Preliminary Accident Reports

September 2017 Issue




NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents

June 1, 2017, Bowling Green, Ohio
Varga 2150A Kachina

The airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain at 1159 Eastern time. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The pilot had recently purchased the airplane and was relocating it to a private airstrip near his home.

Witness observations were consistent with the airplane flying at low altitude and maneuvering erratically before it impacted. Each witness reported the engine was running prior to impact. The accident location was about six miles from the destination airport, and evidence indicates the airplane impacted terrain with its left wing low and a nose-low pitch attitude greater than 70 degrees. All airplane and engine components were accounted for at the accident location. Fuel was present at the fuel selector valve and inside the remnants of the engine-driven fuel pump. The flap selector was found at the second notch position and the flaps were found in an extended position.

June 1, 2017, Fulton, N.Y.
Lancair IV-P Experimental

At 1830 Eastern time, the airplane was force-landed to an airport after losing engine power. The pilot and flight instructor were not injured; the airplane sustained minor damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The purpose of the flight was to calibrate an angle of attack indicator, which required a series of zero G maneuvers. During the first maneuver, the flight instructor and pilot noticed the engine overspeed, as well as a noticeable “bang.” Following the total loss of power, a forced landing was performed without further incident. Examination revealed two fractured connecting rods.

June 1, 2017, Ventura, Calif.
Cessna Model 180

The airplane experienced an in-flight break up and was destroyed when it impacted terrain at about 1157 Pacific time. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The debris path was about 1½ miles long and included all major components of the airplane except its right elevator. One witness heard a noise, looked up and observed the airplane spinning toward the ground. The engine and both wings had separated from the airplane; the tail section remained attached to the fuselage.

June 2, 2017, Blaine, Minn.
Cessna Model 210F Centurion

At about 1911 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during landing. The solo pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane’s landing gear did not fully retract after takeoff. The pilot circled for an hour while performing emergency landing gear extension procedures without success. He returned to the departure airport and circled for another hour. Tower controllers confirmed the main landing gear were partially retracted and the nose wheel was extended. As the airplane settled onto the runway, the main landing gear retracted into the landing gear bay. The airplane veered off the runway and the right horizontal stabilizer was substantially damaged as the airplane skidded to a stop.

June 2, 2017, Banning, Calif.
Cessna Model 150M

The airplane collided with trees and the ground at about 1130 Pacific time, shortly after taking off after a touch-and-go landing. The flight instructor was fatally injured; the student pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and fuselage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The student reported the touch-and-go landing on Runway 26 was hard and the wind was gusting. After takeoff, the airplane drifted right of the runway centerline and the flight instructor took control. A witness observed the airplane at about 100 feet agl. It began to descend and lose altitude. Shortly thereafter, the wings wobbled and the airplane impacted trees and terrain. Observed weather at the facility included easterly winds at 17 knots, gusting to 23.

June 3, 2017, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Piper PA-23-250 Aztec

At about 1418 Atlantic time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted ocean water and a reef, then caught fire, shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries; two passengers were seriously injured. One passenger was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan had been filed for the FAR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight. Shortly after takeoff from Runway 8, the pilot reported an engine failure and was unable to maintain altitude. Avoiding a populated beach, he ditched in shallow water. Portions of the airplane were recovered, including both engines.

The right engine’s two propeller blades appeared undamaged and were not in a feathered position. One blade from the left engine’s propeller appeared undamaged. The other blade was bent aft, but neither blade was in a feathered position. The airplane’s master switch was off and the left and right fuel pump switches were on. The left engine’s magneto switches were on and the right magneto switches were off. The left engine’s fuel selector was positioned to the left inboard main fuel tank. The right engine fuel selector was positioned to the right outboard main fuel tank.

