NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


December 2, 2020, Lufkin, Texas

Cessna 551 Citation II/SP

At 0843 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it departed the runway while landing. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries; two passengers were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was arriving on an IFR flight plan.

After an uneventful flight and approach, the airplane touched down on a wet runway. During the landing, the pilot cycled the anti-skid brake system two or three times. Once the airplane slowed to about 20 knots, the airplane’s anti-skid braking stopped working; the jet may have hydroplaned. The airplane exited the runway onto wet grass, went through an airport perimeter fence, crossed a roadway and came to rest in a cow pasture. The nose and main landing gear collapsed after departing the runway, and both wings had structural damage.

December 2, 2020, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0751 Eastern time during an emergency landing after the engine failed to respond. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After several takeoffs and landings in the traffic pattern, the flight instructor’s “fuel timer” went off on the downwind leg, alerting the pilots to switch tanks. The NTSB preliminary report does not state the pilots switched tanks. They performed a go-around procedure and, on the upwind leg, noticed a strong smell of something “being burnt.” The flight instructor noted the carbon monoxide detector indicated high levels of CO were present. As the student turned to the crosswind leg, the flight instructor noted a “lack of engine power” and assumed control of the airplane, moving the throttle lever with no response from the engine. He declared an emergency and turned back toward the airport, unsuccessfully attempting to restart the engine multiple times.

The airplane struck an airport perimeter fence, nosed over and came to rest inverted. Examination confirmed throttle and mixture control continuity. There was no visible damage to the exhaust system.

December 2, 2020, Arden Hills, Minn.

Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking 300A

At about 2115 Central time, the airplane was substantially damage during an emergency landing to an Interstate highway. The pilot, passenger and the occupant of the motor vehicle the airplane struck were not injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

About 10 minutes after taking off on the night sightseeing flight, the pilot heard a loud “bang” and the engine began to vibrate, then lost all power. During the landing on the Interstate highway, the airplane struck a vehicle and highway divider. Examination revealed both wings were bent and a large hole was noted on the top of the engine crankcase, and the numbers 5 and 6 connecting rods were missing. A large amount of metal debris was noted in the oil pan and in the oil filter.

December 6, 2020, Windom, Minn.

Piper PA-32-301T Turbo Saratoga

The airplane was destroyed at about 0625 Central time when it crashed shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Night instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

After takeoff, the pilot did not initiate radio contact with ATC. At 0623:24, the airplane began making large heading changes about two miles north of the departure airport. The last radar data was recorded at 0625:12, near the accident site. The airplane impacted a plowed field on an easterly heading about 2.5 miles north of the departure runway and slightly west of its extended runway centerline.

December 6, 2020, South Boston, Va.

ERCO 415-C Ercoupe

At about 1618 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an emergency landing to a road following engine failure. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later reported the airplane had 25 gallons of fuel aboard at takeoff. The pilot had performed three takeoffs and landings, followed by sightseeing near his home when, about 45 minutes after the initial takeoff, the engine experienced a partial loss of power. The pilot applied carburetor heat and used the primer to inject fuel into the engine but it eventually lost all power. During the forced landing, the airplane struck a mailbox, substantially damaging the right wing.

December 8, 2020, Hitchcock, Texas

Van’s RV-6 Experimental

The airplane was destroyed at about 1540 Central time following a series of erratic low-level maneuvers. The pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Earlier, witnesses observed the pilot working on the airplane in front of his hangar. At about 1415, the airplane’s engine started and a witness observed the airplane begin a takeoff to the west from the ramp area, bouncing, pitching and yawing as it accelerated. Another pilot observed the airplane “shoot out” of the ramp area about 200 yards in front of him and become airborne as it entered the grass. He indicated the pilot appeared to be having trouble controlling the airplane.

Shortly before the accident, additional witnesses observed the airplane at low altitude above a residential area. They reported the engine sounded normal. A witness near the accident site reported hearing a loud noise as her house began to shake. She described the airplane as “out of control” as it went down, wobbling and moving unusually before it hit the ground. Engine noise was constant before the airplane impacted terrain.

December 12, 2020, Attalla, Ala.

Beech V35A Bonanza

At about 1249 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Nearby weather included marginal visual conditions; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

The airplane was in cruise flight at 9000 feet msl at 1248:09, when it began a right descending turn and 32 seconds later was at about 7000 feet msl. When ATC attempted to contact the pilot, most of his response was unintelligible. By 1248:47, the airplane had turned 360 degrees and was descending through 5500 feet as the turn tightened. There were no further communications from the pilot. The last ADS-B target at 1248:54 recorded the airplane over a wooded area at about 3600 feet msl. The airplane impacted an open field about 1260 feet from the last ADS-B target. Both stabilizers and ruddervator trim tabs, and pieces of both ruddervators were found near the main wreckage; the tip of one ruddervator was not located.

December 12, 2020, Nashville, Tenn.

Piper PA-24-180 Comanche 180

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1250 Central time during an off-airport landing following engine failure. The solo commercial pilot incurred minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

The pilot later reported that he departed with 54 gallons of fuel and switched tanks every 30 minutes. About seven nautical miles from the destination, he observed a “significant drop in manifold pressure and change in engine noise, best described as a steady roll-back.” The pilot pitched for best glide speed, and began looking for an open area in which to land while attempting to restore power. The airplane touched down hard and skidded to a stop in the field.

A total of about eight gallons of fuel was drained from the left fuel tank; less than half a cup was drained from the right fuel tank; there was no evidence of fuel in the electric fuel pump nor was there leakage at the accident site. The pilot reported he had not activated carburetor heat in the 30 minutes before the engine failure and did not engage it afterward. The FAA Carburetor Icing Chart indicated the airplane was at risk of serious icing at glide power given the atmospheric conditions reported near the accident site.

