NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 224 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in August 1999. Statements in quotes were taken directly from the NTSB documents. The information is subject to change as the investigations are completed. Click here to view “Accident Totals, August.”


Aug. 3, Tusayan, Ariz.
Cessna 177B Cardinal

At 14:07 PDT, a Cessna Cardinal crashed shortly after takeoff from Grand Canyon National Park Airport, killing the pilot and one passenger and seriously injuring another passenger. Several pilot witnesses stated that the airplane appeared slow and did not climb much above the trees. About a mile north of the airport it was seen to barely clear the buildings at Tusayan. After crossing Highway 64, it was observed to roll to the left and descend into trees. At the time of the accident the airport density altitude was reported as 8,700 feet msl.

Aug. 5, Grayslake, Ill.
Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow

At 21:45 CST, a Piper Arrow struck high voltage power lines and crashed -mile southwest of Campbell Airport. All four aboard were killed. One cable was severed and one was nicked about 20 feet from a tower. There was no evidence of a pre-impact mechanical failure.

Aug. 5, Denver, Colo.
Beech 1900D and Beech C90 King Air

At 10:55 MDT, a United Express Beech 1900D and a Beech King Air struck each other while taxiing at Denver International Airport. No one was hurt. The United Express flight had landed and the King Air was taxiing for takeoff. The United Express pilot said he saw the King Air on his left side and applied maximum braking and full right pedal. The captain said it did not appear to him that the King Air pilot either saw him or slowed. The King Air departed Denver prior to the arrival of an FAA inspector and attempts to contact the pilot have been unsuccessful.

Aug. 5, Kaunakakai, Hawaii
Partenavia P68C Victor

At about 07:41 Hawaiian standard time, a Partenavia Victor was preparing to taxi for takeoff on a Part 135 flight from the Kaunakakai/Molokai Airport when a late arriving passenger walked into the operating left engines propeller. The passenger was seriously injured. The pilot reported that five passengers had chartered the airplane to transport them between the Kaunakakai and Kalaupapa airports. The accident passenger failed to show up at the boarding gate and the pilot prepared to depart. The fifth passenger arrived at the departure gate, saw that it was closed and found other access to the ramp. The passenger approached the airplane from behind and was not observed by the pilot until being struck by the left engines propeller.

Aug. 6, Maple, N.C.
Cessna 150F

At about 12:00 EDT, a Cessna 150F crashed on takeoff from Currituck County Airport, killing the two occupants. Witnesses reported that the airplane was about 10 to 20 feet agl, just past the midfield of runway 04, with full flaps extended. It climbed to about 70 to 100 feet as it approached trees at the departure end of the runway and was well below the tree line. The aircraft then appeared to settle and entered a left spin, crashed and burned.

Aug. 7, Gainesville, Mo.
Mooney M20J

At 12:11 CDT, a Mooney M20J struck power lines shortly after a downwind takeoff from Gainsville Memorial Airport. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured. The pilot said he was doing touch and goes from the 1,900-foot turf runway 01. Winds were reported nearby from 220 at 6 knots.

Aug. 8, Coushatta, La.
Pitts S-1S

At 10:48 CDT, a homebuilt Pitts S-1S crashed during aerobatic practice near Coushatta Airport. The pilot was killed. Three aerobatic pilots watched the accident. The pilot was practicing for an air show and said he was going to attempt two snap rolls prior to landing instead of the one snap roll he usually did. The witnesses said that, during the entry of the second snap roll, the airplane was low on energy and low in altitude and the airplane entered a nose down spin. The pilot had accumulated 405 hours of total flight time, of which 191 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

Aug. 8, Seven Springs, Pa.
Piper PA28R-180 Arrow

At about 15:10 EDT, a Piper Arrow struck trees shortly after takeoff from the Seven Springs Airport, killing the pilot and passenger. The IFR flight was originating, destined for Louisville, Ky. The aircraft struck trees about mile from the runway, but all were below runway elevation because of downsloping terrain. A check of FAA records showed that the pilots certificate had been suspended for one year on March 10, 1999, for violation of FAR Part 61.15A, which covers drug convictions.

Aug. 9, Greeneville, Tenn.
Cessna 150G

At about 08:50 EDT, a Cessna 150G crashed in IMC while on a VFR flight plan near Greeneville. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the pilot suffered minor injuries. The flight had originated from Blountville, Tenn., about 20 minutes earlier. The pilot said he became disoriented when he encountered the weather but regained control by flying by reference to instruments. He turned back to Blountville, where he believed the weather was better. While cruising in the clouds, he struck rising terrain.

