NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 98 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in January 2000. 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.”


Jan. 2, Telluride, Colo.
Cessna Golden Eagle

At approximately 09:50 MST, a Cessna 421B crashed while maneuvering near Telluride. IMC prevailed but the pilot was not instrument rated and had not filed a flight plan. The flight had departed Montrose, Colo., approximately 30 minutes before the accident, en route to El Paso, Texas. The family reported the pilot missing on Jan. 4, and the airplane was located at approximately 14:30 on Jan. 6.

Jan. 3, Cordesville, S.C.
Piper Comanche

At 21:30 EST, a Piper PA-24-180 struck trees while trying to make an emergency landing in Cordesville. The pilot and front seat passenger were killed and a rear seat passenger was seriously injured. The flight departed Princeton, N.J., at 16:15. The FBO at the departure airport said the pilot planned a fuel stop in Savannah, Ga. Approximately 5:15 into the flight the pilot radioed Charleston Approach control and requested landing. About two minutes later the pilot reported the airplane had run out of fuel. The approach controller issued the pilot radar vectors to the nearest airport. Seconds later radio and radar contact was lost and an ELT signal was detected by another airplane.

Jan. 4, Kissimmee, Fla.
Zenair 601

At about 18:08 EST, the pilot of an experimental Zenair 601 lost control on landing rollout and crashed at Kissimmee Municipal Airport. The two occupants were uninjured. The flight originated from Winter Haven, Fla., about one hour eight minutes before the accident. The pilot said he departed on a local flight and became disoriented and lost as it got dark. He observed a city in the distance and flew toward it, figuring he could find an airport. As he approached the city, he saw a runway and entered left base without contacting the control tower. He lost directional control of the airplane on touchdown and the airplane went off the side of the runway and collided with a barricade.

Jan. 5, St. Augustine, Fla.
Cessna 172

At about 21:46 EST, a Cessna 172R crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 4.1 miles east of St. Augustine Airport. The pilot was killed. The flight originated from Orlando, Fla., an hour and a half before the accident. The pilot contacted Jacksonville Approach at 21:41:51 and requested VFR flight following to Craig Municipal Airport. At 21:45:24, the airplane was observed on radar at 2,000 feet heading 013 degrees. At 21:45:51, the airplane was observed at 1200 feet heading 051 degrees. The pilot stated at 21:46:00, Ah, Jax, I do not see anything. The airplane went off radar at 21:46:01 and radio contact was lost.

Jan. 7, Marysville, Wash.
Cessna 150

At approximately 06:30 PST, a Cessna 150G struck power lines during an attempted emergency landing on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 about four miles north of Marysville. The unlicensed pilot, who was the sole occupant, was killed. The owner of the airplane said it had been stolen from Arlington Municipal Airport about three to four minutes prior to the accident. Witnesses saw the aircraft descending toward the west about two miles south of Arlington Airport. As it came over the highway, it descended toward the southbound lanes like it was going to land. The airplane struck power lines about 45 feet high and dove steeply to the ground.

Jan. 8, Upland, Calif.
Pitts S1X

At 10:34 PST, a homebuilt Pitts S1X crashed while performing an aerobatic routine at an airshow at Cable Airport. The pilot was killed. Witnesses said the pilot dove into the aerobatic box, performed three snap rolls to the right and recovered. The second time he entered the box, the pilot performed three snap rolls to the left, and, as he rotated about of the way around on the third to fourth snap roll, he seemed to experience what witnesses called some sort of problem. The pilot arrested the snap roll and transitioned into an upright flat spin. At that point, the pilot pulled the power back to idle. In the second turn of the spin, the airplane was about 200 to 300 feet agl. The witnesses said the pilot did not have sufficient altitude to recover.

Jan. 8, Harpswell, Maine
Piper Turbo Saratoga

At about 21:00 EST, a Piper PA-32R-301T was damaged as it departed Farr Field Airport. The two occupants were not injured. The pilot said the flight originated from Bedford, Mass., earlier in the day, He had kept his fuel load low and planned on a short flight to Portland to refuel prior to returning to BED. The pilot reported that when he arrived at the airport for departure it was a dark night with no moon. After takeoff, he was not aware the airplane had drifted right until he saw tree branches that were illuminated by the right wing landing light. He said he did not have sufficient time to avoid the branches and struck them. He then continued with the takeoff and landed without incident at PWM.

Jan. 8, Chino, Calif.
Hawker Hunter

At 15:00 PST, an experimental Hawker Siddeley Hunter F MK 4 lost engine power on approach to Chino, Calif. The airplane landed in a field -mile short of the airport after the pilot ejected. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane had been issued a ferry permit to fly from Mojave, Calif., to Tulsa, Okla., for maintenance work. The owner told investigators the pilot was going to make a short stop in Chino for some maintenance work and then fly to Tulsa for further maintenance.

