West Virginia Crash Tail # N115CL


#1

Hi there!

My friend’s dad crashed in West Virginia on October 2, 2011. His tail number was N115CL. Is anyone here familiar with Skew-T diagrams? I was wondering if I could look up the forecast from that particular day that he crashed and see if there was a serious possibility that icing caused him to crash. I looked up the prelim report released from NTSB and it seems as though there was a likeliness of icing. Can any of you read the report released from the NTSB and please give me your opinions on what possibly happened? I went on the NTSB website and I printed the PDF version of the report not the Current Synopsis. This particular version of the report included the temperature and dew point of when the crash occurred. The temperature was apparently 46.4 degrees and dew point 42.8 degrees. This is some info I found about dew point and temperature…

Dew points indicate the amount moisture in the air. The higher the dew points, the higher the moisture content of the air at a given temperature. Dew point temperature is defined as the temperature to which the air would have to cool (at constant pressure and constant water vapor content) in order to reach saturation. A state of saturation exists when the air is holding the maximum amount of water vapor possible at the existing temperature and pressure.
When the dew point temperature and air temperature are equal, the air is said to be saturated. Dew point temperature is NEVER GREATER than the air temperature. Therefore, if the air cools, moisture must be removed from the air and this is accomplished through condensation. This process results in the formation of tiny water droplets that can lead to the development of fog, frost, clouds, or even precipitation.
Relative Humidity can be inferred from dew point values. When air temperature and dew point temperatures are very close, the air has a high relative humidity. The opposite is true when there is a large difference between air and dew point temperatures, which indicates air with lower relaitve humidity. Locations with high relative humidities indicate that the air is nearly saturated with moisture; clouds and precipitation are therefore quite possible. Weather conditions at locations with high dew point temperatures (65 or greater) are likely to be uncomfortably humid.

I remember my friend telling me how low the cloud ceiling was when they were trying to locate the plane. The temperature and dew point were SO close that I’m thinking this was almost the WORST weather scenario for flying and that is what you meant by it being a suicide mission. Would a Skew-T have shown this type of weather only versus calling in to a tower etc? Those two numbers were CLOSE to equal. Yikes!

Here is the link to the report

ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief … 3238&key=1

Even if you share the same opinions as others who posted please feel free to comment. ALL opinions are very much appreciated.


#2

I read the prelim report. It appears that according to the report it was a case of spatial disorientation. In order to enter instrument meteorological conditions, you have to be instrument rated, and on an IFR flight plan, in which neither were true according to the report.


#3

Sorry to hear of your loss. I have many years of experience in maintaining this type of aircraft and it is equipped with a fuel injected engine. There should have been no icing of the engine that would impact performance to the point of failure.


#4

I agree with the probable spatial disorientation and a subsequent loss of aircraft control by the pilot secondary to the IMC and dark night conditions.


#5

I’m sorry to hear of your loss.


#6

A skew-T is just a small part of a very big picture. You cannot assume “WORST weather scenario for flying” just from a Skew-T plot. (It is one clue among many weather products).

I looked at this last night, and ran the dates and times through Weather Underground for a location close to the crash site. About 10 miles SW of Mooreville is an airport called Grant County near the city of Petersburg. Weather Underground had this history for the date:

classic.wunderground.com/history … atename=NA

Looking at those reports help to give more clues to go with your Skew_T plot. It was drizzly, with multiple cloud layers from around 4000ft to 10000ft. Again, this is just a small part of a very big weather picture. You would need to find out the tops of the cloud layers, if available. If the pilot was trying to fly between the cloud layers, this might have led to him encountering conditions he may not have been qualified to fly in, which would lead to the conjecture about spatial disorientation, etc.

The web has a ton of archived data, but you just have to be able to search it out. The National Weather Service might have some stuff, but going back that far might be difficult online. There are Satellite archives from various sources that might have the satellite photos from that day.

The big resource is the National Climatic Data Center, in Asheville, NC

ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/ncdc.html