NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and airline accidents


The following briefs were selected from the preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in September 2003. Statements in quotes were taken directly from the NTSB documents. Click here to view “Accident Totals, Sept.”


September 01, Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Cessna 172

At about 1210 eastern time, a Cessna 172F lost engine power on initial climb and was damaged in the ensuing forced landing. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he took off and, as he climbed through 300 feet agl, the engine lost power. He attempted to turn back to the runway but landed in a field about a half mile from the runway.

September 01, Uniondale, Ind.
Beech Bonanza

At 2002 eastern time, a Beech B36TC struck a utility pole during a forced landing in Uniondale after losing engine power. The pilot received serious injuries, one passenger received minor injuries, and three passengers were killed. The pilot was heading for Smith Airport in Ft. Wayne and asked the controller for a GPS approach into the airport. The pilot then amended that request, saying that based on weather conditions reported by another pilot he wanted to fly the ILS Rwy 5 approach. The pilot missed the first attempt and asked for vectors for another try. During vectors for the second attempt, the pilot reported he was having a fuel problem and said he needed to land ASAP. He then declared an emergency and said he had suffered a complete engine loss.

September 02, Carefree, Ariz.
Questair Venture

At 0550 mountain time, an amateur-built Questair #20 Venture struck a wall during a rejected landing and was destroyed in a post-impact fire at Sky Ranch at Carefree. The pilot and one passenger were killed. Witnesses said the airplane descended rapidly toward the airport, touched down briefly and then became airborne again. During the initial climb, the airplane was described as flying at a 45-degree angle but not climbing until it struck a wall. Examination of the skid marks on the runway showed the airplane touched down about two-thirds of the way down the runway, veered right across a taxiway, veered back left toward the runway, struck a VASI light and porpoised down the runway before becoming airborne and striking the wall.

September 02, Manassas, Va.
Lancair IVP

At about 1040 eastern time, an amateur-built Lancair IVP was damaged during takeoff from Manassas Regional Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said he received an IFR clearance with complex changes to his planned route. He then felt rushed and distracted during the pre-takeoff checklist and forgot to extend the flaps to the takeoff position. During the takeoff roll, the airplane became airborne, but then settled back on the runway, went off the right side, struck a runway sign and came to rest in a grass area.

September 06, Moline, Ill.
Bellanca Cruiseair Senior

At 0854 central time, a Bellanca 14-13-2 was damaged when it landed short of runway 23 at Quad City International Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he departed Moline for Brodhead, Wisc., but the oil pressure began fluctuating. He decided to return to Moline. During the approach, he reduced power to lower the flaps and the engine did not respond when he reapplied power.

September 06, Winder, Ga.
Beech Baron

At 1420 eastern time, a Beech BE-55 crashed while the pilot was attempting to return to the airport shortly after taking off from Winder Barrow Airport. The pilot was killed. A pilot waiting for takeoff behind the accident airplane stated the accident pilot departed from runway 05. The airplane became airborne just past taxiway C intersection. The airplane reached about 10 feet when the nose dropped abruptly to the right and the right main landing gear touched down on the runway followed by tire smoke. He observed a dark shape on the right side of the airplane and figured the cockpit door had opened. The airplane bounced back into the air and went to the right over the grass. The airplane remained between 20 to 50 feet high and slowly cleared a tree line beyond the end of the runway. The airplane started a shallow crosswind turn to the left, nose high at a slow airspeed. He called the accident pilot on the Unicom frequency and the accident pilot said, I got problems and I am going to make an emergency landing. He later broadcast I am not going to make it and the airplane crashed into trees.

September 06, New Braunfels, Texas
Cessna 172

At 1711 central time, a Cessna 172L crashed when the pilot lost control during takeoff from New Braunfels Municipal Airport. The pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries and one passenger was killed. Witnesses reported the airplane took a long time to get off the ground and pitched up to an almost vertical attitude. At approximately 200-300 feet agl, the airplane was rolled to the left and crashed.

