NTSB Reports: January 2017

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.


Beechcraft C23 Sundowner

October 1, 2016, Taylor, Texas

At about 0925 Central time, the airplane was destroyed after impacting trees and terrain during final approach. The pilot and the child passenger were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Initial reports showed the airplane experienced a complete loss of engine power when about one-half mile from the runway. During the accident sequence, both wings were separated at the wing root and the fuselage came to rest upright about 20 feet beyond initial impact with trees. The airplane was immediately involved in a fire. The pilot removed the child passenger, exited the airplane and walked to a nearby rural residence.

Culver PQ-14A Cadet

October 1, 2016, Hickory, N.Carolina

The airplane was destroyed at 1310 Eastern time when it collided with trees, terrain and a commercial building during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Preliminary information indicates the airplane’s engine stopped producing power while taxiing for takeoff. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported the airplane was “having engine problems” and announced his intention to return. The controller cleared the airplane to land on any runway. Radar data revealed the airplane was about two miles south of the departure airport when it reversed course; the radar track ended in the vicinity of the accident site, about a mile from the approach end of the runway. Witnesses described the engine sound as “sputtering” and “revving up and down.”

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

October 1, 2016, Laurel, Mississippi

At about 1019 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing after a total loss of engine power while executing a go-around. The student pilot/owner was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

During the pilot’s first landing attempt, he realized he was too high and elected to go around. The pilot applied full power and the engine responded. He retracted the flaps and turned off carburetor heat. At that point, the engine started running rough. He turned carburetor heat back on, checked that the electric fuel pump was still on and switched fuel tanks, but engine power did not increase. The pilot was unable to maintain altitude and made a forced landing to a field adjacent to the airport. During the landing, the left main landing gear hit a large hole resulting in substantial damage to the left main gear, left wing and an engine mount.

Cessna Model 172S Skyhawk SP

October 1, 2016, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1808 Eastern time during a precautionary landing. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After a normal takeoff, and at 2500 feet msl and five miles northwest of the departure airport, the pilot noticed the oil temperature had risen to 245 degrees, the gauge’s red line. After informing ATC of his intention to return, the engine began running rough. After touchdown, the airplane bounced and was substantially damaged before it came to rest on the runway. The pilot stated that he did not go around or abort the landing because of the potential engine issue. Examination revealed the airplane had contacted the runway on its nose landing gear, which was bent forward and in contact with the lower engine cowling. Further examination also revealed that the propeller, the firewall, the lower forward fuselage skin and the floorboards were damaged.

Cessna Model 208B Grand Caravan

October 2, 2016, Togiak, Alaska

At about 1154 Alaska time, the airplane sustained substantial damage upon impacting steep, mountainous, rocky terrain. The airplane was being operated as a scheduled VFR Part 135 commuter flight. The two commercial pilots and one passenger aboard sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed at the nearest airport.

Poor weather conditions prevented first responders from locating the accident airplane until about 1630. The airplane’s fragmented wreckage was located on the southeast side of a steep, loose-rock-covered mountainside. The initial impact point was located north of and about 200 feet below the 2500-foot-high mountain’s summit. The wreckage path extended southeast to the main wreckage, which was located downslope on the southeast side of the ridgeline at the 1550-foot level. A post-crash fire incinerated a large portion of the fuselage and right wing. At 1156, the destination airport’s weather observation included calm winds, seven statute miles of visibility in light rain, scattered clouds at 3900 feet and an overcast at 4700 feet. The temperature was 45 degrees F, with a dewpoint of 43 degrees F.

aircraft accident report

Volaircraft 10A Darter

October 2, 2016, Mandan, N.Dakota

The airplane was destroyed at about 1557 Central time by a post-impact fire after it landed short of the runway. The solo student pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed. According to local authorities, the airplane landed short of the runway and skidded to a stop beside it. After the pilot exited uninjured, the airplane caught fire and was destroyed. The pilot did not report any mechanical problems prior to the event and there were no witnesses.

