April 2, 2019, Lafe, Ark.
RANS S-6ES Experimental
At about 1732 Central time, the airplane impacted vegetation on final approach to a private airstrip, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the positioning flight.
After a low pass over the field, the pilot returned to land. On final approach, he was “blinded by [the] sun” and the tailwheel hit vines growing near the airstrip, causing the airplane to stall. The left wing, left main landing gear and propeller were damaged during the hard landing. According to the NTSB, “[b]ecause the pilot did not hold a current pilot certificate, nor did he meet the medical certification requirements, he was not legally authorized to act as pilot-in-command of the airplane at the time of the accident.”
April 3, 2019, Prairieville, La.
Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II
The airplane sustained minor damage during a forced landing at about 0954 Central time, following loss of engine power. The pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed. While en route, the engine lost power and ultimately seized. While making a forced landing on an interstate highway, the airplane contacted a tractor trailer during the approach, then a tree.
April 4, 2019, Tampa, Fla.
Robinson R44 Raven II
At about 1416 Eastern time, the helicopter was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. A passenger in a vehicle was fatally injured; its driver incurred minor injuries from flying debris. Visual conditions prevailed.
On a previous flight a few days earlier, a pilot made a precautionary landing in a field after the helicopter’s engine lost all power. After changing a fuel servo unit, the accident pilot test-ran the engine and hovered the helicopter for several minutes. No problems were noted. The pilot and one of the mechanics boarded the helicopter and departed the field at 1401. At 1416, the engine lost all power and the pilot performed an autorotation to a roadway.
After touching down, the helicopter slid on the pavement, with its main rotor blades contacting a telephone pole. A piece of a main rotor blade was flung into a nearby truck, killing its passenger and injuring the driver.
Examination of the helicopter’s engine revealed the induction air inlet duct had partially collapsed. No other discrepancies of the airframe or engine were noted.
April 4, 2019, Edgefield, S.C.
Cessna 175 Skylark
The airplane impacted a power pole at about 1215 Eastern time, during a forced landing. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured, but the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
While in cruise at 2000 feet msl, the pilot switched to the left tank. About five minutes later, the engine began to run “a little shaky,” which he attributed to a stuck valve. He turned toward a nearby airport but was unable to reach it. The engine then lost power completely and remedial actions were unsuccessful. Rolling out after the forced landing, the pilot maneuvered the airplane to avoid cows but the left wing collided with a power pole.
April 8, Santa Fe, N.M.
Tecnam P2002 Sierra
The light sport airplane was destroyed at about 1538 Mountain time when it impacted terrain during takeoff. The flight instructor and student pilot were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
A witness reported the airplane did not climb very high after taking off, then “went sideways” and nose-dived toward the ground. Surveillance video showed the accident airplane leveling off at a low altitude, then dropping a wing and entering a steep nose-down attitude before impacting the ground. A post-impact fire ensued.
April 11, Bethel, Alaska
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six
At about 1613 Alaska time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following complete loss of engine power. The pilot and three passengers were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed for the VFR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.
The pilot subsequently reported that the engine began to lose oil pressure. He turned toward the nearest airport, but soon all engine power was lost. During the subsequent forced landing to a tundra-covered meadow, the main landing gear separated from the airplane, damaging both wings and the fuselage.
April 11, 2019, Meriden, Conn.
Piper PA-28R-201 Arrow III
The airplane was substantially damaged at 1854 Eastern time during a forced landing. Both the private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
While in the airport traffic pattern after “routine maintenance,” the pilot attempted to add power to maintain altitude, but the engine did not respond. When he determined he would not reach the runway, he attempted a forced landing on a baseball field. During the approach, the airplane impacted power lines.
April 14, 2019, New York, N.Y.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk
At about 2215 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a building and power lines during an in-flight diversion to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK). The instrument-rated commercial pilot and two passengers sustained minor injuries. Night instrument conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan had been filed.
