NTSB Reports: July 2015

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.


May 1, 2015, Ravenna, Mich.
Bensen B8M Experimental

At about 1225 Central time, the gyrocopter was destroyed when it collided with power lines while maneuvering. The solo private pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The gyrocopter had impacted 30-foot-high power lines, breaking two of them. The pilot’s headgear showed thermal damage to the faceshield and soot was evident inside of the shield and around the face relief of the helmet, consistent with electrical arcing. The engine appeared to be mostly intact and fuel was present.

May 2, 2015, Orange, Texas
Beech B35 Bonanza

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a powerline and then the ground at about 1030 Central time, shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and flight instructor were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Several witnesses observed the airplane’s wings “rocking” back and forth prior to impact with the power lines and terrain. Both wings and the fuselage were bent and buckled. Examination revealed the engine was not developing power prior to the accident.

May 2, 2015, Neillsville, Wis.
Cessna 150F

At 1015 Central time, the airplane collided with trees during an off-airport forced landing following loss of engine power. The solo private pilot received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

During cruise flight, engine power decreased from 2400 rpm to idle. The pilot applied carburetor heat and power was quickly restored. This same scenario happened two more times, but after the third drop in engine power, he was unable to restore the power. The airplane contacted trees during the subsequent off-airport forced landing.

May 3, 2015, De Kalb, Ill.
Piper J3C-65 Cub

The pilot, seated in the rear, had just landed and was taxiing to the fuel pumps. He did not see the parked Beech A36 Bonanza over the nose of his airplane and collided with its right wing. The pilot later said the accident could have been prevented if he had followed the taxi line on the tarmac. He also blamed his “less-than-effective brakes” that didn’t help as he tried to control the airplane in the wind. This caused his attention to be diverted and he lost sight of the surrounding obstructions.

May 3, 2015, Penn Yan, N.Y.
Cessna 172G Skyhawk

At 1134 Eastern time, the airplane impacted terrain and a perimeter fence during initial climb after a touch-and-go landing. The solo student pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A pilot-rated witness observed the airplane turn left from the base leg of the traffic pattern in a “very aggressive slip.” While on final approach, the airplane appeared to be “high and fast,” and appeared to “float” down the runway. Another witness said the engine sounded “normal” as it was taking off and in the climb to about 50 feet. At that point the airplane began climbing at a faster rate than it had been previously, and banked to the left. The airplane then descended, while continuing the left banking arc as if the left wing was “tied to the ground with a string.”

May 3, 2015, Mulberry, Tenn.
Cessna 182P Skylane

The airplane was destroyed at an unknown time when it impacted terrain. The solo private pilot was killed. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane took off around 1430, and was observed on radar at 3300 feet about 11 miles west of the departure airport. Data ended about 1.9 miles east of the accident site at 1433, at an altitude of 2895 feet msl. The airplane collided with trees and terrain on a cattle farm. There were no witnesses.

All major components were located at the accident site; there was no evidence of an in-flight or post-impact fire. No mechanical anomalies precluding normal operation of the airplane and/or its engine were noted. Reported weather at the departure airport included wind from 210 degrees at five knots, visibility 10 miles and clear skies.

May 3, 2015, Cottage Grove, Ore.
Buhl LA-1 Bull Pup

At about 1500 Pacific time, the airplane collided with trees after its engine lost power shortly after takeoff. The solo commercial pilot sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damaged to its wings. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later stated he had just installed new brakes and was testing them; he did not initially intend to fly. He began a high-speed taxi test in windy conditions and the airplane unexpectedly became airborne. The engine began sputtering and lost power. The pilot made a forced landing in trees near the airport.

May 4, 2015, New Orleans, La.
Airbus A319-112

The airplane sustained minor damage when the copilot’s window cracked during cruise at FL340. Smoke subsequently was observed and the flight crew declared an emergency and diverted, landing at about 2136 Central time without further incident. There were no injuries to the two flight crewmembers, three cabin crewmembers, and 131 passengers. The airplane was registered to and operated by Frontier Airlines, Inc., as Flight 1225, a Part 121 scheduled domestic passenger operation. Night visual conditions prevailed; the flight operated IFR.

