November 18, 2018, Harmon, N.D.
Cessna 441 Conquest II
At 2240 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it broke up in flight and impacted an open field. The airline transport pilot, flight nurse and paramedic were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 aeromedical flight, which operated on an IFR flight plan.
The crew reportedly was en route to pick up a neonatal infant. Radar data show the airplane climbed until reaching 14,000 feet msl. Ground speed was at 240 knots. The airplane then entered a steep right bank and radar contact was lost. No distress calls were received. A 600-foot-wide swath of wreckage was scattered over snow-covered terrain for about a mile. The cockpit area, cabin area, empennage, both engines and propellers, and both wings were identified and recovered.
November 19, 2018, Casper, Wyo.
Backcountry Super Cub Experimental
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1530 Mountain time during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, he took off with full power. After the airplane became airborne, he slightly reduced power. As the airplane climbed through about 500 feet agl, he increased power, which resulted in a total loss of engine power shortly after. The pilot initiated a left descending turn and attempted to return to the runway. During the turn, he realized that he would not be able to complete the turn to completely realign with the runway and leveled the wings. The airplane subsequently landed hard and the left main landing gear axle separated. Subsequent examination revealed the left wing strut was structurally damaged.
November 20, 2018, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk
At about 0930 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged following an aborted takeoff. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After touch-and-goes at another airport, the pilot initiated an approach at 60 knots with flaps fully extended and the “mixture…set appropriately for the 7000-foot field elevation.” Carburetor heat was not used. The airplane landed uneventfully; the pilot added full power, raised the flaps and raised the nose. The airplane departed the runway surface at about 50 knots. However, it then decelerated to about 45 knots and began exhibiting characteristics consistent with a stall. He lowered the nose and the airplane settled to the ground off the left side of the runway surface. Although the pilot slowed the airplane as rapidly as possible, it rolled through a grassy field, a fence and a ditch before it nosed over and came to rest inverted.
November 23, 2018, North Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk
The airplane collided with a parked, unoccupied airplane at about 1105 Eastern time while taxiing after landing. The commercial pilot was not injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot stated that there were no discrepancies with the brakes at the departure airport. After landing, he turned off at the first taxiway and taxied to the ramp while following a van. While taxiing at about 4 to 5 mph, a wind gust pushed the tail to the right, which full right rudder failed to correct. As the airplane turned left, he applied right brake, which failed. He then applied both brakes to stop but the left turn became exaggerated. He released the left brake and pulled the mixture control to stop the propeller but while rolling about 1-2 mph, the airplane impacted a parked Beech Baron. Subsequent investigation found an O-ring in the right brake assembly had become misshapen.
November 23, 2018, Bakersfield, Calif.
Cessna 208 B Grand Caravan
At about 1733 Pacific time, the pilot became incapacitated while taxiing for departure. The airline transport pilot received minor injuries. The airplane was not damaged in the incident. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand cargo flight.
The airplane was loaded with cargo, including 41 large boxes totaling about 36 kg of dry ice. A company dangerous goods representative approved the shipment as the dry ice weight furnished by the shipper was below the company’s operating limit of 76 kg. While taxing, the pilot felt “strong sleepiness” and experienced difficulty breathing. He stopped the airplane at the runway run-up area and closed his eyes.
After the pilot failed to respond to air traffic controllers for 25 minutes, firefighters arrived and observed the pilot’s head rolled back and his mouth open. After chocking the running airplane and accessing the cockpit, the fuel cutoff valve was used to shut down the engine. The pilot began to revive and moments later was able to answer a series of questions. The pilot exited the airplane on his own and was hospitalized.
Examination revealed numerous boxes labeled “Dry Ice” positioned behind the pilot and stacked to the ceiling of the upper cargo pod. Their contents included refrigerated thermal bags filled with dry ice pellets, which were loosely closed and taped.
November 26, 2018, Santa Fe, N.M.
