April 1, 2020, Sequin, Texas
Beechcraft M35 Bonanza
At about 1340 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a precautionary landing. The pilot and passenger were uninjured.
According to the pilot, after the initial power reduction following takeoff, he heard a continuous “loud exhaust popping” noise. The pilot decided to return to the airport and land. Once established and set up on final approach, he concluded the airplane was “high and fast,” and knew he would land “long and hot.” The airplane touched down on the runway but came to rest against a metal farm fence off the end of the runway. The pilot reported the engine continued running until he shut it down after the airplane impacted the fence. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings.
April 1, 2020, Palm Coast, Fla.
Diamond DA42 Twin Star
The instructor and student were practicing a simulated single-engine landing, with the left engine set to about 12 percent power, simulating a feathered propeller. While on final approach, the airplane drifted right and the student reported difficulty controlling the airplane due to a crosswind. The instructor told the student to use more left rudder, but the airplane continued to drift right.
The student decided to abort the landing and initiated a go-around by advancing both engines to full power. During the go-around, the airplane drifted left, the instructor took the flight controls and applied full right rudder. The airplane continued drifting to the left, descended, impacted vegetation and collapsed the landing gear. Wind was from 40 degrees right of the runway centerline at 10 knots, gusting to 15 knots. The calculated crosswind component was from the right at between six and 10 knots.
April 1, 2020, Hollywood, Fla.
Cessna 172N Skyhawk
As part of a flight review, the private pilot had completed six touch-and-go landings in gusty wind conditions. During the next approach, a strong wind gust forced the airplane out of ground effect while in the flare and the instructor called for a go-around. The private pilot did not add full power, however, and the instructor took control as the airplane entered a stall. Instead, the airplane descended, rolled to the left and impacted the left side of the runway. It continued into the grass and nosed over.
April 2, 2020, Hessel, Mich.
Champion Aeronca 7FC Tri Traveler
The pilot was attempting a three-point, full-stall landing in the tailwheel-equipped airplane. Conditions included a right-quartering headwind of about 10 to 15 knots. During the landing rollout, a wind gust raised the right wing and turned the airplane about 30 degrees to the right. The pilot attempted to correct, but the airplane exited the right side of the runway and contacted a snowbank. The airplane decelerated rapidly and nosed over, sustaining substantial damage to its left wing and wing strut.
April 4, 2020, Hillrose, Colo.
RANS S-12 Airaile Experimental
The non-certificated pilot and his son departed in the unregistered experimental airplane on a local personal flight from his private airstrip. During the return flight, they noticed an area of smoke and fire near the pilot’s property and proceeded to the area. The pilot descended the airplane to about 20 feet agl, trying to identify what was burning. The pilot “immediately” pulled up to avoid powerlines, “but was 2 seconds late,” according to his report, and the airplane struck the powerlines.
April 4, 2020, Santa Paula, Calif.
Cessna 177RG Cardinal RG
At about 1900 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following total loss of engine power. The solo private pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, he determined a total fuel quantity of about 15 gallons, evenly balanced between the left and right wing fuel tanks, by observing the fuel gauges. He did not look inside the fuel tanks to visually confirm the fuel level. He discovered enough water in the right wing tank to require sumping it about four times.
During initial climb after his fourth touch-and-go landing, the engine lost power at about 100 feet agl. He turned to align with an adjacent runway, and the engine momentarily regained power multiple times, but the pilot was unable to successfully restore and maintain power. The airplane impacted a dry riverbed and came to rest upright.
April 7, 2020, Chickaloon, Alaska
Piper PA-18A Super Cub
The pilot was landing the wheel/ski-equipped airplane at a remote off-airport site in an area of mountainous, snow-covered terrain. The selected landing area was slightly uphill. On final approach, the pilot felt uncomfortable and elected to go around. During the go-around, she added full power and started a left turn. The airplane subsequently collided with an area of rising, snow-covered terrain, sustaining substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage. Weather about the time of the accident included clear skies with light and variable winds. The pilot stated that she should have made another practice approach or two to verify the wind direction and local terrain conditions before the attempted landing.
