NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 170 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in May 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, May.”


May 01, The Woodlands, Texas
Mitsubishi MU-2B

At approximately 12:41 central time, a Mitsubishi MU-2B-40 crashed after an uncontrolled descent near The Woodlands, killing the pilot and passenger. VMC prevailed but scattered thunderstorms were reported in the vicinity of the departure airport. Witnesses reported hearing an engine surging noise and observed the airplane in a flat spin until it struck the ground in a near-vertical attitude. Witnesses said the airplane appeared to be missing part of one wing as it descended and the right wing fuel tip tank has not been located.

May 02, Lake Wales, Fla.
Cessna Skylane

At 10:30 eastern time, a Cessna 182P flipped over during a crosswind landing on the grass strip at Chalet Suzanne. The four occupants suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he was landing on runway 36 when he experienced a strong crosswind, and the airplane porpoised halfway down the runway. The nose wheel struck the ground and the airplane flipped inverted.

May 02, Watkins, Colo.
Cessna Turbo Stationair

At approximately 13:30 mountain time, a Cessna T206H was damaged during landing at Front Range Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot was en route IFR from Tea, S.D., to Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo., when he encountered icing conditions. He requested various altitudes in an attempt to get out of the icing, but was unable to maintain altitude and diverted to Front Range. The airplane landed hard, departed the runway and struck a taxiway sign.

May 03, Washington, Okla.
Cessna Cutlass

At 13:15 central time, a Cessna 172RG was damaged during a precautionary landing near Washington after the pilots encountered smoke in the cockpit. The pilot and the CFI suffered minor injuries. The pilots were practicing commercial flight maneuvers when they smelled an electrical fire. They immediately began to return to the airport, but two minutes later the cockpit filled with smoke. The pilots secured all electrical equipment and landed in a field, where the airplane nosed over. An investigation showed chafing of electrical wires between the engine firewall and cockpit instrument panel. A plastic hydraulic reservoir was found melted and laying on the cockpit floor.

May 04, Factoryville, Pa.
Piper Saratoga

At 15:00 eastern time, a Piper PA-32-301 overran the runway after touching down fast at Seamans Field Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was a little high on final and dove toward the runway, nearing the threshold at 95 knots. Witnesses said he landed about 1,500 feet down the 2,500-foot runway. The airplane almost stopped on the grass at the end of the runway, but the nosewheel went over an embankment and the airplane slid down a hill. The nearest weather report, from an airport 19 miles away, measured the winds as variable at 4 knots.

May 05, Imnaha, Ore.
Cessna Stationair

At approximately 07:30 Pacific time, a Cessna U206F on a Part 135 flight nosed over during the landing roll at a private airstrip about 13 nm northeast of Imnaha. The pilot said he circled the airstrip, located in a canyon, three or four times to determine the wind direction. He then set up for an approach to the southeast. He said the wind sock was limp during the approach, but shortly after touchdown a gust of wind picked the aircraft up and dropped it. The pilot opted to continue the landing instead of going around, but didnt have enough room to stop. He tried to ground loop the aircraft, but the nose gear separated and the airplane flipped inverted.

May 05, Arlington, Wash.
Let L-23

At approximately 13:00 Pacific time, a Let L-23 glider struck a taxiway sign during its landing roll at Arlington Municipal Airport. The instructor and student were not injured. The instructor said the student was just about to land at the north end of the grass landing area when the instructor decided it would be best to land farther down the runway. Without advising the student, the instructor partially retracted the spoilers so the aircraft would float farther before touching down. The glider drifted long, touched down on the wet grass and departed the end of the landing area.

May 06, Yamhill, Ore.
Cessna Stationair

At approximately 13:00 Pacific time, a Cessna U206 suffered a collapsed nose gear after a hard landing at Flying M Airstrip. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he encountered variable, gusty winds while he was on final for the turf runway. Just about the time he was going to start his flare, he said he encountered an area of rapidly sinking air and the aircraft suddenly fell onto the runway surface. The nose gear fork sheared, allowing the nose gear strut to dig into the ground.

May 06, Nahant, Mass.
Piper Navajo

At about 20:15 eastern time, a Piper PA-31-350 lost power on both engines and was ditched in Massachusetts Bay. The pilot and eight passengers sustained minor injuries. The pilot said the engines surged slightly on takeoff from Nantucket about 30 minutes earlier. He described the surges as minor but still noticeable. The airplane had descended to 1,500 feet when the right aux fuel pump light flashed intermittently, followed by a total loss of power on the right engine. The pilot could not restore power and feathered the right propeller. The airplane was not able to maintain altitude on one engine. Shortly thereafter, the left engine began surging. The pilot was not able to restore power and feathered the left propeller. He ditched at about 85 knots and all occupants exited safely. The airplane sank in about 40 to 45 seconds.

