March 1, 2018, Pompano Beach, Fla.
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six 300
At about 1051 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it struck terrain during an attempted go-around. The private pilot and the pilot-rated passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
While climbing through 800 feet msl shortly after takeoff, the engine’s manifold pressure dropped and the engine sounded irregular. After turning back toward the airport, the airplane touched down less than one-third of the way down Runway 28, but a “substantial quartering tailwind” resulted in a high groundspeed. Additionally, although the pilot had retarded the throttle, it appeared the engine was developing full power. Pulling the mixture control to cutoff didn’t appear to shut off the engine, so he pushed the mixture to full rich and pushed up the throttle for another takeoff.
During the takeoff attempt, the pilot turned sharply right to stay over the airport. The airplane climbed briefly in the turn, then lost altitude, striking the airport ramp about 1000 feet off the departure end of Runway 28. Recorded weather included wind from 150 degrees at eight knots.
March 4, 2018, Enumclaw, Wash.
Raytheon A36 Bonanza
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1558 Pacific time following a loss of engine power and forced landing. The solo private pilot was seriously injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was active.
While descending through 10,000 feet msl in IMC, the pilot noticed manifold pressure (MP) had dropped to 10 inches Hg. His attempts to restore power were unsuccessful and about 10 to 15 seconds later, he heard what he thought was a cylinder blow. He then heard the same noise several times, followed by oil covering the windscreen and smoke entering the cockpit/cabin area. He closed off the air coming in from the engine and opened the left cockpit side window, which cleared the smoke. The pilot subsequently landed in a grove of trees before coming to rest on the ground. There was no post-crash fire. The pilot observed the propeller to windmilling throughout the entire event.
March 6, 2018, Churchville, Md.
Cirrus Design SR20
At about 2117 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed while landing. The private pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Night instrument conditions prevailed.
Before takeoff, the pilot’s preflight weather briefing determined the destination airport was reporting visual conditions. About 30 minutes prior to arrival, the flight encountered snow. He descended from 9500 feet msl to 4000 feet to get out of the snow and to warmer temperatures. After reaching 4000 feet msl, he continued descending and encountered a temperature inversion. With snow accumulating on the airplane, the pilot elected to land at the closest airport. He landed at a slightly higher airspeed than normal. The airplane ballooned during touchdown and drifted off the side of the runway, impacting two equipment trucks. Weather recorded about six miles south of the accident site included wind from 160 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 17 knots, light rain, temperature of four degrees C and a dew point of two degrees C.
March 6, 2018, Paso Robles, Calif
Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 2230 Pacific time when it impacted terrain following an emergency landing. The flight instructor (CFI) and the private pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The CFI reported they heard a “loud tick” noise and the Low Vacuum annunciator light illuminated in the initial climb after a touch-and-go landing. The CFI retracted the landing gear and instructed the pilot to retract flaps. At 350-400 ft above ground level, the airplane lost engine power and the CFI executed an emergency landing to a nearby field. An examination the next day revealed the oil dipstick cap was loose and that the engine contained about one quart of oil.
March 8, 2018, Laredo, Texas
Piper PA-31P Pressurized Navajo
At about 1038 Central time, the airplane impacted terrain during an approach to land. The commercial pilot and student pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions existed near the accident site.
Shortly after departing Runway 18R, ATC reported smoke was coming from the left side of the airplane. The pilot reported “…we’re gonna fix that.” The airplane turned back toward the airport and was cleared to land on Runway 18L.
Several airport security cameras captured the accident airplane. A review of the video noted a white smoke trail behind the airplane, which stopped as the airplane flew a left downwind for the runway. The airplane initiated a left turn and, as the airplane approached the runway, the bank angle increased. The airplane impacted terrain in a nose-down, near-vertical attitude; a post-crash fire ensued.
March 12, 2018, Madison
The flight instructor decided to take off from the grass runway instead of the concrete runway. About midway into the soft-field takeoff, he observed the airplane was “struggling to build airspeed.” He reduced power and began to apply the brakes to abort the takeoff, but the airplane overran the runway, impacted a snow bank and nosed over. The instructor added that the runway had previously thawed and was “wet spongy sod.” The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.
March 13, 2018, Chesapeake, Va.
Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III
At about 1130 Eastern, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a loss of engine power during initial climb. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
In a written statement, the pilot described completing the preflight inspection, run-up, takeoff and one circuit in the airport traffic pattern with no anomalies noted. He performed a touch-and-go landing on Runway 23 and, as the airplane climbed to about 200 feet agl, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot elected to land straight ahead off the departure end of the runway, and cycled the throttle during the descent, which only restored power momentarily before the forced landing was completed.
A review of atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident revealed conditions conducive to “serious [carburetor] icing—descent power.” While examining the wreckage, an FAA inspector raised the nose of the airplane by anchoring the tail and attempted to start the engine. The engine started immediately, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously without interruption. Magneto and carburetor heat checks were performed, and the results were within the manufacturer’s parameters.
