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

Climbing steeply with poor forward vision, believes that the climb angle will not be sufficient, puts on a lot of bank and pulls hard to do a 180. Possibly doesn’t lower the nose before adding bank.

Low-ish airspeed, and then pulling hard he quickly exceeds the critical alpha and stalls/spins it in?

Last Edited by Graham at 10 Sep 09:46
EGLM & EGTN

Well, in the mountain it is not easy to judge your attitude by visual outside reference…you need to look at your IAS and VSI…they could have lost track of IAS but they were experienced pilots…again, perhaps distracted by the environment.

Antonio
LESB, Spain

Good news: SD gt back to me saying they will implement Minimum Crossing Altitude amongst others !

Abeam the Flying Dream
EBKT, LFQQ western Belgium, north France, Belgium

Niner_Mike wrote:

SD gt back to me saying they will implement Minimum Crossing Altitude amongst others !

Great but still I am very sad about this particular accident.

LSPG, LSZC, Switzerland

BeechBaby wrote:

There is an elephant in the room however when things get so puzzling as to not make any sense.

Antonio wrote:

Two pilots and they crashed on the lh side of the pass higher than the pass itself…really weird!

Both are right. It is beyond weird, as they appear to have had enough altitude to pass over the actual pass (still below the minimum crossing altitude indicated on the map) but instead deviated to the left. Flying from Brig into that pass, this is the most unlikely position where you would end up. The only way I could imagine him ending up there would have been if he had been flying on the RH side and tried to turn around to the left and hit the mountain in a turn back towards the north. Or, if the airplane was flying some sort of a waypoint sequence on it’s own which took a shortcut.

Still one of the things which turn in my mind are the two flashes seen before the crash by some withnesses, who, unreliable as they are, might have withnessed a collision with some powerlines or something else. If that would be the case, then there would be tell tale signs on the airframe.

Somehow I wonder if the reason for this tragedy can ever be determined, given the destruction of the airframe by fire. They won’t have much to go on, apart from the direction of impact and possibly people having seen or even filmed him before they hit.

So the factors we need to know before any further analysis is possible is the direction of impact, whether they actually fell into this position (implying even higher altitude at the onset of whatever upset occurred) or collided with it and the final trajectory from the moment he entered the valley to impact.

LSZH, Switzerland

Mooney_Driver wrote:

Still one of the things which turn in my mind are the two flashes seen before the crash by some witnesses, who, unreliable as they are, might have withnessed a collision with some powerlines or something else.

I honestly think we can discount the powerline theory. Surely, this would have been reported in the Swiss press (‘airplane crash takes out power in Simplon Pass’ or somesuch) and witnesses to aircrashes almost always report fire/explosion before the crash.

Still, this accident doesn’t make any sense other than in a scenario of total disorientation or incapacitation.

I flew a rented Pa28-161 through the Grey and Desolation Canyons of the Green River in Utah, down below 1000’ AGL in places, and had no difficulty with seeing, nor with flying without reliance on instruments. I took photos through the open direct vision vent. I did orbits in places where I had enough room. But the Arrow might have a bigger instrument panel, and therefore poorer forward vision.
(The FBO knew and didn’t forbid this flying.)

Maoraigh
EGPE, United Kingdom

SkyDemon has now added the Minimum Crossing Altitude of some Alpine passes. I believe this is a positive outcome of this discussion contributing to future safety for pilots trying to do what our unfortunate colleague did (and I am not implying there is a link).
One hole in the swiss cheese for future flights closed.

Last Edited by Niner_Mike at 17 Sep 14:47
Abeam the Flying Dream
EBKT, LFQQ western Belgium, north France, Belgium

Peter wrote:

The problem is that any flap setting reduces your angle of climb

and a bunch of folk seemed to agree although we all know that it is not universally true. For example, my AFM states:

Best Angle of Climb – 78 mph IAS with flaps set @ Second Notch (24 degrees).

Just saying…

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

Vx increases, and Vy decreases, until they are equal at absolute ceiling. While Vx may have flaps applied at lower altitudes, the Super Cub Vx is with 45degree flaps for example, you would not be using flaps to optimise either angle or rate of climb when close to service ceiling.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)
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