NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 105 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in November 1999. 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, November.”


Nov. 2, Stites, Idaho
Hiller UH-12

At approximately 11:18 PST, a Hiller UH-12E suffered an inflight separation of a control rotor, after which the helicopter struck power lines and crashed. The pilot and one passenger were seriously injured; a third occupant was not injured. The pilot said he was on a fish-spotting mission at about 400 feet when the helicopter began vibrating. He raised the collective and tried to increase RPM, but the control rotor then departed the aircraft and the vibration became so severe that he thought the engine would vibrate off of its mounts. The pilot reported that he was about 75 feet agl when he saw the power lines, but did not feel he had sufficient control authority to evade them. He maintained the flight path and went through the lines. The lines stopped the helicopter partially and the helicopter then fell vertically from about 50 feet. AD 97-10-16, which requires inspection of UH-12E control rotor cuffs and spar tubes at 100-hour intervals, was last complied with on the accident helicopter on September 6, 1999, about 56 flight hours prior to the accident.

Nov. 3, Seminole, Texas
Cessna Agwagon

At 14:05 CST, a Cessna A188B hit power lines and crashed while maneuvering, but the pilot was not injured. The airplane collided with two north/south power lines suspended approximately 20 feet above cotton fields. The pilot said he was aligning the airplane for the first pass on the 320-acre field that he intended to spray. He was flying west over the field and said he never saw the wires. The two wires struck the top of the windshield, the upper portion of the vertical stabilizer, and the rudder assembly. The rudder assembly was partially ripped from its mounts and jammed the rudder in a marked right rudder deflection. The pilot attempted to continue straight ahead but could not stop the airplane from turning right. Control of the airplane continued to decay as the airspeed diminished and, when he could no longer maintain control of the airplane, he extended the flaps and crashed into the field.

Nov. 3, Iowa Park, Texas
Baby Great Lakes

At 07:30 CST, an amateur-built Baby Great Lakes lost power and went down at the Wichita Valley Airport. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he had just purchased the airplane and the seller had informed him that the airplane required fuel before its next flight. The pilot was performing high-speed taxi tests and simulated takeoffs, when the airplane became airborne. The airplane began drifting from the centerline and he elected to continue the takeoff. The pilot flew the traffic pattern two times before he attempting to land. On final, the pilot aborted the landing and initiated a go-around. The pilot pitched up and applied full power and the engine stopped. An investigator found one cup of fuel in the fuselage mounted fuel tank.

Nov. 3, Raleigh, N.C.
Piper Dakota

At about 18:15 EST, a Piper PA-28-235 struck something shortly after landing at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The airplane suffered a dented wing but the two occupants were not injured. The pilot said he made a visual approach to runway 23R and backed the approach up with the ILS. On touchdown the airplane veered to the left and into the grass. He stated he had not applied any brakes. He regained directional control and maneuvered the airplane back on the runway. He contacted the tower and informed them that he did not know what happened. The tower asked him if he had a bird strike. He looked out the window to his left and saw a dent in the wing, but so far the investigation has not determined what he hit.

Nov. 5, Jacksonville, N.C.
Cessna 150

At about 12:58 EST, a Cessna 150M lost power and suffered substantial damage in a forced landing near Jacksonville. The CFI and the student pilot aboard were not injured. The flight originated from Myrtle Beach, S.C., 1:28 before the accident. The CFI said the student pilot preflighted the airplane and determined the fuel tanks were full before departing on a cross country flight from Jacksonville to Myrtle Beach. They did not purchase fuel in Myrtle Beach and were returning to Jacksonville when the CFI noticed the fuel gauges were near empty. He asked the student pilot again if the fuel tanks were full when they departed OAJ, and he replied they were. The airplane was at 3,500 feet when the engine quit. The CFI turned to make a forced landing in a field, but discovered the forced landing area was a swampy area after he was committed to land. The nose gear collapsed on landing rollout and both wings and the right horizontal stabilizer were damaged.

