December 2, 2021, Cleveland, Texas
Beechcraft A36 Bonanza
At about 1415 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an emergency landing to a highway after powerplant failure. There were no injuries. Visual conditions prevailed under an overcast.
While en route at 6000 feet msl on an IFR flight plan, the engine suddenly lost power. The pilot later reported he was not changing or manipulating anything at the time of the power loss. The pilot turned toward a nearby airport and attempted to restart the engine several times, but he could not restore fuel flow. After breaking out of the overcast at about 3000 feet msl, the pilot realized that he would not reach the divert airport and elected to land on a nearby highway. During the landing, the right wingtip struck a road sign. The airplane left the highway and came to rest nose down in a ditch.
December 3, 2021, Bonnerdale, Ark.
Cessna 182L Skylane
The airplane was destroyed at about 1823 Central time when it apparently flew into terrain under control. The non-instrument-rated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed at the accident site.
The accident airplane was leader in a flight of two that departed Mendin, Louisiana, at about 1738, destined for Clarksville, Arkansas, a distance of 169 nm. The non-instrument-rated pilot of the second airplane later stated the pair launched into scattered clouds at 1500 feet agl and an overcast ceiling at 2000 feet. They decided to cruise at 1500 feet msl and agreed on a divert airport. The second pilot stated the weather shortly after takeoff was “already sketchy”; he was able to see the ground, but there was no forward visibility.
As the two airplanes neared Hot Springs, Arkansas, they “were in full IMC” and flying at 1600 feet msl, 140 knots and on a 351-degree heading. The second pilot’s traffic display informed him the accident airplane had turned to a southeast heading. About 30 seconds later, he received a 500-foot altitude warning from his EFB app and initiated an immediate full-power climb. He continued the flight at 3500 feet msl and did not exit IMC until reaching the Danville, Arkansas, area.
The accident airplane’s ADS-B data show it beginning a gradual descent about 1.5 nm south of a 1095-foot-high mountain, followed by a shallow right turn. The accident airplane impacted the north side of the mountain and came to rest at an elevation of 1071 feet msl.
December 4, 2021, Visalia, Calif.
Beechcraft V35 Bonanza
At about 1840 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The instrument-rated private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.
A witness reported that, while in her residence, she heard an airplane flying very low, followed by the sound of it impacting terrain, and notified first responders. The accident site was one mile southwest of the departure end of Runway 30. The airplane’s ADS-B data show it departed Runway 30, elevation 294 feet msl, at 0237:01 and climbed to 400 feet msl before a left turn was initiated. The airplane reached 525 feet msl before a descent began. The airplane descended in a left turn until the last data point, at 0237:37, at an altitude of 300 feet msl, about 660 feet northwest of the accident site.
Reported weather at 1847 Pacific time included wind from 300 degrees at six knots, visibility of 1¼ statute miles and an overcast at 300 feet agl, with both temperature and dewpoint of nine degrees C.
December 5, 2021, Medford, Ore.
Piper PA-31-350 Navajo Chieftain
The airplane was substantially damaged at 1652 Pacific time when its pilot apparently lost control in instrument conditions shortly after takeoff. The instrument-rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured.
After arriving at the airport on November 24, the airplane was leaking fuel from the right wing root. The pilot arranged to make the necessary repairs and drove a rental car back home to Nevada. Earlier on the day of the accident, the pilot and passenger arrived to fly the repaired airplane.
According to ATC data, the airplane departed about 1649. After crossing over the south end of the runway, it climbed to about 1550 feet msl (200 feet agl). It then began a gradual climbing right turn to 1950 feet msl at between 120-130 knots. As the turn continued, the airplane momentarily descended to 1650 feet msl (about 350 feet agl) with airspeed increasing to 160 knots. The turn rate increased, resulting in a 360-degree turn, accompanied by a climb to 2050 feet msl. The airplane descended below the cloud layer, and then climbed back into it. The next-to-last data point showed 2250 feet msl (900 feet agl) with the derived airspeed below 15 knots.
