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Mooney 201 lands on high power lines in MD


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Here is the position and distance from the runway where the plane impacted the tower vs the straight in approach. The lower line is the straight in and the upper line is the distance to the impact site.

GAI-Course.jpg.593aa6a8d975f2afabd7fdccfed8e71e.jpg

My understanding is that the minimum crossing altitude at JOXOX is 1280ft at 2.4nm from the runway. Given a TDZE of 520, at 1.2 miles the altitude on glidepath should be 900ft which is 380ft AGL. This is 111ft above minimums of 789ft MSL which won't be reached until a bit closer to the runway.

Perhaps someone with some math skills can share with us at what exact altitude the airplane should have been at this position 1.22 miles from the runway given the approach profile. And what kind of deviation one might expect on the CDI and glideslope in such a position. Are we talking about one dot off or major deflection?

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26 minutes ago, 201er said:

Here is the position and distance from the runway where the plane impacted the tower vs the straight in approach. The lower line is the straight in and the upper line is the distance to the impact site.

GAI-Course.jpg.593aa6a8d975f2afabd7fdccfed8e71e.jpg

My understanding is that the minimum crossing altitude at JOXOX is 1280ft at 2.4nm from the runway. Given a TDZE of 520, at 1.2 miles the altitude on glidepath should be 900ft which is 380ft AGL. This is 111ft above minimums of 789ft MSL which won't be reached until a bit closer to the runway.

Perhaps someone with some math skills can share with us at what exact altitude the airplane should have been at this position 1.22 miles from the runway given the approach profile. And what kind of deviation one might expect on the CDI and glideslope in such a position. Are we talking about one dot off or major deflection?

A 3 degree GS (as it's shown in the approach plate) is around 300ft per nm. That makes around 320ft at 1.22sm. Considering that this path cross the threshold at 40ft, you're talking about 520 (TDZE) + 40 (TCH) + 320 (GS) = 880 MSL at 1.22sm. That's if your are right in the center.

I understand that LPV has same sensitivity when close to the runway as ILS. A full scape deviation is 0.7. In that case, right at full scale deviation below GS, we are talking about 520 (TDZE) + 40 (TCH) + 230 (GS@2.3 degrees) = 790MSL.

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7 hours ago, Shadrach said:

We sold the Abarth a few months before our first child was born.  It was my wife's commuter and was bought to replace her precious Cooper S.  It never lived up to my expectations in terms of efficiency but made up for it in spades by exceeding every expectation when it came to fun.  Very solid little car that people will still be talking about in 50 years. I still miss it after 7 years.

AD6F8E04-6A68-4E30-8437-57C8A6D768F5.thumb.jpeg.37c912d7cf7a17d4071057cb95302bf8.jpeg

How so on efficiency? On the all seasons I run about 36 MPH average and about 33 on the Performance tires.

And SUPER low maintenance.  I have replaced a few bulbs, one set of each type of tires, one set of brake pads (fronts probably are getting needy), one battery, and had to have the winter wheels (stock 16” Abarth wheels) refinished.  10 years 92K miles

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17 minutes ago, Pinecone said:

How so on efficiency? On the all seasons I run about 36 MPH average and about 33 on the Performance tires.

And SUPER low maintenance.  I have replaced a few bulbs, one set of each type of tires, one set of brake pads (fronts probably are getting needy), one battery, and had to have the winter wheels (stock 16” Abarth wheels) refinished.  10 years 92K miles

30 mpg was about the best I do with mixed gentle driving. The upshot was that was driving it like a teenager never yielded any worse than about 24mpg. I loved the way it snorted and barked off throttle.

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From several youtube videos playing the live atc audio feed from earlier in the flight, it seems this pilot was having serious trouble flying vectors and programming his gps. You could see this coming. Descending below glidepath is a distressingly common cause of ifr accidents. No equipment failures required. He probably struck the wires away from the tower, and they redirected him into the structure, at a reduced speed.


