April 1, 2021, Augusta, Kan.
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140
At about 1630 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following an engine power loss. The two pilots aboard were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot-in-command reported that he was performing a practice VOR/DME-A instrument approach with a safety pilot. Shortly after the airplane passed the final approach fix inbound, the engine lost power. The pilot’s efforts to restore engine power were not successful. The pilot-in-command executed a forced landing to a field. The airplane’s right wing struck a fence post during the landing, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage and right wing.
April 3, 2021, Pearland, Texas
Beech B35 Bonanza
The airplane was substantially damaged in an off-airport landing at about 0735 Central time, when its engine lost power shortly after takeoff. The pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot purchased the airplane in October 2020; it had undergone “extensive maintenance” to troubleshoot excessive engine rpm but flew uneventfully the day before. Before the accident flight, the pilot performed a thorough run-up with no anomalies noted, and then added full power and began a takeoff from the turf runway. Engine instruments indicated full power was being produced but the airplane did not accelerate as fast as normal. At 75 KIAS, the pilot lifted off but noted rpm was about 2300 and decreasing. Unable to abort the takeoff on the remaining runway, he flew in ground effect until accelerating to about 85 KIAS, when he pitched the nose up to climb. Engine rpm continued to decrease, however, to about 1900. The pilot flew under powerlines at the end of the runway and initiated a precautionary landing to a field. During the descent, the airplane’s right wing impacted a tree about 15 feet above the ground; the airplane landed on its belly and slid to a stop.
April 3, 2021, College Park, Md.
At about 1248 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its engine lost power during a takeoff attempt. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot and co-owner previously had found water in the fuel tanks, which necessitated replacing the fuel cap O-rings and installing covers. When he arrived at the airport for his flight, the covers were not on the wings. During his preflight inspection, he found a piece of orange paint in the sample of fuel taken from the right fuel tank and, “a bunch of water” in the left fuel tank. He sumped the left tank until the sample was clear with no water. He did not drain the selector valve sump as part of his inspection and placed the fuel selector to the left tank where it remained.
Experiencing a high fuel pressure reading, he turned off the fuel pump before initiating the takeoff. After lifting off at 83 mph and while still over the runway, the engine began to “cough/sputter” and contacted the ground, coming to rest upright near the departure end of the runway. Examination revealed water in the flexible fuel hose from the firewall to the engine-driven fuel pump. About five ounces of liquid were drained from the carburetor bowl; it was about equal parts water and fuel.
April 5, 2021, Springfield, Tenn.
Piper PA-23-250 Aztec
The airplane was destroyed at about 0950 Central time when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The flight instructor and the commercial-rated student pilot were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
Witnesses heard at least one engine making “continuous sputtering/backfiring” sounds and stated that the airplane “didn’t climb much above 100 [feet] agl” while on runway heading. The landing gear remained extended until the departure end of the runway. Shortly thereafter, it entered a shallow left turn until disappearing behind a tree line.
A preliminary review of ADS-B and radar data depicts the airplane achieving a groundspeed of 86 knots at about midfield, but slowing and never flying faster than an 80-knot groundspeed in a shallow climb for about a mile. At about 200 feet agl, the airplane entered a descending, decelerating left turn, which tightened until reaching the accident site at about ground level and 59 knots groundspeed.
The left engine’s propeller blades appeared undamaged and approximately in a feathered position. The right engine’s propeller blades displayed twisting, bending, leading edge gouging, chordwise scratching and tip curling.
April 6, 2021, Arcadia, Fla.
Beech A36 Bonanza
At about 1110 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged in an off-airport landing following engine failure. The pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
After takeoff and at about 800 feet msl, the pilot reduced engine rpm to 2300. Minutes later, he noticed engine rpm had risen to 2500 and the oil pressure gauge read zero. The pilot turned back to the airport but the engine “locked and the propeller stopped turning.” The airplane was at about 1700 feet msl and the pilot subsequently performed a forced landing to a field. The airplane’s right wing and cowling were substantially damaged.
April 7, 2021, Great Valley, N.Y.
Cessna 177B Cardinal
The airplane was destroyed at about 1408 Eastern time when it apparently stalled shortly after liftoff and collided with terrain. The private pilot was seriously injured; the pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured.
A witness, who lives adjacent to the turf runway, saw the accident airplane taking off. She said the airplane bounced a couple of times before it became airborne and had climbed to about 20 feet agl when it made a “hard left bank” and she could see the tops of both wings. The left wing impacted the ground and “crumbled,” and then the airplane “collapsed.” The witness said she did not see or hear anything unusual with the airplane or engine prior to the accident, except that it was “low” and “late” taking off.
Ground scars and damage to the airplane were consistent with it impacting terrain in a left-wing-low, nose-down flight attitude. “The left and right wings came to rest upright. The engine, fuselage, and tail were inverted.” Flight control continuity was established for all flight controls to the cockpit area, except for the right aileron control cable, the ends of which were frayed, consistent with overload. Examination of the airframe and engine revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The flap jackscrew’s position revealed the wing flaps were fully retracted at the time of impact.
April 11, 2021, Blakely Island, Wash.
Cessna 182H Skylane
At about 1638 Pacific time, the airplane was ditched following complete engine failure, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
Shortly after takeoff from an island airport, the airplane was at about 700 feet above the water when the engine sputtered, followed by complete loss of power. The pilot initiated a forced landing to the water near the shoreline. During the landing, the airplane nosed over and sank. Both occupants successfully egressed.
April 12, 2021, Weyers Cave, Va.