Aug. 9, Austin, Texas
Cessna 177 Cardinal

At 17:56 CDT, a Cessna Cardinal was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Austin. Neither occupant was injured. The flight had originated from Austin about two hours earlier. The pilot said the fuel gauges indicated about half full prior to takeoff. An FAA inspector found both fuel tanks were empty after the forced landing.

Aug. 10, Boulder City, Nev.
Cessna 177 Cardinal

At 14:40 PDT, a Cessna Cardinal crashed in a box canyon approximately 10 miles southeast of the Boulder City airport. The flight instructor was seriously injured and the pilot was killed. The pilot and his son had just purchased the airplane. The son had taken a familiarization flight with the CFI earlier in the day that included a 360-degree turn in the same box canyon and noted no discrepancies with the airplane. The crew of a police helicopter that responded to the scene reported swirling winds in the box canyon during their approach. The helicopter was flown in what they believed was a similar pattern to the accident airplane and the helicopter completed the turn over the wreckage.

Aug. 13, Panacea, Fla.
Beech B-58 Baron

At about 17:30 EDT, a Beech Baron crashed while landing at Wakulla County Airport. The pilot was killed and a passenger suffered minor injuries. A pilot who landed on runway 18 at Wakulla County about 20 minutes before the accident said he could see a thunderstorm fast approaching the field from the west. Light rain began sprinkling the airport just before the accident, and the wind shifted from the south to the north. The accident aircraft landed downwind on runway 18, touched down about half-way down the runway, and skidded off the end, through a chain-link fence and into a thicket of oak trees.

Aug. 13, Hillsborough, N.H.
Cessna 208 Caravan

At 13:11, a Cessna Caravan was destroyed during a precautionary landing near Hillsborough and the pilot suffered minor injuries. The airplane had two auxiliary fuel tanks installed in the passenger cabin the day before and the FAA had issued a special flight permit for overweight operations. The airplane was filled with 585 gallons of Jet-A and the gross weight of the airplane was about 10,000 pounds. As the airplane passed through about 800 to 900 feet, the pilot smelled turbine fuel. He stopped the climb and attempted to locate the source of the fumes, but failed. He requested radar vectors to the closest airport and initiated a descent. He then noticed about 1 inch of standing fuel on the floor of the cabin, and turned off the radios. During the descent, the amount of fuel in the cockpit area continued to increase, so the pilot elected to land in an open field rather than continue toward the airport. He reported that due to fuel fumes and raw fuel in the cockpit, his vision was blurred, his eyes burned, and he had difficulty breathing. He positioned the airplane for landing into the wind. On final approach, the fuel was up over his ankles and his sectional charts were floating on top of the fuel. After touchdown, he applied maximum reverse thrust and brakes. The plane hit a ditch, shearing off the nose wheel. The pilot escaped the cabin before a post crash fire erupted that consumed the airplane. The two cabin tanks were mounted such that the fuel takeoffs were not visible to the pilot. The pilot reported that he had not actuated the auxiliary tank system on the flight.

Aug. 13, Buckeye, Ariz.
Cessna 152

At 19:14 MST, a Cessna 152 was destroyed during a forced landing near Buckeye, but neither occupant was injured. The pilot told investigators he had computed the fuel requirement for the flight by using the fuel consumption chart in the pilot operators handbook and believed he had 3 hours 55 minutes of fuel available. At the time the engine quit, the Hobbs meter showed that 3 hours 20 minutes had elapsed. When further asked about his planning, he acknowledged that he had not considered the additional fuel requirements for his initial takeoff and climb, nor seven other landings and takeoffs that he subsequently made during the flight. Aircraft retrieval personnel recovered less than 2 gallons of fuel from both of the main tanks.

Aug. 14, Kenosha, Wisc.
Cessna 150K

At 14:45 CDT, a Cessna 150K was substantially damaged when it collided with a fuel truck that was parked on the aircraft parking ramp at the Kenosha Municipal Airport. The pilot said he was taxiing the airplane to the active runway when the collision occurred. The pilot said he was taxiing the airplane at a normal walk speed with the engine RPM set to about 1,000 RPM. He said he may have been looking in the cockpit when the airplanes left wingtip struck the fuel truck. The airplane pivoted on the left wingtip and the nose of the airplane collided with the trucks passenger side door.

Aug. 14, Katy, Texas
Pitts S-1-11B

At 18:30 CDT, a Pitts S-1-11B biplane was substantially damaged following a loss of control while executing a precautionary landing following an engine/propeller overspeed near Katy. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he had been operating in the aerobatic box above the airport for about 15 minutes. He had performed a hammerhead stall and the propeller and engine oversped, so he elected to make a precautionary landing on runway 27. He said he touched down about mid-field and applied brakes to exit the runway but the left brake failed. The airplane ground looped and came to rest inverted. The inspector verified that the master cylinder for the left brake had failed, and braking was not possible. The 1998 airplane had accumulated a total of 160 hours since new.

