NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


February 2, 2020, Florence, Colo.

Piper PA-28-150 Cherokee 150

At about 1355 Mountain time, the airplane collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The flight instructor and student pilot were both seriously injured; the passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

An eyewitness watched the airplane’s takeoff roll on Runway 29 and remarked that its nose wheel appeared to lift from the runway, then settle back down. The airplane used almost the full 5399 feet of the runway but did not climb. The airplane disappeared from sight, due to descending terrain from the runway’s edge. Local weather included temperature of 24 degrees Celsius and winds from 220 degrees at 14 knots, gusting to 27.

February 4, 2020, Hooper Bay, Alaska

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1558 Alaska time after running off the end of the runway during takeoff. None of the eight occupants aboard—the commercial pilot and six adult passengers, plus an infant—were injured. Instrument conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 IFR scheduled passenger flight.

Earlier, the pilot and airplane arrived without incident. During the takeoff roll into flat light conditions, the pilot noticed airspeed was not increasing fast enough, observed the end of the runway approaching and committed to the takeoff. The airplane became airborne with the stall warning activated. The pilot attempted to get the airplane back into ground effect, but it settled onto snow-covered terrain. The airplane came to rest upright about 150 feet from the end of the runway. There were 3-5 inches of wet, heavy snow on the runway during the attempted takeoff.

February 4, 2020, Mesa, Ariz.

Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III

After the flight instructor briefed the soft-field takeoff procedure, the student aligned the airplane with the runway center line, applied full power and released aft pressure from the yoke. During the ground roll, the instructor briefly lost sight of the runway but then observed the airplane rapidly veering to the left. The instructor applied full right rudder and right aileron inputs, but the airplane continued to the left. The instructor initially reduced engine power, but quickly restored it with the intention of flying the airplane back to the runway, as it had just become airborne. The airplane rolled left and the stall warning activated before touching down on the taxiway and impacting a parked airplane.

February 6, 2020, Palmer, Alaska

Cessna 172F

The pilot was making a low pass over a frozen, snow-covered lake in his wheel-equipped airplane, but misjudged the airplane’s height above the ground. The airplane’s landing gear contacted the snow and the airplane descended, followed by the left wing and propeller striking the ground. The airplane came to rest upright on snow-covered terrain. In his report, the pilot stated the accident may have been prevented if he had done a better job of evaluating the flight scenario and had properly addressed the risks involved with low-level flight over a snow-covered landscape, with associated visual illusions.

February 6, 2020, Tuntutuliak, Alaska

Piper PA-32R-300 Lance

At about 1110 Alaska time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain. The commercial pilot and four passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed at the departure and destination airports for the planned FAR Part 135 scheduled VFR commuter flight. 

The flight departed at 1034, with a Special VFR clearance under a 600-foot-high overcast. The airplane was reported overdue at 1140, and search aircraft were dispatched at 1315. The wreckage was located along the flight-planned route. The airplane was not equipped with a tracking device, functional ADS-B, recorder devices or a GPS with non-volatile memory, and there was no ATC radar service available. The accident flight was the pilot’s fourth line flight after completing training; he had about 650 hours total time, with 30 hours in make/model. According to the NTSB, “In the hour after the accident, both the departure and intended destination airports reported low instrument flight conditions down to as low as ½ statute mile visibility in light snow, mist and freezing fog with ceilings as low as 400 feet.”

February 6, 2020, Chatham, La.

Cessna 182T Skylane

The airplane was destroyed when it impacted a parking area at about 1413 Central time. The commercial pilot and two passengers aboard sustained fatal injuries. Marginal visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was in effect.

