NTSB Reports May 2014: Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


March 1, 2014, Marlboro, Mass. Piper PA-11S Cub Special
According to the pilot, he was regaining his 90-day passenger-carrying privileges; his most recent flight was about five months earlier. He had performed one landing successfully. On the second landing, the airplane touched down on all three wheels and was decelerating. The airplane subsequently veered to the left, departed the left side of the runway, struck a snowbank and came to rest. There was substantial damage to the wing strut, firewall and fuselage. The pilot reported the wind was from the left at 5 to 10 knots and occasionally gusting to 15 knots. He also reported there were no mechanical malfunctions or anomalies with the airplane.

March 1, 2014, Lumberport, W.V. Beech F33A Bonanza
At about 1215 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness heard an engine sputtering, then go to full power. He subsequently heard trees and branches breaking, and metallic sounds. He looked up to see airplane debris descending down the side of a mountain. Severed hardwoods, some up to 18 inches in diameter, indicated an approximately 15-degree descending path after the first tree strikes. The most distant object, the engine, came to rest about 150 yards from the initial impact point, and 150 feet below the ridgeline. All three propeller blades were located separate from the propeller hub, with one exhibiting torsional bending, leading edge damage and a separated tip, one exhibiting torsional bending and leading edge damage near the tip, and the last exhibiting a lesser degree of bending.

March 3, 2014, Truckee, Calif. Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage
The airplane collided with terrain at 1032 Pacific time, sustaining substantial damage. The commercial pilot was seriously injured and the single passenger was fatally injured. Marginal visual conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an IFR flight plan.

The pilot attempted a GPS-A approach but executed a missed approach and proceeded to fly in an easterly direction not consistent with the published missed approach procedures. Radar and radio contact with the airplane were lost. The airplane wreckage was located about an hour later at an elevation of 8000 feet msl. Weather reported at 0950 included wind from 180 degrees at seven knots, visibility was nine statute miles and there was an overcast cloud layer at 3000 feet agl. At 1050, reported weather included six miles’ visibility in light rain and an overcast at 2200 feet agl. The published minimum descent altitude for the approach is 8200 feet msl (2300 feet agl).

March 4, 2014, Atlantic City, N.J. Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II/III
At 1650 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain and a fence during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. The solo airline transport pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

Pre-takeoff operations were normal but the pilot later said he experienced a “delay in the acceleration of the engine during the takeoff roll.” Because the engine eventually accelerated to “2500-2600” rpm, he continued the takeoff. At 70 knots and over the departure end of the runway, the engine “lost significant power.” Rather than attempt a return to the runway, or land straight ahead to wooded terrain, the pilot elected to perform a forced landing to the airport perimeter road. Just prior to ground contact, the airplane’s left wing struck a tree and a fence, and the airplane collided with the road and came to rest inverted.

March 5, 2014, Jackson, Tenn. Cessna 172R Skyhawk
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1056 Central time. The pilot executed a forced landing after a loss of engine power during an ILS approach. The private pilot and his passenger were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

While climbing through 6500 feet msl, the pilot noticed the engine was losing oil pressure. He immediately did a 180-degree turn and headed back his departure airport. While inbound on the ILS approach, he executed a 360-degree descending turn to lose altitude. He then proceeded inbound on the ILS once again. He never was able to get a “solid indication from the glideslope,” executing a missed approach at about 1500 feet msl.

The pilot climbed to 2000 feet msl. There was now “zero oil pressure” and the engine would only produce partial power. The pilot maneuvered to reintercept the localizer but still had no glideslope indication. At this time the engine lost all power and the airplane began descending. Even though he flew approximately 400 feet above the runway, the pilot could not see it. The airplane flew past the airport and descended to about 150 feet agl before the pilot saw a field and then a road. He made a “sharp” left turn, lined up with the road and touched down. During the rollout, the right wing made contact with a highway sign.

March 7, 2014, Pittstown, N.J. Cessna 172M Skyhawk
During the landing flare, at about one to two feet agl, the airplane drifted right. The right main landing gear contacted a snowbank along the right side of the runway, causing the airplane to nose over. The airplane subsequently came to rest inverted adjacent to the runway. Examination revealed substantial damage to the wings and fuselage.

March 8, 2014, Wapakoneta, Ohio Cessna 310Q
At about 1120 Eastern time, the airplane experienced fire in the nose compartment while taxiing to the ramp. The airplane was substantially damaged but the pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the flight was uneventful. As he stopped the airplane on the ramp to park, a “puff of smoke” came from below the instrument panel. The pilot immediately shut down the electrical system believing it may have been the source of the smoke, but the smoke increased. He completed the airplane shutdown checklist, then he and the passengers exited. The pilot stated he could hear fire in the nose and saw the paint on the nose compartment beginning to discolor. He removed the nose access panel and extinguished the fire with a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher.

March 8, 2014, Hartsville, S.C. Lancair IV-P Experimental
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1858 Eastern time after a loss of control and terrain impact.

The private pilot and the two pilot-rated passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to witnesses, the private pilot had been having problems with the airplane’s landing gear. He was observed working on the airplane, telling a witness he was troubleshooting an electrical problem. The pilot subsequently made two flights earlier in the day before taking off on the accident flight.

At approximately 1819, a relative of the private pilot received a text message stating the landing gear would not come down, followed at 1836 by a second message to “Call 911.” Around that time, a witness observed the airplane pass by him several times during approximately 15 minutes. He then observed the airplane fly across the airport at 600-700 feet agl, bank sharply left, pitch up about 25 degrees, then descend rapidly in a nose-high attitude. Moments later, he heard the sound of impact, and observed fire and smoke.

