NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


The following briefs were selected from the 170 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in September 2002. 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, September.”


September 01, Stow, Mass.
Champion Citabria

At about 1150 eastern time, a Champion 7ECA struck a parked vehicle while landing at the Minute Man Air Field. The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries. The pilot was landing on runway 30 when the airplane began to porpoise and veer to the right. The pilot added power but the airplane departed the right side of the runway and struck a car. Winds reported at an airport about 11 miles east were from 120 degrees at 8 knots.

September 02, Tucson, Ariz.
Cessna 172

At 1202 mountain time, a Cessna 172 encountered jet blast from a Boeing 737 at Tucson International Airport and suffered wing and propeller damage. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. The Cessna had landed on runway 11R and was taxiing to the ramp. A United 737 was holding short for takeoff on runway 11L as the Cessna taxied behind it. The flight instructor reported that he was discussing jet blast awareness with his student as they were passing the jet. They taxied as far to the right side of the taxiway as they could. As the Cessna began to move back toward the middle of the taxiway, the left wing rose into the air and the right wing hit the ground two times and the propeller struck the pavement.

September 03, Tappen, N.D.
Cessna 182

At 1915 central time, a Cessna TR182 crashed while following high-tension power lines during an aerial reconnaissance mission. The pilot and passenger were killed. In the area of the crash, there were two sets of power lines running parallel, with one set of lines slightly lower than the other. Witnesses said the airplane was flying along the south side of the lines, slightly lower than the height of the lower set of towers. At the accident site, the higher set of power lines, which was to the north, makes a 90-degree turn across the lower lines. There was no indication the airplane struck either the power lines or one of the towers.

September 03, Belmar, N.J.
Piper Super Cub

At about 1200 eastern time, a Piper PA-18 lost engine power near Belmar and was damaged in the ensuing forced landing. The pilot was not injured. The airplane has just taken off from Belmar, en route to Hollywood, Fla., and was level at 1,200 feet when the pilot reported the engine smoothly lost power. The airplane touched down in a soccer field and struck a fence as the pilot was trying to avoid people. At the time the power failed, the pilot had just switched from the left fuel tank to the right inboard tank. Inspection of the right inboard tank and the fuel system revealed oily deposits the pilot described as a fuel additive. Examination of the engine revealed low compression on all cylinders, ranging from 44/80 to 5/80. Air bypass was noted on all exhaust valves and on two of the intake valves. The number two cylinder was removed and evidence consistent with detonation was found on the surface of the piston and on the valves.

September 04, Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Cessna 152

At 2150 central time, a Cessna 152 lost engine power while on approach to Crystal Airport and was damaged in the forced landing that followed. Neither occupant was injured. The pilot said the flight departed Crystal with no less than 20 gallons of fuel at about 1815. They planned to make a sightseeing flight and a few landings at Cloquet Carlton County Airport, which the pilot estimated would take 2.5 hours with the forecast winds aloft of 5 to 15 knots. However, on the return flight they encountered headwinds of 40 knots and the airplane ran out of fuel.

September 05, Kirbyville, Texas
Cessna 182

At approximately 1439 central time, a Cessna 182P was damaged during a precautionary landing on a dirt road. The pilot was not injured but the landing gear struck a hole, a wingtip hit the ground and the airplane nosed over. The pilot reported being en route when he became severely disoriented. He was unable to get the GPS or avionics to function correctly and could not verify his position or heading. His confusion mounted and he decided to land the airplane. A post-accident examination of the pilot revealed he had bleeding on the brain, which may have stemmed from a motorcycle accident in June. He had been cleared to return to flying in August and had successfully completed a flight a few days before the accident.

September 05, Broomfield, Colo.
Beech Travelair

At 1130 mountain time, a Beech D95A operating as a multi-engine trainer suffered a landing gear retraction on the runway after landing at Jefferson County Airport. The flight instructor said the student went for the wrong switch and he couldnt get to the landing gear handle in time. The Travelairs flap and gear switches are in the opposite positions, relative to the throttle quadrant, than they are in most airplanes.

September 08, Byram Township, N.J.
Piper Saratoga

At 1821 eastern time, a Piper PA 32R-301T crashed in the woods in Byram Township following a loss of engine power. The pilot and one passenger were killed and two other passengers were seriously injured. The pilot declared an emergency at 1817 when the airplane lost engine power while cruising at 3,500 feet. The airplane was six miles from Aeroflex-Andover Airport and the controller gave the pilot vectors to the airfield. The airplane crashed three miles from the field. Examination of the engine revealed that the zinc-plated crankshaft gear attachment bolt was fractured. The manufacturers specifications revealed that a cadmium-plated bolt was indicated for the crankshaft gear application. The airplane had been manufactured in 1997 and had accumulated less than 490 hours.

