NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and airline accidents


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


April 01, Lakeland, Fla.
Mooney M20C

At about 1630 eastern time, a Mooney M20C struck a ground marshaller during taxi after landing at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The ground marshaller was seriously injured and the airplane received minor damage. The pilot said he was taxiing west on taxiway Delta when he saw the ground marshaller off his left wing. The ground marshaller waved him on and then ducked down. A witness said the marshaller made a 90-degree turn to tell the witness, who was on a motorcycle, where to lead the airplane. The airplanes left wing struck the ground marshaller in the back, knocking him forward. The left wing then struck the ground marshaller in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground.

April 04, Leominster, Mass.
Beechcraft King Air

At 0935 eastern time, a Beechcraft B200 struck a building while on approach to Fitchburg Municipal Airport, killing the two pilots and four passengers, and leaving one passenger seriously injured. One person inside the building received minor injuries. The airplane had been cleared for the GPS RWY 14 approach into Fitchburg. The airplanes radar track showed the airplane flew the approach accurately up to the point where it crossed the missed approach point. At that point, the pilot apparently flew a circling approach to runway 32 from very close to the runway. A witness said the airplane banked 90 degrees in a continuous turn from downwind to final at about 450 feet agl until the airplane stalled and dove to the ground.

April 05, Herald, Calif.
Piper Pawnee and Grumman Tiger

At about 1045 Pacific time, a Piper PA-36-375 collided with a Grumman American AA-5B while both airplanes were attempting to land at Bottimore Ranch Airport. Neither pilot was injured. The pilot of the Piper said he was landing when he heard the collision, then noticed the Grumman, which had just touched down on the same runway. He went around and diverted to Franklin Field Airport. The pilot of the Grumman said the aircraft went all over the place just after the main landing gear touched down. He said he did not know he had been hit by another airplane until he saw the Piper flying away from him.

April 07, Moran, Texas
Piper Super Cub

At approximately 1740 central time, a Piper PA-18 struck a tree while landing at a private airstrip near Moran. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was landing to the west and touched down about 10 feet short of the 800-foot grass strip. The airplane bounced, drifted right and struck a mesquite tree. Wind at the time was from 290 at 15 knots, gusting to 20.

April 08, Belle Glade, Fla.
Two Air Tractor 502s

At about 0745 eastern time, an Air Tractor 502B and an Air Tractor 502 collided on runway 09 at Belle Glade State Municipal Airport. The pilot of the 502B suffered minor injuries but the pilot of the 502 was killed. The 502B was started his takeoff roll but did not see the 502, which had landed and was taxiing off of the runway, until it was too late to avoid a collision. Neither airplane was equipped with a VHF radio for using the airports common traffic advisory frequency.

April 08, St Louis, Mo.
Dassault Falcon

At 1850 central time, a Dassault Falcon lost power on approach to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and was ditched into the Mississippi River. The two pilots suffered serious injuries. The airplane had departed Del Rio, Texas, about 2:20 before the accident on a Part 135 cargo flight. The airplane flew the ILS Rwy 30R approach, but missed. As the airplane was being vectored for a second approach, the pilots asked several times how far from the airport they would be going. When on base leg, the crew stated it had a fuel limitation and declared an emergency when switched to the tower frequency. No measurable quantity of fuel was detected in the fuel system when the aircraft was recovered.

April 10, West Milford, N.J.
Mooney M20K

At about 2040 eastern time, a Mooney M20K suffered an apparent nose gear problem and was damaged during landing at Greenwood Lake Airport. The pilot received minor injuries. The pilot said he had transported another pilot to Stewart International Airport to pick up another airplane. At the landing at Stewart, he detected a nosewheel shimmy. The two pilots examined the nose gear but could find no anomalies. The two then departed in separate airplanes for the return flight. The pilot said that, after he touched down, the nose of the airplane veered to the right. He pulled back on the yoke to ease the nose up, but he pulled back too hard and the airplane became airborne again. He thought he would touch down on the runway again, but instead, the airplane landed between the runway and taxiway and struck rocks.

April 10, Foxworth, Miss.
Cessna 172

At about 1100 central time, a Cessna 172N collided with a fence during the landing roll at a private airstrip at Circle Bar Ranch. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said he overflew the airstrip and observed the windsock, which indicated the wind was from the northeast at approximately 10 knots. He entered the traffic pattern for runway 09, and twice performed a go-around. Following the second approach, the wind was from the northwest and he entered the traffic pattern for a full-stop landing on runway 27. He touched down about a quarter of the way down the 2,400-foot runway but, at the midpoint of the runway, the airplane accelerated, apparently due to a wind shift. The airplane would not stop before the end of the runway, so he intentionally maneuvered the airplane off the left side of the runway. A witness said the airplane touched down about midpoint of the runway. Examination revealed the airplane left the runway about 204 feet before the end of the pavement and then traveled 492 feet.

