August 1, 2018, Big Creek, Idaho
Champion 7GCBC Citabria
At about 1215 Mountain time, the airplane veered off the runway and collided with a fence during the landing roll. The airline transport pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.
A witness observed the airplane make a normal landing aligned with the runway centerline. His attention was momentarily diverted and when he looked back, the airplane was established in a gradual left turn, maneuvering at a slow speed in a three-point attitude. The airplane then collided with the airport perimeter fence and came to rest about 600 feet past the touchdown point. The pilot stated that, despite application of brakes and right rudder, the airplane veered off the runway. Damage included the right wing strut.
August 2, 2018, Lopez Island, Wash.
Mooney M20J 201
The airplane impacted terrain at about 1705 Pacific time while approaching to land. The pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the flight review.
A witness in another airplane observed the accident airplane at about 300 feet agl and 0.5 nm north of the airport. It appeared to be turning left onto the base leg for Runway 16. The accident airplane’s left turn progressed into a 45-degree bank that continued to increase until the airplane entered a nose-down dive and made at least one complete revolution around its roll axis before disappearing from the witness’s line of vision. Orientation between the airplane’s initial impact point and main wreckage was 126 degrees magnetic; the distance was about 60 feet.
August 3, 2018, Dallas, Texas
Columbia LC41-550FG Columbia 400
At about 0810 Central time, the airplane departed the taxiway and collided with a taxiway sign after landing The private pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Day visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot later stated the flight, landing and taxi operations were normal until a right turn from one taxiway to another. The airplane did not respond to full application of right rudder and brake pedal. Additionally, the left brake pedal did not slow the airplane. The airplane departed the taxiway and went into a grass median where the right wing impacted a lighted taxiway sign.
Examination revealed that both right and left main landing gear brake pads were worn excessively, which allowed brake fluid to leak past their respective O-ring seals when the cockpit brake pedals were depressed. Additionally, the right main tire was flat and exhibited rotational scoring where the wheel rim had contacted the tire.
August 4, 2018, Talkeetna, Alaska
de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1753 Alaska time when it impacted steep, high-altitude, snow-covered terrain in the Denali National Park and Preserve. The commercial pilot and four passengers sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand air tour flight.
The operator’s flight-following data showed the flight progressing toward Talkeetna on a southeasterly heading, then terminating near a knife-edge ridge above the Kahiltna Glacier. At 1753, the first alert from the accident airplane’s ELT was received. At 1756, the operator was alerted the accident airplane’s satellite tracking had stopped moving. At about 1800, the accident pilot made a satellite phone call to the operator, stating the flight had impacted a mountain and they needed rescue. After a subsequent call in which the accident pilot stated he was trapped in the wreckage and there were two fatalities, there was no further contact.
Continuous poor weather conditions in the area prevented access to the crash site by SAR assets from the National Park Service (NPS), the Alaska Air National Guard, the Alaska Army National Guard and the U.S. Army. Early on August 6, the crew of the NPS high altitude rescue helicopter located the airplane wreckage in a crevasse at an altitude of about 10,920 feet msl. After two attempts by an NPS mountain rescue ranger to access the accident site while suspended beneath a helicopter using a long line, all aboard were confirmed deceased. The NPS determined recovery will not be attempted due to the steepness of terrain, ice crevasses, avalanche danger and the wreckage’s instability.
August 4, 2018, Ponca City, Okla.
At about 1045 Central time, the airplane impacted terrain. The private pilot and the four passengers were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.
A witness saw the airplane depart from Runway 17. He reported the airplane was slow to climb as it departed to the south. He watched the airplane turn right and fly to the north. Another eyewitness reported that the airplane impacted a soybean field. A post-impact fire ensued. All major airplane components were found at the accident site.
August 4, 2018, Foley, Ala.
Champion 8GCBC Scout
The airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain at about 1000 Central time. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the banner-tow flight.
After takeoff, the hook was dropped from the airplane and a witness radioed the pilot and stated “good hook,” which indicated the line with the hook was in a normal condition to grab the banner during pickup. The approach to the banner looked completely normal. The airplane engine sounded “strong” during the pickup and climbout. After the airplane’s hook captured the banner during initial climb, the witness noticed the banner rope was becoming slack; he looked up and saw the airplane at about 300 feet agl as its right wing dropped. The banner was released and the rudder deflected to the left as the airplane entered a right spin. The spin went flat and the airplane rotated clockwise several times before it impacted the adjacent field.
