NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and airline accidents


The following briefs were selected from the preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in August 2003. Statements in quotes were taken directly from the NTSB documents. Click here to view “Accident Totals, August.”


August 01, Oshkosh, WI
Vans RV-6T and Lancair 360

At about 1300 central time, a Vans RV-6T was struck by a Lancair 360 while the two amateur-built airplanes were taxiing after landing on runway 27 at Wittman Regional Airport. The RV-6 had landed and was exiting the runway when the Lancair landed and struck the RV-6s left wing. The accident occurred during the AirVenture fly-in, at which time controllers use the runway for several aircraft simultaneously.

August 02, Galion, Ohio
Piper Seneca

At about 1500 eastern time, a Piper PA-34-200T struck trees while maneuvering near Galion. The pilot and one passenger were killed, two other passengers suffered serious injuries. The flight had departed Akron VFR about 50 minutes earlier but there were instrument conditions in the area. The pilot was receiving flight following to Galion and, as he approached, asked the controller where the airport was. The controller said the airplane was directly underneath. There were no further communications with the pilot. A flight instructor at the airport said he saw the airplane fly over the airport at about 600 feet agl with the gear down and the flaps extended and enter a downwind leg for runway 05. There was moderate rain and frequent lightning and wind gusts at the time. The witness then saw the airplane about 25-50 feet above the runway centerline, halfway down the runway, with gear down and partial flaps extended. It began a climb and disappeared into heavy rain. The witness said the wind was gusting up to 50 mph. A surviving passenger, the pilots wife, said they had clear weather until they got to the destination, at which point they encountered heavy rain. When the pilot added power to climb out of the weather, he kept repeating, It wont climb, it wont climb. The pilot held flight instructor certificates for both single and multi engine airplanes and reported 1,300 hours experience on his last medical application.

August 05, Clarkfield, Minn.
Piper Cherokee 180

At about 1645 central time, a Piper PA-28-180 struck terrain near Clarkfield while flying VFR in an area with visual to instrument conditions. The pilot was killed. The flight was en route from Norfolk, Neb., to Montevideo, Minn., on a VFR flight plan but did not arrive as scheduled. The wreckage was found about eight hours later. Weather conditions at the time included ceilings of 1,200 to 1,400 feet and visibility of 2.5 to 7 miles with mist.

August 06, Pleasantville, Pa.
Grumman Tiger

At 0740 eastern time, a Grumman AA-5B struck trees while on the ILS Rwy 33 approach at Johnstown-Cambria County Airport. The pilot was killed. The pilot was assigned a heading of 300 degrees to intercept the final approach course and instructed to maintain an altitude of 4,600 feet until established on the approach. He reported he was established on the approach and contacted the tower. He made two routine transmissions but reported no problems. Analysis of the airplanes radar track showed it was 100 feet above glideslope when it reached a position 6.7 miles from the initial approach fix, which itself was 6.7 miles from the runway. It began a descent of 850 feet per minute and struck a ridgeline at an altitude below airport elevation while still outside of the initial fix and 11.4 miles from the runway. The pilot had logged 931 hours, including 45 hours in instrument conditions and 70 hours of simulated instrument time.

August 08, Skagway, Alaska
Beech Bonanza

At about 1645 Alaska time, a Beech V35B crashed about a half-mile from Skagway Airport after the pilot lost control on initial climb. The pilot and two passengers were killed. Witnesses said the airplane departed runway 02 and then began a tight, climbing left turn. The direction of the turn placed the airplane near rising terrain. The airplane then descended nose down into the trees in an area about 220 feet higher than airport elevation. The Airport/Facility Directory warns that, upon departing runway 02 that pilots should maintain runway heading for a half mile for noise abatement purposes. Wind at the time was 040 at 13 knots.

August 08, Factoryville, Pa.
Piper Cherokee Six

At 0749 eastern time, a Piper PA-32-300 crashed while making an instrument approach into Seamans Field. The pilot and passenger were killed. The pilot was cleared for the VOR-A instrument approach at Seamans Field, which requires a 600-foot ceiling and a 1-mile visibility. Witnesses said the weather was extremely foggy, with visibility less than 50 feet. The airplane flew over the airport at a very low altitude and crashed. They said there was no indication the pilot attempted to add power for a missed approach until after the first sound of the airplane hitting a tree. The last entry in the pilots logbook had been made more than a year earlier.

August 12, Homedale, Idaho

At approximately 1430 Pacific time, an amateur-built Kitfox Lite Squared crashed near the southeast end of runway 13 at Homedale Municipal Airport. The pilot was not injured. The aircraft had received its temporary experimental airworthiness certificate on the morning of the accident, and this was to be its first flight. The pilot initiated the takeoff on runway 13 with a left quartering tailwind of at least 10 knots. The pilot said he did this to avoid taking off over a nearby residential area. He said the aircraft sank/mushed to the ground shortly after takeoff.

