NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


The following briefs were selected from the 118 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in January 2003. 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, January.”


January 01, Milford, Utah
AMD CH2000

At approximately 2200 mountain time, an AMD CH2000 crashed 7.1 miles southeast of Milford, seriously injuring the instrument student and instructor. The airplane was flying from Cedar City to Salt Lake City and had filed an IFR flight plan to be activated at Delta, Utah. VMC prevailed at the time of the accident. Shortly after the accident, one of the occupants called 911 on a cell phone, reporting the accident and that one person remained trapped in the wreckage. The accident was found about two hours later at about 8,500 feet msl in an area where terrain rises to 8,840 feet.

January 01, Peachtree City, Ga.

At about 1655 eastern time, a homebuilt RV-6A crashed approximately 715 feet from the approach end of runway 31 after losing engine power during a practice instrument approach. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he had switched tanks about an hour into his flight, and about 15 minutes after switching tanks the engine lost partial power. He applied more throttle and initiated the instrument approach. During his prelanding checklist, he turned on the auxiliary pump, applied carb heat and reduced power. The engine then quit smoothly as if the mixture had been pulled. He tried to restart the engine unsuccessfully. When he realized he would be unable to make the runway, he lowered full flaps and slowed to just above stall speed. The airplane came to rest inverted and the pilot evacuated the airplane by cutting a portion of the canopy with a survival tool.

January 06, Cleveland, Ohio
Embraer Regional Jet

At 1248 eastern time, an Embraer ERJ-145LR operated by Continental Express was damaged when it overran the departure end of runway 6L at Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport. There were no injuries. Preliminary investigation showed the airplane touched down at 150 knots indicated when the airplane was only 0.38 miles from the localizer/DME antenna that was located 510 feet beyond the departure end of the 6,800-foot runway. A Notam had been issued an hour earlier that described the runway as covered with thin, wet snow. The winds at the time were from 330 at 19 knots, gusting to 29.

January 08, Flagstaff, Ariz.
Piper Aztec

At about 1220 mountain time, Albuquerque Center lost radar and radio contact with a Piper PA-23-250 near Flagstaff. At the time of the report, the airplane had not been found and the four occupants are presumed dead. The airplane was flying VFR from Boulder City, Nev., to Midland, Texas, when the pilot reported he could not maintain VFR. He was given vectors to Flagstaff and reported the airport in sight, then reported losing visual contact. He then requested an IFR clearance and was told to climb and hold over the Flagstaff VOR. No further transmissions were received.

January 09, Jean, Nev.
Aeronca 7AC

At about 1330 Pacific time, an Aeronca 7AC struck a Boeing Stearman PT17 after the 7AC started and left its parking place while being hand-propped. Both airplanes were damaged. The pilot of the Aeronca, and individual who had been holding the airplanes tail and a bystander who attempted to render assistance all received minor injuries. The pilot of the Aeronca was attempting to start the airplane without anyone at the controls. The pilot of the Stearman was waiting in the run-up area and intended to depart with the Aeronca. When the Aeronca did finally start, the airplane got away from both the pilot and the individual who was attempting to hold the tail. The Aeronca then turned to the right until its right front struck the right front of the Boeing.

January 11, Everglades City, Fla.
Cessna 150

At about 1553 eastern time, a Cessna 150K ditched into the water at the end of the runway after an aborted landing at Everglades Airpark. The flight instructor received minor injuries and the student received serious injuries. The instructor stated the student was on a stable approach to runway 33 but bounced the landing. The student then advanced the power for a go-around and the airplane banked to the left. The instructor took control and banked the airplane back toward the runway centerline. The airplane struck the runway edge lights on the right side of the runway, but the instructor continued the go-around. The airplane was airborne by the end of the runway but could not climb. To avoid trees, the instructor ditched the airplane in the water.

January 11, Parker, Ariz.
Cessna 182 and Grumman Hellcat

At about 1600 mountain time, a Cessna 182H and a Grumman F6F-5 collided in midair about 1 mile east of Parker. The Cessna crashed and the pilot and passenger were killed. The Hellcat suffered a damaged left wing but landed safely without injury to the Hellcat pilot. The Parker Airport was hosting an air show and the Hellcat was participating in a display of warbirds. The Cessna was departing runway 19 with a left climbing turn from the downwind leg when it collided at midfield downwind with the Hellcat that was returning to the airport after an air-to-air photo shoot with another airplane. Witnesses did not recall the Cessna broadcasting position reports, and preliminary inspection of the radios in the Cessna revealed neither was tuned to the CTAF.

January 14, Gig Harbor, Wash.
Cessna 172

At approximately 0745 Pacific time, a Cessna 172K lost engine power shortly after takeoff from Tacoma Narrows Airport and was damaged in the ensuing forced landing on a road. The airplane struck an automobile on the road, but no one was injured. The pilot was climbing to 3,000 feet on an IFR flight plan when the engine began to surge. He declared an emergency and was vectored for the ILS approach to runway 17. He broke out of the 400- to 900-foot ceiling about 3.5 miles from the airport but could not see it. He could not hold altitude and elected to land on a road, striking the rear of a car that was traveling in the same direction.

