Preliminary Accident Reports

December 2018 Issue




NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents

September 1, 2018, Crete, Neb.
Cessna P210N Pressurized Centurion

At about 0900 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a cornfield following a partial loss of engine power after takeoff. The pilot and right seat passenger received serious injuries; the two rear seat passengers received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that he and his co-owner had flown the airplane the night before the accident; it flew normally without problems. On the morning of the accident, he had to use the low-pressure boost pump to start the engine, but the pre-takeoff run-up was normal. The airplane ised most of the 4201-foot-long runway before becoming airborne. On reaching about 500 feet agl, the pilot determined the engine was not producing full power. He turned on the low-pressure boost pump and climbed to 1000 feet agl before turning back to the airport. The engine continued losing power, so he conducted a forced landing to a cornfield. A witness reported observing “dark exhaust” trailing the airplane during the takeoff.


September 1, 2018, Harrisville, Mich.
Beechcraft Model K35 Bonanza

The airplane ran off the runway end at about 1430 Eastern time, during an aborted takeoff. The private pilot sustained minor injuries; his three passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

That morning, the pilot added 25 gallons of fuel and the passengers before departing an asphalt runway without issues. During the accident takeoff, he noted that the first 200 feet of the turf runway was soft and consisted of long grass, while the remainder included sand and patches of weeds. He was able to lift the nose wheel off the runway after around 300 feet and the main landing gear lifted off near mid-field. He kept the airplane in ground effect but it would not gain altitude. When the left wing brushed trees, the pilot aborted the takeoff and attempted to stop the airplane in the grass, but collided with trees at the end of the runway.


September 1, 2018, Covington, Tenn.
JetEZ Experimental

At about 1720 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it experienced an in-flight breakup and impacted terrain while maneuvering at low altitude. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Day visual conditions prevailed.

A witness reported the accident airplane took off, climbed to about 1000 feet agl, then started a descending 270-degree turn and crossed over the middle of the airport at about 200 feet agl. The airplane was estimated to be at 200 to 210 knots, in a level pitch and bank attitude. Shortly after crossing the runway, the witness observed the left wing and winglet “oscillate” about five times, then the left wing “exploded.” Pieces of the airplane began falling as it pitched up about 90 degrees, the right wing separated and the airplane descended into a cotton field. The debris field extended some 1000 feet.

The airplane was a two-seat, canard-style, original-design composite, closely resembling a Rutan LongEZ. It was powered by a modified GE-T58-8B turbine engine.


September 1, 2018, Mount Pleasant, Tenn.
Diamond DA40 Star

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1715 Central time during a forced landing to a field, following a total loss of engine power during approach. The solo private pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After a local flight, the pilot returned and entered the airport traffic pattern. While on downwind, he reduced the engine power but the engine quit. The pilot performed remedial actions without success, then realized he would not be able to glide to the runway. The pilot then made a forced landing to a field about a mile from the runway threshold. Examination revealed damage to the wings, but their respective fuel tanks remained intact. Approximately five gallons of fuel were drained from the left tank and 10 to 11 gallons of fuel from the right one. The fuel was 100-low-lead aviation fuel and appeared bright, clear and absent of any visible contamination. The fuel selector was found positioned to the right tank before being turned off by rescue personnel.


September 2, 2018, Indiana, Penn.
Stinson 108

At about 0920 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The student pilot incurred serious injuries; the flight instructor was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the flight instructor, there was about 12.5 gallons of fuel in each tank, totaling 25 gallons. They used the right tank for the beginning of the flight and switched to the left tank after about 35 minutes. They returned to the traffic pattern and performed about five landings, using full carburetor heat during each approach. During the initial climb of the last takeoff, the engine response was “normal” until about 300 feet agl when it “abruptly” lost all power. The flight instructor took the flight controls, pitched the airplane to maintain airspeed and attempted to regain engine power. He turned the airplane toward a clearing and the airplane struck trees prior to impacting the ground. A fuel sample obtained after the accident discovered solid debris. Fuel was noted in the gascolator, also with debris.


September 2, 2018, New Washoe City, Nev.
Schempp-Hirth Duo Discus XLT

The motorized glider experienced an in-flight breakup at about 1335 Pacific time while maneuvering. The two private pilots sustained fatal injuries and the glider was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.

