NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


March 3, 2020, Hill City, Minn.

Cessna P206 Super Skylane

During a flight review, the instructor asked the pilot to fly a visual approach and execute a go-around. However, the airplane became “too low and too slow.” The landing gear contacted the snow-covered runway as engine power was being added and the airplane nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to its left wing. The airport was closed during winter months and a Notam was in effect advising that the runway was closed from early December through mid-May.

 March 3, 2020, Madison, Ind.

Cessna 172N Skyhawk

While making a visual approach to Runway 21, the instructor took the controls to land the airplane, which was configured with “minimal flaps” due to the gusting crosswind conditions. During landing, the wind shifted from a quartering headwind, to a direct crosswind. The airplane bounced on touchdown and subsequently exited the right side of the runway, entered soft mud and nosed over, sustaining substantial damage to its left wing strut. Winds were from 260 degrees at 17 knots, gusting to 25 knots.

March 3, 2020, Lincoln, Ill.

Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP

At about 0847 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it struck terrain during an aerial survey flight. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After transiting to the area to be surveyed, track data show the airplane entering a right-hand descending turn and orbiting around a heavily wooded area. During the turn, the airplane lost altitude and groundspeed before the track data was lost at 0846. The recorded position showed the airplane at about 1075 feet msl, at an estimated ground speed of 50 knots. Post-accident examination of the aircraft found no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures, nor did it reveal evidence of a bird strike or snarge. A review of weather data found no evidence of low-level wind shear near the accident site at the airplane’s altitude.

March 3, 2020, Bishop, Ga.

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu

The airplane was destroyed at about 1634 Eastern time after it flew into an area of convective activity. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

At about 1630, while maneuvering to transit north of Atlanta’s airspace, ATC gave the flight a heading to fly, which the pilot advised was directly toward a convective cell that was “pretty big.” The controller explained that he would be turning him north through an area radar depicted as light precipitation, or the flight would have to be rerouted to the south of Atlanta. At about 1633, when the controller asked about flight conditions were, the pilot responded, “Rain.” There were no further transmissions from the pilot; the airplane’s radar returns ended at the western edge of an east-west-oriented line of severe thunderstorms and rain showers.

A witness heard engine noise and then saw the airplane spinning toward the ground in a nose-low attitude until it disappeared from sight. The witness also stated he observed scattered rain showers in the area, with the cloud bases at about 2500 to 3000 feet. There was no lightning or thunder. The fuselage, wings, empennage and airframe components were located along a ½-mile-long debris path.

March 4, 2020, Harrison, Ohio

Vans RV-8 Experimental

The airline transport pilot reported making a normal approach to the runway with a direct crosswind of 15 knots and gusts reaching 23 knots. After touchdown on the main landing gear, he was initially able to maintain directional control. However, when the tailwheel touched down, the tail began to weathervane and the airplane veered right. Despite full left aileron and left brake, the pilot was unable to regain directional control before the airplane departed the right side of the runway and struck a precision approach path indicator lights system. The left wing, left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator were substantially damaged during the collision. Post-accident examination of the steerable tailwheel revealed that the spring-actuated key slide would stick in the retracted position within the tailwheel fork, which allowed the tailwheel to caster instead being steerable.

March 4, 2020, Encino, N.M.

Flight Design CTLS

At about 1240 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following a partial loss of engine power. The solo pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

During the preflight inspection, the pilot determined the right wing had seven gallons of fuel and the left wing had six, which he deemed sufficient for a one-hour local flight. About 35 minutes after takeoff, the engine started to “surge,” and the pilot was unable to restore power. The pilot elected to land on a nearby road but, as he turned from base to final for the road, the engine “surged to life.” The landing gear contacted terrain and the airplane subsequently came to rest inverted.

March 4, 2020, Needles, Calif.

Cessna 210L Centurion

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 2130 Pacific time during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power. The solo private pilot received minor injuries. Night visual conditions prevailed.

