his handheld radio, he heard air traffic controllers urging the Colgan Air pilots to return whenever they could. "The airport's yours. You have it. Let me know what's going on," Tarozzi recalled the tower saying. He could not hear the pilots. Next, tower officials told the pilots, "You're OK now."

"And that was it," he said. "I didn't hear anything after that. . . . I almost felt like sick afterwards, being a pilot myself."

It was apparently the first fatal crash for the airline, founded by Colgan, a Democratic state senator from Virginia. Calls to his home were not returned. His son, Mike, the company's president, issued a statement mourning the pilots, whom he called "well-respected and well-liked crewmembers."

Pilot cited 'trim' trouble

Trim problem also eyed in N.C. crash that killed 21

By DAMIAN PALETTA and K.C. MYERS
STAFF WRITERS

Federal authorities will investigate whether an equipment malfunction led to yesterday's fatal air crash off Yarmouth.


A Coast Guard helicopter hovers over the dive boat Victorious which is anchored over wreckage from the Beechcraft 1900 that plunged into Nantucket Sound yesterday afternoon, killing two men aboard.

The two pilots on board the plane, a US Airways Express flight operated by Colgan Air, were killed. There were no passengers on the plane, which had taken off from Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis and was headed for Albany, N.Y.

As investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board inspect the wreckage of the 19-seat Beechcraft 1900D, one of the pilot's final transmissions could offer a clue to the accident's cause.

In a distressed voice, the unnamed Colgan Air crew member told airport officials he was declaring an emergency because of "runaway trim," according to John Falvey, a private pilot from Mashpee who heard the transmission. The plane turned around and was headed back to Hyannis when the crash occurred at 3:38 p.m.

Trim controls the pitch or attitude of an aircraft and can be adjusted by the horizontal stabilizer portion of a plane's tail, according to Tim Travis, a spokesman for Raytheon Aircraft Co., which manufactured the Beechcraft 1900D.

Runaway trim can cause a pilot to lose control of a plane, but it is not a common cause of crashes, Travis said. "I don't think you could point to trim as a factor in a large number of accidents," he said.

Federal investigators are looking at the possibility of trim malfunctions in another Beechcraft 1900D crash in Charlotte, N.C. Twenty-one people were killed in the January crash, which was a US Airways Express flight operated by Air Midwest Airlines.

Investigators in that crash also are looking at a possible sudden shift in balance in the plane and recent maintenance.

Yesterday, many Cape beachgoers assumed the plume was smoke from an exploding marine vessel.

"I still cannot believe how big that splash was," said John Nichols, 26, of Norwell, who was carrying his 5-year-old nephew when he saw the plane.

"It almost looked like a meteor came out of the sky. It looked like someone tossed it straight down into the water."

Several beachgoers at Kalmus Beach in Hyannis said they noticed the plane flying parallel to the beach. It was flying smoothly, but was going down fast and steep.

"It just dropped right out of the sky," said Lynn Spaulding.

Marstons Mills resident Bruce Reid said the plane's motor was running when he first spotted it. Then suddenly it went quiet.

Colgan Air has a maintenance hangar at Albany International Airport, where the plane was headed. But Doug Myers, spokesman for the Albany airport, said the plane was returning to replace another plane for a scheduled flight and not for maintenance.

Colgan Air also has a maintenance hangar at Barnstable Municipal Airport.

Raytheon Aircraft stopped production of the Beechcraft 1900D last year after demand dropped, Travis said.

Debby McElroy, president of the Regional Airline Association in Washington, D.C., said many travelers have opted to drive the 250 to 350 mile distances covered by the smaller aircrafts since Sept. 11.

Operating costs also have made it harder for regional airlines to operate the aircraft.

In 1999, 230 Beechcraft 1900Ds were in service. In 2002, there were just 154 in service, McElroy said.

The aircraft involved in yesterday's accident was built in 1993 and acquired by Colgan in January from Raytheon Aircraft, according to US Airways. The aircraft has logged 16,503 hours, 1,219 of them by Colgan.

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