NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


November 1, 2020, Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Raytheon 400A BeechJet

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1400 Eastern time when it failed to stop on the landing runway and rolled off the departure end. The pilot, copilot and four passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.

Automated weather at the destination reported winds from 110-120 degrees at four knots, gusting to 18. Rain showers had passed over the airport prior to arrival. According to the crew, performance calculations were within limits for the 5100-foot-long wet Runway 13. The airplane touched down on-speed, on the centerline and on the aiming point. Speed brakes were deployed at approximately 97 knots.

The pilot applied wheel brakes but the airplane was not decelerating normally. The copilot selected anti-skid off, but there was no improvement in braking. The pilot managed to “scrub off” some speed by steering to the left and right sides of the runway before the airplane departed the end of the runway and stopped approximately 150 feet beyond it in soft soil and grass. After the accident, the airport manager and the pilot drove the runway’s full length but could not find any skid marks except for the side-to-side skidding.

November 1, 2020, Ellicott, N.Y.

Gulfstream American GA-7 Cougar

At about 1748 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain about a mile short of its destination’s runway while on an instrument approach. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured; instrument conditions prevailed.

Earlier, the pilot and his flight instructor discussed weather decisions and in-flight icing by telephone before the flight departed North Carolina. Before he received an approach clearance, ATC asked the pilot about flight conditions. “The pilot did not report ice accumulation, but reported being in and out of clouds, updrafts, downdrafts, snow, and light to moderate turbulence.” Contact was lost about 1.5 miles northeast of the airport.

November 3, 2020, Weslaco, Texas

Piper J-3C Cub/Piper J-3C Cub

The two airplanes collided in mid-air at about 1754 Central time. The student pilot in one Cub was not injured while the airline transport pilot in the other sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The student stated his third touch-and-go landing was a normal wheel landing. After the tailwheel contacted the runway, he advanced the throttle to takeoff power and accelerated. After the airplane became airborne, it drifted to the right while his attention was diverted to cockpit instruments. His airplane then collided with the other Cub at about 80 feet.

The airline transport pilot later stated that, after turning from base leg to the final approach, he realized his Cub was too close to the airplane ahead. He decided to go around and sidestepped to the runway’s right, maintaining visual separation from the other Cub in his 9-10 o’clock position and slightly below. Shortly after he shifted his gaze to the right to assess any additional impediments to his flight path, the other airplane “made an apparent right turn” and collided with his airplane.

Both airplanes became intermingled and descended to the ground, coming to rest about 110 feet from the runway’s right side.

November 4, 2020, Glendale, Ariz.

Remos Aircraft GX

The light sport aircraft was substantially damaged at 1130 Mountain time during a series of touch-and-go landings. The flight instructor and the student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

During the third landing, the student pilot was manipulating the flight controls as the airplane touched down normally just left of the runway centerline. During the landing roll, the airplane continued left toward the runway’s edge and, in response, the student applied right rudder. The instructor then took the controls and attempted to maneuver the airplane back to the runway centerline. The airplane then made a grinding noise and began vibrating. The instructor exited the runway and shut down the airplane. Examination revealed the main landing gear carrythough structure was damaged and about 12 inches of it had separated from the airplane.

November 6, 2020, Fredericksburg, Texas

Beechcraft J35 Bonanza/Beechcraft M35 Bonanza

The two airplanes collided in flight at about 1638 Central time after aborting a planned four-ship practice formation flight. The J35 Bonanza was destroyed and its pilot fatally injured. The M35 Bonanza sustained substantial damage; its pilot and a pilot-rated observer sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

Shortly after the four Bonanzas took off in two pairs, the M35 Bonanza’s pilot reported his landing gear would not retract and believed it remained down and locked. The J35 and M35 Bonanzas returned to the airport while the other two Bonanzas continued to the practice area. Shortly, the returning airplanes joined the downwind leg for landing, with the M35 Bonanza—the one with the gear problem—leading and the J35 about three to four wingspans left to its right.

