NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 138 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in March 2001. 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, March.”


March 01, Newark, Ohio
Cessna Centurion

At 12:55 eastern time, a Cessna 210 was damaged during landing at Newark-Heath Airport following an apparent loss of elevator control. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot was descending at the end of a cross-country trip when he noticed he had to use both hands on the yoke to stop the descent, even with full nose-up trim. When he flared to land, he could not get the nose to come up and the airplane porpoised. Inspection showed the control column stop was chafing on the rear casing of the HSI. Five shock mounts were installed on the instrument panel, of which the lower right and lower center shock mounts were broken, and the upper left shock mount was not attached.

March 03, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Cessna Skyhawk

At about 13:24 eastern time, a Cessna 172L landed hard at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport after the yoke assembly broke. The CFI and student pilot were not injured. The CFI was flying the airplane and was flaring to land when he could no longer control the airplane with the yoke. He asked the student to pull on the yoke but there was no response from that side, either. The airplane touched down on all three wheels and bounced, then the CFI used the rudder to direct the airplane into the grass.

March 03, Wallingford, Conn.
Rotorway Exec

At 14:30 eastern time, a homebuilt Rotorway Exec 162F helicopter struck trees after lifting to a hover in an open field in Wallingford. The flight instructor and student pilot/builder were not injured. The instructor said he had repositioned the helicopter solo and, when the student boarded, he forgot to move the ballast weight from the right front skid tube to the tail cone, as directed by the checklist. He also said he did not use the pre-takeoff checklist, which would have reminded him to move the ballast. When the helicopter took off, the nose pitched down and the helicopter accelerated and struck trees. The flight instructor reported eight hours in make and model, of which three were logged as instructor in make and model.

March 03, Gulfport, Miss.
Piper Turbo Lance II

At about 14:25 central time, a Piper PA-32RT-300T crashed in the Gulf of Mexico near Gulfport, killing the pilot. IMC prevailed and a VFR flight plan from Tampa to New Orleans had been filed but not activated. Gulfport Approach Control, which was providing flight following, received a land line call from New Orleans Approach Control recommending that the flight not try to continue VFR. Gulfport relayed the message to the accident pilot and recommended a left 180-degree turn to avoid weather. The pilot acknowledged, but radar returns showed the flight entered a right turn and started a high rate of descent.

March 06, Clovis, N.M.
Cessna Skyhawk

At 16:30 mountain time, the pilot of a Cessna 172F lost control during takeoff from runway 30 at Clovis Municipal Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot told investigators the airplane started to drift to the left during the takeoff roll and went off the runway surface. He said there was a little crosswind, so he applied a little right rudder and lowered the left wing. The aircraft veered back to the right, nosed over and the right wing tip struck the ground.

March 07, Dekalb, Ill.
Grumman American Lynx

At 13:15 central time, a Grumman American AA-1C lost engine power and crash-landed in a field near Dekalb. The pilot and passenger reported minor injuries. The pilot told investigators he was in cruise flight when the engine started running rough and then quit. The pilot said he immediately looked for a place to land. When asked by the inspector if the pilot switched the fuel selector to the other tank, the pilot said no. The fuel selector was positioned to the left fuel tank, which was empty. The right wing fuel tank contained fuel. At the time of the accident, a sheriff deputy tested the pilots blood alcohol content at 0.077. Later that afternoon, a second blood alcohol test was conducted on the pilot that showed 0.08.

March 07, Keene, N.H.
Cessna Skyhawk

At about 13:10 eastern time, a Cessna 172S struck a snow bank during a landing rollout at Dillant-Hopkins Airport. The pilot was not injured. A Notam reported Dillant-Hopkins runway conditions as clear, with patches of packed snow and ice. Because of the runways length and the reports of patches of snow and ice, the pilot kept his feet off the brakes, and expected a long rollout. About 500 feet into the rollout, the right main tire lost traction, and the aircraft began to yaw, then slowly veer and skid to the left. The pilot noted that in the area where he had lost control of the airplane the runway had appeared to be covered with packed snow. However, after the accident, the pilot saw that there had actually been three patches of slushy wet snow.

March 08, Saint Helens, Ore.
Piper Comanche

At approximately 12:40 Pacific time, a Piper PA-24 lost engine power in flight and was substantially damaged when the pilot made an intentional gear-up landing in a field. The pilot and passenger where not injured. The pilot said the airplane was in cruise flight when he noticed the exhaust gas temperature had decreased. He did not sense any drop in rpm and he did not check to see what the manifold pressure was. He applied carburetor heat for a couple of seconds but saw no indication that there was any ice accumulation. Less than a minute later the engine quit. The aircraft descended through the overcast and the pilot executed a forced landing in an open field located in densely forested terrain.

