NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 173 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in June 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, June.”


June 1, Prescott Valley, Ariz.
Cessna 414

At about 10:05 mountain time, a Cessna 414A suffered a reported pressurization problem and collided with obstructions after a precautionary landing in a housing development under construction. The pilot, actor Patrick Swayze, and his two dogs were not injured. The flight was en route from Van Nuys, Calif., to Las Vegas, N.M. The pilot reported that he was in cruise flight at 13,000 feet msl when he heard a loud sound. His ears popped and his dogs began barking. Concerned that he had lost pressurization, he looked for a suitable landing site. After seeing what he believed was an airport below him, he circled the field to the left and initiated an approach from the west. On short final, he noticed a truck parked on the left side of what he believed was a runway near the approach end and lengthened his approach, clearing the vehicle by about 4 or 5 feet. Just prior to touchdown, the right wing of the aircraft struck a streetlight, losing about a 4-foot outboard section of the right wing. The aircraft then touched down, bounced, and touched down again, striking a stop sign, another streetlight, and an electrical utility box. Evidence was found of a pressurization problem that could have been induced by the pilots heavy smoking.

June 1, Steens, Miss.
Piper Tomahawk

At about 13:45 central time, a Piper PA-38-112 struck trees after landing at Hopper Field. The flight instructor was seriously injured and the student pilot reported no injuries. The airport manager, who witnessed the accident, said the airplane was high and fast on the approach to the 1,400-foot-long runway 36. He said the airplane landed about halfway down the runway, departed the end of the runway and struck trees.

June 1, Miamisburg, Ohio
Piper Warrior

At about 21:45 eastern time, a Piper PA-28-161 was damaged when it struck approach lights while landing at Dayton/Wright Brothers Airport. The CFI and student pilot were not injured. The student was making his first night flight and, on final approach, the CFI noted the VASI was red over red. He heard the engine power begin to increase and assumed that the student was correcting to get back on glide path. The CFI realized the student was not adding enough power and was reaching for the throttle when he heard a bang. The airplane touched down short of the runway and came to rest in a grass area. The CFI said he was not aware there were approach lighting stanchions at the approach end of the runway, and that they were not illuminated at the time of the accident.

June 1, West Milford, N.J.
Beech Sport

At 19:30 eastern time, the pilot of a Beech 19 lost control during an aborted landing at Greenwood Lake Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot was practicing touch and goes when, on the third one, the approach was steeper and faster than normal. The airplane floated in the flare, ballooned slightly and then landed hard as the pilot was attempting to make a go-around. The airplane was partially airborne when it exited the left side of the runway and the pilot aborted the go-around. After the pilot chopped the power, the airplane had enough speed to clear a small ditch, but the airplane nosed in on the other side.

June 3, Upland, Calif.
Mooney M20F

At 07:19 Pacific time, a Mooney M20F veered off the runway and came to rest in a ditch during takeoff at Cable Airport. The pilot and one passenger were not injured, two other passengers received minor injuries. The pilot reported that the cabin door came open during takeoff. He intended to continue the takeoff and return to land and close the door; however, the passenger in the right front seat panicked. In the time necessary to calm and reassure the passenger, the pilot lost directional control of the aircraft and it drifted off the runway to the left.

June 4, Prescott, Ariz.
Schweizer SGS-1

At about 15:20 mountain time, a Schweizer SGS-1-26 glider crashed while landing at Coyote Run Gliderport. The student pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The pilot said she dropped the microphone in turbulence and it lodged behind the control stick, making it impossible for her to apply aft stick. The glider maintained about a 15- to 20-degree nose down attitude until it collided with the ground and a fence.

June 4, Fort Myers, Fla.
Bell UH-1H

At about 10:30 eastern time, a Bell UH-1H crashed 10 miles south of Southwest Florida International Airport during firefighting operations. The pilot was killed. The pilot had released the water from the external bucket onto the fire and was returning to the lake to pick up more water. Witnesses observed the helicopter in level flight heading toward the lake when it suddenly banked steeply and went into a nose-low attitude until it disappeared behind trees.

June 4, Breckenridge, Texas
Aero Commander 700

At 22:15 central time, an Aero Commander 700 crashed near Breckenridge during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot and his three passengers were not injured. The flight had originated about two hours and 15 minutes earlier at Ruidoso, N.M. The pilot told the FAA inspector who responded to the accident site he ran out of fuel and landed in a field one mile west of the Breckenridge Airport. The inspector found the left fuel tank dry and the right fuel tank contained only -inch of fuel at its deepest point.