Of the two aboard, the rear-seated pilot was about 40 lbs. heavier. Weather observed about six nautical miles south of the accident site, included calm winds, with a temperature of 29 degrees C and dewpoint of 24.
August 4, 2018, Lakewood, N.J.
Champion 7GCAA Citabria
At about 1200 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain during a banner-towing operation. The solo commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After a two-hour banner-towing flight, the pilot reduced the throttle to idle and descended toward the drop-off area. At about treetop height, he pitched up and added full throttle to drop the banner but “the engine continued to operate but produced very limited power while making abnormal combustion sounds.” He verified the mixture was full rich and the throttle was full forward, then released the banner. The airplane was low and slow, so he pitched down and elected to land straight ahead. The airplane impacted small pine trees and terrain, and came to rest in a near-vertical, nose-down position. Observed weather about eight miles west included a temperature/dewpoint of 23 degrees C.
August 5, 2018, Santa Ana, Calif.
The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1229 Pacific daylight time when it impacted the ground in a shopping mall parking lot. The private pilot and four passengers aboard were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
While inbound for landing, the pilot was told to expect right traffic to Runway 20R (5701 x 150 feet). The controller then asked if the flight could accept Runway 20L (2887 x 75 feet), to which the pilot responded “unable.” The pilot was then instructed to conduct left-hand 360-degree turns over a local holding point for sequencing. As the accident airplane arrived at the holding point, its pilot determined he could accept Runway 20L after all. The pilot was then instructed to cross midfield at or above 1300 feet msl and make left traffic to Runway 20L. The pilot acknowledged that instruction.
Multiple witnesses saw the airplane enter the left turn and then observed its bank angle increase. The airplane descended at a steep angle and collided with several vehicles in a shopping mall parking lot. All major components of the airplane were located throughout the 150-foot-long debris path.
August 8, 2018, Greeley, Colo.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk
The pilot and a safety pilot were practicing instrument maneuvers, approaches and landings at different airports. According to the safety pilot, the airplane was high and slow during a landing approach. At about 10 feet agl, the airplane “floated a little longer,” and the pilot initiated a go-around by applying full throttle. During the attempted go-around, both occupants applied conflicting inputs to the control yokes; the pilot applied back pressure, and the safety pilot applied forward pressure. The airplane stalled, the left wing contacted the terrain and the airplane came to rest upright adjacent to the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the forward fuselage and both wings. Neither pilot reported that verbal communication was established during the landing sequence.
August 8, 2018, Lewiston, Idaho
Cessna T337 Turbocharged Skymaster
At about 1828 Pacific time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it landed with its landing gear retracted. The commercial pilot and his passenger were not injured. The airplane was being operated under contract for the U.S. Forest Service on an “air attack” firefighting support mission. Visual conditions existed for the landing.
When the pilot prepared to land, the landing gear failed to extend. After troubleshooting the problem and cycling the gear, the pilot and passenger determined the system’s hydraulic fluid reservoir, which was accessible from the cabin, was empty. Despite replenishing the reservoir with oil and water, the landing gear could not be successfully extended. Committed to a gear-up landing, the pilot secured the front engine, and “bumped” its starter to position the propeller blades horizontally and prevent damage. The occupants unlatched a cabin door to ensure their egress after landing. After landing gear-up, the airplane slid to a stop within a few feet of the runway centerline. The pilot shut down the aft engine, secured the airplane and both occupants exited. No fire or other problems occurred.
Examination revealed the circlips retaining the actuator rods for both the left and right main landing gear doors had been liberated from their retention grooves. Loss of this circlip allows hyperextension of the actuator rod and permits hydraulic fluid to exit the actuator.
August 9, 2018, Florence, S.C.
