NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 111 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in December 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, December.”


Dec. 2, Cross Keys, N.J.
Cessna 152

At approximately 11:32 eastern time, a Cessna 152 was substantially damaged during takeoff from Cross Keys Airport. The two occupants were not injured. The pilot, who held a flight instructor certificate and was flying from the right seat, reported that the controls felt spongy during takeoff. About half way down the runway, he felt a snap, and experienced a partial control failure. The pilot then felt a second snap and the right control yoke broke off the control column. He reduced the power and the airplane began to drift toward the right side of the runway. The airplane then impacted the middle of a 40-foot tall tree, and came to rest inverted on the ground. The pilot-rated passenger said the yoke broke at an altitude of about 20 feet.

Dec. 3, Milltown, Wisc.
Beech Travelair

At 15:16 central time, a Beechcraft 95-B55 crashed after a loss of control while maneuvering near Milltown, killing the flight instructor and the dual student. The flight had departed St. Paul, Minn., on a local instructional flight. Several witnesses reported hearing the engines stop and said they saw the airplane spiraling to the ground.

Dec. 3, Lynwood, Wash.
Cessna 185

At 13:00 Pacific time, a Cessna A185F amphibian lost engine power over Lynwood. While attempting an emergency landing in a high school football field, the aircraft collided with trees and a fence. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was flying from Seattle to Everett to refuel. He noted before takeoff that the fuel gauges read slightly below empty, but he said that he knew from experience that the fuel tank contained about 10 gallons when it read empty. During the aircraft recovery, a mechanic drained a total of about three gallons of fuel from the wings. The total fuel capacity is 80 gallons, with 74 gallons usable.

Dec. 5, Pacific City, Ore.
Cessna 150

At about 13:15 Pacific time, a Cessna 150C was damaged while landing on runway 32 at Pacific City State Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he landed on the 1,875 foot paved runway a little hot. During the landing roll, the pilot intentionally steered the airplane right of runway centerline in an effort to stop the aircraft in the run up area. However, the aircraft departed the right side of the runway and collided with heavy vegetation next to the runway.

Dec. 5, Danbury, Conn.
Mooney M20J

At 11:38 eastern time, a Mooney M20J was damaged during a forced landing shortly after takeoff from Danbury Municipal Airport. The pilot was seriously injured and the two passengers were not injured. The pilot told investigators that, at 600 to 700 feet, the engine began running rough, then quit. The pilot then landed the airplane in a swamp. The pilot also said the airplane had sat on the ramp for about 2 weeks, and that he did not check the fuel tanks for water prior to departure.

Dec. 6, Charleston, W.V.
Embraer 120

At 20:38 eastern time, an Embraer 120RT operating as Atlantic Southeast Airways flight 71 struck two deer just after landing at Yeager Airport. One passenger was seriously injured when the tip of one of the right propeller blades punctured the fuselage. The captain said the airplane hit two deer within seconds of landing. One of the deer was hit by the nose gear, the other by the right propeller. The separated chunk of one of the propeller blades was about four inches long and three inches wide.

Dec. 8, Brainerd, Minn.
Aero Comp-6

At 14:00 central time, an amateur-built Aero Comp-6 nosed over during a forced landing in a snow-covered field near Brainerd after losing engine power. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said the purpose of the flight was to check the calibration on a newly installed fuel gauge sending unit.

Dec. 8, Antimony, Utah
Piper Comanche

At 16:55 mountain time, a Piper PA-24-250 crashed in the mountains about seven miles southeast of Antimony, killing the pilot and his passenger. The pilot was not instrument rated but IMC prevailed at the accident site. A family friend said the pilot had owned the airplane for four months and had flown from Mesa, Ariz., to Provo earlier that day to pick up his father. The pilot and his father were going to return to Mesa. At approximately 15:35, the pilot called his wife by cell phone while he was taxiing for takeoff and told her he would be back in Mesa by 18:30. A controller observed a VFR target in the vicinity of Antimony flying east to west. The target squawked 7700 once then disappeared from radar at 16:54:57.

Dec. 9, Clermont, Fla.
Grob G102

At about 15:55 eastern time, a Grob G102 crashed short of Seminole Lake Gliderport, but the pilot was not injured. The pilot said he deployed the airbrakes too early and the glider collided with trees short of the runway.

