A small airplane, reportedly a Piper Arrow IV with British registration, has crashed at the Simplon Pass and gone up in flame. It was enroute from Lausanne to Perugia. All 3 occupants, a couple and a child, perished in the crash. There was a massive post crash fire.
Several sources cite a British registratio G-BVDH, but it is not yet confirmed officially. FR24 track would indicate the airplane was flying at a relatively low height for the crossing of the pass.
FR24 track would indicate the airplane was flying at a relatively low height for the crossing of the pass.
The final altitude reported by FR24 is about 500 ft below ground level at the pass…
Hard to tell anything for the moment, but weather in this part was partly cloudy, and it looks like the flight profil was to follow Sion’s valley and turn climb into the Simplon pass, a vfr into IMC could have risen.
I’s hard to say why such a flight was so low given that the Simplon had to be passed. Mountains around are over 3000m, pass is 6578ft, and FR24 profile doesn’t show any climb anticipation before turning into the pass.
From all.the pics in the media which were taken immediately after the crash, it appears that the weather was pretty much cloudless.
May they Rest In Peace. How incredibly sad.
Density altitudes are nothing to sneeze at these days. At 6000 feet I saw 20 C in Eastern Serbia today. I wonder how heavy they were and if with full fuel. Were they properly leaned for altitude?
It would not appear to be a DA issue. They had flown for some distance, were at 6000ft for a while, and were doing a decent speed (for an Arrow), thus not suggesting struggling close to Vs
To me, the only explanation is GPS guided flight (autopilot, looking at the straight tracks) and a CFIT in IMC. I can’t see anyone willingly crashing into that hill, given the huge valley just before it, in VMC.
Not the easiest pass to navigate low level as it has a switchback. GPS altitude is presumably Mode S derived which may be faulty, Typically an altitude of 9,500 feet would be flown to maintain decent separation from terrain below, while hugging the northern side.
Unlike a typical ridge crossing there aren’t the visual cues that give assurance that you are crossing at a safe altitude, and because of the switchback nature judging a horizon is not easy – basically just mountains ahead of you until you turn north east quite sharply on the narrow valley to Domodossola.
Very sad and presumably the Swiss will provide a helpful report to identify causes.
Extra heartbreaking when kids are involved. How very sad.