January 2, 2021, Moab, Utah
Cessna P210N Pressurized Centurion
At about 1430 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an attempted takeoff when its engine lost power. The pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, pre-takeoff operations were normal. Shortly after liftoff, at about 100-200 feet agl, the engine began to run rough and the pilot noted partial loss of power. The pilot retracted the landing gear but noticed an additional power loss and initiated a forced landing on the remaining runway after extending the landing gear. The airplane touched down on the runway’s left side before veering right and entering the snow-covered runway safety area. The right main landing gear collapsed, and the airplane came to rest on the right-wing tip and right horizontal stabilizer.
January 2, 2021, New Hudson, Mich.
Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 250
The airplane was destroyed at 1541 Eastern time when its pilot apparently lost control while executing a missed approach. The non-instrument-rated pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.
At about 1457, while en route, the pilot apparently obtained an IFR clearance to his destination and subsequently was cleared for an approach that had been Notam’d out of service. The airplane descended to 1900 feet msl and passed over its destination, then appeared to climb to about 2000 feet before it entered two descending left-hand spiral turns at decreasing airspeed. The accident site was about ½-mile north of the destination airport. There was no record of the pilot obtaining a weather briefing or filing a flight plan on the day of the accident.
January 4, 2021, Cash, Ark.
Beechcraft G58 Baron
At about 0933 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain six minutes after takeoff. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After takeoff, the airplane climbed to about 2300 feet msl, and then began a descent while tracking southwest. At about 0932, it turned right and flew west-north-west until flight track data was lost over the accident site, a muddy field about 16 miles southwest of the departure airport.
January 6, 2021, Palm Springs, Calif.
Cessna 172N Skyhawk
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1411 Pacific time during an apparent go-around after a bounced landing attempt. The solo pilot was seriously injured; visual conditions prevailed.
After completing two touch-and-go landings, the airplane was observed to land hard, bounce and initiate a climb. Shortly thereafter, the airplane banked sharply to the left and then spiraled down to the ground. A witness reported the engine did not sound like it was producing full power during the go-around.
January 9, 2021, Warm Springs, Ore.
Cessna 560 Citation V
At 1336 Pacific time (PST), the airplane was destroyed when it entered a descending turn during its initial climb to cruising altitude and subsequently impacted terrain. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.
After takeoff at 1307, the pilot missed a series of radio calls and failed to follow clearances. At one point, a Seattle ARTCC controller advised the pilot of a low-altitude alert warning as the airplane flew just south of Mount Hood. By 1327, the airplane had climbed to FL270 and began to track 30 degrees right of course while continuing its climb. A controller advised the flight it was off its heading, but the pilot did not respond. The airplane reached FL310 at 1328:45, and then began to descend. Over the next eight minutes, it was in a spiraling and descending one-mile-radius right turn. The airplane collided with terrain at an elevation of 3600 feet, leaving a 1500-foot-long debris field and sustaining heavy fragmentation and thermal damage.
While the private pilot held type ratings for the Grumman G-111 Albatross and Learjet, he did not have a type rating for the Cessna 560. He had trained for the type rating toward the end of 2020, but the provider later stated the pilot had not performed to a level sufficient to be issued a type rating or single-pilot exemption. Investigation revealed the accident flight likely was the first time he had flown the airplane on his own.
January 10, 2021, Old Bethpage, N.Y.
Cessna 421B Golden Eagle
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1302 Eastern time during an off-airport landing after its pilot reported losing power on both engines. Visual conditions prevailed.
Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported loss of power on both engines and stated he was returning to the departure airport. Instead, the airplane impacted a solid waste disposal facility about 2.3 nm from the desired runway. The pilot sustained serious injuries.
January 12, 2021, Sparta, Mich.
Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga SP
At about 1700 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with a snowbank short of the runway. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.
The pilot reported striking a snow bank short of the runway following a GPS approach. The airframe had accumulated about ½ inch of ice during the descent to the airport. According to an FAA inspector, the airplane touched down about 18 feet short of the runway. The landing gear collapsed, and the airplane skidded down the runway before coming to rest near the 1000-foot touchdown markings, sustaining substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. There were no malfunctions associated with the airplane before the accident.
January 13, 2021, Columbia, S.C.
Beechcraft F33A Bonanza
The airplane was destroyed at about 1033 Eastern time during an attempted missed approach. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR clearance.
Preliminary FAA radar and ATC data indicate the pilot requested any Pireps at about 1015, and ATC advised the pilot of his missed approach instructions at about 1030. At 1032, the pilot announced he was performing a missed approach and requested additional weather information. Shortly thereafter, radar contact was lost. The FAA’s radar data depict the accident airplane slightly right of the runway’s extended centerline before crossing it about 0.3 nm from the threshold. The airplane entered a climbing left turn, but then began to descend before radar contact was lost. Witnesses reported the engine sounded normal. The airplane came to rest in a residential backyard. A post-crash fire ensued. The 1053 recorded weather at the destination airport included visibility of ¼ mile in fog and a 200-foot ceiling.
January 13, 2021, Pell City, Ala.
At about 1319 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it was landed off-airport after reported engine failure. The solo pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, he departed with 14 gallons of fuel in the wing tanks and 12 gallons in the center tank. After a 10-minute flight, he was on approach at about 1500 feet agl when the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot was unable to restart the engine and the airplane’s left wing struck trees and terrain during the forced landing. Examination revealed the airplane came to rest upright in a field with damage to the wings and fuselage. There was no odor of fuel and no evidence of fuel spillage at the scene. The center fuel tank was completely full, and the wing fuel tanks contained only trace amounts of fuel.