The glider and its tow plane departed at 1258, and the glider was released at 8000 feet msl. Both it and several other gliders flying in the vicinity were equipped with “FLARM” traffic awareness and collision avoidance systems, and at least one of them recorded a series of intermittent track positions of the accident glider. According to this data, the accident glider reached about 10,500 feet msl, then proceeded eastward while performing a series of climbing turns. The last position was recorded at 1333, at about 14,500 feet. Paraglider pilots preparing to launch from a nearby mountain observed the accident glider perform a series of aggressive looping maneuvers. During the final loop, witnesses heard a high-pitched whistling/vibrating sound as the glider’s wings flexed upward such that the tips almost touched each other. One of the wings then broke off, followed by a large “cracking” sound, and the sky was filled with confetti-like pieces of white debris.


September 4, 2018, Palo Alto, Calif.
Mooney M20J 201

At about 1100 Pacific time, the airplane impacted a tidal flat shortly after a balked landing. The private pilot/owner received fatal injuries. One passenger received serious injuries; the other passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions existed for the charity flight in service of Angel Flight West.

Despite having used it before, while approaching the destination, the pilot reported difficulty visually locating the airport. Eventually, the pilot reported he was going around. The controller instructed him to make “left closed traffic,” and asked if he needed assistance. The pilot responded in the negative, stating he “just came in too fast.” On the second attempt, witnesses observed the Mooney touch down and begin to “porpoise”—oscillating in pitch and alternately contacting/bouncing between the main landing gear and the nose landing gear. They observed three to four porpoising cycles before the Mooney lifted off and its landing gear retracted. Shortly, a witness observed the Mooney enter a steep left bank (70 to 80 degrees) as the nose pitched sharply down (approximately 60 degrees). The airplane then descended rapidly to the ground.

The airplane came to rest about 900 feet east of the runway’s departure end. The left fuel tank appeared intact and contained about 17 gallons of fuel. The right tank was found devoid of fuel; its condition was not reported. Observed weather at the airport included winds from 090 degrees at seven knots, visibility of seven miles and scattered clouds at 1300 feet.


September 5, 2018, Port Huron, Mich.
Cessna 340A

The airplane impacted terrain at about 2347 Eastern time during an attempted instrument approach. The solo pilot received fatal injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Night visual conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

At 2342, the pilot was cleared for an approach to the airport. At about 2345, the pilot reported losing his right engine. By 2347, the pilot advised ATC he had tried to turn on the airport’s lights without success and could not see the airport. At about 2349, ATC tried contacting the pilot, but there was no response.

The airplane impacted terrain about 0.67 nm from the departure end of Runway 22 on a 266-degree bearing. The right main and right auxiliary fuel tanks were breached, and a 54-foot-long area of fuel-blighted grass was observed. The right wing-locker fuel tank contained fuel and appeared to be approximately one-third full. Blue fuel streaking was observed on top of the nacelle immediately aft of the right wing-locker fuel cap.

Weather observed at the airport at 2335 included calm winds, 10 or more miles of visibility in moderate rain with scattered clouds at 5000 and 7000 feet, and a broken ceiling above. The next morning, airport staff confirmed the facility’s lighting, including the pilot-controlled lights, was operable.


September 7, 2018, Kennett, Mo.
Cirrus SR22T

At about 1511 Central time, the airplane experienced a complete loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. Its airframe parachute was activated and it descended to a field. The private pilot and his passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions existed.

During the takeoff roll after a refueling stop, the pilot realized the noise-reduction function on his headset was not operating. The pilot found the control module was wedged between the forward inboard end of his seat and the center console and was inaccessible. When the airplane was about 200 feet agl and climbing, the pilot engaged the autopilot and bent over to free the control module. Within 5 to 10 seconds, the pilot sensed total loss of engine noise and power. He sat upright and troubleshot the engine power problem, but was unable to discern the cause. He recognized the airplane was below the minimum airframe parachute deployment altitude, but activated the system anyway. The airplane struck the ground on its first tail-first swing just after the parachute opened. It came to rest upright.


