NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 117 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in February 2001. 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, February.”


February 01, Marathon, Fla.
Piper Cherokee Six

At about 19:51 eastern time, a Piper PA-32-300 crashed into Florida Bay about 12.7 nautical miles northeast of Marathon, killing the pilot and aerial observer. The flight was operating as an intercept training flight with a Coast Guard HU-25 Falcon Jet. The pilot of the Cherokee Six radioed the commander of the Falcon that it was getting a bit hazy. As the airplanes maneuvered to get separation for another intercept, the pilot of the Cherokee Six said he had entered IMC. The commander of the Falcon advised they were well clear of the area, but no further radio contact was made. Radar data showed the aircraft turning left and right without maintaining any constant heading. The NTSB report said the pilot of the Cherokee Six held a private certificate but did not indicate if he was instrument rated.

February 01, Brinkley, Ark.
Beech Baron

At 06:38 central time, a Beech BE-58 made a forced landing in a muddy field near Brinkley, seriously injuring the pilot. The pilot told controllers one of the engines indicated a high temperature on one cylinder and requested a diversion to the nearest airport. He received vectors to Federer Memorial Airport, but then the pilot reported, control problem, plane shaking, not sure Ive got control, but its intermittent, and advised the ARTCC controller that he was going to land the airplane in a field. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total of 110 hours flight time.

February 03, New Orleans, La.
BAC Hawker

At 08:50 central time, a British Aerospace HS 125-700A Hawker was substantially damaged when its left wing distorted during a normal descent into New Orleans. No one was injured. The pilot said they were flying at 4,000 feet over Lake Pontchartrain when they heard a bang. The pilots thought that they had experienced a bird strike and asked a mechanic on board to look at the wings. The mechanic reported to the flight crew that the left wing skin and fence were distorted. Post-flight examination revealed that the left wings fuel vent was blocked with duct tape and the wet wing fuel tank had collapsed.

February 03, Spanaway, Wash.
MA-5 Charger

At approximately 10:15 Pacific time, an experimental MA-5 Charger lost power during the initial climb from Shady Acres Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he completed his pre-takeoff run-up and then experienced problems with his intercom and VHF radio. While attempting to correct these problems, the aircrafts engine continued to run at idle for at least three or four minutes without application of carburetor heat. When he was finished working with the radio problems, the pilot pulled onto the runway and took off without applying carburetor heat to check for the presence of carburetor ice. After the aircraft reached a height of about 300 feet, the engine began to lose power. The pilot executed a forced landing to a nearby golf course and the gear collapsed.

February 04, Bluffton, S.C.
Mooney Ovation

At about 13:18 eastern time, a Mooney M20R crashed in Bluffton, killing the pilot and passenger. The pilot had filed an IFR flight plan and had taken off about nine minutes earlier. A controller at Beaufort Marine Corps Air Station said the aircraft was level at 3,000 feet on a heading of 070 degrees when the heading changed to 010 degrees and the altitude decreased, followed by a continuous turn to the right and corresponding descent in altitude. The last radar indication showed the airplane on a heading of 230 degrees and an altitude of 2,400 feet. The airplane struck high voltage power lines and burst into flames.

February 06, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Mooney M20C

At about 17:03 eastern time, a Mooney M20C lost power and was damaged in a forced landing in a field near the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport. The two people aboard were not injured. The pilot reported the cross-country flight had proceeded normally until he applied carb heat and reduced power to descend. The engine began to run roughly and the airplane would not maintain altitude. The outside air temperature was -12 degrees C and the cabin heater was on. In the Mooney M20C, the carb heat and the cabin heat draw hot air from the same shroud around the muffler. The airplane was not equipped with a carb ice detector.

February 06, Platter, Okla.
Cessna 152 and Cessna 172

At approximately 17:45 central time, a Cessna 152 and a Cessna 172P collided in flight near Platter. The flight instructor and student in the 152 were killed. The 172 landed without further incident and the two occupants were uninjured. The pilot of the 172 said he was in cruise flight at 3,500 feet when he felt a thud near the rear of the airplane. He then felt air coming into the cabin from the left door and recognized that the airplane required excessive right rudder to maintain directional control. He dialed in 7700 into the airplanes transponder, declared Mayday on 122.8, and landed at Sherman Municipal Airport. The pilot said that at no time prior to the collision, during the collision or following the collision did he observe another airplane. Multiple witnesses heard a bang and saw one airplane spiraling toward the lake and crash. Damage to the 172 indicates the left wing of the 152 hit the left side of the 172 from slightly below.