While en route at 6000 feet msl, the pilot told ATC he was encountering rime ice and requested a lower altitude. At about 1350, ATC cleared the airplane to 4000 feet, then to 3000. The pilot then diverted to a nearby airport and was vectored to its GPS approach. Radar contact was lost prior to the airplane reaching the initial approach fix. Preliminary ADS-B data showed the airplane’s ground speed slowing and a rapid descent before contact was lost. The airplane impacted the ground in a near-vertical nose-down attitude. Several other aircraft in the area reported ice at various altitudes near the accident location. The closest weather observation included an overcast ceiling at 1100 feet overcast, with a temperature of 2 degrees C and a dew point of -1 degrees C.

February 8, 2020, Granbury, Texas

Beech F33A Bonanza

At about 1315 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A review of recorded ADS-B data revealed the airplane approached from the northwest and overflew Runway 14 at 900 feet agl, then turned right toward the northwest on a wide downwind leg, gradually descending to about 400 feet agl. The final data point was at 13:05:07, at about 440 feet agl and 93 knots groundspeed. The accident site was 2.32 nm north-northwest of the final recorded ADS-B location, and 3.75 nm northwest of the destination airport.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the fuel selector was positioned to the left main tank, and there was evidence of fuel aboard at the accident site. The flaps were retracted during the impact and the landing gear were extended. Two of the propeller blades remained attached to the hub; one blade was mostly straight and unremarkable. The other was bent slightly forward. The third blade was found under the engine and was bent aft about mid-span. This blade also exhibited scratches and superficial damage.

February 8, 2020, Fairmount, Ga.

Cessna 501 Citation I/SP

The airplane was substantially damaged when it broke up in-flight at about 1013 Eastern time. The private pilot, commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan. The airplane was topped off with 104 gallons of Jet A fuel prior to departing on the accident flight.

Shortly after takeoff, the flight was cleared to 7000 feet msl and was issued a Pirep for trace to light rime icing between 9000 and 11,000 feet. The controller instructed the pilots to climb to 10,000 feet and turn right to a 020-degree heading. Soon, the crew told ATC they had a problem with the autopilot. After a series of heading and altitude excursions, during which the crew reported they were “playing with the autopilot,” the jet was cleared to 16,000 feet and a 360-degree heading. About that point, the crew advised ATC they had a problem with the pilot-side attitude indicator and that they were using the copilot’s. The controller asked if they were above clouds as they were climbing through 15,400 feet. The airplane then began a left turn and radar contact was lost at 1013. The controller attempted numerous times to contact the airplane, with no response.

The main wreckage came to rest inverted. Several parts of the airplane were found in the wooded area surrounding the main wreckage, along a debris path extending about 7000 feet on a 005-degree heading. The outboard eight feet of the right wing was separated and located along the debris path, as were the horizontal stabilizers and elevators, and parts of the rudder and vertical stabilizer.

February 9, 2020, Fort Smith, Ark.

North American Navion G

At about 1500 Central time, the airplane impacted terrain during a forced landing. The pilot and two passengers sustained minor injuries; one passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged.

According to the pilot, shortly after takeoff and at about 300 feet agl, the engine lost partial power. The pilot lowered the nose and the engine continued to operate. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost total power. The pilot activated the electric fuel boost pump and engine power resumed; however, the engine lost power again within a few seconds. The pilot executed a forced landing to a grassy area on airport property.

Examination revealed there was no fuel found in any fuel lines or components from the firewall forward to the engine. About 20 gallons of fuel were removed from the airplane fuel tanks during recovery. Vacuum tests were performed on the fuel selector valve in accordance with a factory service bulletin and an airworthiness directive (AD). The fuel selector failed the tests, and should have been repaired or replaced, per the AD.

February 12, 2020, Benbrook, Texas

Cessna 560 Citation Encore

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1527 Central time when two sections of the right engine cowling departed the airplane in-flight. The airline transport pilot and the passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

As the airplane climbed through FL225, the pilot heard a “loud crashing noise” followed by a “turbulent air sound” he described as similar to flying with extended landing gear. Coordinating with ATC, the pilot reduced speed and descended to 11,000 feet msl. After cycling the landing gear and the flaps, and testing the flight controls, the pilot found everything normal except for the noise, which was exacerbated by rudder movement. After diverting to the nearest suitable airport, the pilot landed at 1545 without further incident.