Security-video footage showed the airplane descending below the cloud layer and then climbing back into it. About 16 seconds later, the airplane is seen descending in a near-vertical attitude.
December 7, 2021, Tallahassee, Fla.
Beechcraft S35 Bonanza
At about 0757 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged in an off-airport landing following powerplant failure. The solo instrument-rated pilot received minor injuries. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was in effect.
While in cruise at 6000 feet msl, the pilot reported smelling burning oil and requested the nearest airport “that was not covered in fog.” Then he watched as the oil pressure dropped to zero and declared an emergency. The controller turned the flight toward Tallahassee, Florida, and descended it to 3000 feet for the ILS Runway 27 approach. The engine soon quit and the airplane descended through the fog. The pilot stated, “I saw trees and didn’t believe I would make it over them, so I pointed the airplane between two large trees and pulled the nose up.”
December 7, 2021, Statesboro, Ga.
The airplane was destroyed when it at collided with terrain at 2124 Eastern time, shortly after takeoff. The solo instrument-rated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.
Preliminary ADS-B data show the airplane departed Runway 14 at 2121. Shortly after takeoff, the flight turned south and climbed to about 1000 feet msl. About 1.8 nm south of the departure airport, the airplane turned left, which tightened into a 360-degree turn during which a maximum altitude of about 1800 feet msl was reached. A rapid descent followed. A witness observed the airplane in a descent that continued into a rapid descent into a field just beyond his view. There was no record that the pilot filed a flight plan or requested an official weather briefing via telephone or online.
December 8, 2021, Walsenburg, Colo.
Van’s RV-4 Experimental
At about 1013 Mountain time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain below a canyon rim. The solo pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
The accident airplane was the leader of a flight of three. After a formation flight, the three airplanes descended for low-level maneuvering. As the flight of three descended, it encountered strong surface winds and turbulence above the canyon rim. The accident pilot’s airplane descended below the canyon rim in a steep left turn and was observed contacting the edge of the canyon at high speed.
December 9, 2021, Houston, Texas
Piper PA 28-140 Cherokee 140
The airplane was destroyed at about 1957 Central time when it collided with terrain, apparently out of control. The student pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.
Radar data show the airplane took off at about 1955 and flew to the south-southwest. After about 1.5 miles, the airplane entered a slight descending left turn and its groundspeed increased. The airplane then made a slight right turn; it climbed and groundspeed decreased. The airplane then entered a tight, left descending turn, followed immediately by a hard right descending turn. The descent rate increased before radar data ended. Satellite imagery indicated low stratus and/or fog in the vicinity of the accident site. An Airmet for instrument conditions had been issued.
December 10, 2021,Orchard, Ky.
Beechcraft V35 Bonanza
At about 1651 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain during low-level maneuvering in instrument conditions. The non-instrument-rated private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.
According to ADS-B data, the flight neared its destination at about 300-400 feet agl. The airplane then proceeded north for about a mile and began a left 270-degree turn to the east, followed by a right turn until the airplane was heading north. The airplane then pitched up, gaining about 500 feet, as it approached rapidly rising terrain. The last two data points indicated a descent. Weather reported at 1655 at the destination airport, about 13 miles from the accident site, included a 500-foot ceiling and 10 miles of visibility.
December 10, 2021, Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian
The airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain as its pilot apparently attempted a missed approach. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.
The flight was cleared for the RNAV (GPS)-E approach at about 1757. The airplane crossed the final approach fix 600 feet lower than specified and was over the step-down fix 540 feet too low. Instead of continuing straight ahead to the runway and the beginning of the missed approach procedure, the airplane turned left toward the missed approach holding fix, descended slightly, and then initiated a climb. The last ADS-B data point at 1808:49 indicated an altitude of about 8125 feet msl about 3.5 miles north of the accident site. The airplane impacted mountainous terrain at about 8172 feet msl. Destination weather included a ceiling of 1200 feet and one mile of visibility.
December 10, 2021, Bedford, N.H.
