22. November 2004 · Comments Off on Plane Sent to Pick Up Bush #41 Crashes · Categories: General

A private jet that was chartered to fly former President George HW Bush to Ecuador crashed this morning on approach to Houston Hobby Airport, in dense fog. Three crew members on board were killed in the crash. A complete story can be found here.

In a post last month, I wrote concerning the crash of a Beech Baron in Atlanta. The NTSB has released the preliminary accident report, which reads in part:

“….The personal flight operated under 14CFR Part 91. Instrument meterological Conditions existed at the time of the accident and a flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the instrument rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The …flight departed DeKalb-Peachtree (PDK) Airport in Chamblee, GA, on Oct. 19, at 1045L.

According to the FAA, the pilot was issued departure information for a south departure to Venice, FL. About 7 miles south of PDK, the pilot reported that he was in trouble. The departure controller immediately issued the pilot radar vectors for an eastbound heading, but the pilot never responded to the radar vector information. Shortly afterward, radio and radar contact was lost. Witnesses in the vicinity of the accident site reported seeing the airplane spinning out of the clouds in a flat attitude. A review of weather data and witness reports reveals that low clouds, fog, heavy rain and thunderstorm activity were in the area at the time of the accident. Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane wreckage was scattered over an area 40 feet long and 38 feet wide. The airplane wreckage was adjacent to an automotive repair shop with debris from the right wing resting on the roof. Both the airplane and the building sustained fire damage. The airplane rested in the upright position. The cockpit and cabin areas of the airframe were badly fire damaged.”

It appears possible that the pilot lost an engine shortly after takeoff, and with the plane in the clouds, became disoriented and failed to properly correct for the torque being produced by the operating engine. This is deduced from the witness report that the airplane was in a flat spin. Other factors, such as the presence of thunderstorms in the area, most likely contributed to the crash. Any pilot would heartily agree that one does not mess with thunderstorms. The pilot always loses, and the thunderstorm always wins. The entire truth of this accident will probably never be known, but this report should serve as a reminder to all of us who sit in the left seat of an aircraft that things can go wrong, and the whole situation can go to hell in a handbasket real fast. We pilots are behooved to read and learn, and always, as the Boy Scouts tell us, Be Prepared!

Joe Comer

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