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34 minutes ago, Nippernaper said:

From several youtube videos playing the live atc audio feed from earlier in the flight, it seems this pilot was having serious trouble flying vectors and programming his gps. You could see this coming. Descending below glidepath is a distressingly common cause of ifr accidents. No equipment failures required. He probably struck the wires away from the tower, and they redirected him into the structure, at a reduced speed.


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Two towers side by side. According to the fire chief he hit and severed wires on the north tower and then hit the south tower.

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1 hour ago, redbaron1982 said:

Was the guy even IFR rated? Or was he incapacitated? It's shocking how sloppy he was even with simple indications from ATC.

Yes but he didn't seem to know the waypoints associated with the RNAV 14 approach at his home base - KGAI.  When ATC told him multiple times to fly to BEGKA (IF) the pilot was not able to figure out what or where it was.  He turned about 90 degrees off course.  ATC had to spell it for him.  At one point they told him to fly to RUANE (IAF) and he never turned the right direction.  It is as if he didn't have any charts and if he did it is as if he never briefed or looked at the RNAV(GPS)14 plate before.

merk.png.b0ea5611be2552bd9b041e54ddb6af6b.png

kgai.png.fc6e38db509b0c3c5a4ba6f75f55825f.png

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13 minutes ago, 1980Mooney said:

Yes but he didn't seem to know the waypoints associated with the RNAV 14 approach at his home base - KGAI.  When ATC told him multiple times to fly to BEGKA (IF) the pilot was not able to figure out what or where it was.  He turned about 90 degrees off course.  ATC had to spell it for him.  At one point they told him to fly to RUANE (IAF) and he never turned the right direction.  It is as if he didn't have any charts and if he did it is as if he never briefed or looked at the RNAV(GPS)14 plate before.

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Not even load the approach in the 430, because he would have had the waypoints right there if he would have loaded the approach. 

It's really very strange, it would really insightful for the guy to show up and explain what happened. 

In the 911 audio, near the end you can hear him saying "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have descent that low" or something along those lines. 

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8 hours ago, Hank said:

Interesting . . . . The pilot sounds like he's in pretty good shape.

https://www.foxnews.com/us/maryland-plane-crash-911-calls-released-revealing-harrowing-details

 

I find it odd. He had just made a mess of the approach, descended below minimums and then hit a tower but he didn’t even sound like his heart rate was elevated. The 911 dispatcher seemed more unnerved by the call then he did. Sounded surreal when he broke off the 911 call to yell “how’s it going” to the initial first responder. 

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6 hours ago, 1980Mooney said:

When ATC told him multiple times to fly to BEGKA (IF) the pilot was not able to figure out what or where it was.  He turned about 90 degrees off course.  ATC had to spell it for him.  At one point they told him to fly to RUANE (IAF) and he never turned the right direction

I am worried he flew direct FAF (TIMBE), in the heat of the moment, if one does that on WAAS they don't get glide slope (official GS in LPV or advisory +V in LNAV+V) and they don't get the missed procedure at M/DA, they only fly FAF-RWY leg with "approach not active", on non-WAAS GPS you don't get APR annunciation but at least you know that you don't have glideslope and hopefully you are used to fly without one 

On this approach on these conditions, I won’t go down without LPV flashing and Gerorge (AP) holding the yoke for me !

I know ATC do give shortcuts to IF (BEGKA) or vector to 2nm before FAF on GPS but in these conditions of low visibility & ceiling, I think flying the whole approach from IAF (RUANE) is the safest bet, you just ask ATC direct "RUANE" and sit on it, no need to hurry up as there is not much traffic going on: fiddling with GPS approach with direct to FAF and 90deg intercept course is usually bad: unless one carefully monitors GPS messages, they only know about it when glidesslope fails (on GPS-W) or glitch when loading missed procedure at M/DA (on non-W GPS)

 

I recall while ago getting direct to a point to start procedure that was not listed on my GPS as IAF or transition, I gently asked ATC to get direct ABCDE that I have active my GPS and briefed on plates already (one can activate legs, press here and there, check taa, open plates and re-breif...I was lazy and slightly behind aircraft on that one)

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When the live ATC recording pick up and ATC clears the aircraft to BEGKA, and the aircraft turns NW….I wonder if they had simply mis-entered BECKA instead.  This is a fix in the general direction the aircraft turned.  I’ve certainly misheard or misdialed fixes in the 430.  I know one could have just set up the procedure and pulled it that way, but perhaps they did it manually instead when given the fix.  Not that this would be a direct reason for the accident, but I know these things can set up for some anxiety that can carry through the flight.

