January 1, 2018, Lynchburg, Va.
Costruzioni Aeronautiche Tecnam P2006
At about 1725 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage following a landing gear separation during landing. The flight instructor in the right seat and the pilot receiving instruction in the left seat sustained no injuries. Visual conditions were present.
As the flight turned onto final approach, and with the flaps fully extended, the aircrew verified verbally that all landing gears were down and locked. The pilot maintained about a 500-fpm descent on final and verified verbally with the flight instructor that the airspeed was 70 KIAS. The pilot flared and executed a normal landing. Immediately after touchdown, the left main landing gear assembly separated at the axle. Subsequently, the airplane skidded for about 100 feet, departed the runway to the left and came to rest on the grass. The pilot performed a shutdown and the two occupants egressed without further incident.
The flight instructor reported there were no wind gusts during the approach and landing, and there was no side loading at touchdown. The flight instructor further reported that in his experience, he did not feel the landing would have caused any damage.
January 1, 2018, Nampa, Idaho
The pilot later reported becoming disoriented on a dark night. He circled over a nearby town for about an hour, but was unable to find any visual references to aid in navigation. The pilot then called a family member on the ground, who provided guidance to the destination airport via a cellphone app. He spotted what appeared to be the destination airport and maneuvered for an approach but realized in the landing flare he was not at the airport. Instead, the pilot landed on a road about six miles from his intended destination. During the landing, the airplane struck trees, landed on a road, veered left and impacted a light pole.
January 2, 2018, Aurora, Ore.
Cessna T210L Turbo Centurion
At about 0920 local time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its right main landing gear collapsed during landing. The solo private pilot was not injured; visual conditions prevailed.
After failing to obtain indications that the landing gear was down and locked, the pilot flew a low approach, after which tower personnel reported that the landing gear appeared to be down. During the landing, the right main landing gear collapsed, followed by the airplane veering off the right side of the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right elevator and right horizontal stabilizer.
January 3, 2018, Gulf of Mexico
Cirrus Design SR22T
At about 1800 Central time, the airplane was missing over the Gulf of Mexico and presumed sunk. Visual conditions prevailed. The flight departed Oklahoma City, Okla., at about 1419 with Georgetown, Texas, as its destination.
As the airplane approached the destination airport, ATC cleared it to turn right and descend to 13,000 feet msl. Instead, the airplane turned left. Controllers made multiple attempts to communicate with the pilot, but without success. Radar tracked the aircraft to its last known position about 220 miles north of Cancun, Mexico.
January 11, 2018, Elko, Nev.
Piper PA-23-250 Aztec
At about 1800 Pacific time, the airplane collided with mountainous terrain. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.
While en route, the pilot reported encountering clouds and asked for the nearest airport, saying, “Alright, I’m getting super turbulent over here I’m going to head over there.” Shortly after, communication and radar contact were lost. Search and rescue efforts ensued, and aerial photography was used to identify the crash site January 19, 2018, on the east face of mountain peak, near its summit. Onsite examination by ground personnel identified the wreckage as the accident airplane.
January 13, 2018, Longmont, Colo.
Beech K35 Bonanza
The airplane experienced a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. The pilot sustained serious injuries, the passenger sustained minor injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.
A witness heard “a popping noise” coming from the accident airplane during takeoff. A few seconds later, he heard the engine “shut off” with the airplane in a nose-up attitude. The airplane rolled to the right and then descended in a “steep dive” toward the ground. When the witness arrived at the accident site, he observed smoke and smelled fuel near the airplane. He stated the ground near the airplane was wet and fuel was leaking from the wing where it had separated from the fuselage. The pilot later told the owner that after the second consecutive touch-and-go, the engine lost power so the pilot pushed the nose down and made a forced landing in a field off the end of the runway. The pilot added that the landing gear had already been retracted and there was no remaining runway available to land.
January 17, 2018, Raton, N.M.
Bell UH-1H Helicopter
At about 1800 Mountain time, the helicopter impacted terrain; a ground fire and explosion subsequently occurred. The commercial pilot, pilot-rated passenger and three other passengers were fatally injured. One passenger sustained serious injuries. The helicopter was destroyed. Night visual conditions prevailed.
The surviving passenger indicated the helicopter was in level flight and recalled a big bang as the helicopter hit the ground. The helicopter rolled forward, coming to a stop upside down with the passenger hanging from a seat belt and jet fuel pouring on her. The passenger released her seat belt and evacuated the helicopter. The helicopter was on fire and subsequent explosions followed. The passenger called 911 and waited for emergency responders.
Weather at the departure point 10.7 nm from the accident site included wind from 030 degrees at 10 knots, visibility of 10 sm and clear skies. The fuselage came to rest on a flat mesa at the top of rising terrain. The elevation in the area of the main wreckage was about 6932 feet msl. The initial observed point of terrain contact was a parallel pair of ground scars, consistent with the width of the helicopter’s landing skids, which led directly to the main wreckage on a 074-degree bearing. The distance from the start of the parallel ground scars to the wreckage was about 474 feet.
January 17, 2018, Skyforest, Calif.
Mooney M20E Super 21/Chaparral
The airplane collided with rising terrain at about 1130 Pacific time. The private pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries; two other passengers were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot reported departing with 20 gallons of fuel aboard. About five minutes into the flight, the airplane approached terrain that rose from about 1800 feet msl to 5700 feet over about 5.5 miles. The airplane was about 1000 feet agl as it neared the top of the ridgeline. The pilot stated he encountered a downdraft and the airplane aerodynamically stalled. Seconds later, the airplane impacted terrain.
January 17, 2018, Reno, Nev.
