NTSB Reports

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


The following briefs were selected from the 136 preliminary reports filed with the NTSB in March 2002. Statements in quotes were taken directly from the NTSB documents. The information is subject to change as the investigations are completed.

March 01, Austin, Texas
Beech Bonanza

At 1641 central time, a Beech A36 crashed during a missed approach at Austin Bergstrom International Airport, killing the pilot and passenger. The pilot was cleared for the ILS Runway 17L approach and maintained the localizer and glidepath until near the approach end of the runway. At that point, the pilot declared a missed approach and the tower issued missed approach instructions. The airplane crashed 2,400 feet east of the departure end of runway 17L with the gear extended and the flaps at15 degrees. Austin was reporting an overcast ceiling at 100 feet, visibility one-quarter in light rain and fog at the time.

March 03, Mexia, Texas
Beech Duke

At 1350 central time, a Beech BE-60 struck trees and a fence during takeoff on runway 18 at the Limestone County Airport. The pilot was killed. Witnesses said the airplane departed on runway 18, a 4,002-foot paved runway, with winds reported from 360 degrees at 17 knots gusting to 22. The airplane traveled about 1,000 feet past the end of the runway before colliding with a barbed wire fence and trees.

March 03, San Diego, Calif.
Piper Cherokee 140

At 1534 Pacific time, a Piper PA-28-140 lost power and crashed about 1,300 feet short of runway 28L at Montgomery Field Airport. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said he spent 1.5 hours reviewing the flight manual for the airplane before departing because he was unfamiliar with the airplane. He took off at about 1320 on the left fuel tank, flew for a while, then switched to the right fuel tank for the return leg. He flew straight back to the airport, but the engine began to lose power about a mile from the airport. After the crash, fuel was found in the left fuel tank but not in the right fuel tank.

March 04, Macon, Ga.
Piper Warrior

At 1108 eastern time, a Piper PA-28-151 struck trees on climbout from Herbert Smart Airport, killing the pilot and flight instructor. A witness reported the CFI and pilot were on an instrument training flight in the local area. They departed runway 28, climbed to approximately 300 feet and reported that they were going to return to the airport to land on runway 10. The airplane struck pine trees three-quarters of a mile southwest of the airport.

March 04, Springfield, Mo.
Beech Baron and Piper Archer

At 1300 central time, a Beech BE-55 and a Piper PA-28-181 were damaged in a mid-air collision about 20 miles southeast of Springfield. No one was injured. The Archer had departed Mountain Home, Ark., en route to Lees Summit, Mo., at 1145. Later the Baron, on an instructional flight with a flight instructor and a pilot-rated student, left on the same route. The airplanes were not flying a formation flight. Both airplanes were flying at 6,500 feet msl on an approximate heading of 330 degrees. The Baron overtook the Archer. When the CFI in the Baron saw the Archer, he pushed the yoke forward and attempted to pass beneath the Archer. The vertical stabilizer of the Baron struck the left main landing gear of the Archer. The Baron made a precautionary landing at Springfield and the Archer landed uneventfully at Lees Summit.

March 05, West Jordan, Utah
Velocity 173RG

At approximately 1920 mountain time, an amateur-built Velocity 173RG was damaged in a gear-up landing at Salt Lake City Municipal Airport #2. The two occupants were not injured. An FAA inspector who was present when the accident occurred said the aircraft was landing after dark on runway 16. At the same time, a Cessna (registration unknown) was on approach in the opposite direction, to runway 34. The Velocity pilot reported that he attempted to talk to the Cessna pilot on the radio, but got no response on the CTAF. The Velocity pilot said he thought he had put the gear down and had three green lights. When he could not contact the Cessna, he deviated to the left side of the runway and decided to go around, but the airplane hit the ground and slid to a stop on the runway. The Cessna landed on runway 34 and reportedly went past the accident aircraft. The FAA inspector said the gear handle was down but it did not appear the gear extended at all. Winds at the time were reported at 1855 as from 240 degrees at 8 knots and at 1955 as from 250 degrees at 7 knots.

March 06, Barrow, Alaska
Cessna Caravan

At about 1230 Alaska time, a Cessna 208B was damaged on approach to a remote airstrip approximately 52 miles southeast of Barrow. The pilot and four passengers on the Part 135 flight were uninjured. The pilot said he passed over the remote airstrip without seeing it but a passenger on the left side of the airplane spotted it. He also received a radio call from the ground stating he had just passed overhead. He said he was making a left turn back to the airstrip when he thought the number 4 cargo pod door came open. The airplane began to vibrate, fishtail from side-to-side and descend. He applied full power and leveled the wings and the airplane crashed on flat, snow-covered ground about a quarter-mile from the airstrip. The pilot said he was flying in VFR conditions and the airplane was not iced. The company site manager said personnel on the ground saw the airplane pass overhead but, because of fog, they could only see about 3/4 of the length of the 4,500-foot runway. FAA personnel who visited the accident site said they found clear evidence of in-flight icing on the airplane.