Dec. 9, Trenton, N.J.
Mooney 201

At about 11:00 eastern time, a Mooney M20J hit the runway after an apparent wake turbulence upset while landing at the Trenton Mercer Airport. The pilot and flight instructor were not injured. The pilot executed a normal takeoff from runway 34 and was making right closed traffic. As the pilot turned final, the instructor advised him to extend the touchdown point by 1,000 feet because a UH-60 helicopter was executing an approach from the southwest to the threshold of runway 34. The helicopter transitioned to hovering flight near the threshold about 30 seconds ahead of the accident airplane. Because of another airplane holding short of runway 34 on taxiway Echo, the UH-60 began to air-taxi to another section of the taxiway. The accident airplane was approximately 20 feet above the ground with landing flaps and 90 mph, and the UH-60 was hovering 150 feet to the north, when the accident airplane suddenly rolled right (faster than a full application of aileron). The pilot and flight instructor simultaneously applied full left aileron, and the flight instructor applied full power. The right wing struck the ground and the airplane hit the runway landing gear first.

Dec. 9, Ingleside, Texas

At 18:00 central time, a homebuilt Varieze crashed when it entered an uncommanded left roll while in the traffic pattern at the T P McCambell Airport. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said that during the traffic pattern turn from upwind to crosswind, full opposite rudder would not overcome an uncommanded roll to the left, during which the left wing struck the ground. The airplane came to rest in brushy terrain, approximately 100 yards east of runway 13. An FAA inspector discovered that moving the rudder against the centering spring resulted in the cable eye hooking itself behind the rudder control arm.

Dec. 9, Petaluma, Calif.
Cessna Turbo Skylane

At about 19:27 Pacific time, a Cessna TR182 descended into rising hilly terrain about 3.5 nautical miles from Petaluma Municipal Airport, killing the pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight plan had been filed. The pilot was practicing instrument flying and had made several flights earlier in the day. As the airplane approached Petaluma at 19:23 on the VOR DME runway 29 approach, the radar controller terminated radar services and advised the pilot to change to the airports advisory frequency. The pilot acknowledged the instruction but that was the last recorded communication ATC had with the pilot. The local weather conditions at the time included heavy fog, an indefinite ceiling and visibility between 1/4 and 1/2 mile. The airplane was located at an approximate elevation of 1,020 feet msl, under the minimum descent altitude of 1,120 feet for the approach. The airport also has a GPS approach to runway 29 with an MDA of 900 feet msl and the wreckage was found in an area consistent with the pilot flying this approach instead. The airplane was equipped with a GPS receiver that was not approved for IFR use.

Dec. 10, Norman, Okla.
Cessna Golden Eagle

At 04:48 central time, a Cessna 421B struck terrain while maneuvering near Norman, killing the pilot and his passenger. The flight originated from Altus, Okla., and was destined for Norman. The airplane was VFR over-the-top and requested an IFR clearance to the Westheimer Airport. The pilot was cleared for the localizer runway 03 instrument approach. Subsequently, ATC approved the flight to change to the airport advisory frequency, the pilot acknowledged, and no further communications were heard from the flight. A police officer who was patrolling the airport heard an airplane overfly runway 03 but did not see the airplane or any lights. The airplane was located one mile northeast of the airport on a heading that implied he had begun the missed approach turn.

Dec. 10, Marathon, Fla.
Robinson R22

At about 19:03 eastern time, a Robinson R22 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about 100 yards offshore of Marathon, leaving the flight instructor and student pilot with minor injuries. The flight had departed Key West at about 15:30 with another helicopter en route to Fort Lauderdale Executive. No weather briefing had been obtained. They entered IMC and the R22 turned toward clear skies in the east while the other helicopter landed. The accident helicopter flew to Indian Key Island and landed to wait out the weather. The CFI got a weather briefing, which told of a line of thunderstorms along the route of flight. The weather improved and the pilot departed the island. He flew toward a highway he planned to follow and again encountered instrument conditions. He reversed his course towards Indian Key Island, lost directional control of the helicopter due to spatial disorientation and the helicopter struck the ocean.

Dec. 12, Lancaster, Calif.
Cessna Skylane

At 10:00 Pacific time, a Cessna 182P descended into flat desert terrain near the Fox Field Airport as the airplane was maneuvering to enter the traffic pattern, killing the pilot. The pilot called the tower and reported about 7 or 8 miles northwest of the airport at 8,500 feet msl inbound for landing. The controller asked the pilot if he could descend from that altitude. The pilot replied that he would do his rock descent. He was then cleared to crossover the airport at midfield for a left downwind entry to runway 24. Radar data showed the airplane with a groundspeed that varied between 160 and 200 knots and a descent rate of 800 feet in 12 seconds.

Dec. 12, St. Cloud, Minn.
Cessna Skyhawk

At 13:30 central time, a Cessna 172S lost most of one propeller blade during takeoff from St. Cloud Regional Airport. The separation occurred at 400 to 500 feet above the runway and the CFI was able to land the airplane on a parallel taxiway without incident. The airplane was damaged by vibration as a result of the propeller separation. Inspection of the airplane revealed the McCauley propeller blade separated at a point approximately 8 inches from the hub. The airplane had a total time of 236 hours.