August 13, Raleigh Durham, N.C.
Bombardier Regional Jet

At 1505 eastern time, a Bombardier Canadair CL600-2B19 experienced smoke in the cockpit shortly after takeoff from Charleston International Airport. The flight diverted to Raleigh Durham International Airport, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and landed without further incident. No one was injured. The crew said they pushed back from the gate in heavy rain and departed. They were cruising at 27,000 feet when they heard a thump. The autopilot disengaged, and all six flight and navigational screens went blank. Power came back on almost immediately and all six screens illuminated. Examination of the avionics and electronics bay found black soot on the wire bundles and relays.

August 14, Cancun, Mexico
Learjet 35

At about 2222 central time, a Gates Learjet 35A landed gear up at Cancun International Airport. There were no injuries to the two pilots or the three medical personnel on board. The flight, which had originated from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, was cleared for a visual approach to runway 12. The crew said they conducted the landing checklist and noted three green lights in the landing gear position indicator. They were not aware of any problem until feeling the fuselage contact the runway. The airplane slid about 4,000 feet. After the accident, the gear was extended using the emergency extension system.

August 16, Glens Falls, N.Y.
Cessna 172

At about 1430 eastern time, a Cessna 172RG, N9673B, was substantially damaged while landing at Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The pilot said he was on approach to runway 19, when he encountered a thunderstorm cell and was advised by another pilot to use runway 30. The pilot said he made the approach at about 75 to 80 knots in anticipation of crosswinds or wind shear. He said that he was touching down when he encountered a wind gust that picked up the left wing, causing the airplane to land hard. The airplane sustained damage to the propeller, firewall, nose gear and lower portions of the fuselage.

August 16, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Piper Pawnee and Robinson R22

At about 1146 eastern time, a Piper PA-25-235 and a Robinson R22 Beta collided in flight at North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport. The pilot of the Piper sustained serious injuries. The flight instructor and pilot-rated student of the Robinson helicopter both sustained minor injuries. The pilot of the glider being towed by the Pawnee released and landed uneventfully. The helicopter instructor said she announced on the common frequency that she would be making a 180-degree autorotation to runway 8L. She said she saw the Pawnee and glider in position and holding on runway 8L. She continued the autorotation and recovered to a hover, at which time she felt the impact. The Pawnee pilot said he cleared for traffic in his entire field of view and was also cleared by wing walkers. He saw the helicopter on downwind, announced departure and took off. He saw the helicopter when he was about 100 feet agl and felt the impact. He then released the glider and the airplane crashed.

August 17, Tuckasegee, N.C.
Boeing Stearman

At 1448 eastern time, a Boeing PT-17 struck trees while the pilot and passenger were performing an operational check of airframe-mounted cameras near Franklin Macon County Airport. The pilot was killed and the passenger suffered serious injuries. A witness said he saw the airplane flying in the valley below his vantage point on his balcony. He stated that the engine was missing and back-firing.

August 19, Hammond, Minn.
Beech Duchess

At 0001 central time, a Beech BE-76 was damaged during a loss of control while in cruise flight near Hammond. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The flight was IFR en route from Watertown, S.D., to Moline, Ill., at 7,000 feet when the pilot saw a lightning flash and encountered severe turbulence. The pilot said he pulled back on the yoke to maintain assigned altitude when the airplane went into a spin. He recovered the airplane at about 3,000 msl, returned to level flight and climbed back to his assigned altitude. After an uneventful landing, he discovered damage to the airplanes wings.

August 21, Clearwater, Fla.
Piper Navajo

At about 1648 eastern time, a Piper PA-31 suffered a loss of control and crashed at Clearwater Air Park. The pilot-in-command seated in the right front seat and the pilot-rated passenger in the left front seat were killed. A pilot-rated passenger sustained serious injuries. A witness said he saw the airplane on what he thought was final approach to runway 16, but the airplane was very low. The witness reported the airplane made a, sudden, sharp turn to the left. Another witness who was located a quarter-mile from the accident site said the airplane was flying eastbound at a very slow airspeed and banking and yawing left and right. He said it appeared the pilot was executing a go-around, as evidenced by the landing gear retracting, followed by the flaps. The airplane then appeared to make an unstable climb before banking right, stalling and spinning to the ground.