March 08, Mica, Wash.
Cessna Stationair

At 14:20 Pacific time, a Canadian-registered Cessna U206G struck trees five miles east/northeast of Mica. The pilot was killed. IMC prevailed and the flight was on a VFR flight plan from Renton, Wash., to Spokane and then on to Calgary, Alberta. The pilot contacted Spokane Approach at 13:51 and reported his position as 15 miles south of Spokane, tracking inbound on a 006 degree magnetic heading at 2,700 feet. He requested the weather and vectors to land and, when asked to squawk 0345, advised he was experiencing some transponder trouble. The aircraft was not radar identified. Less than 10 minutes later the pilot radioed that he would head toward Coeur DAlene, Idaho, or seek a small airport to the south. Later he advised Spokane Approach that he was heading 020 degrees to Coeur DAlene and was 22 miles out. Three minutes later there was a brief ELT transmission. The 14:15 automatic surface observation for Coeur DAlene reported broken clouds at 100 feet and overcast conditions at 1,600 feet.

March 09, Stratford, Conn.
Hawker Siddeley HS-125

About 14:01 eastern time, a Hawker Siddeley HS-125-3A overran the runway while landing at Sikorsky Memorial Airport. The two pilots were not injured. The copilot, who was flying, said she flew the ILS approach and landed, but did not have any braking effectiveness as the airplane touched down on the runway. With 1,000 feet remaining, the copilot selected the emergency brakes. With no results, the copilot selected the parking brake. The airplane continued off the departure end of the runway and through a fence. A witness reported the jet crossed over the threshold of the runway at about 100 feet and about 125 feet to the right of the runway centerline. The airplane banked to the left about 10-15 degrees and became aligned with the centerline of the runway. The witness said it was landing hot but could not estimate a numerical speed. A pilot who had flown the ILS to Runway 6 just prior to the accident airplane reported braking as good with slushy patches and snow accumulations toward the middle of the runway. The controller who had issued the landing clearance for the airplane observed the airplane touch down on Runway 6 abeam Taxiway Bravo, with 3,200 feet remaining. Post-accident investigation showed no problems with the aircrafts brakes.

March 09, Essex, Calif.
Piper Lance

At about 09:50 Pacific time, a Piper PA-32R-300 struck a mountain at the 4,800-foot msl level 15 miles south/southeast of Essex, killing the pilot and passenger. The accident site was 34 miles south-southwest of the departure airport. The airport is in a valley and it was clear overhead; however, the mountain tops were obscured above 4,000 feet in dark clouds in all directions. The accident site was on a steep, rocky, desert mountain slope about 100 feet below a local peak. The wreckage was lying at the base of a vertical rock face and there was shiny aluminum debris embedded in the rock face about 50 feet above the resting location of the wreckage.

March 09, Santa Ysabel, Calif.
North American Navion

At about 14:20 Pacific time, a North American Navion crashed near Santa Ysabel, killing the pilot. IMC prevailed but the pilot was not instrument rated and no flight plan had been filed. Witnesses said they heard the sound of a low-flying airplane for a few seconds before it came out of clouds with the nose pointing down more than 75 degrees. The nose of the airplane pulled up a bit just before the airplane disappeared behind a ridgeline and crashed. The airplane apparently did not break up before impact.

March 10, Lake Wales, Fla.
Beech Baron

At 10:30 eastern time, a Beech 55 crashed during an attempted forced landing in a pasture near Lake Wales. The pilot was not injured. The flight had departed Elkin, N.C., at 07:10 en route to Lake Wales. The pilot canceled his IFR flight plan and entered the traffic pattern for a visual approach. While at about 100 feet agl on final approach, both engines lost power and the pilot landed in a field. During the roll, the gear was torn from the airplane.

March 10, Brevard, N.C.
Cessna Centurion

At about 12:57 eastern time, a Cessna T210L struck trees during a go-around at Transylvania County Airport. The pilot and three passengers reported serious injuries. Witnesses said the airplane was high and fast on the approach. It landed about three-quarters of the way down the runway, bounced, and started to go around. They heard power applied and the airplane became airborne, struck a tree and came to rest in a cornfield. The flaps were fully extended at the time of impact.

March 10, Durham, N.C.
Cessna Skylane

At 11:30 eastern time, a Cessna 182J struck trees while maneuvering for an emergency landing to runway 14 at the Lake Ridge Aero Park. The pilot received serious injuries and his passenger received minor injuries. Witnesses said the airplane took off from runway 32 and experienced a rough-running engine. The pilot executed a 180-degree turn to land on runway 14 but struck trees approximately 200 yards from the approach end of the runway.

March 12, Jackson, Wyo.
Beech Bonanza

At approximately 12:15 mountain time, a Beech A36 struck terrain at 10,400 feet msl on Pinnacle Peak, 15 miles southeast of Jackson, while in cruise flight. All five aboard were killed. IMC prevailed but no flight plan as filed. The flight had originated from Garden City, Kan., at 07:00 and the pilot had canceled flight following near Pinedale, Wyo., at 11:41.

