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Accident in Spain, M20K D-ETFT

Peter wrote:

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

I partially agree because I’ve met a few PPL pilots who haven’t even heard about VFR-over-the-top and who didn’t know flying above cloud is legal in their country and under what conditions.

On the other hand, I have the knowledge and still, most long distance VFR flights will be below cloud because there isn’t very many opportunities to fly a long distance above a cloud layer. Especially if it’s an overcast and you cannot be sure about higher tops further ahead.. If those catch you, you may run out of options (for long distance, a 180 will not be possible because where will you go? All the way back? Do you have enough fuel for that?).

Hence, I will fly over the top only if very certain that it works in the end, or for short distances or if it’s scattered rather than overcast…

Hungriger Wolf (EDHF), Germany

Patrick wrote:

because there isn’t very many opportunities to fly a long distance above a cloud layer. Especially if it’s an overcast and you cannot be sure about higher tops further ahead.. If those catch you, you may run out of options (for long distance, a 180 will not be possible because where will you go?

I often fly VFR on Top and often over 500NM .

The weather reporting & forecasting tools (short list above) out there are very reliable when it comes to ceilings & tops.

That said, when doing so, I carry very large fuel reserves, often enough to return home !

FAA A&P/IA
LFPN

Is ‘never cross a front in a GA plane’ a good rule of thumb?

Not at all.

You can fly under them and – short of lightning – you are fine if you maintain VMC. The tafs and metars should forecast the cloudbase, more or less… it’s what they are paid for!

You can fly above them, and the height will depend on the front. Warm fronts are worse IME, with tops FL200-250 and thus not crossable VMC in most non turbo planes. Also they tend to have low cloudbases – 500ft is common. Cold front tops vary according to the conditions. I have crossed them at FL150, just seeing the ridge of the front below, protruding through the general layer. And some fronts are not anything at all. In Europe you usually need an IR to get cleared to go high enough. I tend to not worry about crossing cold fronts which have little or no pressure gradient across them e.g.

but always use the IR image to judge the tops.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Mooney_Driver wrote:


>>The flight path is certainly more consistent with an engine failure than a CFIT or loss of control.

In what way?

Continuous descent until impact, with a rate of descent that looks consistent with a low or no power descent.

It may well be the case that the descent led into IMC, or that there was a loss of control in the last few seconds.

This does not look like the typical scud running gone bad, like the one in France recently. These ones tend to be horizontal flight or descents into terrain, maybe with a last-few-seconds attempt to climb or turn, rather than a continuous climb to a few 1,000 ft above the terrain followed by a continuous descent towards nowhere in particular.

Biggin Hill

Peter wrote:

even (or especially!) sex

Lots of people die or are injured by sex? I must live a boring life.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Steady flight 4400 ft, 130-140kt, then climb 6500ft in 2 minutes with little (10kt) speed loss. Could that be full power?
Then they start descending. Initially speed rises, but later it gets down to 98kt. Then they regain some speed (126 kt max), but descent continues.

Over hilly terrain in IMC, last thing I would do is descend. They initially climbed as well. Next they start descending. Descent visible on FR is about 4 minutes. That’s a long time. No abrupt loss of control, spin, etc.

EPPO, EPPK

Maybe icing accumulation problems forcing a descent (airframe or intake – engine problems had been reported)

Last Edited by Noe at 14 May 11:12

loco wrote:

Then they start descending. Initially speed rises, but later it gets down to 98kt. Then they regain some speed (126 kt max), but descent continues.

A 1000 fpm descent for several minutes in hilly terrain does seem like an engine problem. Google tells me that best glide speed for a M20K is 87 knots. According to the METAR posted earlier, winds at altitude would most likely be southerly and they were flying on a mainly northerly heading — but the winds would need to be about 30 kts to account for the GS according to FR24.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Peter,

We lose too many people to wx accidents because PPL training is unsuitable for the use to which the privilege is put, by the small % of people who actually get off their backside and do something interesting with their bit of paper.

True. So the question arises if we need to modify the Ppl syllabus or restrict the privileges of a conventional Ppl holder to local flights in CAVOK until he has passed a number of hours and then add a rating for being allowed to actually travel.

It is clear that flight planning and Meteo is insufficient the way it is taught. There is nothing in the syllabus that I know of which prepares a new PPL for trips like the ones we are mostly talking about here.

Also alpine flying is not taught at all in most cases nor do most 100$ burger pilots need it.

Food for thought but I am sure that anyone suggesting these things will be accused of ruining GA… So it is up to those who wish to fly responsibly to teach themselfs?

Last Edited by Mooney_Driver at 14 May 13:31
LSZH, Switzerland

Airborne_Again wrote:

A 1000 fpm descent for several minutes in hilly terrain does seem like an engine problem.

I don’t have my usual data with me, but the question arises to me more and more what could cause an engine to fail so short before the arrival at the destination.

It has been said before that with 3 on board the fuel load they could carry would be around 50 USG. That is what the C’s capacity is. The flight distance would have been around 500 NM great circle, which for a 252 at 7000 ft would probably be around 3 hours, they actually were in the air for 3:13. Fuel to climb to altitude would be 2-3 gallons, then 3 hours at 12.8 USG would be around 40 USG. That would mean about 10 USG remaining, which is not that much, but enough to cause the fire.

As for weather forecasts, looking at the TAFS I was just able to recover .
LERS 120200Z 1203/1303 12006KT 9999 SCT012 TX21/1213Z TN12/1206Z PROB30 TEMPO 1203/1208 3000 BR BKN008 TEMPO 1215/1222 3000 SHRA SCT020TCU BKN030 PROB40 TEMPO 1215/1221 2000 TSRA SCT020CB BKN030 BECMG 1220/1222 30020G40KT
LERS 120800Z 1209/1309 13006KT 8000 BKN012 TX21/1213Z TN09/1306Z TEMPO 1215/1301 3000 TSRA SCT020CB BKN030 BECMG 1218/1220 30015KT TEMPO 1221/1309 30018G38KT

Seeing as they took off at 10.18 they should have had the 2nd one issued at 0800z. BKN012 is IMC for controlled aispace already, but the TS were predicted later than 15z, which was obviously wrong as the crash occurred apparently around 13:40 UTC.

The METARS are clearly heavy IMC:
LERS 121235Z 14006KT 110V170 5000 BR SCT007 BKN012 FEW020TCU 18/16 Q1013
LERS 121253Z 13006KT 080V170 3000 BR SCT006 BKN012 FEW020TCU 17/17 Q1013
LERS 121300Z 14005KT 070V180 2500 BR -RA SCT006 BKN012 FEW020TCU 17/17 Q1014
LERS 121330Z VRB02KT 1500 BR -RA BKN006 BKN013 FEW020TCU 17/17 Q1013
LERS 121349Z 12003KT 070V160 3000 BR -RA BKN004 BKN011 17/17 Q1013
LERS 121400Z 10003KT 050V150 3000 BR -RA BKN004 BKN011 17/17 Q1013

The question now is, where exactly was the front then? Obviously Reus was IMC at the time of the crash, that much is clear. But there were no TS yet. So was the front to the east or west of Reus at the time of the crash?

In any case, this was unflyable, the TAF should have told them that much even though it was inaccurate in terms of when the bad weather would hit, but BKN012 is alone No Go.

LSZH, Switzerland
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