NTSB Preliminary Reports

Selected recent general aviation and air carrier accidents currently under investigation


The following briefs were selected from the 89 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in January 1999. Statments 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. 01, Shelbyville, Texas
Cessna 421C Golden Eagle

At 17:05 CST, a Cessna 421C was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Shelbyville. The pilot was not injured but his four passengers sustained minor injuries. The flight was enroute from New Orleans to Omaha, Neb. During cruise flight at 14,000 feet the aircraft encountered icing. The pilot activated the propeller anti-ice system and observed that the right propeller anti-icing circuit breaker was popped out. He reset the circuit breaker and the airplane experienced a total electrical failure. He initiated an emergency descent, and entered into VFR conditions at about 1,500 feet. The pilot said he flew around for about 30 minutes trying to locate an airport. It was getting dark and thunderstorms were in the area, so he decided to land on a road. During the landing roll, he swerved the airplane left to avoid colliding with a pickup truck and the airplane struck trees.

Jan. 02, Hogansville, Ga.
Piper PA-34-200 Seneca

At about 16:18 EST, a Piper Seneca crashed during an emergency landing near Hogansville, but the four occupants were not injured. As the flight neared its destination of Columbus, Ga., weather was at minimums and there was a thunderstorm over the airport. The pilot declared a low fuel state and diverted to another airport. The pilot could not get stabilized on the ILS, however, and overshot the airport. He was then cleared to a third airport with visual conditions. On the way, the left engine quit and the prop was feathered. The airplane descended into visual conditions at 400 feet and flew parallel to some power lines in search of a suitable landing site. The pilot landed in the power line right of way but the aircraft was damaged in the process.

Jan. 02, Smackover, Ark.
Piper PA-32-300R Lance

At approximately 06:40 CST, the pilot of a Piper Lance was killed when the airplane crashed while maneuvering near Smackover. The flight originated about 40 minutes earlier, enroute from Arkadelphia to El Dorado, Ark. The pilot attempted a visual approach into the Downtown Airport in El Dorado but could not land and was vectored to the ILS runway 22 approach at South Arkansas Regional Airport. The pilot never reported a missed approach or IFR flight plan cancellation and a search was begun. Witnesses reported hearing an airplane fly over their houses numerous times at low altitudes. The wreckage was located two days later in a heavily wooded area six miles northeast of South Arkansas Regional and 10 miles northwest of Downtown Airport. Weather at the time was reported as a ceiling of 400 feet and visibility seven miles.

Jan. 02, Farmingdale, N.Y.
Beech C24R Sierra

At about 09:30 EST, a Beech Sierra was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Farmingdale. The two occupants sustained minor injuries. After engine start, the pilot taxied to the run-up area, and reported that the engine was running rough. He said he was going to taxi back to the ramp and speak with the owner of the airplane about the engine condition. They could not find the owner, and the pilot told the passenger that the engine was running normally, so they returned to the run-up area and took off. The engine surged and failed, but the pilot was able to restart the engine. He advised the tower of a power loss, and the engine failed again and could not be restarted. The aircraft landed in a cemetery 1,800 feet short of the runway. The passenger reported that he had observed the pilot perform a preflight examination of the airplane, which included removing the fuel caps and looking into the tanks. He did not observe the pilot drain fuel from either the fuel tanks or the main sump drain. The pilot said he struck his head during the forced landing and had no recollection of the flight. Investigators found that the main fuel bowl of the fuel strainer was contaminated with water, dirt, rust, paint and sand. In addition, rust was found on the inlet screen to the fuel injection unit and on the fittings to the fuel injection manifold.

Jan. 04, Laconia, N.H.
Lake LA-4-250

At about 12:15 EST, a Lake LA-4-250 crashed during a forced landing in Laconia. The pilot was seriously injured and the flight instructor was killed. A witness said the pilot was receiving instrument flight instruction and had heard the IFR clearance the pilot received for practice approaches to Manchester Airport. A witness near the airport stated that the airplane was trailing smoke shortly after taking off from runway 26. Another witness about 3 miles farther on the departure path stated that he saw gray smoke trailing from the engine as the airplane was climbing. He recalled that the smoke and engine noise stopped, and started again as the airplane leveled off and began a left 180 degree turn. Witnesses at the accident site reported that the airplane crashed in a parking lot in a left wing down attitude, bounced through a snow bank and down a 15 foot embankment into a field. Witnesses said the wreckage was burning when they arrived and they were able to extract one pilot before the wreckage became engulfed in flames. An examination of the engine revealed a 5-inch hole on the top of the casing directly above the #3 and #4 connecting rods. After removal of the oil sump and melted ash, an additional hole was found on the bottom of the casing. The bottom hole aligned with the #4 and #5 connecting rods. The majority of the #4 connecting rod was absent, and the #5 connecting rod was protruding through the casing. Both rods displayed elongation and discoloration similar to that found in heat distress. The engine was shipped to a tear down facility for further examination.

