NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


January 1, 2020, Ada, Okla.

Cessna T210L Turbo Centurion

At about 1545 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-field forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the flight, which originated in Denver, Colo., with Shreveport, La., as its destination.

At 1539, the airplane was in cruise flight at about 11,500 feet msl when the pilot reported a fuel issue to ATC and requested to land “ASAP.” By 1543, the pilot said he was “having all kinds of issues here with instruments” and ATC provided no-gyro vectors to the nearest airport. At 1546, radar contact was lost as the pilot stated, “I’m not sure I can make this runway, I’m trying.” The pilot cleared one set of powerlines, then maneuvered under a second set of powerlines and made a forced landing, winding up in a line of trees.


January 2, 2020, Kenansville, N.C.

Cirrus SR22

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1015 Eastern time when it impacted trees and terrain after its pilot deployed the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While in cruise flight at 6500 feet msl and about 50 nm from the planned destination, the pilot heard a “pop” that “wasn’t huge,” but caught his attention, then the autopilot disconnect aural alert sounded, followed by the airplane “decelerating.” The engine had stopped producing power and remedial actions did not restore it. At about 2000 feet msl and with no airport within range, the pilot activated the CAPS. The airplane impacted trees under canopy, coming to rest partially suspended in tree branches with its right wing touching the ground. During recovery, fuel “was observed to flow from each of the wing’s fuel tanks,” according to the NTSB.


January 4, 2020, Mullin, Texas

Aero Commander 100 Darter

At about 1600 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field. The student pilot and the flight instructor (CFI) were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While descending for a landing to a private airstrip, the engine stopped producing power. The CFI took the controls and performed remedial actions, which did not restore power. The student pilot read aloud the checklist for an engine failure and emergency landing, and confirmed everything had already been completed before the CFI set up for an off-field landing to a flat, plowed dirt field. The CFI attempted to land between trees bordering the field but the right wingtip impacted a tree. The airplane touched down on the dirt with the main landing gear wheels first, skidding about 30 feet in the dry, loose dirt before nosing over and coming to rest upside down.


January 4, 2020, Santa Clarita, Calif.

Thunder Mustang Experimental

The airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain at about 1009 Pacific time. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Several witnesses observed the airplane maneuvering at a low altitude, with smoke trailing from it just before impact. The pilot made a distress call to the Van Nuys ATCT, stating he had a cockpit visibility issue with a loss of engine power. Examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane struck a tall tree before coming to rest in a grassy area in the median of an interstate highway’s cloverleaf off-ramp. All major components were located at the accident site.


January 5, 2020, Cullman, Ala.,

Vans RV-6 Experimental

At about 1243 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to security video, the airplane was seen climbing out from Runway 2 at about 1242. Witnesses heard a loud “pop” when the airplane was about 350 feet agl during initial climb. The witnesses watched as the airplane made an immediate “sharp left banking turn” in what appeared to be an attempt to return to the airport. The airplane “stalled and went into a left spiral downward turn.” The airplane completed two turns before colliding with the ground on airport property adjacent the taxiway.

Examination revealed the fuel selector was positioned between the left and right fuel tank. Both tanks had been breached but no evidence of fuel was found.


January 6, 2020, Newborn, Ga.

Cessna 172H Skyhawk

The airplane was destroyed at about 1415 Eastern time when it impacted terrain. The solo private pilot who owned and operated the airplane was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Preliminary radar data showed the airplane ambling south. About an hour into the flight, the airplane turned west-southwest in a meandering track, then made a right turn to the north and completed several left 360-degree turns, before turning back to the east and completing two additional right 360-degree turns. The flight proceeded to the north briefly, completing several more 360-degree turns before continuing into 13 360-degree right turns that progressed in an easterly direction until radar contact was lost near the accident site. Witnesses saw and heard the airplane flying at low altitude in circles when it suddenly descended into the trees. The private pilot, age 72, last obtained an FAA medical certificate in November 2013.


January 6, 2020, Mount Sterling, Ky.

Glasair I RG Experimental

At 1724 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power while maneuvering in the traffic pattern. The private pilot/owner was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After several touch-and-go landings at the airplane’s base airport, and another one nearby, the pilot returned and performed a full-stop landing. He taxied back, and performed another takeoff, shortly after which the engine stopped producing power. The pilot switched tanks and turned on the electric fuel boost pump, but engine power was not restored. The pilot maneuvered the airplane back toward the runway but struck trees and terrain before the airplane came to rest in an abandoned highway rest-stop area.


January 6, 2020, El Monte, Calif.

Cessna 172H Skyhawk

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1309 Pacific time following in-flight separation of a propeller blade while maneuvering. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot was breaking in a newly installed engine cylinder while orbiting at 3500 feet msl. During the otherwise uneventful flight, the airplane suddenly vibrated severely followed by a sudden loss of engine power and oil on the windscreen. The pilot noticed that the propeller was not rotating and there was visible damage to the engine cowling. The pilot initiated a forced landing to the departure airport and landed uneventfully. Examination revealed the engine mount was bent and one of the propeller blades was separated about one foot outboard of the blade root.


January 11, 2020, Billings, Mon.

Cessna TR182 Turbo Skylane RG

At about 1801 Mountain time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with mountainous terrain. The airline transport pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot had planned a round-robin flight from Billings with intermediate stops in Hardin, Mon., and Roundup, Mon., then back to Billings. After departing Hardin, the airplane flew toward Roundup until the track ceased at 1801, about 700 feet from the accident site. All major sections of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. The initial impact point was marked by several bent cross members and a broken guy wire about 65 feet high on an approximate 185-foot-tall radio tower. Several sections of the outboard left wing were located about 100 feet north of the tower and two pieces displayed signatures consistent with impacting a wire. The remaining section of left wing was found in the debris path about 350 feet from the main wreckage.