As the two aboard the M35 Bonanza prepared for the landing, they heard a loud “bang/wham and the airplane violently shook.” The airplane pitched down, its engine sound “went quiet” and “engine oil began to accumulate on the windscreen.” Its pilot executed a forced landing to a grassy area with small trees and came to rest upright.

According to witnesses, the J35 Bonanza “descended very rapidly towards the terrain” before visual contact was lost behind trees and they observed a fireball and smoke. Damage consistent with propeller impact marks was noted on the M35 Bonanza’s left forward engine cowling, forward engine cylinders and nose landing gear tire.

November 6, 2020, Greenville, Mich.

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

The airplane was substantially damaged at 2045 Eastern time during a night, off-airport emergency landing following engine failure. The commercial pilot and two passengers were uninjured.

On returning from a night cross-country flight, the pilot made a low (approximately 500-foot) pass over Runway 36 to check for deer before turning right to land on Runway 28. During the right turn, the engine lost power and subsequent engine restart attempts were unsuccessful. The pilot then performed a forced landing to a partially harvested corn field. During the landing, the airplane sustained substantial damage.

The pilot later stated he switched from the left fuel tank to the right one before entering the airport traffic pattern. Based on his fuel calculations, he said there should have been seven gallons of fuel remaining in each tank. Post-accident examination revealed about a pint of fuel in the left fuel tank and about 12 gallons in the right one.

November 7, 2020, Ardmore, Okla.

Ercoupe 415-C

At about 0805 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when collided with terrain after the aileron controls reportedly jammed. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries and the two passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the sightseeing flight.

As the airplane flew over a neighborhood, the pilot executed a left bank. One passenger later reported the pilot stated, “this is bad,” and was unable to control the ailerons and return the airplane to level flight. The pilot attempted to move the control yoke multiple times, to no avail. The pilot then attempted to land in an open field but the airplane impacted a tree and came to rest inverted. The NTSB noted that the airplane manufacturer’s documentation states it seats two.

November 10, 2020, Grass Valley, Calif.

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1540 Pacific time while maneuvering for an off-airport landing after a reported loss of engine power. The solo pilot was fatally injured.

While in cruise at 5500 feet agl, the pilot reported a loss of engine power to ATC. At 1536:25, the pilot executed a 180-degree right turn to the north as the airplane began to descend. He made a 180-degree left turn about two minutes later, at 1539:22, when ADS-B data ceased, approximately 0.3 nm west of the accident site. A witness observed the airplane fly over him in a steep, controlled, left turn, and then roll level in a steady descent before it disappeared behind trees. The airplane came to rest inverted. Both propeller blades remained attached to the engine and were bent slightly aft but did not exhibit any nicks, gouges or chordwise striations.

November 11, 2020, Langley, Wash.

Cessna 177B Cardinal

At 1144 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain after its pilot reported it was unable to hold altitude. The private pilot and flight instructor aboard were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While en route at 6500 feet msl, the airplane slowed and began to descend. The pilots reported to ATC they were declaring an emergency, stating the airplane was at full power, but “was in a slow descent and unable to hold altitude.” The airplane then turned toward a nearby airport in a descending “S” turn. The last radar data point was over the runway at about 300 feet. The airplane impacted the ground in a nose-low attitude about 153 feet west of the runway surface.

November 12, 2020, Rockwall, Texas

Cessna 182R Skylane

The airplane was substantially damaged during an attempted go-around at about 1306 Central time.  The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

After its pilot cancelled IFR, the airplane’s ADS-B track depicted it joining the left downwind for Runway 35, which is designated right traffic. Surface winds were from 290 degrees at six knots. Other pilots in the traffic pattern were using Runway 17, and did not hear the accident airplane on the local CTAF. Video cameras recorded portions of the pilot’s landing attempt, which appeared to include a fast approach and touchdown.