September 9, 2018, Lake Worth, Fla.
Cessna 335

The airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain at about 1037 Eastern time. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses observed the airplane in the traffic pattern. Near the left base leg, it rolled back and forth, became inverted and then descended to the ground in a spiral or spin. The airplane came to rest upright a mile north of the destination airport and was partially consumed by a post-crash fire. Flight control continuity was established and all five fuel caps were intact and secure. The main (wingtip) fuel tanks were separated from the wing while both auxiliary fuel tanks were significantly fire damaged and partially consumed.

The left wing-locker fuel tank was intact and contained about 15 gallons of fuel. Both fuel selector valves were in their respective main-tank positions, but the right one could not be confirmed. All three right propeller blades were bent and twisted aft, with chordwise scratches and leading-edge gouges. The left propeller was separated at the flange. Two blades remained attached, one of which was largely undamaged. The second blade was bent slightly, approximately 8 inches from the root, and again about 24 inches from the root, with a slight twist. The third blade was separated from the hub and was largely undamaged.

According to FAA records, the 70-year-old pilot did not possess a valid medical or airman certificate. His logbook showed 157 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane.


September 12, 2018, Roche Harbor, Wash.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk

At 0810 Pacific time, the airplane collided with terrain during the takeoff roll from a private grass strip. The pilot was not injured but the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, during the takeoff roll, the seat slipped all the way back and he was not able to reach the throttle or the rudder pedals. The airplane veered to the left and lifted off the ground. The tail and left wing struck the ground and the airplane came to rest on its nose. An FAA inspector examined the airplane and found the seat moved freely in both directions to each stop with no binding encountered. He further reported that there was proper hole engagement with the seat pin and holes in the seat rail.


September 14, 2018, Warthen, Ga.
American Aviation AA-1A Trainer

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at about 1020 Eastern time during a forced landing. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he purchased the airplane earlier in the day in Morristown, Tenn. He filled the two fuel tanks with 12.5 gallons of fuel apiece and took off around 0730. About 20 minutes after takeoff, while cruising at 9500 feet msl, he noticed the fuel quantity was down to in each fuel tank. He landed at the closest airport, filled the tanks again with 24 gallons of fuel and departed about 0950.

About 30 minutes into the second flight, the pilot noticed the fuel quantity indicated tank again and diverted to the nearest airport. About 15 miles from the divert airport, the engine lost all power. He switched tanks, and the engine restarted. A few minutes later, the engine again lost all power and both fuel tanks indicated empty. The pilot executed an engine-out landing to a field, during which the nose landing gear contacted soft dirt and collapsed. Both occupants egressed through the canopy.

Examination revealed there was no fuel in either tank. When fuel was added to the right tank and the electric fuel pump was turned on, fuel began draining from the carburetor float bowl, which was missing its threaded plug.


September 29, 2018, Sebring, Fla.
Diamond DA20/Piper PA-28R-180

At about 1240 Eastern time, the two airplanes collided. There were no injuries to the flight instructor (CFI) aboard the Diamond or the private pilot and passenger aboard the Piper. The student pilot aboard the Diamond sustained a minor injury. Both airplanes were substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

The Diamond was performing touch-and-go landings on Runway 14. On the upwind leg, the CFI noticed a Piper arriving from the west, heading east but he and the student pilot lost sight of the Piper. The student pilot announced the Diamond’s position on every leg of the airport traffic pattern, but neither pilot heard the Piper or saw it. After landing on runway 14, the Diamond was reconfigured for takeoff and, just as the student pilot advanced the throttle to full, the tail was contacted by the Piper’s left wing.

The Piper’s pilot later stated that he made his first radio call when crossing the airport midfield at 1200 feet msl. He turned downwind leg for Runway 19, which he announced, then flew the rest of the pattern, announcing his position on each leg. As he was flaring above Runway 19, the collision occurred. Examination revealed the Diamond’s transceiver was set to 122.7 MHz, the published CTAF. The Piper’s transceiver was set to 122.725 MHz.

“One of the wings then broke off, followed by a large ‘cracking’ sound, and the sky was filled with confetti-like pieces of white debris.”


This Month’s Graphic

Recently released data from the NTSB summarizes 2015 aviation accidents and includes charts like the one at right. This chart identifies the defining event leading to an accident involving fixed-wing aircraft operating under Part 135. As you can see, there aren’t that many accidents, and only three fatals for the year.

2015_FAR135_DefiningEvents

Source: NTSB