Fri, May 04, 2007
Inadequate Speed Led To Inadvertent Stall
NTSB has issued its Probable Cause report on the downing of a
Pilatus PC-12 near Big Timber, MT in June 2006.
As ANN reported, a former
Microsoft executive and his pilot were killed when their
single-engine turboprop crashed shortly after takeoff. Jeffrey M.
Harbers was receiving flight instruction from 31-year-old Jason
Barton at the time of the accident.
According to the Probable Cause report, "the airplane was
observed, on radar, to make a "very rapid descent" towards the
runway at Lavina, from approximately 12,000 feet." Another PC-12
flight instructor said this maneuver looked like a practice for
emergency descent training.
Air traffic controllers reported "radar contact was lost for
approximately 3 minutes" and when radar contact was reacquired, the
aircraft was about 4 nm west of the Lavina airport. ATC then said
the PC-12 continued southwest, and its last radar contact was at
A witness told investigators "the aircraft seemed to be
recovering, but the elevation of the adjacent ridge was rising
rapidly in relation to the aircraft's direction. At the last few
seconds, the aircraft was able to pitch up in what appeared to be a
The witness then reportedly observed dirt and grass flying up
behind the aircraft, saying "the airplane's right wing tip and
engine impacted terrain."
Harbers, 54, led engineering and development work on Microsoft's
Office software program during the 1980s, according to friend and
former Microsoft co-worker Jeff Raikes. He also served as director
of Microsoft applications development, before leaving the company
in the early 1990s to devote his time to environmental causes.
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