The pilot reported departing Niagara Falls, N.Y., with full fuel. The flight’s destination was Farmingdale, N.Y., and, on arriving, he attempted an ILS approach. The first attempt ended with a missed approach, as did the second one. On the third attempt, he noticed “something wrong with the heading indicator” and realized his course was “zigzagging.” At this time, he decided a “bigger airport will be better,” so he diverted to JFK.
He attempted two approaches at JFK. The first resulted in a missed approach. On the second attempt, the “engine totally stopped.” He flew the airplane’s “best glide speed” and, at about 100 feet agl, saw street lights and turned toward a road. The airplane then impacted the roof of a building and power lines. The airplane came to rest entangled in the power lines and suspended just a few feet above the ground. According to an FAA inspector who examined the accident site, there was no odor of fuel at the accident site, nor was fuel observed in the wing tanks.
At 2212, the weather reported at JFK included 1/8-mile visibility in fog, vertical visibility of 200 feet and wind from 180 degrees at 15 knots.
April 18, 2019, Fullerton, Calif.
Beechcraft B60 Duke
The airplane was destroyed at 1953 Pacific time when it collided with the ground during takeoff. The solo private pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.
The accident was captured by surveillance video from multiple vantage points. The airplane was airborne after a takeoff roll of about 1300 feet and, about two seconds after liftoff, began to roll to the left. Three seconds later, the airplane had reached an altitude of about 80 feet agl and was in a 90-degree left bank. The nose then dropped as the airplane rolled inverted, and struck taxiway E in a right-wing-low, nose-down attitude.
April 19, 2019, Dwight, Ill.
Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee 235
At about 1630 Central time, the airplane sustained a collapsed nose landing gear. The solo pilot was not injured, but the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot later reported cruising at 6500 feet msl when the engine began running rough and fuel pressure went to zero. He switched fuel tanks and the engine continued to run. Shortly, fuel pressure again went to zero and the pilot switched to a third tank. The engine was not running well, so he diverted to a nearby airport. During the crosswind landing, the nose gear collapsed and the airplane slid off the runway. Fuel was found in three of the four fuel tanks.
April 19, 2019, Grass Valley, Calif.
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1340 Pacific time when it nosed over during a runway excursion. The private pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After an uneventful touchdown, the pilot extended his landing roll for traffic on one of the taxiways. As the airplane neared the pilot’s intended taxiway, he applied left rudder and lightly depressed the brake handle. About 30 degrees into the left turn, the brakes failed and the airplane exited the taxiway surface. Due to obstructions and down-sloping terrain, the pilot applied right rudder and engine power to realign the airplane with the runway. Shortly after, the airplane overran the departure end of the runway, and traveled downslope while airborne. The airplane struck a berm before colliding with a fence, nosed over and came to rest inverted.
April 22, 2019, Kerrville, Texas
Beechcraft 58 Baron
At 0851 Central time, the airplane impacted terrain during an approach to land. The pilot and five passengers were fatally injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Instrument conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an IFR flight plan.
According to preliminary information, the flight was cleared for the RNAV (GPS) Runway 12 approach and had been advised the cloud bases were reported at about 800 feet agl. While on final approach, the airplane descended and the last location recorded by ATC was about six miles prior to Runway 12 at about 600 feet agl and about 65 knots groundspeed. Witnesses observed the airplane in a spiral descent; it impacted a rocky ravine with low forward speed and came to rest upright.
April 22, 2019, Norco, Calif.
The airplane, the only flying example of an early Northrop flying wing, was destroyed when it impacted terrain at about 1210 Pacific time. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the Planes of Fame Air Museum. Visual conditions prevailed.
Multiple witnesses observed the airplane on a northeasterly heading at a low altitude when it performed a “barrel roll.” Several witnesses reported that, after the maneuver, the airplane “wobbled [from] side to side” before its canopy separated. Shortly after, the airplane entered a steep right turn and descended into the ground in a nose-low attitude.
