Ameriflight Metro crash


Well-Known Member
I am in Germany working but caught this at my local papers web site. Have seen this plane at KSFF many times but never met any of the pilots. Not sure what happened other than I believe the crash site is on the centerline of the ILS runway....where you would hit if you descended too early. I live about three miles from the crash site.

Kinda crazy in an ironic sorta way. I was going to make a post about an experience I had at about the time this crash happened....

We got the ATIS in Cologne and they were advertising 32R and 25. No mention of any approaches out of service and both runways have an ILS. We chose the one that we had pre-planned, which was the longest.....32R. Got vectors to final and a couple miles from the FAF, I noticed red flags on the LOC and GS...asked the Capt to verify that the ILS was up but he just said he wasn't getting it either and asked the F/E to check the ATIS again. I told him to just ask ATC but he didn't want to for some reason. Next thing you know we are cleared for the NDB-DME approach (yeah...there is such a thing) and contact tower (have a nice day)...that was the first we knew the ILS was down. A little voice in my head said just go missed but the Capt said he would talk me down on the GPS overlay of the NDB-DME. I had the final approach course on my display so it was no big deal to intercept and the Capt gave me altitudes to fly. The whole way down I was thinking "this is illegal as hell"......but we pressed on. It was 9BKN with good vis. We broke out with the runway on centerline and made a normal landing. Later, I found out there WAS a GPS overlay on the approach we did, so we were legal......but the little voice in my head didn't like the suddeness and lack of planning for plan B.

Anyhow....just a heads up that in Europe you might get a runway assignment with a surprise approach.

And...even though it worked out this time....always listen to the little voice in your will keep you out of trouble. No idea what happened with Amflight but, in the right set of circumstances, it could happen to anyone.....


Pilot dies in cargo plane crash near Felts Field
Western Washington man was making weekly delivery trip

By Benjamin Shors
Staff writer
Spokesman Review

A small cargo plane crashed on a snowy hillside in the Spokane Valley on Saturday, killing the pilot.

The twin-engine plane took off from Boeing Field in Seattle on Saturday morning and was approaching the runway near Felts Field when it clipped several trees about 8 a.m., Spokane County officials said.

A heavy fog covered the Argonne Hills, and apparently no one saw the plane go down about a mile east of the airfield. One witness told investigators he heard the plane hit the trees, then crash.

It is the first fatal plane crash in Spokane County this year. Officials did not release the name of the pilot, a Western Washington man in his 60s. He was flying a SW3 Merlin, often called a Metro, a 60-foot cargo plane.

The pilot radioed the airstrip moments before the crash but he was not in distress, according to Mike O'Connor, regional duty officer for the Federal Aviation Administration

"He never indicated that he was having any kind of problem", O'Connor said.

The plane, torn to scraps by its tumble through the pine trees, continued to burn for two hours after the crash. The Spokane County Fire Department raked through the burning coals, careful not to disturb evidence of the crash's cause.

Two investigators from the Federal Aviation Administration searched the crash site, which covered more than six acres. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on their way to the scene Saturday morning.

It could be six months before the investigation is complete, O'Connor said.

He said the plane almost certainly did not carry a "black box", or voice or data recording devices, which can often help investigators determine the cause.

Pieces of the plane's wings lay scattered in the snow. Debris landed on Lehman Road. The tops of several pine trees had been cut by the plane, which flew through the trees for perhaps 500 yards before coming to rest in a gully, officials said.

The plane and its pilot made weekly runs from Seattle to Spokane, said Dave Reagan, spokesman for the Spokane County Sheriff's Department. The pilot was flying under contract with United Parcel Service, carrying 127 packages when the plane went down.

Videotapes and DVDs were visible in the wreckage, Reagan said.

The plane was owned by AmeriFlight Inc., a company based in Burbank, Calif. AmeriFlight specializes in transporting small- package freight and financial documents, using more than 170 aircraft, according to its website.

Dick Fraser, who owns the timberland where the plane crashed, received a call from a neighbor Saturday morning. He raced to the scene and found firefighters already working.

"The fire was going pretty good in the fuselage", Fraser said. "You couldn't see nothing". The fire continued to smolder as investigators worked. "It's like a pile of coals in the center", said a lieutenant with the county's fire department. "We're trying our best to preserve the accident scene".


New Member
Why would your approach have been illegal, do you not have an ADF/RMI? Also, if the approach is in the GPS database then there should be a published approach for it right (ie NDB DME or GPS)


Well-Known Member
Maybe because they didn't have the NDB frequency handy and didn't have time to tune it into the ADF, id the NDB, blah blah blah. Capt just felt it would be quicker to pull up the GPS overlay, which would be "illegal" if there wasn't a GPS overlay for the approach (same as trying to shoot a standard NDB w/ no overaly approach using GPS only). I'm no airline pilot, so that's just my guess.

One of the most important things I've learned so far in my meager experience as an instrument pilot is that you need to let ATC know what YOU want to do, don't expect ATC to hold your hand and give you what you want. Call ATC WELL before you reach your clearance limit and tell them what approach you would like to execute, if they don't tell you what to expect within 10 minutes of your clearance limit. Give yourself enough time to brief the approach and stay at least 4-5 steps ahead of the airplane.

If you don't let ATC know what you want to do, sometimes they'll let you fly straight to your clearance limit without giving you a vector to your destination, clearing you for an approach, or giving you further clearance of any kind. THen you're screwed. I've had it happen to me on more than one occasion....never again. Trust me, even in IFR, ATC isn't going to babysit you. It's absolutely the pilot's responsibility to tell ATC what they want. ATC will let you fly into a cliff if you're not navigating like you're supposed to. This is especially true of center controllers when you're flying to a quiet, non-towered airport. Controllers simply to do not keep as close a watch on IFR traffic as most pilots probably think they do.