Swearingen SA226 SA226-AT Merlin
At about 2330 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain on final approach shortly after the pilot reported an engine failure. The solo instrument-rated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 on-demand cargo flight.
While conducting the ILS Runway 6 approach, the pilot reported an engine failure at 2330:42, but did not specify which engine. Radio and radar contact were lost at 2330:51, when the airplane was about ¼ mile from the runway. All three blades of the left propeller remained attached to the hub and did not exhibit rotational damage. The three right propeller blade roots remained attached to their engine. The right propeller blades appeared to be at or near the feathered position.
December 11, 2021, Bermuda Dunes, Calif.
Van’s RV-3 Experimental
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1230 Pacific time when its pilot apparently lost control and collided with terrain after a possible engine failure. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to a friend, the pilot planned to overfly the pilot’s home. A witness observed the airplane in a descending right turn, with a windmilling propeller. A second witness observed the airplane flying normally from north to south at a very low altitude. The airplane rolled until one wing pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down, and then descended in a steep nose-down angle.
December 11, 2021, Temecula, Calif.
Beechcraft K35 Bonanza
At about 1455 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing following a loss of power. The solo pilot was not injured.
About eight minutes after takeoff, while cruising at about 3000 feet msl, the engine started to lose power. The pilot switched tanks and activated the fuel pump but could not restore power. The pilot maneuvered the airplane to land on a golf course but aborted the approach due to individuals on the fairway. He then elected to make a forced landing in a nearby vineyard. According to the NTSB, “He intentionally kept the landing gear retracted to minimize any entanglement with the wire that was used to support growing the grape vines.”
December 12, 2021, Inola, Okla.
The airplane was destroyed at about 0931 Central time when it collided with terrain following a rapid descent. The solo pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the ferry flight.
The owner hired a pilot/mechanic to ferry the out-of-annual airplane for maintenance. Before the accident flight, the pilot/mechanic taxied back to parking from the runway due to “a miss on the right engine” and performed an extensive engine run-up. About 20 minutes later, the pilot told ATC he was “ready to go and try it again.” The pilot took off and was cleared to an altitude of his discretion, At 0932:36, ATC terminated radar services and approved a frequency change. At 0932:43, ATC radioed the pilot and there was no response.
Preliminary ADS-B data show the airplane climbed to 5800 feet msl and, about one minute before the accident, made a left turn and began a rapid descent to terrain. Examination of the wreckage revealed the left and right throttles controls were full forward, the left propeller lever was in the feather position and the right one was full forward. Both mixture controls were full forward.
December 16, 2021, Knoxville, Tenn.
Cirrus Design SR22
At about 1007 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain after a wake turbulence encounter. The instrument-rated private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger received serious injuries.
The pilot had been conducting practice approaches and was asked by ATC to extend his downwind for an Airbus A320 on a three-mile final. The pilot advised ATC the traffic was in sight and subsequently turned base approximately 1.8 miles behind the Airbus. At about 1.5 miles out on final approach, at 1000 feet, radar contact was lost.
First responders reported the pilot had third-degree burns but was alert, conscious and responsive to verbal commands. The pilot stated he encountered wake turbulence on short final. When the airplane rolled inverted, he activated the ballistic parachute, adding that the airplane “hit the ground and burst into a fireball.”
December 25, 2021, Iron Mountain, Mich.
Lancair IV-P Experimental
The turbine-powered airplane was substantially damaged during on off-airport landing following powerplant failure. The pilot and the passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
During initial climb, at about 450 feet agl, an annunciator light indicated a starter-generator failure. The pilot noted that the engine sounded quieter and airspeed was decreasing. He increased the throttle, confirmed the number one fuel pump was on and ensured the left fuel tank was selected. By this time, the engine had lost all power. The pilot established best glide speed and found a clearing in the trees. During the descent, the airplane impacted several trees, touched down on rough terrain and came to rest on its belly. The aft fuselage, right wing and engine were fracture-separated from the airframe.