September 1, 2020, Walker, Minn.
Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee 235
At about 2007 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain while maneuvering near adverse weather. The solo pilot was fatally injured; flight conditions were unknown. The airplane departed Kirksville, Missouri, at about 1303 after adding 76.1 gallons of fuel, with an intended destination of Bemidji, Minnesota.
While en route and receiving ATC services, controllers became concerned about the pilot possibly suffering from hypoxia. Controllers directed the flight to divert to St. Cloud, Minnesota, and subsequently declared an emergency for the pilot. Upon landing at St. Cloud, the pilot was met by emergency medical services but refused treatment before departing.
Radar data indicate the airplane then took off and flew northeast, climbed to about 4000 feet msl and approached a line of adverse weather. The airplane made several course deviations, including two 360-degree turns, before turning southeast, away from the intended destination. It then turned northwest, back toward Bemidji, with altitude varying between about 2000 feet and 4000 feet before entering a climb to about 7000 feet msl. It then descended toward the ground; the last radar target was observed at 2007:39.
September 1, 2020, Midland, Mich.
Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 250
The airplane was destroyed at 1245 Eastern time, during an off-airport forced landing following a reported engine failure. The pilot was seriously injured and the pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The airplane arrived at the local airport at 1205 and performed two touch-and-go landings before making a full-stop landing and taxiing to the self-serve fuel pump. Records show 18 gallons of fuel were added before it took off at 1237 and climbing to 2550 feet msl. It then began a right turn back toward the departure airport, with a pilot reporting an engine failure. Shortly thereafter, the flight reported it was making a forced landing in a field. During the forced landing, the airplane struck a large grass-covered mound of dirt before coming to rest.
September 3, 2020, Oklahoma City, Okla.
At about 0715 Central time, the airplane’s right windscreen blew out at FL180. The solo pilot was not injured. Flight conditions were not reported. The pilot returned to his departure airport and landed uneventfully. The windshield is considered part of the structure of a pressurized aircraft, resulting in substantial damage.
September 4, 2020, Three Rivers, Calif.
Beechcraft V35B Bonanza
The airplane was destroyed at about 1148 Pacific time when it apparently was involved in a controlled-flight-into terrain accident. The pilot and the passenger sustained fatal injuries.
After the pilot’s family members became concerned when he did not arrive at his intended destination, the FAA issued an alert notice and a search for the airplane was begun. The wreckage was discovered in mountainous terrain in Sequoia National Park early the next day. According to first responders, a post-crash fire ensued following impact. Preliminary radar data depict the airplane flying toward rising terrain, with its last radar target being recorded at about 1148. The airplane was in an area of reduced visibility due to smoke from nearby wildfires.
September 5, 2020, Newnan, Ga.
American Aviation AA-1 Yankee Clipper
At about 1850 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-field forced landing following an engine failure. The flight instructor and pilot receiving instruction were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
While practicing a simulated engine failure in the airport traffic pattern, the pilot applied full power to go around at about 300 feet agl. The engine did not respond, however, and remained at a low power setting. The flight instructor took control of the airplane, but he was not able to increase engine power and the airplane continued to descend. The airplane touched down on the right side of Runway 32, impacted a lighted taxiway sign box, veered sharply to the left and subsequently impacted the trees bordering the west side of the airport property.
September 7, 2020, Bonham, Texas
Piper PA-32R-301T Turbo Saratoga SP
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0810 Central time during a post-maintenance test flight. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Flight conditions were not reported.
According to the pilot, the airplane was on its first flight after maintenance work was completed, including replacement of the exhaust system. Shortly after departure, the pilot noted high turbine inlet and cylinder head temperatures, and elected to return to the airport. About two miles short of the airport, the engine experienced a total loss of power. During the subsequent forced landing, the landing gear collapsed in soft terrain.
September 7, 2020, Canyon Lake, Texas
Beechcraft G35 Bonanza
At about 1247 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing after engine failure. The pilot and one passenger were seriously injured. A second passenger received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
While en route, the engine lost all power a few minutes after the pilot switched the fuel selector to the left main fuel tank. The pilot attempted a forced landing to a clear area but struck trees on the edge of the clearing and the airplane impacted the ground. The airplane incurred substantial damage to its fuselage and both wings.
September 8, 2020, McMinnville, Tenn.
Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1130 Central time after its engine failed. The pilot and both passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
Review of security video at the departure airport revealed the airplane landed on Runway 23 at about 1123. It then taxied back and took off at about 1128, disappearing from the camera’s view during initial climb about a minute later. A witness heard an airplane engine go silent, then heard the sound of an impact about 30 seconds later. The airplane came to rest upright in a field about 1000 feet northwest of the departure runway. Examination revealed all major components of the airplane were accounted for and remained intact. Fuel remained in both wing fuel tanks. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces and the flaps were retracted. The engine’s No. 4 cylinder head was fractured circumferentially, exposing the top of the piston. The cylinder head was displaced horizontally from the crankcase such that the pushrods and pushrod tubes remained captured in the cylinder head, but were dislodged from the crankcase.
September 9, 2020, Weston, Fla.
Mooney M20R Ovation
At 0935 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its engine failed and its pilot landed on an Interstate highway. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, about 20 minutes into the flight, at 3500 feet msl, he “heard a loud pop and the prop sputtered and the engine started losing power.” Oil pressure decreased from 58-60 psi to 0 psi. About 30 seconds later, part of the engine came through the top of the engine cowling, and the engine and propeller stopped completely. The pilot performed a successful forced landing to the right shoulder of the highway and came to a stop. As the pilot and passenger prepared to disembark, a truck struck the airplane’s left wing from behind, and the airplane spun 180 degrees.