April 11, Redding, Calif.
Cessna 177RG and Piper Aztec

At about 1030 Pacific time, a Cessna 177RG collided with a parked Piper PA-23-250 prior to taxing for takeoff at Redding Municipal Airport. The pilot of the Cessna was not injured and the Piper was unoccupied. The pilot told investigators he was a CFI student and was preparing to practice flying from the right seat. During the starting sequence, the pilot inadvertently set the throttle at a quarter inch from full throttle instead of at a quarter inch from idle. When the engine started, the pilot was not able to stop the airplane. The right wing of the Cessna passed over the left wing of the Piper and struck the propeller.

April 11, Pomona, N.J.
Beech Bonanza

At 1625 eastern time, a Beech A36 struck trees during an approach to Atlantic City International Airport. The pilot was killed. The pilot made two attempts to shoot the ILS Rwy 13 approach. During the first approach, the controller issued vectors numerous times to assist the pilot in intercepting the localizer. The airplane descended well below the glideslope and the controller twice issued climb instructions. During the missed approach, the controller offered a surveillance approach, which the pilot accepted. As the airplane was being vectored, the pilot requested another try at the ILS. During the second approach, the pilot passed through the localizer and the controller elected to initiate a surveillance approach and instructed the pilot to contact the final approach controller. Four attempts were necessary for the pilot to read back the correct final approach control frequency. The pilot received a step-down altitude and a heading. When the airplane was 2.5 nautical miles from the approach end of runway 13, at an assigned altitude of 1,000 feet, it began to divert to the south. The controller advised the pilot to correct his heading; however, no response was received. The controller issued the next assigned step-down altitude of 700 feet, and again issued vectors to correct the pilots heading. No response was received from the pilot. The airplane then appeared to level off at an altitude of 300 feet, on an approximate heading of 145 degrees, for about 20 seconds. The last radar contact was 1.3 nautical miles west northwest of runway 13, at 300 feet. The pilot had logged about 2,000 hours of flight time.

April 12, Melbourne, Fla.
Cessna 172

At about 0920 eastern time, a Cessna 172S collided with a parked airplane while taxiing at the Melbourne Regional Airport. The student pilot was not injured. The pilot said he received his taxi clearance and released the parking brake. The airplane began to roll forward and he applied the airplanes brakes to perform a brake check, but the brakes were ineffective. The airplane rolled forward and collided with a parked twin. Several witnesses said they heard the engine operating at high power before the impact.

April 12, Conesus, N.Y.
Piper Cherokee 180

At about 1600 eastern time, a Piper PA-28-180 crashed after a loss of control near Conesus, killing the flight instructor and the pilot undergoing model familiarization training. The airplane was operated by a Dansville flying club. A different instructor had begun the checkout earlier in the day. A witness said the airplane pitched up to the point where it appeared the pilot was attempting a loop, then the left wing dropped and the airplane spiraled to the ground. The flight instructor had logged 1,097 hours and the pilot receiving instruction had logged 146 hours.

April 13, Olive Branch, Miss.
Cessna 152

At about 1415 central time, a Cessna 152 crashed short of the runway at Olive Branch Airport when the flight instructor intentionally shut off the fuel as part of engine-out training. Neither occupant was injured. The instructor said he moved the fuel selector to the OFF position when the airplane was abeam the numbers on downwind. The student ran through the emergency procedures, but the engine did not restart when the fuel selector was returned to ON. The pilots did not immediately turn to the runway because of traffic on final, but flew a normal pattern. The airplane landed short and the nose gear collapsed, damaging the airplane.

April 13, Sedona, Ariz.
Beech Bonanza

At about 1230 mountain time, a Beech A36 struck a fence and terrain during a takeoff attempt from runway 21 at Sedona. The flight instructor, the pilot taking instruction and a passenger were killed. Several witnesses said the airplane did not seem to accelerate and was rolling very slowly with partial flaps deployed as it passed the midfield point. The airplane was still on the ground about 4,000 feet down the 5,132-foot runway. The airplane reached an altitude of only a few feet before crashing off the departure end.

April 14, Robbinsville, N.J.
Minimax 1500R

At 1512 eastern time, a homebuilt Minimax 1500R was damaged during a forced landing at Trenton-Robbinsville Airport. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said it was the airplanes inaugural flight. He had previously made high-speed taxi tests that involved short periods of being airborne. After initial takeoff, he stayed in the traffic pattern and did one landing. He then climbed to 2,500 feet and continued flight testing. He then returned to the traffic pattern. The first two approaches resulted in go-arounds. On the third approach, the airplane ballooned and he applied power to go around again. The airplane would not develop enough power to maintain altitude, and the airplane crashed into trees. Examination of the fuel system revealed contamination of the fuel filter with small particles of sealant used on the threaded fittings of the fuel system.

April 15, Denver, Colo.
Swearingen SA226TC

At 2041 mountain time, a Swearingen SA226TC was damaged in a gear-up landing on runway 35L at Denver International Airport. The two pilots were not injured. The crew lowered the landing gear selector in preparation for landing and heard the familiar sound of the gear extended, but the red transition lights remained illuminated, which they said had been a recurring problem with this airplane. They cycled the landing gear but it did not solve the problem as it had in the past. They said they were confident the landing gear was extended because the hydraulic pressure gauge indicated 2,000 pounds.

