The NTSB has ruled the crash that killed air show performer Eric Beard was caused by pilot error. Beard, 47, died Jan. 6, 2006, while executing the NDB approach at Skagit-Bayview Regional Airport (BVS) in Burlington, Wash. Beard, an ATP, was flying a Seneca for Airpac Airlines, Inc., a cargo company based in Seattle. He was on a night run that consisted of several stops at local airports.
Beard was cleared for the approach into the uncontrolled airport. ATC approved the change to advisory frequency and instructed Beard to report “on deck” via flight service. Beard acknowledged the transmission and there was no further contact. Several hours later the wreckage was found in a grove of trees approximately 2,000 feet from the approach end of the runway. Local law enforcement said that thick fog hampered the initial search for the airplane.
The automated weather observation at the airport around the time of the accident reported a visibility of five statute miles with a broken ceiling at 100 feet agl with an overcast layer at 800 feet agl. The MDA for the straight in approach is 1,240 feet above mean sea level, which puts the aircraft at 1,096 feet above the touchdown zone. The missed approach point for the NDB is located at the airport. The published minimum visibility for the straight-in NDB approach is 1-1/4 mile. The report states the accident was the result of Beard’s failure to follow the published missed approach procedures, resulting in a collision with terrain.
Beard was known on the air show circuit as the pilot of “Russian Thunder,” a Yak 54.
A NASA engineer, he was part of the Space Shuttle and Titan rocket programs.