NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


October 1, 2020, Burlington, Wash.

Zenith CH601 Experimental

At about 1500 Pacific time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it crashed short of the runway. The solo private pilot was not injured; visual conditions prevailed.

After taking off on the first flight of the day, the pilot remained in the traffic pattern. During the turn from base to final and at about 300 feet agl, the engine lost all power. The pilot immediately retracted the flaps, used CTAF to alert other pilots and attempted an engine restart. The restart attempt was unsuccessful, and the pilot initiated a forced landing, coming to rest  about 1500 feet short of the runway. 

October 1, 2020, Green Sea, S.C.

Beechcraft M35 Bonanza

The airplane was substantially damaged at 2004 Eastern time during a forced landing. The private pilot and the passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

While in cruise at 5500 feet msl and nearing the intended destination, the pilot switched fuel tanks and began a descent. When he disconnected the autopilot to initiate the descent, the engine “went back to idle, like someone had pulled the throttle back.” He said he moved the power control levers full forward, checked switch positions and tried all positions on the fuel selector, but power was not restored. The pilot informed ATC of the power loss and was advised of the closest airport. The airplane collided with trees and terrain about one mile west of the divert airport.

October 1, 2020, Wake, Va.

Fokker DR1 Replica Experimental

At 1125 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it struck a wire while its pilot maneuvered for an engine-out landing. The pilot was not injured; Visual conditions prevailed.

About 25 minutes after takeoff, while in cruise flight at about 1500 feet msl, the engine suddenly lost all power. Attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful. As the airplane descended for a forced landing to a field, it struck a wire and slowed “substantially.” It then impacted the edge of a bean field and nosed over into an adjacent grass field. After coming to rest, the pilot noticed fuel leaking from the fuel tank filler neck.

Examination revealed fuel in the tank was blue and absent of contaminants. The fuel inlet line was disconnected from the carburetor, and no fuel ran out from the line. First responders reported that “several gallons” of fuel had leaked from the fuel filler neck onto the ground.

October 2, 2020, Corfu, N.Y.

Socata TBM 700

At about 1145 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it impact terrain after an uncontrolled descent. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

The airplane departed Manchester, N.H., at 1019 and climbed to cruise at FL280 until about 1142. The pilot did not check in with the Boston ARTCC during a routine handoff but subsequently re-established communication with ATC about 15 miles east of Buffalo, N.Y., while still at FL280, and requested the ILS Runway 23 approach. The controller instructed the pilot to descend to 8000 feet and expect the ILS Runway 23 approach, then asked if everything was okay. The pilot responded, “Yes sir, everything’s fine.”

The controller observed the airplane descending rapidly on radar and instructed the pilot to stop the descent at 10,000 feet, but there was no response. Over the final three minutes of the flight, the airplane accelerated from its cruise groundspeed of 250 knots to more than 340 knots as it passed through 15,200 feet msl. Its estimated descent rate was 13,800 fpm. The airplane made one right 360-degree turn before radar contact was lost. Several witnesses reported the engine sounded very loud before they heard the impact. The smell of Jet A aviation fuel was noted at the accident site by first responders.

October 2, 2020, Lake Elmo, Minn.

Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1512 Central time when its turbine engine failed shortly after takeoff. The solo airline transport pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that, shortly after takeoff and following landing gear retraction, he noticed a “hiccup” in the engine’s power and immediately started a turn back toward the airport. During the turn, all engine power was lost and the pilot executed a forced landing into a field of standing corn.

The airplane impacted the terrain, bounced and came to rest upright in the corn about ½ mile off the departure end of the takeoff runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to its right wing as a result of the impact and post-crash fire.

October 4, 2020, Cedaredge, Colo.

Cessna 210B Centurion

The airplane was destroyed at about 1150 Mountain time when its pilot made a forced landing after the engine failed. The pilot and one passenger were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After takeoff from Delta, Colo., with 60 gallons of fuel, the airplane climbed along the valley parallel to a mesa. It was at least 1000 feet agl over mountainous terrain when engine rpm started to gradually decrease. Remedial actions did not restore power and the pilot was unable to maintain altitude; he selected a clearing next to a highway for the forced landing. The airplane landed hard, bounced and came to rest upright next to the highway. A post-impact fire consumed most of the airplane after the pilot and passenger were helped away from the wreckage.

October 4, 2020, Beechhurst, N.Y.

Cessna 182P Skylane

At about 1505 Eastern time, the amphibious float-equipped airplane was substantially damaged during an attempted go-around from a water landing when it collided with a pier. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger in the right front seat were seriously injured; the rear-seated passenger was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Although the pilot did not remember the events of the accident, the pilot-rated passenger reported the airplane touched down just before crossing a boat wake and bounced twice. The pilot appeared to “veer left” to avoid the wake but realized the airplane was “too fast” as it approached a concrete pier on the river’s southern bank. The pilot added power to go-around but the passenger explained that collision with the dock was inevitable, and if the pilot had cut power, the collision would have been less destructive.

A pilot-rated witness about 200-300 yards west of the airplane’s initial touchdown point stated the airplane was landing downwind with an estimated tailwind of 10-15 knots. He stated, “First water contact was nearly level and produced a very high rebound. Second contact appeared to be left pontoon only which may have skewed the craft to the south leading to the impact.”

October 5, 2020, Telluride, Colo.

Beechcraft S35 Bonanza

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1304 Mountain time when it collided with mountainous terrain shortly after takeoff. The airline transport pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Preliminary calculations show the airplane was about 300 pounds under its maximum gross takeoff weight. The flight’s ADS-B data show a normal takeoff and climb to the west and subsequent turn to the east. There were no known radio distress calls heard from the pilot after takeoff. The accident site was about eight miles east of the departure airport, which is at 9069 feet msl. The accident site’s elevation was 11,823 feet msl, with higher terrain surrounding it to the north, east and south. The wreckage showed evidence of a nearly vertical impact.