Jan. 05, Fairfield, Va.
Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche

At 12:55 EST, a Piper Twin Comanche was destroyed during a forced landing in a field near Fairfield. The pilot and one passenger were seriously injured; a second passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was in cruise flight at 6,000 feet near Montebello, Va., when the pilot reported a loss of engine power and said he would land on Interstate 81. A passenger told investigators both engines were spitting and spattering prior to the loss of power on the right engine. Neither propeller was feathered and the propeller levers were found in the full forward position.

Jan. 06, Olathe, Kan.
Beech 35 Bonanza

At 15:30 CST, a Beech Bonanza was damaged during a hard landing on runway 36 at Johnson County Airport. The pilot reported no injuries. The flight departed Coffey County Airport near Burlington at 14:56. The pilot reported that he had ice on the windshield and wings which was visually confirmed by a post-accident witness to be approximately -inch thick. The pilot additionally stated that his approach speed was 110 knots at the runway.

Jan. 08, Allentown, Pa.
Cessna 310R

At 17:45 EST, a Cessna 310R was substantially damaged during landing at Lehigh Valley International Airport; no one was injured. The pilot had filed an IFR flight plan between Bangor, Maine, and Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The flight diverted to Lehigh Valley when the pilot discovered, while the airplane was in icing conditions, that the right deicing boot would not inflate. During the landing, the right wing lost lift, and the right landing gear hit the pavement hard. Ground personnel told investigators that there was about 4 inches of ice on the leading edge of the right wing, and the left wing was clean.

Jan. 08, Portland, Ore.
Pacific Aviation Composites LC 40-550FG

At approximately 18:12 PST, a Pacific Aviation Composites LC 40-550FG, the Lancair Columbia prototype, crashed into the Columbia River about one mile west of Portland International Airport while on approach to runway 10L. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The two people aboard were killed. The flight originated from Bend, Ore., about one hour before the accident. The pilot contacted Portland Approach and reported that he was 25 miles east of Portland International and requested IFR clearance for landing at PDX. The flight was cleared for the ILS runway 10L approach. During the first approach, the aircraft was lined up for runway 10R and the tower instructed the flight to go around to the north. The pilot was given vectors for the runway 10L approach. On the second approach the aircraft was bracketing the runway 10L localizer and descending, when the aircraft dropped off radar coverage about one mile west of the runway.

Jan. 10, Bethel, Alaska
Cessna 172 Skyhawk

At about 13:51 Alaska standard time, a Cessna 172 was damaged while landing at the Bethel Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot told investigators that she had departed the accident airport under a special VFR clearance and encountered severe icing conditions. At that time she elected to return to the Bethel airport. She said that forward visibility was restricted due to heavy ice build-up on the airplanes windscreen, requiring her to do a series of S turns to find the airport. She reported that just prior to touchdown the airplane stalled and the airplane landed hard in a nose low attitude. I just got into icing conditions. Thats what caused it, she said.

Jan. 10, Conway, Ark.
Cessna 150H

At 13:10 CST, a Cessna 150H was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Conway. The pilot and her passenger were not injured. The flight originated from the pilots private airstrip approximately 5 minutes prior to the accident. The pilot reported that, as part of a local orientation flight for her passenger, she intended to land at the Dennis F. Cantrell Field Airport. On a long final approach for runway 25, while the airplane was descending through 1,600 feet msl, she noted that the rate of descent was higher than she anticipated. She tried to add power, but the engine did not respond to throttle movements. Because the airplane was over a residential area, she elected to stall-out the airplane over the trees to avoid impacting the houses. Fuel was found in both tanks, but conditions were right for carb ice.

Jan. 11, Kearny, N.J.
Cessna 310R

At 15:49 EST, the pilot of a Cessna 310R was killed when the airplane struck the ground in Kearny. The pilot took off from runway 24 at 15:42:46, after which the pilot departed to the southeast. At 15:46:01, the pilot told controllers, Im having a problem here, no elevator control, I want to come back for a landing or at least attempt [to return for a landing]. The local controller cleared the flight for a left down wind for runway 24. The local controller inquired about the problem the pilot was experiencing and at 15:46:31, the pilot reported, I have no elevator control sir. I just need to [be] able to go into Class B [airspace], if [I] need to. No further transmissions were received from the pilot. The airplane struck a flatcar in the Conrail Trailvan terminal. The elevator trim actuator was found in an overextended position that corresponded to trailing edge elevator trim tab up. The investigation revealed that the accident flight was the first flight following overhaul of the elevator trim actuator. During interviews, the mechanic who performed the work, and the director of maintenance who supervised the work, stated no work had been performed on the elevators or elevator actuator. The investigative team examined the elevator trim actuator and found no discrepancies. Examination of maintenance records revealed that the work was signed off and the airplane was parked outside for several days, during which there was snow, rain and freezing temperatures. A witness reported that the external surfaces of the airplane were free of snow and ice when the pilot departed TEB.