Nov. 6, Rising Sun, Md.
Cessna 152

At about 15:50 EST, a Cessna 152 crashed during takeoff from a private grass strip in Rising Sun. The two CFIs aboard were uninjured. One CFI was giving a biennial flight review to the other. After about 15 minutes of performing maneuvers in the local practice area, the pilots decided to perform touch-and-goes at a nearby private grass strip. They determined the winds were from the northwest at 5-10 knots and landed on runway 31. The strip sloped uphill, with power lines at the departure end and trees at the approach end. The flying CFI tried to make a short-field takeoff but the other CFI aborted the attempt. The flying CFI then taxied to the end of the strip and tried to take off in the opposite direction. The other CFI again aborted the takeoff and noted the end of the runway was approaching. He tried to turn the airplane into a field adjacent to the strip, but the airplane struck trees with the left wing.

Nov. 7, Chamblee, Ga.
Cessna 210

At 10:54 EST, a Cessna 210N crashed and burned while trying to make an emergency landing at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport. The pilot was killed. The airplane had just departed PDK when the pilot reported a landing gear problem and smoke in the cockpit. The pilot was instructed to enter visual traffic for runway 2R and he was cleared to land. As the airplane neared touchdown the controller told the pilot that the landing gear did not appear to be locked and instructed the pilot to go around. When the airplane flew by the control tower, the tower controller noticed smoke coming from the airplane. The pilot climbed from runway 2R and tried to line up with runway 27. The tower controller again instructed the pilot to go-around, this time because a crash vehicle was on runway 27. Seconds later, the tower controller cleared the pilot to land on any runway. The airplane touched down in the grassy area between the approach ends of runways 2L and 2R. The cockpit and cabin areas of the airframe sustained extensive fire damage.

Nov. 7, Longmont, Colo.
Cessna 150 and Cessna Turbo Stationair

At approximately 11:30 MST, a Cessna 150E and a Cessna TU206F collided in mid-air four miles southwest of Vance Brand Airport. The two occupants of the 150 and the sole occupant of the 206 were uninjured. Both airplanes were approaching to land. The pilot of the 150 saw the 206 at a close distance and tried to avoid it, but the wingtips struck. Both airplanes were able to land safely.

Nov. 7, Honolulu, Hawaii
Boeing DC-10

At about 21:20 Hawaiian standard time, a cargo-filled Boeing DC-10-30F sustained substantial damage to both elevators after responding to a TCAS alert five minutes after departure. No one was injured. The captain said the airplane departed runway 08R and he was turning right to a heading of 155 degrees and passing through 1,500 feet when air traffic control instructed him to turn left to 140 degrees for traffic. The traffic was at 10 oclock at 5,000 feet. The captain acknowledged the traffic in sight. The first officer advised the captain to shallow the climb to maintain separation. The other airplane, a Hawaiian Air DC-9, appeared to still be descending at 10 oclock. The TCAS in the DC-10 alerted for traffic and issued an advisory to climb at 1,200 fpm. The airplane was climbing through 3,800 feet as the captain pitched up to attain 1,200 to 1,500 feet per minute rate of climb. The TCAS then reported clear of conflict. The captain then contacted departure control to discuss the close encounter, but he did not file a near midair collision report. Departure control informed him they did not know if the DC-9 received a TCAS alert. The Hawaiian Air crew also received a TCAS alert when they were descending through 4,500 feet. The DC-10 proceeded to Fiji for a fuel stop and scheduled crew change. Both crews inspected the airplane and observed damage to both elevators. An Australian airworthiness inspector said the outboard lower skins of the elevators were severely bent, the horizontal stabilizer fairings were indented from contact with the elevator balance weights and many rivets were pulled through the upper skin.