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

October 2, 2016, Clarendon, Texas

At about 1520 Central time, the airplane was involved in a forced landing after its engine stopped producing power. The solo student pilot sustained minor injuries; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that while in cruise flight the engine stopped producing power and he performed a forced landing to a field. During the landing, the airplane’s wings and firewall were damaged.

Cessna R172K Skyhawk XP

October 2, 2016, Rosamond, California

The pilot/owner and three non-pilots flew the airplane to another airport for lunch. The outbound flight was uneventful. After lunch, the four returned to the airplane. The pilot later reported the preflight inspection and taxi to the run-up area were normal. During the before-takeoff checklist, he noticed the two fuel tank gauges indicated different quantities from one another. The pilot decided shut down the engine and physically “stick” the tanks to accurately determine the total fuel quantity, which he determined were satisfactory.

When the airplane was about 20 feet above the ground, it stopped climbing. The pilot “immediately recognized something was wrong,” according to the NTSB, and aborted the takeoff. The pilot was unable to stop the airplane on the runway, and it sustained substantial damage to the fuselage as a result. None of the occupants were injured. After the accident, the pilot determined that he had left the control lock in for the takeoff. Investigation revealed the manufacturer-issued control lock had been installed backward by the pilot. A yoke-mounted iPad limited the pilot’s view of the installed control lock, which reduced the potential for visual detection.

Fokker DR-1 Triplane

October 3, 2016, Fulshear, Texas

At about 1800 Central time, the airplane experienced a loss of engine power and was involved in a forced landing. The solo airline transport rated pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed for the post-maintenenace test flight.

The airplane’s construction had just been completed and the engine installed. Numerous tests were performed before the accident flight. Later, the pilot departed and experienced a partial loss of engine power during the initial climb, and the airplane was not able to maintain altitude. The pilot made a forced landing into a tree nursery about one mile from the departure airport.

Beechcraft Model D95A Travel Air

October 4, 2016, Dickinson, Texas

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain at about 1827 Central time. The flight instructor was fatally injured and the pilot receiving instruction was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane was maneuvering at about 4800 feet agl when it slowed and began descending rapidly. A witness about one mile south took cellphone video showing the airplane descending rapidly in a fully developed spin. The airplane did not recover from the spin and impacted an abandoned tree-lined canal next to a fallow rice field in a remote area.

Cessna Model 172K Skyhawk

October 4, 2016, Wilmot, Wisconsin

At 1511 Central time, the airplane impacted a cornfield during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power while maneuvering. The solo private pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage to its right wing. Visual conditions prevailed.

When the engine began to lose power, the pilot switched fuel tanks, applied carburetor heat and richened the mixture, but the engine remained at reduced power. The pilot attempted a landing at a nearby airport but overshot the runway. The pilot then executed a forced landing to an adjacent cornfield. Inspection revealed the engine oil filter contained heavy deposits of metal material. Upon disassembling the engine, technicians discovered the number 1 cylinder piston pin plug was destroyed. The engine crankshaft and connecting rods displayed discoloration and heat signatures consistent with oil starvation. The number 3 and 4 connecting rod bearings were extruded and melted from the rod journals.

Cessna Model 182T Skylane

October 9, 2016, Toone, Tennessee

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1050 Central time during a forced landing in a field following a partial loss of engine power during cruise flight. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While in cruise flight at 4000 feet msl and nearing the destination airport, engine instruments advised of low oil pressure. A few minutes later, a light “clanging” noise was heard from the engine. The pilot attempted to divert to a nearby airstrip but the engine lacked sufficient power to reach it. The pilot performed a forced landing in a field. During the landing, the airplane encountered uneven terrain, which collapsed the nosegear. Examination revealed the engine’s No. 3 cylinder had suffered a catastrophic failure.

