NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


May 2, 2017, Mukilteo, Wash.
Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six

At 1529 Pacific time, the airplane struck powerlines and traffic lights, then collided with the ground after a loss of engine power during takeoff. The pilot was not injured; the passenger received minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported the main tanks were filled to the tabs and both tip tanks were full. After takeoff, a right turn-out was requested by ATC. The pilot reported that as soon he began the turn, the airplane lost power. He declared an emergency, and checked both the fuel selector valve and fuel mixture position, and confirmed the engine primer was in and locked. While maneuvering for a landing on a road free of traffic, the right wing stuck a power transmission cable. Both wingtips then struck separate traffic light signals, rupturing the tip tanks, and spraying ignited fuel over cars waiting at the intersection below. The airplane then collided with the ground, and came to rest on the pavement.

May 3, 2017, Colton, N.Y.
Piper PA-31 Navajo

The Canadian-registered airplane impacted trees and terrain at about 2030 Eastern time. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot was cleared to fly direct from Quebec City to Montreal at 2000 feet msl. There were no further radio transmissions from the airplane. The airplane flew a straight course, overflying the destination, and impacted terrain about 100 miles beyond the destination airport. Witnesses near the accident site heard the airplane “sputter” and heard an “engine whining” prior to an explosion. One witness watched the airplane head southwest “extremely low,” and then heard three “pops” coming from the airplane. A few seconds after that, the airplane banked to the left and began to “gradually lose altitude.” He did not see any type of course correction prior to losing sight of the airplane.

May 5, 2017, Clearwater, Fla.
Cirrus Design SR22

At about 1925 Eastern time, the airplane impacted terrain while attempting to land. The private pilot was fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

A pilot preceding the accident aircraft in the traffic pattern reported storms in the area and wind shear on the approach. He advised the accident pilot of the conditions, and the accident pilot acknowledged. An airport employee observed the accident airplane appear to make a normal approach before it disappeared from his view. He then heard the airplane’s engine go to full power. He said the airplane entered a vertical climb before it rolled left onto its back. The airplane became inverted before disappearing from view.

May 5, 2017, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Robinson Helicopter R44 Astro

The helicopter lost engine power and landed hard during an autorotation. The flight instructor and two passengers sustained serious injuries; the helicopter was destroyed by post-impact fire. Visual conditions prevailed for the sightseeing flight.

Inbound, a special VFR clearance was requested but ATC directed the flight to remain outside its airspace due to landing traffic. The pilot circled the city for about 10 minutes until the request was approved and proceeded toward the airport. Shortly thereafter, the helicopter lost all power. The pilot immediately initiated an autorotation toward a golf course but obstacles forced him to land short in a parking lot. The helicopter touched down hard, spreading both skids. All occupants egressed the helicopter and the golf course superintendent attempted to extinguish a fire at the rear fuselage. The fire spread, however, ultimately engulfing the helicopter.

Multiple witnesses reported seeing an object fall from the helicopter and post-accident examination revealed the engine’s number 3 cylinder head assembly and piston were missing. The assembly was located the following day about mile from the accident site.

May 8, 2017, Lake Berryessa, Calif.
Icon Aircraft A5

At about 0908 Pacific time, the airplane impacted terrain while maneuvering. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot was employed by the aircraft manufacturer and was conducting a familiarization flight with the recently hired passenger. A witness observed the accident airplane flying over the lake about 30 to 50 feet above the water, at what seemed to be a low speed. The airplane passed by the witness’s position and entered a nearby cove in a northerly direction. The witness heard the engine “rev up” as the airplane drifted to the right side of the cove. Subsequently, the airplane pitched up and entered a left turn as it traveled beyond the witness’s view. The witness heard the sound of impact shortly after losing visual site of the airplane.