April 23, 2019, Henderson, Ky.
Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking 300A
The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at an unknown time. The student pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.
The airplane was discovered on April 24, 2019, about midfield and 200 feet left of a runway. No eyewitnesses were identified, but local law enforcement had received several calls reporting a low-flying airplane or a “boom” sound at times between 2000 and 2230 on the previous day.
All major components of the airplane were present at the accident site. The two aluminum fuel tank cells in the right wing were damaged, but largely intact. Blue stains were found on the wood wing components below and forward of the tanks and surrounding the tank vent and the fuel quantity sensor. Three to four gallons of fuel were recovered from the right wing tanks. The left wing was largely intact and its fuel tanks were not damaged. About two ounces of fuel were recovered after pressurizing the tanks with air at the filler neck. The auxiliary fuel tank located behind the rear seats was undamaged and was devoid of fuel.
The landing gear handle was in the “down” position and both main landing gear were extended with the doors open. The nose landing gear was damaged and partially extended. There was no evidence of a post-crash fire.
The student pilot had accumulated 24 hours of total flight experience, of which 23 hours were dual received, including 1.4 hours in the accident airplane. The logbook did not contain any endorsements for solo flight, or for operation of complex/high-performance airplanes.
April 23, 2019, Key West, Fla.
Cessna 208 Caravan
The amphibious-float-equipped airplane was substantially damaged at about 1200 Eastern time during takeoff from the Dry Tortugas National Park, about 58 miles west of Key West, Fla. The airline transport pilot and four passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot landed into an easterly wind. After landing, he determined the wind prevented him from taxiing to the beaching location, so he elected to return to Key West. The pilot maneuvered the airplane into the wind and applied takeoff power for what he later described as a “bumpy” takeoff. At liftoff speed, the left float departed the airplane. The airplane then nosed into the water. The pilot assisted the passengers out of the airplane and into a life raft. The airplane sank about 30 seconds later in 50 feet of water. A National Park Service vessel responded and assisted the pilot and passengers.
April 26, 2019, Sheldon, Mo.
Beechcraft E50 Twin Bonanza
At about 1455 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a partial loss of power from both engines. The solo commercial pilot was uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The flight was the first after maintenance work was performed, including an engine cylinder replacement and an annual inspection. In cruise at about 3000 feet msl, the pilot heard the right engine emit “sputtering” noises and backfiring. The pilot applied power to the left engine and then noticed a “large smoke trail” from the left engine about a minute after the right engine started backfiring. By this time, the airplane was at about 1700 feet msl—about 800 feet agl—and the pilot concluded he could not remain airborne.
The pilot executed a forced landing to a tilled dirt field, collapsing the nose landing gear, and damaging the fuselage along with both props and engines.
April 29, 2019, Ridgefield, Wash.
Vans RV-6 Experimental
The airplane impacted in shallow water at an unknown time. The private pilot/owner and flight instructor were fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed. The flight originated at 1402.
The wreckage was observed at about 1611. There were no witnesses to the accident. According to the pilot/owner’s wife, the flight was for the pilot’s flight review.
No radio communications with the airplane are known. Radar data revealed a series of radar returns appearing to be associated with the accident airplane and flight. The first radar return was captured at 1404:28, indicating that the airplane was about 0.6 miles northeast of the departure airport. At 1404:33, a radar return indicated 1100 feet. The airplane then climbed and descended, then leveled off at about 2400 feet for about two minutes. Thereafter, it entered a steady descent to the end of the data, at 1413:42, when the airplane was at 500 feet and maneuvering near a different airport.
Safety In Numbers
The NTSB recently updated its aviation accident statistics to include calendar year 2016 data. The chart at right is from that update and graphically presents the accidents rates for Part 135 fixed-wing operations from 2007 through 2016. Note that activity data for 2011 is unavailable and that rate cannot be calculated.