NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and airline accidents


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


May 03, 2004, Cary, N.C.
Mooney M20M

The Mooney collided with trees and sank in a lake while attempting its third approach to Raleigh Durham International Airport (RDU) in IMC. The sole occupants, a Private pilot and passenger, died in the crash. After two attempts at the ILS Runway 5R approach, controllers offered to divert the flight to nearby Greensboro, N.C. However, the pilot attempted the approach again, and on the third try crashed into trees short of the runway, coming to rest in the lake.

May 03, 2004, Goldthwaite, Texas
Cessna 150E

The Cessna was destroyed during a late-night forced landing following a loss of power, although the solo pilot was uninjured. The flight originated in Coleman, Texas, about midnight with Llano, Texas, as its intended destination. Subsequently, the pilot reported a loss of engine power during cruise flight. The pilot elected to land in a pasture and, during the landing roll, the airplane impacted a tree with the left wing, spun around and collided with a fence. Examination of the wreckage revealed gallon of fuel in the left tank; the right fuel tank was found empty. The pilot reported that he had flown the airplane about 4.3 hours since its last refueling.

May 05, 2004, Cumming, GA

The unregistered Experimental, flown by a noncertificated pilot, collided with power lines and trees during a nighttime low pass down Runway 21 at Mathis Airport in Cumming, Ga. The flight departed Mountain Airport, Cleveland, Ga., at 2015 local time. The unlighted runway was illuminated with car headlights. The airplane passed over the runway twice and on the third low pass was observed to almost hit the airports wind sock. Banking left in a northeast direction to avoid the windsock, the airplane appeared to stall and witnesses lost sight of it.

May 07, 2004, Sharon, Mass.
Cessna T-50

At about 1400 local time, the twin-engine floatplane was substantially damaged after colliding with trees while on approach to Massapoag Lake in Sharon, Mass. The solo Private pilot was fatally injured. According to the FAA, the pilot diverted to Massapoag Lake for unknown reasons. While on approach, the airplane struck trees and impacted a swamp area. Wind reported at a nearby airport was from 13 knots with gusts to 20 knots.

May 08, 2004, DeKalb, Ill.
Piper PA-28RT-201

At about 1430 local time, the Piper Arrow hit a runway construction barricade during a simulated forced landing at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DKB)and was substantially damaged. The pilot and flight instructor were practicing a simulated forced landing to a runway with its threshold displaced 600 feet for construction. Both the first 600 feet of the existing runway surface and the new pavement were marked with yellow painted chevrons, indicating those portions of pavement were closed for landing, takeoff and taxiing. There were four construction barricades positioned at the intersection of the existing and new pavement sections. During the simulated forced landing, the pilot felt the airplane was not going to make a landing on the existing runway and would probably touch down on a section of the new part of the runway. He increased engine power to arrest the descent, but the airplane touched down on the new pavement, bounced and landed a second time on the existing pavement. The pilot noticed the airplane was damaged during a post-flight inspection. The CFI later stated he had not noticed any construction barricades at the end of the runway.

May 09, 2004, Georgetown, Texas
Diamond Aircraft Industries DA-40; Giles 202 Experimental

At 1710 local time, the DA-40 the homebuilt Giles 202 collided on final approach to Runway 18 at Georgetown Municipal Airport (GTU). Both airplanes were substantially damaged with the DA-40 pilot sustaining minor injuries; The Giles 202 pilot was seriously injured. A witness located at the self-serve refueling area, reported seeing the DA-40 on final approach when he noticed the Giles 202 on a very high short left base, with a relatively high sink rate. The witness stated that the DA-40 was on final at an approximate altitude of 200 feet AGL, with the Giles 202 overtaking the DA-40 quickly. Subsequently, the Giles 202 collided with the DA-40 approximately 50 feet AGL. Another witness, taxiing for departure, reported he did not hear any radio transmissions on the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF).

May 09, 2004, Morrisville, Vermont
Piper PA-31-350

The Piper Navajo was substantially damaged after an explosion in its right wing during a takeoff attempt. No one among the Airline Transport-rated pilot or the six passengers aboard were injured. The pilot later told investigators that, about 700 feet into the takeoff roll, the left engine seemed to lose a little manifold pressure, and the pilot aborted the takeoff. While decreasing power during the aborted takeoff, the outboard section of the right wing exploded. The airplane was stopped on the runway, and its occupants evacuated. Examination revealed that the upper and lower portions of the outboard wing skin had separated from the wing structure. All wiring routed though the wing section was absent of chafing, melting or burning. Before beginning the takeoff, the pilot estimated that each wings outboard tanks were half full.

May 10, 2004, Julian, Calif.
Piper PA-44-180

After being cleared to descend from 8000 feet, the Piper Seminole collided with mountainous terrain while in cruise. Night VMC prevailed for the IFR flight from Phoenix Deer Valley to McClellan-Palomar Airport, Carlsbad, Calif.; both private pilots were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Traveling west and approaching the Julian VOR, the airplane descended to 5200 feet in response to an ATC instruction. The airplane subsequently impacted trees on a 5500-foot ridgeline, 668 feet southeast of the Julian VOR.

May 13, 2004, Surprise, Ariz.
Piper PA-44-180

At about 0700 local time, the Piper Seminole collided with terrain. The CFI, a certificated Private pilot receiving instruction and one passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. Maneuvers scheduled for the flight included power-on and -off stalls, slow-flight maneuvering, engine shutdown and feathering procedures, single-engine maneuvering and a Vmc demonstration, as well as approaches and landings. Witnesses reported that they saw the airplane rotating as it descended. One witness described its descent as a falling leaf. The operating arms of both main gear actuators were extended, which the airframe manufacturers representative said corresponded to the gear-down position. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site.

