The NTSB’s final report this week on the June 30, 2019, fatal crash of a Beech King Air 350 at Addison Airport in Texas concludes that the pilot likely depressed the wrong rudder pedal in his attempt to maintain control after loss of thrust in one engine. After noting that evidence indicated the King Air’s left engine thrust dropped off to near zero several seconds after rotation, the NTSB wrote, “Based on an evaluation of thrust estimates provided by the propeller manufacturer and performance data provided by the airplane manufacturer, it is likely that the pilot applied left rudder, the opposite input needed to maintain lateral control, before applying right rudder seconds later. However, by then, the airplane’s roll rate was increasing too rapidly, and its altitude was too low to recover.”
Supporting its conclusion that the pilot initially applied the wrong rudder input, the board wrote, “During the first five seconds after the propeller speed deviation, the airplane’s roll rate was about five degrees per second to the left; its roll rate then rapidly increased to more than 60 degrees per second before the airplane rolled inverted.”
Citing the cockpit voice recorder findings, the board also criticized the crew for failing to complete pre-takeoff checklists. For example, as to what caused the power to drop off on the left engine, “the NTSB noted that there was a known risk of an unintentional movement of an engine power lever if its friction lock was adjusted incorrectly. Friction lock settings are one of the items in a pre-takeoff checklist the pilot failed to use,” according to a statement from the board.
The privately owned and operated King Air was departing Addison on a flight to St. Petersburg, Florida. Both pilots and all eight passengers died in the fiery crash into the side of a hangar.