October 8, 2020, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Cessna 414

At about 1115 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an aborted takeoff attempt. The private pilot and six passengers sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot’s son, a multi-engine airplane-rated passenger, taxi and run-up operations were normal. Shortly after the takeoff roll began, he felt a momentary “slight shudder” which appeared to come from the controls. Soon, he observed the airspeed indicator about 10 to 15 knots past “blueline,” but the airplane remained on the runway. The pilot’s son attempted to pull back on the control yoke, but the controls would not move. He pulled the throttles to idle and applied maximum braking; he estimated airplane’s indicated airspeed was between 120 and 130 knots when the aborted takeoff was initiated. The airplane departed the paved portion of the runway and came to rest in a marsh.

October 11, 2020, Atlanta, Ga.

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six 260

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0825 Eastern time when the engine abruptly lost power after lifting off and the pilot aborted the takeoff. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed. 

According to the pilot, he observed the engine instruments indicating the engine was developing full power for takeoff, and that airspeed was alive and increasing normally. At about 150-200 feet agl, he noted an “abrupt reduction in engine noise.” He attempted to land on the remaining runway but the airplane overran the pavement and rolled about 200 feet onto grass before coming to rest. The pilot subsequently restarted the engine and taxied the airplane from the grass back onto the runway, where it was towed to the ramp.

October 13, 2020, Citra, Fla.

Aero Commander 100

At about 2015 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it crashed as the pilot attempted to land on an unlighted runway. The solo student pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane took off at 1930. About 15 minutes later the pilot called his sister, informed her that he had lost sight of the runway and the airplane was low on fuel, and asked her to take her car to the runway and light it up with the headlights. Additional neighbors arrived and attempted to light up the runway with their vehicles’ headlights, but the airplane appeared to fly toward the east, away from the runway. The sister lost contact with the pilot at about 2014 and attempted to call him back several times, but was unable.

The airplane was subsequently located about two miles southeast of the airport. It had impacted a swampy area in five feet of water with dense brush. It was inverted in a nose-down attitude and partially submerged. 

October 18, 2020, Spearfish, S.D.

Cessna 182Q Skylane

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1200 Mountain time when it was hit by a snowplow. The commercial pilot and the passenger were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Before taxiing, the pilot observed a snowplow working on the runway, then turn off it. The pilot made a radio call on CTAF announcing that he was taxiing from the ramp to Runway 13 and then changed to the local departure control frequency. Approximately 200 feet from the end of the taxiway, near the threshold of Runway 13, the airplane was struck from behind by the snowplow.

The snowplow driver stated he always makes radio calls on CTAF when plowing on the runway and when exiting the runway. He does not make radio calls while on taxiways. He said it was difficult to see the airplane due to a lack of contrast with the surrounding snow-covered terrain.

October 21, 2020, Slidell, La.

Beechcraft V35A Bonanza

At 1431 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

When the pilot and his flight instructor (CFI) returned from conducting practice approaches, the CFI exited the airplane with the engine running and entered the airport terminal. He did not witness the pilot’s takeoff. Recorded ADS-B data show the airplane took off at 1315, spent an hour or so maneuvering to the north, then appeared to land at the departure airport at about 1421. At 1431:32, the airplane took off again. As it crossed the runway’s departure end, it turned left. The final ADS-B data point was recorded at 1431:47, at about 200 feel agl.

At about 1800, a second pilot observed smoke and a fire in the woods northwest of the airport. First responders later reported the airplane was no longer on fire and was cool to the touch. The CFI stated the accident airplane was functioning normally but that its autopilot “would not track the course in NAV mode.” The CFI added that the accident pilot was relaxed and under no apparent stress.

October 35, 2020, Baxley, Ga.

American Aviation AA-5 Traveler

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1337 Eastern time during a forced landing following engine failure. The private pilot sustained minor injuries; the two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

At 500 feet agl in the initial climb, engine instruments “looked good,” according to the pilot. At 600 feet, he noticed a “significant loss of power.” He lowered the nose to gain speed but the airplane did not accelerate and began losing altitude. The airplane came to rest in a wooded area.

Examination of the fuel boost pump and the line to the engine-driven fuel pump revealed blue fuel with some sediment in both. Heavy soot was present on the exhaust riser adjacent to the carburetor heat muff. Removal of the heat muff revealed a 0.125-inch hole in the exhaust riser, with cracks emanating from each side. Soot was present in the carburetor heat system and in the carburetor throat and venturi. According to the airplane owner, the airplane had not been flown in the 10 years prior to his purchasing it about four months prior to the accident. The airplane had accrued about 200 hours since that purchase, with two 100-hour inspections having been performed.

October 26, 2020, Lubbock, Texas

Cessna 210 Centurion

At 1558 Central time, the airplane was destroyed while its pilot attempted to divert after encountering icing conditions. The solo instrument-rated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was operated on an IFR flight plan.

The first approach attempt failed, so ATC vectored the pilot to a different fix to fly the same procedure again. When queried by the controller, the pilot reported structural icing and said he was in “freezing rain.” After the airplane crossed the intermediate fix and turned inbound, its groundspeed gradually decreased from about 80 knots to about 50. After crossing the final approach fix, the airplane turned left and descended. The pilot reported experiencing an autopilot issue, and ATC provided new vectors. The airplane continued to descend then made a sharp left turn before the data ended. It came to rest about 200 yards from the final recorded ADS-B point. Despite a post-impact fire consuming major portions of the airplane, FAA inspectors found numerous chunks of ice in the wreckage near the wings, and pieces still attached to some of the airplane’s leading edge surfaces.


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