February 07, Ainsworth, Neb.
Beech Baron

At 07:05 central time, a Beech 58 crashed about a half mile north of the Ainsworth Municipal Airport, killing the pilot and leaving the passenger seriously injured. The Part 135 cargo flight was en route to Valentine, Neb., when it encountered icing conditions and the pilot elected to divert to Ainsworth. While on approach to runway 17, the airplane struck the ground on a heading of 280 degrees. The aircraft was carrying radioactive medical materials and on-site investigation did not began approximately until about 72 hours later.

February 08, Ponce, Puerto Rico
Piper Twin Comanche

At about 08:00 Atlantic time, a Piper PA-30 crashed shortly after takeoff, killing the pilot. Witnesses said the pilot had trouble starting the right engine, and after it started it made a popping noise. The pilot taxied the airplane to runway 12 and proceeded to take off with the right engine still making a popping sound. After takeoff the airplane climbed to between 250-300 feet with the landing gear still extended. The airplane then began to lose altitude and it was observed turning to the right. As the airplane turned right onto a downwind leg, it suddenly rolled to the right inverted and crashed.

February 08, San Diego, Calif.
Piper Archer

At about 18:50 Pacific time, a Piper PA-28-181 struck a berm during a forced landing at the Montgomery Field airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was practicing takeoffs and landings and he checked the fuel quantity in the airplanes fuel tanks while flying on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern to runway 28R. He then repositioned the fuel tank selector to what he believed was the left fuel tank but apparently selected Off instead. All engine power was lost and he turned toward the airport, but the airplane ended up about 1,800 feet short of the runways threshold.

February 08, Beaver Island, Mich.
Swearingen 227

At about 19:20 eastern time, a Swearingen SA227-AT on a Part 135 air taxi flight crashed less than two miles from Beaver Island Airport. The pilot and front seat occupant were killed, two passengers were seriously injured and two passengers suffered minor injuries. The aircraft had been cleared for the NDB or GPS Runway 27 approach, which carries a minimum descent altitude of 1,240 feet for both the straight in and circling approaches. The wreckage appeared to show the aircraft had overflown the airport and was maneuvering for a landing. The crash site was southwest of the airport and the airplane was oriented as if it was turning from crosswind to left downwind for runway 27 at the time of impact.

February 08, Kingsville, Texas
Cessna 150

At 07:55 central time, a Cessna 150K crashed during initial cruise flight near Bishop. The pilot suffered minor injuries. IMC prevailed but a flight plan was not filed. The pilot said he had taken off about 10 minutes earlier on a flight from Bishop to Harlingen. He said he was fumbling with headset jacks when the airplane struck a plowed field and flipped.

February 09, Palo Alto, Calif.
Beech Bonanza

At 14:12 Pacific time, a Beech A36 struck its left wing on the ground during an attempted go-around at Palo Alto Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot had owned the airplane, equipped with an Allison 250-17 turboprop engine, for six months and had been receiving dual instruction in it, but his insurance company would not allow him to fly solo until he earned an instrument rating, which he did two days before the accident flight. This was the pilots first solo flight in the airplane. The pilot said he extended downwind for spacing on a slower airplane. The final approach was stable at 80 knots but when he was about 10 feet off the ground he sensed the airplane was sinking faster than normal. He added power to go around but did not feel the engine respond. The airplane veered left, the left wing struck the ground and the airplane crashed. The flaps appeared to be up.

February 09, Leesburg, Fla.
Super Decathlon and Extra 300L

At about 09:15 eastern time, an American Champion 8KCAB and a Flugzeugbau GMBH Extra 300 collided while landing at Leesburg Municipal Airport. The pilot of the Decathlon suffered minor injuries and the pilot and flight instructor in the Extra were not injured. The Extra was in the traffic pattern conducting new purchaser familiarization and the Decathlon was landing from a straight-in approach to runway 13 when the Extras propeller and wing leading edge collided with the Decathlons empennage during the flare and rollout.

February 10, Chicago, Ill.
Beech 1900

At 16:53 central time, a Beechcraft 1900D was damaged in a gear-up landing at Chicago OHare International Airport. The flight crew and eight passengers were not injured. Seven passengers reported minor injuries. The captain said there were four minimum equipment list items that were inoperative, including the flap system. As the aircraft neared the airport, its landing clearance was changed from runway 14R to runway 4R. The copilot called out the Abnormal Procedures: Flaps Up Landing Checklist and later the Final Checklist. The captain reported, During the attempted landing the F.O. [first officer] stated that the gear might have collapsed, that is when I noticed that the gear was in the UP position.

February 10, Pecan Island, La.
Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatross

At approximately 12:00 central time, an Aero Vodochody L39C operated by the Northern Lights Aerobatics team crashed while maneuvering near Pecan Island, killing the pilot and passenger. Witnesses close to the accident site observed the jet maneuvering at low altitude over the pilots hunting camp for several minutes prior to the accident. They stated that the jet was in a wings level, inverted position just seconds prior to ground impact. A few of the witnesses said they thought the pilot, part owner of the Northern Lights, was attempting to roll upright as the airplane impacted the ground at a high rate of speed.

