NTSB Reports: May 2021

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


February 2, 2021, Leicester, Mass.

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage

At about 1645 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it apparently entered a tailplane stall during an in-flight icing encounter and collided with terrain. The commercial pilot and two passengers received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed at the accident site; an IFR flight plan was in effect.

While on approach to Runway 11, “a little ice” began to build up on the wings and the pilot activated the deicing system (boots) twice. The elevator then began to shake and became ineffective. In an effort to avoid a stall, the pilot applied forward input on the pitch control. The airplane contacted a tree and came to rest upright in the front yard of a residence about three miles from the Runway 11 threshold.

February 2, 2021, Hackberry, La.

Cessna 182Q Skylane

The airplane was destroyed at about 1744 Central time when it collided with terrain after the pilot or flight instructor aboard apparently lost control. Visual conditions prevailed. The private pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured.

The private pilot had just bought a share of the accident airplane and was undergoing transition training. Earlier on the day of the accident, the private pilot reported he had completed a one-hour flight to satisfy insurance requirements. On the accident flight, the airplane proceeded south toward the Gulf of Mexico and then turned north as altitude and airspeed increased. The airplane climbed to about 4500 feet agl, then airspeed decreased and the airplane began a slow descent. The descent increased rapidly until the final datapoint. In the last 12 seconds of recorded data, the airplane made a right turn and descended about 3200 feet.

February 4, 2021, Riverside, Calif.

Cessna 150

At about 1240 Pacific time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when its pilot landed on a highway after it lost all power. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the banner-towing flight.

After releasing a banner at midfield, the pilot went around, entered left traffic and climbed to 1800 feet agl, the traffic pattern altitude. She set up to land on Runway 06, but elected to go around, “due to extreme windshear.” While turning crosswind, the engine sputtered and lost “about 40 percent thrust.” The pilot performed remedial actions, but the engine continued sputtering. The pilot continued the left turn and attempted a landing on Runway 24 but encountered a gusting tailwind and was forced to go around again.

Her intent was to make a 270-degree right turn and land on Runway 06. The airplane’s engine subsequently lost all power and the propeller stopped spinning. The pilot attempted two engine restarts to no avail. At about 300 feet agl, the pilot spotted a highway with no traffic and “attempted a normal landing.” The airplane subsequently collided with a tree and terrain. The airplane’s nose landing gear collapsed immediately after contacting the ground, the right wing impacted two parked cars located on the right side of the road and the airplane skidded about 500 feet before coming to rest.

February 4, 2021, Chitina, Alaska

Cessna 185 Skywagon

The airplane was substantially damage when it collided with terrain at about 1051 Alaska time. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed at the accident site. The airplane operated as a FAR Part 135 scheduled passenger flight.

A GPS data log revealed the ski-equipped airplane climbed to about 7500 feet msl after takeoff and flew southeast with a groundspeed between 120 and 130 knots for some 10 minutes. About two minutes before the accident, the airplane began a gradual right turn to the south. A descent began, which averaged about 859 fpm. The last data point was at 1050:52, with the airplane at about 5715 feet msl and a groundspeed of 154 knots on a track of 282 degrees.

The accident site was in mountainous tree-covered terrain at an estimated elevation of 2300 feet. The debris field was about 642 feet long by about 430 feet wide. Two pilots who responded to the accident site shortly after it occurred reported a stratus cloud layer in the vicinity, with good visibility above and below, and tops estimated at 4000 to 5000 feet msl. Neither pilot reported turbulence in the area.

February 5, 2021, Larned, Kan.