Dec. 13, Boulder, Colo.
Cessna Centurion

At approximately 13:30 mountain time, a Cessna 210C lost engine power shortly after takeoff from Boulder Municipal Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot was climbing through 400 to 500 feet agl when the engine quit. The airplane bounced on a field and came to rest inverted in a hedgerow. The airplane had been dormant for about four years and FAA had issued a ferry permit to Englewood, Colo., for an annual inspection.

Dec. 14, Ogden, Utah
Mooney M20K

At 21:16 mountain time, a Mooney M20K struck Mt. Ogden at the end of a 5-hour, 27-minute flight, killing the pilot. FAA records showed the pilot transmitted that he could see Ogden. Radar data indicates that the pilot was descending at approximately 500 feet per minute and flew straight into the east side of the mountain.

Dec. 14, Sacramento, Calif.
Dehavilland Twin Otter

At about 17:20 Pacific time, a passenger aboard a Dehavilland DHC 6 was killed when she apparently jumped from the airplane during cruise flight near Sacramento. The Hewlett-Packard Co. was operating the airplane on a corporate transportation flight. A crew of two and four other passengers were aboard at the time. The company flew four scheduled roundtrip flights a day between San Jose and Lincoln, Calif., and this was the third flight of the day. The airplane had left Lincoln with the five passengers in a cabin configured to seat up to 15 passengers. The woman was seated in a single seat adjacent to an emergency exit on the left side. The airplane was climbing through 4,200 feet when a door open annunciator showed in the cockpit. The airplane landed at Sacramento and the copilot cycled each door handle. The light extinguished. The airplane then departed and was level at 2,000 feet when the light illuminated again. The crew requested a return to Sacramento and the copilot went aft, where he discovered the emergency exit open. He closed it and the crew decided to continue to San Jose. A passenger in the seat ahead of the emergency exit said he heard the door open and saw the woman with her shoulders out of the door. He grabbed her wrist, but she slipped from his grasp and fell. As the passenger sat in shock, the copilot came back to check the door. He thought he said she fell out to the copilot, but the copilot gave no response. The passenger who grabbed the woman and another passenger who apparently saw the episode remained on the airplane when everyone deplaned after landing and were surprised that no emergency response took place. The two witnesses then went into the crew dispatch area and notified the copilot. Investigation showed the doors were properly labeled and functioned correctly. Literature from one of the companys employee assistance providers, found in the victims luggage, contained highlighted passages dealing with recognizing the warning signs of stress. The victims husband informed the FBI his wife scheduled an appointment the day before the incident for counseling later that week.

Dec. 14, Chesterfield, N.H.
Cessna 310

At about 05:30 eastern time, a Cessna 310Q operating as a Part 135 cargo flight crashed in Chesterfield. The flight was destined for Albany, N.Y., and the pilot reported icing conditions and problems with one engine as he flew at 8,000 feet in the vicinity of Dillant-Hopkins Airport in Keene. The pilot said he was unable to maintain altitude and requested vectors to the nearest airport. He was given the ILS Runway 02 approach to Dillant-Hopkins and initially flew the vectors, but later reported he was not able to reach the airport. The airplane struck a hill approximately 7 miles southwest of EEN. Although the pilot initially survived the accident, he later died of his injuries. The air filter from the left engine was found to be half-covered with -inch thick ice and the alternate air valve was closed. The air filter from the right engine was damaged by fire, but the alternate air valve was found open. At the time of the accident, an airmet was in effect for the New England area for moderate icing below 20,000 feet.

Dec. 15, Lusk, Wyo.
Cessna Skyhawk

Between 16:00 and 21:45 mountain time, a Cessna 172 crashed approximately 11 miles northeast of Lusk while en route from Casper, Wyo., to Rapid City, S.D. The non-instrument rated pilot and his passenger were killed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed.

Dec. 20, Jackson, Wyo.
Hawker Siddeley HA-125

At approximately 01:30 mountain time, a Hawker Siddeley-125-700 was damaged when it missed the runway while landing at Jackson Hole Airport. No one was injured during the Part 135 flight. The captain said they could see runway 18 from five nautical miles away. He said he flew an ILS approach and landed the airplane on the runway. An investigation revealed the airplane first hit the ground approximately 160 feet left of the runway and 3,500 feet down the 6,300-foot runway. The airplane settled into approximately 2 to 3 feet of snow, and left a track in the snow for approximately 600 feet. The right wing separated from the airplane and the left wing was bent and badly damaged.

Dec. 22, Rangeley, Maine
Beech King Air

At 17:16 eastern time, a Beech B200 crashed 7.9 miles south of Rangeley Municipal Airport. The pilot and passenger were killed. The flight was en route from Portland and was cleared for the GPS A approach. At nine miles the pilot reported the airport in sight and canceled his IFR clearance. The pilot then radioed his wife, who was waiting at the airport, and told her he was on a base for Runway 32. Bad weather hindered the search, and the airplane was located the next morning on the southwest side of a 3,125-foot mountain, about 100 feet from the top.