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1920 Eastern time during an attempted go-around. The pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot reported winds were from 320 degrees at eight knots, and he entered the traffic pattern on the left downwind for Runway 23. Upon turning on the final leg of the traffic pattern, he opted to land with only two notches of flaps because of the crosswind. As he approached the runway, he realized he was fast, at around 90 mph, with the engine power fully retarded. He concluded it was an unstable approach and applied full power but did not gain altitude. Further, the airplane banked hard to the left at about 50 feet agl. He applied right rudder and aileron in an attempt to level the wings. The next thing he remembered was a first responder helping him out of the airplane. The passenger had already egressed.
April 17, 2021, McKinney, Texas
Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II
At about 1948 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it was force-landed following engine failure. The flight instructor and student pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
While turning from base to final, the engine lost all power. The flight instructor cycled the throttle and switched fuel tanks, but without success. He noted there were no abnormal engine noises or shaking, only a loss of power he thought was consistent with some type of fuel issue. The propeller continued to turn. The flight instructor made a forced landing to an open grass field, during which the fuselage and both wings were damaged.
April 17, 2021, Venice, Fla.
Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP
The airplane was substantially damaged at 1715 Eastern time when its engine lost power in the traffic pattern. The flight instructor and private pilot obtaining a flight review were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The flight departed with full fuel and completed maneuvers in the local practice area before returning for touch-and-go landings. The flight instructor demonstrated the first touch and go, which was uneventful, and the student took controls for the second one. On downwind, abeam the runway numbers, the student pilot intended to reduce engine power to 1700 rpm but it dropped to 1000 and could not be increased.
The instructor took the flight controls and attempted to troubleshoot the engine issue but power was not restored. Their position would not allow them to make it to the runway, so he turned toward a golf course fairway and pond, ending up in the pond.
April 19, 2021, Tatum, Texas
At about 1346 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain during a test flight. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The flight’s purpose was to do a functional test of a newly upgraded autopilot system. Six minutes after takeoff, radio and surveillance communications were lost. Retrieved ADS-B data show the airplane climbed to the east, leveled at 2750 feet msl and then descended to 2675 feet. There were no other data points recorded. The accident site was located directly east, about ¾ mile from the last recorded data point. The airplane impacted terrain in a nose-down, vertical attitude.
April 20, 2021, Eufaula, Ala.
Cessna 182M Skylane
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1515 Central time when it was forced-landed in a field following total loss of engine power. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
While en route, the pilot chose to divert to a nearby airport for a restroom break. Shortly after turning toward the divert field, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. Unable to reach any of the nearest airports, he selected a field for landing and touched down, but the airplane struck a fence, nosed over and came to rest inverted.
An FAA inspector later stated there was no evidence of fuel, no evidence of fuel spillage and no odor of fuel at the scene when he arrived. When recovered from the site, the airplane’s wings were removed. The recovery supervisor found that the airplane contained no fuel and that there was no odor nor evidence of fuel spillage at the scene.
Several days later, the divert airport’s manager was escorted to the accident site by a local police lieutenant, where she found and photographed blighted vegetation in the area beneath the right fuel tank cap where the airplane had rested inverted. The earth beneath the blighted vegetation was turned with a shovel and a strong odor of aviation gasoline was detected.
Following recovery, the damaged propeller was removed and replaced, and a can of aviation gasoline was plumbed into the airplane’s fuel system. The engine started immediately, accelerated smoothly, passed a magneto check and ran until it was stopped using cockpit controls.
April 20, 2021, Brownsville, Tenn.
Piper PA-28RT-201T Turbo Arrow IV
At 2052 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when its pilot apparently lost control in poor weather. The student pilot/owner and the passenger were fatally injured. Unknown weather conditions were encountered.
Earlier, the student pilot/owner’s flight instructor met to discuss the flight. He estimated the student pilot had about 90 flight hours of experience and had appropriate endorsements for the route and the airplane. The flight instructor expected the pilot to depart no later than 1300 or 1400, due to expected weather and night conditions.
Retrieved ADS-B data show the student pilot departed at 1720. At about 2050, the pilot advised ATC he was initiating a VFR descent. The controller advised the pilot of moderate precipitation “starting now [and] lasting all the way” to the destination, accompanied by IFR conditions at nearby airports.
At 2051:20, the airplane’s altitude was about 7300 feet msl and groundspeed was 165 knots. By 2052:17, the airplane had turned right and headed south, its altitude had descended to about 6700 feet and groundspeed slowed by 20 knots. The airplane then entered a rapidly descending and accelerating right 360-degree spiral, reaching a maximum groundspeed of 247 knots. At 2052:47, the final data point was recorded about ¼ mile northeast of the accident site, at 1450 feet msl and 224 knots groundspeed. The accident site was discovered the next morning.
A 2055 weather observation about 10 miles west of the accident site included an overcast ceiling at 1200 feet agl, visibility five miles in mist and wind from 350 degrees at 18 knots. According to Leidos Flight Service and ForeFlight, there was no record of the pilot filing a flight plan or requesting an official weather briefing via telephone or online.
April 21, 2021, Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer
The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1410 Pacific time when it was landed off-airport following engine failure. The solo pilot suffered minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the ferry flight.
The pilot later stated he had recently purchased the airplane and was ferrying it home. At his second fuel stop of the day, he filled the tanks and took off. The airplane had climbed to about 200 feet agl when the engine experienced a partial loss of power. The airplane began to vibrate and the pilot could audibly detect a loud noise from the engine area. He noted that the manifold pressure appeared normal but engine rpm fluctuated.
The pilot performed remedial actions but could not restore power, and was unable to maintain altitude. After determining he would not be able to make it back to the airport, he elected to land on a road. As he approached the road, he observed powerlines and decided to touch down on the adjacent desert terrain. During the emergency landing, the airplane collided with a sign and the airplane nosed over, coming to rest inverted.