June 5, Indiantown, Fla.
Robinson R22

At 13:01 eastern time, a Robinson R22 Beta helicopter crashed after an attempted prison break when it struck trees shortly after takeoff from the Martin County Treatment Center. The student-rated pilot and the prisoner he attempted to free were not injured in the crash and were apprehended the next day. The student was receiving instruction from a flight school in Fort Lauderdale and had been signed off for a solo flight from Fort Lauderdale to Pahokee, Fla., and Stuart, Fla. However, he diverted to the prison and hovered over the facilitys recreation yard while the prisoner climbed aboard.

June 8, Erie, Pa.
Beech Baron

At 22:35 eastern time, a Beechcraft BE-55 crashed two miles short of runway 24 at Erie International Airport. The pilot sustained minor injuries. That day the pilot had flown from Erie to Dunkirk, N.Y. and Concord, N.C., then flew back to Dunkirk and was returning to Erie when the accident occurred. The pilot said he did not visually check the fuel level in either tank prior to departing on the final leg and relied on the fuel gauges. As he approached Erie, the left fuel gauge was showing empty, so he positioned the fuel selector to what he thought would feed fuel from the right tank to both engines. The Baron did not have that capability, and the pilot admitted to investigators that, despite 500 hours in make and model, he was unsure of the cross-feeding procedures for the airplane.

June 9, Hillsboro, Ore.
Cessna 182

At approximately 13:30 Pacific time, a Cessna 182H overran the runway while trying to land at Starks Twin Oaks Airport. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The pilot said he was having trouble maintaining the correct airspeed in the pattern and executed a go-around on his first attempt to land because he was too high and fast. On his second attempt, he intentionally came in high with partial flaps in case he had to go around again. As he crossed the threshold, he was still a little high and fast, but he elected to continue his attempt to land. The aircraft did not touch down until it was about half-way down the 2,150 foot treated-gravel runway. The pilot then applied maximum braking, but slid off the end of the runway and over an embankment. He said he realized as he was touching down that he would probably go off the end, but he thought that if he tried a go-around he might collide with the trees just off the end of the runway.

June 9, West Milford, N.J.
Cessna 172

At about 11:20 eastern time, a Cessna 172R lost power while landing at Greenwood Lake Airport and crashed -mile from the runway. The CFI and commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. The flight had originated at White Plains, N.Y., and had entered the traffic pattern for landing at Greenwood Lake. While on the base leg at 800 to 900 feet agl and with power set at 1,900 rpm, the pilot tried to apply power but the engine did not respond. No pre-impact anomalies were found and the engine was successfully run after the accident. Service Difficulty Reports for the Cessna 172R revealed 58 submissions regarding momentary engine roughness or intermittent loss of engine power, which have occurred both in-flight and during taxi, since June 1998.

June 11, Englewood, Colo.
Piper Turbo Seminole and Cessna 182

At 22:04 mountain time, a Piper PA-44-180T collided with a Cessna 182Q while the Piper was making a go-around and the Cessna was taxiing. No one was injured. The pilot of the Seminole apparently was making a go-around after abandoning a landing approach to runway 17L. The airplane drifted left of the runway and collided with the Cessna, which was taxiing north on taxiway Bravo. The Piper pilot then landed the airplane on the grass median between the runway and taxiway.

June 12, Wauseon, Ohio
Piper Turbo Saratoga

At about 07:20 eastern time, a Piper PA-32R-301T crashed while attempting to land at Fulton County Airport. The three occupants were not injured. The pilot said he executed the NDB approach to runway 27, flew down the centerline of the runway and made a 180-degree turn to land on runway 9. While maneuvering back to the runway, the airplane stalled just above the runway and struck the ground. The airplane touched down on all three landing gear, slid sideways and came to rest in a water drainage ditch.

June 12, Las Vegas, Nev.
Airbus A320

At 13:10 Pacific time, an Airbus A320-232 operated by America West was substantially damaged when the outboard engine cowl door separated and struck the horizontal stabilizer during takeoff at McCarran International Airport. No one was injured. The pilot said there had been an abnormal vibration as the aircraft accelerated through takeoff rotation speed. Several passengers alerted the flight attendants who, in turn, reported the cowling separation to the cockpit crew. The flight returned for landing at the departure airport. The cowl door latches on the inboard door were found latched, however, the hooks were intact and undamaged. Similarly, the latch receptacles on the outboard door were visibly undamaged. Technicians had opened the cowling overnight for maintenance work. The takeoff where the cowling separated was the first flight following return to service.