December 16, 2020, Jacksonville, Fla.

Embraer EMB-500 Phenom 100

At 1419 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a runway overrun while landing. There were no injuries among the pilot, copilot or passenger. Instrument conditions prevailed for the Part 91 flight; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

After an ILS approach, the airplane landed in the touchdown zone at about 100 knots and, as the airplane slowed to 80 knots, full manual braking was applied, but the airplane was not slowing “as expected.” The pilot applied the emergency brake three times, with no response. As the airplane rolled onto the grass, he applied left rudder to avoid colliding with the approach lights. The airplane came to a stop with the right wing contacting the ground; a portion of the right main landing gear had punctured the right wing. Weather at the time of the accident included heavy rain in thunderstorms. The remarks section of the weather observation indicated 0.32 inches of rain had fallen in the preceding hour.

December 16, 2020, Bossier City, La.

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

The airplane was destroyed at 0439 Central time after an apparent loss of control in instrument conditions. The student pilot and his passenger were fatally injured.

Records show the airplane took off at 0417. Radar data show it flying an irregular flight path and maneuvering over a nearby air force base for about 20 minutes. The airplane’s altitude varied between about 600 and 1800 feet msl before it entered a left descending turn and radar data ended at 0439. The student pilot’s most recent flight instructor had endorsed the student pilot for local traffic pattern operations only in late November.

December 17, 2020, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Socata TB10 Tobago

At about 1637 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain shortly after takeoff. The pilot and three passengers were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness later reported hearing the airplane’s engine sputtering and missing during the engine run-up and the subsequent takeoff. He observed the airplane climb to an altitude that was just above the height of the control tower, and subsequently noticed smoke west of the airport. The wreckage came to rest about 180 degrees opposite the direction of flight; the cockpit and cabin areas were consumed by a post-crash fire.

December 17, 2020, Aledo, Texas

Extra EA300L

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1629 Central time when it collided with terrain during reported aerobatic maneuvers. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After a few minutes of loose formation flight with another pilot in an RV-4, the two separated and the accident pilot climbed to the northwest for aerobatic maneuvers. The accident airplane’s final radar data was recorded at 1628:20 as the airplane descended through about 4300 feet msl. It impacted terrain in a wings-level, nose-down attitude with low forward groundspeed. The tail section was twisted slightly left of the fuselage and both wings were crushed downward. Initial examination did not reveal any flight control system anomalies.

December 18, 2020, Tampa, Fla.

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

At 1322 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed during an off-airport landing following an engine failure. The flight instructor and two student pilots were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After refueling at a nearby airport, the airplane took off again and subsequently was cleared to land at its home airport. About two and a half minutes later, the instructor declared an emergency due to engine failure and told ATC they would try to make the airport. Instead, video footage showed the airplane striking a utility pole and wires in a business parking lot about 0.6 nm from the runway threshold. The airplane exploded upon impact with the power lines, spun counter-clockwise and fell to the ground, coming to rest upright. Most of the wings and fuselage were consumed by fire. The engine failure’s cause hasn’t been determined.

December 19, 2020, Burleson, Texas

 Sonex Light Sport Experimental

The airplane impacted power lines and terrain at about 1430 Central time while its pilot attempted an emergency landing after reporting engine failure, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The accident pilot told ATC he wanted to orbit the field at 3500 feet. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported the airplane was unable to climb and he needed to return to the airport. After being cleared to land, the pilot told ATC he had a “sick engine” and he was “just trying to make the field.” Smoke appeared to be coming from the engine, ATC told the pilot. The airplane came to rest inverted about one mile south of the airport, after striking the power lines.

December 19, 2020, Naples, Fla.

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu

At about 1216 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it was ditched in the Gulf of Mexico after engine failure. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was in effect.

The flight departed with 100 gallons of fuel aboard for the planned hour-long flight. After being cleared direct to Key West, the pilot switched tanks. The engine immediately began sputtering and lost power. The pilot switched back to the previous tank but there was no change, and remedial actions failed to restore power. The pilot advised ATC of the engine problem and asked for the nearest airport. Shortly, the pilot was cleared to land but realized he could not make the airport and would land in the water. After touchdown, the airplane came to a sudden stop and was floating.

A boat picked up the two occupants as the airplane continued to float. The airplane eventually sank and came to rest in six feet of water. It was later recovered for examination.

December 20, 2020, Midway, Ga.

Cessna 210L Centurion

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 2011 Eastern time as its pilot attempted to land at a VFR-only airport in reported instrument conditions. The solo instrument-rated private pilot was fatally injured. 

The pilot exchanged text messages with his son before and during the accident flight, including that the destination airport had 400-foot ceilings and rain. Tracking data revealed the airplane climbed to and maintained between 2000 to 2500 feet msl in cruise. The airplane began descending at 2003, then turned right and continued to descend to about 100 feet msl before turning, briefly climbing to 300 feet msl, then descending to the ground. The track data ended at 2011. No flight plan was filed for the flight and no ATC services were provided. There were no published instrument approach procedures for the destination airport.

The airplane subsequently was reported overdue, and was located the next day, about five miles north of the destination. It came to rest upright, in a marshy area at the end of a debris path about 400 feet long and oriented to the southeast. The initial point of impact was a tree, and the right wing was located at the base of a tree. There was no fire.  The propeller blades were bent aft, with one blade fractured near the blade tip. 

Reported weather at the departure airport included an overcast at 300 feet and four miles of visibility in rain. The 1956 weather at a nearby military airport included overcast clouds at 600 feet and seven miles of visibility in light rain.


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