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NORAD F-15s intercept unresponsive TBM 700A TBM-700 from New York to Florida has lost communication with air traffic control and overshot its destination by >250 miles. NORAD F-15s are investigating. (flightaware.com) More...
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This the second recent case of a pilot losing consciousness and the plane continuing until the fuel ran out within just a few weeks. Perhaps single engine PICs flying pressurized aircraft should do so on O2 as it sounds like recovery by seeking a lower altitude may not be an option. With both incidents it has been fortunate that the aircraft came down over water and not in a populated area perhaps compounding the tragedy.
Michael, the cirrus in the first incident was non pressurized. Both incidents are due to misuse or nonuse of O2 systems when they were already called for by FAR, checklist procedure, or common sense.
The new TBM 900 has an "automated" pressurization system- no programming by the pilot. Automated? A loss of bleed air source is not always noticeable, cabin press is maintained for awhile in a small pressure vessel until it finally smoothly bleeds down and cabin alt slowly rises. Very subtle not overt like a cracked window-no ear bump. I believe at FL 280 the cabin would already be at 10,000 under normal operation. A single engine turboprop lacks the redundancy of a twin. Tooling around in a single engine pressurized civilian airplane in the flight levels sans a sealed mask fully on therefore introduces a new level of risk. Quick don masks? Gotta be quick. God bless these folks.
Presumably the aircraft had a high cabin alt warning light or alarm
The aircraft should have an Aural Warning system to alert the pilot of increasing cabin altitude as would have occurred in this accident , not to mention some indication via a gauge or electronic display to show the same ......... The pilot should have immediately declared an emergency once he fessed up to ATC that there was an indication that was not correct. These rich folks are buying up these expensive aircraft and are not being trained properly ........ Proper training might have saved these people from this fate .
I went through initial TBM training in 2012 at sim com Orlando. 6 days including a check ride with a different guy on day 6. These instructors don't care how many type ratings or how many thousand hours you have. They put you through the paces regardless. Another ATP and I went through together and received good training and a Pro Card status. Went through recurrent in May of this year and they take nothing for granted during recurrent This plane is not hard to fly but requires a good working knowledge of the systems to be safe and proficient. This particular pilot probably had more time in TBM aircraft than any non-factory or ferry pilot. I suspect he was in denial that a brand new plane had a pressurization issue until it was too late. Also the previous 2 TBMs he owned were non G1000 with different pressurization instrumentation and that can be a factor as well. Sad indeed.
Both Husband and wife were well experienced pilots, especially in type. This may have accounted for not declaring Emergency, trying to handle problem himself. Agree with another poster here though; there should be an audible warning for loss of cabin pressure as a gradual drop as in this aircraft is not immediately noticeable as in others where depress just happens. This was a new plane. Is this just a fluke or have they got a problem with this system.
Dropping to even FL120 will not help much. A slow decompression, depending on the cause, will likely result in a slow recompression. That is not very helpful. If you are a 35 year old, mountain biking pilot living in ASE at 8,000 FT ASL. You can probably recover at a cabin pressure of 14,000 feet.
A 60+ pilot living at sea level -- was doomed when he became hypoxic without 100% Oxygen in seconds. Euphoria rules your actions after that with bad results. "Everything is going fine"