NTSB Reports: May 2017

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


February 1, 2017, Cameron Park, Calif.
Beechcraft 95-B55 (T42A) Baron

At about 1410 Pacific time, the airplane experienced a landing gear failure shortly after takeoff. The solo pilot was not injured while the airplane sustained substantial damage to its fuselage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that when he raised the landing gear shortly after takeoff, he heard a loud crunch as the gear entered the wells. The pilot climbed the airplane to about 3000 feet and observed the landing gear circuit breaker was popped and the alternator was off. The pilot attempted to extend the landing gear normally several times, however, the circuit breaker popped each time and the gear remained retracted. The pilot also attempted to use the emergency gear extension, to no avail. The airplane was landed with the landing gear retracted.

February 5, 2017, Loveland, Colo.
Cessna T210 Turbo Centurion

The pilot later reported the airplane was low and he felt “rushed” during final approach. During the landing roll, the airplane “started to veer off the runway,” so he applied power to abort the landing. During the aborted landing, the pilot reported that he “pulled back” on the yoke and the airplane aerodynamically stalled, impacting a grassy area to the left of the runway and nosing over.

February 6, 2017, Friendly, Md.
Piper PA-32R-301 Saratoga

At about 1145 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing during initial climb. The solo private pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After preflighting the airplane and topping off the fuel tanks, the pilot sampled the fuel and confirmed it was blue color and free of contaminates. Shortly after takeoff, at about 1000 feet agl, the pilot reported the engine suddenly lost power. His attempts to restart the engine failed, and he subsequently performed a forced landing.

February 8, 2017, Sterling, Alaska
Piper PA-18-125 Super Cub

The ski-equipped airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1456 Alaska time after a loss of control while maneuvering. The solo private pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later stated the airplane became uncontrollable when its aileron control system locked in place as she turned the airplane to the right. Unable to roll the wings level, the airplane subsequently descended nose low and struck the surface of a frozen river.

February 11, 2017, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Aerotek Pitts S2A

After maneuvering in the local area for about 45 minutes, the pilot returned to his home airport for landing. During the final approach, the airplane sank below the proper glidepath. The pilot increased engine power three separate times, but the airplane continued to sink. Subsequently, the airplane struck a seawall about 380 feet from the runway threshold, resulting in propeller separation and landing gear collapse.

February 12, 2017, Ramona, Calif.
Cessna 172S Skyhawk

At about 1430 Pacific time, the airplane impacted terrain while maneuvering. The flight instructor (CFI) and student pilot had minor injuries; the rear-seat passenger was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed for the local instructional flight.

After approaching the practice area and conducting training near a dirt strip, two consecutive simulated engine failure procedures were accomplished. While climbing out on the last simulated engine failure, the CFI instructed the student pilot to turn left in the direction of east. While in the turn with full power, the student pilot recognized rising terrain and the CFI took over control of the airplane. Subsequently, the airplane impacted a large tree in steep terrain. The tree penetrated through the main cabin floor and roof.

February 12, 2017, Cedar Key, Fla.
Piper PA-28R-200

The airplane was destroyed at about 1106 Eastern time when it impacted the Gulf of Mexico. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed in the area of the accident site.

According to preliminary radar data provided by the FAA, the airplane flew a northwesterly track over the Florida peninsula, its western coastal key islands and the Gulf of Mexico. The radar data ended over the water at an altitude of about 1100 feet msl.

The 1055 weather observed about 36 miles north of the accident site included an overcast ceiling at 400 feet agl with 10 statute miles of visibility. An Airmet warning of ceilings lower than 500 feet agl and/or visibility less than one statute mile had been issued for the accident area. The pilot did not have an instrument rating.

February 14, 2017, Rattan, Okla.
Beechcraft C90A King Air

At about 1145 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following loss of engine power during cruise flight. The pilot and two medical crew members aboard were uninjured. Instrument conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 aeromedical flight, which operated on an IFR clearance.