Examination revealed the airplane sustained substantial damage to its left wing and both elevators. A hole was in the top left side of the engine cowling and in the engine case near the base of the No. 6 cylinder. Metal debris, including a damaged connecting rod, its separated cap, a piston wristpin, a valve lifter and crankcase fragments, were found in the engine’s oil pan. The engine had accrued a total of 1166 hours since it was installed when the airplane was manufactured in 2006.
September 11, 2020, Jackson, Tenn.
Beechcraft A36 Bonanza
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0252 Central time when it collided with terrain after apparently suffering fuel exhaustion. The pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
Surveillance video revealed the accident airplane arrived at an airport in Dickson, Tennessee, at about 2041 the previous day and taxied to the fuel farm. After realizing the fuel pump was locked, the pilot taxied to the parking area. The airplane was next observed around 0200 the following morning taxiing back to the fuel farm. The pilot did not exit the airplane before it departed the airport at about 0206.
At about 0248, the pilot told ATC he was experiencing a fuel issue and requested a deviation to an airport near Jackson, Tennessee. The controller provided a heading and asked the pilot to report the airport in sight. No further communications were received from the pilot. The airplane was located later that morning about 1.5 miles west of the divert airport in a wooded area. Examination revealed all major components were present. There was no odor of fuel at the accident site. No fuel was found in the intact left-wing fuel tank. The right-wing sustained substantial damage and its fuel tank was breached. The fuel inlet line attached to the manifold valve was removed and was absent of fuel. A trace amount of fuel was found in the engine driven fuel pump inlet line.
September 11, 2020, Van Nuys, Calif.
North American Navion B
At 1500 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it crashed into a parking lot shortly after takeoff. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
Witnesses reported the airplane departed to the south at a lower-than-normal altitude, and started a right turn much earlier than most airplanes. As it turned, they heard a “pop” and the airplane made a “hard right” turn. The airplane then descended nose-down with the wings at a slight angle and went out of sight as it impacted a parking lot about ½ mile from the runway surface. A post-crash fire ensued.
September 11, 2020, Melbourne, Fla.
Van’s RV-6A Experimental
The airplane was substantially damaged at 0915 Eastern time during an attempted dead-stick landing to beach. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After some pattern work, the pilot flew east to an offshore practice area to continue flight maneuvers. “Suddenly,” the engine started running “very rough,” and the pilot enrichened the mixture. Shortly after, the engine shuddered and came to a “hard stop.” The pilot made a forced landing on a beach and the airplane came to rest inverted, damaging the vertical stabilizer.
September 12, 2020, Billings, Mon.
Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche
At about 1143 Mountain time, the airplane was destroyed when it landed short after a reported double engine failure. The solo airline transport pilot was seriously injured; visual conditions prevailed.
When the pilot contacted ATC for a landing clearance, he mentioned one engine was “out” but did not share details or declare an emergency. On short final, the pilot told ATC he lost the second engine. The airplane landed short of the runway against a cliffside.
September 13, 2020, Groton, S.D.
American Champion 8KCAB Decathlon
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1100 Central time when its pilot apparently attempted an aerobatic maneuver shortly after liftoff. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to a witness, the airplane remained in ground effect after liftoff and then the nose pitched up to an estimated 45-degree angle. The airplane rolled right to inverted and exited the roll maneuver in a nose-low attitude prior to impact with the ground. One witness estimated the roll was initiated at between 75 and 100 feet agl. Two witnesses reported that the maneuver appeared intentional due to the rapid roll rate.
September 13, 2020, Steinhatchee, Fla.
Van’s RV-9 Experimental
At about 1215 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted the Gulf of Mexico for unknown reasons. The pilot and a pilot-rated passenger are presumed to be fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.
While en route on an IFR flight plan, the pilot requested to divert to a nearby airport due to weather and was cleared for an approach. About 25 miles west-northwest of the divert airport, the airplane turned left into an area of precipitation. Radar and radio contact were lost. A search was initiated and the airplane was found in shallow water, about one mile offshore and about 22 miles from the divert airport. At this writing, the airplane’s occupants have not been located.
September 19, 2020, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1159 Eastern time during a forced landing. The pilot and the seven passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.
The left engine stopped producing power about 10-15 miles offshore over the Atlantic Ocean. The pilot’s remedial actions restored power, but both engines quit while the airplane was on left base for the runway. The pilot said he was “too low and too slow” to get lined up to land on the runway and made a forced landing on the grass between it and a taxiway, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage.
September 19, 2020, Stockton, Calif.
North American B-25N Mitchell
At about 1925 Pacific time, the warbird was substantially damaged during an off-field landing after both engines began intermittently losing and regaining power. One pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries, and one pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
While the airplane was en route, the left engine’s fuel pressure fluctuated and the engine briefly lost power before regaining it. The pilot turned on the cross-feed fuel valve and, a short time later, about five miles from their intended destination, fuel pressure fluctuations were observed in both engines, which began intermittently losing and regaining power.
The pilot turned away from a populated area and initiated an off-airport landing. During the landing roll, he observed a ditch and was able to get the airplane airborne briefly to avoid it, however, he was not able to avoid a second large ditch. The airplane struck the second ditch, again became airborne and impacted the ground in a nose-low attitude.
When the airplane came to rest, all three landing gear had collapsed, and both the left and right engines were separated from their respective attach points. The fuselage sustained substantial damage.