Columbia Aircraft LC42-550FG 350

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1200 Central time when its brakes apparently caught fire after aborted takeoff attempts. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Earlier, the pilot attempted a takeoff from Runway 35 but the airplane did not become airborne, so he stopped. The pilot later reported the engine was operating normally, and normal takeoff acceleration was achieved. Winds reportedly were from 270 degrees at 14 knots, gusting to 19 knots. After 10 minutes, he attempted a takeoff on the reciprocal Runway 17. Again, the airplane did not become airborne. The pilot stopped the airplane and noticed smoke coming from the underside of the airplane. Both he and his passenger exited the airplane, and he went to get a fire extinguisher from a nearby FBO, but it did not function. By the time a second extinguisher was obtained, fire had damaged the wheel assemblies and progressed to the left wing, resulting in substantial damage to the underside and spar of the wing. Examination revealed both brake and wheel assemblies did not show anomalies other than fire damage. The parking brake was found not engaged.

February 7, 2021, Belvidere, Tenn.

Cessna 441 Conquest II

At about 1648 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain during an instrument approach. The airline transport pilot and a commercial pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR clearance.

The flight was cleared for the RNAV Runway 36 approach and, as it descended through 2300 feet msl, the radar target disappeared, which was normal due to the radar coverage in the area. When the controller attempted to contact the flight, there was no response and no further communication with the pilot. The accident site was about six miles south of the destination airport, with a wreckage path about 500 feet long, oriented on a northerly heading. A large portion of the fuselage and both wings were consumed by a post-impact fire.

February 7, 2021, Saratoga, Wyo.

Lancair Evolution Experimental

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1844 Mountain time when its windshield departed while in cruise at FL270. The pilot and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The pilot initiated an emergency descent and subsequently landed at a nearby airport without further incident.

February 8, 2021, Galt, Mo.

Cessna 177RG Cardinal RG

At about 1442 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain while flying at low altitude. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; no flight plan had been filed.

After it arrived at the accident flight’s departure point, witnesses observed the airplane’s windscreen was completely obscured by ice, which also was present on the rest of the airplane, about a ¼-inch thick. The airplane was put in a heated hangar to melt the ice, and fuel was added. Witnesses later said the pilot dismissed recommendations to stay until the weather improved.

According to ADS-B data, the airplane departed at about 1410 and flew north about 30 miles, turned northwest for about 40 miles, and then flew west-southwest for about six miles until the data ended at 1440. During the flight, the airplane flew no higher than 1900 feet msl before beginning a gradual descent. The data ended with the airplane at 1200 feet; terrain along the route of flight varied between about 750 feet and 950 feet msl. The  accident site’s elevation was about 785 feet msl and located about seven miles west of the last recorded ADS-B datapoint. Nearby weather at 1355 included visibility of 1¾ statute miles, scattered clouds at 600 feet agl, a broken ceiling at 1500 feet agl and an overcast at 2700 feet agl. Temperatures and dewpoints were below freezing.

February 13, 2021, San Diego, Calif.

Dassault Falcon 900EX

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1150 Pacific time in a runway overrun event following an aborted takeoff. The two pilots, one additional crew member and two passengers were not injured.

Reportedly, the flight crew was unable to raising the nose of the airplane at rotation speed, VR. The crew subsequently aborted the takeoff but was unable to stop, coming to rest approximately 560 feet beyond the departure end of the runway.

February 13, 2021, Tehachapi, Calif.

Piper PA-46R-350T Matrix

At about 1627 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Marginal visual conditions prevailed on the surface at a nearby airport.

Preliminary tracking data reveal the airplane flew northeast and climbed to about 10,000 feet msl. About 20 minutes into the flight, the airplane’s groundspeed decreased, followed by a descent to about 8000 feet. The track continued for about 12 minutes before radar contact was lost. The final portion of the track showed the airplane in a steep descending left spiral. A G-Airmet Tango for turbulence and a Center Weather Advisory for severe turbulence below 15,000 feet were in effect. Examination revealed all of the airplane’s flight controls were found at the accident site.

February 16, 2021, Janesville, Wis.

Velocity V-Twin Experimental

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0917 Central time when it collided with terrain shortly after its crew reported an engine problem and attempted to return to the departure airport. Both pilots sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAA-approved ferry flight.