Nov. 8, Olive Branch, Miss.
Piper Seneca

At about 09:15 CST, a Piper PA-34-200 had its right main gear collapse on the takeoff portion of a touch and go. The pilot flying the airplane was receiving multi-engine instruction. After touch down, the pilot retracted the flaps and reached for the landing gear instead of the throttles. The CFI yelled no and the student pilot released the handle and added full power. The right main landing gear retracted, the airplane yawed to the right and stopped in the grass.

Nov. 9, Urupan, Mexico
Douglas DC-9

At 19:03 CST, a Douglas DC-9-31 operating as TAESA Flight 725 crashed just after takeoff from UPN. All 18 aboard were killed. Witnesses said the airplane assumed a higher than normal climb attitude as soon as it departed from runway 20. The airplane impacted the ground in a nose low attitude on a heading of 110 degrees in an avocado grove located on the east side of the departure course, 3.3 miles south of the airport.

Nov. 9, Canandaigua, N.Y.
Bellanca Super Viking

At about 15:00 EST, a Bellanca 17-30A made a forced landing at the Canandaigua Airport. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot told investigators he lifted off about three-quarters of the way down Runway 31. At about 65 feet above the runway, the pilot raised the landing gear and the engine quit. The pilot lowered the nose and attempted to land on the remaining runway. The airplane touched down, bounced back into the air, and then floated over a road located at the end of the runway and landed in a plowed field. The FAA inspector noted that the airplane had not been inspected for 2 years before the accident and has had a history of fuel contamination problems.

Nov. 9, New Hope, Pa.
Cessna 150

At about 10:00, EST, a Cessna 150 suffered substantial damage during a forced landing. The pilot was not injured. The pilot completed three touch and goes before departing the traffic pattern. While climbing through 900 feet msl, the engine started running rough. The pilot applied carburetor heat but the problem persisted. Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot selected a field for a forced landing and then the engine failed completely. The airplane touched down smoothly, but encountered rising terrain and the nose gear collapsed. Investigators found that the fuel tank vents were blocked by mud deposited by insects and the carburetor bowl was empty. The inspector removed the filler caps from both fuel tanks and the carburetor bowl filled with fuel. With the engine still attached to the airframe, the engine ran normally.

Nov. 10, Creede, Colo.
Bellanca Super Viking

At approximately 15:20 MST, a Bellanca 17-30 disappeared from radar near Creede. The pilot and his passenger are presumed dead. The meteorological conditions are unknown. The flight originated from Colorado Springs about 50 minutes earlier, but no flight plan was filed. Family members said the flight was headed to Las Vegas. The last radar contact of what is believed to be the missing airplane showed an altitude of 14,700 feet msl. It has not been determined if the airplane was equipped with supplemental oxygen.

Nov. 11, Chicago, Ill.
Beech Super King Air

At 20:20 CST, a Beechcraft 200 ran off the end of the runway and into Lake Michigan during a failed takeoff attempt from runway 18 Meigs Field. The two pilots and one passenger were killed. The controller said the pilot called for taxi and said they were VFR to South Bend. Winds were calm, so the controller gave the pilot his choice of runways and the pilot requested runway 18. The airplane back-taxied onto the overrun for runway 18 and began the takeoff run. The controller said the plane had not rotated three-quarters of the way down the 3,900-foot runway. A witness on the ramp said the airplane didnt sound like most King Airs do at that point. The witness described the engine sound as being a lower pitch sound, not the high pitch sound you normally hear. The witness said that the airplane was bouncing up and down on the [gear] struts, and wasnt coming off the ground.

Nov. 12, Unknown
Cessna 175

At 20:15 EST, a Cessna 175 was reported missing by a representative of the pilots family. The aircraft has been presumed destroyed, and the pilot is presumed to have been fatally injured. The flight departed Iron County Airport, Crystal Falls, Mich., at 15:15 EST and was presumed to be en route to Cherry Capital Airport, Traverse City, Mich., for fuel and then to Oakland/Troy Airport. Airports in the area reported cold temperatures and ceilings ranging from sky clear to 700 feet.