Jan. 13, Tupelo, Miss.

At about 11:30 CST, an amateur built Vari-eze nosed over at Tupelo Municipal Airport. The pilot sustained minor injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane had departed Tupelo Municipal Airport about 10 minutes before to the accident. The pilot said that he was landing when a gust of wind caught the aircraft. He overcorrected and the airplane nosed over. No mechanical discrepancies were noted with the aircraft. During a review of the applicable records, investigators discovered that the last annual inspection recorded was in 1987. The aircraft had no airworthiness certificate, nor did the pilot have a current flight review.

Jan. 14, Cullman, Ala.
Beech 300 King Air

At 09:18 CST a Beech King Air collided with the ground following a missed approach to Cullman Airport. The pilot and passenger were killed. Shortly before the accident the airplane was cleared to fly an NDB approach to runway 20. The pilot then contacted ATC at Huntsville and informed them that he was executing a missed approach. The aircraft impacted the ground three miles northwest of the airport. Several witnesses stated that they could hear the airplane flying low over their homes but could not see it due to the foggy conditions.

Jan. 15, Lynchburgh, Va.
Piper PA-60-602P Aerostar

About 18:00 EST, a Piper Aerostar was substantially damaged when it lost power and crashed while on approach to the Lynchburg Regional/Preston Glenn Field Airport. The pilot was seriously injured. The airplane had just received an annual inspection and the pilot was returning from ferrying a maintenance pilot home. The airplane was on approach to runway 21 when the pilot radioed to the Lynchburg Air Traffic Control Tower that one of the airplanes engines had lost power. About 4 minutes later, the pilot reported that the airplanes second engine had lost power and declared an emergency. The airplane crashed about 4 miles northeast of LYH. Approximately 1.5 gallons of fuel was drained from the airplanes fuselage fuel tank. The wreckage was moved to a hanger to be examined further at a later date. A check of refueling records revealed the airplane was topped off with 75 gallons of 100LL before the flight to the maintenance facility. The airplanes total usable fuel capacity was 165.5 gallons.

Jan. 16, Nashoba, Okla.
Cessna 182B Skylane

At approximately 22:40 CST, a Cessna 182B was destroyed when it struck rising terrain near Nashoba, killing all four occupants. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight had departed Dallas about an hour earlier and was enroute to Springdale, Ark. Family members of the pilot said he had flown the 2.4-hour flight earlier in the day to attend a family function. Preliminary review of radio communications between the pilot and ATC have revealed no evidence that the airplane or pilot was in distress at the time of the pilots last transmission. Preliminary review of radar tapes after the pilots last transmission showed the airplane in a right descending turn before radar contact was lost about 5 miles southwest of the accident site. The airplane wreckage was found two days later by search authorities in heavily wooded rising terrain near the crest of an 1,800 foot ridge line.

Jan. 17, North Las Vegas, Nev.
Erickson K One Design

At 13:24 PST an experimental Erickson K was destroyed when it crashed while maneuvering approximately 12 miles north of the North Las Vegas Airport. The pilot, the sole occupant, parachuted from the aircraft and was not injured. The pilot reported that he had gone out to the practice area to practice outside snap rolls. He stated that he had entered the snap roll at 5,500 feet. The pilot reported that while in vertical flight he stomped on the left rudder and reported that the rudder cable became detached. He reported that he recovered to straight and level flight and reached down to verify that the cable had detached from the rudder. The aircraft entered a right bank and the pilot jumped out of the aircraft and parachuted to safety.

Jan. 19, Chino, Calif.
Beech F35 Bonanza

About 04:45 PST, all four occupants of a Beech Bonanza were killed when the airplane struck high terrain near Chino. The flight had originated at Corona, Calif., enroute to Lake Tahoe. The Chino airport reported visual conditions and a 1,100-foot overcast at the time of the accident. Radar data showed a target that initially headed west, turned north, and then made a 360-degree turn to the left. The initial recorded altitude of the target was 900 feet mean sea level (msl) and the last recorded altitude was 2,400 feet msl. The terrain around the crash site showed extensive fire damage. Preliminary examination of the wreckage indicated that the airplane struck the ground while in cruise configuration with the engine producing power.

