NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and airline accidents


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


July 01, Englewood, Colo.
Mooney M20C

At 1317 mountain time, a Mooney M20C crashed while landing at Centennial Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot reported he was crabbing about 20 degrees to the right during his final approach to runway 28 and transitioned to a slip just before touchdown. He said he was on the ground about two seconds when a gust picked the airplane up to about 10 feet and put it into a 20-degree left bank. He was unable to go around before the left wing struck the ground. Winds at the time were reported as 060 at six knots, gusting to 30. A peak gust was recorded at the time of the accident as from 360 at 30 knots.

July 02, Aspen, Colo.
Cessna 210

At 0731 mountain time, a Cessna T210M was damaged when the gear collapsed on landing at Pitkin County Airport. The pilot and four passengers were not injured. The pilot said the landing gear would not retract after takeoff and he returned to the departure airport. He said he attempted to set the airplane down softly but the right main gear collapsed on touchdown, causing the airplane to spin around and bending the right horizontal stabilizer aft and up.

July 02, Linden, N.J.
Cessna 172

At 1215 eastern time, a Cessna 172 suffered a loss of engine power on initial climb from Linden Airport and was damaged in the ensuing forced landing. The pilot, who suffered minor injuries, was the maintenance officer for the flying club that operated the airplane. He said the carburetor had been replaced on the airplane the week prior to the accident and the airplane had experienced several abnormal events since its installation. The purpose of the accident flight was to fly to Princeton to have the carburetor re-examined. The pilot said the engine began to run rough at about 300 feet agl, then lost power after about 10 seconds. During the forced landing the airplane struck a gas pipeline. Initial examination showed the mixture control wire was not secured to the mixture control arm pivot bolt.

July 03, Sitka, Alaska
Cessna 421

At about 1600 Alaska time, a Cessna 421 crashed while on an instrument approach about four miles north of Sitka Airport. The pilot and four passengers were killed. A technician at the Sitka Flight Service Station told investigators the pilot reported that a forward baggage door had come open, and that he wanted to land at Sitka and inspect the door. The pilot was cleared for the GPS Rwy 11 approach to Sitka. The pilot reported he was final approach fix inbound on the instrument approach, but the airplane never arrived at the airport. The accident site was inside the final approach fix, three miles from the missed approach point, and about two miles north of the course centerline.

July 04, Headquarters, Idaho
Lockheed Bushmaster

At approximately 1225 mountain time, a Lockheed 402-2 was damaged while making a precautionary landing near Headquarters. The pilot and two passengers sustained minor injuries. The pilot said he could not take on fuel at Orofino Municipal Airport before departure because there was no refueler and he thought he could make it to Missoula. He departed, and then realized he would not have enough fuel to make it to Missoula, so he decided to return to Orofino. He then discovered he had a 25-knot headwind and could not make it back to Orofino, so he elected to land on an old logging staging area. During the approach to the area he got caught in a downdraft and went between two trees that broke off the wings.

July 05, Durango, Colo.
Vans RV-4

At approximately 1400 mountain time, a Vans RV-4 suffered a propeller failure during cruise flight and was damaged in the resulting forced landing. The pilot was seriously injured. The pilot said he was cruising at 8,500 feet when the airplane began to shake violently. He shut down the engine and, when the propeller stopped, noticed the trailing edge of one blade was split longitudinally and had separated from the hub. During the landing, the airplane struck trees.

July 05, Middlesboro, Ky.
Beech Bonanza

At about 1115 eastern time, a Beech F-35 broke up in flight and was destroyed in the resulting crash. The pilot and passenger were killed. The VFR flight was about eight miles from the destination when he advised the air traffic controller he had the runway in sight. The controller terminated flight following and approved a change to the airport advisory frequency. Radar data showed the airplane began its descent about eight miles out, turned to the right about two miles out, and then disappeared from radar while still at 4,400 feet. The wreckage was spread over a half-mile, with the left and right horizontal stabilizers located at the beginning of the trail and the wing spars buckled in a downward direction.

July 05, Block Island, R.I.
Grumman Tiger

At about 1100 eastern time, a Grumman AA5B was damaged following a loss of engine power while landing at Block Island State Airport. The pilot and three passengers suffered minor injuries. The pilot said the airplane was at an altitude of 1,200 feet when he turned onto the base leg and the engine burbled momentarily. When the pilot turned onto the final approach, the engine began coughing and sputtering. He said he stretched the glide to make the runway. The airplane struck the runway hard, bounced, and the engine then gained full power. The airplane veered off the right side of the runway and struck several airplanes parked 1,200 feet from the approach end of the runway and 500 feet to the right of it. The pilot reported he had flown from Westhampton Beach, N.Y., to the destination using only the left fuel tank.