September 06, Farmington, N.M.
Cessna 150

At 0802 mountain time, a Cessna 150J was damaged during a forced landing near Four Corners Regional Airport. The pilot suffered serious injuries. The flight had originated at Aztec at approximately 0745. The tower operator said that, as the airplane was entering a left base for runway 07, a expletive was heard over the tower frequency and shortly thereafter an emergency locator transmitter signal was heard. Emergency personnel said they arrived on the scene to find the pilot had already pulled himself out of the inverted airplane and was sitting on the wing. The pilot told them dont worry about a fire, theres no fuel.

September 07, Jetersville, Va.
Cessna 150

At 0930 eastern time, a Cessna 150M was damaged during an aborted takeoff from a grass field in Jetersville. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he landed in the field about 0900 and had previously operated from the field without any problems. He described the field as approximately 1,800 feet long and covered with grass that was approximately 4 to 5 inches high. At about 0930, he initiated his takeoff but the airplane would not accelerate past 50 knots. He decided to abort the liftoff, but the tires slid in the grass, which was wet from the morning dew, and the airplane slid into trees.

September 07, Greenville, Maine
Cessna 180

At 1028 eastern time, a Cessna 180D amphibian was damaged while departing from Moosehead Lake. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The pilot reported that he had no aileron control as he took off from the lake. Inspection revealed a turnbuckle had separated from the right aileron cable. The turnbuckle was not safety-wired. The aileron cables had been replaced at the previous annual inspection, which had take place about 55 hours earlier.

September 09, Porter, Texas
Aero Commander 680

At 1900 central time, an Aero Commander 680 suffered a loss of control while landing at Williams Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot was landing on runway 17 (3,594 feet long by 35 feet wide) when the airplane went off the runway and hit a runway light. The pilot reported that he hit a gust of wind while landing. Weather at an airport 11 miles away was reported as wind from 130 degrees at 9 knots.

September 09, Monterey, Calif.
Cessna 210

At 1500 Pacific time, a Cessna 210L struck trees about a quarter mile north of the approach end of runway 10R at Monterey Peninsula Airport. The pilot and two passengers suffered serious injuries. The flight was en route IFR from Salinas, Calif., to Monterey when the pilot declared an emergency due to an engine failure. He then executed an emergency landing short of the runway. Witnesses said there was trace of fuel at the accident site.

September 10, Winter Haven, Fla.
Piper Cub Cruiser

At about 1407 eastern time, a float-equipped Piper J5A was damaged in a hard landing at Jack Browns Seaplane Base. The pilot was not injured. The pilot and another person had recently purchased the airplane and then installed floats. On the accident flight the pilot had been performing high-speed taxi tests and decided to take off. When the airplane was about 300 feet above the water the engine sputtered. At about 20 feet above the water, the airplane stalled and struck the water right wing low. A witness said the pilot flared too high. Postaccident examination revealed the gascolator was approximately half full of water. The engine operated normally in tests.

September 13, Monticello, Ga.
Mooney M20C

At 0928 eastern time a Mooney M20C crashed into trees while the pilot was searching for a private grass strip in Monticello. The pilot was killed. Instrument conditions prevailed at the time, but the flight was not operating under IFR. A witness said the weather was foggy and he heard the airplane but could barely see it as it flew over him at low altitude. Another witness said he had been waiting for the pilot to meet him at his private airstrip about a quarter mile from were the accident occurred.

September 13, Mountain View, Calif.
Pitts S-2C

At 1545 Pacific time, an Aviat Pitts S-2C was damaged when it crashed inverted after dragging a wing during an air show at Moffett Federal Airfield. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he was executing a series of low altitude slow rolls, about 35 feet agl, when the left wing contacted the runway. The airplane descended to the runway inverted and slid to a stop.

