Date & Time: Jul 9, 2009 at 2208 LT
Type of aircraft:
Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain
Landing (descent or approach)
Vancouver – Nanaimo – Victoria – Vancouver
Crew on board:
Pax on board:
The Canadian Air Charters Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain (registration C-GNAF, serial number 31-8052130) was operating under visual flight rules as APEX 511 on the final leg of a multi-leg cargo flight from Vancouver to Nanaimo and Victoria, British Columbia, with a return to Vancouver. The weather was visual meteorological conditions and the last 9 minutes of the flight took place during official darkness. The flight was third for landing and turned onto the final approach course 1.5 nautical miles behind and 700 feet below the flight path of a heavier Airbus A321, approaching Runway 26 Right at the Vancouver International Airport. At 2208, Pacific Daylight Time, the target for APEX 511 disappeared from tower radar. The aircraft impacted the ground in an industrial area of Richmond, British Columbia, 3 nautical miles short of the runway. There was a post-impact explosion and fire. The 2 crew members on board were fatally injured. There was property damage, but no injuries on the ground. The onboard emergency locator transmitter was destroyed in the accident and no signal was detected.
APEX 511 turned onto the final approach course within the wake turbulence area behind and below the heavier aircraft (Airbus A321) and encountered its wake, resulting in an upset and loss of control at an altitude that precluded recovery. The proximity of the faster trailing traffic limited the space available for APEX 511 to join the final approach course, requiring APEX 511 not to lag too far behind the preceding aircraft.