Aug. 15, Prattsburg, N.Y.
Mooney M20E

At about 15:35 EDT, a Mooney M20E was destroyed during a forced landing near Prattsburg. The pilot suffered serious injuries and the passenger received minor injuries. The pilot said that, in cruise flight, he heard a loud bang and saw what appeared to be a piece of shrapnel go by the windshield. The airplane started to vibrate, and the pilot performed the forced landing to a hilly field. Inspection of the propeller and the surrounding vicinity revealed that approximately 1 foot of one propeller blade was missing.

Aug. 16, Lambertville, Mich.
Cessna 150G

At 13:45 EDT, a Cessna 150G was damaged during an emergency landing shortly after takeoff from the Toledo Suburban Airport. The pilot reported minor injuries. The pilot told investigators that he failed to remove the aileron gust lock that was installed on the right aileron. He executed an emergency landing and the aircraft departed the prepared runway surface and nosed over.

Aug. 16, San Antonio, Texas
Swearingen SA-227-AC

At 1733 CDT, a Swearingen SA-227-AC was substantially damaged when it landed gear-up at San Antonio International Airport. The instructor and commercial pilot student were not injured. The student was undergoing first officer training for the Swearingen SA-227-AC. The pilots stated that they were completing the last approach and landing for the flight. The instructor told the student to execute a no flap landing due to a simulated hydraulic pump failure. The student established the airplane on the approach and called for the Emergency Gear Extension Checklist. The instructor stated that the gear could not be extended until landing was assured. The landing gear was not extended. The student continued flying the approach and retarded the power levers to idle to reduce the airspeed, and the gear warning horn sounded. The instructor placed his right hand on the gear extension lever. As the airplane reached the target airspeed, the student moved the power levers forward to increase power, and the gear warning horn ceased. The instructor removed his hand from the gear lever without extending the gear.

Aug. 17, Snyder, Texas
Air Tractor AT-402

At 08:45 CDT, an Air Tractor ag plane lost power near Snyder and was damaged in a forced landing. The pilot was not injured. An inspector determined that the top right bolt securing the fuel control assembly to the engine case was missing, and the remaining 3 bolts securing the fuel control were found loose. The missing bolt, with a piece of safety wire still attached to it, was found laying at the bottom of the engine cowling. Evidence of a severe fuel leak was found at the base of the fuel control assembly.

Aug. 19, Tampa, Fla.
Cessna 210L

At about 03:12 EDT, a Cessna 210L on a Part 135 cargo flight struck a building approximately -mile from the approach end of runway 18L at the Tampa International Airport. The pilot was killed. The pilot had radioed the controller and questioned if he could expect runway 36R. The controller advised the pilot that he was following company traffic that was ahead and landing on runway 18L. The pilot advised the controller that the traffic was in sight. The controller cleared the flight to land on runway 18L; then a short time later, the pilot declared an emergency but did not state the nature of the emergency.

Aug. 19, White Swan, Wash.
Beech F33A Bonanza

At 11:45 PDT, a Beech Bonanza struck an embankment during takeoff from a private grass strip near White Swan. The pilot and two passengers were seriously injured and a third passenger was killed. Witnesses said the ground roll and takeoff appeared normal but that the airplane did not climb more than about four feet. Investigators noted that the southern half of the 2,400-foot grass strip was moist and soft, while the north end half was firm and dry. The aircraft had begun the takeoff roll from the south end. One of the owners of the airstrip reported that the airstrip is watered frequently and cut once a week on Friday or Saturday. The accident occurred on a Thursday.

Aug. 20, Houston, Texas
Piper PA-28-151 Warrior

At 09:50 CDT, a Piper Warrior struck and seriously injured a ground crew member while taxiing at Clover Field Airport, Houston, Texas. Witnesses said the ground person began to run to the site of a previous accident site and, when he was crossing a taxiway, was struck by the left wing of the Piper.

Aug. 20, Port Alsworth, Alaska
Dehavilland DHC-3T Otter

About 13:50 Alaska daylight time, a float equipped DeHavilland Otter was damaged when it struck terrain at the edge of a lake about 30 miles west of Port Alsworth. The four on board were not injured as the Part 135 flight attempted to take off from the 2,000-foot long lake. The pilot began the takeoff run with the flaps halfway extended, and then when the airplane was on the step he inadvertently retracted the flaps instead of extending them. The airplane did not get airborne, the pilot retarded the power lever to idle, and the airplane struck the four feet high bank at the end of the lake.

