The Pacific Northwest has been rattled with yet another general aviation accident after the September 4 Northwest Seaplanes accident that took the lives of 10 persons. On November 18, 2022, a Cessna 208B Caravan (N2069B) crashed in Snohomish County, Washington, near Everett. Four persons died in the accident involving a test flight by Raisbeck Engineering of Seattle. Two test pilots, a flight-test director, and an instrumentation engineer were on board. They were collecting aircraft performance data before the installation of a Raisbeck aircraft modification. Our thoughts go out to the families of the deceased, and their friends and colleagues at Raisbeck Engineering.
Data obtained from FlightAware shows N2069B taking off from Renton Municipal Airport that morning at 9:24 a.m. and the accident occurring at approximately 10:20 a.m. after a sharp descent with a corresponding increase in aircraft speed. During the flight, the ground speed varied from 63 mph to 190 mph, and the altitude after original climb out varied from approximately 6,500 feet to just over 10,000 feet, which is taken from ADS-B data. News reports include witnesses identifying a possible fire and/or aircraft break-up before impact. While it is not known what flight data information was being recorded, it is hoped that such information is available and accessible because it may be critically important to help determine the cause of the accident.
The aircraft, a Cessna Grand Caravan 208B, was manufactured by Textron Aviation, Inc. in 2021, according to the FAA’s aircraft database. It had a Pratt & Whitney PT6A-140 turboprop engine. It is owned by Copper Mountain Aviation, LLC out of Anchorage, Alaska, which is apparently associated with Lake & Peninsula Airlines in Alaska. The aircraft may have been leased to Raisbeck Engineering.
Raisbeck Engineering’s website lists two current modifications for Cessna 208B aircraft. The first is an under-carriage cargo pod modification related to a more streamlined design for the fairing at the front of the cargo pod. The second modification involves installing two after-aircraft body strakes to decrease drag and increase performance. It is unknown if the accident flight was obtaining baseline flight data for either of these modifications or another planned modification. It would make more sense if the aircraft was leased to Raisbeck.
Aviation Law Group attorneys are monitoring developments of this accident and will have more to report as additional facts are discovered or released by the NTSB.