NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.


Pipistrel Virus
December 1, 2015, Englewood, Colo.

At about 1950 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The commercial pilot and his passenger were not injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

While en route, the pilot determined adequate fuel to complete the flight as planned was not aboard. The right fuel tank apparently failed to feed the engine. While preparing to land, the engine lost power. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field, during which the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted.

Robinson Helicopter R22
December 1, 2015, Venice, Fla.

The helicopter made a forced landing to a field at about 1530 Eastern time. The flight instructor sustained minor injuries and the private pilot was seriously injured. The helicopter landed on soft terrain and sustained damaged to the skids, fuselage, tail boom and windshield. Visual conditions existed.

The flight instructor was preparing the pilot for her commercial rotorcraft-helicopter checkride. While returning to the based airport, the instructor simulated a failed engine and they both performed an autorotation. The helicopter landed hard. The windshield popped out and the helicopter rocked back and forth before it leveled out. The pilot exited the helicopter and ran toward the front. The main rotor blades were still moving and struck the pilot’s head, fracturing her orbital bone. Both the instructor and pilot reported there were no mechanical deficiencies that would have precluded normal operation.

Pacific Aerospace 750XL
December 3, 2015, Raeford, N.C.

At about 1120 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing during a commercial skydiving flight. The commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While descending after the load of skydivers successfully exited the airplane, the pilot elected to shut down the engine after noting anomalous instrument readings. During the subsequent dead-stick landing, the airplane was fast and touched down about halfway down the 3402-foot-long asphalt runway. The pilot applied heavy braking, but the airplane traveled about 1000 feet beyond the departure end of the runway before coming to rest upright in a field with a collapsed left main landing gear.

U.S. civil aviation accidents 2015


Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 250
December 4, 2015, Millville, N.J.

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1245 Eastern time during a forced landing following total loss of engine power. The private pilot incurred minor injuries and the flight instructor was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the two occupants, the preflight inspection and engine run-up revealed no anomalies. Shortly after takeoff, at about 150 feet agl, the engine lost all power. The airplane was “too low and fast to try a restart,” so the private pilot elected to land straight ahead in a field. The airplane impacted a grassy area and sustained substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage. Examination revealed the left and right tanks contained fuel. All three propeller blades exhibited chordwise scratching and aft bending. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection had been completed less than two flight hours earlier.

Piper PA 28-181 Archer II/III
December 5, 2015, Pontiac, Mich.

At about 1930 Eastern time, the airplane impacted terrain during an instrument approach. The private pilot and passenger were seriously injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Night instrument conditions prevailed.

During the approach the controller advised the pilot of the weather conditions and asked if he had the ATIS information. The pilot acknowledged receiving the ATIS. Shortly afterward, the controller updated the runway visual range information; the pilot did not acknowledge the information. The controller repeated calls to the airplane several times; however, the pilot did not respond. The airplane’s right wing had impacted trees short of the airport. The wreckage path continued for about 580 feet.

Cessna 140
December 6, 2015, Keytesville, Mo.

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 2110 Central time when it impacted terrain. The private pilot and passenger were both fatally injured. The flight’s point of origin and destination are not known.

A witness saw the airplane approach from the northeast and begin to make clockwise turns of between and mile in diameter. The airplane’s lights were visible but it appeared the airplane was in clouds or fog. On the third circle overhead the airplane’s lights became brighter, as though it had flown out of the clouds, and the airplane turned toward the south away from the witness. The airplane then abruptly descended toward terrain and the sound of an impact was heard. Prior to the accident, the witness reported the engine sounded normal. The wreckage was located in an open hay field. Impact signatures were consistent with a near-vertical impact.

Cessna 182C Skylane
December 6, 2015, Pattonsburg, Mo.

At about 1630 Central time, the airplane impacted terrain. The solo private pilot sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.

The accident flight reportedly was the first after an annual inspection. The airplane was observed to depart about 1550; there were no recorded communications between the pilot and ATC. The airplane was located about 0900 on December 8 by local search and rescue personnel. Examination revealed all major components of the airplane were located at the accident site. Tree impacts and damage to the airplane were consistent with a nose low, near-vertical impact.

Aero Vodochody L-39C Albatros
December 6, 2015, Apple Valley, Calif.

The airplane was destroyed at about 1407 Pacific time when it impacted terrain during takeoff. The airline transport pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness observed a “dark blackish/grey colored exhaust” coming from the exhaust nozzle prior to takeoff. When the airplane was approximately halfway down the runway and about 125 feet agl, witnesses heard a “pop, pop, pop,” which was immediately followed by bright orange flashes from the exhaust nozzle. Witnesses reported the airplane maintained its altitude and an approximate 20-degree nose-up attitude until it reached the end of the runway. It then rolled left and impacted the ground. Visual examination of the engine case and exhaust shaft revealed no evidence of an internal catastrophic engine failure. Inspection of the departure runway revealed no evidence of foreign object debris.

CubCrafters CCK-1865 Carbon Cub
December 7, 2015, Linesville, Pa.

At about 1815 Eastern time, the experimental airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted wooded terrain while maneuvering. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Night instrument conditions prevailed.

According to FBO personnel, the passenger had flown his airplane to a nearby airport and the accident pilot was flying him home. A farm owner about a mile north of the destination airport heard an impact sound about 1815 but didn’t see anything due to the dark and foggy conditions. Rescue personnel located the wreckage about 2030 in a wooded area adjacent to the farm. The debris path extended approximately 120 feet on a magnetic heading of north to the main wreckage. Weather recorded about 13 miles northwest of the accident site 1753 included wind from 040 degrees at three knots, visibility of 7 miles and an overcast ceiling at 800 feet.

Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian
December 10, 2015, Council Bluffs, Iowa

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1153 Central time when it impacted power lines and terrain. The pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

Shortly after takeoff, the pilot informed ATC he needed to return to the airport, reporting an AHRS “miscommunication.” The pilot accepted a short approach and was cleared to land. The accident site was about 0.70 miles east of the runway threshold. The airplane struck power lines, including a power pole support, about 400 feet east-northeast of the accident site and about 75 feet agl. The airplane came to rest inverted. The entire airframe structure and all flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site.

Van’s RV-7 Experimental
December 10, 2015, Hurricane, Utah

At about 1347 Mountain time, the airplane experienced an in-flight break up and sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain. The airline transport pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The debris path was about mile long, and included all major airplane components. The first piece observed was the vertical stabilizer with the upper portion of the rudder attached. The left wing separated about mid-span and both horizontal stabilizers were scattered throughout the center of the debris field. Witnesses observed airplane debris floating in the air. One witness stated the engine was running the entire descent. He observed the airplane spiraling and descending in a corkscrew motion.

Globe GC-1B Swift
December 11, 2015, Lake Elmo, Minn.

The airplane lost engine power and its pilot made a forced landing into a field at about 1400 Central time, shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

Engine start and run-up were normal. Carburetor heat was applied during the run-up. At about 100 feet agl, power decreased from 2400 rpm to 1600. The pilot maneuvered the airplane to avoid trees straight ahead and made a forced landing to a field. The pilot noted that carburetor ice might have caused the loss of engine power.

Bell 407
December 10, 2015, McFarland, Calif.

The helicopter was destroyed when it impacted terrain during cruise flight at about 1908 Pacific time. The commercial pilot, flight paramedic, flight nurse and patient sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed. The helicopter was operating as a FAR Part 135 aeromedical flight.

The helicopter had been dispatched on a patient transfer. At 1918, a dispatcher requested a status update; there was no response. The wreckage was located at 2054. Examination revealed the helicopter impacted open hilly terrain. All major structural components of the helicopter were located within the debris path.

Beech A36 Bonanza
December 11, 2015, Farmington, Penn.

At approximately 1420 Eastern time, the airplane destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain after a loss of control. The accident occurred during an attempt to return to the airport shortly after takeoff, The private pilot and two passengers board were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses observed the airplane’s landing gear retract after takeoff. The airplane then “made a sudden turn like it was trying to turn around.” The landing gear was seen extending. Shortly, the airplane was observed turning onto a close-in, left base leg for the runway, “pretty low.” It passed behind a structure and the sounds of impact were heard. Examination revealed the landing gear was in the down position, and all major portions of the airplane were present. All three propeller blades exhibited S-bending, twisting and chord-wise scratching. Examination of the forward cabin door revealed the upper latching mechanism’s hook was not fully extended. The door handle mechanism was not fully in the locked position.

Raytheon A36 Bonanza
December 11, 2015, Fayetteville, N.C.

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1931 Eastern time during a forced landing to a wooded area after a total loss of engine power. The private pilot and two passengers received minor injuries; one passenger received serious injuries. Nighttime visual conditions prevailed.

About two hours after takeoff, the airplane was in cruise flight at 8000 feet when the engine lost all power. Attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful. Approaching a nearby airport, the pilot determined he was below the VASI glidepath and would not reach it. He performed a forced landing to wooded terrain. Examination of the engine revealed metal fragments in the oil pan and internal damage including one connecting rod separated from the crankshaft, and two other connecting rods exhibiting discoloration consistent with heat damage.

de Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth II
December 12, 2015, Modena, N.Y.

The airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing at about 1200 Eastern time after it experienced a partial loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot subsequently reported the airplane began gradually losing power shortly after takeoff. The pilot was not able to maintain altitude and attempted to return to the departure airport but the airplane subsequently impacted and came to rest in trees, about mile from the airport. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings, the empennage and the fuselage.

Cessna 310
December 13, 2015, Kennesaw, Ga.

The airplane was substantially damaged following a landing gear collapse during landing at about 1633 Eastern time. The private pilot and a passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he lowered the landing gear on the downwind and observed three green indicator lights. After touchdown and during the landing rollout, the gear warning light illuminated and the horn activated twice. The airplane continued to decelerate and, at around 35 knots, the left main landing gear collapsed. The airplane departed the runway and came to rest in the adjacent grass. Initial examination revealed the left main landing gear down lock bellcrank was fractured and had separated from its respective trunnion. The airplane had been operated for 15.7 hours since its most recent annual inspection.

Mooney M20E Super 21
December 14, 2015, Corona, Calif.

At about 1341 Pacific time, the airplane experienced a partial loss of engine power during takeoff and impacted terrain. The solo pilot was uninjured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

This was the airplane’s first flight after new paint was applied. The pilot conducted a run-up with no abnormal indications. The pilot kept the initial climb shallow so the airplane could gain speed and altitude; however, it was not climbing. While quickly approaching the trees at the end of the runway, the pilot observed rpm was lower than normal despite full throttle and mixture. He leveled the airplane and flew toward a low spot in trees; the airplane’s wing impacted a tree and it descended rapidly into the terrain below.

Robinson Helicopter R44 Raven II
December 16, 2015, Valdez, Alaska

The helicopter sustained substantial damage at about 0942 Alaska time during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power during takeoff. The commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 91 power line patrol flight.

The pilot later stated the engine was allowed to warm up for about five minutes. After liftoff, the helicopter was hovered about 10 feet agl before commencing a left turn, accelerating to about 25 knots and initiating a climb. As the helicopter climbed through about 20 feet agl, all engine power was lost. The pilot entered an emergency autorotation and landed the helicopter on an adjacent taxiway. During touchdown, the helicopter landed hard, sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage, skids and tail boom.


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