June 13, Lodi, Calif.
Cessna 152

At 17:45 Pacific time, a rented Cessna 152 lost power during cruise flight and subsequently landed hard at the Lodi airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot stated he had departed Corona, Calif., 3 hours and 25 minutes before the accident and was en route to Lodi. The operator said the pilot ran out of fuel short of the airport.

June 16, Willows, Calif.
Maule M4

About 07:55 Pacific time, a Maule M4-210C crashed while maneuvering 1 mile southwest of the Willows-Glenn County Airport, killing the pilot and passenger. The airplane was one of a group of six airplanes en route to Happy Camp, Calif., on a camping trip with an intermediate stop at Willows-Glen. The accident airplane was about seven miles behind the other five. Winds were recorded at 32 mph, gusting to 42. A witness saw the accident airplane enter two steep 360-degree turns, level off and descend, then complete two more steep 360-degree turns before falling to the ground. Antelopes were reported at the scene and the pilots from the other airplanes in the group indicated that the accident airplane may have been observing them.

June 16, Louisville, Ky.
Cessna 210

At about 13:27 eastern time, a Cessna 210 lost power and was damaged in a forced landing near Bowman Field. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The pilot departed Grand Rapids, Mich., with full tanks and flew to Campbellsville, Ky., a flight of about 2 hours and 10 minutes. Several hours later, the pilot loaded one passenger for a flight to Bowman Field, a flight that should have taken about 15 minutes. As he prepared to land, the pilot switched fuel tanks to the right tank, which was the fullest. Two minutes later the engine lost power. He tried several solutions but could not restore power. The airplane touched down in a field and came to rest inverted. Approximately 20 gallons of fuel was drained from the right tank and approximately 1 gallon from the left. The fuel selector was found set to left tank.

June 17, Coleville, Calif.
Piper Pawnee and Schleicher AS20

At 15:00 Pacific time, a Piper PA-25-260 struck a fence while trying to tow a glider from a dirt field. The pilot was not injured. The glider had made a precautionary landing in the field when the pilot reported losing lift. He contacted a local soaring club and requested an aero-tow out of the field. The Pawnee pilot paced off 1,600 feet, which he calculated would be enough for the airplane and glider to take off. When the tow plane struck the fence, the glider released, cleared the tow plane by 2 to 4 feet, traveled across a road and collided with another fence. The glider pilot was also uninjured.

June 18, Westfield, Ind.
Bellanca Citabria

At 16:36 eastern time, the pilot of a Bellanca 7ECA lost control and crashed while making a forced landing after losing engine power during initial climb from runway 36 at Westfield Airport. The pilot was killed and the passenger was seriously injured. Witnesses said the aircraft was in a shallow, slow climb when it crossed the departure end of runway 36. At about 150 feet, the engine stopped. The airplane began to turn left and apparently stalled. Examination of the aircraft revealed that the scat-ducting that provided air to the heat-muff was obstructed by two pieces of foam that were inserted into the inlets located on the lower engine cowl.

June 18, Cheswold, Del.
Piper Tomahawk

At 10:40 eastern time, a Piper PA-38 landed about 200 feet short of runway 27 at Delaware Airpark. Neither occupant was injured. The airplane spun around and came to a stop about 20 feet short of the runway.

June 20, Orchard, Colo.
Cessna 172

At approximately 21:45 mountain time, a Cessna 172K crashed when it struck the water during takeoff from a beach near Orchard. The pilot was not injured. The flight originated at Greeley, Colo., at approximately 18:30. The pilot said extensive maintenance had been performed on the airplane and on two different occasions he had made off-airport precautionary landings due to smoke in the cockpit. In the first incident, wiring inside the transponder had burned. In the second incident, unsecured wires had chafed against a bus bar and short-circuited. On the accident flight, the pilot saw smoke coming from the cowling and a light smoke entered the cockpit. He elected to make a precautionary landing on a beach alongside the Riverside Reservoir. After landing, the pilot inspected the airplane and concluded that the breaking in of the newly installed muffler and exhaust stacks was the most likely source of the smoke. He made a short field takeoff but the right wing dropped and the airplane struck the water and nosed over.

June 21, Tampa, Fla.
Beech Sport

At 09:15 eastern time, a Beech crashed on the runway shortly after liftoff from runway 36 at Vandenberg Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said the engine quit shortly after takeoff and he tried to put the airplane down on the remaining runway. A witness said the airplane took off in a nose high attitude, climbed to about 75 feet and stalled back onto the runway, collapsing the right main and nose landing gear.