As the airplane approached the runway’s departure end, smoke was seen from its main-wheel tires. It overran the runway, but became airborne and descended in a nose-high attitude toward lower terrain until it struck power lines about 440 feet beyond the runway’s departure end. The airplane then spiraled to the ground. A pilot with his window open while awaiting takeoff from Runway 17 reported hearing the accident airplane’s engine increase to full power.

November 16, 2020, Advance, N.C.

Republic RC-3 Seabee

The amphibious airplane was substantially damaged at about 0810 Eastern time when it was landed off-airport after an apparent engine failure. The solo airline transport pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The day before the accident flight, a mechanic “dipped” the fuel tanks and determined there were about 18 gallons of fuel aboard prior to the accident pilot making a 30-45 minute flight that evening. The next day, the accident pilot told the mechanic he had adequate fuel for his planned  30-minute flight to a nearby airport. Instead, the airplane came to rest in a field less than two miles from the destination. Examination revealed there was no fuel in the fuel tanks, about four drops of fuel in the fuel filter and no evidence of fuel spillage at the accident site.

November 19, 2020, Canon City, Colo.

Piper PA-32R-301T Turbo Saratoga

At about 1830 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged in an inadvertent gear-up landing as its pilots were coping with an electrical failure. Neither the flight instructor nor the pilot receiving instruction were injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

While en route at 8500 feet msl, the battery warning light illuminated and the ammeter showed the battery was discharging. Remedial actions failed to correct the problem and the two decided to return to the departure airport. The flight instructor took control and, as they began a final approach, asked the pilot to extend the landing gear, which he reported doing shortly before the instrument panel went dark.

The airplane slid about 150 feet after touching down on its belly. The flight instructor later stated he did not pull the emergency landing gear knob because he believed the gear was down. Examination revealed the alternator belt had failed and was lying in the engine compartment.

November 25, 2020, Atlanta, Ga.

Cessna 172F Skyhawk/Aero
Commander 500

The two airplanes collided almost head-on as their pilots landed on the same runway from opposite directions at 0009 Eastern time. The Skyhawk was substantially damaged; the Aero Commander sustained minor damage. Neither pilot was injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

As the Skyhawk pilot approached his destination, he activated the pilot-controlled lighting and observed green lights at the approach end of what he believed to be Runway 21R. He then “switched radio channels” and made “routine calls.” He did not hear any radio transmissions advising of other traffic. During the landing, at an altitude of about 10-15 feet above the runway, he saw a “tiny white light approaching extremely fast,” then heard a “bang” and the “plane pitched hard to starboard.” He maneuvered back to the runway centerline and landed.

The Aero Commander’s pilot initially set up to land on Runway 21L but went around after coordinating with an EMS helicopter, which was using Runway 3R, and then made right traffic to 3R. After landing, he saw “some lights,” which he eventually identified as an “oncoming aircraft landing on Runway 21L.” Both airplanes swerved, and the Cessna’s right wingtip contacted the Aero Commander’s right outboard wing.

An audio recording of the CTAF revealed the Aero Commander pilot made position reports on the downwind leg and when turning final. The recording did not include any radio calls from the Cessna pilot. The pilot-controlled lighting system uses a radio frequency separate from the CTAF.

November 26, 2020, Telluride, Colo.

Van’s RV-4 Experimental

At about 1259 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its pilot apparently lost control while attempting to land. The pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

At about 1256:45, the accident airplane entered a left downwind for Runway 27 about 500 feet below the pattern altitude and at 100 knots CAS, then decelerated on the downwind and base legs as its descent continued. At about 1259:00, the airplane began a left turn from the base leg onto a ½-mile final and entered an increasingly rapid descent from about 210 feet above field elevation. The airplane’s rate of descent increased from 578 fpm to 3700 fpm during the final four seconds of ADS-B data as it decelerated to about 52 knots CAS. According to the kit manufacturer, the airplane’s wings-level aerodynamic stall speed at gross weight was 47 knots.


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