September 08, Torrance, Calif.
Cessna 172

At 1205 Pacific time, a Cessna 172M was ditched into the ocean near Torrance, but the pilot was uninjured. The pilot said he was flying from Apple Valley to Catalina Island at 8,500 feet when he descended to avoid the Class B airspace at Los Angeles. He leveled at 2,500 feet and noticed an unusual vibration in the cowling. He reduced power but mistakenly applied carb heat, which he could then not remove. The EGT showed the airplane running hot, and he realized he had not enriched the mixture since descending. However, the mixture control also was inoperative. He turned back toward shore and deployed full flaps to descend to the water.

September 13, Reno, Nev.
Questair Venture

At 1440 Pacific time, an amateur-built Minkler Venture M20 airplane suffered structural failure of the horizontal stabilizers and the associated elevators at the Reno-Stead Airport while participating in the sport class race as part of the annual Reno Air Races. The pilot was killed in the crash. The accident occurred about halfway through the sport class race. As the airplane was rounding pylon No. 1, the horizontal stabilizers and elevators began flexing and then bent down at a point about two feet outboard of the root on each side.

September 13, Dayton, Ohio
Cessna 177

At 0045 eastern time, a Cessna 177 was damaged when it veered off the runway during landing at Dayton Wright Brothers Airport. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The pilot said they were returning to Dayton after attending a baseball game in Cincinnati. He said the airplane ballooned during the flare and he elected to go around, but the airplane would not gain airspeed or climb. As the end of the runway approached, he elected to land the airplane. It landed hard and fast and the gear collapsed. Before the accident trip began, the pilot had logged only 1.6 hours in the previous 11 months, including a biennial flight review. His last night flight was logged nearly two years earlier.

September 15, Twin Falls, Idaho
Cessna 182

At approximately 1035 mountain time, a Cessna TR182 struck fuel trucks during an attempted go-around at Joslin Field. The pilot and two passengers were killed. A fueler who was driving one of the five fuel trucks to its parking area on the ramp saw the Cessna veering to the left of the runway 12 extended centerline as it passed the approach end of the runway. The aircraft continued to diverge from the runway centerline while in an approximate 30-45 degree right wing down angle of bank. The aircraft remained in flight approximately five feet above the ground throughout the maneuver without losing or gaining any significant altitude. The airplane struck one of four fuel trucks parked together, causing it to explode. The fire caused two other fuel trucks to be destroyed. The remaining truck was slightly damaged. Winds at the time were reported to be 160 to 170 degrees at 19 knots with gusts to 30 knots.

September 15, Rock Springs, Wyo.
Piper Comanche and Beech 1900

At 1325 mountain time, a Piper PA-24-260 encountered a near miss with a Beech 1900D when both attempted to land simultaneously on intersecting runways at Rock Springs-Sweetwater County Airport. The Piper was landing on runway 21 and the Beech was landing on runway 27. The pilot of the Comanche noticed the impending collision and attempted a go-around, but lost control and crashed. The Beech continued its landing roll uneventfully. No one was injured.

September 17, Carlsbad, Calif.
Mooney M20E and Beech Duchess

At about 1300 Pacific time, a Mooney M20E and a Beech BE-76 Duchess collided in midair about 1 mile northwest of McClellan-Palomar Field. The Mooney pilot and the instructor and student in the Duchess were killed. The Mooney checked in with controllers 1255 and reported 10 miles north over Oceanside. At 1258, the controller cleared the Beech for a right crosswind departure on runway 24. About 1300, the controller made a continuous transmission that told the Mooney that a Duchess was on a right crosswind departure, and told the Duchess that a Mooney was inbound on the forty-five. There was no reply from either airplane.

September 18, Vail, Ariz.
Cessna 172

At about 1600 mountain time, a Cessna 172G lost engine power and was damaged during a hard landing in a field. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he had purchased the airplane earlier in the day and was flying it from El Paso to his home near Casa Grande. En route, he experienced strong headwinds and noted that the fuel supply was low. He chose not to divert for fuel, but notified Tucson controllers he was low on fuel. When he lost engine power he aimed for a clearing near a drag strip but noticed power lines when he was on short final. He pulled up and the airplane missed the power lines, but it stalled and impacted the ground hard.

