This episode explores the dangers of flying in low instrument conditions with a dwindling fuel supply.
The January 2013 accident involved a Piper Arrow that struck trees while attempting to make a dead-stick emergency landing at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
As in many accidents, a chain of circumstances led to the fatal flight’s final moments, and the case study makes it clear that a safe outcome may have resulted with different decisions.
“We provide these case studies to help pilots recognize when the accident chain is beginning to build and how to take action to break that chain,” said George Perry, senior vice president of the Air Safety Institute. “Final Approach shows how a failure to adapt to diminishing weather and failing to change plans to mitigate that risk can lead to an unfortunate result. Sometimes just stopping enroute and checking the weather and refueling is enough to keep you out of trouble.”
“Final Approach” reveals how a seemingly possible instrument flight ran into trouble when an expected improvement in the weather failed to occur. It also examines the pilot’s interaction with air traffic controllers and decisions that extended his flight and eventually depleted what should have been an ample fuel reserve.