Four Fatally Injured, Including Inventor Of The 'Dropped
The NTSB has determined that pilot error was the probable cause
of an accident in January, 2010 which fatally injured four people,
including the inventor of the "dropped ceiling" popular in offices
and other commercial settings.
Northern Ohio inventor Donald Brown was killed in the accident,
along with his wife Shirley and two pilots for Florida-based Kenn
Air Corporation. The accident occurred on approach to Loraine
County Regional Airport (KLPR). The four were aboard a Mitsubishi
MU-2B-60 returning from Gainesville, FL to Ohio. The Loraine
County Chronicle-Telegram reports that Kenn Air is owned by
Kenneth Brown, the son of Don and Shirley.
According to the probable cause report, on his first Instrument
Landing System (ILS) approach, the pilot initially flew through the
localizer course. The pilot then reestablished the airplane on the
final approach course, but the airplane’s altitude at the
decision height was about 500 feet too high. He executed a missed
approach and received radar vectors for another approach. The
airplane was flying inbound on the second ILS approach when a
witness reported that he saw the airplane about 150 feet above the
ground in about a 60-degree nose-low attitude with about an
80-degree right bank angle. The initial ground impact point was
about 2,150 feet west of the runway threshold and about 720 feet
north (left) of the extended centerline. The cloud tops were about
3,000 feet with light rime or mixed icing.
The 30-year-old pilot held an airline transport pilot (ATP)
certificate for single-engine land airplanes, multi-engine land
airplanes, and helicopters. He was also a certified flight
instructor with single-engine airplane, multi-engine airplane, and
helicopter ratings; and he was an instrument instructor in
airplanes and helicopters. The pilot's latest first class medical
certificate was issued on November 29, 2007.
The owner of the airplane reported that the pilot was a
competent pilot and was qualified to fly the MU-2 single pilot. The
owner and the accident pilot routinely flew together, and they
would switch pilot and copilot responsibilities. He stated that
they routinely flew in instrument conditions and had often flown
IFR approaches in actual instrument conditions. He stated that the
accident pilot was a good instrument pilot and that there were no
issues with his flying or his technique. The pilot had worked for
the owner of the airplane for about 13 years.
The pilot rated passenger held a private pilot certificate with
a single-engine land rating. His flight logbook was not obtained
during the course of the investigation. During his third class
medical examination on October 10, 2008, the pilot reported that
his total flight time was 190 hours. The airplane owner reported
that the pilot rated passenger was not performing the duties of
copilot during the flight. The pilot rated passenger had flown with
the pilot on numerous other flights, including flights from GNV to
LPR. He also held an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic rating. He
was employed by the airplane owner to maintain the accident
airplane and a helicopter operated by the owner.
At 1353, the surface weather observation at LPR indicated the
following conditions: Winds 240 degrees at 9 knots, 2 miles
visibility, mist, overcast 500 feet, temperature -1 degree Celsius
(C), dew point -3 degrees C, altimeter 29.93 inches of mercury
(Hg). The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Depiction Charts
for 1100 and 1400 depicted an extensive area of IFR conditions over
the region. The closest VFR conditions were over 200 miles south of
the accident site.
The flap jack screws and flap indicator were found in the
5-degree flap position. The inspection of the airplane revealed no
preimpact anomalies to the airframe, engines, or propellers. A
radar study performed on the flight indicated that the calibrated
airspeed was about 130 knots on the final approach, but
subsequently decreased to about 95–100 knots during the
20-second period prior to loss of radar contact. According to the
airplane’s flight manual, the wings-level power-off stall
speed at the accident aircraft’s weight is about 91 knots.
The ILS approach flight profile indicates that 20 degrees of flaps
should be used at the glide slope intercept while maintaining 120
knots minimum airspeed. At least 20 degrees of flaps should be
maintained until touchdown. The “No Flap” or “5
Degrees Flap Landing” flight profile indicates that the NO
FLAP Vref airspeed is 115 knots calibrated airspeed minimum.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that
the probable cause of the accident to be the pilot's failure
to maintain adequate airspeed during the instrument approach, which
resulted in an aerodynamic stall and impact with terrain.