February 10, Homestead, Fla.
Rans S-12

At 10:09 eastern time, an amateur-built Rans S-12 crashed while attempting to takeoff from a plowed farm field in Homestead. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger was not injured. The passenger, the pilots wife, said they had originally taken off from Homestead Regional Dade County Airport and shortly after takeoff, the airplane lost power and the pilot landed in the plowed field. The pilot examined the engine and felt that he could take off. During the takeoff, the engine again lost power and the airplane crashed nose down in the field.

February 12, Owasso, Okla.
Piper Cherokee 140

At 00:30 central time, a Piper PA-28-140 lost power and struck a fence in the ensuing forced landing in a field near Owasso. One passenger suffered minor injuries and the pilot and another passenger were not injured. The flight was cruising on an IFR flight plan when the pilot reported to controllers that the alternator was failing. Soon thereafter the engine lost power. The controller gave the pilot a radar vector to Claremore but the airplane could not reach the airport.

February 13, Munford, Ala.
Cessna 421

At 18:40 central time, a Cessna 421 collided with the southeast bank of Choccolocco Creek near Munford while maneuvering for a visual landing. The pilot and four passengers were killed. At 18:16, the pilot told the controller he intended to shoot the ILS to Anniston, Ala. He was issued radar vectors for the seven-mile arc. At 18:34:11, the pilot canceled his instrument flight plan and told the controller that he was below the weather and would be going to Talladega, so radar service was terminated. Eight minutes later a resident near the accident site heard what was described as a loud boom and found the downed airplane.

February 13, Stuart, Fla.
Cessna Skylane

About 18:16 eastern time, a Cessna 182J struck trees on a golf course shortly after takeoff from Witham Field Airport. The pilot and his passenger were killed. The aircraft had performed one touch-and-go landing and remained in the traffic pattern. Witnesses reported hearing the engine miss-firing and making strange backfire or popping sounds. The pilot advised the controller he was landing on the golf course. The controller questioned if the engine was operable and the pilot reported an engine malfunction. The airplane struck a tree 35 feet agl and burned. Investigators were able to get the engine to operate to 2,600 rpm after the crash.

February 15, Long Beach, Calif.
Cessna 152 and Cessna Skyhawk

At about 15:40 Pacific time, a Cessna 152 and a Cessna 172N collided over the Pacific Ocean about six miles south of the Long Beach Municipal Airport. Both airplanes were being operated by the same flight school and both contained a student pilot and flight instructor. All four were killed. Witnesses said that, following the collision, both airplanes entered uncontrolled descents into the water.

February 15, New Richmond, Wisc.
Cessna Stationair

At 12:45 central time, a Cessna 206H struck a snow bank and nosed over on landing at the New Richmond Municipal Airport. The pilot was not injured. The landing was made on a newly installed taxiway that parallels runway 32/14.

February 15, Seminole, Ala.
Cessna Pressurized Centurion

At about 21:15 central time, a Cessna 210 ran out of fuel and crashed in Seminole. IMC prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The pilot and two passengers received minor injuries, while the third passenger was not injured. The flight had originated in Wisconsin 11 hours earlier. The aircraft had been on an IFR flight plan to Pensacola, Fla., and had missed two ILS approaches to Pensacola. After the pilot executed the second missed approach, he canceled the IFR flight plan and diverted to Gulf Shores, Ala. While en route to Gulf Shores, the pilot reported to ATC he had run out of fuel.

February 15, Lakeland, Fla.
Piper Cherokee Six

At about 10:59 eastern time, a Piper PA-32-300 had both main landing gear brakes catch fire during taxi. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he picked up the airplane from a maintenance company, taxied to the runway with a passenger and took off. Just prior to liftoff the left wheel brake appeared to grab. He flew locally and returned to the airport, where he dropped off his passenger. He again taxied to the runway to fly to Vero Beach, Fla. and felt the left brake grab again. He taxied to the end of the runway and the left brake again grabbed. He elected to return to the maintenance company. As he approached the ramp, he smelled smoke. Personnel from the maintenance company came to the airplane with fire extinguishers and put out the brake fires. The maintenance company personnel said they found the parking brake on after they put out the brake fires.

February 18, Tybee Island, Ga.
Beech Bonanza

At about 20:17 eastern time, a Beech 36 descended into the Atlantic Ocean near Tybee Island while on a flight from Ormond Beach, Fla., to Williamston, N.C. The pilot and three passengers were killed. The flight was receiving flight following at an altitude of 5,500 feet when radar and radio contact with the flight was lost. Radar data showed the flight made a descending right turn from 5,500 feet and was lost from radar at 2,900 feet.