September 21, Bumpass, Va.
Cessna 172

At 1330 eastern time, a Cessna 172N, N737TG, was substantially damaged during landing at the Lake Anna Airport when the airplane departed the side of the runway. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he departed Fredericksburg, Va., to fly to some nearby airports and return to Fredericksburg. He flew to Tappahannock Airport and then determined that he had time for one more stop. He decided to fly to the Lake Anna Airport. The pilot said a wind gust blew him off the left side of the runway just as he was flaring to land. He blamed the accident on the narrow runway, which is 2,560 feet long and 25 feet wide. He said he had never flown into such a narrow runway before.

September 22, Weed, Calif.
Cessna 172

At about 0625 Pacific time, a Cessna 172H struck the median of Interstate 5 about a tenth of a mile from Weed Airport. The airplane was unoccupied at the time and no one on the ground was injured. The pilot said the battery was too low to start the engine, so he attempted to hand prop it. The engine started and the pilot fell to the ground, sustaining a minor injury. Thereafter, the runaway airplane departed in a northwesterly direction and flew several hundred feet until crashing into the ground and nosing over. The pilot said the airplane was not secured in any way. He also said he thought the throttle was set at idle speed but later realized he had left it at full throttle.

September 24, Yeehaw Junction, Fla.
Piper Saratoga

At about 1410 eastern time, a Piper PA-32R-301T suffered an in-flight breakup and crashed near Yeehaw Junction. The airplane was in cruise flight from Lantana to Orlando at 7,000 feet on an IFR flight plan when he requested a descent to 5,000 feet. The request was approved, but the airplane climbed to 7,500 feet. The pilot radioed he had suffered a loss of gyros and the aircraft then disappeared from radar. Calculations based on radar data showed descent rates exceeded 8,000 feet per minute. Level 4 and 5 thunderstorms were present in the area at the time.

September 25, Sheridan, Ind.
Pitts S-2C

At 1708 central time, an Aviat S-2C crashed following an aerobatic flight near Sheridan, killing the flight instructor and pilot. A witness reported observing the airplane perform aerobatic maneuvers adjacent to the accident site for approximately five minutes prior to the accident. He stated that the airplane climbed to approximately 1,500 – 2,000 feet above the ground in a pure vertical maneuver that ended in a tail slide. The airplane then fell backwards toward the ground for approximately 200 feet and began to spin inverted for approximately 6-10 turns.

September 27, Virgil, N.Y.
Cessna 310

About 2036 eastern time, a Cessna 310L crashed while making an instrument approach to Cortland County Chase Airport. The pilot was killed. The pilot was cleared for the VOR-A approach. Approximately 13 miles south of the airport at 3,600 feet, the pilot requested the controller to advise him when the airplane was over the final approach fix. The controller responded he would be unable due to the lack of radar coverage in the area, so the pilot cancelled his IFR clearance. About 5 minutes later, the airplane impacted trees approximately 5.5 miles south of the airport. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane at 80 to 300 feet agl shortly before the crash. One witness said visibility was approximately 0.75 mile in heavy rain.

September 29, Pawtucket, R.I.
Cessna Caravan

At about 1600 eastern time, a Cessna 208B was idling on the ramp when a parachutist was seriously injured by landing on the rotating propeller. The pilot said he stopped after landing and looked for parachutes still in the air. He did not see any and taxied back to the ramp. As he was loading the next group of jumpers, the pilot heard screams and saw a canopy enter the propeller. He shut down the engine and found the injured jumper. The parachutist had completed about 18 prior jumps, including four jumps at that airport. The pilot estimated that the normal parachutist landing zone was between 50 to 300 feet from the ramp area. Winds at the time of the accident were calm.

September 30, West Creek, N.J.
Mooney M20E

At about 1535 eastern time, a Mooney M20E struck trees after takeoff from Eagles Nest Airport, killing the pilot. Two witnesses said they heard the engine sputter and noticed the airplane was not climbing normally. The wreckage was found 176 feet west of the runway centerline and about 2,000 feet beyond the approach end of runway 14. There was no debris path and only one tree in the vicinity of the wreckage exhibited impact damage, implying a near-vertical descent. Post crash testing found traces of water in the fuel servo and fuel manifold, however investigators said that was inconclusive because the engine sat overnight before the fuel system was inspected.


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