Data obtained from ADS-B showed the airplane took off at about 0912. About one minute and 16 seconds after takeoff clearance was issued, one of the pilots stated that they would like to circle back and land to “work through some engine issues.” When ATC asked if any assistance was required, the pilot replied, “No sir, we should be fine.” No further radio communications were received.

The airplane impacted trees and came to rest inverted in a waterway about one mile south of the departure airport. The air traffic controller on duty saw the airplane south of the airport just prior to impact. He stated he saw the airplane begin to circle left and, about halfway through the circle, the bank angle increased and the nose of the airplane “was almost pointed down toward the ground.”

February 17, 2021, Indian Head, Md.

Cessna 150G

At about 0945 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it was force-landed in trees following engine failure. The flight instructor and pilot receiving instruction were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

About 90 minutes into the flight, while performing a left chandelle maneuver, the engine “hiccuped” momentarily. The pair climbed to 4000 feet msl and proceeded to a nearby airport for a precautionary landing. Abeam the runway numbers, the airplane was several hundred feet above pattern altitude. The instructor took control and initiated a side slip to lose altitude with the throttle set to 1400 rpm, but the airplane was still too high and fast, so the instructor executed a go-around maneuver. During the go-around, the airplane climbed 300-400 feet, and then the engine stopped producing power, stopping the propeller. Without time to perform remedial actions, the instructor executed a forced landing into trees.

February 18, 2021, Jeffersonville, Ind.

Gates Learjet 55C

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1905 Central time when it was landed on a closed runway. The captain and first officer were not injured. Instrument conditions were present at the destination for the FAR Part 135 on-demand cargo flight, which operated on an IFR flight plan.

As the crew neared the destination, they planned for the ILS approach to Runway 18, circle to Runway 36. On breaking out from the approach and maneuvering for a landing, both pilots believed they identified Runway 36. Upon touchdown, it became clear they had inadvertently landed on Runway 32, which they both knew was closed. The airplane struck a snow berm at the intersection with Runway 36, the landing gear broke off and the jet slid to a stop, sustaining damage to its landing gear, lower fuselage, wings and ventral strakes.  Both pilots stated that, during the visual approach, they did not use their instruments to verify they were lined up with the intended runway. The airport manager noted that, depending on the direction the airplane was coming from, the lights for Runway 36 may not have been visible due to snow berms.

February 19, 2021, Los Angeles, Calif.

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six 260

At about 1158 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing following engine failure. The solo pilot was fatally injured and a person on the ground sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane departed Torrance at 1146 and flew south-southeast along the Pacific coast while climbing to about 3400 feet msl. At 1155:29, the pilot reported to ATC that he was experiencing engine problems. About 90 seconds later, the pilot added, “I think I have to make an off-airport landing.” The airplane proceeded toward Terminal Island and aligned for an emergency landing to a paved area. Video footage shows the airplane descended in a relatively flat attitude before its left wing collided with a semi-truck, and then it impacted a concrete barrier in a left-wing-low attitude. The airplane cartwheeled and came to rest upright. Examination revealed internal damage to several cylinders. Over a pint of metal was recovered from the engine’s oil sump.

February 22, 2021, St. Marys, Penn.

Cessna 421 Golden Eagle

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1145 Eastern time, a when it landed beside the runway in a snow bank. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries;  the two passengers were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

After breaking out from the Runway 28 RNAV approach, the pilot saw approach lights and the “outline of the runway.” On touchdown, the airplane struck a snow berm on the left side of the runway. Examination revealed “ground” scars in the snow left of the runway edge, beginning about 1000 feet from the approach end. At the time of the accident, the runway was covered in snow estimated to be about 3-5 inches deep. The runway edge lights and runway end identifier lights were beneath the snow. There were no Notams issued about snow on the runway, obscuration of the runway lights or any other field conditions prior to the accident.


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