NTSB Reports: September 2021

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.


June 1, 2021, Pinnacle, N.C.

Beech A23 Musketeer

At about 1720 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged in an off-field landing. The student pilot was fatally injured, and the flight instructor sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane took off at about 1641, and began maneuvers consistent with training. At about 1718, the airplane was on an easterly track when it entered a right descending 270-degree turn from about 2100 feet msl. The last ADS-B target was observed at 1719, descending through 1075 feet msl at a groundspeed of 64 knots. The accident site’s elevation was about 1000 feet.

Examination revealed the fuel boost pump switch lever was fractured but the remaining portion was in the “ON” position. The left fuel tank was breached; the right fuel tank remained intact and contained about a pint of aviation fuel. Grass blighting was evident along the wreckage path. One propeller blade was “unremarkable,” while the other was bent aft around the engine. Neither blade exhibited leading edge gouging or polishing. The fuel selector valve’s position was not reported. 

June 2, 2021, San Angelo, Texas

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II/III

The airplane suffered an apparent landing-gear failure and subsequent wing damage when landing at about 2050 Central time. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured.

The flight instructor later stated that, during the landing rollout, the left wing was lower than normal, as if the tire was flat. The airplane subsequently veered left and scraped the left wing. Initial examination revealed the left landing gear strut was fractured.

June 2, 2021, Nevada City, Calif.

Cessna 172G Skyhawk

At about 1000 Pacific daylight time, the airplane was substantially damaged in an off-airport landing following partial engine failure. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While climbing out and at around 6500 feet msl, the engine oil temperature was in the red. The pilot reduced power, which brought the engine oil temperature below its red line, and then continued the climb. Climbing through 8500 feet, the pilot heard a change in engine noise and watched rpm gradually decrease. Remedial actions failed to restore full power, so the pilot declared an emergency and initiated an approach to a clear area in the mountainous terrain. During the approach, the airplane’s right wing struck trees and the airplane yawed to the right, touching down in a “side-loaded attitude” and collapsing the left main landing gear. The airplane came to rest heading 180 degrees opposite the landing direction.

June 2, 2021, Denver, Colo.

Beech 1900C

The airplane landed gear-up at 2000 Mountain time, sustaining substantial damage. The solo airline transport pilot was uninjured. The airplane was operated by Alpine Air Express as a Part 135 on-demand cargo flight. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later stated that he lowered the landing gear, placed the propeller controls forward, confirmed the landing gear indicator lights were green and completed the before-landing checklist. When over the runway threshold, another aircraft’s crew made a comment to check gear down. He said he looked at the landing gear control handle and confirmed three green while the airplane was touching down. The airplane settled onto the runway, but he was able to steer it onto the second high-speed taxiway where it came to a stop.

Airport surveillance video showed the airplane approaching with all landing gear fully retracted just prior to touchdown. Postaccident photos of the airplane on the runway showed the wing flaps were fully retracted. Examination of the landing gear and landing gear indicating/warning system revealed no anomalies precluding normal operation.

June 4, 2021, Aspen, Colo.

Cessna 560XL Citation Excel

At 0954 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an apparent landing gear collapse after landing. The pilot, co-pilot and the three passengers were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot stated that the approach was stabilized and normal, and that the landing gear indications were normal with three green lights. After touchdown and deployment of the speed brakes and thrust reversers, an aural landing gear warning was received. The right wing then began to drop, and the airplane veered to the right and came to rest on the right side of the runway.

Examination revealed the right main landing gear was retracted while the left main landing gear and nose gear were extended. The landing gear handle was found in the UP position. The crew could not recall manipulating the landing gear handle after the initial gear extension in flight.

June 4, 2021, Atlanta, Ga.

Honda Aircraft HA-420

The airplane was substantially damaged when its right main landing gear collapsed shortly after landing and it departed the runway at about 1550 Eastern time. Both airline transport pilots were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot in command, the flight and approach to the airport were normal. After touchdown, he attempted to apply the brakes but there was no braking action and no compression of the brake pedals. When the pilot pulled the emergency brake, the airplane began to skid. He released the emergency brake, noting the airplane was about 45 degrees off the runway centerline and continuing to turn left. The airplane entered a grassy area to the left of the runway, completed a 180-degree turn and came to rest.

Examination revealed the right main landing gear had collapsed, causing substantial damage to the right wing. The left main landing gear tire was located about 225 feet from the main wreckage. The left main tire had been replaced the morning of the accident.

June 4, 2021, Justin, Texas

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

At about 1830 Central time, the  airplane was substantially damaged when it descended into trees after losing power shortly after takeoff. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later stated there were 15 to 20 gallons of fuel in each wing tank, which had been added about three months earlier. On the evening of the accident, he had already completed two landings on the grass runway when, at about 45 feet agl on the third takeoff, the engine lost power. The airplane descended, coming to rest suspended in trees without its left wing, which had separated in the accident sequence.

Examination revealed the left fuel tank was intact and contained about a gallon of fuel. The right fuel tank was breached and did not contain any fuel; a fuel odor was present at the accident site. The fuel selector was positioned to the right tank. The pilot said the flight’s purpose was to ensure that the airplane operated normally before selling it. He added that the airplane had not had an annual inspection in about seven years and had not flown much recently. 

June 6, 2021, Darlington, Ind.

