Ace Air B190 near Dillingham on Mar 8th 2013, wreckage found

Last Update: August 12, 2014 / 21:34:19 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 8, 2013


Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type

ICAO Type Designator

An Ace Air Cargo/Alaska Central Express Beech 1900C, registration N116AX performing freight flight KO-51 from King Salmon,AK to Dillingham,AK (USA) with 2 crew, was on an instrument approach to Dillingham, the aircraft however did not arrive at the airport, a search and rescue mission was initiated at 08:30L (17:30Z). The aircraft was located crashed the following day on the south side of the Muklung Hills at an altitude of about 2000 feet MSL, both occupants were found perished.

On Mar 8th Alaska States Troopers reported that at about 09:15L an ELT signal was picked up about 20mi/17nm northeast of the airport in mountaineous terrain of the Muklung Hills, however, search helicopters were unable to get to that site due to weather. Attempts to reach the site on the ground were also unsuccessful so far.

On Saturday Mar 9th FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer reported the wreckage has been discovered on Saturday, the status of the two occupants is not yet known. The NTSB have opened an investigation.

Later Mar 9th the Alaska States Troopers reported the aircraft has been located by an Air National Guard helicopter, the bodies of the two pilots have been recovered and were flown to Dillingham, then to Anchorage.

On Mar 11th the NTSB reported the aircraft involved is N116AX, which went missing at 07:50L and was subsequently located crashed in the Muklung Hills with both flight crew perished. Two investigators have been dispatched on scene.

On Mar 14th the NTSB reported N116AX was on a RNAV GPS instrument approach to Dillingham's runway 19, ATC had cleared the aircraft to proceed direct to the initial approach fix (IAF)and maintain 2000 feet or above at 07:57L. A short time later the crew requested to enter a holding pattern over the IAF to contact flight service for a runway condition report, the request was granted. Subsequent attempts by ATC to contact the aircraft were unsuccessful, the radar contact with the aircraft was lost. The controller initiated a radio search to find out whether the aircraft had diverted to some other airport, upon that search being unsuccessful the controller issued an alert notice at 08:35L. The following day a helicopter reached the steep, snow and ice covered crash site, both Beech pilots had sustained fatal injuries.

Ace Air Cargo operate four Beech 1900C.

Dillingham Airport offers a runway 01/19 of 6400 feet/1950 meters length, a LOC/DME approach and a VOR/DME approach are published for runway 19, a VOR approach for runway 01, RNAV approaches are published for both runways.

On Aug 12th 2014 the NTSB released their final report concluding the probable cause of the crash was:

The flight crew's failure to maintain terrain clearance, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain in instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident were the flight crew's failure to correctly read back and interpret clearance altitudes issued by the air traffic controller, their failure to adhere to minimum altitudes depicted on the published instrument approach chart, and their failure to adhere to company checklists.

Also contributing to the accident were the air traffic controller's issuance of an ambiguous clearance to the flight crew, which resulted in the airplane's premature descent, his failure to address the pilot's incorrect read back of the assigned clearance altitudes, and his failure to monitor the flight and address the altitude violations and issue terrain-based safety alerts.

The NTSB reported the crew requested the RNAV approach runway 19 while about 30nm out, at that time they were at 5900 feet MSL. Approach control granted the request and cleared the flight to maintain an altitude "at or above 2,000 feet msl until established on a published segment of the approach.", the crew read back: ""Maintain two thousand until a published segment of the approach." The aircraft was cleared direct to ZEDAG, the instrument approach fix. The aircraft was descending through 2200 feet MSL when the crew requested to enter the hold at ZEDAG to check the runway conditions on another frequency, approach control granted the request. The aircraft subsequently disappeared from radar and all contact with the aircraft was lost.

The aircraft was found in an area of steep, ice and snow-covered terrain on a southeast-facing slope known as the Muklung Hills, the point of first impact was at 1996 feet MSL (peak elevation 2550 feet MSL).

The captain was 38, ATPL, 5,770 hours of total experience, 5,470 hours on type. The first officer was 21, CPL, 470 hours total, 250 hours on type.

PADL 081930Z 10013G22KT 10SM -RA OVC010 01/01 A2919
PADL 081845Z 10014G23KT 2SM -RASN OVC006 01/00 A2916
PADL 081755Z 09015G23KT 7SM -RASN OVC015 01/00 A2914
PADL 081645Z 10017G30KT 7SM -RA OVC015 01/01 A2909
PADL 081636Z 10022G28KT 10SM 01/01 A2909 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081616Z 10022G30KT 10SM 01/01 A2908 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081556Z 10020G27KT 10SM 01/01 A2907 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081536Z 10021G31KT 10SM 01/01 A2906 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081516Z 11022G30KT 10SM 01/01 A2905 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081456Z 10020G28KT 10SM 01/01 A2904 RMK AO1 52030 PNO
PADL 081436Z 10021G31KT 10SM 01/01 A2903 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081416Z 10021G28KT 7SM 01/01 A2902 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081356Z 10021G26KT 3SM 01/01 A2901 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081336Z 10023G29KT 5SM 01/01 A2900 RMK AO1 PNO
PADL 081316Z 10023G30KT 10SM 01/01 A2899 RMK AO1 PNO
Aircraft Registration Data
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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Mar 8, 2013


Aircraft Registration

Aircraft Type

ICAO Type Designator

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