NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 112 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in January 2001. 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, January.”


Jan. 1, Placerville, Calif.
Rotorway Exec

At 15:29 Pacific time, an amateur-built Rotorway Exec helicopter rolled over from a hover at a private airstrip near Placerville. The student pilot, who had just completed building the aircraft, was not injured. The pilot told a deputy sheriff this was the helicopters maiden voyage and that he had lifted one or two feet off the ground and the helicopter rolled left and crashed.

Jan. 4, Eden, Utah
Aviat Husky

At approximately 14:30 mountain time, an Aviat A-1A crashed while maneuvering near Eden. The pilot, who was not injured, was on a cross-country flight that had originated about 15 minutes earlier. He said he was flying low over the field to test the condition of the snow with his tundra tires. He said the next thing he knew the aircraft was inverted in the snow.

Jan. 5, Honolulu, Hawaii
Boeing 747

At about 16:20 Hawaiian time, a Boeing 747-200F operated by Evergreen International Airlines experienced smoke in the cockpit while en route from Honolulu to Pago Pago. The flight was about 2 hours out of Honolulu at flight level 340, but returned for an uneventful landing. Inspection found an incandescent lamp dimmer was still hot after two hours without electrical power. Neither of the two circuit breakers attached to the dimmer assembly were open. When opened manually, both breakers were found to be red hot.

Jan. 5, Cleveland, Tenn.
Hiller UH-12

At about 15:00 central time, a Hiller UH-12E operating as an aerial application flight crashed near Cleveland. The pilot was not aboard at the time. The pilot told investigators he made a precautionary landing due to malfunctioning application equipment and as he deplaned the helicopter it lifted off without him, climbed to about 600 feet agl and crashed.

Jan. 5, Miami, Fla.
Boeing 757

At about 16:25 eastern time, a Boeing 757-28A operating as Avianca Airlines Flight 007 ingested one or more turkey buzzards during takeoff from Miami International Airports runway 27L. No humans were injured and no emergency evacuation was ordered following a precautionary landing to the same runway. The flight had just become airborne when it encountered a flock of at least 20 circling turkey buzzards. Examination of the number 2 engine found two compressor blades bent and buzzard remains scattered throughout the engine intake and nacelle.

Jan. 6, Spanish Fork, Utah
Cessna 152

At approximately 19:00 mountain time a Cessna 152 crashed into a frozen lake near Spanish Fork. The pilot was seriously injured and the passenger, a prospective purchaser of the airplane, suffered minor injuries. The pilot told investigators the flight was a demo flight for the pilot-rated passenger, who was interested in purchasing the airplane. The two estimated visibility at five miles, but shortly after takeoff, while climbing through 300 feet, the airplane entered a cloud or fog. The owner said the prospective buyer then grabbed the yoke because he thought the airplane was turning. The airplane hit the lake, skidded and fell through the ice. The prospective buyer told rescuers, All of a sudden, we couldnt see the lights on the ground anymore. We were disoriented. [The pilot] thought we should descend a little. Thats what we were doing when we hit the lake. We didnt really see it coming. The passenger helped the pilot out of the airplane, where he clung to a wing while the passenger walked across the lake to the Provo Airport about two miles away. The pilot was rescued about four hours after the crash. Neither pilot was instrument rated.

Jan. 7, Concord, N.H.
Cessna Skyhawk

At 11:00 eastern time, a Cessna 172P overran the runway and flipped while landing at Concord Municipal Airport. The instructor, student pilot and passenger were not injured. The ASOS reported winds as calm and braking as fair. The student was practicing landings on runway 35 when the instructor called for a simulated engine out landing. The student entered the downwind leg for runway 12 but would not properly descend or decelerate. When the airplane finally landed 1,000 feet down the runway, it began to slide sideways, with little brake effectiveness. In fact, the winds at the time of the accident were from 320 degrees at 8 knots.

Jan. 8, Bluefield, W.V.
Cessna 310

At about 07:00 eastern time, a Cessna 310R struck rising terrain during an instrument approach at Mercer County Airport. The pilot was killed. The flight had been cleared for the ILS Runway 23 approach and the pilot reported established on the approach. Radar data showed the airplane joined the localizer and proceeded inbound on course. Due to limited radar coverage, the last radar contact was about three-quarters of a mile inside the final approach fix, still on course, at 4,700 feet. A witness at the airport heard the airplane off in the distance but did not see the airplane fly over the runway because of heavy snow falling at the time. Shortly thereafter, the sound of the engines ceased and the office he was in shuddered. The wreckage was found about a half-mile from the runway to the southeast on terrain that rose to 3,150 feet msl – approximately the decision height for the approach. The missed approach required a climb to 3,800 feet, then a climbing right turn to 5,000 feet.

