The accident involving a Swearingen Metro operated by Pioneer Airlines occurred on December 7, 1982. On that day, a Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III operated by Pioneer Airlines was on a cargo flight from Santa Fe , New Mexico to Pueblo , Colorado . Shortly before landing, the machine was flown off-road , killing the two pilots on board.
The machine is concerned a 1981 built Swearingen SA227-AC Metro III with the work number AC-449 and model serial number 449 , which made its first flight in 1981 and on 25 February 1982 at the Metro Partnership in Santa Barbara , California with was first registered with aircraft registration number N30093. In the same month the machine was handed over to Pioneer Airlines. The twin-engine regional transport aircraft was equipped with two turboprop engines of the type Garrett TPE331-11U equipped. By the time of the accident, the machine had run 2,269 hours.
Crew and flight plan
There was only a two-person crew on board, consisting of a master and a first officer. The machine was used on a scheduled cargo flight from Santa Fe in New Mexico to Pueblo in Colorado . The captain who steered the machine on the flight had 8534 hours of flight experience, including 945 with the Swearingen Metro. 
Course of the flight and course of the accident
The start in Santa Fe and the cruise towards Pueblo were routine. On the approach to the destination airport, the crew received clearance to descend to 7,500 feet at 19:06 and the instruction to maintain this altitude afterwards. For a radar-guided approach (ASR APCH = Airport Surveillance Radar approach) to the Pueblo Memorial Airport, the aircraft should turn right on a heading of 040 ° (≈Northeast). In addition, the pilots were on the minimum descent altitude(MDA) pointed from 5200 feet. This radio message from the approach controller was repeated incorrectly by the pilot: "Left to one forty five two zero zero" (To the left on [heading] 140 ° (≈Southeast), [altitude] 5200). The approach controller pointed out that the correct heading was 040 °, which the crew then confirmed. This was the last radio message from the crew. Instrument flight conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. As it later turned out, the metro had flown from a horizontal attitude at a flight speed of more than 200 miles per hour (more than 320 km / h) into the terrain of a tundra landscape , it was a controlled flight into terrain .
At first it could not be determined why the machine had crashed. At autopsy, aspirated stomach contents were found in the first officer's trachea and lungs. Investigators concluded that there was a medical emergency on board the machine. After the first officer vomited and was choking on his vomit, the captain probably tried to help him and was distracted from his actual task of flying the machine and steered the aircraft into the ground. Another airline pilot later confirmed that the first officer had vomited three weeks earlier on another flight.
- Final report of the National Transportation Safety Board
- Accident report in the Aviation Safety Network
- Operating history of the machine on rzjets.net
- Photo of an identical Swearingen Metro in the livery of Pioneer Airlines
- Crash of a Swearingen SA227AC Metro III in Pueblo: 2 killed, B3A - Bureau of Aircraft Accident Archives