Thursday, March 04, 2010

Pilots die attempting a barrel roll in a Cessna 550B Citation Bravo

by B. N. Sullivan

BFULast month I wrote about a Cessna 550B Citation Bravo (registration OK-ACH) that crashed in Germany. The aircraft, operating as Time Air Flight TIE039C, was en route from Prague to Karlstad, Sweden at the time of the accident. Both crew members on board were killed.

A reader has passed along a link to a press release about the accident investigation from the Bundesstelle für Flugunfalluntersuchung (BFU), i.e., the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation. Apparently the accident followed an aerobatic maneuver -- specifically, a barrel roll -- from which the aircraft did not recover.

Here is the full text of the BFU press resease:
Air accident on 14 February 2010 near Reinhardtsdorf-Schöna (Saxony)

The twin-jet Cessna 550 B, departed Prague (Czech Republic) at 20:08 hrs (MEZ), for a ferry flight to Karlstad, Sweden. Aboard were two crew members. At 20:19 hrs, the aircraft's radar signal vanished from the monitors of the Air Traffic Service Provider. The crash site was found during the night close to the village Reinhardtsdorf-Schöna in the area of the mountain Großen Zschirnstein, Saxony.

In the following few days rescue work was under way during which the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) were recovered. Analysis of the Cockpit Voice Recorder showed evidence that shortly before the crash an aerobatics manoeuvre (barrel roll) was initiated.

The aircraft was neither designed nor approved for such manoeuvres.

The BFU issued the following Safety Recommendations:

Recommendation No.: 10/2010

The CAA-CZ responsible for air operators within the Czech Republic should arrange for an inspection of the involved air operator's aircraft in regard to structural overload.

Recommendation No.: 11/2010

The CAA-CZ should determine actions for the improvement of the air operator's Quality Management System and the Safety Culture

The investigation into the accident by the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU) is still in progress.
This sad tale reminded me of that old saying, “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots -- but there are no old, bold pilots.”