Examination revealed no evidence of pre-impact structural failure. The wing flaps were in the up position, and flight control cables displayed evidence of tensile overload. The engine was producing power at the time of impact. The landing gear handle was in the down position, but the nose landing gear was up. The left and right main landing gear were partially extended. The hydraulic reservoir contained only about 10 tablespoons of fluid; no leaks were discovered in the reservoir. A cabin-mounted panel allowing access to the landing gear actuators showed evidence of having been removed in-flight.

March 8, 2014, Fairhope, Ala. Cessna 172D Skyhawk
At about 1400 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed during a landing attempt and post-crash fire. The private pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

A military helicopter had been operating in the traffic pattern for about 10 minutes, during which it descended into a hover over the runway’s approach end. It then transitioned into a takeoff and entered an initial climb about midfield. While the helicopter was climbing out, the accident airplane was approaching to land. A witness reported the airplane was about 30 feet agl when it suddenly rolled right then leveled out and impacted terrain in a level attitude beyond the runway threshold. Examination of the airplane and engine failed to reveal any anomalies or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

March 18, 2014, Wichita Falls, Texas Beech P35 Bonanza
The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1020 Central time during a forced landing after a loss of engine power while landing. The pilot received minor injuries; the flight instructor was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot had turned from the downwind leg to the base leg and was preparing to practice a short-field landing. He had reduced throttle during the turn but when he applied throttle to increase power, the engine did not respond. The airplane was about 600 feet agl and the pilot executed a forced landing to a field. During the landing roll, both wings sustained substantial damage when they impacted mesquite bushes.

March 18, 2014, Seattle, Wash. Eurocopter AS350 B2
At about 0740 Pacific time, the helicopter was destroyed when it impacted terrain following takeoff from a downtown heliport. The commercial pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. One person in a stationary vehicle was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Multiple witnesses observed the helicopter lift off and begin a counterclockwise rotation. The helicopter then pitched down, while continuing the counterclockwise rotation, and descended into an occupied vehicle and terrain. A post-impact fire ensued. All major structural components of the helicopter were located in the immediate area of the main wreckage.

March 19, 2014, Aurora, Colo. Ted Smith Aerostar 601P
The airplane was destroyed at about 1650 Mountain time when it collided with terrain while conducting low-level aerobatics. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness who was a retired military pilot stated the accident pilot planned to fly over his home that afternoon to show him and another mutual friend the airplane he recently purchased. The witness observed a series of low-level maneuvers, including high-speed passes, a “vertical” climb and “hammerhead stall.” Other witnesses took video of the airplane, which depicted it making steep turns at a low altitude before it impacted terrain. At the same time, three FAA inspectors observed the maneuvering and were attempting to read the airplane’s registration when it crashed.

The airplane came to rest in a rolling and partially wooded field on a heading of 360 degrees and at 6154 feet msl elevation. The initial impact point was a 100-foot-tall tree. All major components of the airframe were accounted for at the accident site. The main wreckage consisted of the empennage, the center section of the fuselage, both wings and the cockpit. The center section was inverted and the main landing gear was retracted. The center section sustained extensive impact and post-accident fire damage.

March 20, 2014, Charleston, S.C. Cessna 421B Golden Eagle
At about 1205 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged while landing. The commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The later pilot reported confirming the three landing gear indicators were “in the green” while on approach, and that he performed a normal touchdown. During the landing roll, the right main landing gear collapsed, the airplane then veered to the right and struck two runway lights, resulting in substantial damage to the right wing rear spar. Initial examination revealed the right main landing gear down lock bellcrank was fractured and had separated from its respective trunnion.

March 20, 2014, Salt Lake City, Utah Bellanca 17-31ATC Turbo Super Viking
The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 2045 Mountain time when its landing gear collapsed. The solo pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Before landing, the pilot reportedly verified the landing gear indicator was green. After an uneventful landing and during the landing roll, the green right landing gear indicator light changed to red and the right main landing gear collapsed. The right wing impacted the runway, and the airplane slid off of the right side of the runway before coming to rest.

March 21, 2014, Palatka, Fla. Cessna LC41-550FG Corvalis
At about 1050 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damage after a loss of engine power while executing a go-around. The private pilot received serious injuries; the pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness observed the airplane flying over the last third of the runway, below a parallel tree line. He could see “gray” smoke coming out of the exhaust and it appeared the airplane was “struggling to maintain altitude.” As the airplane approached the end of the runway, it appeared to pitch up and pass over trees off the end of the runway. He stated there were “a bunch of airplanes” in the traffic pattern at the time and he could not discern if the airplane’s engine was running due to noise from the other airplanes. Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any pre-impact structural or flight control failure, and that there was fuel onboard the airplane when it came to rest.

March 22, 2014, Safety Harbor, Fla. Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0400 Eastern time when it collided with powerlines during a forced landing to a highway. The private pilot was fatally injured; two passengers were seriously injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

The flight departed Nashville, Tenn., at about 2338 Eastern time the previous day, and was in radio and radar contact with ATC as it approached its destination. The pilot subsequently reported a fuel emergency. The wreckage came to rest upright, nose-down, oriented on a southeasterly heading, on a highway beneath the powerlines.

All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The left main fuel tank remained intact; approximately four ounces of fuel were recovered from it. The right wing experienced partial separation of the right flap and the right fuel tank was compromised at its fuel drain. Some fuel was observed dripping from the right tank. The fuel selector was found positioned to the left main fuel tank.


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