February 18, Angel Fire, N.M.
Piper Cherokee Six

At approximately 14:40 mountain time a Piper PA-32-300 crashed while landing at Angel Fire Airport. The two occupants were uninjured. The airplane touched down 4,500 feet down the 8,900-foot runway 35, drifted to the right and struck a snow bank at the 5,900-foot mark. It then became airborne. The pilot flew north, turned around and landed on runway 17, touching down 2,750 feet from the end and skidding to a halt 1,800 feet from the end. The nose landing gear collapsed, buckling the firewall. Winds were reported from 260 degrees at 20 knots, gusting to 30 knots.

February 21, Centralia, Ill.
Cessna Skyhawk

At 0705 central time, a Cessna 172H crashed 1.2 miles from the Centralia Municipal Airport, killing the flight instructor and student pilot. A witness said the airplane was flying slowly with a low power setting at an altitude of about 500 feet. He said the airplane was in a steep angle of bank and in a turn to the right. After about 270 degrees of turn, the nose of the airplane came up and the airplane became inverted. The nose of the airplane then went down. He heard the airplanes engine revving to full power just before impact.

February 25, Naples, Fla.
Cessna 152

At about 08:10 eastern time, a Cessna 152 went off the runway after a bounced landing at Naples Municipal Airport. The student pilot was not injured. The pilot said he flared too high, resulting in a hard touchdown and high bounce. Rather than perform a go-around, he attempted to salvage the bounced landing and got into a porpoise that eventually fractured and separated the nose strut.

February 26, Shreveport, La.
Beech Baron

At 22:15 central time, a Beech 58 was taxiing after landing at Shreveport when it collided with a parked Cessna 210L. A fire erupted that destroyed the 210 and substantially damaged the Baron. The pilot of the Beech was not injured. The pilot said he was taxiing to the ramp in the rain and there was substantial glare on the windscreen. He entered the ramp and was heading toward the main building when he noticed the 210. He applied the brakes but the outboard left wing and the left engine of the Beech struck the propeller and engine of the 210.

February 27, Brenham, Texas
Piper Arrow

At 17:45 central time, a Piper PA-28R-200 struck a fence after losing engine power shortly after takeoff from Brenham Municipal Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot was practicing touch-and-go landings when the engine lost power. The pilot elected to land the airplane in a field south of the airport. During the landing roll the airplane impacted two cows and a fence, and the right main landing gear collapsed. Examination of the engine revealed that the throttle linkage was disconnected from the fuel injector body.

February 27, Appleton, Wisc.
Piper Twin Comanche

At 17:01 central time, a Piper PA-30 crash-landed short of runway 29 during a precautionary landing at Outagamie County Regional Airport. The two occupants were not injured. The pilot said he was practicing instrument approaches when the green landing gear down indicator light did not illuminate. He performed the emergency gear extension procedures and opened the gear actuator panel, and the actuator appeared to be in the down position. He decided to land. When on final approach, he throttled the engines back and pulled the mixture controls to the lean position. The resulting descent rate was steeper than he expected. The airplane struck a runway approach light and came to rest about 10 feet from the approach end of the runway.

February 27, Ione, Calif.
Yakolev YAK 11

At 14:50 Pacific time, an experimental YAK 11 veered off the runway and struck a berm during takeoff at Eagles Nest private airport. The pilot received minor injuries. During takeoff on runway 1, the aircraft drifted off the right-hand edge of the runway and struck a berm at the mid-field taxiway. Impact with the berm damaged the landing gear and deflected the aircraft to the left and into the air, where it traveled back across the runway and came to rest in the dirt on the left side of the runway, about 3,000 feet from the start of the takeoff roll. The single-seat aircraft, modified for air racing, was assembled from U.S. and Russian aircraft components. The pilot had acquired the aircraft about 1 month before the accident and this was his first takeoff in it. The surface wind at Mather Field, 16-miles northwest of the accident site, was reported from 320 degrees at 16 knots with gusts to 22 knots.

February 28, Lincoln, R.I.
Piper Tomahawk

At about 18:30 eastern time, a Piper PA-38-112 crashed after losing power immediately after takeoff from North Central Airport. The flight instructor received minor injuries and the student pilot was not injured. As the airplane was climbing through 75 feet, the engine began to sputter. Climbing through 100 feet, the engine lost all power. The CFI turned the airplane toward the airport but could not make the runway. He stalled the airplane into the treetops. The airplane came to rest, suspended by the tree limbs about 20 feet above the ground. Post-accident investigation found no fuel in the mechanical fuel pump, gascolator, and carburetor.


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