Cessna R182 Skylane RG
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1312 Eastern time when its main landing gear collapsed during the landing roll. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
Before takeoff, a portable power supply was required to start the engine. About 10 minutes after takeoff, the pilot noted the fuel gauges were indicating zero and the ammeter was showing a discharge. He lowered the landing gear with the handle and visually observed the nose landing gear was extended, but there was no indication from the single light on the instrument panel that all landing gears were down and locked. After recycling the gear with the same results, he performed a flyby of the tower and was advised that the landing gear appeared to be down. By the time he was on downwind, the airplane lost all electrical power. During the landing roll, the main landing gear collapsed, the airplane veered left, and the left wing and horizontal stabilizer contacted the runway. The airplane came to rest in the grass off the left side of the runway.
The airplane was lifted from the runway and its main landing gear was manually extended utilizing the emergency hand pump. The airplane was then moved to the ramp.
August 10, 2018, Philadelphia, Penn.
At about 2050 Eastern time, the airplane was cleared to land from a visual approach to Runway 35 at the Philadelphia International Airport (KPHL). During the approach, the airplane aligned with Taxiway E. About 0.10 mile from the end of Taxiway E, the pilot initiated a go-around. The airplane overflew four air carrier airplanes on Taxiway E during the go-around, coming within some 200 feet of the first one. At the time of the approach, the Runway 35 runway end identifier lights (REILs) and the precision approach path indicator lights (PAPIs) were out of service.
There were no injuries to the seven passengers and crew, and the airplane was not damaged in the incident. The airplane was operating as a Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.
August 12, 2018, South Beloit, Ill.
Piper PA-32R-300 Lance
The airplane impacted terrain at about 0832 Central time, shortly after takeoff. The pilot and two passengers suffered minor injuries; the airplane was substantially damaged. Day visual conditions prevailed for the flight.
The pilot later stated the engine cowling opened and rapidly began swinging back and forth just after lifting off the runway. The pilot reduced power and attempted to land straight ahead, but realized he was too far down the runway for a landing. He then added power and attempted to climb. The airplane subsequently developed a sink rate and impacted a cornfield about -mile off the end of the runway, damaging the engine mounts and fuselage.
August 12, 2018, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Pipistrel Sinus 912 Motorglider
At about 0840 Eastern time, the aircraft was destroyed by fire following a precautionary landing. The private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
After dropping off a passenger, the pilot restarted the engine, taxied out and took off to remain in the traffic pattern. He noticed the engine sounded “a little rough” and, as he turned downwind, he smelled smoke. He shut down the engine and returned for an uneventful landing. When the aircraft stopped, the pilot noticed flames below the right door. After he exited the airplane, the flames grew and eventually consumed the airplane. Examination revealed the engine exhaust manifold was cracked.
August 25, 2018, Swainsboro, Ga.
Cessna 182A Skylane
The airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain at about 1400 Eastern time, shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured; one passenger was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the skydiving flight.
According to the operation’s parachute rigger, there were five successful flights earlier in the day prior to the accident. After the fourth flight, the pilot realized that the right wing fuel cap was missing. Subsequently, the parachute rigger was told the pilot and a mechanic decided to use “fuel cell tape” over the fuel filler port. The airplane then departed with a group of skydivers, and returned shortly after a normal flight. The parachute rigger saw the airplane taxi for takeoff but did not see it depart. Shortly afterward, he saw a police car, exited the hangar and saw a huge fire at the end of the runway.
A witness observed the accident airplane take off and later said it was about 150 feet over the runway when its engine stopped. The wings “rocked” left and right before the airplane pitched down and collided with the ground. The airplane came to rest about 2000 feet off the departure end of the runway, at the end of a 35-foot-long wreckage path. The left fuel tank and left flap were consumed by the postimpact fire. The right wing remained loosely attached by the right lift strut. The cabin and the instrument panel were consumed by the fire. All flight control surfaces were at the accident site and flight control continuity was established.
“During the attempted go-around, both occupants applied conflicting inputs to the control yokes; the pilot applied back pressure, and the safety pilot applied forward pressure. The airplane stalled…”
This Month’s Graphic
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Air Safety Institute recently published its newest annual Nall Report, its 27th, which examines general aviation accidents occurring in 2006 through 2015. The graphic at right is adapted from the new Nall Report and shows overall and fatal accident trends over the period.