When asked at what point he had applied carburetor heat, the pilot replied that he did not apply carburetor heat at any point during the flight.
March 16, 2018, Palatka, Fla.
Cirrus Design SR20/ Cirrus Design SR22
At about 1038 Eastern time, the two airplanes collided while on approach to land. There were no injuries to the SR22’s solo pilot or to the flight instructor and pilot receiving instruction aboard the SR20. Both airplanes were substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
The SR22 pilot performed two landings and remained in the traffic pattern for a third, using the radio to announce his position on crosswind, midfield downwind, base and final for Runway 27. He noted one pilot could not be heard well on the radio, one airplane was rolling out on the runway and another airplane was on a six-mile final. During the landing flare, he saw his propeller strike something, but could not see the airplane that was directly beneath him.
As the SR20 proceeded to the airport, the two announced their intention to enter the left downwind for Runway 27. In response, a pilot advised he could not hear them well. After switching to Comm 2, the SR20 was advised they were “loud and clear.” They remained in the traffic pattern announcing their progress on every leg and executed two touch-and-go landings to Runway 27. Due to traffic on final to Runway 27, they extended their downwind leg. While on final approach about to land, they felt a big explosion then came to rest in the grass adjacent to the runway.
March 17, 2018, Punta Gorda, Fla.
The airplane was destroyed at about 1424 Eastern time during a forced landing. The solo commercial pilot had minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed. The pilot reported the engine had just been overhauled, and he was flying in the local area as part of a 10-hour break-in period. This was the first flight following the overhaul.
The preflight and ground operations were normal, with no signs of oil leaks. About 35 minutes into the flight, oil appeared on both windscreens, blocking forward visibility, and eventually completely covering them. The pilot alerted ATC, who cleared him to land and noted smoke coming from the engine. The engine lost power but continued to run. Unable to make the runway, the pilot elected to land the airplane in a field, during which it collided with a ditch and came to a stop, catching fire. The pilot egressed.
The engine was examined and a hole was observed in the top of the crankcase, adjacent to the no. 2 cylinder.
March 18, 2018, Browns Valley, Calif.
CubCrafters CC11-160 Carbon Cub
At about 0910 Pacific time, the airplane crashed in a lake following a wire strike. The solo private pilot was seriously injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, he was flying along the river at about 200 feet agl when the airplane struck a transmission power line. An in-flight fire erupted in the aft fuselage and the airplane crashed in a nearby river. The pilot reported there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
March 20, 2018, Deadhorse, Alaska
DeHavilland DHC 6 Twin Otter
The airplane struck a pedestrian after takeoff from a remote sea ice airstrip, about 140 miles north of Deadhorse, Alaska. The pedestrian was seriously injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The captain, first officer and the three passengers aboard the airplane were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the VFR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.
The captain later said both pilots saw the pedestrian standing near the departure end of the airstrip on the left side and near the intersection of the east/west runway. After liftoff, the pilot lowered the nose to remain within ground effect and gain airspeed before initiating a climb. As airspeed increased, he started to climb the airplane, then initiated a left turn. During the turn, both pilots said they heard a loud thump, which was immediately followed by an aileron control anomaly. They continued the left turn, flew left traffic and landed.
The injured pedestrian later reported the pilots knew he would position himself alongside the airstrip to get a photo of the airplane’s departure. As the airplane’s takeoff progressed, it did not climb as quickly as he observed during previous departures. The last thing he remembered before the collision was the airplane’s left wing getting lower to the ground as the airplane continued accelerating toward him.
March 22, 2018, Kansas City, Mo.
At about 1800 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when its right landing gear collapsed during the landing roll. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot later reported the landing gear warning lights were all green during the approach and the landing was normal. A witness observed the landing appeared normal. During landing rollout, the right landing gear collapsed.
Examination revealed the landing gear collapsed about 200 feet after touchdown. The airplane skidded for about 1200 to 1500 feet and veered off the runway, resulting in substantial damage to the horizontal stabilizer and elevator.
March 23, 2018, Canton, Miss.
According to the pilot, the engine began accumulating carburetor ice and began to run “very rough.” The pilot applied carburetor heat, but the engine continued to run rough. He attempted to land with a tailwind but the airplane continued beyond the runway and impacted trees before coming to rest in the upright position. The airplane was substantially damaged. Fuel was noted in the tanks.
This Month’s Graphic
New data published by the NTSB includes general aviation accident statistics for 2015. At right, we’ve reproduced an NTSB chart specifying the phase of flight in which personal flying accidents occurring that year.
The greatest number of fatal accidents occurred while en route, which makes some sense since that’s where we spend most of our time. The same can’t be said for maneuvering flight, however.