May 06, Wichita, Kan.
Cessna Skyhawk

At 15:40 central time, a Cessna 172N struck a power line and crashed five miles north of the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The CFI and student pilot were killed. The two were practicing ground reference maneuvers in a designated practice area when they reported to Wichita controllers they would be operating in the traffic pattern at Maize Airport for a few minutes. No further radio contact was recorded, but about 35 minutes later witnesses heard a low-flying airplane in the vicinity of Wichita International Raceway. One witness reported the airplane was traveling north-northwest at 150 to 200 feet and descending slightly. The witness said the engine speed was high, but sounded normal, and the flaps were up. He lost sight of it behind some trees, but then heard the wire impact, saw the wires bouncing, and discovered the electricity and phone dead.

May 06, Brewer, Maine
Aeronca 11AC

At 13:45 eastern time, an Aeronca 11AC lost power shortly after takeoff from Brewer Airport and was damaged during the ensuing forced landing. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he had onboard fuel approx. 2.5 hours. The pilot hand-propped the engine and conducted two engine runups before taking off on runway 01. The engine quit at about 150 to 200 feet and the pilot landed to the right of the runway. An inspection revealed the fuel system had not been compromised. The forward fuel tank was empty and an aft-mounted fuel tank, which was used for level flight only, contained an unknown quantity of fuel. Nine days later the airplane was again examined in a salvage yard. The gascolator contained about a tablespoon of fuel and numerous rust particles. The fuel line from the gascolator to the carburetor contained no fuel. The carburetor contained 2 to 4 ounces of fuel. The forward fuel tank was empty and the fuel cap was rusted. The rear fuel tank still contained fuel, but the quantity could not be verified. The pilot was adamant that before the accident flight, he looked in both fuel tanks and saw fuel in both.

May 08, Greeley, Colo.
Beech King Air

At 13:03 mountain time, a Beech 200 made an intentional wheels-up landing at Greeley-Weld County Airport. The pilot and five passengers were not injured. After takeoff from Broomfield, Colo., the pilot heard a noise while retracting the landing gear and noticed a gear in-transit indication. He attempted to cycle the landing gear, but had no success. Attempts to extend the gear manually also failed. The pilot circled the area for nearly five hours to burn off fuel, then diverted to Greeley for the wheels-up landing. Damage was confined to the landing gear doors, antennae, and one propeller tip.

May 11, Gunnison, Colo.
Beech Duchess

At approximately 19:40 mountain time, a Beech 76 struck power lines and crashed into Blue Mesa Reservoir approximately 17 miles west of Gunnison. The two occupants, both flight instructors, were killed. Witnesses said the airplane was burning after it struck the power lines and a fire continued on the surface of the water for about five minutes. The airplane sank in 130 to 150 feet of water.

May 12, Ithaca, N.Y.
Piper Turbo Lance II

At 09:36 eastern time, a Piper PA-32RT-300 struck the ground during an instrument approach to Tompkins County Airport. The pilot and two passengers suffered minor injuries. While being vectored for the ILS Runway 32 approach, the pilot had the autopilot engaged in the heading and altitude mode. Once cleared for the approach, the pilot canceled the altitude mode and started a descent. He intercepted the final approach course using the heading mode and autopilot. As he passed the final approach fix, the pilot disengaged the autopilot. At that point he was on course and above glide slope. Published minimums for the approach are 1,349 feet msl, but the pilot said his personal minimum was 2,000 feet. With 10 degrees of flaps and the GPS indicating 82 knots groundspeed, the pilot looked outside to acquire the ground visually. Instead of seeing the ground below the airplane, he noticed it approaching from the front. The airplane struck about 2 miles from the runway, bounced back into the air and flew another 1,110 feet before coming to a stop. The pilot said he did not remember ever going below glide slope. The accident site was approximately 80 feet below the elevation of the runway, which was 1,099 feet.

May 12, Dunlap, Tenn.
Cessna 150

At approximately 10:25 central time, a Cessna 150G struck trees while maneuvering over mountainous terrain near Dunlap. The pilot was killed. The flight departed John C. Tune Airport in Nashville at 09:30, reportedly en route to Copperhill. After takeoff, the pilot established radio and radar contact with Nashville Approach Control, but radio contact was not maintained. Radar contact was maintained and the airplane was observed maneuvering in the vicinity of the accident site. The airplane was reported missing when it did not arrive at its destination, but searchers did not find the wreckage for 14 days. The airplane struck the trees at a 45-degree angle.

