Loss of Control Leads to CFIT – Part 1
- Jared VanLue
The NTSB released their factual report of a Hawker 700 crash in Akron, OH (KAKR) a few months ago, and the facts are a little disturbing. As usual, it's never the one event that causes an accident, but a combination of factors.
As a CFI-I with 20 years of experience, type ratings from large turboprops to airliners, and 9000+ hours of flight time, I've learned a few things along the way. However, there was a simple maxim from a professor when I was going through flight school that has always stuck with me. He called it his "time compression theory" and (I'm paraphrasing because it's been a few years) the basic idea was that for any given flight, you will be overwhelmed by data, information, procedures, and tasks during the last 10% of any flight. How you prepared in advance of that 10% determines the outcome of your flight.
I've always remembered that idea and applied it. If I've got a 4-hour leg coming up with an ILS at the end, no big deal. We will start thinking about it sometime in enroute. If I've got a 34-minute flight, with questionable weather at my destination, a non-precision approach, older avionics, and a new copilot, I'd better be thinking about my procedures back at the departure FBO.
The crew of the Hawker 700 that crashed in AKR had a lot of factors that they couldn't control going against them. Both pilots were new to the company, the flight was short with lots of task saturation, weather was at minimums, and there was a non-precision approach. The copilot was flying the aircraft and was having trouble "keeping up" with the aircraft. He configured incorrectly and had enough trouble with his speed control versus Angle of Attack that the captain had to say something to him several times.
Take a moment and review the details of the accident in the NTSB Report. Place yourself in that cockpit as the captain. When would have you gone from verbally issuing corrections as the pilot monitoring to taking control of the aircraft?