March 07, Bullhead City, Ariz.
Cessna Skyhawk

At 1407 mountain time, a Cessna 172L suffered a propeller blade failure during departure from Bullhead City/Laughlin International Airport. The student pilot landed on the remaining runway and overrun area. Neither the pilot nor his passenger was injured. Control tower personnel said the airplane had climbed to about 800 feet when the airplane experienced the failure. Preliminary examination revealed a disintegrated propeller hub with loss of propeller blades and a severed crankshaft aft of the shaft flange. The pilot reported that about 1 year prior to the accident, he and his instructor struck a bird during cruise flight. They made a dead stick landing into an airport, where they found the engine had shifted in the cowling. The pilot reported the cowling was repaired but no repairs were made to the propeller or engine.

March 09, Teterboro, N.J.
Cessna Turbo Centurion

At about 1358 eastern time, a Cessna T210N lost power and crashed at Teterboro Airport, killing the pilot. The pilot departed on runway 6 from intersection Golf and did not make any transmissions after departure. Less than a minute later, another pilot reported an airplane down on the airport. Witnesses reported hearing the engine fail and the airplane make a steep turn back toward the airport. An air filter was found to have been installed backwards, allowing elements of the air filter to be ingested by the turbocharger compressor.

March 10, Glenwood Springs, Colo.
Mooney M20C

At 2019 mountain time, a Mooney M20C crashed during a steep descent about 16 miles north-northeast of Glenwood Springs. The pilot was killed. The flight was headed VFR from Kremmling, Colo., to Grand Junction. About a half-hour after takeoff, the airplane made a wide turn to the left of approximately 450 degrees, followed immediately by a tight turn to the right of approximately 360 degrees. Two radar antenna sites were used to track the airplane. The first site lost radar contact at 2019:19, when the target was at 13,500 feet msl and the second site lost radar contact at 2019:33, when the target was at 10,500 feet msl – a descent of 3,000 feet in 14 seconds. Weather conditions did not allow immediate recovery of the debris.

March 12, Marianna, Ark.
Piper Turbo Arrow

At approximately 1855 central time, a Piper PA-28RT-201T crashed while maneuvering near Marianna. The pilot and his passenger were killed. The pilot called for a weather briefing for a flight from Little Rock to Tunica, Miss., and was advised of low ceilings and marginal VFR along the route of flight. The pilot responded, Ill be heading to Tunica VFR. Guess Ill be scudding it, it looks like. The airplane was found to have hit a 60-foot tree about 40 feet up, at an elevation of less than 300 feet msl.

March 13, Fairbanks, Alaska
Piper Chieftain

At about 1553 Alaska time, a Piper PA-31-350 was damaged during an inadvertent wheels-up landing at Fairbanks International Airport. The pilot and eight passengers aboard the Part 135 flight were not injured. The pilot said that, as he entered the pattern, he was told by the tower to cross over and enter right traffic for runway 1. The tower then told him he would have to extend downwind because of traffic. The pilot said he decided not to put the landing gear down at the usual point because of the request to extend his pattern. He said as he started to extend his pattern, the tower asked him to expedite a base turn and keep it tight. The pilot said he failed to complete his checklist on the base leg and, on final, airplane behind him said they were too close and they were going to go around. In the confusion, he said he never completed his before-landing checklist and landed the airplane with the gear retracted. The pilot said fatigue added to his confusion.

March 15, Ocean City, Md.
Cessna Skyhawk

At about 1935 eastern time, a Cessna 172P crashed into the ocean while on approach to Ocean City Municipal Airport. Two passengers died and the pilot and a third passenger were not recovered. Another pilot said he was approaching the airport at the same time as the accident airplane. The accident pilot called Unicom looking for a taxi, but the witness pilot told him the airport closed at sunset and hed have to get a taxi when he landed. The witness pilot saw the accident pilot make the turn to downwind for runway 20 and, as he neared the departure end of runway 14, the airplane went from horizontal flight to vertical. The witness pilot said it was a clear but dark night.

March 16, Lexington, Ky.
Cirrus SR-20

At about 1240 eastern time, a Cirrus SR-20 crashed near Lexington, but the pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. The pilot planned to perform some practice instrument approaches in actual instrument conditions. The passenger was a friend of the pilot and also held a private pilot certificate. Both held instrument ratings. The pilot said he set the autopilot to the heading bug and was loading an approach into the airplanes GPS when he noticed the turn coordinator pegged to the left with no flag and the airplane losing altitude. He disengaged the autopilot and attempted to stabilize the airplane. The airplane was descending rapidly at a high airspeed. When it broke out of the clouds, the pilot tried to pull the airplane out of the dive and it ballooned back into the clouds to about 3,000 feet. The pilot deemed the instruments unreliable, saying the attitude indicator may have tumbled. The pilot decided to activate the aircrafts ballistic parachute and pulled the handle repeatedly, but nothing happened. They werent sure whether it had deployed, but decided to fly as if it had not. The airplane touched down in a field. Witnesses said the ballistic parachute deployed after ground contact. No instrument or autopilot failures were found on initial examination. An AD had been issued on the parachute system, and the accident airplane was in compliance. Another service bulletin on the parachute was issued two weeks before the crash and the airplane was not in compliance with that service bulletin. The pilot reported he had experienced the exact same type of turn coordinator failure on a previous occasion and the turn coordinator had been replaced on June 25, 2001, after 57 hours of operation.