May 12, San Diego, Calif.
Gulfstream G-IV and Bell 206B

At about 17:00 Pacific time, a Bell 206B and Gulfstream G-IV collided in a non-movement area of the San Diego International-Lindbergh Field. The pilot of the helicopter and his three passengers were uninjured and the eight occupants of the Gulfstream were uninjured. The helicopter was on the ground and the Gulfstream was taxiing past it with the assistance of line personnel. As the jet approached the helicopter, a wing walker signaled there was sufficient clearance to pass. But as the jet passed, the helicopter pilot started the engine and the rotor blades struck the jets right winglet. The rotors then struck the helicopters tailboom.

May 12, McMinnville, Ore.
Cessna Skyhawk

At about 13:30 Pacific time, a Cessna 172 was damaged during a touch-and-go landing at McMinnville Municipal Airport. The student pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The round robin cross-country flight originated at Troutdale, Ore., with intermediate stops at Corvallis, and McMinnville. During a touch-and-go landing at McMinnville, the aircrafts left wing struck the runway. The pilot was unaware of the contact and continued the flight to Troutdale, the final destination. The wing skin, spar and flight controls were all damaged.

May 13, Jackson Township, Pa.
Cessna 150

At 07:43 eastern time, a Cessna 150A crashed while maneuvering near Jackson Township, killing the pilot and passenger. The flight originated from Johnstown Airport at 07:37. The wreckage was located about six miles north, underneath transmission lines. The transmission lines were approximately 300 feet above the ground. An examination of the wires by helicopter showed visible damage to two static lines that ran above the 500-kilovolt transmission lines, but the transmission lines themselves appeared to be undamaged. The airplane showed evidence of electrical arcing as well as wire impact damage. A power company representative said the current could arc to an aircraft that came within 12 feet of the transmission lines. No pre-strike anomalies were found.

May 13, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Beech Bonanza

At about 16:50 Pacific time, a Beech E33A landed gear-up during an aborted takeoff from the Lake Tahoe Airport. The four occupants were uninjured. The pilot said he took off from runway 18 and the airplane accelerated normally. He rotated and raised the landing gear. The airplane refused to climb, however, with witnesses saying it was only about 30 feet high by midfield. The pilot reduced power and selected gear down, but the airplane settled before the gear extended. The density altitude at the time was about 7,700 feet.

May 15, Stebbins, Alaska
Cessna Stationair

At about 15:00 Alaska time, a Cessna 206 was damaged during an emergency landing at Stebbins Airport. The pilot was not injured. The intended routing of scheduled Part 135 commuter flight was from Unalakleet to St. Michael to Stebbins to Unalakleet. The pilot said the first leg was uneventful. She offloaded her passenger and took off on the next leg. On initial climb, the yoke showed only limited movement. She maintained control using trim and rudder and attempted to declare an emergency, but the push-to-talk switch had become inoperative. She was able to make shallow turns and control the airplanes altitude and pitch using a combination of flaps, trim and power. She was able to line up for landing at Stebbins, but was not able to flare before touchdown on the gravel runway. The nose gear struck first and collapsed, and the airplane departed the right side of the runway. An inspection revealed a wiring harness behind the instrument panel had become entangled in a series of bearings used to control yoke movement.

May 15, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Cessna Skymaster

At 13:37 eastern time, a Cessna P337H struck the ground a half-mile west of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries. When the pilot departed on the local flight, the airplane contained about 38 gallons of fuel. The pilot said he planned to fly only about 45 minutes and declined to add fuel. The pilot conducted multiple approaches and landings and the airplane was reported down an hour and 45 minutes after initial takeoff. The left tank was dry and about 4.5 gallons were recovered from the right tank. The POH specifies that dual engine stoppage is possible if fuel is allowed to drop below 8.3 gallons.

May 16, Paulden, Ariz.
Piper Turbo Lance II

At about 18:30 mountain time, a Piper PA-32RT-300T was damaged after an off-airport precautionary landing. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said an engine vibration developed that led him to shut down the engine and land. Examination of the engine revealed the oil filter gasket was pinched at the base of the oil filter, which allowed the engine oil to escape and resulted in a catastrophic internal failure.

May 17, St. Cloud, Minn.
Beech Baron

At about 11:48 central time, a Beech 95-C55 lost engine power and crashed on initial climb from runway 31 at St. Cloud Regional Airport. The pilot was seriously injured. A witness said he saw the plane taking off and climbing to about 200 feet agl when it banked steeply to the right and began to go inverted. The pilot said he was at about 150 feet when the right engine lost power. No cause for the power loss could immediately be determined.

