На прошлой неделе был опубликован отчет о страшной авиа катастрофе, произошедшей 5 января 2008 г., в которой погибли пилот и пять рыбаков-старообрядцев из Раздольны и Качемак-села. Майкл Армсторонг изучил этот отчет и опубликовал его основные выводы.
Staff writer of Homer news
The National Transportation Safety Board last week released its factual report on the Jan. 5, 2008, crash in Kodiak of a Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain that killed five Homer area Old Believer fishermen shortly after taking off from the Kodiak Airport.
The crash killed the pilot, Robin Starrett, and brothers Stefan F. Basargin, 36, and Pavel F. Basargin, 30, both of Razdolna; brothers Zahary F. Martushev, 25, Razdolna, and Iosif Martushev, 15, Kachemak Selo, and Andrian Reutov, 22, Kachemak Selo.
Four fishermen survived the crash: Feodot Basargin, 33, Anchorage; Anton Rijkoff, 30, Homer; Andrean V. Basargin, 25, Homer, and Karnely Ivanov, 32, of Anchor Point. The fishermen had been returning to Homer for Russian Christmas after fishing for gray cod.
In a preliminary NTSB report from late January 2008, one survivor, Karnely Ivanov, told investigators that shortly after the Navajo Chieftain took off, he saw the plane’s left forward baggage compartment door open slightly, which startled the pilot. While still over the end of Runway 36, the pilot, Starrett, started a shallow right turn. As Starrett did so, the baggage door swung open all the way and stayed open. As the plane continued its right turn, it rolled sharply to the right, and descended sharply on its nose and right wing side, then hit the water.
The latest report will be used by the NTSB board to makes its finding of probable cause of the accident. That finding should come out in early April, said Clint Johnson, an investigator with the NTSB in Anchorage.
«It’s pretty conclusive,» he said. «Everything we found is in that narrative report.»
The report is based on interviews with survivors and rescuers, an examination of the plane wreckage, laboratory tests and other research.
Some of the information included in the report is that:
* The pilot tested negative for alcohol or illicit drugs;
* The pilot loaded the plane himself, latched the front hatch, did a «walk around» of the plane and checked the front hatch before taking off;
* The plane’s gross weight was 7,221 pounds, or 147 pounds below its maximum gross weight;
* The nose baggage door handle was found in the closed position, with the baggage door lock partially engaged into the door handle slot;
* A plastic guard covering the door’s locking mechanism was missing;
* An original equipment key lock on the nose door had been replaced with a thumb-latching device, and the door had a fabricated fastening device on the lower portion of the nose door which was distorted.
The report focuses on the issue of the nose door. NTSB’s database shows seven previous incidents involving nose baggage doors opening in flight on Piper aircraft with a similar baggage door design. Piper Aircraft safety engineers told the NTSB that no flight testing was done — and none required — on the PA-31 series plane concerning possible adverse affects of an open nose baggage door during flight.
Because of concerns over the nose baggage door, the Federal Aviation Administration in May 2008 issued a Safety Alert to Operators, or SAFO, recommending that pilots routinely inspect the nose baggage door and latches, and use locks that require a key to be turned and removed for the latch to be completely engaged. The SAFO came from the Alaska FAA and NTSB, Johnson said. Piper cooperated with the FAA in looking at the nose baggage door latch issue.
«To their credit, they (Piper) did address it, and address it quite well,» Johnson said.
According to the report, other Piper PA-31 pilots told NTSB investigators it was common for baggage door latches to be modified by removing the key lock. A supplementary lock, known in Alaska as a «Peebles Latch,» was often added to the forward baggage door. That provides a secondary, external latch. The NTSB report said the Servant Air crash plane didn’t have a secondary latch on the nose baggage door. Servant Air told NTSB the thumb-latch device was on the door when it was purchased in November 2004.
The Piper PA-31 has a plastic guard on the inside of the nose baggage door to keep baggage from interfering with the locking mechanism during flight.
Servant Air told the NTSB that this guard was in place on the plane for its last 100-hour inspection about 18 days before the crash. Crash investigators found five of six screws holding the guard in place missing, with a sixth screw and a broken piece of the cover still in the plane. The empty threads to hold the screws did not appear to be stripped, the report said.
Johnson said the families of the victims and the survivors have been contacted or are attempting to be contacted to let them know the report has been issued. The report also includes information about the rescue response. The full report is available online at http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/query.asp by searching on the Servant Air crash plane registration number, N509FN.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at michaelarmstrong.@homernews.com.
Story last updated at 7:49 PM on Wednesday, February 25, 2009