May 9, 2017, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Mooney M20R Ovation

The airplane was ditched in the Atlantic Ocean at about 1630 Eastern time, shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was not injured. The airplane was not recovered and is presumed substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

Shortly after takeoff, at about 300 feet agl, the pilot “felt a strong jolt, as if something had hit [the airplane]” and realized the engine had stopped. He advised the tower controller that he had a problem, and performed a ditching straight ahead. The pilot egressed through the cabin door, and stood on the wing until the airplane began to sink. A tour helicopter dropped a life preserver to the pilot, who was soon rescued by an individual on a personal watercraft. Attempts by a salvage company to locate the submerged airplane were unsuccessful.

NTSB Reports

May 9, 2017, Fremont, Ohio

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec

The pilot performed a visual approach by referencing the RNAV instrument procedure for the runway to assist with vertical guidance. He added that he thought he was high enough as he crossed the adjacent highway, but the airplane hit a semi truck that was traveling across the airplane’s flight path. The airplane continued on short approach, landed and the main landing gear collapsed. Subsequently, the airplane veered off the runway to the left. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left and right engine firewalls, and nacelle tanks.

May 12, 2017, Hopkinsville, Ky.

Beech A36TC Turbocharged Bonanza

At about 1152 Central time, the airplane impacted trees and terrain. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Instrument conditions prevailed.

At about 1141, while flying VFR on a southerly heading, the pilot established contact with Fort Campbell Approach and advised he was descending out of 5000 feet msl. By about 1145, the airplane was at 3500 feet and ATC asked the pilot’s intentions. The pilot responded he needed to descend to “…see what we got.” The controller advised the ceiling at a nearby airport was 1100 feet agl, about 1650 feet msl. The pilot replied, “alright we’ll see if we can do that.” At about 1148, ATC provided additional weather information for airports in the area, noting, “…it’s much clearer down south.” The pilot then told ATC he intended to climb to 3500 feet msl and the controller provided a radar vector to fly a heading of 150 degrees, which the pilot acknowledged. At about 1149, the controller noticed the airplane maneuvering erratically, and by 1152, radar contact with the flight was lost.

May 13, 2017, Muskogee, Okla.
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

The airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing at about 1500 Central time, following a partial loss of engine power during cruise flight. The private pilot was not injured; his passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that about 20 minutes into a local flight, the airplane experienced a partial loss of engine power at 3000 feet msl. The pilot applied corrective actions, but the engine continued to operate at only 500 rpm. He chose to make a forced landing on a highway, during which the left wing struck a road sign and the nose landing gear fork separated from the strut. The airplane came to rest in a nose-down attitude.

Examination revealed the fuel selector was positioned to draw fuel from the right fuel tank, which contained about 10 gallons of fuel. Neither the left wing tank nor the supply line located between the engine driven fuel pump and the carburetor contained fuel. When the electric fuel pump was activated with the fuel selector on the left tank, the pump cavitated and discharged minimal fuel. When switched to the right fuel tank, the pump cavitated for a few seconds before it established a typical fuel flow.

May 15, 2017, Teterboro, N.J.
Gates Learjet Model 35A

At 1529 Eastern time, the airplane departed controlled flight while circling to land, and impacted a commercial building and parking lot. The captain and first officer died; no one on the ground was injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. Visual conditions prevailed.

At about 1515, the flight was cleared to descend to 3000 feet msl, and then cleared for the ILS Runway 6 approach at Teterboro, circle to land Runway 1. The flight was subsequently cleared to land on Runway 1 and issued winds of 320 degrees at 16 knots, gusting to 32. Radar data indicate the flight did not start its right circling turn until it was less than a mile from the approach end of Runway 6.

A tower controller observed the airplane bank hard to the right, with its wings almost perpendicular to the ground. The airplane then appeared to level out for just a second or two before the left wing dropped, showing the entire top of the airplane. Other witnesses described seeing the airplane’s wings “wobbling” before the left wing dropped and the airplane descended to the ground. The accident site was about nm from the Runway 1 threshold.