January 14, Palm Springs, Calif.
Cessna 414

At 1359 Pacific time, a Cessna 414 crashed after losing engine power while on approach to runway 31L at Palm Springs International Airport. The flight instructor and one passenger suffered minor injuries, and the multiengine-rated pilot in the left seat suffered serious injuries. The passenger and left-seat pilot had just purchased the airplane and the instructor was giving them transition training. The instructor noted that when they inspected the airplane the day before the accident, the left alternator circuit breaker was open. It was reset without incident. Prior to the accident flight, the pilots drained one quart of cloudy water and sediment from one of the fuel tanks on the right wing. On the accident flight, the airplane was cruising at FL250 when the instructor switched from the main fuel tanks to the auxiliary. At that point, the left engine failed. They began a descent toward and airport and moved the fuel selector back to the main tanks and the engine restarted. They elected to continue the flight and conducted air work. As they descended to refuel and change pilots, they decided to conduct a simulated single-engine approach and the instructor failed the left engine. During the base to final turn, the left engine began to surge and the airplane went off course. The instructor took control and advanced the left engine throttle, which caused the surging to increase. At the same time, the power on the right engine began to degrade. The airplane landed hard in a ravine.

January 18, Chesapeake, Va.
Cessna 172

At 1440 eastern time, a Cessna 172 crashed into a field when it failed to climb after takeoff from Hampton Roads Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot, a flight instructor, said she had spend 1 hours cleaning snow from the airplane before attempting to take off. She said she cleared the leading edges but decided the snow of top of the wings would blow off during taxi. As the airplane reached 300 feet, however, the stall horn went off and the pilot attempted to return to the airport. During the turn, the airplane landed hard in a field. A witness, who is a Designated Pilot Examiner, said the airplane was covered with up to 4 inches of snow and ice as the airplane taxied to the runway. At the accident site, there was still about -inch of ice and snow on the wings.

January 18, Eastsound, Wash.
Piper Archer

At approximately 2000 Pacific time, a Piper PA-28-181 crashed into the waters of President Channel about one-quarter mile west of Orcas Island. The private pilot and two passengers received serious injuries and one passenger was killed. The pilot said he departed Sequim about 30 minutes earlier and, when he arrived in the area of Orcas Island, he found the airport and the town of Eastsound covered by low-level fog. After overflying the airport, he proceeded to an area over the water where the fog ended, intending to descend and fly in under the fog layer. Soon after leveling off, the aircraft struck the water and cartwheeled.

January 18, Laconia, N.H.
Piper Mirage

At 1145 eastern time, a Piper PA-46-350P ran off the runway upon landing at Laconia Municipal Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said he attempted to obtain an airport advisory on the Unicom frequency but got no response. He entered a left downwind for runway 26L and maintained visual contact with a Mooney that was on final approach. He observed no abnormalities during the Mooneys landing. He proceeded with the landing and noted the windsock was limp. As the Mirage touched down, it veered dead left, slid off the runway and struck a snow pile. As the pilot walked to the FBO, he noticed that the runway was approximately 85 percent covered with ice approximately to 1 inch thick. The pilot said his preflight weather briefing stated the runway at Laconia had been sanded due to thin, patchy ice.

January 23, San Jose, Calif.
Cirrus SR 20

At 1653 Pacific time, a Cirrus SR 20 struck power lines while making an instrument approach to runway 31R at Reid-Hillview Airport. The pilot was killed. The flight was inbound on the GPS approach and had passed the final approach fix when it began a gradual right turn from 310 degrees to 020 degrees. The airplane collided with high tension power lines located 6.7 miles southeast of the airport at an altitude of 1,600 feet msl. Preliminary inspection found no evidence of preimpact structural failure and the ballistic parachute system had not been deployed.

January 24, San Angelo, Texas
Cessna Caravan

At approximately 1015 central time, a Cessna 208B crashed while landing at Ducote Airpark. The check airman and the pilot who was receiving a Part 135 proficiency check suffered serious injuries. The airplane took off from San Angelo Regional Airport, executed a few instrument approaches and then canceled IFR to head to Ducote. Witnesses said they heard an engine surging and saw the airplane approaching from the south. They stated that the airplane was approximately 100-200 feet agl with the wings rocking, then the airplane struck power lines and crashed. One witness said he smelled jet fuel at the accident site but did not see any fuel there. Two of the witnesses reported between a quarter-inch and one inch of ice on the various protected and unprotected surfaces of the aircraft.

