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Mon, Apr 10, 2023

One King Air's Wing-Bending Incident Report Published

Del Rio, Tx Wind Shear Incident Serves as Lesson for Part 91 Operators

The NTSB published the summary regarding a significant bout of wind shear leaving Del Rio, Texas in November of 2022, illustrating the dangers with some sobering imagery.

The incident occurred while climbing out from Del Rio International Airport, passing 4,000 ft msl about 7 miles northeast of the field. The aircraft, while at climb power, went from a consistent 1,500 fpm climb to zero, then just as quickly to a descent of 1,500 ft. The pilot regained control and continued onward to the destination without further issue. Upon landing, he noted some impressive damage done to the sheet metal along the wings, with both sporting a newfound, upward crease outboard of the engines.

However, a passenger riding in the cockpit relayed a different tale, according to NTSB records. They describe a disorienting and unflattering sequence of affairs. The passenger, relaying his experiences, said the flight proceeded as usual during the climb-out until passing through a cloud layer, coming out the other side facing the ground. He described the pilot "pulling hard" in an effort to bring the aircraft level to the horizon once again. After bringing the aircraft to bear once again, the pilot continued on as per usual. When leaving the aircraft, another passenger pointed out the bilateral crease in each wing. 

Following the passenger's testimony of the incident is a smattering of somewhat tenuously related aspects of the flight which speak more to the need for adequate airmanship & professionalism before the flight than anything else. Investigators found that the pilot's explanations to exactly how they arrived in such an unusual attitude were somewhat blasé, though he at least provided a follow up email a week after apologizing for the incident while citing possible wind shear. The passenger said that they were not asked to provide weights for the flight.

For an incident sufficient to pop the oxygen masks from their ceiling compartment, the periaeronautical aspects of the flight left something to be desired, judging from the interview. While it hasn't quite been determined whether or not wind shear was the true cause of the incident, the whole thing can be taken as a lesson in how far customer satisfaction, post-flight professionalism, and confidence can go to assuage real concerns held by worried passengers. 

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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