The Pilot Transmitted “We Got A Problem” Before Impacting Terrain

Location: Christoval, TX  Accident Number: CEN24FA064
Date & Time: December 14, 2023, 12:18  Local Registration: N188PC
Aircraft: Pilatus PC-12/45  Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

A Pilatus PC-12 was destroyed in an accident near Christoval, Texas on December 14th, 2023. The crash caused fatal injuries to pilot, passenger, and their 3 pets. The NTSB’s preliminary report largely describes the various outcomes for the aircraft’s debris, which was strewn through trees and terrain 15 miles south of their target airport.

It does include the radio transmissions leading up to the impact, which paint a portrait of a single-pilot flying in IMC while attempting to shoot the San Angelo Regional Airport RNAV. The pilot passed the final approach course, continuing in a shallow right turn instead.

The pilot contacted ATC, acknowledging the miss while descending in the same shallow right turn at 1,000 feet per minute. Only 4 seconds later, the aircraft steepened its turn and began descending at 5,000 feet per minute.

3 seconds later, the pilot transmitted “we got a problem” before impacting terrain.

Almost immediately after that, the turn steepened while dropping at 15,000 fpm.

The aircraft appears to have been registered to a Delaware company, and the accident pilot flew it about 111 hours over the last year, 16 of them in IFR flight. The report makes mention of a 2020 panel upgrade, with a new autopilot controller and glass panel touchscreen PFDs. Whether or not they contributed to the accident will have to be seen when the final report is released later on.