March 14, Huntington, W.V.
Cessna 150

At about 11:20 eastern time, a Cessna 150 lost engine power and was ditched in a river near Huntington. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he had purchased the airplane in January and it was overdue for an annual inspection. He was issued a ferry permit to fly the aircraft from Huntington to Milton to receive an annual inspection. The pilot said he drained water from the fuel tanks, conducted a preflight inspection and ran up the engine before takeoff. About three miles from the airport, the engine began sputtering. When he determined he could not make it back to the airport, he turned toward the shore of a river and ditched the airplane. He swam to shore and the airplane sank. The mechanic who had obtained the ferry permit said the airplanes fuel filler necks had rusted and it had rained continuously the night before the accident flight. In addition, the airplane had not flown for at least three months before the accident flight. The mechanic had run the airplane on the ground for 20 to 30 minutes prior to obtaining the ferry permit.

March 14, Anza, Calif.
Piper Aztec

At 10:10 Pacific time, a Piper PA-23 was damaged in a forced landing after a door opened in flight near Anza. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he was at 9,500 feet msl when the cockpit door popped open. He said that he was unable to control the airplane in that configuration and subsequently initiated a reduced-power descent. He then performed an off-airfield, gear-up, forced landing in a flat, open, desert area.

March 16, Palm Coast, Fla.
Piper Seneca

At about 15:10 eastern time, a Piper PA-34-200 struck trees and caught fire while on approach to runway 24 at Flagler County Airport. The commercial rated-check pilot, the commercial rated-pilot, and commercial rated-pilot/passenger reported serious injuries. The flight was intended to give two company instructors multi-engine instructor standardization check rides. The check pilot was in the left seat at the time of the accident, the right seat pilot was taking the check ride. The pilot/passenger was in the right middle seat and was observing. Witnesses said the airplane was flying low above the trees, then pitched nose low, struck trees and crashed on a four-lane road. Post-crash investigation determined the right engine fuel selector was in the OFF position in the cockpit and at the wing selector valve. The right propeller was found feathered. The left engine displayed only slight rotational damage. Due to the degree of injury to all three occupants, none was able to talk with investigators. However, the check pilots wife said her husband told her there were no mechanical problems with the airframe or engines.

March 19, Manassas, Va.
Piper Turbo Arrow

At about 19:00 eastern time, a Piper PA-28-RT201 crashed on approach to runway 34R at Manassas Regional Airport, killing the pilot. The pilot reported on right base for landing, but controllers lost contact after that. Radar data showed the airplane flew a base leg that would have resulted in a six-mile final, then turned left, away from the runway, and continued the turn 270 degrees so it was inbound again. The ground track roughly corresponded to the GPS Runway 34 approach, even though the flight was being made VFR in visual conditions. The airplane then passed directly over the final approach fix at 1,600 feet until it began a descent 2.3 miles from the runway. When it was 1.1 miles out, it descended through 600 feet and disappeared from radar. Its average descent rate was 1,200 fpm. The pilot had more than 2,100 hours total time. Before his biennial flight review in October 1999, he had not flown for nearly five years. In the four and a half months before the accident, the pilot had logged 10 hours.

March 19, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Embraer Brasilia

At about 18:30 eastern time, the flight crew of Comair flight 5054, an EMB-120, reported experiencing an upset event and a loss of altitude after encountering icing conditions. The aircraft was 46 minutes into a scheduled flight from Nassau, Bahamas, to Orlando, Fla., and diverted to West Palm Beach. Examination of the aircraft found substantial damage to the elevators and the horizontal stabilizer, but no injuries.

March 20, Stanford, Calif.
Cessna 172RG

At 15:00 Pacific time, a Cessna 172RG lost engine power and made an emergency landing in a dirt field in Stanford, coming to rest inverted. The flight instructor and pilot/student were not injured. The instructor said they were about 2,000 feet msl when he noted a loss of oil pressure. At 1,600 feet the engine stopped. He set up for the emergency landing on a side road but a truck entered the road, and he had to maneuver the airplane onto an open field. Investigators found the oil had been changed the day before the accident and the oil filter had not been tightened or safety-wired to the engine. The bottom of the fuselage, firewall, and the rear of the engine were coated with oil and the engine was seized.

March 20, Alamosa, Colo.
Cessna 340

At approximately 11:15 mountain time, a Cessna 340 struck a bird while on final approach to San Luis Valley Regional Airport. There were no injuries aboard the airplane, but the Sand Hill Crane wasnt so lucky. The pilot said they had just passed over the airport at pattern altitude and were preparing to enter the downwind for runway 20 when a flock of birds came up from below. One bird struck the leading edge of the right wing approximately 3 feet inboard of the tip tank.