July 06, Leadville, Colo.
Mooney M20J

At 1245 mountain time, a Mooney, M20J was damaged when it struck the ground after takeoff from Lake County Airport. The pilot was seriously injured. The pilot said he was departing for Sedona, Ariz., but the engine was not generating enough power for takeoff and the airplane went off at the end of runway 16. The empennage separated when the airplane collided with terrain.

July 07, Phoenix, Ariz.
Piper Archer

At 1256 mountain time, a Piper PA-28-181 lost aileron control in flight and was damaged in a resulting emergency landing. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was practicing maneuvers for his commercial certificate and attempted to make a clearing turn when the ailerons failed to respond. He declared an emergency and landed on a dirt road, using rudder and throttle to control the airplane. After landing, the right wing struck a tree. An FAA investigator found a fastener on the floor that attaches the left control wheel to the control column. When the column was moved, the ailerons worked normally.

July 08, McKinney, Texas
Cessna 172

At approximately 1144 central time, a Cessna 172S crashed after reporting a bird strike. The flight instructor and student pilot were killed. Radio transmissions showed the pilot reported the airplane was going down. The pilot said, Send somebody to pick us up. I think were going to be fine. We hit a bird, but we gotta go down. We cant keep it straight with the power on. The pilot then advised he was going to end radio contact. The wreckage was contained within a path 60 feet long and the wings displayed leading edge damage. The flaps were extended 20 degrees. Evidence of a bird strike was found about 12 inches outboard of the left wing landing/taxi light.

July 09, Bethany, W.Va.
Beech Baron

At 1313 eastern time, a Beech BE-56TC crashed in a field after losing engine power while climbing near Bethany. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane had departed Parkersburg about 35 minutes earlier for a planned IFR flight to Watertown, N.Y. The pilot said he was climbing through 16,000 feet for 23,000 feet when the left manifold pressure gauge began to fluctuate. He then noticed oil streaking from the left engine cowling. The pilot secured the left engine and advised the controller that he wanted to return to PKB. About five minutes after the pilot had secured the left engine, the right engine lost all power. Neither engine would restart. During the restart attempts, the airplanes engine-driven vacuum instruments failed and the controller provided the pilot vectors toward the ILS Rwy 03 approach to Wheeling Ohio County Airport. The pilot was unable to glide to the runway and performed a forced landing to a field about three miles south of the airport, where the right main landing gear collapsed and the wings, fuselage and empennage sustained substantial damage.

July 12, Utica, Ohio
Mooney M20C

At about 2030 eastern time, a Mooney M20C lost engine power and was damaged landing in a field in Utica. The pilot received minor injuries. The pilot said the airplane had 20 gallons in the left tank and 12 gallons in the right tank when he departed. He determined he had enough fuel for four planned flights, plus a 30-minute reserve. He planned a cruise speed of 105 knots, which should have resulted in a fuel burn of 8 gph. The first leg was uneventful. On the second leg, he had to circle for 15 minutes before landing because of traffic. There was no fuel available at that airport, so he proceeded on the next leg. At the next airport, there was no fuel available and he did not check the quantity in the tanks before departure. After takeoff, however, the engine failed. The pilot told investigators he had planned to use a power setting that yielded 105 knots, but ended up using a power setting that gave him 120 knots. In addition, a check of the route of the last leg of the flight showed he could have diverted to several airports where fuel would have been available.

July 12, Fish Haven, Idaho
Cirrus SR20

At approximately 0740 mountain time, a Cirrus Design SR20 crashed near Fish Haven. The pilot was seriously injured. The pilot said he made a low pass over a private airstrip at about 50 to 70 feet agl. The said that during the pass the airspeed got too low. He applied full power and intended to retract the flaps from full to half, but in actuality retracted them completely. The aircraft lost altitude and collided with the ground.

July 13, Treasure Cay, Bahamas
Cessna 402

At about 1530 eastern time, the pilot of a Cessna 402C ditched in the water six miles west of Treasure Cay. The pilot and seven passengers received minor injuries and two passengers died after evacuating the airplane. The pilot said the flight was about 20 miles west of the destination airport at an altitude of 3,500 feet when he spotted oil coming from the right engine. He then heard a pop and engine parts came out through the top of the cowling. He feathered the right propeller, and applied full power to the left engine. He said the landing gear and flaps were retracted but he could not maintain altitude. The airplane descended at a rate of about 200 to 300 feet per minute for about five miles until it impacted the water. All the passengers evacuated the airplane before it sank. They were in the water about two hours before a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescued them.