Nov. 12, Somerset, Pa.
Sea Hawk

At about 13:45 EST, the pilot of an amateur-built Sea Hawk lost control during high-speed taxi tests and inadvertent flight after the engine quit. The pilot was not injured. The aircraft had not been flown in several years. The pilot performed several high speed taxi runs. Later that afternoon, the pilot wanted to perform the same taxi tests, using different increments of flaps. The pilot taxied about a third of the way down the runway, applied power and the airplane lifted about 10 feet off the ground. Then the engine quit and the airplane descended to the left. The engine then regained power, and the pilot decided to land. During the landing, the airplane made numerous contacts with the ground over a distance of 75 feet. The pilot said he had no intention of flight on the day of the accident. An inspector drained fuel from the main tank, located on the upper wing, and discovered red particles, bigger than pepper flakes, similar to the lining of the fuel tank. When he drained fuel from the auxiliary tank, located on the lower wing, it resembled pond scum, and contained an odor consistent with a mixture of aviation fuel and automobile gasoline.

Nov. 13, Malheur City, Ore.
Piper Super Cub

At approximately 11:20 PST, a Piper PA-18-150 clipped a power line during an emergency landing on the Crowley Ranch. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he heard a loud pop and a fire started in the aircraft. The pilot elected to make an emergency landing in a nearby field, but clipped a power line while on final approach. This resulted in the aircraft landing hard and both main gear collapsing. After the pilot exited the aircraft, it was almost completely consumed by fire. The pilot reported that the aircrafts alternator had not been charging the battery for a couple of months and that he had taken it to a couple of shops that had not been able to solve the problem.

Nov. 15, Coral Springs, Fla.
Rocket II

At about 17:00 EST, an amateur-built Rocket II crashed into the Everglades after losing power. The pilot was killed and the passenger suffered serious injuries. The flight originated from Fort Lauderdale about 1:39 before the accident. The airplane was reported missing the next day and located that afternoon. The passenger stated they departed FLL at about 15:20. The final destination was Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, but the pilot decided to fly out over the Everglades and then return to FXE. They were flying in the vicinity of Willard Fish Camp at about 250 feet when the engine lost power. The pilot pulled back on the control stick to gain altitude and the airplane stalled. The injured passenger crawled through alligator infested swamp and spent the night at the fish camp.

Nov. 18, Palm Springs, Calif.
Boeing 767

At about 09:00 PST, a Boeing 767-223 operated by American Airlines as Flight 160 suffered a rapid decompression during climb. The pilot made an emergency descent and landed without additional incident at the Palm Springs International Airport. Two of the 10 flight attendants and four of the 111 passengers reported minor injuries. The flight crew said the jet was climbing through 32,000 feet when they heard a rumbling sound followed by the illumination of the Center Duct Leak light on an overhead panel. Unable to control the rate of depressurization, the crew performed the Explosive Depressurization procedure and descended to 10,000 feet. An examination of the airplane revealed the main cabin air supply duct ruptured at a weld.

Nov. 20, New Orleans, La.
Piper Comanche

At 17:20 CST, a Piper PA-24-260 crashed on approach to Lakefront Airport, killing all four aboard. The aircraft reportedly was No. 2 for landing behind traffic on a right base for runway 36R. It appeared that the aircraft was lining up with runway 27, so the air traffic controller asked the pilot what his intentions were and confirmed that the pilot was to land on runway 36R. A witness observed the aircraft flying slowly at about 200 feet agl. The aircraft began a bank to the left and then a bank to the right. Then the aircrafts nose dropped, and it entered a left turn and descended out of sight behind some warehouse buildings. The airplane came to rest between two warehouse buildings about 2,100 feet from the south end of taxiway Bravo, which runs between runways 36L and 36R.