Examination revealed sections of the right engine’s top and bottom cowling were missing. Part of the separated cowling was wrapped around the inboard section of the right horizontal stabilizer and another portion was embedded between the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer and the top of the fuselage. The last maintenance work performed on the right engine occurred 153.6 flight hours prior to the accident.

February 12, 2020, Broomfield, Colo.

Piaggio P.180 Avanti

At about 2115 Mountain time, the airplane went off the left side of the runway after landing. The private pilot and his three passengers were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Night instrument conditions prevailed.

There was packed snow on the runway and moderate braking was reported. The approach was made at 130 knots (Vref +10), and the airplane touched down smoothly. As the nose wheel touched down, the airplane yawed to the left. Control inputs, including differential thrust and wheel braking, had no effect. The airplane departed the left side of the runway and the right wing tip and canard contacted the ground before the airplane came to a stop. Examination revealed both nose gear tires were deflated and the right main tire was low on air.

February 13, 2020, Bartow, Fla.

Mooney M20J 201

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at 1125 Eastern time while approaching to land. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the four-airplane formation flight.

A witness observed the airplanes lined up on final approach in trail of each other and saw the accident airplane (#4) approaching airplane #3 from the right at an angle. The accident airplane’s right wing “dipped severely attempting to avoid” airplane #3, followed by a steep left bank and then a vertical descent to the ground. He stated that the accident airplane was “closing in on airplane No. 3” and made a “sharp right turn to avoid a midair.” A second witness reported the accident airplane was “going faster than the others.” The pilot’s logbooks revealed 45 flight hours in the previous 90 days and 16 hours in the previous 30 days, three of which were in the accident airplane.

February 20, 2020, Coleman, Texas

Beech 200 Super King Air

At about 0600 Central time, the airplane impacted open ranchland. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. Instrument conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan had been filed.

During initial climb, the pilot reported to ATC that they had encountered freezing drizzle and light rime icing from 6400 feet to 8000 feet. As the airplane climbed through 11,600 feet, the pilot reported faulty deicing equipment and decided to return to the departure airport. The pilot remarked that they blew a circuit breaker when they encountered icing conditions, which was not resetting.

While receiving vectors for the ILS approach, the pilot reported faulty instruments. The airplane’s radar track appeared as a straight line before a right turn was observed. The turn radius decreased before the track disappeared. The wreckage path was aligned on a heading of 320 degrees and continued for about 570 feet.

February 22, 2020, Coldwater, Mich.

Rockwell Commander 114B

While passing through about 300 feet agl on initial climb during a flight review, the flight instructor in the right seat reduced the throttle to idle to simulate an engine failure, expecting the pilot to make a gradual right turn to land mid-field on the intersecting runway. The pilot did not respond as expected, so the flight instructor assumed control, made the right turn and lowered the airplane’s nose. At about the same time, the pilot thought they were too low and advanced the throttle full forward. They felt the airplane shudder and experience an aerodynamic stall before impacting the ground. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.

February 22, 2020, Rogers, Minn.

Beech A36 Bonanza

At about 1111 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain; the pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to ATC data, the airplane turned north after departing and climbed to 2000 feet msl. While cruising at 170 knots groundspeed, the airplane climbed to 2300 feet and decelerated to 100 knots groundspeed. It then began a descending left turn to 190 degrees and descended on that heading for 30 seconds at 70 to 75 knots groundspeed. At 1100 feet msl—about 200 feet agl—the airplane turned right. The last ATC data recorded was at 1110:43, when the airplane was at 1000 feet msl, with 72 knots groundspeed and a heading of 243 degrees.

A witness observed the airplane turning at low altitude. He noticed the airplane’s bank angle increase, followed by a rapid descent. The airplane impacted a forested area and a post-crash fire ensued. Flight control continuity was established for the ailerons, rudder and elevators. Examination of the engine was pending.


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