NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


The following briefs were selected from the 98 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in February 2003. 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, February.”


February 01, Quartzsite, Ariz.
Beech Bonanza

At 1046 mountain time, a Beech S-35 landing at Desert Gardens Airstrip collided with a car crossing the runway. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said he was landing on the dirt strip when a car pulled out to cross the runway. He applied power to go around, but the left main landing gear struck the car and sheared off. The airplane then skidded down the runway. The car was on a road that crosses the runway.

February 02, Titusville, Fla.
Beech Sierra

At 1206 eastern time, a Beech A24R struck wires and trees on initial takeoff from runway 9 at Space Coast Regional Airport, Titusville. The pilot was seriously injured and three passengers reported minor injuries. The pilot said he took off with 10 degrees of flaps and the airplane accelerated normally, however, he did not rotate until the airplane was nearly at the end of the 5,000-foot runway. He said the throttle felt like it was sticking but the tach indicated more than 2500 rpm. The tower controller said the ground run appeared to be slow and the airplane climbed only to about 15 to 20 feet agl before colliding with trees.

February 04, Middletown, Calif.
Beech Bonanza

At about 0755 Pacific time, a Beech F35 struck fences and a house during an aborted takeoff from a private dirt airstrip near Middletown. The pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said the airplane was ice heavy during takeoff and ran out of runway, so the pilot tried to abort the takeoff. A police officer reported that the wheels of the airplane touched down approximately 300 feet from the house.

February 05, Mission, Texas
Cessna 210

At approximately 0846 central time, a Cessna T210N crashed following a loss of control during cruise flight near Mission. The pilot and two passengers were killed. A Mexican IFR flight plan was filed by the pilot for a business flight from Matamoros, Mexico, to Torreon, Mexico. The pilot was in cruise flight when he contacted Reynosa Approach and requested a climb from 6,000 feet to 8,000 feet, which was approved. Controllers noted the flight was five to seven miles north of course when the pilot was asked by Reynosa Approach to verify his position. The pilot replied we have a problem here with my (not intelligible). I will try another radio. The flight crossed the US-Mexican Border as the radar controller tracked the aircrafts erratic path. The airplane was observed in rapid descent passing 5,500 feet, and again at 4,000 feet until it disappeared from radar. The pilot was reported to have accumulated over 21,000 flight hours.

February 06, Florence, S.C.
Piper Comanche

At 1853 eastern time, a Piper PA-24-250 crashed while maneuvering near Florence. The pilot and two passengers were killed. The instructor-certificated pilot, an instructor passenger and a third passenger were flying from Ormond Beach, Fla., to Bennettsville, S.C., at 5,300 feet when the pilot contacted Florence controllers and asked if there was any VFR weather to the north. The pilot then elected to proceed to Fayetteville, N.C. The controller instructed the pilot to descend to 5,000 feet and join victor airway 56, but shortly afterward the airplanes Mode C altitude indicated 800 feet and the controller advised the pilot to climb. The pilot replied by requesting a diversion to Florence Regional Airport and the controller provided radar vectors. Radar contact was lost three minutes later. The wreckage was found less than six miles north of the airport. Automated weather at the time reported visibility 4 miles with light rain, broken clouds at 600 feet agl, overcast clouds at 1500 feet, with remarks that the ceiling was variable between 300 feet to 800 feet agl.

February 09, Everett, Wash.
Cessna 172

At 1540 Pacific time, a Cessna 172S was damaged during a hard landing at Everett/Snohomish County Airport. Neither pilot was injured. The flight was an IFR instructional flight and an IFR flight plan had been filed. The flight had just executed a missed approach at PAE and when climbing through 1,000 feet the aircraft began picking up ice. The aircraft was cleared for the ILS Runway 16R approach and the pilot reported difficulty maintaining altitude. At about 10-15 feet above the ground, the aircrafts left wing dropped. There were a number of pilot reports of moderate clear and rime icing by aircraft overflying PAE at the time.

February 09, Urbana, Ill.
Beech Bonanza

At 1400 central time, a Beech G35 was damaged during maneuvering during a local training flight out of Frasca Field. The pilot, who was not injured, had performed chandelles and lazy eights, and was performing steep turns when the rudder pedals began to vibrate while in a left turn. The pilot landed without incident. Inspection revealed the left ruddervator was loose, the left stabilator spar was cracked and the fuselage was wrinkled ahead of the ruddervators.