Mooney M20C Mark 21/Ranger
The airplane impacted terrain and was destroyed by impact forces, and a post-impact fire, at about 1950 Mountain time. The pilot was fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.
A witness observed the airplane flying without lights on what appeared to be two “abbreviated” left downwind segments for Runway 20, then turn and cross over the approach end of the runway, as if the pilot was not trying to land but wanted the tower controller’s attention. The airplane’s landing gear and wing flaps appeared retracted. Shortly after losing sight of the airplane a second time, he heard sirens related to the emergency response to the accident. Recorded weather at 1953 included clear skies and wind from 360 degrees at four knots. Sunset had occurred at 1652, with civil twilight ending at 1719. The moon did not rise until 2034.
November 29, 2018, Marion, Ind.
Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche
At about 1421 Eastern time, the airplane impacted terrain following a loss of control shortly after takeoff. The solo airline transport pilot sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.
The airplane took off and climbed to about 500 feet agl, then began a left turn. During the left turn, the airplane entered a downward spiral toward terrain. The airplane impacted terrain and a post-impact fire ensued. The pilot, who was also an airframe and powerplant mechanic, had been troubleshooting an unspecified problem with the left engine. A witness described the accident flight as a “test flight.” One of the left propeller blades showed no damage while the other one was straight and bent aft. One of the right propeller’s blades was twisted and bent forward, and one blade was twisted and bent aft.
November 29, 2018, Kennesaw, Ga.
The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at 1855 Eastern time, after the pilot deployed its airframe parachute. The private pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Night visual conditions prevailed.
During the descent from 17,500 feet msl—at about 7000 feet and 20 nm from its destination—the pilot felt an engine “jolt” and subsequently received a low oil pressure warning. The pilot diverted to a nearby airport and, while on an extended base leg at about 2000 feet msl, the pilot experienced another “jolt” and observed sparks emanating from the engine cowling area. Shortly thereafter, the engine jolted a third time, and the pilot pulled the mixture to idle cut-off and turned the ignition key off to shut down the engine. He pulled the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) activation handle and prepared for impact.
Examination revealed the #6 connecting rod had sheared from the upper crankshaft bearing and poked a hole in the crankcase.
November 30, 2018, Memphis, Ind.
Cessna 525 CitationJet CJ2/CJ2+
At about 1028 Eastern time, the airplane collided with trees and terrain near Memphis, Ind. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed
Radar and air traffic controllers observed the airplane climbing through 6000 feet msl when it began a left turn, descended and disappeared from radar. The pilot had previously been given a frequency change, which was acknowledged, but he never reported to the next controller and no distress message was heard on either frequency. All major airplane components were accounted for at the accident site. There was evidence of a post-impact fire.
November 30, 2018, Fargo, N.D.
Cessna 550 Citation II
The airplane departed controlled flight while on approach and impacted terrain to the right of the runway at about 1353 Central time. The pilot and one passenger were not injured; nine passengers received minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was operating on an IFR flight plan.
A witness reported that he “watched the airplane fall out of the sky.” He explained that he saw the wings slowly “fluttering” back and forth and recognized that the airplane was about to stall from an altitude of 130 to 140 feet agl. He said the airplane’s nose pitched up and then the right wing went down. He could see the belly of the airplane and he estimated that the angle of bank was possibly 80 degrees. The right-front-seat passenger reported the airplane started to take on ice on the windshield and the deicing boot on the right wing while they were on the approach in the clouds.
Examination of the accident site revealed about inch of mixed ice on the leading edge of the right wing, vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizer and on the angle-of-attack (AoA) indicator.
November 30, 2018, Apalachicola, Fla.
Cessna 210D Centurion
At about 1805 Eastern time, the airplane collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Night visual conditions prevailed.
