NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and airline accidents


The following briefs were selected from the preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in March 2004. Statements in quotes were taken directly from the NTSB documents. Click here to view “March Accident Totals.”


March 06, Sonora, Calif.
Cessna 182

At 1220 Pacific time, a Cessna 182E collided with obstacles during an off-airport forced landing following loss of engine power. The pilot and passenger were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. While establishing a cruise configuration, the engine began to lose power, ran intermittently and then stopped. The pilot thought that the accident could have been prevented if he had accurately checked the fuel quantity prior to departure.

March 06, Bay St. Louis, Miss.
Beech V35B

At about 1100 eastern time, a Beech V35B landed gear up at the Stennis International Airport after a local flight. The pilot stated that, while on a practice precision instrument landing, two airplanes flew over the runways thresh old at about 1,000 feet and two helicopters were hovering over the taxiway next to the runway. This activity distracted his attention and he did not lower the landing gear before landing. The airplane landed on its belly and skidded to a stop on the runway.

March 06, Reno, Nev.
Piper Cherokee 180

It was about noon Pacific time when a Piper PA-28-180 made a hard landing at Reno/Stead Airport. A witness reported that he saw the airplane on final approach in a very high angle of attack. About 50 – 60 feet above ground, the airplane stalled and the nose gear contacted the runway surface with the main landing gear following immediately thereafter. The airplane was about 10 to 15 degrees in a nose down attitude when it contacted the runway. The nose wheel broke off immediately after contact and the airplane skidded on its nose a short distance down the runway.

March 10, Bardstown, KY
Diamond Star

Shortly before noon eastern time, the ATP-rated pilot attempted to land the Diamond DA-40 at a private field. Neither the pilot nor his passenger were injured. The pilot said he circled the field twice before setting up for a full-flap landing to the south. Despite flying as close as possible to trees on final and performing a slip to lose altitude, the airplane landed half-way down the 2,500 foot-long turf runway. The pilot retracted the flaps, applied maximum braking and then lost directional control during the landing rollout. Both wings were substantially damaged when the airplane impacted a knoll during the runway excursion.

March 14, Thermal, Calif.
Cessna 172

At 1400 Pacific time, the Skyhawk collided with terrain during a go-around from the pilots private dirt strip and was substantially damaged. While attempting to land, the pilot lowered about 20 degrees of flap but noted that he was higher than normal on final appproach. After touching down in soft dirt about 700 feet down the runway, the pilot attempted a go-around by adding full power and leaving the flaps down. The pilot climbed to about 100 feet and turned left, but the airplane began to lose altitude. After completing a 180-degree turn and lowering the nose in an effort to regain airspeed, the airplane settled into brush and collided with terrain. The pilot later reported the temperature to be about 95 degrees Fahrenheit-he thought that high density altitude prevented the airplane from producing enough power to climb.

March 14, Eltopia, Wash.
Cessna 172

During an aborted takeoff from an alfalfa field near Eltopia at approximately 1500 Pacific time, the Cessna 172 was substantially damaged; the pilot and passenger were uninjured. While on a cross-country flight, the airplane developed a rough engine and the pilot made a precautionary landing in a nearby field. After the successful landing, the pilot checked the airplanes engine and systems but concluded that …everything seemed to be working fine and elected to attempt a takeoff from the field. During the takeoff roll, the airplane rose into ground effect, but then drifted down. The pilot aborted the takeoff; however, the airplane encountered rough uneven terrain and nosed down.

March 15, Manhattan, Kan.
Beech 1900D

At 1715 central time, a Beech 1900D operated by Air Midwest Airlines as a scheduled Part 121 flight was substantially damaged when the nose gear collapsed after landing on a 7,000 x 150 runway. The airplane departed the runway pavement during landing rollout and the pilot was attempting to taxi back onto the runway when the nose gear collapsed.

March 15, Conroe, Tex.
Beech A36 Bonanza

At 0830 central time, a Beech A36 Bonanza was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power five miles north of the Lone Star Regional Airport. The pilot and one of two passengers aboard sustained serious injuries; the other passenger had minor inuuries. Shortly after takeoff, the engine started to misfire and sputter and the pilot turned back toward the airport. At an altitude of 2,000 feet, the engine quit. The FAA inspector who examined the wreckage repoerted that the fuel selector was observed in the right position. A small sample of fuel consistent with 100 low lead fuel was extracted from the left main fuel tank. A four-ounce fuel sample from the left wingtip tank was consistent with JET-A fuel.

March 14, Spring Hill, Fla.
Cessna 182

Shortly after 2200 local time, a Cessna 182P impacted trees and the ground about 5 miles south of the departure airport of Brooksville, Fla. Marginal VMC prevailed at the time. The airplane was destroyed and the non-instrument rated Private pilot was fatally injured. A witness who lived about 1/4 mile from the crash site, heard the airplane fly over his house and said it sounded to be real low. In less than a minute he heard a thud. The witness said at the time he heard the airplane go overhead, it was dark, cloudy and there was light rain, which intensified after he started to search for the airplane.