July 16, Little Rock, Ark.
Mikoyan MIG-15

At 1600 central time, a Mikoyan MIG-15BIS was damaged in a runway overrun during an aborted takeoff following a loss of engine power at Adams Field Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was about 10 feet off the ground when the airplane shook and settled back to the 5,126-foot runway. He was unable to stop on the remaining 1,000 feet and overran through a fence. No sign of fuel contamination was found.

July 18, Fort Worth, Texas
Beech Bonanza

At approximately 1515 central time, a Beech 35-A33 lost engine power on a go-around and was damaged in the off-field landing near Hicks Airfield Airport. The pilot and two passengers sustained minor injuries and one passenger was seriously injured. The pilot said he was landing on runway 32 but the gear would not extend. During the go-around, the engine sputtered. Passengers reported that, during the flight, they had trouble with the intercom and the communication radio, with the comm radio out at the end of the flight. Initial tests found the battery had no charge. The alternator was removed for testing.

July 20, Hampton Bays, N.Y.
Cessna 210

At 2110 eastern time, a Cessna T210N was ditched into Peconic Bay, near Hampton Bays, Long Island. The pilot and the four passengers suffered minor injuries and a dog was killed. The pilot said he departed East Hampton Airport and climbed to 2,000 feet, en route to La Guardia Airport, when the autopilot disengaged and the engine began to lose power. The airplane came to rest in approximately 8 feet of water, about 150 yards off shore. The airplane was recovered and, after several attempts, the engine ran at various power settings without interruption. No pre-ditching mechanical deficiencies were noted.

July 20, Sandusky, Ohio
Piper Archer

At about 1050 eastern time, a Piper PA-28-181 was damaged while landing at Griffing-Sandusky Airport. The pilot and three passengers were seriously injured. The pilot said he was on approach to runway 27, a 3,559-foot runway, when he saw another airplane on a taxiway near the runway. He was not certain of the other airplanes intentions, so he decided to go around. The engine then began to lose power. He looked down and noticed that the mixture control was pulled back. He pushed the mixture in, but the airplane struck trees about a quarter mile beyond the departure end of the runway.

July 21, Big Lake, Alaska
Cessna 185

At about 1500 Alaska time, a float-equipped Cessna 185 was landing on the water when it collided with a personal watercraft on Big Lake. The pilot was not injured but the operator of the watercraft received serious injuries. The pilot said he scanned the landing area from 500 feet as he overflew the lake, and again at 100 feet during the landing approach. As the airplane touched down, the pilot noticed a blurred object on the right side of the airplane and then felt and heard an impact on the right float. When the airplane settled off step, the pilot turned the airplane and observed the watercraft and rider. He noticed other witnesses coming to the aid of the rider and the airplane began to list as the right float assembly began to fill with water, so he beached the airplane. The watercraft operator estimated her speed at between 20 and 35 mph when the airplanes float hit the watercrafts vertical handle bar while the airplane was still airborne. She suffered multiple breaks of her left arm and a slight concussion.

July 22, Pittston, Pa.
Hawker Hunter

At 0859 eastern time, an unregistered Hawker Hunter T Mk 7A crashed shortly after takeoff from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, killing the pilot. The airplane was operated by Northern Lights Aerobatic Team, which had just purchased the airplane and was ferrying it to Canada. The airplane was based at Wilkes-Barre after it was imported from the United Kingdom and it was sold in June 2002 to a company in Florida. When a pilot tried to deliver the airplane to the buyer, he experienced mechanical difficulties and returned to Wilkes-Barre. The airplane sat in unpreserved storage for a year at Wilkes-Barre. Northern Lights bought the airplane in June 2003 and replaced the Rolls Royce engine with another. The accident pilot then attempted to depart but aborted the takeoff due to a perceived problem with the anti-skid. No problem was found. The airplane then embarked on the accident flight as the second airplane in a flight of two. Witnesses said the engine did not sound as loud as they expected, nor did the airplane accelerate quickly. It did not rotate until nearing the end of the 7,501-foot runway. At rotation the nose came up steeply and the airplane rolled from side to side. It descended to the ground with the nose about 20 to 30 degrees high.