May 4, 2015, Huntington, Ind.
Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee 235

At about 1145 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-airport forced landing. The pilot and a person on the ground sustained minor injuries. Day visual conditions prevailed.

During cruise flight at about 2000 feet agl, the pilot experienced a sudden and complete loss of engine power. The pilot executed a forced landing to a two-lane paved highway and impacted the rear of a pickup truck stopped at a traffic signal. The impact resulted in substantial damage to the pickup truck and the complete separation of the right wing from the airplane.

May 7, 2015, Spokane, Wash.
Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage

The airplane collided with a river surface at 1604 Pacific time following an attempted landing after the pilot reported control-system problems. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane had just undergone an annual inspection; the accident flight was a post-maintenance test flight. Both the pilot and passenger were employees of the company performing the inspection. Almost immediately after takeoff, it began a climbing turn to the right. After about 1.5 miles, the airplane began a more aggressive right turn to the right, reaching 1000 feet agl. A tower controller asked via radio if everything was okay, and the pilot responded, “That’s negative.” Additional maneuvering occurred within view of the tower, and the airplane seemed to recover. It then began “a meandering climb to the east.” The airplane eventually climbed to about 4000 feet agl.

The pilot requested and was approved for a straight-in approach and landing, and became aligned with the runway about seven miles east of the airport. Subsequently, ATC asked the pilot the nature of the emergency, to which he responded, “We have a control emergency here, a hard-right aileron.” Tower personnel later reported the airplane appeared to be flying in a 20-degree, right-wing-low attitude as it flew over the runway numbers. The airplane’s engine sound subsequently increased and the airplane began a sharp roll to the right. It subsequently collided with the river just north of the airport.

May 8, 2015, Chamblee, Ga.
Piper PA-32R-300 Lance

At about 1010 Eastern time, the airplane collided with a highway barrier during a forced landing attempt. The commercial pilot and the three passengers were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an IFR clearance.

Shortly after takeoff, a tower controller called the pilot to verify heading. The pilot responded that he was “having some problem climbing here,” followed by “zero-two-victor; were going down here at the intersection.” This was the pilot’s last transmission. A witness stated the airplane was moving extremely slowly and was only 75-100 feet agl when it went over his head, shortly before crashing. The engine sounded “normal” and the airplane was not “wobbling” left to right.

May 9, 2015, Redlands, Calif.
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1015 Pacific time when its pilot made a forced landing following a total loss of engine power. The commercial pilot and four passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, about 30 seconds after takeoff—while the airplane was 250 feet agl, the engine began to emit an unusual sound and he felt a vibration. Cockpit gauges all displayed normal indications although the noise was disconcerting. The pilot turned back toward the airport, completed a steep turn and descended rapidly with the engine only producing partial power. Unable to maintain altitude, the airplane just cleared the airport’s perimeter fence before touching down hard on a runway. The right wing impacted a runway sign resulting in substantial damage. Engine examination revealed a hole in the engine case near the number 4 cylinder.

May 11, 2015, Ranger, Texas
Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II/III

At about 2241 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The pilot was seriously injured; the passenger was uninjured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

While in cruise at 5500 feet msl, the pilot heard “two knocks” from the engine, followed by propeller stoppage and a total loss of power. After attempting without success to regain engine power, the pilot executed a forced landing into a field, during which the left wing was damaged by impact with a tree.

May 12, 2015, Newport News, Va.
Gates Learjet Model 35

The airplane was substantially damaged during the landing roll-out at about 1144 Eastern time following an unsafe nose landing gear indication. The airline transport pilot and ATP copilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed for the public-use flight under contract to the U.S. Navy.

