Preliminary findings into the Convair 440 freighter crash at Toledo Express airport earlier this month give further details of the accident sequence, but little indication as to the cause.
Operated by Ferreteria E Implementos San Francisco on a non-scheduled flight from Millington Memphis airport, the aircraft had been about 5nm southeast of Toledo when it was cleared for landing, in darkness, at 02:35 on 11 September.
The US National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot acknowledged the clearance – the last communication received from the aircraft – and the Convair subsequently became established on final approach to runway 25.
“No problems or anomalies were reported during the flight,” says the inquiry.
But radar contact was lost during the approach and the investigation found the aircraft struck trees about 0.65nm (3,950ft) north-east of the threshold.
An aircraft on a typical 3° glideslope should normally have been flying at about 260ft at this point, but the initial tree strikes were only about 55ft above ground, states the inquiry.
“Multiple tree breaks were observed along the flightpath through the wooded area east of the accident site,” it adds.
The distance between the first tree impact and the accident site itself, a parking lot about 0.5nm from the threshold and near the extended centreline, was 0.12nm.
Neither of the two occupants survived the accident. The aircraft had originally departed Laredo, Texas, at 18:38 on 10 September and arrived at Millington around 22:10, before being refuelled for the flight to Toledo.
After taking off from Millington at 23:14 it cruised at around 7,000ft before commencing its descent 39nm southwest of Toledo. Visibility at the time of the accident was good, with no adverse meteorological conditions.