Pilatus PC-12 Down in MT

Former Microsoft Exec dies in training flight.

Thought cfijames might be interested. A buddy of mine also flies a PC-12. This one had its certificate issued only two weeks ago.

ANN article

N768H - Not much to track.

Look forward to hearing what happened.

“Harbers, 54, led engineering and development work on Microsoft’s Office software program during the 1980s.”

I wonder if he was ever given the opportunity to work on the Flight Simulator project… or even if he’d ever used it…

It may sound morbid but I enjoy reading accident reports. They can teach you a lot. It’s rarely one thing that causes an accident. Rather, it’s a string of small things that lead up to the crash.

Same thing in life: you let the small things get to you and your life becomes not so good.

Yes, I agree! Accident reports make for good reading. Nuthin’ wrong with learning from the other guys’ mistakes…

As stated, yes, accident reports are a good way to learn how to be a better pilot. A very respected friend of mine who is a pilot once told me that you learn lessons while flying by doing something wrong and getting away with it. Accident reports give the information about those who didn’t get away with it.

I knew the CFI. He taught me how to fly, and was in my wedding last summer. He was also a KC-135 pilot for the reserves (rank of Captain), had his ATP,and used to be a demo pilot for Pilatus. Seems like they were doing an engine failure on takeoff and the student put it into an approach turn stall attempting to return to the airport. Jason (the CFI) would ultimately tell you that it was his responsibility to ensure the safety of the flight. This was a tragic loss of both individuals, especially my friend. Jason was the safest pilot I have ever met. He was always by the book. The lesson here is that no matter how safe you fly, these things can still creep up on you.

Sorry to hear about your friend.

The true lesson though is that a student will all too often take an FI with him when he screws the pooch and freezes the controls.

There was a tale told (probably apocryphal as I’ve heard similar from USAF and USMC pukes) during primary flight training at Rucker years ago about the FI who would always wear his sidearm during flights with students.

One student finally garnered enough courage to ask if the sidearm was for cottonmouths or water mocassins if they wound up going down in the local scrub.

“No” came the reply, “That’s for you if you don’t release the controls fast enough when I say ‘My ship’!”

The preliminary accident report for N768H is available.

“Another witness said the airplane flew across the valley, pitched up, and banked right “aggressively.” He said the airplane pitched down, accelerated in a nearly 45 degree nose down attitude, and then began to ‘roll level’.”

What’s the consensus of opinion? Stall? Pitch up followed by a pitch down after “aggressive” banking would seem to say so.

CFI? What say you son?

Can’t help but think that another 500’ AGL would have enabled them to recover.

Very, very sad.

Yes it is very sad.
At full flight idle the drag from the props is quite extreme. In an actual engine failure on of the first steps is to move the condition lever to the cut-off/feather position. Transitioning from a nose-high climb to a nose-down glide must be done very quickly or airspeed will decrease very rapidly. It is important to keep the AOA indicator “on speed”. We practiced engine failures in the simlulator from as low as 500agl and still made it back to the airport. That said, I wouldn’t advocate practicing low-level engine failures outside of the simulator.

I agree. However, knowing Jason, he would never take a risk when practicing emergency procedures. When he graduated from USAF flight training (keep in mind he already had his ATP BEFORE he attended), he recieved the top honors, including the award given by your peers as the most professional all around pilot. His sid ejob with the PC-12 was to fly with new owners, to give them the amount of instruction they needed in order to get insurance for the plane (not sure on the exact specifics). CFIJames, do you instruct in the PC-12? If so, since it is a relatively small community, you may have come across Jason in the past. He used to demo the plane for prospective buyers in Broomfield. I was lucky enough to log 2 hours in the left seat with him back in 2000. What a truly awesome aircraft. From a safety standpoint it is one of the safest. low stall speed, seats that are designed to withstand high G impact. He probably felt most comfortable in that plane that any other.

I guess what I want to bring to this discussion is a voice to advoccate for the CFI in this incident. I am as eager to read the final report as anyone else, albeit with an eerie sense of familiarity. I have flown with many flight instructors over the years, but none compare to him (forgive me cfijames, but we have yet to fly together). We would practice emercency situations in controlled environments, yet he would have a way of making you feel like you were actually in the emergency.

For example, for my private license, we flew over the airport at 3000 feet agl, and he simulated an engine failure. To my suprise, he actually pulled the mixture and shut down the engine. Of course we had plenty of wiggle room there to circle down and land. And there was no other traffic in the area at the time. However, I had to deal with the REAL WORLD feelings of anxiety and fear that came with seeing the prop stop spinning (he made me wait). That fear can be paralyzing, and one not easily duplicated in a simulator where you know that you can’t die. Even though he knew that we were safe, I did not. It took me at least 10 seconds to finally start going through the checklist. The second time he did that, I was over the initial fear, and was able to think with a level head. That is the kind of pilot Jason trained. He was able to make you safe in real world situations, not just in theory, but in actual practice.

