Beech Bonanza accident “I’m not gonna make it” (8 Feb 2016)

The pilot of a private plane said he was “not gonna make it” when he was cleared to return to the Santa Barbara Airport moments after take off during an engine failure.

The audio transmissions between the tower and the pilot were brief, direct and set off a full response by the airport patrol and fire units.
The plane landed hard just short of the runway in a slough at 5:40 p.m.

The plane lost power when it was climbing and turning to the left at 300 feet. “Plane’s coming back,” was a message sent back to the tower on the radio. The air traffic controller is heard with a quick response to advise the area was clear saying “you can land on the taxi way sir if you need.”

About 30 seconds later, with the plane down, the pilot says, “I’m OK.” In a relieved voice the controller says, “Thank God.”

Have a listen to this recording and note the “briefness” of the content. The pilot was aware that the aircraft was in trouble and he communicated but do you think he provided enough details as to the issue at hand? He may have been following the “Aviate, Navigate and Communicate” rule but do you think his communications were sufficient for the situation? Discuss.

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