While in cruise flight, the pilot experienced a total loss of engine power. The fuel selector was on the left fuel tank, which indicated 16 gallons on its gauge. He rotated the selector to the right tank, which indicated 25 gallons, activated the high fuel boost pump setting and within about 15 seconds the engine restarted. About 15 minutes later, however, the engine lost all power. During the pilot’s subsequent forced landing attempt, the nose landing gear dug into dirt and the airplane nosed over, coming to rest inverted. According to the pilot, he had filled both tanks before takeoff.

March 5, 2020, Rhinelander, Wis.

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

The pilot later reported seeing the runway end identifier lights upon reaching decision altitude on a GPS instrument approach, and continuing the approach. Shortly thereafter the lights disappeared and then reappeared. He continued the approach and landing, thinking he was lined up with the runway by using the runway edge lights for reference. Upon touching down, the airplane dug into the snow and flipped over, resulting in substantial damage to the wings and tail. The airplane landed about 225 feet left of the runway.

March 5, 2020, Albemarle, N.C.

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec

At about 1422 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged shortly after takeoff. The flight instructor and pilot receiving instruction were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot in the left seat was also a flight instructor and new to the type; he was obtaining training to instruct in the airplane. The accident flight was the airplane’s first after an annual inspection. During initial climb, at about 200 feet agl, Both pilots noticed decreasing airspeed. The left-seater stated the engines were losing power. After ensuring all engine controls were full forward, the electric fuel pumps were switched on and the nose lowered to maintain airspeed, even though the airplane was too fast to land on the remaining runway. The engines never recovered full power, but the airplane managed to clear trees at the end of the runway before a hard landing in a muddy field.

March 6, 2020, Boynton Beach, Fla.

American Aviation AA-1 Yankee

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1316 Eastern time when it struck a tree then terrain shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane took off at about 1256, and first appeared on ATC radar at 1313:52, about 1.43 nm southeast of the airport at 1350 feet msl. After reaching 1700 feet msl and maneuvering, the airplane began descending until the radar track was lost at 1315:41, at 550 feet msl, with a groundspeed of about 43 knots. A witness observed the airplane’s wings appeared to “waggle” up and down, and the airplane appeared to go inverted, followed by its nose pointing at the ground and a corkscrewing descent until it disappeared behind a tree line.

Examination revealed both left and right wing-mounted fuel tanks were ruptured. There was no evidence of residual fuel inside either tank, and there was no odor of fuel and no observed fuel blight. Disassembly of the fuel selector valve revealed it also did not contain fuel, nor did the engine-driven fuel pump. The carburetor float bowl contained a trace amount “(about 2 drops)” of fuel. One propeller blade was bent back about 20 degrees; the other blade was relatively straight. Neither blade displayed leading edge gouging, chordwise scratching or S-bending indicative of being under power.

The accident airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on January 6, 2016. The airplane’s registration had expired on September 30, 2019, and the airplane was deregistered on January 6, 2020.

March 7, 2020, McIntyre, Ga.

Mooney M20C Ranger

At about 1015 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following loss of power. when it was involved in an accident near McIntyre, Georgia. The solo pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

During cruise flight, about five minutes after switching from the right to the left fuel tank, the engine lost all power. An attempt to restart the engine was unsuccessful. He performed a forced landing into a field. After touchdown, the right wing collided with a fence post and the airplane came to a stop.

March 8, 2020, Destin, Fla.

Beech V35 Bonanza

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1000 Central time when it experienced a power loss shortly before landing at its destination. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Prior to takeoff for the three-hour flight, the airplane’s fuel tanks were filled, providing about 4.5 hours of flight time. The pilot reported using a timer to switch fuel tanks every 30 minutes and, with a fuel burn of about 16 gallons per hour, he expected the airplane to contain over 20 gallons of fuel on arrival. While on a 1.5-mile final, the engine lost all power. “There was no sputtering and coughing,” but the propeller continued to “windmill,” the pilot later stated. Remedial actions were unsuccessful. The airplane descended and impacted trees adjacent to a residence about 2000 feet from the runway. 

