Preliminary Accident Reports

October 2017 Issue




NTSB Reports: October 2017

July 1, 2017, Catawba, Wis.
Cessna 421C Golden Eagle

The aircraft broke up in flight then impacted the ground after an uncontrolled descent at about 0153 Central time. The commercial pilot and five passengers sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. Dark night visual conditions prevailed. An IFR flight plan was in effect.

The airplane was in cruise at 10,000 feet msl when its pilot queried ATC about nearby weather conditions. Radar data then showed the airplane climb slightly and turn left. Then the airplane entered a descending right turn and radio contact was lost. There were no distress calls. The nearest convective activity was about 25 miles to the east. Debris from the aircraft was spread over about ¼ mile.

July 1, 2017, Chatsworth, Ga.
Piper PA-23-250 Aztec

At about 1644 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed during an inflight breakup. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed but the flight was not operating on an IFR clearance.

After a fuel stop lengthened by the pilot’s inability to perform a hot-start of the airplane’s engines and subsequent weak battery, the flight departed about 1500. The airplane was not in contact with ATC during the accident flight but radar data depicted it heading northeast and encountering thunderstorms advancing from the northwest. The radar data showed the airplane penetrating a thunderstorm before radar contact was lost. Witnesses watched the airplane “tumbling and spinning” out of the sky. The debris field was about one mile in length.

July 2, 2017, Moorhead, Minn.
North American T-28A Trojan

The airplane struck a light pole and impacted terrain at about 1810 Central time, while approaching to land. The solo private pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions existed at the accident site. Witnesses observed the airplane flying at low altitude and heard its engine running prior to it striking a light pole at a truck waystation about two miles south of the runway. The right wing was severed at the root. There was no fire.

July 3, 2017, Alpine, Texas
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

At about 1815 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The solo commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand cargo flight. An IFR flight plan had been filed.

While climbing through about 500 feet agl, the pilot heard a loud bang, followed by a squealing noise and an immediate loss of engine power. The pilot released back pressure on the controls and pulled the propeller control to feather. During the forced landing, the right and left wings were damaged due to impact with power poles before the airplane came to rest in a field.

July 4, 2017, Remsen, N.Y.
Luscombe 8A Master

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1430 Eastern time when it impacted terrain while on final approach. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness observed the airplane approaching the runway. The airplane was flying toward him and he thought it was coming in to land. The witness said the airplane then entered a sudden “nose dive” and impacted a field. He said he heard the airplane’s engine prior to the impact. The airplane came to rest upright in a hayfield about 600 feet from the end of Runway 9. There was no post-impact fire. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.

July 4, 2017, San Juan, P.R.
Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

At 1721 Atlantic time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a canal shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

On the takeoff roll, the pilot observed the engine instruments were “in the green” and the engine developed full power. During the initial climb at an altitude of about 250 feet agl, the engine started to run rough and lose power. It did not respond to throttle inputs. The pilot informed ATC he intended to return and land. Although the pilot did not recall subsequent events, video captured from observers on the ground show the airplane in a left descending turn. The airplane’s bank angle increased to about 90 degrees left-wing-down before it impacted the canal.

July 4, 2017, Dillwyn, Va.
Aviation Aircraft A-1C-180 Husky

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1224 Eastern time when it impacted terrain. The private pilot was seriously injured; one passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to a witness, the pilot was attempting to land the airplane on a grass field. Three attempts were made, and the airplane touched down on the third attempt. The pilot then executed a go-around, and the airplane climbed, turned to the right and stalled, colliding with terrain in a cornfield adjacent to the grass field. The field the pilot was attempting to land on was about 665 feet long and designed for radio-controlled aircraft.

July 4, 2017, Willits, Calif.
Cessna P210 Pressurized Centurion

The pilot reported the airplane was “blown to the east, presumably by either stronger winds or gusts” that, while landing and trying to maintain directional control. He was “fearing a stall,” and elected to “put the plane down in the grass and dirt to the left of the runway.” Unable to stop the forward momentum with full application of the brakes, the airplane continued over the edge of the embankment, and came to rest in the trees.

A witness reported the accident airplane did not touch down until the second half of the landing runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. Weather observed about 21 nm away included wind from 150 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 20. The accident occurred as the pilot attempted to land on Runway 16.

July 4, 2017, Marana, Ariz.
Vickers Supermarine Spitfire VC

At about 0900 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged following a loss of control and runway excursion during landing. The solo airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported the airplane veered to the left after landing on Runway 12, and he corrected back to the right. As the airplane continued to the right, the pilot attempted to correct back to the left. However, the left brake was ineffective, which resulted in an excursion off the right side of the runway and into some soft dirt. The airplane subsequently came to rest on its nose, having incurred damage to the landing gear, fuselage and propeller. Reported wind about five minutes before the accident was from 230 degrees at three knots.

July 5, 2017, Rushville, Ind.
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six

The airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing at about 1400 Eastern time. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the engine did not respond to his increased throttle input after a descent. The pilot selected a diversion airfield and began troubleshooting the engine. The engine would decrease engine power with throttle movement, but would not restore engine power when throttle was added. Eventually, the airplane was not able to maintain altitude and the pilot performed a forced landing to a field.

July 6, 2017, Honesdale, Pa.
Morrisey 2150A

At 1645 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a collision with trees and terrain during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness observed the airplane take off and return for a touch-and-go landing. The initial takeoff sounded “normal” but the engine “fumbled...faltered drastically for 3 or 4 seconds” on the ensuing takeoff. The pilot aborted the takeoff, taxied back to the beginning of the runway, and took off again. The airplane reached traffic pattern altitude “or close to it” on the downwind leg when the witness heard the engine “miss” and heard further power interruptions before his attention was diverted. Surveillance video showed the airplane in a shallow descent and a shallow angle of bank as it descended from view behind trees.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the lap belt and shoulder harnesses were not buckled. Both wing-mounted fuel tanks were intact and fuel-system continuity was confirmed. A total of three ounces of fuel was found at the accident site.

