Today’s award goes to the pilot of a small executive jet that landed (sort of) in Telluride, CO a few days ago.
A small plane crashed at the Telluride Airport on Wednesday afternoon. The airport was closed for snow removal at the time of the crash … the plane landed and collided with a snowplow on the runway. The San Miguel Sheriff said the pilot did not radio the airport before landing.
There’s more at the link.
The pilot didn’t radio the airport before landing; he obviously didn’t check NOTAM‘s that would have warned him that the airport was closed; and he missed seeing a bloody great snowplow at work on the runway! Where, precisely, was his head during the landing? Where was he looking?
Oh, well . . . at least he won’t be flying that jet out of there. Pictures at the link show it’s missing its right wing. I suspect it won’t be flying anywhere again. (Indeed, I daresay the missing wing might soon be hung on the wall of the garage for the airport snowplow – as a trophy!)
Here are three questions I have that should have been easy to answer:
Was the airport really closed, (i.e. in the NOTAM's), or was it just a temporary closure due to the passing snow storm? (I.E. not necessarily in the NOTAM's)
Is Telluride, CO a controlled airfield? (I.E. does it have a control tower?)
Was the jet on some kind of an instrument approach? (…the weather in the photographs sure looks like it should have been.) If it was on an IFR flight plan, the pilot should have at least been in contact with an artc.
Gaah! If only we still had real reporters instead of "journalists".
Did some looking and found some answers for you (I think).
I think the accident occurred around 2pm though not positive. San Miguel sheriff says accident happened that afternoon and an aviation safety net report is time stamped 1400.
The weather sequence for 1355 is:
20:55 UTC / 13:55 local time:
KTEX 232055Z AUTO 00000KT 2SM -SN SCT012 BKN019 OVC027 M05/M09 A2951 RMK AO2 VIS 1V5 T10551089
Translating, calm winds, 1200 ft scattered clouds, 1900 ft broken clouds-this is the reported ceiling, 2700 ft overcast. -5 C/23° F, visibility varied from 1 mile to 5 miles.
There is no control tower. All aircraft will contact CTAF/UNICAM and announce intentions over a frequency that everyone at the field, moving on the ground, and airborne monitors.
Had the pilots used CTAF, someone would have informed the crew what was going on.
Also, checking the AWOS which has the current weather, updated continuously, might have had snow plowing noted.
If the crew got the weather from Denver Center and not AWOS, the crew might not have bothered to check AWOS for updates.
There is no control tower for Telluride.
If there was plowing going on, the field was closed. Calling CTAF would give them that answer. The crew never called. That is improper procedure.
The field is uncontrolled, no tower.
They had to be on an instrument approach, see the weather above. Most likely, they were flying the RNAV (GPS)Z Rwy 9 approach.
The weather for that approach is 1600 ft ceiling and 1 1/2 miles vis.
There are 3 other approaches to the runway, but they all have much higher ceilings and would have been inappropriate.
They were flying in Denver Center's airspace and Denver would have issued approach clearance. Denver would have been unlikely to know what field operations were on going.
The long and short is the crew f@@@ed up.
Does the snowplow get to paint a little silhouette of the jet on it's cab?
I'd do it. I don't care if I had permission or not, I'd whip out the brushes and do it.
I'm wondering if the apparent haste to land was due to a low fuel state. No sign of fire, even though the wing was ripped off at the root, which is also close to an engine.
The pilots knew the airport was closed, but landed anyway.
Here's a report from 12/28: link