Back to Squawk list
  • 15

Pilatus PC-12 Crash: NTSB Points to Surprising Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board's final report on the June 2012 inflight breakup of a Pilatus PC-12 over Central Florida highlights the risks of flying a high-performance airplane in IMC with minimum training and experience. Weeks after the accident the NTSB issued a safety alert to pilots warning about the inherent latency of in-cockpit Nexrad weather images. The breakup happened in the vicinity of huge thunderstorms with "extreme" echoes, as reported by a controller to… ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

Pileits 10
All the money in the world can't buy experience.. RIP to the victims!
michadm1 6
Its like a person buys a Lambo or a Ferrari because he/she can afford it but never drove one and then proceeds to wrap it around a tree.
Toby Sharp 1
A 19 year old here in Dallas bought a McLaren sports car and totaled it within the first hour oh owning it........terrible
BaronG58 -1
Did you mean too say a 19 years old's Dad bought him/her a McLaren. 8:) Here in Dallas drivers are crazy..
bbabis 9
Test the auto-pilot! Where did that thought come from? So many basic things done wrong. The sign off to fly the airplane has to be questioned.
BaronG58 4
What's telling too me is the fact the pilot had no actual IMC logged in 7yrs-4mo and no hood time in 4yrs-7mo. What's up with that???
Such a horrible tragedy for such a beautiful family. May the Lord bless their souls.
steve rogers 3
some people should never leave the ground .
This could have happened to any of us when we first stepped up to that more expensive and higher performance aircraft. It exemplifies the need for continued training and practice of IMC and unusual attitude IMC flying. A little training could and would have saved 6 lives.
John laCourt 2
T Economou 1
109 kts IAS? Made my hair stand up to read that...nose way up or pilot already in the process of losing control.
As the saying goes, it seems this pilot only knew enough to be dangerous.
Bob Roehrer 1
bdarnell 1
"As a result, investigators determined the probable cause of the accident to be: "The failure of the pilot to maintain control of the airplane .... "

'Nuff said.
you know, I have over 50 years of experience in flying big, medium and small aircraft without an accident or incident. I wonder what this pilot was thinking!! This is my moto as Conuciuc says: "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance" Obviously, this man caused the death of his family and did not have the situation in control or understood.
preacher1 1
Everybody thinks that if you have a pilot's license in your pocket you are an expert and know all you need to know. Obviously we aren't and are all different in our thinking.
cmball 1
I wonder if there is not more to the trims being on the stops than they are allowing for. Obviously this guy was not as proficient as he should have been (especially to fly his entire family in the flight levels), but it seems to me that if he did have a runaway trim (or two) that could have been the cause of the mysteriously disconnected A/P and the reason he checked the autopilot first (incorrectly diagnosing the runaway trim as an A/P malfunction). It would also explain the 75 degree roll excursion (why wouldn't the plane continue its normal climb regimen if the A/P was disconnected, as I assume the A/P would have had the plane more or less trimmed out during climb?). Anyway, a competent and current single pilot may have been able to diagnose and address this problem, but it just seems fishy the NTSB cant account for why the trims were on the stops, but don't say much more about it. That seems much more likely than the guy realizing that the aircraft is in a Vne+++ dive and thinking he will sit there with his thumbs on the trim for the 10 seconds or so it takes to run them to the stops.
John laCourt 1
Taking his whole family to flight levels??? I have done this many times without worries. My belief is that a lot of people depend so much on auto pilots that they forget how to fly. Remember the first thing, when a problem rears it's ugly head, first, FLY the airplane, second, resolve the problem. Looks like this pilot skipped first.
Bob Roehrer 1
I think you could be on to something even our fellow reeders are ignoring it. ??
Bob Roehrer 1
readers (f-ing keyboard)
WOW! That's about all I can say.
honza nl 1
a pilot license is a document which states that you have the right to learn to fly without instructor; and the only way to become a good pilot is to make many mistakes and survive all of them...
KauaiGolfer 1
I'm not saying the seller is legally responsible in any way. But we're all in this together, aren't we?
preacher1 3
I hate to say it but the seller is in business to make money, not run a QC check on everybody wanting to buy. I guess if there is a situation develops where he KNOWINGLY does something like this, probably not anything illegal but he may have that mirror problem of a morning.
joel wiley 1
So, what was the 'surprising' cause? Doing a systems check instead of flying the airplane? Changing the aircraft's aerodynamics by tearing off the wings? Aside from some choices of action which became infelicitous, what am I missing?
preacher1 1
I'm kinda with you; nothing surprising there except a perfect storm of errors. He crashed. Him an pax dead. End of story.
I always thought it was the heavy metal pushers needed to go back to basics but here just WT.... Something is dearly lacking in training at all levels.
KauaiGolfer 0
Several questions come to mind for me. Was the person who sold this airplane to him aware of his lack of experience and training? Was this pilot that big of a jerk that they essentially took his check and said go away? And, does the instructor who supposedly checked him out in the airplane have issues looking himself in the mirror? I find the hubris of this pilot, in putting his family in jeopardy like this, absolutely shocking. May his family rest in peace.
BaronG58 8
I agree with you on all counts except one. Holding the seller accountable would be the equivalent of holding a car salesman accountable for selling to a inexperienced 17 year old.
Chris B 4
One hell of a reminder of the importance of training and continuing education/retraining on a regular basis.
linbb 1
If you check further and find the rules also he was signed off to fly it within his experience level. It was up to him beyond that point to gain the needed flight hours to make each operation of it safe and use an instructor when needed. Its no different than when first learning to fly, one needs to judge how well you are doing and if needed seek out further help. Some just do not know there limits and its not just flying either. If you have never piloted an AC then it does no good to try to explain things.
preacher1 1
I got to wonder what caused him to do an AP test while having a 50degree wing bank. Sounds like something's heading downhill in a hurry. Panic comes to mind here. I too, disagree about holding the seller accountable.
mike SUT 2
Kind of sounds like he knew he didn't have the skills to fly IMC ( given all the time since his last real IMC time, sounds like he avoided it) and was going to rely on the AP to do it for him. When it disconnected, his mindset might have been to get it back on the AP, test it quick and get it back on. He probably was in the panic mode by then. Forgot to Aviate because his skill set wasn't there? Unfortunately...his 5 passengers got caught up in his issue. Would be interesting to know if the gear was dropped in an attempt to slow the aircraft since he was so far in excess of Maneuvering Speed or if it was contributory drag because he failed to raise it like he did in the Sim (Sim partners narrative Flying Mag)
If he did an after-takeoff, the gear should've been raised by FL250...
preacher1 1
You would think he would have raised the gear, what with the drag and all but who knows.
I figured the Apilot disconnected because it exceeded a parameter from turbulence. Ain't gonna do no good to re-engage if you're still out of whack. I would still like a PC 12, even with a crappy Apilot.
Sounded to me like, "OMG, I have *NO* idea how to get out of this lousy configuration... let the AP do it for me".


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
This website uses cookies. By using and further navigating this website, you accept this.
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.