NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


The following briefs were selected from the 117 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in November 2002. 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, November.”


November 01, New Braunfels, Texas
Rockwell Turbo Commander

At approximately 1550 central time, a Rockwell 690B suffered the loss of the top portion of its rudder while in cruise flight at 16,000 feet near New Braunfels. The flight landed without further incident and none of the three aboard was injured. The plot reported that the gear-in-transit light was on for the duration of the flight but he continued the flight. While cruising on autopilot, the pilot noticed the ball was not centered. He adjusted the rudder trim and a couple of minutes later the airplane began violent shaking an yawing. The airplane rolled into a 70-degree left bank and pitched 10 to 15 degrees nose-down. He recovered the airplane and continued to his destination. During the descent the ball was fully deflected to the right. Post-flight examination revealed the top eight to 10 inches of the rudder was missing, the rear of the fuselage was wrinkled and the left gear door was bent back 90 degrees.

November 01, Chugiak, Alaska
Kolb Fire Star II

At about 1345 Alaska standard time, an amateur-built Kolb Fire Star II lost engine power and crashed into trees after takeoff from Birchwood Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said the airplane had been stored outside unused for two years. He made two successful touch-and-go landings, but the engine quit on the third takeoff at about 50 feet agl. An FAA inspector found both carburetor float bowls contained murky, silty and rust-colored fuel.

November 03, Las Vegas, N.M.
Cirrus SR20

At approximately 1225 mountain time, a Cirrus SR20 struck terrain while maneuvering near Las Vegas, killing the pilot. Instrument conditions prevailed but the airplane was not on a flight plan. The pilot reportedly left Fargo, N.D., for Albuquerque and was reported overdue by a family member. An employee at the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge came upon the wreckage during a period of heavy fog and visibility of about 100 feet.

November 03, Memphis, Tenn.
Piper Malibu Mirage

At about 1746 central time, a Piper PA-46-350P apparently crashed while on approach to General Dewitt Spain Airport. The two occupants are missing and presumed dead and the wreckage is believed to be submerged in the Mississippi River. Radar data showed the airplane flying a GPS approach to runway 16 but zig-zagging across the final approach course. It appeared to turn as depicted on the approach plate for a missed approach about a half-mile from the threshold, but then it dropped off radar at a point that corresponds to the river.

November 06, Kerrville, Texas
Piper Chieftain

At approximately 1200 central time, a Piper PA-31-350 was damaged in an in-flight engine fire while in cruise flight near near Kerrville. The pilot said the airplane was approximately 25 miles out when the right engine lost power. He shut down the engine and landed without incident. Post-flight examination showed oil from the right propeller aft to the right vertical stabilizer. The outboard portion of the right flap, the right gear door and the right wing locker were destroyed by fire. In addition, there was thermal deformation of the aft right wing spar.

November 07, Prairie View, Texas
Cessna 152

At approximately 1351 central time, a Cessna 152 landed without incident at David Wayne Hooks Airport after the pilot occupying the left seat departed the airplane during descent near Prairie View. The flight instructor in the right seat landed without further incident. The aircraft operator and the flight instructor said the pilot scheduled flight instruction and said he had an ear operation and needed to see how his ears would feel at altitude before he went for an FAA medical certificate. He also stated that he was contemplating doing some aerial photography, and wanted to see how the aerial visibility was from a Cessna 152. During preflight, the private pilot requested to not wear the shoulder harness but the flight instructor advised him that he was required to wear the shoulder harness during takeoff and landings. Following the takeoff, the private pilot removed the shoulder harness. The airplane was flown to an altitude of 9,500 feet msl. At that time, the private pilot requested that the flight instructor demonstrate a steep left bank. The flight instructor performed a 45-degree bank turn to the left. While on the steep turn, the private pilot opened the left window, tuned the radio to the 121.5 MHz emergency frequency, opened the left door and exited the airplane. The flight instructor notified the air traffic controller that the pilot had exited the airplane. No discrepancies were found with the aircraft restraint system or the left cabin door.

November 10, Chino, Calif.
Beech Bonanza

At about 0800 Pacific time, a Beech A36 collided with power lines during an instrument departure climb to VFR conditions on top from the Chino Airport. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The pilot said he was on top of the fog, looked down at his instruments, and then looked up and saw the power lines. The airplane crashed in a pasture approximately 1 1/2 miles southwest of the airport.

November 11, Glade Spring, Va.
Boeing Stearman

At about 1445 eastern time, a Boeing A75 crashed after losing engine power near Glade Spring. The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries. The accident airplane was part of a three-airplane formation that had conducted a fly-by at a nearby Veterans Day celebration. At the completion of the fly-by, the three airplanes headed back to their departure airport, Abingdon, Va. Two airplanes continued on to Abingdon but the pilot of the accident airplane broke formation, descended and conducted low-level maneuvering below what witnesses said was the level of the surrounding hills. The pilot said he was maneuvering at a low altitude when the engine lost power. There was no suitable terrain nearby and the airplane struck a tree.