September 14, Atlantic Ocean
Mooney M20J

At about 1323 eastern time, a Mooney M20J crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida after the pilot reported medical difficulties in-flight. The pilot was presumed to have been killed. The flight originated about 1250 from Palm Beach International Airport. Controllers said the pilot was flying VFR to Fort Pierce, Fla., and radar services were terminated about 1301. About 10 minutes later the pilot came back up on the approach frequency and advised he was returning to Palm Beach due to an unspecified problem. The controller questioned if the pilot needed assistance and he responded that he had a severe headache at the base of his neck. The controller advised the pilot of a closer airport, but the pilot replied he would stay over the water to avoid the bumps. At 1314, the pilot advised the controller that his defibrillator went off. Approximately 1 minute later, the pilot declared mayday and reported losing his eyesight. He said he was turning east. The controller advised the pilot to proceed to the PBIA, and the pilot responded that he wanted to stay out of their way, and didnt want to take anybody out. Radar data showed the airplane climbing from 1,400 feet at the time of the last transmission to 4,200, then descending to the water at about 2,000 feet per minute. The airplane crashed in an area where water depth is about 500 feet.

September 15, Escondido, Calif.
Smith Miniplane

At 1831 Pacific time, an experimental Smith Miniplane DSA1 struck the ground while maneuvering near Lake Wohlford Airport. The pilot died the next day. A witness said he saw the airplane about 200 feet agl passing over the airport too fast and not at a normal landing attitude. At about 50 feet agl over the runway, the airplane did what the witness described as a barrel roll to the left and struck the ground. An acquaintance of the pilot said the pilot commonly did aerobatic maneuvers in his airplane, usually at about 400 feet agl.

September 16, Collegedale, Tenn.
Piper Cherokee 140

At 1545 central time a Piper PA-28-140 lost engine power on approach to Collegedale Municipal Airport and was damaged in the forced landing. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The flight was a maintenance test flight following the installation of a newly overhauled engine. About 12 minutes into the flight, the engine lost power and seized.

September 16, Stone Mountain, Ga.
Beechcraft Bonanza

At 1958 eastern time, a Beech A36 struck the south side of Stone Mountain. The pilot was killed. The flight originated at Peachtree Dekalb Airport about 23 minutes earlier for a local flight. Witnesses said they saw the airplane circling the mountain just prior to the accident. They stated that they saw the airplane flying directly towards the mountain at just above the treetops, then they heard an explosion and observed a fireball. Stone Mountain is an enormous boulder protruding from otherwise relatively flat terrain. The accident site was about 210 feet above the surrounding terrain.

September 17, Young, Ariz.
Cessna 182

At 0800 mountain time, a Cessna 182K struck a bull during takeoff from Young Airstrip. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he had just rotated and was about six feet agl when a bull wandered onto the runway. The right main gear struck the animal. The pilot continued his flight to Payson, Ariz., where he landed uneventfully. Post-flight inspection found the right main gear box was pulled loose.

September 20, Driggs, Idaho
Cessna 421

At approximately 1730 mountain time, a Cessna 421B was damaged while taxiing after landing at Driggs-Reed Memorial Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot reported the airplane had just landed and was exiting the runway when the nose wheel separated from the nose gear, causing the gear assembly to collapse.

September 21, Socorro, N.M.
Beech Bonanza

At approximately 1330 mountain time, a Beech F33A was reported missing on a flight from Mesa, Ariz., to Dallas, Texas. The pilot and passenger are presumed to have died. No flight plan was filed. Weather along the route at the time was VFR.

September 22, Chanute, Kan.
Piper Comanche

At 0135 central time, a Piper PA-24-250 crashed during a night forced landing about a half mile southeast of the Johnson Airport. The pilot and passenger received serious injuries. The flight originated from San Antonio, Texas, where the pilot reported he waited for some time before the weather improved enough for him to depart VFR. As he neared Chanute, he canceled flight following and listened to the ATIS, which reported a 200-foot ceiling with mist. He made a low pass over the airport but was unable to see the runway. He then flew to Iola, Kan., but found the weather the same there. He then returned to Chanute and made a couple of low passes, but still could not see the runway. He then recalled that during the trip he had been able to see the rotating beacon at Coffeyville, so he decided to fly there. He became confused and was flying east when he thought he was flying south. The declared an emergency on 121.5 and a controller at Kansas City Center vectored him back to Chanute. On the way, the airplane ran out of fuel.