Rockwell International 112A

October 12, 2016, Phoenix, Arizona

At about 1011 Mountain time, shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported to ATC that he had an engine problem and was unable to maintain altitude. The airplane subsequently impacted terrain in a train yard. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual examination of the engine revealed a hole in the crankcase at the number 4 cylinder.

Cessna Model 525 CitationJet CJ3+

October 13, 2016, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

The airplane was substantially damaged during a runway excursion at about 1030 Eastern time. The commercial pilot, an airline transport pilot and four passengers were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.

The flight crew subsequently reported descending below clouds at about 800 to 850 feet msl. The airplane was flown at about 130 to 135 KIAS on the final approach. Witness interviews and airport surveillance video revealed the airplane touched down about halfway down the 5000-foot-long runway. About 2000 feet of intermittent skid marks were observed until the airplane exited the end of the runway. After exiting the runway, the airplane impacted the localizer antenna, located about 300 feet from the end of the runway.

Cessna Model T210LTurbo Centurion

October 18, 2016, Pflugerville, Texas

At about 1015 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage after the right main landing gear collapsed upon landing. The private pilot and one passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Upon approaching the destination, the pilot lowered the landing gear but did not receive a down-and-locked indication. He used the emergency gear extension handle to lower the gear. He did a fly-by with the tower, which told him that the landing gear appeared to be extended. The pilot circled and landed. Upon landing, the right main landing gear collapsed and the airplane skidded off the runway to the right. Inspection revealed a hydraulic fluid leak when the system was pressurized and the emergency gear handle was activated. The hydraulic pump circuit breaker was found tripped.

Cessna Model 172C Skyhawk

October 19, 2016, Cedar Key, Florida

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at about 0725 Eastern time during an attempt to return to the airport immediately after takeoff. The pilot was not injured; the two passengers received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the airplane wouldn’t climb “out of ground effect.” At an altitude of about 100 feet agl, he attempted to turn around and land in the opposite direction on the departure runway. The airplane then descended and impacted a swamp about 600 feet short of the runway.

The pilot reported that the fuel tanks were nearly full. The airplane was equipped with an 18-gallon auxiliary fuel tank installed in the baggage compartment. An estimated 25 pounds of baggage was in the rear seat. After recovery, the engine was rotated by hand via the propeller, and compression was confirmed on all cylinders with the exception of No. 4. The exhaust valve on the number 4 cylinder was found stuck in the open position. According to FAA records, the pilot’s certificate had been revoked.

Nanchang CJ-6A

October 21, 2016, Blackshear, Georgia

The airplane impacted terrain at about 1600 Eastern time after a midair collision while maneuvering with another Nanchang CJ-6A. The airplane was substantially damaged; the private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. According to witnesses, the purpose of the flight was to practice formation flying with two additional Nanchang airplanes. It was the third formation flight of the day.

The accident airplane was approaching the formation to join the No. 3 spot on the outside of a turn. Witnesses stated it approached slightly below their altitude and overshot the approach. The accident airplane flew under the lead airplane and appeared to pitch up before colliding. The lead airplane’s propeller sliced into the accident airplane’s horizontal stabilizer, then through the fuselage just forward of the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer. The accident airplane’s tail separated and the airplane entered uncontrolled flight, impacting terrain. The lead airplane sustained minor damage and landed without further incident.

Beechcraft Model A36 Bonanza

October 25, 2016, Nortonville, California

At about 1230 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted powerlines and terrain in a steep descent shortly after departure. The private pilot/owner and the flight instructor (CFI) received fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane had recently undergone installation of a new avionics suite, and the purpose of this flight was for the CFI to assist the pilot in becoming familiar with the new avionics. After takeoff, the airplane made a left turnout and continued to climb out to the east, at about 800 fpm. About 3 minutes after takeoff, the airplane reached its maximum radar-indicated altitude of about 3600 feet, then entered a left turn of about 20 degrees and a steep descent. Radar data indicated a descent rate of about 5000 fpm.


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