January 17, 2021, Richmond Hill, Ga.
Cessna 177RG Cardinal RG
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1220 Eastern time during an off-airport landing after engine failure. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
While in cruise flight at 5500 feet msl, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot successfully restarted the engine and radioed “Mayday” to ATC but the engine again lost power. The pilot elected to perform a forced landing to a field, resulting in substantial damage.
January 19, 2021, Leesburg, Va.
American Aviation AA-5 Traveler
At about 1055 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when its left elevator partially separated in-flight. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the flight instructor, while in smooth air below the airspeed indicator’s yellow arc and in a slight descent, he felt a large shock to the airplane, which began shaking and buffeting violently and loudly. The control yoke was also shaking violently, left and right, and fore and aft. The airplane was pitching up and down. He initially thought there was an engine-related issue, took control of the airplane, applied carburetor heat, reduced the throttle to idle and slowed to the airplane’s best glide speed, 80 mph. The flight instructor executed the engine failure checklist from memory, declared a Mayday to a nearby control tower and circled left, looking for a suitable emergency landing field. The flight instructor then realized engine power was available and was notified by a pilot flying off their right wing that their elevator was “flapping in the wind.”
He flew a straight-in approach and attempted to round out and land normally by reducing power and pulling on the control yoke. Instead, the nose pitched down very quickly, with the nose landing gear striking the runway and the airplane skidding on its nose and propeller. After coming to rest, the airplane was secured and both occupants egressed. Examination of the airplane revealed the left elevator was partially separated, with its outboard portion well below the horizontal stabilizer.
January 21, 2021, Eagle Point, Ore.
Randy W. Maloney M1 Experimental
The experimental airplane was destroyed at about 1200 Pacific time when it hit terrain after colliding with a cable while maneuvering for a forced landing. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
While in cruise at 3000 feet msl, the engine began to sputter and the airplane entered a descent. In anticipation of a forced landing, the pilot flew toward farm fields. At about 50 feet agl, engine rpm began to increase slightly, so the pilot opted to maintain what altitude was available. While at that low altitude, the airplane struck a cable and then a tree adjacent to an open field. The pilot and passenger egressed with only minor injuries prior to the airplane catching fire.
January 21, 2021, Minneola, Fla.
Quad Cities Challenger II Experimental
The pilot/owner of the pusher-configured experimental was seriously injured after the airplane lost “propulsion,” then took a “nose-dive” and impacted terrain, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. The accident occurred at about 0945 Eastern time. Visual conditions prevailed. Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed the propeller-to-engine drive belt was broken and laying across the empennage.
January 23, 2021, Denton, N.C.
Cessna U206G Stationair
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1455 Eastern time during an off-airport landing following loss of engine power. The pilot and copilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the aerial survey flight.
While flying a grid pattern at about 250 feet agl, the engine “rolled back” and started to lose power. The airplane immediately began to lose altitude; the PIC turned toward a field just ahead of them and set up for landing. During landing, the airplane bounced back into the air; on the second touchdown, the nose gear fractured and bent under the fuselage. The airplane slid into some trees and both pilots egressed through the door. Examination revealed the firewall was creased and the right rear engine mount structure was cracked.
January 24, 2021, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II/III
At about 2000 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with the Atlantic Ocean. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.
The airplane took off at about 1955, climbed to 1000 feet msl and turned to a southerly heading before ATC cleared the flight to “follow the shoreline northbound at or below 500 feet.” At 1958:37, the pilot acknowledged the instructions and read back the altimeter setting as the airplane began a descending left turn to the east. Shortly, ATC assigned the airplane a new transponder code, which the pilot acknowledged. At 1959:25, the airplane was crossing the beach eastbound at 225 feet and descending. Once over water, the airplane’s track depicted a shallow, descending left turn. At 2000:00, the controller repeated the transponder instructions, but the airplane’s ADS-B position was no longer being received and there was no further communication. The airplane was recovered two days later. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no pre-impact mechanical anomalies.
January 26, 2021, Waller, Texas
Zenair Zodiac 601HDS Experimental
A forced landing at about 1525 Central time resulted in substantial damage to the airplane and serious injury to the solo pilot. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot later reported the engine lost power shortly after takeoff. He recalled the preflight run-up and takeoff were normal but, at about 150 to 200 feet agl, there were two “pops” and the engine lost power. He executed a forced landing to an open field.
January 26, 2021, Salish Sea, Wash.
The airplane was substantially damaged when it was ditched after apparent fuel exhaustion at about 1640 Pacific time. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
While en route, the pilot was in contact with his mother via text messaging. At around 1525, he stated there was a severe headwind and expressed concern about having enough fuel to complete the flight. Fifteen minutes later, he texted that his GPS indicated he had been airborne for 5.7 hours and had estimated another 1.1 hours before reaching his destination, for an ETA of 1647. He noted headwinds were slowing his progress and it was taking longer than expected to circumnavigate numerous clouds.
Radar data showed the accident aircraft going “feet wet” at 1634, at an altitude of about 1200 feet msl, some 10 miles north of his destination. At about 1637, the pilot texted his mother an image showing a marine vessel towing a barge in the water below. Radar “hits” continued south for about 5.4 nm until, at 1638:06, the returns were consistent with the airplane reversing course and heading north-northeast, with decreasing airspeed and a gradual decent to 400 feet. The last radar return was 2.9 nm from the closest land. At 1638:47, the pilot broadcast a Mayday call over the destination airport’s Unicom frequency, stating he was out in the middle of the water and was ditching by a boat that was towing a barge.