Edit: only hearing half of the conversation on recordings I’ve heard, so hard to know what was read back to ATC….but BEGKA and BECKA can certainly sound similar.

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14 hours ago, Shadrach said:

30 mpg was about the best I do with mixed gentle driving. The upshot was that was driving it like a teenager never yielded any worse than about 24mpg. I loved the way it snorted and barked off throttle.

I see.  I leave the display in Average Fuel Economy to temper my driving. :D

But spring, after switching to the performance summer tires and driving with the windows down, it is HARD to keep off the loud pedal.

 

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5 hours ago, Ibra said:

I recall while ago getting direct to a point to start procedure that was not listed on my GPS as IAF or transition, I gently asked ATC to get direct ABCDE that I have active my GPS and briefed on plates already (one can activate legs, press here and there, check taa, open plates and re-breif...I was lazy and slightly behind aircraft on that one)

This I think is an important take away and a reminder that similar to not being afraid to declare an emergency nobody should be afraid to exercise 91.3.  

Fly safe!

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from the useless knowledge category.  You can tell the voltage from how long the insulators are.   The insulators are just a bit longer than the voltage can arc.   So put a 5 foot person closer than the insulators are and you with have a nice arcing show.   BBBBZZZZZZTTTTT

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I’m wondering if hypoxia was as issue (or fatigue). That medical posted looks like an SI (not valid for any class after one year) so maybe he had sleep apnea or some other condition that impaired him. The approach track posted on the YouTube video (how did they even get that?) and the one-sided ATC audio certainly don’t give the impression of someone on their “A game.” Not sure how experienced the passenger was or if she was impaired and whether or not the pilot had any insight into how poorly he was flying at the time. I feel that if ATC kept calling out my deviations like that my wife would have spoken up. I’m jealous of the couples here who are both pilots and get to help each other out in situations like this.

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2 hours ago, takair said:

had simply mis-entered BECKA instead

Great local knowledge and I could easily see myself confusing BECKA for BEGKA since I'm not really familiar with the area.  (Haven't been in the DC area since pre 9/11.) 

But, sitting squarely in the "arm chair" piloting zone, I would think if he had the approach loaded it would have been a lot harder to mistake the fix.  Granted we'll never know, but in theory it should have already been in his list.  I have not flown with a 430w, but I have heard people say it is a little harder to switch modes.  Wondering (again, thought process not saying he blew it in any way) if he thought he was going to get Vectors To Final and had already Activated the Approach when ATC sent him to a fix?  If not fully up on the box it could have thrown him to get out of the V2F and find the fix.  Maybe someone that has the box can fill me in?

 

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25 minutes ago, ilovecornfields said:

I’m wondering if hypoxia was as issue (or fatigue). That medical posted looks like an SI (not valid for any class after one year) so maybe he had sleep apnea or some other condition that impaired him. The approach track posted on the YouTube video (how did they even get that?) and the one-sided ATC audio certainly don’t give the impression of someone on their “A game.” Not sure how experienced the passenger was or if she was impaired and whether or not the pilot had any insight into how poorly he was flying at the time. I feel that if ATC kept calling out my deviations like that my wife would have spoken up. I’m jealous of the couples here who are both pilots and get to help each other out in situations like this.

CO2 perhaps?

 

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Patrick Merkle has apparently given some interviews.  Here's a short blurb I just ran across.  (Sorry if it was already posted, I didn't see it anywhere.)

https://wjla.com/news/local/maryland-plane-crash-patrick-merkle-pilot-power-tower-gaithersburg-montgomery-county-airpark-miraculous-one-point-landing?fbclid=IwAR1gclJbhQQTAMvBkwmIKh3NuuOPcgDhzFYbvS5ZMluhqAwwts-CTN9L4MQ

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