NTSB Reports: October 2020

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


July 1, 2020, Brainerd, Minn.

Piper PA-18A-150 Super Cub

The pilot was receiving flight instruction in his newly purchased airplane to satisfy insurance requirements. During the flight, the two decided they would land in a hay field behind the instructor’s house, touching down beyond a ditch. After touchdown, the pilot “noticed trees at the end of the field…were getting close.” As he began applying the brakes, the “plane hit a bump, or bounced a bit,” and nosed over. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, the engine and propeller, and to the vertical stabilizer and rudder.

July 1, 2020, Ocala, Fla.

Evektor Aerotechnik SportStar LSA

At about 1030 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged while landing. The sport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness reported the airplane was higher than normal on final approach to Runway 18. The airplane touched down “quite a way” down the runway and bounced twice. Another witness observed the airplane touch down on its nose wheel. It then bounced, flipped and landed upside down. The wreckage was found inverted, with damage to the fuselage and both wings.

July 2, 2020, Crystal River, Fla.

Beech 76 Duchess

After the airplane began accelerating for takeoff, the flight instructor pulled the left throttle to idle to simulate an engine failure. According to the flight instructor, the private pilot receiving instruction “froze” and the airplane veered to the left. The flight instructor then took control and shut off power to each engine, but the airplane exited the runway and impacted an embankment, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage.

The private pilot later said he responded to the simulated engine failure by removing thrust on both engines, applying the brakes and trying to maintain directional control. However, he reported, “Despite the measures taken, the plane skidded off the runway.”

July 3, 2020, Titusville, Fla.

Piper PA-46-600TP M600

At about 1157 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it departed the runway while landing. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

According to the pilot, when the nosewheel touched down, the airplane veered sharply right. The pilot applied left rudder and brake inputs to correct the deviation but the airplane did not respond, subsequently departing the right side of the runway and coming to rest upright about 100 feet from the runway edge. Examination revealed three skid marks on the runway; the darkest of them was made by the nose landing gear tire. Once the airplane left the runway, the nose landing gear gouged a dirt trench. The airplane’s left wing and left side of the fuselage were damaged, as were the left main and nose landing gears.

July 3, 2020, Alpine, Utah

Cessna 172M Skyhawk

The airplane was destroyed at about 0722 Mountain time when it entered a spin and impacted terrain in a box canyon. The pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injuries.

A witness observed the airplane inside a box canyon executing a right turn, followed by a couple of left and right wing-tip oscillations, before it entered a clockwise, corkscrew spin. The airplane made about 1½ -2 rotations before it disappeared from the witness’s line of sight. The airplane impacted terrain in a horizontal attitude with a little to no forward movement.

July 4, 2020, Soldotna, Alaska

Piper PA-22-135 Tri-Pacer

At about 1523 Alaska time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an emergency landing after it became uncontrollable. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed

While in cruise, the pilot heard and felt a “pop.” The airplane then began a shallow, uncommanded descent and the elevator began to “flutter.” The pilot was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot subsequently selected a paved, rural neighborhood road as an emergency landing site. During touchdown, the airplane landed hard, and the main landing gear collapsed, sustaining substantial damage to the left wing, both wing lift struts and the fuselage. Examination established flight control continuity but the area above the windscreen, where the fabric was connected to the fuselage, had separated. The adhesive that held the fabric to the structure failed, and a portion of the fabric peeled aft. An applicable airworthiness directive calls for installing a reinforcing metal strip to avoid a sudden failure of the fabric at the top of the windscreen where it attaches.

July 5, 2020, Anchorage, Alaska

Cessna 180C Skywagon

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1130 Alaska time during a water landing when its left float failed. The private pilot and the passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After a normal approach and just after touchdown, the left float dug into the water and the airplane veered abruptly to the left, nosed over and began to sink. The pilot and his passenger successfully egressed the sinking wreckage. Airport security video of the accident sequence revealed that shortly after the airplane’s floats touched down on the water surface, a large water column sprayed outboard of the left float, just forward of the step. Examination revealed a large hole in the bottom of the float just forward of the step. Corrosion was present around the hole and on the bottom of the right float. No impact signatures were present on the bottom of the left float.

July 5, 2020, Eveleth, Minn.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six

At about 1100 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged in an off-airport landing following loss of engine power. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later stated about 55 gallons of fuel were aboard before takeoff, including 14 gallons in the left tip tank. He started the engine on a main tank and then switched to the left tip tank for takeoff. He did not recall switching tanks after that. Shortly after becoming established in cruise, the engine lost all power. Attempts to restart the engine were not successful. When the pilot realized he could not reach the divert airport, he executed a forced landing to a wooded area. Both wings separated from the airplane, the fuselage and tail surfaces had impact damage and a post-impact fire ensued.

July 5, 2020, Sedona, Ariz.

Beech A23 Musketeer II

The flight instructor later reported the automated weather observation reported the wind from 270 degrees at three knots but did not include density altitude. He taxied to Runway 03 and began a takeoff roll, lifting off about mid-field and beginning a slow climb. At the far end of the runway, the airplane yawed and began to lose altitude. The decent continued over the sloping terrain. Unable to gain airspeed or maintain altitude, the pilot initiated a forced landing to a road. During the landing, the right main and nose landing gear collapsed. Airport elevation is 4830 feet msl and density altitude was calculated to be 7700 feet at the time of the accident.

July 6, 2020, Redmond, Ore.