An airborne witness was approaching the airport from the west as the accident pilot departed Runway 6, and the two pilots exchanged location information over the radio for clearing purposes. The witness subsequently observed a fireball about three miles from his 10:30 o’clock position and notified authorities. The airplane had impacted a marsh about two miles north of the airport. The wreckage path was oriented on a heading of 100 degrees and was about 304 feet in length. The accident occurred as civil twilight ended. Weather included an overcast ceiling at 12,000 feet, 10 statute miles of visibility and light rain.
December 1, 2018, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The airplane impacted the ground and a building at about 1326 Eastern time during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured; one occupant of the building sustained minor injuries. The airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire, and the building sustained structural and fire damage. Visual conditions prevailed.
At about 1325:27—shortly after takeoff—an occupant in the accident airplane advised, “Ground, we got a fire left engine turning right back.” After clarifying the situation, the controller cleared the flight to land on any runway. Radar data indicate the airplane departed Runway 9. After a series of turns toward and away from the airport, the airplane continued on a southwesterly direction for about 10 seconds, turned right briefly on a northwesterly direction, then turned left and flew on a south-southwesterly direction toward the airport before it disappeared from radar.
December 2, 2018, Santa Rita, GU
Cessna 172P Skyhawk
At about 1945 universal coordinated time, the airplane collided with vegetation following a runway excursion from an abandoned airstrip. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
While flying south along the shore, the pilot initiated an eastbound climb when he observed engine rpm steadily drop to about 2100 rpm, then 1800 rpm and finally to about 400 rpm. He attempted to restart the engine several times, but to no avail. After turning final to an abandoned airstrip, the airplane was too high and he attempted to lose altitude by slipping the airplane. It subsequently landed long, ran off the end of the runway and came to rest in heavy vegetation.
December 4, 2018, Moscow, Penn.
Lancair LC41-550FG Columbia
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1055 Eastern time during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
About 20 minutes after departure, the pilot experienced a shudder in the airplane. He adjusted engine power and the airplane shook again. He advised ATC and was given a heading to a nearby airport. The engine continued to shake, and the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit. About a minute later, the engine lost power completely and he performed a forced landing to a field. Examination revealed multiple holes in the top of the engine crankcase, plus a damaged left wing.
December 13, 2018, Valparaiso, Ind.
Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 250
At 1044 Central time, the airplane impacted the ground during a loss-of-control event while in initial climb after takeoff. The pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.
Witnesses and surveillance video depict the accident airplane taking off. When the airplane was a few hundred feet above the runway, its right wing dropped and it entered a one-turn spin to the right before impacting the ground in a near-vertical attitude.
Examination revealed the wings and tail surfaces remained attached to the fuselage and all control surfaces were attached. The control system cables were intact from the cockpit to their respective control surfaces. Engine crankshaft, valve train and accessory gear continuity were confirmed. No pre-impact anomalies were identified. All four fuel tanks were ruptured, and no fuel remained in any tank. It was raining during the initial on-scene examination, and no fuel odor was detected.
December 13, 2018, Punta Gorda, Fla.
Czech Sport Aircraft Piper Sport
The light sport airplane was substantially damaged at about 1318 Eastern time during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power while on approach to land. The sport pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
About four miles from the airport and at 1000 feet agl, the pilot was cleared to land from an extended base leg of the traffic pattern. As soon as he turned on the electric fuel pump per the descent checklist, the engine lost all power. He switched fuel tanks and attempted to restart the engine but was unsuccessful. Unable to reach the airport and at an altitude too low to deploy the airframe parachute, he selected a small field for a forced landing and advised the control tower of his intentions. During the off-airport landing, the airplane struck a fence and a utility pole. Post-accident examination revealed that fuel was present in both the left and right fuel tanks.
Safety In Numbers
The NTSB recently updated its aviation accident statistics to include calendar year 2016 data. The chart at right is from that data and identifies the phases of flight during which accidents occurred for personal flying in 2016.
Unsurprisingly, we prang a lot of airplanes while landing, but it’s rarely fatal. Not so for other things we do.