NTSB: Jet bounced off runway before South Bend crash
Federal investigators say a private jet bounced off an airport runway several times before it crashed into nearby homes in northern Indiana last month.
The findings are included in a preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report released Friday on the March 17 crash in South Bend.
Former University of Oklahoma quarterback Steve Davis and Tulsa, Okla., businessman Wes Caves died when the jet they were piloting crashed. Three other people were injured.
The NTSB says the jet was descending to an airport runway when the pilot radioed that he had lost power and hydraulics. He tried to land with only the main landing gear extended.
Witnesses said the plane bounced several times on the runway before it climbed and then crashed into three homes in a nearby neighborhood.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On March 17, 2013, at 1623 eastern daylight time, a Hawker Beechcraft model 390 (Premier IA) business jet, N26DK, serial number RB-226, collided with three residential structures and terrain following an aborted landing attempt on runway 9R located at the South Bend Regional Airport (KSBN), South Bend, Indiana.
The private pilot and pilot-rated-passenger occupying the cockpit seats were fatally injured. An additional two passengers and one individual on the ground sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to 7700 Enterprises of Montana, LLC and operated by Digicut Systems of Tulsa, Oklahoma, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 while on an instrument flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the business flight that departed Richard Lloyd Jones Jr. Airport (KRVS), Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 1358 central daylight time.
According to preliminary air traffic control information, at 1610:31, the accident pilot established radio communications with South Bend Approach Control while at 11,000 feet mean sea level (msl). The air traffic controller cleared the flight direct to KNUTE intersection and told the pilot to expect a visual approach to runway 9R.
At 1611:44, the flight was cleared to descend to 10,000 feet msl. At 1613:06, the flight was cleared to 3,000 feet msl.
At 1615:00, the approach controller told the pilot to make a 5-degree left turn to align with runway 9R and asked the pilot to report when he had the airport in sight.
At 1615:07, the pilot declared an emergency because of a lack of engine power, reporting that they were "dead stick" and without any power.
About 23 seconds later, at 1615:30, the pilot transmitted "we've lost all power, and we have no hydraulics." When the controller asked if the airplane remained controllable, the pilot replied "ah, barely controllable."
The controller advised that all runways at KSBN were available for landing and issued the current winds, which were 130-degrees at 10 knots.
At 1615:22, the pilot transmitted that the airplane's navigational systems were inoperative and requested a radar vector toward the airport. The controller replied that the airport was 9 miles directly ahead of the airplane's current position.
At 1616:12, the controller told the pilot to turn 10-degrees left to intersect runway 9R. At 1616:15, the pilot replied "26DK, turning left."
No additional voice communications were received from the accident airplane. The approach controller continued to transmit radar vectors toward runway 9R without any response from the accident pilot.
At 1618:58, the approach controller told the accident airplane to go-around because the main landing gear was not extended. (The tower controller had informed the approach controller that only the nose landing gear was extended) The accident airplane was then observed to climb and enter a right traffic pattern for runway 9R.
The airplane made another landing approach to runway 9R with only the nose landing gear extended. Several witnesses observed the airplane bounce several times on the runway before it ultimately entered a climbing right turn. The airplane was then observed to enter a nose low descent into a nearby residential community.