March 16, Los Angeles, Calif.
Mooney 231

At about 1703 Pacific time, a Mooney M20K crashed into a residence 0.53 nm south-southeast of the Santa Monica Municipal Airport. The airplane was destroyed and the two private pilots aboard were fatally injured. Weather at the time of the accident included visibility of 1/2 mile in mist and an overcast ceiling at 200 feet. The flight was cleared for a VOR approach and subsequently advised that it was going around. Instead of executing a missed approach procedure, the airplane never departed the area. Several witnesses reported hearing the airplane flying over the area. In summary, the auditory witnesses indicated that the airplanes noise sounded like it was circling over the area.

March 17, Goldwaite, Tex.
Piper Cherokee

At approximately 1600 central time, a Piper PA-28 was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power while landing on a private grass strip. The sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. According to the pilot, he was on the downwind leg when the engine began to run rough. The pilot advanced the throttle, however the engine continued to run rough. The aircraft landed in heavy brush, approximately 150 yards short of the runway. An FAA inspector who inspected the accident site reported that the fuel pump circuit breaker was tripped.

March 17, Deland, Fla.
Cessna 150

At about 1126 eastern time, a Cessna 150 was destroyed after a loss of engine power during the initial climb. The unlicensed pilot and sole passenger were fatally injured. Witnesses reported that the airplane took off normally, and started to climb but, during the initial climb, the engine started running rough, and the airplane started a right-hand turn toward the airport. The engine then quit completely, the airplane banked sharply back to the left, and descended straight down impacting the ground. Subsequently, the Cessnas owner said the pilot was a friend who flew the airplane several days a week. He said the pilot fueled the airplane with auto gas prior to the accident flight and that there had been a heavy rainfall the day before.

March 17, Ocala, Fla.
Robinson R44

Shortly after midnight, a Robinson R44 rolled over while descending following liftoff from a dolly at the Ocala International-Jim Taylor Airport. The helicopter was substantially damaged but there were no injuries. The pilot stated that after lifting off to a 3-5 foot hover with all engine indications in the green and the governor on, the engine sputtered or popped. The helicopter had drifted off the dolly and started descending. One of the skids contacted the dolly and the helicopter rolled onto its left side but came to rest on its right side.

March 17, Tucson, Ariz.
Piper Super Cub

At approximately 1300 Pacific time, a Piper PA-18 impacted forested terrain near Sisters, Oregon, after experiencing a loss of engine power. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured, but the aircraft was substantially damaged. According to the pilot, the Super Cub had been in a gradual descent for about five minutes when he realized that the engine had lost power. The pilot switched fuel tanks and applied carburetor heat for about 20 seconds, but neither action restored power. Because there was no suitable terrain on which to land, the pilot slowed the aircraft and flew it onto the forested terrain.

March 17, Reno, Nev.
Steen Skybolt

During an early-morning flight, an experimental Wallace Skybolt broke up while executing an aerobatic maneuver near Reno/Stead Airport. The private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries; the airplane was destroyed. The pilot reported that he was executing an outside loop. At the bottom of the loop, while inverted at about 8,000 feet msl, the pilot felt a vibration for 1 to 2 seconds. Subsequently, the right wing departed the airplane. As the airplane disintegrated, the pilot was able to release his seat belt and exit the airplane, deploying his parachute just before impacting the ground.

March 18, Midland, Tex.
Cessna 414

At 1842 central time, a Cessna 414 was damaged following during an in-flight fire shortly after takeoff from Midland International Airport. The pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. The pilot reported that he noticed the fuel flow and hydraulics systems had become inoperative and that the engine controls for the right engine became too stiff to operate. He shut down the right engine with the magneto switch to off. The pilot performed an emergency gear extension and landed without further incident. Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed a small in-flight fire occurred in the leading edge of the right wing and heat damage to wiring, carrying hoses and aluminum tubing was observed.

March 19, Utica, N.Y.
Learjet 35A

At about 0645 eastern time, a Gates Learjet 35A was substantially damaged while landing at Oneida County Airport. There were no injuries aboard the Part 135 air taxi cargo flight. The copilot reported that he was the pilot flying at the time of the accident, which occurred after an ILS approach to runway 33. The airplane was too high during the approach, and the copilot decreased engine power. The sink rate then became too great, and the flightcrew initiated a go-around. However, the airplane landed hard on the runway before the engines could spool upand sustained damage to the main landing gear and both wings.

March 20, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Piper Comanche 250

Around 1700 eastern time, a Piper PA-24-250 airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain about 12 miles northeast of West Palm Beach, Florida, during an emergency landing following a total loss of engine power in cruise flight. There were no injuries to the pilot or passenger during what was described as post-maintenance test flight to check various systems and repairs. Work performed on the airplane prior to the flight included replacing the right main fuel tank and reconditioning the right fuel tank selector. The pilot later said he was flying with both the left and right fuel tank selectors in the main position, presumably drawing fuel from both main tanks. A little more than an hour into the flight, the airplane had a total loss of engine power.

The foregoing accident reports represent prelimary raw data only. No accident causes have been assigned.


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