April 9, 2020, Marathon, Fla.
Pipistrel Sinus 912 LSA
At 1700 Eastern time, the motor glider was destroyed when it collided with a house. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The airport manager later said the pilot was flying over the airport and in the local area most of the day. At about 1600, he heard the pilot on the CTAF reporting that he was at 7000 feet and circling the airport. That was the last radio transmission he heard from the pilot.
Two witnesses heard an unusual loud noise and then saw the accident aircraft. They heard the engine “laboring” and saw the motor glider wobbling in the air. It then made a “sharp left turn” and the engine started to “surge, sputter” before it lost power completely. The nose “dropped down” about a second before impacting a house. The aircraft’s whole-airframe ballistic parachute deployed during the impact. The motor glider and the house were consumed during the post-impact fire.
April 9, 2020, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Arion Lightning LS-1 Experimental
The airplane was destroyed at about 2100 Eastern time when it crashed short of the runway. The pilot and the flight instructor were fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.
The student pilot, who had recently purchased the airplane, and the flight instructor were receiving flight-following services from ATC when they advised they would be making a touch-and-go landing and returning to the frequency for their return leg. Radar data showed the airplane entering a descending left turn to maneuver for the landing, with the last return at 525 feet on final. The airplane impacted heavily wooded flat terrain about ½-mile south of the departure end of the runway.
The airplane was heavily fragmented during the accident sequence. A portion of the fixed-pitch propeller remained attached to the propeller flange and engine. One propeller blade was fractured and separated near its root. Eighteen inches of the opposing blade remained attached to the flange and was cleanly broken. A 15-plus-inch-long section of propeller blade was found near the main wreckage and appeared intact outboard of the break. Both fuel tanks were breached, and the fuel selector valve was separated from the fuselage. Its handle was found in the left tank position. The day before the accident flight, the airplane’s fuel tanks were topped off; the airplane had not flown until the accident flight the following evening.
April 10, 2020, Sidney, Iowa
Beechcraft N35 Bonanza
At about 1225 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing following an engine failure. The airline transport pilot and passenger were not injured.
This was the airplane’s third flight following an annual inspection; the airplane had flown about 1.5 hours since the inspection. About one hour into the cross-country flight and at about 4500 feet msl, the engine ceased to produce power without warning. Remedial actions had little effect and the pilot selected a grass field for landing. Upon touching down in the grass field, the nose gear collapsed and the left main gear was compressed up and into the left wing, resulting in substantial damage.
April 11, 2020, Eagle River, Alaska
Cessna A185 Skywagon
The wheel/ski-equipped airplane was substantially damaged at about 2025 Alaska time when it struck trees and a powerline before colliding nose-first with terrain. Of the four occupants, the pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries, and two passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot was preparing to land on the frozen, snow-covered surface of Fire Lake. As the pilot began maneuvering the airplane to join the traffic pattern, the engine suddenly lost power. The pilot flew the approach and prepared for an emergency landing before striking the stand of trees short of the lake’s frozen surface. A witness heard the engine suddenly change from a mid-range cruise setting to an abrupt loss in power.
April 16, 2020, Enid, Okla.
Cessna 172N Skyhawk
The flight instructor had briefed the student to simulate a power-off approach to the south at a private turf airstrip and execute a go-around 100 feet above the landing area. At about 100 feet agl and about 60 KIAS, the student was instructed to go around, but the airplane continued to descend, and bled airspeed to about 45 KIAS. The instructor applied full power and raised the flaps, but the airplane “touched down firmly” about mid-field off the left side of the runway and subsequently veered further left into a wheat field. The instructor visually inspected the airplane from his right seat and decided to take off to the south, returning to the home airport. A post-landing inspection revealed the left wing had sustained substantial damage. Local wind was from 180 degrees at 28 knots, gusting 35.