Jan. 9, Mount Pleasant, S.C.
Mooney M20M

At about 19:00 EST, a Mooney M20M crashed while making an instrument approach to East Cooper Airport, killing the pilot. The pilot was planning to make a visual approach first, then come back for an instrument approach if necessary. The pilot passed over the airport without seeing it, and then asked for the instrument approach. The controller vectored him to the approach course and cleared him for the approach. Shortly after that contact was lost. Two witnesses at the East Cooper Airport said it was very foggy and they could not see the airplane as it flew over the airport. A short time later, Charleston Approach called the airport and wanted to know if the Mooney had landed. Two witnesses near the crash site said the airplane came out of the fog in a 30-degree nose-down descent. The airplane pulled up (estimated at about a 40-degree nose-up attitude) and started a steep left turn with slow airspeed before going back into the cloud bank. The airplane was observed to come back out of the cloud bank in a descending 70-degree left bank.

Jan. 9, Albuquerque, N.M.
Piper Comanche

At approximately 12:30 MST, the pilot of a Piper PA-24-250 was seriously injured while hand propping the airplane. The aircrafts battery was dead and the pilot was attempting to hand start the airplane. He stumbled on loose gravel when the engine started, and the propeller struck the pilot in the face. The passenger was uninjured.

Jan. 11, Bradford, Pa.
Piper Malibu

At about 07:15 EST, A Piper PA-46-310P crashed after trying to take off from Bradford Regional Airport. None of the four aboard was injured. The pilot said there was a light snowfall when he arrived at the airport. He applied anti-ice to the boot areas of the wings before starting the engine. As he taxied to runway 23, the snowfall increased. On takeoff, the airplane ascended a few feet, …then stalled back onto the runway. It overran the runway, and the right wing struck a mound of dirt, separated from the airplane and caught fire. The left wing struck a fence post. Two of the passengers said snow blew off the outboard sections of the wings during the takeoff roll but adhered to the inboard sections.

Jan. 14, Broomfield, Colo.
Pilatus PC-7

At 13:18 MST, a Pilatus PC-7 being delivered from the factory in Switzerland crashed after a low approach at Jefferson County Airport. The Swiss-registered pilot, the sole occupant aboard, was killed. The pilot initiated the five-day trip on Jan. 10, with a final destination of Broomfield, where the company has a corporate office. The pilot asked the Tower for permission to perform a low go-around on runway 29R. The pilot was cleared for an optional approach and was instructed to continue in right traffic. Several witnesses observed the aircraft at approximately 100 to 150 feet agl at the midfield point of the runway perform two 360-degree rolls to the right, followed by one 360-degree roll to the left. The pilot then pulled up to vertical, followed by a right bank of 10 to 20 degrees and a rapid descent onto a taxiway.

Jan. 14, Carlisle, Ark.
Cessna 152

At 09:50 CST, a Cessna 152 crashed while maneuvering near Carlisle, killing the student pilot. A witness said he was traveling north on Highway 13 when he saw an aircraft to his west descending straight down, and he watched the aircraft until it went out of view behind some trees. He further reported that he could see the bottom of the aircrafts wings and fuselage and thought the aircraft was a model airplane until he saw black smoke rising from behind the trees. The aircrafts engine was found buried 4 feet deep in the initial ground impact crater.

Jan. 14, Kernville, Calif.
Piper Tomahawk

At 20:00 PST, a Piper PA-38-112 lost power and was damaged landing on a country road near Kern Valley Airport. The two occupants were not injured. The flight had originated from Las Vegas at 16:00 and was scheduled to terminate at Fresno, Calif. The pilot said he planned to stop for fuel at Inyokern, Calif. The pilot reported that approximately 45 minutes into the flight his passenger became agitated and wanted to land. He diverted to Trona, Calif., approximately 25 miles from Inyokern, to take care of his passenger. There were no fuel services at Trona and he took off and continued the flight to Fresno, without stopping at Inyokern to refuel. The pilot reported to flight following that he was low on fuel and asked for vectors to the nearest airport, which was the unlighted Kern Valley Airport. The pilot descended to 1,000 feet agl to locate the airport. The airplane ran out of gas and the pilot landed on a road, at which point the wing struck a road sign.

Jan. 16, Rogersville, Tenn.
Beech Bonanza

At about 16:40 EST, a Beech BE-35 crashed into Clinch Mountain near Rogersville, killing the pilot. IMC prevailed but no flight plan had been filed. The pilot departed Louisville, Ky., at 14:00 and received VFR flight following until 16:28, at which time radar service was terminated. The reported ceiling in the area was 1,300 feet overcast. A witness at Hawkins County Airport, the intended destination, said IMC had existed at the airport all day.

