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Piper Arrow G-BVDH down on the Simplon Pass in Switzerland

Ibra wrote:

most of us will try crossings in CAVOK

I have heard several have bitten the bullet on the CAVOK trap when flying in the mountains.


Yesterday I flew my NA Arrow 200, almost at max weight and at 7500ft from Chambery to Basel. Part of my track crossed his track roughly about 30 minutes after his crossing. I see a many speculations here but I just wanted to add some more facts.

the weather was clear. we could see almost down to matterhorn from our position east of Lousanne. Winds aloft were totally calm (no mountain waves, no downtrafts..) I dont believe weather was a factor. You literally could not have a better day to cross the alps. I am puzzled why they would depart from Lousanne and stay so low? The distance to crash site is 60nm .. it’d have been more than enough to climb and get on top of all the big peaks especially in a turbo arrow.

NA Arrow 200 is a decent performer. I read comments like “it doesnt climb above 6000ft” is just ridiculous. If you have an arrow that doesnt perfrom well above 6000ft, you better have it checked. I was at 7500 which was around 8800 DA yesterday at right about accident time. We crossed alps as family several times at 11-12.5k feet without any problem with climb rate.Yesterday I averaged 650 ft/min climb from 5500 to 7500ft (probably about 6500-8500ft DA) that being only 40kg below max weight. The aircraft in the accident was a turbo so I reckon they would have easily had 900ft/min or more climb rate.


According to everything I checked including the CAA G-INFO database, this was a Turbo Arrow.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

We didn’t say NA arrow was a bad performer, but some said temperature was quite high is east Alps, roughly 20C at 6000ft, and poh of NA arrow shows 400 to 500 ft/m that could be a problem in a downdraft. But apparently you testified that day was correct and temp average for such day. Mistery is done around such a low altitude.

Last Edited by greg_mp at 26 Aug 11:20
LFMD, France

By9468840 wrote:
By9468840 wrote:

I read comments like “it doesnt climb above 6000ft” is just ridiculous.

Agree. I have however met some pilots who do not like flying ‘high’. High above the peaks gives a different perspective to passengers and pilots, Some feel comfort in seeing the ground. Perhaps it was something as simple/strange as that. Perhaps it was sightseeing, low level until it goes pear shaped. Again perspectives are different at lower level particularly when trying to visualise and navigate valleys and passes.

Whatever very tragic but I doubt investigators will find much wrong with the plane.

Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow

Three seconds of googling and two seconds at looking at the photos reveals that it is a non-turbo (short nose).

Mainz (EDFZ), Germany

Peter wrote:

According to everything I checked including the CAA G-INFO database, this was a Turbo Arrow.

According to G-INFO, it was not a Turbo Arrow. Piper’s model designator (PA-28RT-201), the engine type (IO-360-C1C6) and the ICAO type designator (PA28T) were all those of a NA Arrow IV.

You might think (I certainly did before checking) that P28T means Turbo Arrow, but it does not. Presumably the “T” stands for T-tail. A Turbo Arrow IV has designator P28U.

(An Arrow without T-tail and turbo is P28R. Without T-tail but with turbo it is P28S.)

Last Edited by Airborne_Again at 26 Aug 11:26
ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

LeSving wrote:

bitten the bullet

is not the correct English term in this context, I have been informed (by someone here with greater English knowledge than me) Anyway, what I meant is that they either was forced to turn around, fly back home, or continue into certain death. Not that this was a factor in this accident, but CAVOK is almost a useless forecast when flying in the mountains.


I have flown around there, notably in 2004, low down in that same (?) canyon when following a PA28 going back from a service at Sion. And over the top of it at say FL150 many times. It is HUGE.

Obviously you can enter the wrong canyon, and then it takes good decisionmaking to spot that and turn around before it is too late, but this appears to have happened while still in the big canyon, no?

Prob100 he was flying with Skydemon. What sort of representation does that show?

If the crash site is in the main canyon, I would bet he was in IMC at the time.

bitten the bullet

I think you meant bite the dust.

Bite the bullet is slightly different. It means getting on with something unpleasant.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Peter wrote:

Skydemon. What sort of representation does that show?

You can actually have a great view which highlights the terrain, garmin style. I’ve posted one my my screenshots before (possibly in the very same valley), but I don’t have it at hand. From SD website (I imagine they won’t mind!)

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