January 12, 2020, Fairbanks, Alaska

Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1223 Alaska time when it was intentionally landed with the right main landing gear retracted. The airline transport pilot, six passengers and a lap infant were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 scheduled commuter flight.

As the flight approached its destination, attempts to extend the landing gear were unsuccessful. The pilot performed the emergency landing gear extension procedures, including a check of circuit breakers and hand-pumping the system, but the landing gear did not extend. She diverted back to the departure airport, where emergency services and a maintenance crew were available. Nearing the airport, the pilot activated the emergency blowdown pneumatic system for both the main and nose landing gear. The green landing lights for the nose and left main landing gear illuminated, but the right main landing gear light did not indicate down. Tower controllers reported the right main landing gear door was open, but the gear remained retracted. The pilot then flew to a nearby training area, climbed to 5000 feet and attempted to swing the right main landing gear out with high-G maneuvers, but was unsuccessful.

The pilot performed a straight-in visual approach. Once the landing was assured, she feathered and secured both engines. During the landing roll, the right wing impacted the runway, resulting in substantial damage to the right wing and aileron. All occupants evacuated normally.

Investigation revealed the hydraulic reservoir was depleted, and minimal fluid was present. After servicing, a leak was observed at a fitting in the right main landing gear system. Also, a shuttle valve in the right main landing gear’s pneumatic blowdown system was inoperative. The shuttle valve was disassembled, and water and corrosion were present inside.


January 15, 2020, Roy, Utah

Cessna T310

At about 1511 Mountain time, the airplane impacted terrain while on approach to land. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

When the pilot reported two miles out, ATC cleared the flight to land on Runway 35. Up to this point, communication between the pilot and ATC had been normal. The controller used binoculars to verify the airplane’s landing gear was down for the landing and saw the airplane initiate a steep left banking turn, followed by a steep bank to the right while losing altitude, after which the controller lost sight of the airplane.

Several witnesses noticed how slow the airplane seemed to be. Another witness described the airplane’s sound as “popping,” and thought the pilot was trying to restart one of the engines. The landing gear and the flaps were extended, and he saw that the airplane was “crabbing” to the left and seemed to be struggling to stay airborne. 


January 16, 2020, Dutch Harbor, Alaska

Beech B200 Super King Air

The airplane sustained substantial damage when it impacted the Bering Sea at about 0806 Alaska time, while taking off. Night visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 air ambulance flight, and an IFR flight plan had been filed. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries while the flight paramedic and flight nurse were uninjured.

After completing the before-takeoff checklist, the pilot back-taxied to depart on Runway 31 and initiated the takeoff roll. At midfield, airspeed was 75 KIAS and increasing. When the airplane reached about 90 KIAS, he lifted off and noted a brief positive rate of climb, followed by a sinking sensation. The airspeed rapidly decayed, and the stall warning horn sounded. As he lowered the nose to regain airspeed, the pilot immediately noticed the airplane’s lights reflecting off the surface of the water. He pulled back on the yoke and leveled the wings just before impacting the ocean.

Subsequently, the pilot recalled the ASOS-reported winds were from 100 degrees at nine knots. However, the 0757 ASOS observation included winds from 110 degrees at 20 knots, gusting to 28 knots. The airport’s IFR takeoff minimums and obstacle departure procedures only allow night departures from Runway 31.


January 28, 2020, Springfield, Ill.

Piper PA-60-601P Aerostar

At about 1503 Central time, the airplane collided with terrain while conducting an ILS approach. The airline transport pilot, two passengers and a dog were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed during a post-impact fire. Instrument conditions prevailed and the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

At 1449:00 and after being advised of reported icing on the approach, ATC cleared the flight for the ILS to Runway 31. Shortly afterward, the pilot reported he was not receiving the ILS signals. After some back and forth with ATC, the pilot realized he had entered the wrong frequency. By 1450:40, the pilot confirmed he was receiving the localizer and the glideslope as he flew through the approach centerline at 3000 feet msl outside the final approach fix.

At 1451:25, after the flight switched to the tower, ATC advised the airplane appeared to be “slightly left of course.” By 1451:46, the airplane was at 2400 feet msl and had flown through the localizer to its right side. Ten seconds later, ATC cancelled the approach clearance and directed the flight to climb back to 3000 feet and turn to a 360-degree heading. The controller told the pilot, “…it just didn’t look safe from here so contact departure…” and provided vectors for a second attempt at the Runway 31 ILS.

At 1454:11, the approach controller asked the pilot, “Are you having some issues with your nav head?” The pilot replied with a single word, “Yup.” At 1454:39, the pilot transmitted, “…and, ah, we’re picking up a little ice.” At 1458:09, after providing vectors for another attempt at the ILS, the controller verified with the pilot that he was picking up the localizer. At 1500:09, ATC again cleared the flight for the ILS to Runway 31. By 1502:11, the approach controller told the pilot to contact the tower. The airplane was about 3.5 miles from the final approach fix, paralleling the localizer slightly left of its centerline.

About five seconds after the pilot had been cleared to contact the tower, the airplane entered a left descending turn away from the localizer to a south-southwest course. At 1502:47, the pilot told ATC, “We’ve got a prob (unintelligible).” At 1502:49, the tower controller asked the pilot if he was able to climb. There was no recorded response from the pilot. The left turn began at 2400 feet msl and descended to 700 ft msl before ADS-B track data was lost at 1503:11. The final ADS-B datapoint was recorded at about 125 feet agl, about 362 feet east-northeast of the airplane’s initial impact with terrain.

The attitude indicator and horizontal situation indicator were extensively damaged in a post-crash fire. Their internal gyros did not exhibit any evidence of rotational scoring, nor did the turn indicator gyro.


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