Jan. 8, Mineral Wells, Texas
Bell 206

At 14:20 central time, a Bell 206B struck trees and terrain near Mineral Wells, killing the pilot. The helicopter was owned and operated by S-TEC Corp. of Mineral Wells and was being used to develop a helicopter autopilot system. The operator said the autopilot contained a rotary and a linear servo, but one of the servos had been removed and reinstalled during the previous 30 days, during which time the pilot had not flown the helicopter.

Jan. 9, Pittsview, Ala.
Piper Comanche

At about 15:00 eastern time, a Piper PA-24-250 crashed near Pittsview. The pilot was not injured and a passenger reported minor injuries. The flight had departed Lakeland, Fla., for Auburn, Ala., more than four hours before the crash. The pilot told investigators he exhausted his fuel and had to land in a vacant field.

Jan. 10, Mesa, Ariz.
Beech Bonanza

At 13:07 mountain time, a Beech V35B lost power and landed in a field five miles east of Falcon Field. The two occupants reported minor injuries. The pilot said he had departed Marana, Ariz., about a hour earlier and, while in cruise flight using the left fuel tank, the engine lost power. He was unable to restart the engine and landed gear up in a field. Investigation revealed the left fuel tank contained about 1 quart of fuel and the right tank appeared to be approximately half full.

Jan. 11, Vandiver, Ala.
Cessna Stationair

At 19:15 central time, a Cessna 206H struck trees on top of Penitentiary Mountain, killing the pilot. The Part 135 cargo flight was not operating on a flight plan and instrument conditions prevailed. Neither the FAA nor the cargo company reported having any communications with the flight, which was en route from Gainesville, Ga., to Bessemer, Ala. The operator notified authorities when the flight became overdue and an ELT signal was detected. The wreckage was spread on the upslope of the 1,400-foot mountain and on the downslope on the other side of the peak.

Jan. 11, Fort Worth, Texas
Dehavilland Twin Otter

At approximately 16:14 central time, a Dehavilland DHC-6-300 crashed after a dual engine failure during the ILS Runway 34R approach to Meacham Airport. The three occupants were not injured. The pilot said the airplane was fueled at Alexandria, La. the day before the accident. On the day of the accident, the passengers were planning to deplane in Fort Worth and he was going to continue to Houston. After he was cleared for the approach and nearing the glideslope intercept, the right engine surged and quit, followed by the left engine. The pilot was unable to make the nearest airport and landed in a field, where the airplane struck a tree and a dirt berm. Inspection showed the aft main tank, which feeds the left engine, was one-third to one-half full and the forward main tank, which feeds the right engine, was 90 percent full. The right wing tank was leaking and the left wing tank was empty. The fuel selector for the main tanks was found in the NORMAL position, which fed the engines from the main tanks.

Jan. 12, Angola, N.Y.
Cessna Skylane

At about 09:30 eastern time, a Cessna 182P crashed while landing at Angola Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot departed Angola to fly to Akron, N.Y., for an annual inspection on the airplane. After he took off, however, the ceiling was lower than he expected so he decided to return. Because the runway was partially covered with ice and snow, he wanted to use all of the available runway. He came in low and struck a snow bank at the approach end of the runway. The airplane skidded down the runway and caught fire.

Jan. 13, Somerset, Mass.
Mooney M20C

At about 16:30 eastern time, a Mooney M20C made a forced landing along the western shoreline of the Taunton River. The pilot was seriously injured. The pilot reported the airplane lost engine power while cruising northbound over the river. It struck one of two eight-cable bundles of power transmission lines. The airplane continued north, over a bridge and under another set of power cables before being forced down along the rivers shoreline. The fuel was clean and the carb heat had been activated. Weather conditions at the time were conducive to carb ice during glide and at cruise power settings.

Jan. 14, Lake Point, Utah
Beech King Air

At 17:29 mountain time, a Beech 65-A90 struck water while descending near Lake Point. The pilot and eight passengers were killed. Instrument conditions prevailed and a VFR flight plan had been filed but was never activated. The pilot and passengers had flown to Mesquite Jan. 12 to skydive and were returning to Tooele when the accident occurred. The pilot obtained a weather briefing and filed a VFR flight plan. He advised the briefer he could make [an] IFR approach if necessary. The owner said the airplane was equipped for VFR flight only, and the only navigational receiver on board was a hand-held GPS receiver. Witnesses in the vicinity of the accident site said there was light snow falling and visibility was about -mile. Radar data indicates the airplane did not fly the filed route but rather flew direct to Tooele. It passed over the Tooele Airport and flew out over the Great Salt Lake, where it began a 2,000 fpm descending left turn. The wreckage was located about a half-mile offshore and about 2 miles north of the Tooele Airport.