Dec. 23, Bakersfield, Calif.
Cessna 140

At about 15:10 Pacific time, a Cessna 140 landed short of the runway after losing engine power on final approach to Bakersfield Municipal Airport. The airplane collided with the airport boundary fence and nosed over, leaving the pilot and passenger with minor injuries. The pilot said he flew from Corcoran to Joshua Tree in the morning to pick up a passenger. He departed Corcoran with full fuel tanks, and planned to refuel at Bakersfield on the return trip. He did a solo takeoff at Joshua Tree to evaluate the airplanes performance prior to departing with the passenger aboard. About 25 miles from Bakersfield the engine stopped producing power. The pilot moved the fuel selector valve to the other tank, and the engine began producing power. He continued to Bakersfield and prepared to land on a straight-in approach to runway 34. The engine stopped producing power on final approach.

Dec. 24, Albuquerque, N.M.
Beech Bonanza

At 15:57 mountain time, a Beech V35B crashed during its landing approach to Albuquerque International Airport. The passenger was killed in the crash and the pilot died of his injuries two days later. The aircraft was cleared to land on runway 3 but the pilot lined up for landing on runway 35. When the tower pointed this out, he attempted to divert to the intersecting runway 3. The aircraft impacted the ground in a nose low attitude near the approach end of runway 3.

Dec. 25, Addison, Texas
Beech Duke

At 16:40 central time, a Beech BE-60 landed hard on runway 33 at the Addison Municipal Airport following ice accumulation on the airplane. The pilot and his two passengers escaped injury, but the airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot reported the airplane was about 100 feet agl on short final for runway 15 when the windshield iced. The pilot requested and was cleared to circle for the landing. The aircraft landed on runway 33 and slid, collapsing the landing gear and leaving structural damage throughout the aircraft.

Dec. 26, Colorado City, Ariz.
Cessna Centurion

At about 16:45 mountain time, a Cessna T210N lost engine power shortly after takeoff and was damaged during a forced landing at Colorado City. The four occupants suffered minor injuries. The pilot, who is also a maintenance technician, had just completed an annual inspection and installed an overhauled engine in the airplane. The pilot said he had flown the airplane three times for a total of about 2.5 hours. During takeoff and initial climb, the engine lost power at 400 to 500 feet agl. The pilot performed a 180-degree turn back to the airport but was unable to reach the runway and collided with rocky terrain. The pilot said he visually checked both fuel tanks during the preflight, observing about 1 inch in the left tank and about 1.5 in the right. After the accident the fuel selector was on the left tank and the left tank was empty.

Dec. 27, Greeleyville, S.C.
Beech King Air

At about 09:05 eastern time, a Beech 200 lost its cabin door during cruise flight near Greeleyville. The pilot landed without further incident. The pilot said he was bound for Brunswick, Ga., to pick up passengers and was cruising at FL 200 in smooth air when the cabin door light illuminated and the aircraft lost pressurization. He went on oxygen and made an emergency descent. He looked towards the door and could see light from near the door area but did not know the door was separated until he landed at Savannah International Airport.

Dec. 29, Honolulu, Hawaii
Lockheed L-1011

At about 21:15 Hawaiian time, a Lockheed L-1011 operating as Delta Air Lines flight 219, experienced an electrical fire forward of the flight engineers station while en route from San Francisco to Honolulu. The flight continued for an uneventful landing and there were no injuries. The flight was cruising at 32,000 feet msl in clouds when it experienced Saint Elmos fire – a discharge of static electricity. This activity lasted for about 3 minutes, after which an arc was observed at the location of the windshield heat wire bundle above the first officers side window. The crew donned their smoke goggles and masks. Two of the windshield heat circuit breakers popped and the crew opened the remaining breakers. The panel covering the wire bundle area was opened and a halon fire extinguisher was used. Examination revealed electrical arcing had occurred between the airplane structure, a clamp and a 30-wire bundle that passes behind the flight engineers station and overhead to the heated windshield.

Dec. 30, Salt Lake City, Utah
McDonnell Douglas MD-90

At 08:08 mountain time, a McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30 operating as Delta Air Lines flight 1147 struck approach lights while on short final to Salt Lake City International Airport. No one was injured. Preliminary reports indicate the airplane struck approach lights 400 feet short of runway 34R. The airplane then landed on the runway and taxied to the gate. Two threshold lights and one light each from the 100 foot and 200 foot approach light bars were found knocked off. The airplane sustained damage to the left main wheel splash guard, and one of the wheels was cut. A 1-inch-square piece of metal was found lodged in the left engine noise suppression material and there was damage to the left engine first stage fan section.


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