Opinions to this type of flight training vary, but I firmly believe in it. This particular situation seems to be one of an approach turn stall (no doubt the student attempting to reverse course and return to the airport), which can be very violent and almost impossible to recover from. From the eyewitness reports, it appears that Jason (assuming he took over) was almost able to recover, but as stated in another post, an extra 500’ might have made all the difference. Either way, it was a great loss to the aviation community in general.

I did not mean to offend you, nor to disrespect your friend.
That said, what happened, happened.
I once got into an argument with a friend of mine after she slid off the road while going around a curve in snowy conditions. I told her she must have been going too fast. Her argument was that she was only going __x__mph. My argument was, regardless of what speed it was, the resulting collision with the tree clearly showed that she was going too fast for that curve, that second, in those conditions. Period.

The airplane crashed.
You friend might have been the best pilot in the world, but (speculation) something went wrong in the cockpit, with disatrous results. There are hundreds of accident reports of students, with cfi’s aboard, losing control during a crosswind landing and running off the runway. The instructor is always found at fault in these accidents. It is the cfi’s job to prepare for the worst, and expect the unexpected. The job of any CFI is to not let the student get into a situation where the student, or if necessary the CFI, can recover.

If this manuever is so violent, and almost impossible to recover from, why was it allowed to happen? Such a “nearly impossible to recover from” situation is the perfect example of why simulators exist. If it was a simulated engine failure, where was the simulation?

If you want to be an advocate for the CFI in this case, keep in mind that whatever the pilot/student did wrong, the CFI’s duty is to correct it.

I’m sure neither man expected to crash, but was it a “controlled environment”? Quite sadly, the outcome seems to show that it was not.

I apologize if I got off my original intent of joining in on this thread. I saw a discussion regarding the plane crash that killed one of my best friends. I thought I could eulogize him a bit and bring a personal side to the discussion. I did not intend to get into a back and forth over proper flight instruction.

I now see that it was wrong of me to get involved, and I perhaps have said too much, maybe out of hurt for losing a friend, and a desire to reconcile what has happened to him. I just hope this never happens to any of you.

I have roughly 1700 hrs of PC-12 time and the problem with learing that you may do simulated engine failures and safely return to the airport at 500’ ALG is COMPLETE BS. The Scottsdale and Orlando PC-12 sims are (incorrectly) programmed with glide performance that equals autofeather. (during my last annual training event in scottsdale the instructor admitted the sim was programmed incorrectly). The ONLY way you can get it to autofeather under power is to lose oil pressure.

Yet they continue to teach it anyway and this accident is the result of that training. They are giving PC-12 pilots a false sense of security by demonstrating a return to the airport at 500’ after engine failure. Again, the sim is in autofeather glide mode, (700 feet/minute mode), something the airplane simply will not do. If you don’t immediately feather that prop you need to pitch down over 10 degrees just to keep it flying.

Don’t you guys remember that old FAA AC titled “the impossable turn”? It truly is an impossable turn to make in any airplane. Why do we need to keep losing good/great pilots because they forget (or think they are too good) not to follow the basics we all learned in Private Pilot 101.

I can’t think of any airplane I have flown from a 150 to a 747 where you try to return to the takeoff runway opposite direction. Remember the basics, and never let a cheese-dick flight training center in Orlando or Scottsdale try to sell you on some procedure/manauver you know is not right.

Thomas39, welcome to the forums. Please check your personal messages (way up at the top of this window)

I have to agree that the idea of making a turn to the opposite runway you just departed from is almost always a very bad idea. I watched a fellow I know take off one day in his Mustang. At about 100’ the engine started to come apart. Rather than make the 180 back he held his altitude as best he could and milked it back around a highly abbreviated pattern to the same runway he left from. Lots of surprised folks to see a Mustang go overhead at maybe 50-75’ coughing and sputtering.
Also, I don’t care how many ways it was set up to be as safe as possible, securing the engine to simulate a failure is not very smart either. There are too many ways that can end with trouble.
With that being said, sad news that two folks lost their lives.

Fear of Flying

What’s this thing with “sponsored” forum posts (just two posts above this one)?

I don’t mind the advertising on FA. After all, it keeps the site free for us. But to intersperse posts by “Sponsor” within the forum replies is cheesy and shows a lack of respect for other posters. An ad is NOT a reply!

Edit: [What’s more … the ads change each time one looks at the forum. When I wrote this, all ads were for a subject line, “Fear of Flying”]

It seems to be in all of the forums now. I agree, very annoying. The small header ads were fine, but the “posts” are a bit much.

Slim edge of the wedge before “Paid Membership” is solicited to make them disappear?

Seen it happen elsewhere.