March 21, Susanville, Calif.
Eurocopter AS-350B

At about 1335 Pacific time, a Eurocopter AS-350B collided with the surface of Honey Lake about 13 miles southeast of Susanville. The pilot was killed and two passengers were seriously injured. A passenger said that, just before the accident, the pilot stated on the intercom, Boy, its disorienting when the lake is this smooth. The wreckage was located about 1,000 feet from the shore.

March 24, Avalon, Calif.
Cessna Skyhawk

At 1100 Pacific time, a Cessna 172M porpoised on landing at Catalina Island Airport, damaging the firewall. The pilot and three passengers were not injured. The pilot said the approach was normal. The flap position indicator ceased to function during the flight and the pilot estimated that he used 20 degrees of flaps for the approach and landing. He said that once he had the runway made, he reduced the throttle to idle and flared. The engine continued to produce power, running at 1,200 to 1,600 rpm and the airplane bounced several times as he tried to get it to settle on the runway. Finally, he pulled the mixture to kill the engine. The engine had accumulated only 17 hours of operation.

March 24, Englewood, Colo.
Cessna 340

At 1631 mountain time, a Cessna 340 crashed on final approach to Centennial Airport, killing the pilot and three passengers. The tower controller at Centennial Airport said the pilot had been cleared to land on runway 35R. About 90 seconds later, the pilot reported he had lost an engine. Radar data indicates the airplane made a left 180-degree turn to the south and then radar contact was lost.

March 25, Fort Peck, Mont.
Piper Super Cub

At about 0730 mountain time, a Piper PA-18 struck terrain after being damaged by gunfire near Fort Peck. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured. The pilot was conducting a coyote control flight over private rangeland. At about 40 feet agl, the passenger inadvertently discharged a semiautomatic 12-gauge shotgun three to four times, striking the right wing and aileron assembly. The airplane entered a descending turn to the right and subsequently impacted terrain in a nose-low attitude.

March 28, Cincinnati, Ohio
Piper J4A

At about 1500 eastern time, a Piper J4A lost engine power on initial climb from Cincinnati Municipal-Lunken Field and crashed. The pilot was not injured. The pilot said the engine stopped as he climbed through 500 feet. He attempted to return to the runway, but the landing gear struck the edge of the runway, the left gear collapsed, and the airplane flipped over. This was the first flight after the annual inspection, which included replacing the carburetor and changing the float. Post-accident examination revealed that the carburetor float was out of adjustment.

March 28, Seattle, Wash.
Boeing Stratoliner

At approximately 1305 Pacific time, a National Air & Space Museum Boeing S-307 ditched in the waters of Elliott Bay following a loss of engine power. The two pilots and two flight engineers were not injured. The flight had departed from Boeing Field approximately 1230 en route to Everett and landed without incident. The airplane took off again and the number three engine experienced a momentary surge, then normalized. Due to this anomaly, the flight crew decided to discontinue the flight activities and return to Boeing Field. The landing gear was lowered but the left main gear did not fully extend. The approach was aborted to orbit the area to try and remedy the situation. The flight engineer at the radio station managed to extend the left main and the flight then headed back to the airport. Then a low fuel pressure light was noted for the number three engine, followed by a loss of power. The flight crew feathered the engine but low fuel pressure was noted to the remaining three engines, which all subsequently began to lose power. The Captain reported that he did not believe that the aircraft could make it safely to BFI and opted to ditch the aircraft in Elliott Bay near the shoreline.

March 30, Grapeland, Texas
Mooney M20F

At 1524 central time, a Mooney M20F lost engine power in cruise flight near Grapeland and was seriously damaged in the ensuing forced landing. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed two holes in the engines #2 cylinder.

March 31, Apex, N.C.
Piper Seneca

At 1153 eastern time, a Piper PA-34-200T suffered an in-flight breakup near Apex, killing the pilot and passenger. The flight was cleared for the ILS Runway 5R approach to Raleigh-Durham International Airport and was 9.3 nautical miles from the airport. The pilot was given a radar vector to intercept the localizer. Witnesses reported hearing the airplane, then seeing the airplane come out of the fog straight down, with one wing coming down separately and debris falling after.

Also With This Article
Click here to view “Accident Totals, March.”


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