Shortly after takeoff, the pilot moved the landing gear selector handle to the up position; both pilots felt and heard a loud noise from the nose of the airplane and observed the red unsafe nosegear light had illuminated. Recycling the landing gear produced the same result. After jettisoning fuel and extending the landing gear, the crew observed three green landing gear indicators, and executed a low pass. A controller advised that the nose landing gear appeared to be straight.

During the landing, the airplane touched down main wheels first, and the crew held the nose off as long as possible. As the nosewheel touched down, the airplane turned sharply and struck a concrete runway edge light base, turned about 180 degrees from its original direction of travel and came to rest on the left side of the runway. Both crewmembers successfully egressed. The nose landing gear assembly, nose wheel steering servo and nose wheel steering computer were retained for further examination.

May 13, 2015, Tullahoma, Tenn.
Aviat Pitts S-2B/Stolp V-Star Exp.

At about 1930 Central time, the two airplanes collided while landing on Runway 36. The Pitts sustained minor damage; the V-Star was substantially damaged. The private pilot aboard the Pitts was not injured; the private pilot in the V-Star was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While on downwind, the Pitts pilot heard a radio transmission that another airplane was approaching the airport and would follow his airplane. After crossing the runway threshold, the Pitts pilot heard a “bang” and felt a sudden deceleration. The V-Star’s pilot reported flying a standard pattern and making radio announcements, and was struck while landing.

The Pitts pilot had a video recorder attached to his helmet, which is being reviewed. Weather included calm winds, a clear sky, and visibility of 10 miles.

May 14, 2015, Juntura, Ore.
Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria

The airplane impacted power transmission lines at 1032 Mountain time. The solo private pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot, along with family members, were moving cattle at the time of the accident. A witness reported hearing the accident airplane fly overhead three or four times. On the last pass, the accident pass, she observed the airplane fly straight and level into the power lines. The airplane nosed over, impacted the ground and came to rest inverted.

May 15, 2015, Piggott, Ark.
Cessna T206H Turbo Stationair

At about 0740 Central time, the airplane lost engine power during takeoff and overran the runway, sustaining substantial damage. The airline transport pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, about 1000 feet down the runway, he rotated for takeoff. When the airplane was about 30 feet in the air, the engine “surged” and lost power. The airplane settled back to the runway, but was traveling too fast to stop. The airplane came to rest in an irrigation ditch near the runway.

May 16, 2015, Spring Branch, Texas
Piper PA-24-260 Comanche 260

The airplane impacted terrain at about 1231 Central time and was destroyed. The private pilot and three passengers sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness observed stiff, gusting winds as the airplane took off. It climbed and was abeam the witness at about 20-30 feet agl. The aircraft’s nose dropped for a couple of seconds after it passed him. It started climbing again and, at about 100 feet agl, appeared to weathervane into the wind and continue climbing. Other witnesses report the airplane subsequently banked left during the takeoff, descended steeply and impacted terrain near a store parking lot.

All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. Flight control cables were traced from the cockpit to each control surface; all observed flight control system separations were consistent with overload. The flaps and landing gear were retracted. One propeller blade was separated near its hub; the other propeller blade’s tip was separated. The separated tip exhibited chordwise gouges on its flat face. The engine was intact and displayed no signs of catastrophic failure. The engine was rotated by hand and all cylinders exhibited a thumb compression. The fuel manifold was intact and its disassembly revealed liquid in which water was detected.

May 18, 2015, Saltville, Va.
Beech Model 95-B55 (T-42A) Baron

At 1238 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

Tri-Cities Approach Control contacted the pilot at 1220:02, advising of scattered areas of unspecified weather ahead of the airplane, which was cruising at 9000 feet msl. The pilot was cleared to deviate as necessary and was handed off to Indianapolis Center at 1232:16, but he never checked in. Radar data depicted an easterly deviation off course, along with a gradual descent, before radar contact was lost.

The wreckage was found at an elevation of about 4400 feet msl. All major components were accounted for at the scene, but control continuity could not be established due to extensive impact damage. Both propellers separated from their respective engines, and all propeller blades exhibited twisting, bending, leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching, indicative of being under power at the time of the accident.


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