The Aviation News Channel Case Study 2:
NTSB Study Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT)
On October 2, 2016, about 1157 Alaska daylight time, Ravn Connect flight 3153, a turbine-powered Cessna 208B Grand Caravan airplane, N208SD, collided with steep, mountainous terrain about 10 nautical miles northwest of Togiak Airport (PATG), Togiak, Alaska. The two commercial pilots and the passenger were killed, and the airplane was destroyed. The scheduled commuter flight was operated under visual flight rules (VFR) by Hageland Aviation Services, Inc., Anchorage, Alaska, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135. The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) investigation determined that instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) were likely in the vicinity of the accident site at the time of the accident. The flight departed Quinhagak Airport, Quinhagak, Alaska, at 1133 and was en route to PATG.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the flight crew’s decision to continue the visual flight rules flight into deteriorating visibility and their failure to perform an immediate escape maneuver after entry into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). Contributing to the accident were (1) Hageland’s allowance of routine use of the terrain inhibit switch for inhibiting the terrain awareness and warning system alerts and inadequate guidance for uninhibiting the alerts, which reduced the margin of safety, particularly in deteriorating visibility; (2) Hageland’s inadequate crew resource management (CRM) training; (3) the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to ensure that Hageland’s approved CRM training contained all the required elements of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations 135.330; and (4) Hageland’s CFIT-avoidance ground training, which was not tailored to the company’s operations and did not address current CFIT-avoidance technologies.