February 09, Davie, Fla.
Cessna 170

At about 1523 eastern time, a Cessna 170A crashed on Interstate 75 after losing engine power. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured. A witness said the airplane was gliding about 50 to 75 feet above the highway with no engine noise when the airplane suddenly nosed down onto the pavement. Examination of the scene showed the airplane struck utility wires stretched across the highway.

February 12, Leesburg, Miss.
Cessna 172

At about 0905 central time, a Cessna 172M crashed shortly after takeoff from a private strip in Leesburg. The pilot received minor injuries. The pilot said he had just taken off and was climbing through 200 feet, milking the flaps up when he detected that the airplane was sinking. He maneuvered to avoid a trailer park and crashed in an adjacent construction area.

February 13, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Cessna Citation

At about 2000 eastern time, a Cessna 500 suffered an uncontained failure of the right engine during the takeoff roll from runway 09 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The two pilots aboard were not injured. The pilot said they were repositioning the airplane to Miami. As the engines spooled up for takeoff, he heard a bang and saw the fan fly past the right windown. He aborted the takeoff and taxied back to the ramp.

February 16, Ferguson, Ky.
Cessna 421

At 2002 eastern time, a Cessna 421 on a Part 135 flight crashed while on the GPS Rwy 22 approach to Somerset-Pulaski County Airport. The pilot, a pilot-rated passenger and one other passenger were killed. Four other passengers were seriously injured. Witnesses said the airplane came in very low and fast, with the engines producing power, when it failed to clear a saddleback ridge. Preliminary information is that the pilot flew the approach about 1,000 feet left of course. The wreckage was found about 700 feet left of the course centerline at about 2,500 feet agl. The minimum altitude along that segment of the approach was 1,720 feet and the runway touchdown zone elevation was 927 feet.

February 17, Morristown, Tenn.
Beech Bonanza

At 1945 eastern time, a Beech A36 reported severe in-flight icing and subsequently crashed on approach to Moore-Murrell Airport. The pilot and passenger suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he was on an IFR flight plan, descending through 8,100 feet when the airplane began to pick up structural ice. The airplane was cleared to descend to 5,100 feet, during which time it continued to collect structural ice. While on final approach to runway 05 the airplane was unable to maintain altitude and crashed a mile southwest of the airport.

February 18, Valdosta, Ga.
Beech Sundowner

At 1730 eastern time, a Beech C23 crashed while on final approach to Valdosta Regional Airport. The student solo pilot suffered minor injuries. The pilot said he was on final approach to runway 17 when he decided to go around. The tower controller cleared the flight to make a right turn to enter a left downwind to runway 35. When the pilot reached down to extend the flaps, the airplane stalled and collided with trees.

February 20, Garryowen, Mont.
Piper Tri-Pacer

At about 1200 mountain time, a Piper PA-22-150 crashed about five miles west of Garryowen, leaving the pilot and passenger seriously injured. Authorities received an ELT hit at about 1200 and the aircraft was located at 1339. The passenger said they had been hunting coyotes at the time of the accident. The pilot died four days later.

February 20, Marathon, Fla.
Cessna 402

At about 1220 eastern time, a Cessna 402B ditched in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 10 miles from Marathon Airport. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The pilot was returning to Tamiami Airport from Havana, Cuba, on a Part 135 flight when he detected a strong smell of fuel in the cabin. The airplane instruments did not indicate a problem, but a few minutes later he smelled burning and noticed a small fire on top of the right engine cowling. He secured the engine. The smell of fuel worsened and the left engine started missing and sputtering and he ditched the airplane. He was rescued by a boat after being in the water for about 20 minutes.

February 21, Merritt Island, Fla.
Beech A45

At about 1700 eastern time, a Beech A45 (civilian T-34 Mentor) overran the runway while landing at the Merritt Island Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said he reduced power and descended from 3,000 feet in anticipation of landing. At around 2,000 feet, oil and grease covered the windscreen and the propeller separated. He slipped the airplane to lose altitude and to see the runway. The aircraft touched down at around the midpoint of the runway and was going too fast to stop before it rolled off the end of the runway and into a ditch. Postcrash examination of the aircraft showed both propeller blades were missing and the propeller hub was still attached to the engine.