June 23, Boca Raton, Fla.
Learjet 55 and Extra 300S

At about 11:41 eastern time, a Learjet 55 and and Extra EA-300S collided in flight about 2 miles southwest of the Boca Raton Airport. The three occupants of the Learjet were killed and the pilot of the Extra, U.S. Aerobatics Team member John Lillberg, was also killed. The Extra had departed Pompano Beach Airpark about four minutes before the collision and the Learjet departed runway 23 at Boca about 1 minute 30 seconds before impact. The Extra was cruising at 2,400 feet on a heading of 341 when the Learjet took off. As it climbed out, the Learjet turned to a heading of 269. Shortly before the collision, the Extra turned to a heading of 360. A witness said the Extra appeared to begin an evasive maneuver with a descending turn just before impact.

June 24, Atlantic Ocean
Cessna 172

At 08:15 eastern time, a Cessna 172N ditched in the Atlantic Ocean 35 miles east of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., following a loss of engine power. All four occupants escaped without injury. The pilot said the flight departed the Bahamas and he climbed to a cruise altitude of 6,500 feet. About 30 minutes into the flight the pilot descended to 2,500 feet and, when he applied throttle to level off, there was no engine response. The pilot ditched the airplane near a commercial boat.

June 24, Gardner, Kan.
McClish Funk

At 17:00 central time, a McClish Funk B85C nosed over during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power while on downwind at the Gardner Municipal Airport. The pilot received minor injuries. The pilot reported the accident occurred just after takeoff during the aircrafts maiden flight following restoration.

June 27, Karval, Colo.
Cessna 152

At 14:09 mountain time, a Cessna 152 crashed near Karval, killing the pilot. The flight originated from Ellicott, Colo., approximately one hour before the accident. Denver Center reported the pilot began squawking 7700 moments before the airplane disappeared from their radar screen. Flight Watch reported the pilot radioed them saying that he was in some clouds and was having difficulty flying the airplane. VMC prevailed in the area.

June 27, Talihina, Okla.
Mooney Ovation

At 20:30 central time, a Mooney M20R was damaged during a forced landing right after takeoff at the Talihina Municipal Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot told investigators he took off from runway 1 and was three-quarters of the way down the runway when the engine started to cough. He attempted to land the airplane on the remaining runway but the airplane overran the runway and struck a ditch and bushes. The pilot said the airplane was only a few weeks old and, a week prior to the accident the engine had exhibited the same problem. The manufacturer and the pilots mechanic replaced the fuel pump as a corrective measure.

June 29, Mayer, Ariz.
Cessna 182

At 08:50 mountain time, a Cessna 182K hit obstructions while landing after a catastrophic engine failure. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said an inspection of the aircraft revealed a hole in the top of the engine case. The engine had operated about seven hours since overhaul, including two hours in a test cell.

June 29, Chester, Calif.
Piper Cherokee Six

At 20:29 Pacific time, a Piper PA-32-260 ditched into Lake Almanor after the engine lost power during initial climb from Rogers Field. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The pilot said the flight was his fourth flight of the day in the aircraft. He started the day in Stockton with full fuel tanks. He flew to Chester, then to Reno (Stead) and back to Chester. The total was about 2 hours and 30 minutes and the airplane was not serviced after departing Stockton. According to the pilot, full fuel is sufficient for about 5 hours flying. The pilot said the takeoff on runway 16 was routine, the engine was smooth and powerful and all the instruments were in their normal operating ranges. The fuel selector was on the right tank and there were about 17 gallons fuel in that tank. At about 150 feet agl, he reduced the propeller RPM and the engine began cutting out but did not totally quit. He verified that the fuel boost pump was on, and recalled that the fuel pressure gauge was in the green arc. He changed fuel tanks but had no more time to restart the engine before ditching in the lake.

June 30, Albany, Ga.
Bellanca Viking

At about 15:20 eastern time, a Bellanca 17-30A lost power and crashed while attempting a forced landing near Albany. The pilot and check pilot were seriously injured. The flight had originated from Albany about five minutes earlier. The pilot stated that he was receiving a biennial flight review and that he was currently out of biennial flight review. All fuel tanks were full at departure. He said that, while climbing through 2,000 feet, he switched the fuel selector from the left main tank to the right auxiliary tank and the engine immediately quit. He said the check pilot noticed the fuel flow gauge read zero. The pilot turned toward a field to make a forced landing but struck trees 150 yards short of the field.


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