May 14, 2004, Ferndale, Md.
Mitsubishi MU-2B-60

At 0724 local time, the twin turboprop destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain in Ferndale, Md., while approaching Baltimore-Washington International Airport. The solo ATP flying the non-scheduled cargo flight under FAR Part 135 was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the IFR flight from Philadelphia. At 0721, with the flight about 10 nm northeast of the airport, the pilot was cleared to land. Radar returns show the airplane continued on a westerly track, north of the airport, bypassing the approach end of Runway 33R consistent with a modified downwind for Runway 15L, and descended to 700 feet. Just prior to the Runway 15L abeam position, the airplane began a left turn.One witness noticed the airplane flying very low near a high school. It all of a sudden made a very sharp bank to the left, then began tilting right, then left, and finally back to left over a 180-degree bank, and directly into the ground. All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the scene, the landing gear and flaps were up and both engines exhibited signatures consistent with power being produced at the time of impact.

May 14, 2004, Kingman, Ariz.
Cessna 180

At about 1130 mountain standard time, the single-engine taildragger ground looped and nosed over during the landing roll on a dry lakebed. The flight was instructional, with a CFI and student seeking a tailwheel endorsement aboard. During the final landing, as the tail was lowering from the wheel landing position, the student applied right rudder to avoid a small obstruction. The student then corrected with the left rudder, but overcompensated.The CFI attempted to assume the controls, but the student did not relinquish them. As the airplane slowed, its right wing lifted and the airplane went up onto its left main tire. The CFI said that he applied left aileron and left rudder; however, the airplane continued to the right. The CFI applied left brake, the left wing impacted the ground, and the airplane nosed over onto its back. The CFI was not sure if the student had his feet on the brakes during the final portion of the landing roll.

May 15, 2004, Supai, Ariz
Lancair IV P

At 1700 local time, the Experimental Lancair IV P was destroyed when it impacted terrain in the Grand Canyon near Supai, Ariz. The Private pilot and his three passengers were fatally injured. The local VFR flight had departed North Las Vegas, Nev., at an unknown time. Subsequently, the pilot contacted ATC and requested flight following.Air traffic controllers reported losing radar contact with the airplane at 16,500 feet MSL at 1658. Witnesses observed the airplane descending at a nose-low pitch attitude, and spinning or moving in some strange way before impacting terrain and catching fire.

May 16, 2004, Morrisville, N.C.
Beech A36 Bonanza

The six-seat Bonanza was substantially damaged and its solo Private pilot killed after colliding with trees and the ground during an emergency descent to land at the Raleigh/Durham International Airport. Visual conditions prevailed; the flight departed from Daytona Beach, Fla., and stopped briefly at Wilmington, N.C. The airplane had been fully fueled before takeoff from Florida.A review of radar data showed that the pilot reported he had lost his engine when the airplane was about 1.37 miles from Runway 23L and at an altitude of 800 feet MSL.

May 16, 2004, Tenino, Wash.
Cessna 170B; Cessna 210J

At approximately 2040 local time, a Cessna 170B and a Cessna 210J collided in-flight. The 170B had departed Roseburg, Ore., en route to Vashon Island, Wash.; the 210J took off from Camas, Wash., with Paine Field, Everett, Wash., as its planned desitnation. There was one occupant onboard each aircraft. The Commercial pilot of the Cessna 210J was fatally injured; the Private pilot of the Cessna 170B sustained minor injuries. According to the FAA, both pilots received weather briefings but neither had requested or were receiving ATC services at the time of the collision. The 170Bs pilot later reported that he never saw the other airplane.A witness saw the two accident aircraft coming together. The witness stated, [I] saw them about five to eight seconds before they hit. Both were straight and level. Neither took evasive action in any way. The witness stated that one was heading north and the other one was heading northeast when he saw them hit and parts started coming at him.

May 23, 2004, Evanston, Wyo.
Piper PA-30

The Twin Comanche was destroyed and both persons aboard fatally injured when the airplane impacted terrain while conducting a nighttime VOR/DME approach to Runway 23 at Uinta County-Burns Field, Evanston, Wyo. A pop-up IFR flight plan had been filed over Heber City, Utah; the flight originated at Panaca, Nev. At 2112 local time, the airplanes last position was 1 miles west of the airport at 7700 feet. At 2340, after ATC alerted local authorities that the flight plan had not been closed, airport personnel located the airplane approximately 150 yards northeast of Runway 23. Reported weather at the time of the accident included visibility 1 statute mile, light snow, mist; scattered clouds at 200 feet AGL and an overcast at 600 feet.

May 23, 2004, Oxford, Conn.
Mooney M20J

At about 2108 local time, the Mooney was substantially damaged during an ILS Runway 36 approach to the Waterbury-Oxford Airport; the Private pilot was fatally injured. Night IMC prevailed for the flight, which originated in Burlington, Vt. The accident site was about mile from Runway 36 and 1000 feet east of its extended runway centerline. A witness heard a low flying airplane, with the engine running continuously; just prior to the accident, the engine revved to high power and he observed lights over the treetops. He then heard the sound of impact as the airplane came to rest at an adjacent residence. The reported weather included a broken ceiling at 200 feet AGL.


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