Air Class SW4 near Flores Island on Jun 6th 2012, aircraft impacted Rio de la Plata

Last Update: June 5, 2013 / 15:21:55 GMT/Zulu time

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Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jun 6, 2012

Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

Uruguay's Oficina de Investigacion y Prevencion de Accidentese Incidentes de Aviacion (OIPAIA) released their preliminay report in Spanish reporting, that both cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder did not store any information of the accident flight, the data found on the recorders were of the immediately preceding flight into Montevideo.

The aircraft carried a load of 750kg of cargo, which occupied about 40% of the volume of cargo bay. Although present the load restraining meshes were not used, the cargo was strapped down to the floor. The captain (63, ATPL, 16,177 hours total), observing the loading, was observed on his cell phone by ground personnel at that time, also during preflight preparations inside and outside the aircraft.

The first officer (34, CPL, 406 hours total) arrived at the airport entrance gate about 30 minutes prior to departure and reached the aircraft just prior to engine start and closed the passengers door. The OIPAIA annotated that the first officer had no crew resource management course.

The aircraft backtracked runway 24 to line up for departure, then departed runway 24. Having been cleared for the SARGO transition and FL100 the aircraft was handed off the Montevideo control, the crew requested FL080 upon contacting Montevideo control and were cleared to fly direct to SARGO and climb to and maintain FL080.

ATC noticed the aircraft was veering off track and queried the flight, who responded they were turning towards SARGO now. The aircraft flew a sharp right hand turn and disappeared from radar.

According to computations the aircraft impacted waters at an attitude of 40 degrees nose down and approximately 570 knots, the aircraft was completely destroyed. The main portion of the wreckage was later located at S34.9617 W55.9136. No trace of the bodies and no trace of the cargo was found, only a few pieces of clothing that were identified as belongings of the crew.

The report lists a large number of discrepancies in the aircraft documentation and actual equipment (including different actual propellers mounted than documented) as well as missing entries in the aircraft tech log. Maintenance used outdated manuals. The pilot check lists did not comply with the requirements of the aircraft manufacturer.

The crew did not comply with the methods to compute mass and balance, however had consulted with weather service to brief for the flight.

A significant weather information (SIGMET) had been released at 17:25Z concerning destination Ezeiza Airport indicating severe icing between FL010 and FL150.

Examination of the wreckage showed no trace of fire (before or after impact), both engines were operating normally at the time of impact, both propellers were operating normally at the time of impact, tests of electrical systems showed normal resistance to static discharges.

The investigation so far was able to rule out:
- failure of any engine or propeller
- detachment of a any propeller or engine
- electrical overload
- fuel contamination

The accident flight could not be reflown due to the dangers involved.
Incident Facts

Date of incident
Jun 6, 2012

Aircraft Registration

ICAO Type Designator

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