June 3, 2017, Garfield, Wash.
Sonex Experimental

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1130 Pacific time during a forced landing. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed. While in cruise flight at 4000 feet msl, the pilot noticed a vibration followed by a loud bang. Shortly thereafter, the propeller separated from the airplane. The pilot subsequently performed a forced landing to a paved road. During the landing roll, the airplane impacted a power pole guy wire, and its left wing sustained substantial damage. Examination revealed the propeller assembly and forward section of the crankshaft separated near the forward crankshaft bearing.

June 4, 2017, Moorpark, Calif.
Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

At about 1545 Pacific time, the airplane collided with the ground. The commercial pilot and his 15-year-old son passenger were fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot’s daughter was on her horse in an outdoor arena when the airplane approached from the northwest and flew over the arena in a southeast direction. The airplane then began a 180-degree left turn, tracking back past the arena and to the northwest. The pilot’s daughter exclaimed that she could see her brother in the front left seat as the airplane passed by.

As the airplane overflew a house on top of an adjacent hill, it began to turn left until it was now lined up on the original inbound track. Witnesses heard the engine sound increase as the airplane flew directly toward the arena, but now at a much lower altitude. The airplane continued to descend with the engine operating, and flew about 100 feet directly overhead, startling the horses.

Prior to reaching power lines just east of the arena, the airplane began a steep right turn; witnesses could see its complete wing profile. The turn progressed, with the nose pointing up, and then dropping back down, as the airplane passed out of view behind trees. Witnesses then heard two loud thuds. Evidence indicates the airplane’s right wingtip sustained damage consistent with power line contact.

June 8, 2017, Harrisonville, Mo.
Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee 235

The airplane struck a person while taxiing at about 0800 Central time. The pilot was not injured; the pilot-rated pedestrian was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed. As the pilot taxied to a parking spot after landing, the airplane’s wingtip struck a pilot-rated pedestrian who was filming the operation.

June 8, 2017, Bennett, Colo.
Bellanca 17-30 Viking 300

At about 1340 Mountain time, the airplane was forced-landed in a field. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane was flying in the traffic pattern when the pilot reported a loss of engine power. Another pilot in the traffic pattern observed the accident airplane in the field. Examination revealed the fuel selector was positioned to the left main fuel tank, which contained less than two gallons of fuel. During recovery, the airplane’s other three fuel tanks were drained and about 45 gallons of fuel was recovered.

June 10, 2017, Carpinteria, Calif.
Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II/III

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1430 Pacific time when it impacted terrain while maneuvering. The solo private pilot was seriously injured.

While en route, the pilot encountered a cloud-covered coastline and began to descend to get the ground in sight. At 2100 feet agl, he was still in a thick cloud and could not see outside. The pilot later wrote that after he failed to make a decision to climb or contact ATC for assistance, he crashed into a mountain ridge. The airplane came to rest upright on a westerly heading with its left wing bent back at mid-span. The pilot was able to contact emergency responders by cell phone. Search and rescue personnel subsequently located the downed airplane and rescued the pilot. A strong presence of fuel was detected at the accident site. The pilot reported no mechanical anomalies with the airplane that would have precluded normal operations.

June 11, 2017, Gordonville, Fla.
Cirrus SR22

At about 1200 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a power pole, trees and terrain while on approach to land. The solo private pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot was interviewed and stated he was “high” on downwind and that during the final approach, the airplane was descending “rapidly.” The pilot added power to complete the landing, but “nothing happened” as he “hadn’t reset [the] mixture.” According to the pilot, he lacked the time and the altitude to “remedy the problem.” The airplane came to rest in a church yard about ½ mile from the runway threshold. Examination revealed evidence of fuel, and continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces. Initial visual examination of the engine did not reveal any anomalies.

June 12, 2017, West Creek, N.J.
Cessna Model P206A Stationair

At about 2255 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The solo commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the post-maintenance test flight.