July 7, 2017, San Francisco, Calif.
Airbus A320-211

The Part 129 scheduled international passenger flight was cleared to land on Runway 28R at about 2356 Pacific time. Runway 28L was closed at the time; its lighting was turned off and a 20.5-ft-wide lighted flashing X (runway closure marker) was at its threshold. The Airbus lined up for its landing on parallel Taxiway C, which had four air carrier airplanes on it awaiting takeoff clearance—a Boeing 787, an Airbus A340, another Boeing 787 and a Boeing 737.

Subsequent investigation reveals the Airbus crew advanced its thrust levers for a go-around when the airplane was about 85 feet above the taxiway; the minimum altitude recorded on the FDR once the go-around was initiated was 59 feet agl. The Boeing 787 is 55 feet 10 inches high. Night visual conditions prevailed, and the Airbus had been cleared for a visual approach.

July 7, 2017, Cape Coral, Fla.
Cessna 172D Skyhawk

At about 0950 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing after total loss of engine power. The pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

While cruising at 1200 feet agl, the pilot noticed a partial loss of engine power. He immediately turned toward his departure airport and applied carburetor heat. The engine continued to run rough and produce partial power, then lost all power. The airplane struck power lines and then the ground.

July 7, 2017, Greenwood, S.C.
Cessna T337 Turbocharged Skymaster

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0735 Eastern time during a forced landing. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

After performing some touch-and-go landings, pilot and flight instructor departed the traffic pattern to perform airwork, including steep turns and a practice stall. Subsequently, the front engine started to surge from high power to low power, then lost all power. The pair turned back toward the departure airport and performed the engine-out checklist but could not restart the front engine. Before reaching the airport, the rear engine experienced a total loss of power. The airplane was too low to reach the runway, and the flight instructor performed a forced landing into the trees.

July 8, 2017, Waterford, Ohio
Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III

At 0942 Eastern time, the airplane impacted a reservoir. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

Radar data show the airplane proceeding toward an initial approach fix for an RNAV (GPS) procedure. The final 2.5 minutes of the radar data revealed several sharp left and right turns. The last radar fix recorded the airplane at 2950 feet msl, or about 2100 feet agl. A witness less than a mile from the accident site reported low overcast clouds and fog were present as the accident airplane flew overhead. It exited the clouds in a steep angle of descent with the engine producing a sound similar to high power before disappearing behind a tree line.

July 8, 2017, Walters, Okla.
Beechcraft V35 Bonanza

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1050 Central time in a forced landing after a loss of engine power. The airline transport pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

About 10 minutes after takeoff, the engine oil pressure indication went to zero and the engine failed. The pilot executed a forced landing to a farm field, during which the airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall and lower fuselage. Examination revealed a hole above the engine’s #4 cylinder. All engine cylinders had been replaced about 10 flight hours prior to the accident flight.

July 13, 2017, Marineland, Fla.
Piper PA-44-180 Seminole

At about 2300 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed during an inflight breakup. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. Shortly before radio and radar contact were lost, the flight was at 5400 feet msl with its destination in sight. The outboard portions of the left and right wings, baggage door, and a portion of the right stabilator were located throughout a 0.5-mile-long and 0.2-mile-wide debris path.

July 13, 2017, Hailey, Idaho
Beechcraft D55 Baron

The airplane landed hard and ground looped at about 2010 Mountain time, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot observed that the throttles were not rigged correctly and were not aligned with each other. On approach, he realized the airplane was too high and reduced power to lose altitude. Closer to the runway, the airplane drifted right of centerline, so he added power to go around. However, he added too much power to the left engine, which increased the rightward drift. The pilot returned the airplane to a wings-level attitude, but the nose was pitched up too high, and the airplane landed hard.

July 27, 2017, Oshkosh, Wis.
Lake LA-4-250 Renegade

At 1943 Central time, the amphibious airplane impacted water during takeoff. The pilot and one passenger were fatally injured, the pilot-rated passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

When the airplane arrived at about 1230 on the day of the accident, the pilot requested assistance because the airplane was taking on water in the left wing sponson. Boats assisted the airplane to the dock, and both the sponson and an integral fuel tank were emptied.

When the pilot was ready to depart, personnel expressed concern regarding rough water conditions. At one point, the pilot was taken out on the lake by boat to observe conditions. Subsequently, the seaplane was towed outside the base by boat. While under tow, the pilot reportedly asked the harbor master for permission to start the engine several times. Once the tow was complete, the pilot started the airplane engine and the airplane “went to full power within two seconds.” The airplane began its takeoff run immediately.

Video showed the airplane porpoising, then its nose rose steeply out of the water and the airplane rolled to the left and the left wing struck the water. The airplane settled back to the right, its nose entered the water and the airplane began to sink. Video documenting the takeoff revealed the airplane’s wing flaps were retracted. The elevator trim tab was close to or at maximum nose-up.

Owing to staff changes, the NTSB tells us the raw data we’ve been using to generate our monthly accident statistics graphic won’t be available until further notice. In its place, we’ll be publishing various other graphical data on general aviation safety.
This month’s graph looks at personal flying accidents in 2014, the most recent available from the NTSB. It compares fatal and non-fatal accidents, sorted by phase of flight. More accidents occurred while landing, but fewer of them were fatal than for takeoffs.