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Safety Recommendation.

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On February 8, 1997, about 1935 Atlantic standard time, a Cessna 402, N318AB, operating under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations CFR Part 135 as Air Sunshine flight 319, crashed into the Caribbean Sea southwest of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The flight had been a regularly scheduled flight operating under visual flight rules VFR between St Thomas and St. Croix. The airplane was destroyed two passengers were killed, and the pilot and two of the remaining four passengers sustained minor injuries. Night, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. The pilot, who had accrued over 11,000 hours in the 400-series Cessna airplane types, mostly in the south Florida area, had begun flying in the Caribbean area less than a week before the accident. The pilot estimated that he had executed between 10 and 15 approaches to St. Thomas, with 4 or 5 of those at night. The pilot told Safety Board investigators that, at the time of the accident, he was unable to receive the distance measuring equipment signal from St. Thomas. Consequently, he was especially attentive to receiving and establishing the proper localized course to St. Thomas to remain clear of the mountains on the north side of the island. The pilot said that he encountered some difficulties receiving the radio signal and was attempting to adjust the localized course setting. During this time, the pilot noticed that the airplane was passing through 1,100 feet mean sea level. The pilot said that he refocused on the localized and then the airplane struck the water about 3 miles from shore.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Aircraft Operations
  • Safety Engineering

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