Beech F33A Bonanza

The two flight instructors were on a proficiency flight. After maneuvers in a practice area, they flew back to the departure airport to practice takeoffs and landings. After the right-seated flight instructor made two landings, the left-seated instructor made a third landing. After touchdown, while the airplane was rolling, the left-seated flight instructor put the landing gear switch in the “up” position instead of the flap switch. Both instructors realized the mistake and attempted to move the gear lever back to the “down” position, but the left landing gear had already collapsed. The landing gear continued to retract and they became airborne. After performing troubleshooting of the landing gear and performing a flyby, they decided to land at a nearby airport with more facilities.

The right-seat flight instructor performed the landing at the alternate airport and the airplane rolled on all three landing gear for about 1000 feet before collapsing, causing the airplane to veer off the runway. The left aileron sustained damage as a result of the gear collapse.

July 7, 2020, Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Cessna 172N Skyhawk

At about 1523 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The pilot sustained fatal injuries; the passenger succumbed to serious injuries five days later. A witness observed the airplane flying at about 200 feet agl and heard the engine producing a sputtering sound consistent with losing and gaining power. The left wing tip struck a tree and the airplane aggressively yawed while continuing to fly low in a southerly direction until it disappeared from the witness’s line of sight. The airplane wreckage was discovered about 2.5 nm off the runway’s departure end.

July 8, 2020, Port Orchard, Wash.

Cessna 150H

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1554 Pacific time when it impacted trees and terrain during an attempted go-around. The solo pilot was seriously injured.

A witness described the airplane’s final approach as unstabilized, high and fast before their view was blocked. When the airplane came back into view, it was at about 30 feet agl, the engine sounded as if it was at full power and the flaps were still extended. The airplane appeared to be flying slowly and struggling to climb, as if it was “hanging onto a stall,” before banking to the right, toward rising terrain and trees. The airplane’s bank angle increased before the airplane impacted the trees in a “knife edge” attitude and dropped to the ground. The witness reported the airport has very tight margins and has a one-way runway, with the north end 50 feet higher than the south end, and that “go-arounds are very difficult in all but high-performance aircraft.”

July 13, 2020, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Cessna 172S/Britten Norman Islander

At about 1146 Eastern time, the two airplanes were substantially damaged in a ground collision. The solo pilots aboard them were not injured. The Islander was operating as a Part 135 air taxi flight.

According to the FAA, the pilot of the Cessna was taxiing on taxiway Charlie to Runway 27 for departure. The pilot of the Britten Norman was taxiing on taxiway Echo and was turning left onto taxiway Charlie for a Runway 27 departure. As the two airplanes reached the intersection, the Cessna’s left wing contacted the right wing and engine of the Britten Norman. Both pilots reported that they did not observe the other airplane prior to the collision.

July15, 2020, Vaughn, N.M.

Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1115 Mountain time during an off-airport landing following an engine failure. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot topped off the fuel tanks to full capacity (90 gallons) the day before the accident. About 03+15 into the flight, while in cruise at 8500 feet msl, the right engine surged twice and stopped producing power. The airplane was unable to maintain altitude and there were no airports close. The airplane touched down on desert terrain at about 6300 feet msl and its right wing collided with a fence during the landing roll. The pilot reported the airplane’s single engine service ceiling at gross weight was 5800 feet msl and that the airplane burned fuel at about 17 gph.

July 17, 2020, Glenwood Springs, Colo.

Cessna 305A Bird Dog

Due to traffic, the airline transport pilot elected to use the paved runway instead of the adjacent 800-foot-long grass landing area. He subsequently lost directional control during the landing and the airplane exited the paved surface. A “juggle” of the pilot’s feet on the rudder pedals occurred during the excursion, which resulted in “overbraking” and the airplane subsequently nosed over, sustaining substantial fuselage and empennage damage. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. The pilot’s safety recommendation was, “Never underestimate a tailwheel airplane!”

July 20, 2020, Pottstown, Penn.

Cessna 182A Skylane

At about 2129 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it sustained a power loss and was landed on a highway. The pilot, pilot-rated passenger and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the NTSB, the accident pilot gave FAA and NTSB investigators two versions of the events leading up to the accident. The versions differed in details regarding fuel purchased on a multi-leg flight and the eventual engine power loss. What is clear is that the airplane landed on a highway, striking two automobiles. Neither vehicle occupant was injured.

The airplane operator’s chief pilot “advised the FAA that when he was on-scene during the wing removal, that 5 to 6 total gallons of fuel was removed from the left wing fuel tank, and that the right wing fuel tank was empty.” Once the airplane was removed to a maintenance facility, no anomalies were found with the engine, which was started and operated to more than 2400 rpm.

Subsequently, the chief pilot stated to the NTSB that when he asked the accident pilot why he didn’t top off the tanks, he mentioned how expensive fuel was at the airplane’s departure airport “but moments later told him he made the wrong decision and should have topped the tanks.”

July 24, 2020, Salinas, P.R.

Cessna 177RG Cardinal RG

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1002 Atlantic time when it suffered a power loss and was landed off-airport. The private pilot and the flight instructor were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The flight departed with full fuel tanks. After air work and three landings, the airplane was cruising at low altitude when the pilot noticed a gradual power loss. Remedial actions did not restore power and the pilot performed an off-airport landing. About 21 gallons of fuel were drained from the left fuel tank but the right tank contained only residual fuel. The fuel injector screen was almost completely blocked with ferrous material. Disassembly of the engine-driven fuel pump revealed significant corrosion.

July 25, 2020, West Jordan, Utah

Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance

At about 1345 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The pilot, two passengers and one person on the ground received fatal injuries; two passengers received serious injuries; one passenger received minor injuries.

Security video showed the accident airplane becoming airborne about 3700 feet after beginning its takeoff roll. Multiple witnesses observed the airplane at a very low altitude, and banking or “teetering” before it descended to the ground. Numerous first responders reported hearing a loud explosion followed by observing a house, garage and the airplane wreckage engulfed in flames.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here