February 22, So. Charleston, W.V.
Cessna 182

At about 1542 eastern time, a Cessna 182P crashed while landing at Mallory Airport. The pilot was seriously injured and the passenger was killed. The pilot was landing with ATIS reporting the wind as 160 at nine knots. In addition, the pilot noted steam from a stack northwest of the airport indicating the wind was calm below 1,500 feet msl, despite stronger winds aloft. The pilot made traffic for runway 33 and was flaring for landing when the airplane yawed hard to the left. The pilot compensated with rudder and one wheel touched down. The pilot decided to abort the landing and applied full power, but the airplane hit trees off the departure end of the runway. Landings at the airport are restricted to runway 33 because of rising terrain on the approach end of runway 15. The pilot said he was comfortable landing on the 2,000-foot runway with a tailwind. A witness at the field said there was a sudden wind shift just as the airplane was crossing the threshold.

February 23, El Cajon, Calif.
Luscombe T-8

At about 1611 Pacific time, a Luscombe T-8F hit the ground during an attempted go-around after the pilot aborted landing at Gillespie Field. Neither pilot on board was injured. Both pilots possessed flight instructor certificates. The accident pilot said his son, the other pilot, had performed three takeoffs and landings in the traffic pattern. During rollout on the fourth landing, the accident pilot pulled the control stick aft to lower the tailwheel. The airplane veered left, directional control was lost, and the airplane collided with a taxiway sign. Thereafter, the pilot applied full power to go around. The airplane veered right, exited the right side of the runway, and became airborne. While in ground effect, the airplanes right wing tip impacted a nearby dirt embankment.

February 23, Ely, Nev.
Cessna 172

At about 0830 Pacific time, a Cessna 172N struck mountains near Ely. The pilot and one passenger were killed. The nearest reporting station, 29 miles from the accident site, was reporting day VFR conditions, but weather at the accident site has not been determined. The operator reported that the pilot was taking a passenger to Little River and planned to return to Rifle the following day. When the flight did not arrive as scheduled, the family alerted the FAA. Authorities received an ELT signal in the vicinity of Ely and rescue personnel located the wreckage two days later in mountainous terrain about 9,000 feet msl. About four feet of snow covered the airplane.

February 25, Williamson, N.Y.
Cessna 150

At 1150 eastern time, a Cessna 150J was damaged during a takeoff from Williamson-Sodus Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said about three inches of new snow had fallen at the airport and he could not see the runway centerline due to the snow coverage. He applied full power for the takeoff and during the takeoff roll, the airplanes left main landing gear caught the edge of a snow bank and the airplane veered off the left side of the runway.

February 26, Blue Bell, Pa.
Piper Seminole

At about 1105 eastern time, a Piper PA-44-180 was damaged when it hit a snowbank during takeoff from Wings Field Airport. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The pilot said he was accelerating smoothly down the 75-foot-wide runway when the airplane suddenly yawed to the right. He attempted to correct with rudder then retarded the throttles. The airplane departed the right side of the runway and hit a snowbank. A flight instructor witness said the right propeller appeared to be revolving at a much slower rate than the left propeller. Preliminary examination of the engines found no mechanical discrepancies.

February 27, Renfrew, Pa.
Cessna 182

At about 2135 eastern time, a Cessna 182G crashed while making a visual approach to runway 8 at Butler County Airport. The pilot was killed. The pilot was on an IFR flight plan when he reported accumulating a significant amount of ice He advised the controller he had the airport in sight and he was cleared for the visual approach. The airplane crashed about a half mile from the airport and about 100 feet left of the extended centerline. Ice fragments 2 to 4.5 inches thick were found at the accident scene that matched the leading editors of the wings and tailplane. Initial inspection found no mechanical anomalies.

February 28, Captiva Island, Fla.
Beech Bonanza

At about 1530 eastern time, a Beech 36 crashed into the waters of Pine Island Sound shortly after takeoff from North Captiva Airport. The pilot was killed. Initial radar data showed the flight departed to the east and then took up a heading to the southeast, maintained a southeast heading until the flight turned easterly. There were no radio communications from the airplane. The pilot had intended to pick up some passengers at Page Field but never arrived. The wreckage was found about 2 miles from the departure airport in five feet of water. Fishermen reported that at about the time the accident occurred fog had rolled in over Pine Island Sound, reducing visibility to zero for about 15 minutes.


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