Hendricks Case Study

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HendricksCase Study

HendricksCase Study

Thehuman errors that resulted to Hendricks plane crash includemiscalculations that resulted to missing of the touchdown and pilots’mistake of not initiating a climbing right after the Missed ApproachPoint (MAP). Apart from that management failures of HendricksMotorsports pertaining training of flight-crews will be discussed.Training in this respect entails, reading GPS coordinates andinitiating climbing right in time whenever a MAP is encountered.

Humanfactor errors

Oneof the human error came about when the plane missed the firsttouchdown before veering off and crashing. The pilots did notimplement an instrument method. They also failed to utilize thenavigational utilities to ascertain the position of the plane whileit was approaching. The crew blundered in taking the GPS readings,hence approached the airport too high and began descending to theappropriate altitudes way past the airport.

Thepilots erred by not initiating a climbing right, a requirement forMAP that might have prevented them from crashing. After moving pastthe MAP, the pilots were instructed by the radar controller to go up4400 feet so that they could be captured by the radar. However, theplane crashed into the terrain on Bull Mountain since it was movingat an extremely low altitude.

Theprimary cause of the air crash revolved around the pilots’negligence. They failed to pay attention to their equipment displays,which would have warned them of their wrong location. Additionally,once they came out of the clouds, they should have realized they werewrongly positioned and act accordingly.

Thepilots might have mistakenly thought the plane was indicatingdistance data towards BALES locator outer marker (BALES LOM), whereasthe actual readings showed distance data to Martinsville/Blue RidgeAirport (MTV). Once the plane had passed BALES, the GPSauto-sequenced to MTV, and the pilots could have failed to notice thechange. The miscalculations led to an MAP that resulted in the crash.

Failuresof management

Trainingof flight crew is a responsibility of management. The flight crewfailed to adhere to common procedures due to limited knowledge on thesame. For instance, the flight crew did not utilize the instrumentapproach mechanism. A core component includes the MAP that could havehelped avoid the terrain. Such aspects are effectively acquiredthrough training, which the flight crew might have lacked [ CITATION Pau06 l 1033 ].

Insteadof using the Distance Measuring Equipment (DME), Hendricks Motorsportrelied on Bendix/King KLN 90B GPS. As per the NTSM, the gadget isInstrument Flight Rule (IFR) capable but is not certified to beutilized in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). Instead ofutilizing the most appropriate gadget, the pilots opted to use awrong one emanating to the loss of direction and subsequent crash.Installation of the device within the plane is the task of management[ CITATION Pau06 l 1033 ].

Thewrong positioning could have been prevented by use of GroundProximity Warning System (GPWS). The system would have givencomputer-generated alarms as well as evasive mechanisms independentof controller or crew actions. Automatic generation of alarms wouldhave assisted the pilots from swaying away from the correct position.In this case, evasive techniques such as instant rise after the MAPcould have been initiated to avoid the terrain.

Improvementof a plane is a function of management. A GPWS, in this case, couldhave prevented the crash, probably by alarming the crew of thealtitudes and directions. As per the findings, there is a possibilitythe crew did not have positional ideas. In other words, they weredescending at the wrong point.

Anothermanagement issue entailed communication. Controller jurisdictions areoutlined by the management. The controller could see the aircraft wastoo high on the approach but had no authority to question the pilots.If the controller had relayed his thoughts, then probably theaccident could have been avoided.


Thecrash was mainly caused by human errors. The pilots did not initiatea climbing right at the right moment that could have prevented thecrash. The flight crew also used the wrong instrument to determinetheir position leading to miscalculations that caused the MAP.Additionally, flight crews’ lack of training resulted incontraventions of proper procedures. For example, the timing of theclimbing right was incorrectly done due to poor training. Managementfailed to upgrade the plane in accordance to current technologies. Agood example is installation of a GPWS that could have signaled theflight crew in time to evade the crash.


Hendricks, S. J. (2004). Commuter Choice program case study development and analysis. Washington, DC.

Lowe, P. (2006, September 21). Hendrick King Air crew lost situational awareness. Retrieved from Hendrick King Air crew lost situational awareness: http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/aviation-international-news/2006-09-21/hendrick-king-air-crew-lost-situational-awareness

National Transportation Safety Board. (2006). Aircraft Accident Brief. Washington, DC.