Aug. 21, Belgrade, Mont.
Cessna 180A

At 09:30 MST, a Cessna 180A was substantially damaged when the pilot taxied into a parked Beech Bonanza after landing at Gallatin Field. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said camera equipment on the glareshield restricted his visibility and he did not see the parked plane before he turned into it. The pilots medical certificate had been denied in January 1997.

Aug. 21, Miami, Fla.
Cessna 172RG

At about 10:59 EDT, the pilot of a Cessna 172RG lost control on landing at Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. Neither the pilot nor the passenger were injured. The pilot said that, as he climbed through 500 feet, the airplane made an uncommanded yaw to the left and the turn coordinator indicated a skid to the left. He returned for landing and, while trying to use the manual rudder trim, noted that the trim wheel spun freely. While on short final approach, the tower advised him to go around because the landing gear was not extended. He selected the gear down and landed, but the main landing gear was not fully down and locked at touchdown. Inspection revealed the chain for the rudder trim assembly was broken in the cockpit and the rudder trim was displaced fully to the left.

Aug. 21, Salida, Colo.
Piper PA-25 Pawnee

At approximately 11:00 MDT, a Piper Pawnee crashed after an aborted landing at Salida. The pilot was seriously injured. A glider was towed aloft from runway 6 and the Pawnee took off shortly thereafter. Both aircraft remained in the traffic pattern. Local airport procedures call for gliders to depart runway 6 and land on runway 24. The Pawnee landed on runway 6 and, during the rollout, its pilot saw the approaching glider. He applied full power and veered to the right, but the airplane struck terrain. The glider landed uneventfully.

Aug. 22, Pickens, S.C.
Beech C24R Sierra

At about 17:00 EDT, a Beech Sierra crashed while on approach to Pickens County Airport. The pilot was killed and a passenger sustained serious injuries. The flight had originated from Ocean City, Md., about 4 hours before the accident. According to the airports fixed-base operator, who was manning the base radio, the pilot transmitted, Mayday three times and said he had run out of fuel. The airplane collided with a stand of trees about 1 miles short of the airport.

Aug. 23, Chimacum, Wash.
Republic RC-3 Seabee

At approximately 13:10 PDT, a Republic Seabee crashed into the water at Discovery Bay, killing both occupants. Witnesses observed the aircraft flying northbound and descending over the south end of Discovery Bay. As it approached power lines 30 feet above the water it made an abrupt turn away from the power lines and struck the water in a slightly left wing low attitude. It bounced into the air and then impacted the water in a steep, nose-low attitude coming to rest inverted. Whitecaps were reported on the water surface as well as some foam streaking.

Aug. 24, Saddle Island, Maine
Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub

At about 16:30 EDT, a Piper Super Cub crashed on Saddle Island, killing the pilot. A witness said the pilot called him about 45 minutes before the accident asking if he wanted to go flying, but the he refused because he was on his boat. The pilot told him he would fly by to say hello. When the airplane appeared, the witness waved at the pilot, the pilot waved in return, and the airplane climbed to the west. About 1 minute later the airplane came over the north tip of the island on a southerly heading. The witness said the airplane was low and slow, about tree top level. The tail clipped a tree and the airplane crashed into the trees.

Aug. 25, Dyke, Va.
Cessna 172N

At about 09:40 EDT, a Cessna 172N struck mountains near Dyke, killing the pilot and three passengers. The airplane was rented from a flight school in Newport News. The dispatcher stated she first saw the pilot about 08:00 on the day of the accident. The pilot said he was going to fly to Charlottesville, Va., and logged the airplane out accordingly, with a return time of 17:00. As the pilot was preflighting the airplane, it began to rain and he departed without finishing signing out the airplane. The weather deteriorated and the flight school began a telephone search for the airplane around 12:30. The wreckage was found by ground search teams on the morning of August 27. A forest ranger situated less than two miles from the accident site at the time of the crash described the weather conditions during that time period as low-lying cloud cover with limited visibility, intermittent periods of heavy rain, and light winds. The pilot had received his private certificate three weeks earlier.

Aug. 26, Benton City, Wash.
Bell 47

At approximately 11:25 PDT, an unregistered Bell 47 helicopter crashed four miles southeast of Benton City, killing the pilot. The flight, reported to have been a maintenance test flight, originated from the owners residence earlier in the morning. A witness reported hearing a pop-pop sound and then observed a column of smoke coming from the accident site. No aircraft registration or identification could be established for the helicopter, nor could any flight credentials be established for the owner.

Aug. 29, Bedminster, N.J.
Schleicher ASW-19

At 14:28 EDT, a Schleicher ASW-19 glider crashed into trees at Somerset County Airport. The pilot suffered minor injuries in the crash but died shortly thereafter. A doctor who responded to the accident scene said the pilots right side appeared paralyzed. The medical examiner later said the pilot sustained a massive stroke in the left side of the brain.


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