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Accident in Spain, M20K D-ETFT

There was a cold front on the path, ice is likely to be the culprit. I have a difficulty to believe in fuel exhaustion, I dont have data on M&B but with 3 persons I do believe he could get at least 50 USG. Moreover, when we look to the aircraft path, one of the usual indicators for fuel exhaustion in bad weather is not there, circuling around destination; indecision on what to do next. Aircraft made a very clear path, with precise altitudes, 11,500, 7,500 and the latest around 4,000, in an area with tops around 4,000 and when you can only start to descend passing those tops, almost on the cost line. Apparently looking for an opening, or getting away from ice layers.
All suppositions at this time.

I did land and t/o close by and I had to circle around to get altitude In order to pass the mountains westerly (broken 2,500 that day).

At the end, a very sad event where 3 people lost their lives doing something we all love.

Last Edited by lmsl1967 at 13 May 08:14
LPSR, Portugal

According to this there was a fire. So probably it wasn’t fuel starvation.

EDFM (Mannheim), Germany

Yes there was a fire.

EBST, Belgium

There was a post-crash fire but that article doesn’t suggest there was a pre-crash fire.

The FR24 data is curious, especially the climb at the very end, before the final descent

But why that loop near the end, well before the crash? Sightseeing perhaps?

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

METAR indicates broken 600ft and 1100 ft. There is a cold front nearby so CB is likely. Again it’s educated guessing but he was probably trying to descend through a hole, he is flying VFR. Also, Ventusky for yesterday was showing 100% low mid and high level clouds in the area. I think he hardly had visual contact with the ground.

Could the climb be from terrain proximity, followed by a stall? Ice cannot also be ruled out, didn’t see the 0 line but with a cold front close by, severe icing on the cloud plus CB is a deadly ingredient.

LPSR, Portugal

Looks very much like the off the book VFR accident where weather blocked the planned route and the subsequent scud running resulted in loss of orientation followed by IMC in high terrain.

Its these accidents which make me wonder if VFR on long trips and particularly in mountainous terrain is really a good idea or whether IFR should be mandated.

LSZH, Switzerland

Mooney, restriction is not the way, rules are clear: if not certified one cannot go IFR.

But here is a different issue. There is also a considerable number of accidents of IFR rated pilots not proficient to fly IMC. And Ice is also on the equation here, if the aircraft is not prepared for that, is not the IFR that is going to solve it.

I am not a very experienced pilot, but most of my flying is crossing European VFR. Once I had to leave my airplane in Cracow and get airline to go to work due to weather. Came a week later to get it. And in such occasion I would never fly my plane on the conditions presented, being or not IRF rated.

LPSR, Portugal

Yes proficiency is very important and IMHO way too few required. 12 hours in 2 years is a joke. 100 would still be marginal to be really up to speed.

You are right that IFR alone won’t do the trick. There must be a reason why this guy flew VFR though. I don’t have the data as I am traveling but he should have seen his destination to be below VFR before he departed.

Does it make sense to fly a high performance single VFR cross country though?

LSZH, Switzerland

Does it make sense to fly a high performance single VFR cross country though?

Yes; the European IR has always been a lot of work and is a lot of work today. I did trips like this and this and this
VFR, while working towards the IR. The European regulatory system is partly to blame for this (the remainder is assorted hassles like lack of instrument approaches etc etc).

Unfortunately most VFR flyers believe that VFR flight should be below the cloud, and that leads to various dangers.

The MSLP chart for 12 May 1200Z is this and it suggests heavy convective wx at the location of the crash (where a warm front changes into a cold front)

I don’t know the time of the crash (FR24 is UTC or local?) but the 1200Z sferics image is bad enough. You can play with the archive here.

So the flight went straight into a deathtrap. VFR or IFR is irrelevant because the type cannot outclimb this sort of wx.

The sad thing is that all this stuff is accessible for free to everyone, yet so many pilots still have no idea about “getting weather”.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom


We both agree with that. Not only pilots, I had ATC requesting me to maintain visual reference to ground.

I am currently on ATPL theory (too old for airline pilot, not even want that, but because I realized PPL isn’t enough for the type of mission I do), 5 exams in 2 weeks time are killing me. After is IR classes once the 14 exams are finished.

Even with the IR on my hands, I would even thing to cross a front with my Arrow. Far for me to criticize an unfortunate ‘coleague’, we dont know what is behind his decisions, for me this discussion serves the purpose to try to get the best learning from such unfortunate accident. Even my mother with 70 y.o. Started to watch aircraft accidents on National Geographic since I bought the plane :-).

We have currently a considerable number of free online tools that allow us to have a fair forecast for the enroute and destination. Not very familiar with ATC habits in Spain, the example I mentioned above, the ATC himself based on his weather radar suggested the haunt in Cracow, my end destination was Arad in Romania. So ATC can also be supportive in detecting weather in front of the flight.

Situations where one is caught flying between lawyers suddenly closing can also be a trap, but the 180 solution is always a valid one.
LPSR, Portugal
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