September 23, North Las Vegas, Nev.
Piper Arrow and Piper Mirage

At 1255 Pacific time, a Piper PA-28R-200 and a Piper PA-46-350P collided at the crossing points of runways 7 and 12R at the North Las Vegas Airport. The Arrow was landing on runway 12R, and the Mirage had started its takeoff roll on runway 7. The pilot in the Arrow sustained a serious injury and the pilot in the Mirage sustained a minor injury. The tower was in operation at the time, and both airplanes had received clearances.

September 24, Cape Yakataga, Alaska
Piper Navajo

At about 1630 Alaska time, a Piper PA-31-310 was damaged during a gear-up landing at the Yakataga airstrip. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he encountered moderate to severe turbulence during his initial approach to the airport and did not think he was going to be able to complete the approach. The turbulence subsided as he turned from base to final, and he then concluded he would be able to land. He said he elected to fly down the turf and gravel-covered runway farther than normal to avoid a pool of standing water on the runway. As he flared the airplane slightly for landing, he felt the cabin step on the right side of the fuselage drag the runway. The pilot said he became preoccupied with dealing with the turbulence and missing the pool of water on the runway, and due to the increased power setting he used to avoid the water, the gear up warning horn did not activate.

September 27, Concord, Mass.
Cessna 182

At 1103 eastern time, a Cessna 182T crashed while on approach to Hanscom Field, killing the pilot and passenger. The pilot was cleared for an ILS Rwy 11 approach and the pilot reported the outer marker inbound. At that point, the controller told the pilot the last two airplanes broke out at minimums. A minute later, the controller noted the airplane was not on the glideslope, gave the pilot the current altimeter setting and asked him to check his heading. Radar showed the airplane climbing and turning left. The controller asked the pilot his heading, and the pilot replied it was 330. The final approach course was 113. The controller told the pilot to execute the missed approach procedure, but the pilot did not know what the procedure was. The controller told him to maintain his current heading, which was then 180, and climb to 2,000 feet and contact approach. At that point the airplane disappeared from radar. During his last application for a second-class medical, the pilot had reported 2,600 hours total time, with 70 hours in the previous six months.

September 28, McCall, Idaho
Beech Mentor

At approximately 1330 mountain time, a Beech A-45 (T-34) hit the ground just short of runway 34 at McCall Municipal Airport. The pilot and his passenger suffered serious injuries. The pilot said he was practicing short-field operations when he got behind another aircraft that was going very slow on final. He decreased his airspeed to avoid landing while the other aircraft was still on the runway. As he reached a point about 200 feet from the runway threshold, he inadvertently allowed the aircraft to stall onto a gravel blast pad just short of the paved surface.

September 29, Belen, N.M.
Beech Bonanza

At 0530 mountain time, a Beech 35 was destroyed when the pilot lost control on takeoff. The non-instrument rated pilot was killed. Radar data showed the airplane climbed to approximately 300 feet agl and disappeared. The airplane was found approximately 11 hours 30 minutes later by a motorist.

September 30, Show Low, Ariz.
Piper Seneca

At about 1835 mountain time, a Piper PA-34-220T crashed as the pilot attempted to abort the landing at Show Low Municipal Airport. The flight instructor, pilot under instruction, and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. The instructor said they conducted a simulated single-engine approach to runway 3 but the left engine was unresponsive when the pilot taking instruction applied power to make a go-around. The instructor retracted flaps and gear but the airplane continued to descend into the ground. The density altitude at the time was 9,088 feet. The runway was not the active runway at the time and was not equipped with runway lighting.


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