July 22, Coupeville, Wash.
Cessna Citation

At about 1015 Pacific time, a Cessna Citation 525 ditched in the waters of Penn Cove after losing elevator trim control. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said they were climbing through 16,000 feet en route to FL 330 when the airplane abruptly nosed over to 45 degrees down. He disconnected the autopilot, throttled back and attempted to re-trim the elevator. He said the cockpit trim indicator was in the full nose-down position and neither the manual trim nor the electric trim would respond to his inputs. After numerous attempts to troubleshoot the problem, the pilot elected to ditch about 300 yards offshore.

July 23, Winnemucca, Nev.
Smith Miniplane

At 2045 Pacific time, an amateur-built Smith Miniplane lost engine power during cruise and crashed 14 miles north-northeast of Winnemucca. The pilot was not injured. The pilot reported he was en route to Oshkosh, Wisc., when he got lost and was running low on fuel. He landed on a road, taxied to a local gas station and filled the airplanes tanks. On takeoff, he struck a sign. An NTSB investigator said the pilot told her he would fix the dent, but she said she could not give him permission to fly the airplane. The pilot later stated to an FAA investigator that he then removed the damaged wing tip, applied duct tape to the tip and took off. He again became lost and the engine quit again. He said he pushed the nose over to gain airspeed and was pitched 45 degrees nose down when he saw the ground coming up at him. At the last minute he pitched up and crashed. A responding deputy said surface winds at the time were 30-40 mph with poor visibility and rain.

July 24, Livermore, Calif.
Beech Bonanza

At 1054 Pacific time, a Beech V35B lost engine power and was damaged in the resulting forced landing near Livermore. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he departed San Jose at 7 a.m. with 60 gallons of fuel on board and flew to Reno, Nev., via Freso, Calif. He then left Reno without refueling and was returning to San Jose. The engine lost power in cruise flight and he was unable to get the engine to restart using the fuel selector and boost pumps. During recovery, the airplane was found to have 7 ounces of fuel in the left tank and 9.5 gallons in the right tank. The fuel selector was found in the OFF position. The engine ran with no anomalies after recovery.

July 27, North Las Vegas, Nev.
Lancair IV-P

At about 1045 Pacific time, an amateur-built Lancair IV-P was damaged during takeoff from North Las Vegas Airport. The pilot suffered minor injuries and two passengers were not injured. The pilot said the airplane settled back on the runway after rotation. He continued the takeoff and the airplane again became airborne, then drifted to the right side of the runway and settled again, causing the landing gear to collapse. The pilot said he had been advised by air traffic control prior to departure of possible wake turbulence. He thought he had waited about one minute before starting the takeoff.

July 28, Stephen, Minn.
American Champion Scout

At about 1400 central time, an American Champion 8KCAB crashed into power lines across the Red River. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. A power company representative estimated the height of one wire to be about 60 feet above the water and the other wire to be about 56 feet above the water.

July 31, Anchorage, Alaska
Cessna 207

At about 2013 Alaska time, a Cessna 207 on a Part 135 trip was damaged when it struck a fence in a football complex in Anchorage. The pilot and one passenger were not injured. One passenger suffered minor injuries and one passenger was seriously injured. The flight departed Tyonek about a half-hour earlier. The pilot said he was approaching the destination airport at about 800 feet msl when the engine began running rough. He attempted to restore power, but the engine failed completely. He noted a complex of athletic fields below, but all of the baseball fields were in use, so he elected to land on a track within a football stadium. During touchdown, the airplanes left wing collided with a chain link fence. The airplane veered to the left, collided with a concrete embankment and cartwheeled. The pilot later said he routinely flies the trip between Anchorage and Beluga using only the right fuel tank and that the left tank was used only as a reserve. Prior to the accident flight, another pilot had been using the airplane and the accident pilot did not confirm the level in the fuel tanks before departing. Post accident investigation found 30 gallons of fuel in the left tank and 0.8 gallons in the right tank. The fuel selector was on the right tank.

July 31, White Post, Va.
Stinson 108

At about 1600 eastern time, a Stinson 108 was damaged while landing at White Post Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he had just completed an annual inspection of the airplane and had also overhauled the engine. After a normal takeoff, he returned for landing. As he added the final notch of flaps, he said he heard a ping and the airplane dove toward the ground. He was unable to arrest the descent and the airplane hit hard and nosed over. An FAA inspector found that when the control yoke was moved through its full range of motion, it struck the radio rack, which restricted its rearward motion.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here