March 23, Winslow, Ariz.
Cessna 305A

At about 15:50 mountain time, a Cessna 305A ground looped during landing rollout on runway 04 at the Winslow-Lindbergh Regional Airport. Neither the pilot/owner nor the flight instructor was injured. The owner had just bought the airplane and was ferrying the airplane to his home in Maryland. He did not yet have a taildragger endorsement, so the CFI was training him on the way. The instructor reported that the pilots landing was normal. However, when the pilot applied the toe brakes, his left shoe (size 14) slipped off the pedal and became jammed next to the console. The instructor stated that he yelled at the pilot to release the brake, but to no avail.

March 24, Dixon, Ky.
Cessna Skylane

At about 14:40 central time, a Cessna 182Q crashed in Dixon, killing the pilot. The accident site was located on the pilots brother-in-laws property. The pilots brother-in-law told investigators he heard the airplane buzz the house. It sounded very low at the time. He said the engine was producing power continuously. Investigation of the scene showed the airplane hit near the top of one of two 75-foot-tall trees on a hill about 500 feet from the wreckage.

March 26, Englewood, Colo.
Socata TBM 700

At 07:19 mountain time, a Socata TBM 700 crashed right after takeoff from Centennial Airport. The pilot was killed. Radar data showed the airplane taking off from runway 17L. As the pilot was handed off to Denver Departure, the airplane was climbing in a left turn, then descending as the turn continued. Restricted visibility precluded tower personnel from observing the departure.

March 27, Watkins, Colo.
Beech Baron

At 15:40 mountain time, a Beech 95-B55B was destroyed by postimpact fire after it landed with the gear retracted at Front Range Airport. The flight instructor and two students were not injured. The pilot said he forgot to lower the landing gear.

March 28, Santa Monica, Calif.
Cessna Skyhawk

At about 18:58 Pacific time, a Cessna 172N descended into Santa Monica Bay. One passenger was killed. The pilot and another passenger were missing and presumed dead. The pilot told Santa Monica Tower that he intended to fly up and down the shoreline. Radar data showed the airplane cruising about a half-mile offshore at about 1,000 feet. The airplane then turned perpendicular to the shoreline and descended in a right turn until the radar track was lost. Another pilot who was flying in the vicinity reported that a solid overcast marine layer existed at the time. The cloud bases were about 1,100 feet msl, and the top of the cloud layer was about 1,700 feet msl. It was a dark night, and no moon was visible.

March 29, Aspen, Colo.
Grumman Gulfstream III

At about 19:00 mountain time, a Gulfstream III on a Part 135 flight crashed while on approach for landing into Aspen, Colo. All 18 aboard the airplane were killed. Although media reports have detailed some of the conditions surrounding the accident, the NTSB preliminary report gives no pertinent information on the accident.

March 30, Concord, N.C.
Piper Turbo Lance II

At about 06:06 eastern time, a Piper PA-32RT-300 crashed during an ILS Runway 20 approach to Concord Regional Airport. The pilot was killed. The approach controller asked the pilot if he was familiar with the Notams at Concord, told the pilot that the glide slope was out of service and that the ILS DME was unmonitored. The pilot was further instructed by approach that the AWOS visibility report was unreliable at Concord The pilot was then cleared for approach. The pilot acknowledged the clearance. Thirty seconds later, the controller approved a frequency change and asked the pilot to report canceling IFR when he was on the ground. The pilot did not acknowledge the transmission.

March 31, Paris, Va.
Piper Comanche

At about 13:20 eastern time, a Piper PA-24-250 struck mountains near Paris, killing the pilot. IMC prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The pilots son said the airplane was being repositioned for an annual inspection. Examination of the wreckage found it was being operated on a mixture of auto gas and avgas. The seat belts were found unbuckled. An annual inspection had been performed at the departure airport, but the pilot was reportedly upset by the discrepancies noted. The mechanic noted in the logbooks that the airplane was unairworthy. The pilot did not obtain a ferry permit to reposition the airplane. The pilot reported more than 2,000 flight hours on his last medical application, but he had flown less than 3.5 hours in the last year.

March 31, Marco Island, Fla.
Piper Aerostar

At about 10:15 eastern time, an Aerostar PA-60-601P crashed while attempting a landing at the Marco Island Executive Airport. The pilot was killed. The flight departed Venice about 30 minutes before the accident. Witnesses said the airplanes approach to runway 17 appeared unstable. The winds were from the southwest at 15 knots, gusting to about 20 knots, and the pilot appeared to have a hard time lining up with the runway centerline. The pilot climbed to about 50 feet agl, with little or no power advance, as it proceeded down the runway. At the midpoint of the runway, the aircraft entered a steep left bank and the nose dropped until the left wingtip contacted the ground. The aircraft skidded sideways and crashed into mangroves, where it burned.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here