Jan. 17, Liberal, Kan.
Cessna 172

At 00:15 CST, a Cessna 172M struck the ground one mile short while on an ILS runway 35 approach to Liberal Municipal Airport. IMC prevailed and the flight was operating on an IFR flight plan. The four occupants suffered minor injuries. The pilot told investigators he was on the ILS approach, in the weather and correcting back to the right, when all of a sudden he hit the ground.

Jan. 18, Somerset, Ky.
Beech King Air

At 12:02 EST, a Beech C-90 struck a communications antenna as it approached the Somerset-Pulaski County Airport, killing the pilot and three passengers. The airplane departed Ohio State University Airport at 10:47. As the airplane neared SME, the Indy Center controller asked the pilot which approach he wanted. The pilot replied that he wanted to execute the SDF [Simplified Directional Finding] approach. The controller approved the pilots request and instructed the pilot to maintain 4,000 feet until established on the approach. The airplane maintained 4,000 feet until it passed abeam of the airport, at which time it began to descend. The last radar contact occurred at 11:59:40 with the plane at 1,900 feet, five miles from the airport and 1.9 miles south of the antenna. The NOS approach plates included the SDF runway 4 approach, but the Airport/Facilities Directory reported the approach was out of service indefinitely. The closure was not included in the Notams but was available to the controller at his work station. The communications tower was listed as an obstruction on all the instrument approach procedures for SME. The pilot had more than 15,000 hours.

Jan. 18, Tooele, Utah
Cessna 172

At approximately 20:00 MST, a Cessna 172 crashed while on landing approach to Bolinder Field. The pilot was seriously injured. The pilot was practicing night flight and had just taken off and remained in the traffic pattern. While coming in for his first landing, he entered a fog bank and crashed about one mile short of the runway.

Jan. 20, Spring Branch, Texas
Cessna 310

At 12:26 CST, a Cessna 310Q struck a ditch after an aborted takeoff at the Kestral Airpark. The pilot was not injured. Investigators said the aircraft door popped open during takeoff roll, prompting the pilot to abort the takeoff about two-thirds of the way down the runway. The airplane skidded along the last 250 feet of runway, went into a ditch and struck a fence.

Jan. 20, Plainville, Conn.
Cessna 310

At 09:32 EST, a Cessna T310R struck a fence after an aborted takeoff from Robertson Field Airport. Neither occupant was injured. The pilot said he and his passenger arrived at the airport at 08:00, and that snow was falling during the drive to the airport. The airplane had been preheated before his arrival, and the airplane started and taxied into position to await its IFR clearance. During the takeoff roll and before reaching midfield, the door popped open and the pilot decided to abort the takeoff. The pilot said that braking initially was good but, as he neared the end of the 3,600-foot runway, he was unable to stop or steer. A flight instructor who witnessed the accident reported braking as fair to poor. The airplane overran the runway, went down an embankment, struck a fence and crossed a road.

Jan. 21, Mexia, Texas
Beech Baron

At 17:30 CST, a Beech 95-B55 crashed while maneuvering in the traffic pattern at Limestone County Airport. The pilot was killed. Two witnesses said the pilot radioed that he was on downwind and then on base for runway 18. The pilot then said he didnt have a green gear light but that the mechanical indicator was showing the nose gear extended position. The pilot asked the witnesses to examine the gear as he flew by. He passed over the runway at about 200 feet and a very slow airspeed. The pilot then added power and began to climb, but did not add much power. Another witness saw the Baron make a very steep turn to the left and spin to the ground 1.5 miles southeast of the airport.

Jan. 21, Montpelier, Vt.
Mooney M20M

At about 12:35 EST, a Mooney M20M was damaged when it made a forced landing shortly after takeoff from Edward F. Knapp State Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said that a few minutes after takeoff the engine stopped developing full manifold pressure, then the engine lost all oil pressure. The engine began to vibrate, so the pilot shut it down and landed in a field. Examination showed the engines crankshaft seal had been blown outward. Ice was observed in the engine crankcase breather line.

Jan. 22, San Antonio, Texas
Mitsubishi MU-2

At 14:33 CST, a Mitsubishi MU-2B-26A crashed after takeoff from the San Antonio International Airport. The pilot and passenger were killed. During the takeoff and initial climb, witnesses heard a banging noise and saw the right propeller stop. The airplane reached an altitude of approximately 200 feet agl, banked to the right, entered a nose-low attitude and descended into the ground. The airplane came to rest in a vacant lot one mile north of the airport.