August 22, Lake Elmo, Minn.
Cessna 172 and Piper Archer

At 1727 central time, a Cessna 172 and a Piper PA-28-181 collided in mid-air near Lake Elmo. The flight instructor in the Cessna was killed and the student pilot received serious injuries. The pilot and passenger in the Piper were killed. The Cessna had departed the Downtown St. Paul Airport on an instructional flight and was en route to Lake Elmo Airport. The Piper departed the South St. Paul Municipal Airport and was en route to Silver Bay, Minnesota.

August 24, Deer Grove, Ill.
Cessna 182

At 1930 central time, a Cessna 182 nosed over while landing on runway 36 at the Cady Aerial Airport. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot had released four parachute jumpers at 11,000 feet and was planning to refuel at Cady. The wind was reported as 230 at 3 knots, so the pilot concluded either end of the runway would work. He extended his downwind to lose altitude, but he was still high and fast on final. The airplane landed approximately halfway down the 2,500-foot runway, overran the end of the runway, and nosed over. The pilot said he should have performed a go-around.

August 26, Yarmouth, Mass.
Beech 1900

At 1540 eastern time, a Beech 1900D operating as a U.S. Airways Express flight, crashed into water near Yarmouth, killing the two pilots aboard. The flight was a nonrevenue positioning flight. The flight departed runway 24 at Hyannis, destined for Albany, N.Y., and the crew reported a runaway trim. The airplane climbed in a left turn to about 1,100 feet and the controller cleared the pilots to land on any runway. Witnesses observed the airplane in a left turn, with a nose-up attitude. The airplane then pitched nose-down, and impacted the water at an approximate 30-degree angle. The flight data recorded showed the airplanes pitch trim was 2 degrees negative at takeoff and then reached a 7-degree nose down position. The accident flight was the first flight after maintenance that included replacement of both elevator trim actuators and the forward elevator trim cable.

August 27, Bend, Ore.
Lancair 400

At approximately 1045 Pacific time, a Lancair LC41, prototype for the Lancair 400, crashed about 15 miles east of Bend during spin testing. The pilot bailed out and was not injured. The pilot had been conducting a series of spin entry and recovery tests, and had intentionally entered a fully developed spin. During the final spin, the flight controls were insufficient to recover, so he deployed the spin recovery/stabilization drogue parachute. After he recovered from the spin, he was unable to jettison the drogue chute with either the manual or backup system. He attempted to establish controlled flight with the chute attached, but was unable. He then bailed out. Initial examination of the wreckage showed the parachute leader attach ring had released from where it had been held in the glider tow hook. The lead from the electrical cable cutter activation mechanism was found pulled from its plug.

August 28, Vigo Park, Texas
Pilatus Porter

At 1651 central time, a Pilatus PC-6 crashed following an uncontrolled descent approximately 14 miles northeast of Vigo Park. The pilot bailed out and was not injured. The pilot said he was in cruise flight at 12,500 feet msl, the airplane experienced clear air turbulence. The pilot stated he reduced the throttle to idle and initiated a decent. Subsequently, the airplane pitched nose down to a nearly vertical attitude. The pilot said he accidentally placed the throttle into a reverse pitch state, and was unable to bring the power back up. After the airplane attained a rate of descent of 12,000 feet per minute, the pilot bailed out and deployed his parachute.

August 28, Tracy, Calif.
Petz Flying Boat

At approximately 0815 Pacific time, the pilot of an experimental Petz Flying Boat lost control and crashed about 660 feet south of New Jerusalem Airport. The pilot was killed. Circumstances of the crash are uncertain. The NTSB report lists an inaccurate estimated time of departure, so it is unclear whether the airplane crashed on takeoff or was returning at the time of the accident. Family members said this was the first flight of the airplane, which was designed and built by the pilot.

August 29, Rapid City, S.D.
Cessna Citation

At approximately 1630, a Cessna 650 suffered failure of its right wing aileron cable while in cruise flight at FL390 approximately 200 miles southeast of Rapid City. The airplane landed without further incident. The pilot reported the airplane was in cruise flight with the autopilot engaged when it suddenly rolled to the right. He disconnected the autopilot and rolled wings level, noting that it took left control wheel deflection to maintain wings level. Initial inspection revealed the right aileron cable failed near the outboard pulley just prior to the bellcrank.

August 31, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Piper Malibu

At 1529 eastern time, a Piper PA-46-310P crashed while trying to return to the airport shortly after takeoff from Hilton Head Airport. The pilot and passenger were killed. The pilot took off and, four minutes later, declared an emergency on the airports common traffic advisory frequency. The pilot said he was making an immediate return. One witness heard the CTAF broadcast mention something about a cover off and said the airplane was trailing what appeared to be smoke from the left wing tip only. Initial examination of the airplane, which was modified to use a turboprop engine, showed the left inboard fuel cap was missing. It was found in the grass beside the departure runway.


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