NTSB Reports: March 2017

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.


Cessna Model 340
December 1, 2016, Fargo, ND

The airplane impacted terrain at 1629 Central time. The solo pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was in effect.

After taking air samples at various altitudes, the airplane was returning to its base and overshot a turn to the Runway 36 localizer. Shortly thereafter, the pilot reported an on-board fire. The airplane, which was at 1700 feet, lost altitude rapidly and radar contact was lost. The accident site was consistent with the airplane striking the ground at a high velocity, low angle of impact in a left wing slightly low attitude. There was a ground fire after impact

Cessna Model 500 Citation
December 4, 2016, Gunnison, CO

At about 1855 Mountain time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a hard landing and runway excursion. The solo pilot not injured. Night visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was in effect.

While en route, the pilot reported to ATC that the airplane was low on fuel. Subsequently, the flight was vectored to a divert facility and was cleared for the GPS-B Rwy 24 approach. During the approach, the pilot reported that he had the runway in sight and ATC cleared the flight for a visual approach. While touching down, the airplane’s left main landing gear and nose gear collapsed, and the airplane veered off the runway, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing. Surface weather included wind from 340 degrees at four knots.

Fairchild SA227-AC Metro III
December 5, 2016, Camilla, GA

The airplane was destroyed during a descent and subsequent inflight breakup. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Night instrument conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan was in effect for the Part 135 on-demand cargo flight.

As the flight neared its destination, ATC advised the pilot of moderate to extreme precipitation along his planned route of flight and suggested a diversion of 70 nm. The pilot responded that he did have enough fuel for such a diversion, but concluded he would “see what the radar is painting.” Shortly thereafter, the pilot advised ATC he intended to divert to Tallahassee, Fla. The airplane then descended from 7000 feet msl to 3700 feet before radar and radio contact were lost. The debris field was about 2640 feet in length and 1500 feet wide. The first components located along the debris field were the outboard sections of both wings, which exhibited damage and paint transfer consistent with contact with the fuselage. Additional components located along the debris path included the empennage and the mid-span portions of both wings.

ntsb aircraft accident reports

Piper PA-31T Cheyenne
December 5, 2016, Missoula, MT

At about 1300 Mountain time, the aircraft made an unscheduled landing after the left windshield fractured and separated from the airplane. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was operated on an IFR flight plan.

The pilot reported that he was in cruise flight at 23,000 feet when the left windshield fractured and departed the airplane. He immediately performed an emergency landing at the nearest airport and landed without further incident. Examination revealed the windshield’s periphery remained attached to the airframe; however, a majority of it separated and has not been located.

Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria
December 7, 2016, Fairbanks, AK

The ski-equipped airplane was substantially damaged at about 1043 Alaska time when it impacted snow-covered terrain. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The flight was intended to conduct post-maintenance testing for recently installed vortex generators, the skis, a new throttle cable and a new alternator. At 1026, the pilot took off. At about 1310, two U.S. Army helicopters heard an ELT and subsequently identified the wreckage. One of the helicopters landed and discovered the occupant with fatal injuries. All of the airplane’s major components were found at the main wreckage site. Preliminary data from a portable GPS receiver indicate the airplane performed three full turns at various altitudes between 1500 feet to 1700 feet, followed by a long descending flight path to the southeast that included a groundspeed of 26 knots at about 400 feet agl, prior to ground impact.

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180
December 7, 2016, Port Alsworth, AK

At about 0935 Alaska time, the airplane is presumed to have sustained substantial damage during impact with the open waters of Lake Clark shortly after takeoff. The noninstrument-rated private pilot and three passengers are presumed to have sustained fatal injuries; all were missing at the time of this report. Visual conditions prevailed at the airplane’s point of departure, but reduced visibility was reported along the flight’s anticipated flight route, including low-lying ice fog over Lake Clark.

