|Hello all... I was reading another post regarding a "breach in wake turbulence separation" incident, and recalled a fatal accident in 2009, when a Piper Navajo flying VFR got between two jet airliners... By what I recall at the time, the controller alerted the Navajo about a heavy coming behind it and advised it to "keep its speed up". Looking at the airplanes tracks on some of those flight tracking websites (flicktracker.com or something), after the accident, it became evident that the Navajo was too eager to avoid getting "rear bumped" by the heavy on its tail, and got too close to the jet ahead (2 nm or less, reportedly). The Navajo "nosedived" out of the blue (into an empty city lot), which suggests it got caught in the wake turbulence of the jet ahead of it... (this of course is nothing official, but the circumstantial evidence seemed rather straightforward...) I never heard about the official accident report.
My understanding is that ATC is responsible for IFR flights, but pilots flying VFR are responsible to keep proper wake separation (I got my PPL in my teens but I haven't flown in over 30 years -- long story -- so I may be wrong on this)... So in principle this would be the Navajo's pilot "fault", by not keeping proper separation. Yet, as the ATC would have the Navajo in its radar, it should have noticed that the Navajo was getting too close to the Airbus 321 ahead (as seemed evident in the flighttracker playback). On the very day of the accident, an audio of the ATC communications surfaced in some website and it was possible to play the aircraft's track and the radio communications (it was very eerie to see the Navajo disappear from the "radar" playback, and hear the controller's increasingly anxious attempts to contact the Navajo). I recall the controller alerting the Navajo about the airplane behind it, but saying nothing about keeping its distance from the Airbus ahead, although like I say, technically the Navajo pilot was the one responsible to keeps its distance (as far as I know)
What are your thoughts on this? Should the controller have taken a more active role in keeping the Navajo within the proper separation, or was this none of the ATC business, since the Navajo was on VFR...? I'm definitely not looking to put the "blame" on anyone in this accident, but I always wondered about the reach of responsibilities in this case (please let me know if this incident was already discussed, either in this forum or in any other TC official investigation...)
Just curious. Many thanks in advance for your feedback!
This is a link with the general news about this accident:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/bri ... le4278796/