The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has made public its preliminary report on a 15 November 2022 accident in which an Ameriflight Fairchild SA227-AT Expediter (N247DH) acting as Ameriflight flight 7141 made an emergency landing on the links of the Western Lakes Golf Club in Pewaukee, Wisconsin.
The aircraft came down three-nautical-miles short of Waukesha, Wisconsin (UES)—its filed destination—in poor weather conditions.
Notwithstanding the total loss of the 37-year-old Metroliner, its three crewmembers and cargo of 56 dogs survived the accident with only minor injuries.
The NTSB’s preliminary findings indicate the downed Metroliner’s flight-crew experienced autopilot and aircraft control issues while attempting the ILS approach to UES’s Runway-10 in half-mile visibility with snow and fog and a ceiling of three-hundred-feet.
Fifteen minutes prior to the accident, visibility at UES was reported to be eight-hundred-meters.
Having received approach clearance, the crew intercepted the Runway-10 localizer, which they tracked to glideslope-intercept before the aircraft’s flight-director commanded a climbing right turn. The Metroliner’s autopilot, at the time, was correctly set to approach mode and was tracking the ILS approach path.
According to the NTSB: “The flight crew disconnected the autopilot and continued the approach, manually flying the airplane. Once the autopilot disconnected, the airplane immediately rolled to the right. The flying pilot and the non-flying pilot both got on the controls and increased engine power to attempt to regain control of the airplane. They were able to level the airplane; however, it impacted the ground in a near wings level attitude.”
The debris-field resultant of the Metroliner’s impact started on the golf course’s fifth hole and continued to the third hole, where the aircraft came to rest—wings sheared from its fuselage. Local officials reported a spill of approximately three-hundred-gallons of jet fuel which permeated sections of the golf course and spilled into a nearby marsh.
Ameriflight flight 7141 was a charter operation undertaken for purpose of transporting at-risk adoptable dogs from shelters in the southern U.S. to the Waukesha Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS) and several partner shelters. The flight originated at New Orleans Lakefront Airport (NEW).
The dogs—to a one—survived the ordeal and were placed up for adoption in the following days.
HAWS representative Maggie Tate remarked: “Just bumps and scrapes for the dogs—which is incredible. They’ve been through a lot. They’ve had a much busier Tuesday than they anticipated.”