Diamond Aircraft DA40 NG Star

The airplane was destroyed at about 1020 Eastern time when it struck terrain after its pilots apparently failed to recover from a stall demonstration. The pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Once airborne, the airplane’s flight data revealed several turns, and engine power and altitude changes, consistent with maneuvering. A witness saw the airplane was in a “nose down, left spin” before it disappeared behind a tree line. The flight data also revealed the airplane was at about 4000 feet msl when engine power was reduced, airspeed decreased and its pitch attitude increased. The airplane nosed down and entered a spiraling turn to the right “consistent with” a spin.

June 10, 2021, Muncie, Ind.

Cessna 150H

At about 2028 Central time, the unregistered airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following an apparent aerodynamic stall shortly after takeoff. The non-certificated pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A pilot-rated witness observed the airplane take off from the 1200-foot-long grass runway. It had started a turn to avoid trees when it “stalled, fell sideways from the sky” and impacted the ground left-wing-first. The witness said the airplane appeared “underpowered for the hot and humid weather conditions.” Runway elevation was 937 feet; density altitude was 3314 feet.

June 13, 2021, Madisonville, Texas

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six 260

The airplane was substantially damaged when it apparently collided with terrain short of the intended runway at 2355 Central time. The private pilot was fatally injured; the five passengers received serious injuries. Visual night conditions prevailed.

The airplane impacted 50-foot-high trees about 680 feet south of the approach end of Runway 36. The propeller displayed S-shaped bending consistent with engine power. The wing flaps were fully extended. Flight control continuity was confirmed, and there were no mechanical anomalies precluding normal operation.

June 14, 2021, Matthews, Va.

Diamond DA20-C1

At about 1230 Eastern time, the airplane was ditched in the Chesapeake Bay following complete engine failure. The flight instructor and student pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

After descending the airplane to 2500 feet msl to avoid military airspace, the engine began vibrating and running rough before shaking “violently” and losing all power. The flight instructor took control and ditched the airplane near a fishing trawler, which rescued both occupants.

June 16, 2021, Parker, Colo.

Lancair Evolution Experimental

The airplane was destroyed at about 1345 Mountain time when it reportedly collided with power lines and terrain while on final approach. The two private pilots sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane was about 2.6 miles from the end of the runway when the pilot advised that the airplane had lost its autopilot capabilities. A nearby airplane reported it had the accident airplane in sight, and then saw it impact powerlines and terrain. A postimpact fire consumed most of the composite airplane.

June 16, 2021, Goodland, Kan.

Beech U-8F Queen Air

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1905 Mountain time when its right wing caught fire during engine start. The pilot sustained minor injuries.

While starting the right engine, the pilot heard a loud bang and noticed the right wing was on fire. The pilot shut down the right engine with the mixture control and egressed the airplane. Examination revealed damage to the outboard 12 feet of the right wing. The outboard aft right wing fuel bladder was observed to be in a degraded condition, with indications of fire damage. Wiring for the navigation light had a conductor exposed in two locations.

June 17, 2021, Rush Valley, Utah

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

At about 2253 Mountain time, the airplane was destroyed when it apparently flew into terrain during controlled flight. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual night conditions prevailed. 

While en route, the airplane began a meandering track skirting the Mode C veil to the west of Salt Lake City. At 2245, the radar target crossed over a mountain range at 8200 feet msl, clearing terrain by about 400 feet vertically. The target then flew south over foothills where, at one point, it came within 100 feet vertically and horizontally of terrain. The last radar target was recorded at 2253:10 and depicted the airplane about ¾-mile short of a 10,330 foot-high peak, at 8200 feet and 98 knots.

June 18, 2021, Conway, Ark.

Cirrus SR20

The airplane was destroyed at about 1357 Central time after its pilot declared an emergency shortly after takeoff. The solo pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

Shortly after the airplane departed Runway 22, a witness heard its pilot declare an emergency with the intent to land on Runway 2. He observed the accident airplane make a left turn and overfly Runway 4 “crazy fast.” After flying the length of Runway 4, the airplane entered a steep left bank and spun, making one-and-a-half rotations before impacting the ground in a nose-low, inverted attitude. Examination revealed the pitot tube cover had not been removed.

June 21, 2021, Mercer, Tenn.

Cirrus SR22T

At about 0930 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged in an off-field landing following engine failure. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

During en route climb, the pilot reported a manifold pressure issue and diverted to a nearby airport. The pilot did not declare an emergency. As the airplane descended below the minimum vectoring altitude, ATC suggested a closer runway but the pilot chose to continue to the original divert airport. The airplane continued to descend and, at 600 feet msl, ATC asked the pilot if he “intended to use the parachute.” The pilot responded, “negative…busy landing.” No further communications were received from the pilot.

Examination revealed cracking and melting at the left turbocharger housing attachment flange. A small metal fragment was found wedged between the wastegate housing and the valve, forcing it open. The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) was found intact.

June 29, 2021, St. Augustine, Fla.

Cessna 152

The airplane was destroyed when it struck a displaced threshold at about 1427 Eastern time. The flight instructor and a passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the “discovery” flight.

A witness observed the airplane approach Runway 13 at about 100 feet agl. Its wings were moving up and down about one foot in each direction. The airplane appeared to be in a nose-up attitude before it pitched down about 45 degrees and impacted the surface. A fire engulfed the airplane as it slid about 200 feet before coming to rest.

June 30, 2021, Curtiss, Wis.

Earthstar Gull 2000 Experimental LSA

At about 0450 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The solo, non-instrument-rated pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.

At 0435, weather observed about 10 miles northeast of the accident site included calm wind, ¼-mile visibility in fog and 500 feet vertical visibility. At 0455, weather at that location had improved to five miles visibility in mist and clear skies. Civil twilight began at 0442; sunrise occurred at 0519.


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