January 24, Melbourne, Fla.
Maverick Twinjet

At about 1700 eastern time, a Maverick Twinjet 1500 struck trees during a go-around at Melbourne Airport, killing the pilot. The flight had departed about 10 minutes earlier and the pilot reported a landing gear problem. He made a fly-by of the tower and controllers observed that one main landing gear was up, the nose gear and the other main gear was half way. The pilot retracted the gear and flew by the tower again, this time at 100 to 200 feet agl. The pilot notified the tower that he planned to do a gear up landing on the grass between a taxiway and runway 9R. He came around again at a low altitude, missed the intended landing area, and crashed into trees.

January 24, Denver, Colo.
Piper Cheyenne and Cessna 172

At 1722 mountain time, a Cessna 172P and a PA-31T collided in midair over Denver. The pilot and two passengers aboard the Cessna and the two pilots aboard the Piper were killed. Six people on the ground suffered minor injuries from falling debris. The Cessna had departed Centennial Airport about 22 minutes earlier, bound for Cheyenne, Wyo. The Piper departed Jeffco Airport about 12 minutes earlier, bound for Centennial. The Piper was flying VFR to the southeast in Class E airspace at 7,800 feet squawking a discrete transponder code and under radar contact, but the airplanes Mode C altitude readout was apparently missing. The Cessna departed VFR northbound and was cleared into Class B airspace to climb to a cruise altitude of 8,500 feet. The controller asked the Piper to verify altitude, and the pilot reported 7,600 feet. The controller gave a traffic advisory that the Cessna was at 12 oclock, one mile and same altitude. The two airplanes collided head-on. One witness reported the Piper made an evasive maneuver at the last second.

January 24, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Beech Travel Air

At about 1626 Pacific time, a Beech 95 lost a propeller blade, which resulted in the right engine tearing from its mounts. The airplane then crashed, killing the pilot. Witnesses reported observing the right engine suspended below the right wing and the airplane entering a steep right bank turn until rolling upside down. The flight was a post-maintenance test flight. The airplanes annual had been signed off that day and the flight was the first after the engine and propeller were overhauled. Preliminary inspection of the propeller showed that its fracture surface had a flat section that revealed beach marks, indicative of a fatigue fracture. Also, several corrosion pits were present on the inner bore of the propeller in proximity to the fatigue cracks. The blade has been sent to the NTSBs Materials Laboratory for a complete examination.

January 25, El Monte, Calif.
Cessna 210

At 1210 Pacific time, a Cessna T210L suffered a collapsed landing gear during a precautionary landing at El Monte Airport following a loss of electrical power during cruise flight. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. The pilot said he had departed Cable Airport nearly two hours earlier. The airplane had been in maintenance for three months having the interior replaced, avionics installed and the exterior painted. This was the first flight since completion of the work. The pilot said he was entering the traffic pattern at Camarillo Airport and selected gear down. He then reached for the flap selector when all electrical power was lost. He circled and attempted to solve the problem, but was unsuccessful. Using a handheld transceiver, he informed Camarillo Tower he would fly to El Monte, the airplanes base. The pilot and the passenger visually confirmed gear down and the pilot also used the emergency hand pump to verify. About two seconds after touchdown the right main gear collapsed. When the airplane was being recovered, the right gear was manually extended and it locked into position. No electrical faults were found by the preliminary inspection.

January 26, Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Cessna 337

At about 1520 eastern time, a Cessna 337-O2A crashed into the ocean during a whale-survey mission about seven miles east of Fernandina Beach. The pilot and three passengers were killed. The pilot radioed the survey company that they had spotted whales. The owner of the airplane said the flight customarily would circle at 1,000 feet until a whale was spotted and then would descend to 750 to 500 feet for closer observations. While tracking a whale the pilot would bank the airplane to 45 degrees right bank, use approach flaps of 10 to 20 degrees and fly at 100 knots. After tracking the whale the pilot would climb the airplane to 1,000 feet and continue the pre-planned search area. The last radar hit on the flight showed the airplane at 600 feet with a ground speed of 0 knots.

January 28, Logan, N.M.
Cessna 172

At approximately 1800 mountain time, a Cessna 172M struck trees during a go-around from an approach to Ute Dam Airport. The pilot and three passengers suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he decided he was too long so he executed a go-around. However, the airplane struck a tree. An examination of the airplane showed the carb heat was pulled on. No other anomalies were found.

January 31, Tehachapi, Calif.
Piper Cherokee 140

At 1836 Pacific time, a Piper PA-28-140 struck terrain while on approach to Tehachapi Municipal Airport. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. The flight departed Long Beach for Redding, but diverted to Tehachapi due to weather en route and at Redding. The pilot stated that he was approaching the airport on the extended centerline on a long final. He noticed a red light between his airplane and the runway and thought it was another airplane. He followed the light to the airport. As he got closer, he saw that the red light marked terrain and he immediately made a sharp, right, climbing turn to avoid contact. However, the airplane impacted the mountain and came to rest inverted on the other side.


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