I was at the crash site today for a couple hours. I am not a pilot but will do my best to contribute what I saw.
There was indeed fuel in the tanks and you could smell it everywhere. As the pictures indicate luckily there was no fire as it crashed only 15’ from a house where a mother was at home.
The aircraft struck the ground nose first at a 45 degree angle with wings almost perfectly level. The gear was down and the flaps appeared to be in the down position. Only the tips of the prop could be seen above the ground and the engines were buried well past the leading edge or up to the main gear spar. I was amazed by the force of the impact and how much the front half of the plane (wings forward) had been either completely smashed flat or buried into the front yard of this house. The fuselage broke over the top of the plane and then fell backward almost flat to the ground and the wings broke forward just past the engine cowlings making it look as though the plane had belly landed. The impact threw dirt and clods of grass onto the roof the house and parts of the plane were found approx. 30 feet behind the plane. The parts appeared to be a fragment of the nose gear wheel rim (it was cast aluminum?) as well as the nose gear door which I would imagine came off during the nose impact.
The plane crashed approx. 200-300 yards from the right center line of the RWY 36 which is opposite of the missed approach procedure for MWK. He appeared to be flying an approx heading of 190-210 as if he was attempting to cross back over the field rather than complete the downwind leg and then turn base and final. One eyewitness I spoke with who also saw the impact indicated that the plane was very low and slow (he speculated 150 or just above the tree tops). He also seemed to think he heard something odd with the engine or that one was not running but after he called the engines a diesel I surmised that he probably didnt hear very many turbo prop engines and thus I didnt put much confidence into his opinion regarding the engines, after all almost everything up there is a piston.
NTSB got there and suited up in the blue environmental suits with boots masks and gloves and proceeded to tear into the fuselage. They removed seats and interior panels first, some of which still had a great deal of matter which out of respect for those who perished I wont elaborate on. They began to tag items with small red tags and used small red bags to remove what I could guess was again matter etc. Eventually then they began to remove the seats and tag them as well along with the flight log books, manuals, etc all were tagged. They also located the flight data recorder. When they got the seats and interior panels removed they were then able to see the instrument panel. They began to remove the instruments very slowly one by one. It was really odd because the IP was actually at ground level.so they were standing on the ground reaching down into the nose of the plane and cutting out the gauges with wire cutters and then photographing everything. Everything had to be wiped down with alcohol and then photographed; the gloves on one of the NTSB investigators hands were very red by this time due to again the amount of matter from the crash. Actually not sure if the above information is appropriate or not so if a moderator wants to edit it out I would understand. Just trying to report what I saw. I will say this. I was very impressed with the NTSB investigators. These guys seemed like a group of very professional and seasoned investigators.
From talking to other pilots visiting the crash site as well as eyewitnesses I would surmise the following. Keep in mind that I am not a pilot and have no formal training in crash forensics etc. but here goes anyway…
My speculation is that the pilot stalled the aircraft. Perhaps because he became distracted when he realized he had made the wrong turn out for his missed approach and was trying to steer away from the 3100 obstacle as detailed in the approach plate. After all he was extremely close to the runway to be in a downwind maneuver, perhaps he was trying to get a visual on the field itself and that distracted him? And if the eyewitness was exagerating (150’) on how low he was lets say he was actually 1000’ AGL he would still be well below the 4000 required by the approach plate anyway since MWK elevation is 1247. So he was at 2200 feet and the missed requires 4000?
Either way the facts are:
- Pilot did not execute the missed approach procedure correctly. Turned right instead of left and Did not climb to 4000 and hold.
- Did not maintain sufficient airspeed and most likely stalled the aircraft. Only variable would be a mechanical failure etc.
Anyway for whatever it’s worth those are my thoughts…