April 18, Salt Lake City, Utah
Mitsubishi MU-2

At 0325 mountain time, a Mitsubishi MU-2B-60 was damaged when it struck runway lights during its takeoff roll on runway 35 at Salt Lake City International Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was cleared for takeoff and used the left runway edge lights to align the airplane, due to reduced visibility from a rain shower. During the roll the airplane destroyed 15 to 20 lights and the left engine, cowling and propeller were damaged, as well as the pressure vessel.

April 19, Coos Bay, Ore.
Cessna 150

At approximately 1400 Pacific time, a Cessna 150 suffered a loss on control on takeoff from a private airstrip near Coos Bay, seriously injuring the student pilot and his passenger. The pilots son, who witnessed the accident, said he thought the pilot would abort the takeoff because it sounded like the power was being reduced. The son added that then the power increased, but the airplane rotated at too slow an airspeed.

April 20, Ardmore, Okla.
Robinson R-22

At 0800 central time, a Robinson R-22 Beta rolled over during takeoff from Ardmore Downtown Executive Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said a Cessna 172 was parked approximately 30 feet behind the helicopter and faced the opposite direction. As the helicopter lifted off, the Cessna 172s engine started, and the pilot feels that this caused the loss of control on takeoff.

April 23, Boulder City, Nev.
Cessna 340

At 0718 Pacific time, a Cessna 340A was damaged when it taxied over an unmarked, partially collapsed manhole cover at Boulder City Municipal Airport. The left main landing gear collapsed into the hole, causing the nose gear to collapse as well. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The airport manager stated in a telephone interview that airport personnel had reported the partially collapsed manhole cover the previous night.

April 24, Newport, R.I.
Cessna 206

At about 1630 eastern time, a Cessna P206 was damaged while taxiing for takeoff at Newport State Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was taxiing behind a King Air with its engines operating. As he passed, the King Air mechanic running the engines moved the propellers from feather to the governing range. The King Air was facing into the wind, which was from 300 at 16 knots, gusting to 20. The combination of wind and propeller thrust from the King Air apparently was enough to flip the Cessna on its back.

April 25, Trenton, Tenn.
Cessna 150

At 1515 central time, a Cessna 150 crashed while chasing a bank robber near Trenton. The pilot was seriously injured and the passenger was not injured. The pilot was assisting the local police in tracking a bank robber. During the observation flight, the robber was tracked to an open field near the airport. The pilot entered a steep turn in an effort to corral the bank robber into a confined area until ground personnel were on site. As the pilot continued the maneuver, he encountered a wind gust and was unable to recover before the airplane collided with the ground.

April 26, Longmont, Colo.
Pitts S-2B

At 1215 mountain time, a Christen Industries Pitts S-2B crashed in a field three miles north of Longmont, killing the pilot and passenger. Witnesses said the airplane was in a vertical climb, ran out of airspeed, nosed over and came down in a spiral. They also reported hearing the engine surging, then fail. The airplane had departed about 2:15 earlier, and the endurance of a Pitts S-2B with full tanks is about 1.7 hours, but there was no preliminary information about a fuel stop.

April 26, Jackson, Ohio
Beech Bonanza

At about 1630 eastern time, a Beech A36 crashed shortly after takeoff from James A. Rhodes Airport, killing the flight instructor and owner taking instruction. The accident flight occurred during a Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program. The pilot had attended an all-day ground school the day prior to the accident and was scheduled for a flight period from 1300-1700 with the instructor. Witnesses said the airplane departed from runway 01 and made a simulated emergency turnback to land on runway 19. The pilot backtaxied and reported he would make the same maneuver again. During the second maneuver, the airplane suddenly pitched down and spiraled to the ground. Another pilot who flew with the instructor the morning of the accident said the instructor emphasized the return to the runway, using best glide speed and a 45-degree bank to turn around.

April 27, Henderson, Ky.
Quickie Q-200

At 1330 eastern time, an amateur-built Quickie Q-200 crashed while the pilot was attempting the airplanes first flight. The pilot was killed. The pilot had performed several hours of high-speed taxi runs with the accident airplane before the day of the accident. The accident flight was the first flight. Witnesses said the airplane departed from the 5,504-foot runway, climbed to about 30 feet and began to porpoise. It descended to the runway, bounced back into the air, touched down hard again, then veered off the runway, rolled inverted and burst into flame.

April 27, Burnham, Pa.
Cessna 172

At about 1830 eastern time, a Cessna 172K struck trees during the takeoff roll from McCardle Farm Airport. The student pilot was not injured. The pilot said he applied full power and the airplane yawed left, departed the left side of the runway, went down an embankment, and struck several trees. The students last 90-day endorsement was approximately 1 year before the accident. He flew five to 10 hours a year, with the majority of his flying out of the accident airport. His last flight was in October 2002, when he flew about an hour, and completed five takeoff and landings at the accident airport. His last medical certificate was issued 3 years and 7 months before the accident.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here