May 18, Tucson, Ariz.
Piper Super Cub

At 10:30 mountain time, a Piper PA-18-150 lost power on takeoff and struck the perimeter fence at El Tiro Gliderport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was making a flight prior to towing gliders to make sure that the airplane was working properly. He conducted a preflight and saw the fuel selector pointing toward the left. The pilot said he had been flying a Cessna 120 that has a similar looking fuel selector but operates opposite the Super Cub. In the 120, the left position is fuel on, in the Cub its fuel off. The engine sputtered on takeoff and the pilot tried to slip the airplane back to the runway, but the engine momentarily caught again and pushed him into the fence.

May 20, Woodrow, Colo.
Starduster Too

At 18:00 mountain time, a Starduster Too SA300 was damaged in a precautionary landing near Woodrow when weather deteriorated. The pilot was not injured. The pilot planned a flight from Saint Francis, Kan., to Watkins, Colo. Her weather briefing did not make any mention of precipitation. When she was near Woodrow the visibility deteriorated rapidly due to snow, and ice began to form on the windshield. The pilot chose to land in a field, which was rough and uneven, and the aircraft ground-looped.

May 24, Wichita Falls, Texas

At 19:05 central time, an experimental KR-2S crashed following a loss of engine power and spin while maneuvering near Wichita Falls. The pilot and passenger were killed. A witness said the airplane was in a climbing turn when the engine sputtered and quit. It nosed over and spiraled to the ground. The airplane struck the ground relatively flat. The cockpit was crushed flat and each main landing gear was shoved up into the respective wing. The wreckage showed no evidence there was fuel on board at the time of impact.

May 27, Pauma Valley, Calif.
Cessna Cardinal RG

At 15:35 Pacific time, a Cessna 177RG struck mountainous terrain during approach to Pauma Valley Airport. The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he was descending VFR and was on an extended downwind when he intentionally flew into what appeared to be an isolated cloud. The cloud was larger than he anticipated and eventually he saw vegetation on a mountainside a short distance in front of them. The airplane crashed on upsloping terrain.

May 27, Spartanburg, S.C.
Piper Pawnee

At about 16:35 eastern time, a Piper PA-25-235 operating as a glider tow flight lost engine power and crashed in the ensuing forced landing. The pilot said he was towing a glider at 2,500 to 2,800 feet when the engine failed. He released the glider and made for a forced landing at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport. He declared an emergency on the Unicom frequency but then heard a Learjet pilot state that he was going to take the active runway. He immediately asked the Learjet pilot to hold his position, but got no response. The Learjet taxied onto runway 23. The accident pilot then turned toward a closed runway and crossed over the centerline of runway 05/23 at about 1,000 feet. He then turned base and final to runway 27, at which time the landing gear struck trees. The airplane crashed on the apron of the closed runway. The pilot admitted he ran out of fuel.

May 27, Temecula, Calif.
Cessna Skymaster

At 12:55 Pacific time, a Cessna 337G struck power lines about five miles south of Temecula. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The flight had departed San Diego about 20 minutes earlier and was destined for French Valley Airport. The airplane struck power lines approximately 120 feet agl while over Interstate 15. The airplanes windshield was broken out, doorposts were bent, and wing struts were damaged, but the pilot continued the flight to his intended destination, which was the nearest airport.

May 28, Georgetown, Texas
Cessna Skyhawk

At 17:22 central time, a Cessna 172N struck trees during an emergency landing at Georgetown Municipal Airport. The pilot and his two passengers received minor injuries. The flight departed Hutchinson, Kan., at 12:50, with a planned destination of Austin, Texas. The pilot said he had flown from Austin to Hutchinson a few days earlier without refueling and planned to make the return trip without a fuel stop. The fuel gauges read empty as the flight passed Georgetown, but the pilot did not believe the gauges and continued the flight. When the airplane was four miles past Georgetown, the pilot reported the airplane was out of fuel. The pilot tried to return to Georgetown but crashed short of the runway.

May 30, Victoria, Texas
Cessna Skylane

At 07:20 central time, a Cessna 182 struck trees during takeoff from a private grass airstrip near Victoria. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said the left seat slid back about the time the airplane rotated. Subsequently, the airplane veered off the airstrip and struck trees near the departure end of the runway. The inspector reported that the seat track pin holes were within the manufacturers limits. The pilot said he did not have the safety lock installed on the seat track.

May 31, Albuquerque, N.M.
Piper Arrow

At 20:34 mountain time, a Piper PA-28R-180 was destroyed during a forced landing two miles south of Albuquerque International Sunport. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The airplane took off from runway 21 and, as it climbed to 150 to 200 feet, the engine lurched and began sputtering. The pilot reported his situation to the control tower and he was cleared to land on any runway. As he turned around, the right wing struck a power line and was torn off, and the airplane crashed on a mesa. Inspection revealed the No. 1 cylinder head had blown off at the barrel.


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