When the airplane failed to arrive, family members and friends reported the airplane overdue. The FAA issued an alert notice at 1501, and an extensive search was launched. On December 8, searchers located personal items floating in Lake Clark that were later positively identified as belonging to the missing occupants. Also recovered were three airplane landing gear wheel assemblies, a co-pilot seat and cargo from the missing airplane. The rest of the airplane has not yet been located, and it is presumed to have sunk in the deep waters of Lake Clark.

Cub Crafters PA18
December 7, 2016, Basin, WY

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1015 Mountain time when it impacted terrain while maneuvering. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and commercial-certificated crewmember was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a public use flight. Visual conditions prevailed for the wildlife management flight.

According to the ground crew supporting the flight, the airplane arrived in the area around 0820. Crew members had visual contact, radio communication and/or could hear the airplane operating until about 1000. At about 1015, the ground crew attempted to contact the airplane to change the area of focus, to no avail. The airplane was located at 1330 by aerial search and rescue teams. The wreckage was located within steep hilly terrain, just below a ridge line extending from northeast to southwest, and included the fuselage, empennage, both wings, and the engine and propeller assembly. The airplane came to rest nearly vertical with the right wing uphill and the left wing downhill.

Beech Model A36 Bonanza
December 11, 2016, Shoreham, NY

At about 1300 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged following a total loss of engine power during cruise flight and subsequent ditching in Long Island Sound. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While en route at 5500 feet msl, the engine started running rough. The pilot adjusted the mixture, propeller and throttle controls but the engine was still running rough and getting worse. The pilot turned to return to his departure airport and noticed oil was covering the windscreen. He then declared an emergency and asked ATC for vectors to a nearby airport.

A few seconds later, the pilot saw parts separate from the airplane. The engine then lost all power and the pilot told ATC they were going to ditch the airplane. Once they ditched in the water, the pilot and passenger opened the door and swam to a nearby rock. Examination of the engine revealed several holes in the crankcase. A front section of the crankshaft was fractured and the propeller was not recovered.

Cessna Model T210M Turbo Centurion
December 11, 2016, Mecca, CA

The airplane landed off-airport in rough terrain at an unspecified time. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that he had to adjust his route of flight due to weather. About 100 miles from the destination airport, he switched fuel tanks, and the engine began to run rough. About 12 miles from the destination, he switched fuel tanks, and the engine lost all power. He could not glide the airplane to the airport and touched down hard in hilly desert terrain.

Stinson 108-3
December 16, 2016, Ionia, MI

At about 1045 Eastern time, the ski-equipped airplane was substantially damaged while landing. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Shortly after takeoff from a snow-covered runway, the pilot heard a thump and noticed the left main landing ski tip had rotated up, past vertical, and was in contact with the left wing strut. He decided to land on another snow-covered runway but was unable to reposition the left ski. Upon landing, the ski separated from the axle, the left gear leg dug into the snow and the airplane rapidly decelerated before nosing over.

Examination revealed Nicropress sleeves built into ski-support cables attached to the left landing gear leg were inadequately compressed. The pilot reported the airplane operated on skis each winter since February 2009, when he purchased them used. The forward and aft support cables were already fabricated and installed at the time, and they had required no maintenance over the years since.

Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking
December 18, 2016, Blaine, MN

The airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing at about 1500 Central time. The solo pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the flight.

While in cruise flight, the engine lost power. After the pilot switched fuel tanks and turned on the fuel boost pump, engine power was restored. Approaching a divert field, the engine began to knock and then seized. The pilot executed a forced landing onto a road, during which the airplane’s left wing impacted a sign. Examination revealed significant damage to the engine, including a fractured piston rod cap and counterweights.

Cessna Model 150
December 19, 2016, Palm Bay, FL

At about 1400 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing after experiencing smoke in the cockpit. The flight instructor and a student pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

During recovery from a simulated engine failure, both pilots first smelled and then observed smoke in the cockpit. The flight instructor took the flight controls, selected a forced landing site and maneuvered the airplane for landing. Upon touchdown, the nose landing gear settled into low brush and soft terrain, where the airplane stopped, nosed over and came to rest inverted. Examination of the engine compartment revealed wires connected to the battery relay exhibited thermal damage.