May 15, 2017, Dowling, Mich.
Mooney M20E Super 21

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1330 Eastern time when it impacted trees, a fence and a telephone pole, while landing at a private grass airstrip. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the airspeed indicator was not indicating as high as it normally does during flight. While on final approach for landing, the pilot decreased his airspeed to 70 mph, but the airplane would not settle to the runway so he went around. During the second attempt to land, the pilot decreased his airspeed to 60 mph and “forced” the airplane to land. The airplane porpoised and continued off of the runway, hitting trees, a fence and a telephone pole.

May 15, 2017, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Mitsubishi MU-2B-40

At 1339 Eastern time, radar and voice communication were lost over international waters near Eleuthera, Bahamas. Debris associated with the airplane was found floating amidst a fuel sheen the following day. The airplane was en route from Puerto Rico to Titusville, Fla., at FL240. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was operating IFR.

According to FAA records, the airplane was a recent purchase, registered on January 23, 2017. It had been flown along the same route several times during the four months the pilot operated the airplane. After maintaining the same relative heading, airspeed and altitude for about 2.5 hours, the airplane’s radar target went into “coast” status and there were no further communications with the airplane. The commercial pilot reported 1480 total hours of flight experience as of December 2016. Satellite imagery in the area depicted a consistent cloud layer with cloud tops around 40,000 feet. Upper air soundings confirmed icing conditions between -10 and -20 degrees C in clouds.

May 15, 2017, Firebaugh, Calif.
Lancair Evolution Experimental

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1630 Pacific time during a forced landing. The private pilot and one rear seat passenger did not sustain any injuries. A front seat passenger and two rear seat passengers received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; the aircraft was operated IFR.

While in cruise at FL250, the windshield “exploded” without any warning. The airplane instantly lost cabin pressure and the pilot’s headset departed the airplane. The pilot donned his oxygen mask and initiated a steep descent. After identifying the nearest suitable airport, the pilot followed the magenta line to the airport. On final approach, the left main landing gear did not show a down indication. The pilot recycled the landing gear to no avail and decided to land with the landing gear retracted. The airplane made contact with the runway at a high speed but then overran the runway, impacted a fence and traversed a road before it came to rest in a field.

May 22, 2017, Noatak, Alaska
Cessna U206F Stationaire

The airplane was destroyed when a fire broke out while taxiing after landing at a remote unimproved site. The commercial pilot and single passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.

The pilot later reported taxiing to the end of the landing site and turning around while raising the airplane’s flaps. He began to feel heat on his face and noticed flames in the aft cabin near the cargo door. Both the pilot and passenger immediately exited the airplane. The majority of the fuselage and right wing were consumed by fire.

May 24, 2017, Augusta, Ga.
Beechcraft Model 58 Baron

At about 0100 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a gear-up landing. The commercial pilot was not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight; the flight operated IFR.

The pilot later stated he departed on a personal flight at 0715. Later in the day, he accepted the accident flight with an expected departure time of 1630, but takeoff was delayed until 2000. The pilot stated that while on approach, he did not extend the landing gear at the final approach fix, which was standard procedure, and he failed to confirm a safe landing gear indication before landing. He reported that he was fatigued, and his attempts to contact the fixed base operator during approach distracted him. The pilot reported 14,000 total hours of flight experience, of which 6000 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.

May 27, 2017, Haines, Alaska
Piper PA-30 Twin Comanche

The airplane collided with the ground shortly after a low-level pass over a remote airstrip during a landing attempt. The commercial pilot and a pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The rear-seat passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The rear-seat passenger later reported the pilot intentionally shut down the right engine to demonstrate how to restart it. Despite several attempts, however, the engine would not rotate enough to start on battery power alone. The pilot then made several attempts to restart the engine by gaining altitude and diving the airplane to use airflow to assist in rotating the engine. After two unsuccessful attempts to air-start the engine, the pilot diverted to a remote gravel airstrip. Witnesses observed the accident airplane at tree top level at the end of the airstrip. It descended just before banking right and impacting the shoreline. The landing gear was found extended, the wing flaps were up. The right propeller was feathered; the left one was under power at impact.


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