Read the Report: NTSB Releases Report on Crash That Claimed Senator's Son
On November 10, 2013, about 1546 central standard time, a Mitsubishi MU-2B-25 twin-engine airplane, N856JT, impacted wooded terrain while maneuvering near Owasso, Oklahoma. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant of the airplane, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Anasazi Winds, LLC, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, and an instrument flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Salina Regional Airport (SLN), Salina, Kansas, about 1503 and was en route to Tulsa International Airport (TUL), Tulsa, Oklahoma.
After takeoff, the airplane was radar identified by the Kansas City Center (ZKC) sector R66 controller, and the pilot was cleared to climb to 9,000 feet. About 1506, the pilot was cleared to climb to 17,000 feet. The flight proceeded normally, and at 1518, the pilot was instructed to contact the ZKC sector R72 controller. The pilot did so and was issued the Chanute altimeter setting, 30.30 inches of mercury. About 1527, the R72 controller instructed the pilot to descend at his discretion and maintain 10,000 feet. The pilot reported leaving 17,000 feet. About 1532, the R72 controller instructed the pilot to contact Tulsa approach control, and the pilot acknowledged.
At 1534:09, the pilot contacted Tulsa approach. He reported leaving 11,600 feet for 10,000 feet and having received automatic terminal information service information Charlie. The controller advised the pilot to expect vectors for a visual approach to TUL runway 18L, and the pilot acknowledged the information. At 1537:46, the controller instructed the pilot to turn 10 degrees left and descend to 6,000 feet. At 1540:07, the controller asked the pilot to turn another 10 degrees left and instructed him to descend to 2,500 feet. The pilot acknowledged the instructions.
At 1542:04, the controller advised the pilot that TUL was at the pilot's one o'clock position and 10 miles and asked the pilot to report the airport in sight. The pilot immediately replied, "In sight." The controller cleared the pilot for a visual approach to runway 18L and instructed him to contact TUL tower. The pilot acknowledged both the approach clearance and the frequency change.
The pilot contacted TUL tower at 1542:20 and again reported the airport in sight. The tower controller cleared the pilot to land on runway 18L and asked him to reduce speed to 150 knots or less for spacing behind an aircraft that would be departing from runway 18L. The pilot replied that he was reducing speed and acknowledged the runway assignment.
After the airplane passed the runway 18L outer marker, the airplane began a left turn. At 1544:48, when the airplane was about 90 degrees from the runway approach path, the tower controller transmitted, "Mitsubishi six Juliet tango tower." The pilot replied, "I've got a control problem." The controller responded, "Okay uh you can just maneuver there – if you can maneuver to the west and uh do you need assistance now?" At 1545:06, the pilot replied, " I've got a left engine shutdown."
At 1545:11, the tower controller contacted the approach controller to advise him that N856JT had a control problem and that other aircraft might have to be cleared out of the area.
At 1545:38, the tower controller transmitted, "Six Juliet Tango are you uh declaring an emergency uh well we'll declare emergency for runway 18L – you say you have an engine out and souls on board and fuel remaining if you have time." The controller made two additional attempts to contact the pilot at 1546:06 and 1546:55, but there was no response. According to the tower's Accident/Incident Notification Record completed after the accident, notification of emergency services occurred about 1546.
Radar data showed the airplane complete a 360-degree left turn near the runway 18L outer marker at 1,100 feet mean sea level (msl) then radar contact was lost.
Seven witnesses observed the airplane in a shallow left turn; the reported altitudes ranged from 400 to 800 feet above ground level (agl). Four witnesses recalled the landing gear in the extended position during the turn, and two witnesses observed that one engine propeller appeared not to be rotating or slowly rotating. One of the witnesses reported seeing a stream of black exhaust following the airplane and four reported not seeing any smoke. Four of the witnesses reported an unusual engine or propeller noise from the airplane, and four did not comment on the engine or propeller noise. Some of the witnesses observed the airplane in a left turn toward the west before the wings began to rock left and right at a 10-15 degree bank angle. Shortly thereafter, the airplane was seen in a bank to the right followed by a "hard" bank to the left. Some of the witnesses observed the airplane spiral toward the ground and disappear from view.
The pilot, age 51, held a commercial pilot certificate, with airplane single-engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings, and a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot's most recent flight instructor renewal was completed on October 6, 2013, when he added an airplane multiengine endorsement. The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was dated October 15, 2013, and had no limitations. The pilot's application for his medical certificate indicated no use of any medications and no medical history conditions.
According to pilot logbooks recovered at the accident site, which were partially consumed by fire, and other logbooks provided to investigators, the pilot had accumulated at least 2,874.4 total flight hours, of which 1,534.9 were in multiengine airplanes. The pilot accumulated most of his multiengine time in a Cessna 421B, which he owned since 2010.
Interviews with individuals who were in contact with the pilot and cellular telephone records were used to construct the pilot's 72-hour history before the accident. No abnormal routines or health issues were reported or noted.