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 2004. Statements in quotes were taken directly from the NTSB documents. Click here to view “April Accident Totals”.


April 02, 2004, Harrietstown, N.Y.
Piper PA-28R-180

At approximately 1925 Eastern time, the Piper Arrow impacted terrain while attempting the ILS Runway 23 approach to the Adirondack Regional Airport (SLK) in Harrietstown, N.Y. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the airplane substantially damaged. Night IMC prevailed for the flight from Leesburg, Va. According to the NTSBs preliminary review of radar data, the airplane crossed the SLK VOR at 6000 feet and proceeded outbound, descending to 5000 feet. About nine miles from the SLK VOR, the airplane made a left turn, then turned to the right approximately 10 seconds later. The right turn continued until intercepting the final approach course for the Runway 23 localizer, where a gradual descent began, outside the final approach fix. The outbound minimum altitude from the SLK VOR, for the full approach, is 5000 feet. The airport elevation at SLK is 1,663 feet.

April 04, 2004, Ukiah, Calif.
Piper PA-32R-301T

About two minutes after an 0808 Pacific time departure from the airport at Ukiah, Calif., the Piper Saratoga SP II collided with terrain. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed but no flight plan had been filed. An instrument-rated air ambulance helicopter pilot attempting to return to Ukiah heard a pilot on the Unicom frequency say he was in a Saratoga and preparing to depart Runway 33. The Saratoga pilot told him that there were no holes in the clouds, and that the 100-foot ceiling looked about right. A few minutes later, the air ambulance helicopter pilot heard the Saratoga pilot say that he was going to depart on Runway 15. The helicopter pilot asked the Saratoga pilot if he had an instrument clearance. The Saratoga pilot reported that he was departing VFR. The air ambulance pilot told him that he could not get into the airport visually, and then departed for a helipad about 10 miles away. The air ambulance pilot heard about an accident as soon as he landed.

April 04, 2004, Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Piper PA-30

At about 1609 Eastern time, a Piper PA-30 crashed shortly after takeoff from the Fernandina Beach (Fla.)Municipal Airport. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. A witness reported the airplane was airborne with the landing gear retracted before reaching the intersection of Runways 04/22 and 08/26. He believed the airplane climbed to approximately 250-300 feet. Just before the airplane flew past a hangar, he heard a brief sputtering sound, then observed the airplane bank to the left. He then lost sight of the airplane for a short time as it passed behind the hangar. When he saw it again, the airplane was in a 25-30 degree left-wing-low and nose-low attitude, which continued until the airplane impacted the ground.

April 05, 2004, Johns Island, S.C.
Smith Aerostar 601P

At 1526 Eastern time, a Smith Aerostar 601P crashed during its initial climb after takeoff from the Charleston Executive Airport, Johns Island, S.C. The commercial pilot and the airline transport pilot-rated passenger received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. Before the takeoff, the pilot reportedly requested maintenance on the airplane. A witness stated the pilot told him he wanted to fly the airplane to another airport to have the problem looked at before returning to Florida. Later, another witness watched the takeoff, noting that the aircraft appeared to rotate really late, using approximately 4000 feet of runway. He stated the airplane climbed to about 400 or 500 feet, then spun to the left, making three complete turns before disappearing behind the trees.

April 10, 2004, N. Lauderdale, Fla.
Cirrus Design Corp. SR22

At about 0956 Eastern time, the Cirrus SR22 collided with trees after the pilot intentionally activated the airplanes parachute system. The flight originated about six minutes earlier from the Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Executive Airport. Shortly after takeoff, the flight encountered IMC at 400 feet. The pilot later reported the vertical speed indicator suddenly decreased to zero, then increased to 2000 FPM, then went back to zero. He reported there was no turbulence. At that point, the altimeter began large deflections. Subsequently, the attitude indicator did not agree with the turn coordinator. After requesting vectors for an ILS approach at the departure airport, the pilot advised the controller that he was losing gauges and would be unable to execute the requested approach. He then advised the controller that he was going to activate the parachute system and did so. Preliminary examination of the static system of the airplane revealed the lines contained water between the static port openings and the alternate static air valve; the water was retained for analysis.

April 12, 2004, North Augusta, S.C.
Cessna 182S

At 1007 Eastern time, the Cessna collided with trees and the ground near North Augusta, S.C. The private pilot and two passengers received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight had departed the Aiken (S.C.) Municipal Airport less than 30 minutes earlier, with an intended destination of Greenville, Miss. A preliminary review of radar data revealed that the airplanes flight path exhibited constantly fluctuating altitude, heading and groundspeed and was not following its filed course. As the flight neared the Augusta Regional Airport at Bush Field in Augusta, Ga., the pilot elected to proceed to that airport for landing. An air traffic controller provided the pilot a heading and altitude to fly for a surveillance approach and the pilot acknowledged. Radar data revealed the flights heading, altitude, and ground speed continued to fluctuate. Witnesses a few hundred yards from the accident site reported seeing the airplane flying low and erratically. Then it banked left and nosed straight down through the trees and to the ground.

April 15, 2004, Carthage, Tenn.
Aeronca 7AC

At about 1728 Central time, the Aeronica collided with wires while maneuvering in VMC and was substantially damaged. The private pilot and one passenger reported minor injuries. The pilot stated he was flying at 1500 feet in the vicinity of a river. He started a turn when his passenger stated, Watch the wires. The airplane collided with two of four wires and the water in Defeated Creek. The pilot later stated he should have been more alert about his surroundings. The pilot did not report a mechanical problem with the airplane before it collided with the wires and the water.

April 16, 2004, Kennedy, N.Y.
Zenith Tri-Z

The Experimental airplane was substantially damaged during an attempted landing on a private airfield at about 1745 Eastern time; the Private pilot was seriously injured. According to the pilot, he performed a touch-and-go landing at his private airfield and, during the climbout, observed fuel venting from the right wing. He then switched the fuel tank selector from the left tank to the right tank. He then flew the downwind leg of the traffic pattern. Subsequently, while turning onto the base leg, the engine lost power. The pilot was able to restart the engine; however, it lost power again shortly after the restart. The pilot then set up for a forced landing, during which the airplane impacted trees. The pilot later told the NTSB that he had not secured the selector into the right tank detent, effectively turning the fuel off.


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