Aircraft engines that crashed in Piracicaba may have suffered power asymmetry

The plane crash in Piracicaba, in the interior of São Paulo, last Tuesday (14), may be related to the failure of one of the aircraft’s engines.

The accident killed businessman Celso Silveira Mello Filho, a shareholder of Cosan, who has his brother, Rubens Ometto Silveira Mello, as chairman of the Board of Directors. The businessman’s wife and three children, as well as the plane’s pilot and co-pilot, also died in the accident.

The aircraft is a King Air 250 model, one of the most modern and well-equipped on the market. The line is quite popular, with almost 50 years of existence, and there are 400 aircraft of this model that fly in Brazil.

Takeoff videos indicate something known in flight theory as power asymmetry. A twin-engine airplane depends, in order to fly safely, that the two engines run at the same power. When one engine generates less power than the other, the plane is in a situation of asymmetry — which puts the pilot in front of quick and difficult decisions, depending on the cause that led to the problem.

The images from the home security camera close to the accident site reinforce this possibility. Moments before the crash, the aircraft was “in knife”, an expression used by pilots when the wing that is generating more power turns over the one with less power. This position is virtually unrecoverable for any rider, especially when it’s so close to the ground.