Horrible. At night, over the Channel, this time of the year, at 5k feet… No high on the list of things I’d want to do. Agree with Peter that looking at the pilot’s ability to fly in Class A could bring clues.
I can’t find the registration yet so I don’t know where this aircraft was based, there aren’t that many PA46s in Europe to start with so a high chance I know this pilot.
With the temps in the metars there would have been likely ice at 5000ft – about -5C which is the perfect temp for icing.
I flew to Cardiff yesterday. Left about 1500z to head back to White Waltham. The weather wasn’t particularly nice and was certainly getting worse. I wasn’t studying the synoptic situation in detail but a real band of muck must have come through – I was woken by rain on the roof for about 20 minutes at about 0130z, this was in north Oxfordshire.
On the way back from Cardiff I punched up through the first thin layer and cruised at about 4,000ft then dropped back down through it at CPT. I remember thinking that it seemed perfect for ice (OAT about -5) so I was firm with myself that if the layer didn’t prove to be thin or I saw any ice at all then I was going back down quickly.
It is sobering to leave an airport and then find out the next day that the next guy going there didn’t make it.
Turboprop or piston ?
Good question as Piper were messing about with the PA-46 names at the time.
Initially, if turboprop, it was called the Malibu Meridian with the piston version simply Malibu.
Later the TP versions became simple Meridian – now M series.
But 100% sure pressurised.
Anybody got clue as to reg – F or G or N ?
Pilot details / experience etc would be relevant.
A Malibu, regardless of engine type, would it have had ‘boots’ ?
Agree with Peter that looking at the pilot’s ability to fly in Class A could bring clues.
Perhaps, but this being a professional footballer being delivered to Cardiff City it is hard to imagine how it wasn’t a commercial operation? And a commercial pilot flying a Malibu without an IR?
I suppose it could have been flown by a fellow footballer, or perhaps an agent or someone else closely connected with the business (they certainly have the money). Think Graham Hill…..
Commercial mandatory turboprop.
Sure piston not authorised for commercial by EASA.
Think a bit more relaxed in US
I guess knowing the registration (hence equipment) and the type of operation and pilot involved will pretty much solve the issue…
Unless it happens to be a turbine Malibu, flying IFR on a private hire flight with a commercial pilot flying it…
Picture of type ‘flashed up’ on UK TV (Sky) is piston – no big turbine exhaust stacks.
But sure a TV pic can not be relied on !!!
Often there is a syndicate with a member who has perhaps the IMCR so he can’t go into Class A.
That is true, there is a huge tendency to do IFR/VFR mixed flying and few IMC/VMC transitions while flying between UK/France on a IMC ticket, my personal view is to call for assistance and go to class A airspace/airports at least you will “get caught” alive !
I don’t regret continuing to Le-Touquet and calling for assistance while descending along their ILS on top of the sea rather than diverting to Abbeville and “unofficially descend” trough clouds on a dodgy VOR radial with no radar help, btw French ATC are used to VFR traffic getting suck on top of ice/clouds so they were very familiar with those descents/climbs with few useful tips along the way, they may even send AlphaJets to help if your ULM does not have the necessary avionics
I guess UK ATC will be much more reluctant to give you class A airspace clearance but safety comes first, 2000ft is very low at night, you only have 10min of flight in a good competition glider, that is not enough to melt ice at night, restart an engine, fire a PLB nor make mayday calls
Does the CICZ still close around 2300? At the time of crossing it would have been with zone control and even low level, comms are very good.
It would seem unusual to be transiting the zone at that time on a non IFR clearance, given that at the reported area of loss of contact the aircraft was clearly in the zone and had passed through the zone, so would have been in receipt of a clearance. It would also seem unusual to be given a routing via Alderney if coming up from the south of the zone, as I would have expected the clearance to be east of the airway along the French coast having been that way many times and at night. It is also interesting how the French part of the clearance would have worked as it was (I think) all conducted after dark. After 50N I am guessing that he could have still collected a service from Bournemouth LARS for the crossing, but otherwise would have been pretty much on his own with London Info. in the event of mishap albeit he could have passed his GPS co-ordinates. I feel desperately sorry for them, I have been that way in the middle of the night on many occasions, but on the sea, rather than the air. It is a desperately lonely and wild stretch of water that you would not wish to have to put down on.
After 50N I am guessing that he could have still collected a service from Bournemouth LARS for the crossing
Bournemouth radar is unservisable and London Info are probably still OOO (at least what I discovered from Notams while flying Newquay-Bembridge last two weeks, I was one my own at 2pm on a Sunday)