November 11, Fullerton, Calif.
Mooney M20J

At 1130 Pacific time, a Mooney M20J lost power on initial climb and crashed near Fullerton Municipal Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Inspection revealed about 30 ounces of water in the right fuel tank and water in the fuel distribution valve. The fuel selector was on the right tank.

November 12, Vineyard Haven, Mass.
Mooney Ovation

At about 1955 eastern time, a Mooney M20R crashed into the Atlantic Ocean about five miles south of Marthas Vineyard Airport. The pilot and a passenger were presumed killed. The airplane was cleared for the VOR Runway 6 approach and descended to about 200 feet, and then began a climbing right turn to an altitude of 700 feet before radar contact was lost. A pilot who had landed at MVY about 15 minutes prior to the accident using the same approach said he had no problems tracking the VOR. His flight broke out at 700 feet with 2 to 3 miles of visibility in moderate rain. The accident pilot reported two miles out and asked if someone could confirm the runway lights were on, but they were not. The accident pilot then activated the lights and the witness confirmed they were on. The witness said the weather conditions were the same as during his approach except the rain had intensified. A weather observation taken at 1953 included visibility 2 miles with heavy rain and mist, and broken ceilings at 600 feet and 1,100 feet, with an overcast at 1,800 feet.

November 14, La Grande, Ore.
Piper Turbo Arrow

At 1427 Pacific time, a Piper PA-28-201T on a private pilot checkride struck the ground during a simulated engine-out procedure about seven miles northeast of La Grande. The student pilot and the pilot examiner were not injured. During the simulated engine-out procedure, the DPE instructed the student to go around when the aircraft was about one foot agl. The DPE increased the throttle while the student was on the flight controls but the aircraft did not clear a rising knoll.

November 15, Fairfield, N.J.
Mooney Cadet and Piper Lance

At 1908 eastern time, a Mooney M10 and a Piper PA-32R-300 collided while maneuvering to land at Essex County Airport, killing the pilots of each airplane. The Mooney had been conducting touch-and-go landings on runway 22 and the Piper was flying in from Pittstown, N.J. At 1905, the pilot of the Piper established communication with the air traffic control tower and reported 7.5 miles west/northwest at 2,500 feet. The tower controller instructed the pilot of the Piper to report a right downwind for runway 22 but received no further transmissions from the airplane. The pilot of the Mooney had just completed a go-around and was turning onto a crosswind leg for runway 22. The Piper was entering the traffic pattern from the west, traveling in an easterly direction, but had not reached the downwind leg. The airplanes collided at an altitude of approximately 1,300 feet msl. Prior to the collision, the tower controller did not provide traffic advisories to either pilot. At the time of the collision, the tower controller was in communication with six airplanes, including the two accident airplanes.

November 15, Rosamond, Calif.
Cessna 172

At 1800 Pacific time, a Cessna 172M veered off the runway during the landing rollout on runway 7 at Rosamond Airport and was damaged when the left gear collapsed. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The pilot said the landing was normal and that the left gear collapsed when he braked to turn off the runway. An inspector detected tire signatures on the runway that were not skid marks and suggested the airspeed may have been too high to make the turnoff the pilot was trying to make. While reviewing the airplanes logbooks, the inspector noted a reference from a year ago that the firewall was wrinkled, complete with photographs. There were no logbook entries detailing repair of the firewall.

November 16, Napa, Calif.
Bellanca 14-19

At 1115 Pacific time, a Bellanca 14-19 lost engine power when making a missed approach at the Napa County Airport and was ditched in San Pablo Bay. The pilot was not injured. The flight departed the Camarillo, Calif., at 0730 that morning and had diverted to Angwin during a period when Napa was below approach minimums. The flight departed Angwin at 1020 on an instrument clearance to Napa. The pilot said he departed Camarillo with full tanks, which gave him four hours of flight time plus a 45-minute reserve. The pilot said he made his approach too high and the tower controller instructed him to execute a missed approach. During the climb out the engine started to sag and the airplane would not maintain altitude.

November 17, Albion, Mich.
Taylorcraft BC12-D

At 1545 eastern time, a Taylorcraft BC12-D crashed after an inadvertent stall/spin while maneuvering. The pilot reported minor injuries and the passenger reported no injuries. The pilot said he was maneuvering at 500 to 800 feet agl on a deer-spotting mission when he stalled the airplane during a left turn at 500 feet. The airplane entered a spin, which he recovered, but he did not have enough altitude to arrest the descent. The airplane crashed into heavy brush at nearly a level attitude.