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six
At about 1520 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and flight instructor were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
After a normal preflight inspection and run-up, the pilot leaned the fuel/air mixture to about 50 degrees F rich of peak EGT to accommodate a departure from a high field elevation. The takeoff and initial climb were normal; however, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power at an altitude of approximately 300 feet agl. The pilot started a turn to the right but quickly determined the airplane would not be able to land on the remaining runway. The airplane’s stall warning horn annunciated during the descent, and the pilot responded by decreasing the airplane’s pitch attitude. During touchdown, the airplane impacted gravel, slid and came to rest between two taxiways.
January 19, 2018, Houston, Texas
Swearingen SA227-TT Merlin IIIC
The airplane was in cruise flight at about 1600 Central time and maneuvering around thunderstorm activity when it experienced an electrical malfunction. The crew executed a forced landing. The two pilots and two passengers were not injured, but the airplane sustained substantial damage to both engines during landing. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.
While maneuvering around thunderstorm activity, the airplane lost electrical power. The pilots attempted to troubleshoot the problem but could not regain electrical power. The pilots declared an emergency and diverted. The pilots manually extended the landing gear but could not verify down and locked conditions. During the forced landing, the nose landing gear was retracted, and the airplane skidded on the forward fuselage after touchdown. Due to the nose gear being retracted during landing, both propeller assemblies and engines sustained substantial damage.
January 21, 2018, Martinsburg, W.V.
Cessna 172RG Cutlass RG
At 1804 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage while landing. The flight instructor and the private pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The flight instructor stated they had completed about six short- and soft-field takeoffs and landings without incident. On the seventh landing, after the private pilot extended the landing gear, the gear down-and-locked light did not illuminate. A visual check revealed that the nose gear was extended, but the main gear was trailing and not fully extended. They used the emergency gear handle to try and pump the main gear down, but there was no pressure in the system. The flight instructor then landed the airplane with the nose wheel still extended and was able to keep the airplane straight for about 600 feet. However, its left wing dropped, resulting in substantial damage to the wing and elevator. After exiting the airplane, hydraulic fluid was observed pooling under the airplane and along the side of the empennage.
January 22, 2018, Bonita Springs, Fla.
Van’s Aircraft RV-12 Experimental
The airplane was destroyed at about 1214 Eastern time when it collided with terrain. The solo sport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot was receiving flight-following services from ATC. While on a southeasterly heading at 2500 feet msl, the pilot was advised of traffic in his vicinity. The pilot acknowledged. Shortly afterward, he stated, “Mayday, mayday.” No additional calls were received from the pilot, and radar and radio contact were lost. The airplane crashed in a forested area about 18 nm from its departure airport. The wreckage path was about 750 long. All components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and flight control continuity was confirmed.
January 23, 2018, Sauk Centre, Minn.
Whitman Tailwind Experimental
At about 1530 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged after impacting terrain. The solo pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After the airplane was declared overdue, it was located at about 0820 on January 24, 2018. Examination revealed the airplane impacted the ground in an approximately 45-degree nose-down attitude; the cockpit and front cabin were mostly destroyed by impact forces. One propeller blade was visible and was relatively undamaged. The second propeller blade was found shattered underneath the engine. The right elevator was found disconnected to the elevator control system and moved freely. The left elevator was locked in the full-down position and was not able to be moved. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit to all control surfaces, except the connection to the right elevator control horn. The control horn was found fractured adjacent to a weld joint. The right elevator also showed damage at the upper and lower hinge points.
January 25, 2018, Marathon, Fla.
Piper PA-32R-300 Lance
The airplane was substantially damaged by impact forces and a post-crash fire at about 1425 Eastern time when it collided with terrain following a loss of directional control during takeoff. The private pilot and three passengers sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
Airport surveillance video revealed the airplane rolled about 800 feet before the nose wheel lifted from Runway 07. At liftoff, the nose pitched up steeply and the airplane rolled left and entered trees. Several seconds later, a fireball appeared above the trees about the point where the airplane entered them. The pilot subsequently reported the airplane “was performing well and didn’t have any issues.” He said the airplane reached approximately 60 KIAS on the takeoff roll when the nose wheel lifted from the runway and the airplane began an immediate left turn. He attempted to arrest the turn with rudder and aileron, but the turn continued until the airplane entered the trees. Observed weather included winds from 050 degrees at 18 knots.
January 26, 2018, Longmont, Colo.
Beech A36/Robinson R44
At about 1140 Mountain time, a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter and a Beech A36 airplane collided while on approach. The pilot in the helicopter sustained minor injuries; the pilot of the airplane was not injured. The helicopter was substantially damaged; the airplane also sustained damage. Visual conditions prevailed. According to preliminary information, the aircraft collided near the approach end of the airport’s active runway.
January 27, 2018, Williamsport, Ind.
Cessna 172F Skyhawk
The airplane collided with trees and terrain at 0121 Eastern time while maneuvering. The commercial pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions existed.
The pilot was receiving flight following services from ATC. Radar data indicates the airplane took off and flew northwest, climbing to around 4500 feet msl. It continued northwest, then turned to a west-southwesterly heading. It remained on that heading until it began a slow descent. Soon, it made a slight turn to the left, then back to the right, then back to the left again until track data was lost at about 0121. The last recorded altitude was 1475 feet msl. The airplane’s average groundspeed was about 60-65 knots during the first half of the flight. It then dropped to 40-50 knots throughout the remainder of the flight.
January 29, 2018, Concord, Calif.
At about 0945 Pacific time, the airplane impacted terrain. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The flight originated about 0937.
All major components were contained within the main wreckage; The debris trail was about 200 feet long, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The 0953 recorded weather observation about five miles west of the accident site showed calm winds, visibility of five miles in mist, clear skies, temperature of 11 degrees C and a dew point of nine degrees C.