While in cruise flight at 7000 feet msl, the airplane experienced two electrical power fluctuations and subsequently lost all electrical power. Due to the associated loss of navigation capability while operating in instrument meteorological conditions, the pilot set a general course for better weather conditions as noted in the preflight weather briefing. During the effort to find a suitable hole in the clouds to descend through, the left engine lost power. The pilot ultimately located a field through the cloud cover and executed a single-engine precautionary landing.

February 14, 2017, Columbus, Ohio
Beechcraft D55 Baron

The airplane impacted the runway at about 1326 Eastern time following a loss of left engine power during takeoff. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were uninjured, but the airplane sustained substantial fuselage and wing damage when the left main landing gear collapsed. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the FAA, the left-seated pilot wanted to get current on his takeoffs and landings. He performed the taxi and takeoff procedure. At about 50 feet agl, the left engine began losing power, dropping to around 1700 rpm. The pilot flying then told the non-flying pilot he was giving him control of the airplane. As the right-seated pilot tried to land on the remaining runway, the left main landing gear struck hard and collapsed, but the airplane came to a stop on the prepared runway surface.

February 16, 2017, Winder, Ga.
Beechcraft C23 Sundowner

At about 1400 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain. The flight instructor and student pilot were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

No one witnessed the takeoff. Security-camera video showed the flight instructor and student pilot walked out to the airplane at about 1317. At approximately 1400, a motorist passing the northwest corner of the airplane’s base airport saw it pass from left to right in front of her, flying low and fast. It then began to nose down, then leveled out, banked right. The witness then lost sight of the airplane.

The accident site was to the southwest of Runway 31; the wreckage path was oriented on an approximate magnetic heading of 146 degrees. Control continuity was established to and from impact-related breaks in the system. There was no evidence of any in-flight structural failure. The propeller displayed evidence of S-bending and chordwise scratching. Fuel was present in the fuel line and in the carburetor float bowl. At 1345, local weather included wind from 320 degrees at eight knots, gusting to 14.

Aviation Accident Data

February 16, 2017, Climax, Ga.
Beechcraft A45 (T-34 Mentor)

The airplane collided with trees and terrain at about 1852 Eastern time, while on final approach. The airplane was substantially damaged; the private pilot was fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed for the flight, which was the pilot’s first flight in the airplane since it had been delivered to the private runway after an annual inspection.

The airplane came to rest on the approach end of Runway 18. Oak and pine trees were located at the northern boundary of the runway. Examination revealed the airplane collided with two oak trees on a southerly heading before contacting the ground. The airplane’s tail cone remained in one of the trees, and numerous tree limbs had been broken. All structures and components were accounted for at the accident site. Flight control continuity was confirmed. The right wing fuel bladder was ruptured from impact forces and contained no quantifiable fuel. The left wing tank contained about 11 gallons of fuel. The cockpit fuel selector handle was found in the right tank position. The engine’s two-blade propeller was minimally damaged, and there was no discernible bending or twisting of the blades. Sunset occurred at 1827 and the end of civil twilight occurred at 1851.

February 18, 2017, Centennial, Colo.
Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1529 Mountain time when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The airline transport pilot received minor injuries; the private pilot suffered serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

After some difficulty starting the engine, the private pilot in the left seat stated that the airplane had difficulty obtaining lift during the takeoff roll on Runway 17L. After liftoff, at about 75 knots, engine rpm remained high and power seemed sufficient, but the airplane was not gaining altitude. Toward the end of the runway, the ATP in the right seat took over the controls and flew the aircraft past the departure end of the 10,000-foot runway, crossed over a highway, banked left and touched down in a grassy area.

According to the ATP, the airplane lifted off at about 65 knots within about a 1000-foot ground roll and accelerated to about 75-80 knots, but was climbing slowly. Upon reaching about 150 feet agl, the ATP “felt like something was pushing the airplane down.” He stated that the engine seemed to have full rpm, and both the throttle and mixture were full forward. He stated that he recalled the airspeed being at 65 knots and the stall warning horn had activated when the airplane contacted the ground.