November 17, New Philadelphia, Ohio
Cessna 182

At about 1440 eastern time, a Cessna 182D crashed during a missed approach in New Philadelphia after the pilot reported the airframe icing up. The pilot and passenger were killed. The pilots weather briefing included reports of forecast icing conditions, pilot reports of icing conditions and advisories of low clouds and instrument meteorological conditions over a wide area along the pilots route of flight. The pilot then filed an IFR flight plan. As the airplane was vectored for the descent and VOR-A Approach to Harry Clever Field, the pilot reported that he was picking up moderate ice. The pilot was asked if he needed to change altitude and climb back to 4,000 feet. The pilot replied, …I dont think it will make much difference, Im not sure I could go up anyway. He told the controller the airplane probably got about half to three inches of accumulation on the strut part control surface. At 1438, the pilot declared a missed approach. He was instructed to climb to 3,200 feet, and fly a heading 020 degrees magnetic. The pilot acknowledged the clearance but made no further transmissions. Witnesses said the airplane crashed 100 feet from them, coming straight down and spinning slowly. A trooper from the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported rough, milky-white ice accumulations on the top of the vertical fin.

November 20, Williams, Ariz.
Cessna 210

At about 1610 mountain time, a Cessna T210L made a precautionary off-airport landing after experiencing smoke in the cockpit. The airplane was destroyed during the ensuing crash sequence, but the two occupants got out with only minor injuries. The pilot reported he was cruising at 9,500 feet when he smelled and observed smoke from behind the front seats. The smoke did not smell like electrical insulation and the landing gear hydraulic power pack was not running. The passenger went into the back seat and held both doors open with his feet in an attempt to clear the smoke. The landing gear did not operate electrically and pilot tried to pump the gear down manually as the airplane approached the intended landing spot but the manual system did not build pressure. When the airplane touched down it decelerated rapidly and flipped inverted. The pilot noticed the airplane burning freely. Both occupants got out before the cabin was engulfed in flames.

November 23, Prestonsburg, Ky.
Cessna 172

At about 1630 eastern time, a Cessna 172K made a forced landing in a field after losing engine power near Prestonsburg. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured, but the airplane was damaged. The pilots reported the engine began to run rough while in cruise flight and the oil pressure indication dropped to zero. Investigation revealed a 2-inch hole in top of the engine crankcase. The engine had accumulated about 2,400 hours of operation since its last overhaul, which was conducted in 1986. The oil had been changed two days prior to the accident as part of a 50-hour inspection.

November 25, Homer, La.
Vans RV-4

At approximately 0730 central time, an amateur-built RV-4 crashed while maneuvering in fog near Homer, killing the pilot and passenger. The non-instrument-rated pilot took off from Homer Municipal Airport in conditions of fog, low ceilings and half-mile visibility for a cross-country flight. He made a right downwind departure and struck 30-foot trees in a nearby marsh.

November 27, McAlester, Okla.
Piper Seneca

At 1604 central time, a Piper PA-34-220T crashed following a loss of control while executing a go-around. The pilot and four passengers were killed. A witness said the pilot made two radio transmissions, initially reporting that he was 10 miles south of the airport, and a subsequent transmission that he was 5 miles south and would be landing at McAlester. There were no further radio communications from the pilot. The witness said the airplane was fast on the approach approximately halfway down the 5,602-foot runway 01 at an altitude of 5 to 10 feet. He also said the left propeller was not turning. When the pilot started a go-around, the airplane pitched up slightly, then rolled toward the dead engine, crashing in a steep nose-down attitude.

November 27, Vernal, Utah
Piper Cherokee 180

At 1540 mountain time, a Piper PA-28-180 ran out of fuel and crash-landed on a plateau six miles west of Vernal. The pilot and two passengers were uninjured. The pilot had planned to fly from Fort Collins, Colo., to Provo, Utah, but had landed at Laramie, Wyo., because of weather. When they resumed the trip several hours later, they again ran into weather near Vernal. The pilot deviated north and south, looking for a path around the weather. After about an hour, he began looking for an airport where he could refuel. He discussed the weather at nearby airports with another pilot on the radio and then decided to try to land at Vernal. One fuel tank ran dry when he was 15 miles from the airport. About four miles out the other ran dry and the engine quit. The pilot descended through the clouds and broke out at 400 feet agl over a highway. He saw a plateau ahead and pulled the airplane up and landed on the plateau, breaking off the landing gear in the process.

November 28, Mobile, Ariz.
Cessna 170

At about 1000 mountain time, a Cessna 170B ground looped and nosed over while practicing touch-and-go landings at an abandoned airstrip near Mobile. Neither the pilot nor passenger was injured. The Maricopa County Sheriffs Office received a call on the evening of the accident by a person who reported what appeared to be an abandoned airplane lying inverted on a dirt road. Sheriff personnel traced the airplane to the owner and the pilot confirmed that he had ground looped on this strip and collided with a dirt berm.


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