Jan. 20, Albuquerque, N.M.
Cessna P210N Centurion

At 15:28 MST, a Cessna P210N broke up in flight and collided with terrain in the Sandia Mountain Wilderness Area, killing the pilot and two passengers. The airplane was at FL220 when the pilot told the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center that he had sustained a dual vacuum pump failure and thought he had been in a spin. When told cloud bases in the area were between 12,000 and 13,000 feet agl, the pilot advised he was descending. The pilot was then told to contact approach control. When he did so, he advised that he thought he had just done a roll, and that he needed help. He also stated the airplane was equipped with an electrical artificial horizon and compass backups, but that they didnt agree. Shortly thereafter, radio and radar contact were lost. Witnesses reported seeing a wing break off from the airplane.

Jan. 20, Pacific Ocean
Boeing 747-238B

At about 12:30 hours UTC, a Boeing 747-238B being operated by Continental Airlines encountered clear air turbulence while at FL330 approximately 900 miles east of Tokyo. The aircraft sustained minor interior damage and four flight attendants and 10 passengers sustained minor injuries. The flight, being operated as Continental flight 910 from Tokyo to Honolulu, had departed Tokyos Narita International airport a little more than an hour before the event. The pilot reported that CAT had been forecast for the route of flight, and that the crew noticed a sudden fluctuation of outside air temperature as the aircraft entered an area of wave action. Shortly thereafter, the aircraft encountered turbulence lasting approximately 10 minutes, and resulting in altitude excursions of +500 feet and -1000 feet. The captain reported that the seat belt sign had been illuminated prior to encountering the turbulence.

Jan. 23, Granbury, Texas
Cessna 180J Skywagon

At 10:30 CST, a Cessna Skywagon was damaged during a hard landing following a loss of engine power near Granbury. The two occupants were not injured. The pilot and the passenger reported that during the preflight, the fuel tanks were dipped. The right fuel tank was empty and the left fuel tank contained 17 gallons. The fuel selector was positioned to the left tank for the flight. After 7 to 10 minutes of ground run and taxi time, the flight departed on runway 33 for the Granbury Municipal Airport for refueling. Approximately 2 to 3 minutes after takeoff, the engine started coughing, sputtering, and missing like it was not getting fuel. The pilot switched the fuel selector to the BOTH position and pulled the carburetor heat to the ON position. The engine power was not restored. The pilot selected the Nassau Bay Airport for an emergency landing. The airspeed decreased as the airplane cleared trees and power lines across the approach end of the runway and the airplane landed hard on runway 35. The left main gear and strut sheared from the airplane and the airplane came to rest with the left wing and propeller striking the runway. Following the accident, the pilot and acquaintances drained the fuel from the left tank and removed the airplane from the runway. Subsequently, the airplane was transported to a hangar and stored for further examination.

Jan. 26, Guymon, Okla.
Cessna 172E Skyhawk

At 15:00 CST, a Cessna 172E flipped over in gusting winds while taxiing for takeoff at the Guymon Municipal Airport. The airplane sustained substantial damage but the sole occupant was not injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. The pilot checked the weather and discovered the winds from the south at 22 knots with gusts to 39 knots. The pilot taxied the airplane downwind for the takeoff on runway 18. When the pilot turned the airplane 90 degrees for entry onto the runway, the left wing lifted into the air and the propeller struck the ground. The pilot called the FBO for assistance and several people responded and tried to keep the airplane from flipping; however, the airplane flipped to the inverted position.

Jan. 30, Pompano Beach, Fla.
Robinson R22

At about 08:41 EST, a Robinson R22 crashed while conducting a 180 autorotation with turn to runway 10 at Pompano Beach Airpark. The helicopter was destroyed and the pilot and flight instructor sustained serious injuries. The flight originated about 3 minutes before the accident Two witnesses who are Robinson R22 instructor pilots stated they observed the helicopter in right closed traffic for runway 10. They observed the helicopter conduct a 180-degree autorotation before the accident, which resulted in a termination with power to the numbers on runway 10. They described the autorotation as poor. They decided to watch the helicopter since it remained in right closed traffic. The helicopter was at about 500 feet when it was observed to enter another autorotation with turn. Instead of turning to the right the helicopter turned to the left about 25 to 30 degrees, and it did not appear to be in trim. The helicopter was observed to start a flare below 50 feet, and the skids started to level. The helicopter continued forward and collided with the ground hard in a nose low attitude, and rolled forward end over end before coming to a complete stop.

Jan. 31, Salem, Mo.
Cessna U-206G Stationair

At 12:12 CST, a Cessna U-206G piloted by an instrument-rated pilot was destroyed during a collision with the ground following a loss of control, killing the pilot. The pilot had told controllers the airplanes vacuum pump had failed. While making a turn the pilot said he was completely disoriented. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and the flight was operating on an IFR flight plan.


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