Weather at the time of the accident included wind from 170 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 23. After the accident, the private pilot stated that a business jet took off from Runway 17L approximately two minutes before their takeoff.

February 19, 2017, Dawsonville, Ga.
Ercoupe 415-C

At about 1215 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a precautionary landing to a road. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot had recently purchased the airplane and was flying it back to his home airport. Prior to the flight, he added oil to the engine. About 30 minutes after takeoff, he noticed dropping oil pressure. He reduced engine power and turned toward a nearby airport. Oil pressure dropped to zero, however, and he performed a precautionary landing on a road. During the landing, the airplane skidded across the road until it impacted a tree and came to rest in a ditch. Examination revealed a hole in the oil sump, and oil was coming from the crankcase breather tube. Approximately three quarts of oil remained in the engine.

February 19, 2017, Bayonne, N.J.
Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow II

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1000 Eastern time during a forced landing to a road. The solo private pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported he was maneuvering around the Statue of Liberty when the engine started to lose power and he was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot declared an emergency, flew toward land, and made a forced landing to a road. The airplane struck power lines and vehicles before coming to rest on a sidewalk in a congested city neighborhood. There was no post-impact fire or injuries to anyone on the ground.

February 21, 2017 in Gainesville, Texas
American Aviation AA-1A

At about 0050 Central time, the airplane made a forced landing short of a runway. The private pilot sustained minor injuries; the passenger suffered serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Night visual conditions prevailed.

The non-pilot passenger had recently purchased the airplane and asked the pilot to fly with him on a familiarization flight. They departed the airplane’s base and executed about 15 touch-and-go landings at a nearby airport before heading to a third airport for fuel. They approached the third airport from the north, intending to land on Runway 18. During the approach, the pilot observed a coyote on the runway and executed a go-around. During the go-around, the engine lost power, and he made a 180-degree turn back toward the runway. The airplane was not able to make the runway so the pilot conducted a forced landing to a field.

The airplane came to rest upright in a field about 150 yards south of the runway, slightly right of the extended centerline. The right wing had separated from the fuselage; no fuel was observed in its wing-spar fuel tank. When the left wing was removed for transport, there was less than one cup of fuel in its fuel tank.

February 22, 2017, East Haven, Conn.
Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0957 Eastern time when it impacted terrain during initial climb after a touch-and-go landing. The flight instructor was seriously injured; the student pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After three uneventful touch-and-go landings, one of the pilots declared an emergency during initial climb by stating “Mayday” on the ATC frequency but did not specify the nature of the emergency. The airplane then spun to the left, descended and impacted terrain about 1000 feet southeast of the departure end of Runway 20. Another flight instructor stated he heard the emergency transmission and could hear the airplane’s stall warning horn in the background.

The wreckage came to rest upright in a marsh; no debris path was observed. While both wing fuel tanks were breached during impact, several gallons of fuel remained in each wing. The empennage was curled up and to the left. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit area. The throttle and mixture levers were in the forward position and the magnetos were selected to both. The fuel selector was found positioned to the right main fuel tank. The propeller blades did not exhibit rotational damage.

The engine had accumulated 2508 hours since major overhaul. The flight instructor had accumulated a total flight experience of approximately 236 hours, of which 12 were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

February 23, 2017, Stevensville, Mon.
Beechcraft A36TC Turbo Bonanza

At about 1300 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and his passenger received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the airplane lifted off from Runway 12 at 80 knots but “couldn’t climb or accelerate.” He ensured the engine controls were positioned for full takeoff power, but the airplane “would not lift” any further. A pilot-rated witness reported the airplane climbed to about 50 feet agl, then began a “steep right descending turn.” The witness stated Runway 12 has a “substantial” uphill slope. He also reported there was a “quartering tailwind” from the “northwest” of about 15 knots that at the time the Bonanza was attempting its takeoff. Weather observed from 1255 to 1301, included wind from 340 and 350 degrees, at between nine and 12 knots, with numerous gusts to 16 knots.


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