Aeronca 15AC Sedan
December 23, 2016, Pontiac, MI

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1618 Eastern time, while landing. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that the purpose of the accident flight was to practice landings in the tailwheel-equipped airplane. He completed 14 uneventful touch-and-go landings before performing a full-stop landing on Runway 27R. Shortly after touchdown, the airplane swerved to the left. The pilot attempted to regain directional control and the airplane then swerved to the right. The airplane collided with a snowbank alongside the runway and nosed over.

The majority of the pilot’s time in type was flown while the accident airplane was equipped with floats instead of wheels. The conventional landing gear was reinstalled on the accident airplane earlier in December 2016; the accident occurred during the second flight after the reinstallation. Local weather included wind 190 degrees true at six knots.

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II
December 23, 2016, Middlebury, VT

At about 1145 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during initial climb. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot cleared off snow from the airplane’s wings the morning of the flight and preheated the airplane. He then performed a preflight inspection and sumped the fuel tanks. During initial climb, at about 150 feet agl, the airplane’s wings “wagged,” the engine “skipped” and then the engine sound “went back to normal.” The airplane continued to climb, then turned left, reaching a bank angle of about 45 degrees. The airplane “stalled” and “rapidly” descended until it struck trees. Another witness stated the engine “sputtered” several times. The carburetor was disassembled and no liquid was noted in the fuel bowl. However, the carburetor floats exhibited damage consistent with hydraulic deformation.

Cessna Model 182 Skylane
December 26, 2016, Gatlinburg, TN

The airplane was destroyed when it collided with mountainous terrain at about 1602 Eastern time during descent for landing. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; no flight plan was filed.

The flight was receiving VFR flight-following services at 9500 feet msl when the pilot initiated a descent for landing. Radar data depict a descent on a track of about 340 degrees, directly toward the destination, at between 130 and 150 knots groundspeed. At 1558, about 20 miles from its destination, the airplane descended below the minimum vectoring altitude of 8000 feet msl and continued its descent on the same ground track and about the same speed. At 1602, the radar target was at 5400 feet msl and abeam a 6500-foot peak when the radar target disappeared.

Cessna Model 525C/Citation CJ4
December 29, 2016, Cleveland, OH

The airplane was destroyed at 2257 Eastern time when it collided with Lake Erie shortly after takeoff. The pilot and five passengers are missing and presumed fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR clearance.

The controller cleared the pilot for takeoff and instructed him to turn right to a heading of 330 degrees and maintain 2000 feet msl. Surveillance data indicate the airplane entering a right turn shortly after crossing the runway’s departure end. The airplane became established on a magnetic course of 310 degrees and reached approximately 2925 feet msl. About five seconds later, the airplane entered a descending right turn that continued until the final data point. The final data point was located 1.83 miles northwest of the departure airport. Airplane debris, including the cockpit voice recorder, was ultimately located about 0.10 mile northeast of the final data point.

Cessna Model 182 Skylane
December 29, 2016, Dabob, WA

At about 1844 Pacific time, the airplane collided with terrain. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Dark night visual and instrument conditions prevailed.

After radar and radio contact were lost, a search located the wreckage on December 30, 2016, in steep, heavily wooded terrain. Radar data of a primary target consistent with the accident airplane show it traveling northwest at about 2800 feet msl before descending to between 2500 feet and 2000 feet. The radar target then performed three left 360-degree turns to a northerly heading at between 1700 feet msl and 1100 feet msl before the last radar target was recorded. The wreckage revealed that the airplane collided with trees in steep rising terrain. Weather observed 20 miles south of the wreckage and nine minutes before the accident included calm wind, 10 miles of visibility and an overcast ceiling at 600 feet agl.


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