Preliminary Accident Reports

November 2017 Issue




NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents

August 1, 2017, Phoenix, Ariz.
Grumman AA-1B Trainer

At about 1300 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. Both the flight instructor and student pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to witnesses, after the airplane lifted off and was in its initial climb to the west, the wings started to rock back and forth. The airplane began to descend, struck the airport's western perimeter fence and collided with terrain before coming to rest on a road bordering the airport.

August 3, 2017, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Beech D17S Staggerwing

The airplane was ground-looped during landing at about 1130 Mountain time. The pilot and passenger were not injured, but the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later stated that wind for the landing was a right quartering tailwind at 10 to 13 mph. He made a normal landing with a lot of left rudder application to keep the airplane straight. After touchdown, with the tailwheel on the runway, the airplane drifted to the right. The pilot applied left brake to correct, but the right landing gear collapsed and the airplane continued to the right edge of the runway where it came to rest upright. The pilot stated, “It got away from me, I guess.”

August 3, 2017, Immokalee, Fla.
Pipistrel Virus SW Motorglider

At about 1100 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during a go-around at a private grass airstrip. The private pilot sustained minor injuries; the passenger was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot was attempting to land on a 1200-foot-long strip with 50-foot-tall trees on both ends. After touching down on the first third of the runway, he realized he was not going to stop in time. Instead, he disengaged the air brakes, aborted the landing and attempted to go around. During initial climb, at about 30 feet agl, “the left wing quickly dropped,” before the glider descended and its left wing impacted the ground. The motorglider cartwheeled into the trees about 75 feet left of the runway center and 1000 feet beyond the approach end of the runway. According to the NTSB, the pilot was issued his private pilot glider rating on March 27, 2017, and reported a total time of 33 hours.

August 3, 2017, Rio Linda, Calif.
Lancair IV-TP Experimental

The airplane impacted a residential area at 1503 Pacific time, following loss of engine power while on approach. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

Data obtained from a Garmin portable GPS show a normal flight until 1459:28. With the airplane at about 6800 feet msl, it began a gradual descent at about 215-200 knots. At 1502:02, the airplane turned onto final approach. The last six hits of the flight track occurred over 35 seconds from 1502:06 to 1502:41. During that time, the airplane’s speed dropped from 130 knots to 91 knots as it descended to about 510 feet. The last data point recorded placed the airplane approximately 790 feet north-northeast of the accident site at 155 feet msl. Numerous witnesses observed the airplane flying toward the airport at a low altitude. The airplane then suddenly made a sharp turn to the right and disappeared into the trees.

August 4, 2017, Athol, Idaho
Rans S9 Chaos Experimental LSA

At about 0900 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged in a hard landing during an aborted takeoff. The solo commercial pilot, who also was the builder and owner, received serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot’s son, this was the kitbuilt airplane’s maiden flight. After conducting an uneventful “high-speed taxi test,” the pilot taxied back and initiated a takeoff. About two seconds after liftoff, the airplane pitched up to a “fairly nose-high attitude” of about 15 to 20 degrees. When the airplane was at about 150 feet agl, a ground crew member observed it to be descending rapidly. The airplane landed hard, collapsed the main landing gear, and came to rest upright near the right edge of the turf runway. There was no fuel leakage or fire. The pilot sustained head injuries despite his shoulder harness.

August 5, 2017, Marion, Ohio
Grob G102 Club Astir IIIB Glider

The glider collided with a tree and terrain at about 1413 Eastern time after releasing from the tow airplane. The pilot received serious injuries and the glider was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness reported the glider’s left and right-wing spoilers were visible from the ground, and that they were not locked down into the stowed position. He stated that the glider and tow airplane, a Cessna 150, were unable to climb normally with the spoilers extended. The pilot released from the tow airplane at around 150 to 200 feet agl, and tried to make a 180-degree turn back to the runway with the spoilers still extended. The glider’s wing clipped a tree and it crashed in a field.

August 5, 2017, Pittstown, N.J.
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

At about 2242 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a collision with trees and terrain while on approach to land. The student pilot and one passenger were seriously injured; the other passenger received minor injuries. Night visual conditions prevailed.

According to a passenger and the student pilot’s flight instructor, the student pilot had planned to ferry his airplane the following week with his flight instructor to have avionics installed. However, during a family picnic the day of the accident, the student pilot decided to ferry the airplane with the passengers that night, instead of the following week with his instructor. Another family member drove to the destination airport to provide ground transportation. The passenger stated the airplane was in a circling descent near the destination when the student pilot noted red obstruction lights related to utility wires and indicated that something was not correct. The airplane then collided with trees and impacted the ground. The three occupants were able to egress before a postcrash fire consumed a portion of the cockpit.

August 5, 2017, Pocatello, Idaho
Lockheed P2V-5F Neptune

The airplane was substantially damaged shortly after takeoff. The airline transport pilot, commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated under contract to the U.S. Forest Service to provide aerial application services (e.g., firefighting). Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot-in-command (PIC), he observed an uncommanded aft movement of the control yoke with a simultaneous increase in the airplane’s pitch attitude during initial climb. Despite multiple attempts to regain control, the airplane continued to maintain a nose-up attitude. Five degrees of flaps were deployed, which reduced the elevator backpressure. The PIC subsequently jettisoned the load of fire retardant over vacant land and the flight declared an emergency with ATC.

The PIC had previously demonstrated approaches to land without making any adjustments to power or pitch, so he configured the airplane for an approach without trim or elevator control. They flew a wide traffic pattern and made small adjustments to compensate for altitude. During the final approach leg, the PIC used a combination of wing flaps and engine power for pitch adjustments, and the crew coordinated application of elevator and turns to make their pitch-down adjustments. A landing was accomplished without further damage. Investigation revealed a bolt in the airplane’s pitch-control system had backed out. It had not been safety-wired.