The maintenance included installation of new cylinders. Earlier that day, the pilot flew an uneventful hour. At the destination, the pilot performed a go-around, climbed to between 1000 and 1200 feet msl, then flew traffic pattern. While on downwind at between 1200 and 1500 feet msl with the auxiliary fuel pump on, the engine sputtered and quit, and the propeller stopped. The pilot was unable to restart the engine. He turned toward the runway while maintaining best glide speed but the airplane impacted trees then the ground about ¼ nm before the runway and came to rest inverted.

June 12, 2017, Suffolk, N.Y.
Cessna Model 172M Skyhawk

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0615 Eastern time during a forced landing to a golf course. The solo private pilot incurred minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

While en route, the pilot heard a “loud pop” and the engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot checked the fuel selector and mixture, and then searched for a place to perform a forced landing. He declared an emergency, unsuccessfully attempted to restart the engine and turned toward a golf course. During the landing, the airplane struck a tree, which resulted in substantial damage to the right wing. When the engine’s left and right magnetos were removed, and when the propeller was rotated by hand, neither magneto drive gear would rotate.

June 13, 2017, Ruidoso, N.M.
Beech Model E90 King Air

The airplane impacted terrain at about 2210 Mountain time, some 2400 feet southeast of the departure runway during initial climb. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and post-crash fire. The commercial pilot and a passenger sustained fatal injuries. Night visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane wreckage path was distributed along an approximate heading of 138 degrees and was about 168 feet in length. Both propellers were separated from the engines and were resting along the debris path. Both propellers exhibited S-shaped bending, leading edge damage and chordwise scratching consistent with being under power.

June 18, 2017, Ketchikan, Alaska
de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver

The float-equipped airplane impacted water and subsequently sank during an attempted takeoff. Of the seven occupants on board, the commercial pilot and four passengers sustained minor injuries, and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 on-demand sightseeing tour flight.

According to the pilot, the takeoff was unremarkable but the airplane “wasn’t climbing efficiently.” The pilot realized the airplane wasn’t going to be able to successfully clear a heavily wooded area in the intended direction of departure. He lowered the nose and initiated a 180-degree turn to the left, but the airplane impacted water after about 130 degrees of turn. The two floats separated, and the airplane began to sink. The pilot and six passengers successfully egressed the sinking airplane and swam to shore. The airplane subsequently sank. Another floatplane subsequently extracted the accident pilot and passengers from the shore.

June 22, 2017, Carlsbad, Calif.
Cessna Model 421B Golden Eagle

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1325 Pacific time when its right main landing gear collapsed. The commercial pilot receiving instruction and flight instructor were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the post-maintenance test flight.

After verifying everything was working properly, a second landing was performed, after which the pilot let the airplane roll out the length of the runway with minimal braking. As the airplane slowed to about 10 knots, the pilot noticed a “severe wobble as something may have been out of balance.” Subsequently, the right main landing gear collapsed and the right wing and elevator struck the ground.

June 24, 2017, Fort Myers, Fla.
Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III

At about 0748 Eastern time, the airplane impacted a building and terrain during takeoff. The pilot incurred serious injuries; the pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, preflight, start and ground operations were normal, with no water or debris in the fuel. On the takeoff roll, he verified engine rpm at 2450. He lifted off at 65 KIAS and pitched the airplane to accelerate to 80 KIAS. At 75 KIAS, he felt a loss of power and noted engine rpm was decreasing. He switched fuel tanks and applied carb heat, but the engine continued to lose power.

The pilot decided to make an emergency landing on a nearby street. The airplane came to rest against a building across the street from the airport. All major components were accounted for at the scene. The engine compartment, cockpit, cabin area, empennage and the majority of both wings were consumed by post-crash fire. One propeller blade exhibited “S” bending; the other blade was fractured in several pieces.

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 from the NTSB on general aviation accidents.

This month’s graph compares the total number of general aviation accidents in the U.S. to fatal accidents for the 10-year period 2005 through 2014, the most recent available. It seems 2013 was a pretty good year.