Jan. 14, Greenville, N.C.
Piper Arrow

At about 18:28 eastern time, a Piper PA-28R-180 struck wires and crashed while making an ILS approach to Pitt/Greenville Airport. The pilot and passenger were killed. The flight departed Tifton, Ga., en route to Greenville, VFR and without a flight plan. The pilot requested an IFR clearance about 30 miles southwest of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and was cleared to descend from 5,500 feet to 3,000 feet. ATC observed the aircraft descend below its assigned altitude twice. The flight was cleared for the approach. The minimum descent altitude was 1,600. The airplane struck power lines about 35 feet agl (65 feet msl) about 11 miles from the airport.

Jan. 14, Troy, Ala.
Learjet 60

At 13:45 central time, a Learjet LJ-60 struck two deer during landing and ran off the end of runway 7, seriously injuring the two pilots aboard. Witnesses said the airplane collided with the deer shortly after touchdown and continued down the runway with the brakes on. The aircraft departed the right side of the runway near the end, crossed a taxiway and hit a ditch, where it burst into flames. Rescuers were able to extricate the crew before the fire engulfed the cockpit. The pilot said the thrust reversers failed to operate when activated.

Jan. 15, Falmouth, Mass.
Piper Tri-Pacer

At 19:45 eastern time, a Piper PA-22-108 was last observed in the vicinity of Falmouth. The airplane has not been located and the pilot is presumed dead. The pilot contacted controllers at Norwood Mass., at about 16:00, asking for a special VFR departure clearance to the southwest. The controller observed what appeared to be up to 2 inches of slush and snow on the airplanes wings and control surfaces as well as ceilings of 400 feet and denied the clearance. The pilot departed runway 17 without a clearance and turned southwest along Interstate 95. The pilot reported clear of the airports class Delta airspace within five minutes. Over the next several hours, several witnesses saw the airplane flying at treetop level. Weather stations along the route of flight reported poor visibility and ceilings of 300-400 feet broken and 500 feet overcast. The pilot was instrument rated and reported 15,000 hours on his most recent medical certificate, which was issued on December 20.

Jan. 15, San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Cessna Turbo Centurion and Cessna 310

At 07:30 Pacific time, a Cessna T210L and a Cessna 310 collided in the run-up area for runway 29 at San Luis Obispo Airport. No one was injured. The pilot of the 210 said the morning sun restricted his vision to the point where he could not see in front of the airplane and he never saw the Cessna 310 in the run-up area. The pilot of the Cessna 310 stated his airplane was stationary and he was looking inside performing prop governor checks and at the last second saw a white flash in the corner of his eye. The right wing of the Cessna T210L was severed approximately 6 feet inboard of the wingtip when it contacted the right propeller of the Cessna 310.

Jan. 15, Monterey, Calif.
Cessna Skyhawk

A Cessna 172N was determined to be lost over the Pacific Ocean when it disappeared from radar at 17:02 Pacific time. The pilot, thought to be the only one aboard, is presumed dead. The aircraft departed Concord at about 15:20 and flew southwesterly, climbing to 10,500 feet. For the next hour and 20 minutes, the mode C reported altitude varied between 8,500 feet and 11, 800 feet. At about 16:50, the altitude began to gradually decrease at the rate of 600 to 900 feet per minute until the radar return was lost over the Pacific ocean 46 miles on a magnetic bearing of 224 degrees from Monterey, Calif.

Jan. 16, Orlando, Fla.
Lake Buccaneer

At 09:15 eastern time, a Lake LA-4 exploded as the pilot attempted to start the engine at the Orlando Executive Airport. The two occupants suffered minor injuries but the airplane was destroyed. Preliminary examination showed the explosion occurred in the bilge area underneath and behind the rear seat. The examination also showed that the main fuel tank and associated fuel components are in close proximity to the battery installation. Fuel stains were observed on fuel lines and fittings inside the enclosed fuel system compartments and corrosion was detected on one battery cable.

Jan. 18, Austell, Ga.
Cessna Skyhawk

At 23:20 eastern time, a Cessna 172S struck trees while conducting an ILS approach to runway 8 at Fulton County Airport on an instrument training flight. The pilot was seriously injured and the instructor and a passenger suffered minor injuries. The pilots were told the glideslope for runway 8 was inoperative and were subsequently cleared for the approach. While on a two-mile final, the pilot said the VSI abruptly showed a climb and then a descent while airspeed increased. The pilot selected the alternate static source and initiated a go-around, but the airplane hit trees two miles short of the airport.