Examination revealed the left wing was severely deformed, resulting in a ruptured fuel tank. Also, there was leading edge damage to the right wing. The homeowner reported a strong odor of fuel immediately after the accident. According to the pilot, this was the second time in the previous 12 months that the engine unexpectedly “quit” on final approach.

March 9, 2020, Big Lake, Alaska

Cessna 172N Skyhawk

The airline transport pilot was attempting to depart a snow-covered runway in a wheel-equipped airplane. On his first attempt, the airplane failed to generate enough airspeed, so he aborted the takeoff and exited the runway. For the second attempt, he elected to start the takeoff roll on a taxiway via a 90-degree turn to enter the runway. Just before entering the runway, however, he encountered uneven terrain and the airplane veered to the left, impacting a snow berm and sustaining substantial damage to the right wing.

In his NTSB report, the pilot listed several ways the accident could have been prevented, including parking the airplane and waiting for a snow plow to clear the runway. In addition, he indicated that he was fatigued and his judgment and decision-making abilities were compromised.

March 11, 2020, Sterling, Mass.

Cessna 177RG Cardinal RG

At about 1430 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Several witness observed the airplane’s takeoff roll and initial climb, which appeared and sounded normal. As the airplane reached midfield, the engine “coughed.” Engine noise then decreased and sounded as if it was “running rough.” The airplane’s nose lowered slightly, and the engine noise briefly increased, before decreasing and running rough again, a cycle that repeated two or three times, during which the landing gear retracted into the fuselage. As the airplane crossed over the departure end of the runway, its wings rocked back and forth slightly in a “very nose high” attitude. The left wing then “dipped” and the airplane began a left turn. One witness stated it appeared the airplane then “started a cartwheel, and then just fell.”

The airplane impacted a wooded bog about 200 yards from the runway’s departure end, about 25 yards to the right of an extended centerline. Evidence at the scene was consistent with a near-vertical descent. The engine was largely undamaged, and flight control cable continuity was verified. Both the flaps and the landing gear were retracted. One propeller blade was bent slightly aft; neither blade exhibited leading edge damage or chordwise scratches. Both the left and right fuel filler caps were secure and intact. Both fuel tanks were undamaged, and each contained about three ounces of fuel.

March 17, 2020, Conway, S.C.

Cirrus SR22

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1545 Eastern time when its solo private pilot activated the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). There no injuries injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the airplane was operating on an IFR clearance.

While maneuvering for an ILS approach to his divert airport, the pilot later reported he “had trouble stabilizing the instruments, adding that it felt like he was ‘fighting [the airplane]’ in the roll axis.” Realizing he had let the airplane get too slow, he attempted to correct but felt the airplane was getting away from him. He concluded he likely was in an unusual attitude and activated the CAPS. Touchdown occurred on all three landing gear, but the nosegear collapsed.

March 25, 2020, Waxahachie, Texas

Cessna T210N Turbo Centurion

At about 1655 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged after it lost engine power shortly after takeoff and collided with terrain. The solo private pilot sustained serious injury. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses observed the and reported the engine did not sound like it was making takeoff power. The airplane reached 50-100 feet agl, started a right turn, and then made a hard left downwind turn. The airplane then descended in a nose-down attitude and impacted terrain, cartwheeling before it came to rest upright.

The airplane’s mechanic helped the pilot sump several cups of water from the fuel tanks before the accident flight. The lineman who refueled the airplane stated the pilot was sumping the tanks while he was present. The pilot told him he had drained a lot of water from the fuel tanks.

Following the accident, an FAA inspector drained two sump cups full of contaminants and water from the left header fuel tank and 12 sump samples of water from the right header fuel before fuel was observed. The engine’s fuel injection system contained water, “a thick grey paste” and a fine sand-like material. There was no odor or indication of avgas in the fuel divider. The airplane had been flown less than 10 hours since September 2016, and had been stored outside for three years.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here