August 9, 2017, Wellston, Ohio
Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP

At about 1220 Eastern time, the airplane experienced a loss of engine power while maneuvering at low altitude. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed for the pipeline observation flight.

When the engine lost power, the pilot initiated a forced landing to an open green space between trees. During the forced landing, the airplane impacted rolling, grass terrain and a barbed wire fence, sustaining substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. After the engine was decowled, a large hole on the top of the engine crankcase was noted.

August 9, 2017, Tower City, Penn.
Pietenpol Air Camper Experimental

The airplane was substantially damaged following a loss of control during takeoff at 0926 Eastern time. The private pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to airport surveillance video, the airplane’s nose veered left during the takeoff roll. The takeoff continued, and the airplane pitched up to a steep, nose-high attitude, rolled to the left, then descended to the ground. Impact occurred in a left-wing-low, steep nose-down attitude. Airframe total time was 9.8 hours, i.e., within the Phase I test period.

August 11, 2017, Greenwood, Miss.
Piper PA-31T Cheyenne

At about 1330 Eastern time, the airplane experienced multiple systems anomalies while en route. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane sustained minor damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

While en route, the landing gear warning horn sounded, which the pilot was unable to silence. The pilot elected to return to his departure airport for a precautionary landing, at which time the autopilot engaged. The pilot spent several hours trying to disengage the autopilot including conversations with pilots on the ground and one with Piper Aircraft. Eventually, the pilot was able to land the airplane using variable thrust from the engines.

August 19, 2017, Marietta, Penn.
Smith Aerostar 601P

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1642 Eastern time, during takeoff. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the airplane swerved to the right during the takeoff roll. The pilot corrected to the left and aborted the takeoff but the airplane departed the left side of the runway and collided with an embankment. According to an aircraft mechanic, the pilot had not previously flown the accident airplane make and model. The mechanic later received a call from the pilot who informed him about the accident and indicated that the airplane “got away from him.”

August 20, 2017, Palm Coast, Fla.
Mooney M20C

At about 2055 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power after takeoff. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

During the takeoff, the pilot noticed that the engine was not producing full power. At about 400 feet agl, the engine lost all power. During the ensuing touchdown on a road, the pilot noticed flames coming into the cockpit around the passenger’s feet. He stopped the airplane and both occupants egressed as quickly as possible. The pilot stated he did not turn off the master switch or boost pump, nor could he get back in the airplane as the flames were too intense. Subsequent examination revealed the cabin section had been consumed by fire. The engine compartment was black from soot but intact. The wings, tail section and landing gear also were intact.

August 22, 2017, Pacific Ocean
Hawker Siddeley Hunter Mk.58

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted open ocean at about 1618 Pacific time during an exercise with a U.S. Navy fighter. The airline transport pilot received serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The U.S. Navy airplane was about 1000 feet abeam the accident airplane’s port side when it suddenly turned right and crossed in front of the accident airplane’s flight path. The pilot of the accident airplane entered a 60-degree right turn and pitched up to follow the military fighter, but the airplane entered a rapid left bank, followed by a nose-low pitch attitude. The accident airplane rolled wings-level and then immediately rolled into another 60-degree right turn, followed by a rapid left bank. The airplane repeated the same sequence at least once more before it entered a 40-degree nose-down attitude and its pilot ejected. The witness reported the accident airplane appeared to depart controlled flight about 15 seconds after the military airplane crossed in front of it.

August 28, 2017, Ellabell, Ga.
Beech A36 Bonanza

At about 0849 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain following a complete loss of engine power. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The airplane sustained damage to all major components during the accident sequence. Visual conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

On-site investigation revealed the forward fuselage was crushed rearward. Both wings exhibited rearward crushing with the right wing crushing being more pronounced than the left. The crush angles indicated a ground impact about 25 degrees from vertical. Examination of the engine revealed a hole in the top right rear of the engine case that was about two inches in diameter. The crankshaft was visible through the hole; there was no connecting rod attached to the rod journal.

August 28, 2017, San Jose, Calif.
Cessna 560XL Citation Excel

The airplane sustained minor damage to its right main landing gear wheel well area during a landing mishap at about 1900 Pacific time. The two airline transport pilots and three passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The airplane was operated on an IFR flight plan as a FAR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.

During the landing roll, the airplane veered to the right. The flying pilot corrected back to the runway centerline and then exited onto a taxiway before stopping. Examination revealed the aft portion of the right main landing gear’s trunnion pivot pin was not in place. The separated aft portion of the right main gear trunnion protruded through the top of the wing and the landing gear strut and wheel were positioned out and aft in about a 45-degree angle from its original position.

August 29, 2017, Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Beech M35 Bonanza

At about 0639 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The solo private pilot/owner received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane was equipped with six fuel tanks (a main, auxiliary and tip tank in each wing). The pilot conducted the takeoff and climbout, as he always did, on the left main tank. While in cruise, he switched to the auxiliary tanks, and later, to the right main tank. He also turned on the two pumps to transfer fuel out of the tip tanks. Later, when he had the destination airport in sight during a descent, he switched the fuel selector to the left main tank for landing. The engine stopped producing power but continued to windmill. Remedial actions, including switching tanks, did not restore power. The pilot determined he would not make the runway and selected an open desert area as his landing location. The airplane landed hard on the nose landing gear, which collapsed as the airplane slid to a stop. Recovery personnel reported none of the fuel tanks were breached. The airplane had about 43 gallons of fuel on board, all of which was contained in the two main tanks.

graph

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 defining events for accidents involving non-scheduled FAR Part 135 fixed-wing aircraft in 2014, the most recent available from the NTSB.