Nov. 22, Defuniak Springs, Fla.
Cessna 172

At about 07:30 CST, a Cessna 172N was damaged while making a precautionary landing in a field, but the pilot was not injured. The pilot said he watched the Weather Channel and then departed Geneva, Ala., at about 07:00 on a local flight with his wife to perform several touch-and-go landings. His wife then got out of the aircraft and he departed for Elba, Ala., where he intended to refuel the aircraft. Upon arriving at Elba, he found the airport fogged in. He then diverted to Enterprise, Ala., and found that airport fogged in. He returned to Geneva and found that airport also fogged in. He then contacted controllers at Columbus, Ga., and Cairns Army Airfield. He flew southeast of Geneva and encountered a clear area, where he informed the controllers that he was going to make a precautionary landing in a field. He landed downwind and the aircraft floated over the intended landing field and touched down in heavy brush and trees.

Nov. 26, Newark, N.J.
Beech Bonanza

At about 10:53 EST, a Beechcraft S35, piloted by Itzhak Jacoby crashed shortly after takeoff from Linden. All three aboard were killed and 22 people on the ground received varying degrees of injuries, from minor cuts to third degree burns. IMC prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed. Records show that pilot contacted New York Departure Control and was instructed to turn left to a heading of 010 degrees, and climb to 5,000 feet msl. A few seconds later, the controller revised the clearance, and instructed the pilot to maintain 2,000 feet. Thirty-five seconds after that, the controller instructed the pilot to turn left to a heading of 270 degrees, to which the pilot did not reply. The controller then reissued the heading, and the pilot responded, I have a problem. The controller inquired about the problem and the pilot responded, I have a gyro problem, maybe some water got in it. During the next minute and a half, the pilot made two more transmissions saying he had a problem, but he did not specify the nature. About two minutes after the pilot initially reported difficulties, the airplane struck a building. Radar data showed the airplane heading east at 1,100 feet when the pilot first reported a problem. Over the next two minutes, the targets ground track changed from east, to north, to northeast, to northwest, and then back to north. During the 20 seconds before impact, the target climbed from 2,100 feet to 2,700 feet, and then began about a 7,800 foot-per-minute descent. Initial examination of both the engine and airframe revealed no pre-impact failure or malfunctions. Three gyros, two gyro cases, and a standby vacuum pump clutch assembly have been retained for further examination.

Nov. 27, St. George, S.C.
Beech King Air

At about 12:05 EST, a Beechcraft 90 landed short of the runway at St. George Airport while on a parachute jumping flight. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he took off at about 11:50 and was at 12,500 feet when the aircraft started to lose power and descend. He instructed the parachutists to jump and turned toward the airport, but landed about 500 yards short of the runway. All of the parachutists exited the aircraft safely.

Nov. 28, Afton, Wyo.
Piper Super Cub

At approximately 10:05 MST, a Piper PA-18-125 crashed adjacent to the Afton Municipal Airport, killing the pilot and his passenger. IMC prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. The airplane was en route from Oshkosh, Neb., to Nampa, Idaho, and landed for fuel in Afton after dark. The pilot was seen refueling the plane at a local service station at about 21:00 on Nov. 27. The next morning, the pilot and his passenger were seen using a courtesy car to jump start the engine at about 09:00. At 10:38, a witness spotted a fire in a field next to the airport that turned out to be the accident site. There was no evidence of airframe or powerplant failure or malfunction. Witnesses said thick fog enveloped the airport before and after the accident, and there was a heavy frost.

Nov. 28, Stillwater, Okla.
Beech Bonanza

At 11:08 CST, a Beech BE35 was damaged in a forced landing following a loss of power near Stillwater. The pilot was seriously injured and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The pilots spouse said the pilot reported losing engine power shortly after departing Stillwater Municipal Airport. Investigators found the right fuel tank empty and the left fuel tank full. The fuel selector was positioned on the right fuel tank and the fuel quantity indicator selector was positioned to indicate the quantity in the left tank.


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