Jan. 22, Deland, Fla.
Stinson 108

At about 15:30 EST, a Stinson 108-3 nosed over after running off the runway during landing at Deland Municipal Airport. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The pilot said that, after flying in the local area for about 45 minutes, he returned to land at the Deland Airport. The Unicom operator transmitted that runway 5 was the active runway. He made a visual approach to runway 5 and, while he was on short final approach, another pilot reported that he was on final approach to runway 23. The pilot stated he saw the other aircraft and made a go-around. He returned for another approach and landing on runway 5. After landing he heard another pilot report on final approach to runway 23. He did not observe the other aircraft and became pretty nervous. In his haste to get off the runway, he ran off the runway into the grass and the aircraft nosed over.

Jan. 23, Pendleton, Ore.
Mooney M20K

At 18:56 PST, a Mooney M20K crashed about 1 miles from the departure end of runway 29 at Pendleton. The pilot and passenger were killed. The pilot was flying from Billings, Mont., to Cresswell, Ore., and had landed at Pendleton for fuel. While on approach to Pendleton, he had reported encountering icing conditions. The pilot borrowed a wheel chock from the refueler and, according to the refueler, started pounding the leading edges of the wings and vertical stabilizer. After finishing the vertical stabilizer, he made the comment that his airplane was now deiced. The refueler stated that about a half inch of somewhat moist snow had accumulated on the wings of the airplane prior to the time he fueled it. The tower controller said that after he lost sight of the airplane and handed it off to Departure, the pilot radioed, Mayday, mayday, were going in.

Jan. 26, Ocean Reef Club, Fla.
Piper Archer

At about 09:43 EST, the pilot of a Piper PA-28-181 lost directional control and struck trees while taxiing at Ocean Reef Club Airport. There were no injuries. The pilot said that, while he was on the downwind leg for runway 04, he was advised by Unicom that the wind was gusting to 18 knots from 330 degrees. He continued the approach and heard the crew of a Falcon announce that they were 10 miles out and would advise when they were on the downwind leg. The Piper landed uneventfully and rolled of the way down the runway. The pilot veered to the right near the right edge of the runway then made a 90-degree turn to the left and stopped. He looked for the Falcon airplane but did not see it, and made a second 90-degree turn and began taxiing down the runway. While he was taxiing, the airplane suddenly veered off the left side of the runway into trees.

Jan. 27, Columbia Falls, Mont.
Cessna 310

At 08:36 MST, a Cessna 310R crashed while maneuvering after a missed approach at Glacier International Airport. The pilot suffered hypothermia before being rescued about nine miles northeast of the airport. The pilot reported being in the clouds and suddenly seeing vegetation on upsloping terrain. He applied full aft elevator but could not avoid the collision with the terrain.

Jan. 29, Wiscasset, Maine
Cessna 150

At 12:20 EST, a Cessna 150 was damaged while making a forced landing shortly after takeoff from Wiscasset Airport. The pilot was not injured, The pilot told investigators the engine quit about 150 feet above the ground. He tried to turn back to the runway but landed about 100 feet short. The pilot stated that he thought the fuel vents had been clogged with ice. He also stated that during the preflight, he did not sump the wing fuel tanks because the drains were frozen, and that he found water when he drained the fuel strainer.

Jan. 29, Windsor, Calif.
Cessna 150

At 12:57 PST, a Cessna 150F lost engine power during cruise and made an emergency landing in a vineyard in Windsor. The three occupants were not injured. The flight had originated from Willows, Calif., and was scheduled to terminate at the Sonoma County airport. The pilot told a deputy he had run out of fuel. Investigators found fuel in the airplane but found the spark plugs lead-fouled and determined that the carb heat actuating cable was broken internally.

Jan. 30, Napa, Calif.
Siai-Marchetti SF260

At about 14:36 PST, a Siai-Marchetti SF260 lost power while on approach to the Napa Airport and landed about 300 yards short of the runway. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The flight had originated in Phoenix at about 10:15 MST. The pilot said he was aware the airplane was low on fuel while he was approaching Napa, but he did not advise controllers of his fuel status. Engine power was lost while he was on the base leg of a standard traffic pattern.

Jan. 31, Point Mugu, Calif.
Douglas MD-83

At about 16:20 PST, Alaska Airlines Flight 261, a Boeing (McDonnell Douglas) MD-83 on a scheduled international passenger flight from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to San Francisco, Calif., crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Point Mugu. The two pilots, three flight attendants, 80 adult and child passengers, and three infant passengers were killed. The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a search and rescue mission for 44 hours.

Jan. 31, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Beech Twin Bonanza

At about 16:27 EST, the left wing of a Beech D50E caught fire while taxiing for takeoff at Myrtle Beach International Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot had landed to refuel and was taxiing for takeoff. As he performed a flight control check of the ailerons he saw the paint discoloring on the upper outboard wing skin. He taxied to an open area of the ramp, where he secured the airplane. After exiting the airplane, he noted fire at the outboard fuel tank vent, which was leaking fuel. He discharged a handheld fire extinguisher and nearly extinguished the fire. The airport fire rescue team then arrived and completed the job.


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