April 16, 2020, Cincinnati, Ohio
Beechcraft A36 Bonanza
At about 1145 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during an off-airport landing to a roadway following engine failure. The solo pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
While en route to a maintenance facility, the pilot performed mixture leaning at altitudes up to 14,000 feet msl to diagnose EGT readings. In the descent to his destination, first one cylinder then another and another failed until the engine stopped producing power. While landing on the roadway, the left wing struck a wooden post. The airplane landed hard, resulting in landing gear collapse, struck another wooden post on the opposite side of the roadway with the right wing and “slid under an overpass” before coming to rest. The pilot secured the fuel and master switch and exited the airplane.
Examination revealed the fuel inlet and outlet fittings on the fuel control could be turned by hand. According to maintenance records, the fuel pump had been installed two days earlier.
April 20, 2020, Billings, Mon.
Piper PA-31T-1 Cheyenne I
The airplane was destroyed at about 0950 Mountain time when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot took off to perform pattern work and was cleared to extend his upwind pattern leg. There was no further contact with the pilot; about 90 seconds after takeoff, a column of smoke was observed. Surveillance data showed the airplane remaining on runway centerline but never going much above 100 feet agl and 81 knots groundspeed. Ground scars were consistent with the airplane impacting the ground in a shallow, nose-up, wings-level attitude. All major structural components of the airplane were located within the debris field.
April 23, 2020, Mesquite, Texas
At about 1600 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it was landed short of the intended divert airport after losing engine power. The solo pilot received serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
While en route, the pilot reported to air traffic control that he was losing engine power and accepted vectors to a nearby airport. Shortly, the pilot reported engine power had stabilized and he wanted to return to Dallas, Texas. A few moments later, the pilot again reported losing engine power and ATC gave him vectors to an airport at 11 o’clock and about three miles. The airplane impacted a muddy field short of the airport.
April 23, 2020, Craig, Colo.
Ted Smith Aerostar 601B
Radar contact with the airplane was lost at 2139 Mountain time; accident site was located early the following morning at 0336 Mountain time. The airplane was destroyed and the student pilot sustained fatal injuries.
The pilot earlier told FBO personnel he had flown via airline from California to New York and bought the airplane that morning. Radar data show the airplane departing Pennsylvania at about 1119 Mountain time, arriving in Colorado at about 1949 after stops in Ohio and Iowa. On taxiing in after landing in Colorado, the right engine was not running and FBO personnel noticed “a lot” of fuel staining under and on top of the right wing. All three fuel tanks were filled while an FBO employee made him a cup of coffee because the “pilot was ‘really tired’ and did not have cash to buy Red Bull.” The pilot then took off at about 2037 Mountain time, intending to fly through Utah and destined for California.
Radar data show the airplane initially flying to the west/southwest and reaching about 16,000 feet msl before beginning an erratic series of turn, climbs and descents to over 23,000 feet. At that point, the airplane began to descend, entering a tight looping turn to the left and losing altitude rapidly before track data was lost at about 2139.
April 25, 2020, East Hampton, N.Y.
Piper PA-28-151 Warrior
At about 1340 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it partially lost power and landed long. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The airplane had arrived earlier that day. After loading the passengers, the pilot took off. Shortly after liftoff, the pilot noticed a vibration and diminished engine power, although the throttle was in the full-open position. At 400-to-500 feet msl, the engine began sputtering. The pilot made a 180-degree right turn at 300-to-400 feet. The engine continued to sputter and then lost all power. The pilot turned right toward a crossing runway and touched down about ¾ of the way down the runway, went off the end, through a deer fence and came to rest in a field. Except for impact damage, examination did not find a reason for the engine failure. The engine was started and run at 1500 rpm, with no vibrations or sputtering noted.