Jan. 19, Chillicothe, Ohio
Piper Mirage

At about 15:40 eastern time, a Piper PA-46-350P was damaged during an aborted takeoff from Ross County Airport. The three occupants were not injured. The three boarded in a heavy snowstorm and the pilot taxied the aircraft to the end of runway 23. There, both pilots used their cell phones to call Flight Service. Due to a disconnected phone call, it took about 45 minutes to file the IFR flight plan and receive a clearance. During the subsequent run-up, the pilot noticed about three to four inches of slush on the runway and about – to -inch of slush on the top of the wings. The two pilots agreed the debris would blow off during the takeoff run and elected not to clean the wings manually. During the takeoff run, acceleration was poor and the airplane did not rotate normally. The pilot retarded the throttle and the airplane touched down, slid and turned, bending the landing gear, damaging the wingtips and wrinkling the fuselage.

Jan. 19, Bluefield, W.V.
Piper Seneca

At about 19:50 eastern time, a Piper PA-34-200T struck the ground while on approach to Mercer County Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot was flying the airplane from Lewisburg, where it had gotten its annual inspection. When he arrived at Bluefield, the ASOS was reporting a ceiling of 100 feet with fog. He shot the approach anyway, but missed it. He attempted a second ILS and missed that one, too. He was about to divert to another airport when an employee of the Bluefield FBO asked over the radio if he would like the approach lights turned up. He decided to try a third approach. As he was looking for the lights, he descended into trees and crashed.

Jan. 20, Columbus, Miss.
Beech Musketeer

At 15:00 central time, the right main landing gear of a Beech BE-23 collapsed during a landing on runway 36 at Golden Triangle Regional Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said this was the first flight following the completion of the annual maintenance inspection. After about 15 minutes the pilot returned to the airport for landing. During the landing roll, the airplane veered to the right, then to the left. The right main landing gear collapsed and the right wheel assembly separated from the strut.

Jan. 23, Grafton, W.V.
Tailwind DN-1

At about 16:30 eastern time, a homebuilt Tailwind DN-1 crashed while maneuvering near Grafton. The pilot was killed. The operator said the pilot started the engine, then topped off the 24-gallon fuel tank while the engine was running. The pilot then performed two takeoffs and landings, which took about 20 minutes. He then let the airplane engine idle on the ground for about 20 minutes while he prepared for a cross-country flight. The pilot departed about 14:00. The operator estimated that the airplane burned about 6 gallons per hour. The wreckage was located Jan. 27 in a wooded area about 1.5 miles southeast of Rock Lake. No fuel was present in the tanks, fuel lines or carburetor.

Jan. 24, Watkins, Colo.
Aero Vodochody L-39

At 11:27 mountain time, an Aero Vodochody L-39CT crashed on departure from Front Range Airport, killing both aboard. Witnesses said the airplane departed from runway 26 and turned crosswind for a southbound departure. The airplane was observed to pitch-up approximately 30 degrees, and drop immediately to the ground.

Jan. 25, Trenton, Maine
Cessna 120

At 16:30 eastern time, a Cessna 120 was damaged during takeoff from Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said the purpose of the flight was to practice takeoffs and landings on the snow in the ski-equipped aircraft. He had departed Bar Harbor earlier in the day and successfully performed a landing and subsequent takeoff from a nearby frozen lake. He said he returned to Bar Harbor and performed several takeoffs and landings in the snow-covered infield adjacent to Runway 35. During the final takeoff, the tip of one ski sank into the snow and the airplane flipped. The pilot reported 130 hours and 30 hours in the Cessna 120, 12 hours of which were on skis. He said he had never received any formal instruction on ski operations.

Jan. 26, South Charleston, W.V.
Mooney M20F

At 10:53 eastern time, a Mooney M20F was damaged when it overran the runway on landing at Mallory Airport. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries. The pilot said he lost engine power while in cruise flight because he ran the left tank dry. He selected the right tank and the engine restarted, but he was worried about running out of fuel in the right tank. During landing, the airplane touched down on the runway and continued past the departure end of the runway, striking a hangar and a parked airplane.

Jan. 27, San Bernardino, Calif.
Beech Baron

At 12:10 Pacific time, a Beech BE-55 landed gear-up at San Bernardino. The instructor and student were not injured. The student told police he was receiving flight instruction for his commercial certificate and had just completed two touch-and-go takeoffs and landings. He was on his third touch-and-go to runway 24 when he forgot to lower the landing gear prior to touchdown. The instructor said he did not hear the gear warning horn prior to the accident.

Jan. 31, Louisa, Va.
Beech Sport

At about 19:30 eastern time, a Beech B-19 was damaged while landing at Louisa County-Freeman Field Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he was en route from Warrenton to Richmond when he noticed indications that the airplane was losing electrical power. He then elected to divert to LKU and, shortly thereafter, the airplane lost all electrical power. While landing on runway 27 the pilot flared high and the airplane landed hard. The runway lights were illuminated during the landing.


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