NTSB Reports: September 2014

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


July 2, 2014, Anchorage, Alaska Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser
At 0820 Alaska time, the airplane descended vertically and collided with the ground shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.
A witness reported the “airplane’s angle of attack was so steep” that he knew “something was not right.” He said that the airplane climbed straight up then “pivoted” to a nose-down position and descended straight to the ground. The witness heard the engine go quiet about the time that the airplane pivoted. Post-accident examination revealed the elevator control cables were mis-rigged, such that they were attached to the incorrect (opposite) locations on the elevator control horn, resulting in a reversal of elevator control inputs.

July 4, 2014, Durango, Colo. North American/Aero Classics P-51D
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0930 Mountain time when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The flight instructor in the back seat and the pilot receiving instruction in the front seat were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses saw the airplane take off and enter a hard left bank to approximately 90 degrees. The nose pitched up slightly as the bank continued past 90 degrees to an inverted position. The nose pitched down to approximately a 45-degree angle and the airplane descended. The witnesses lost sight of the airplane as it went behind a hangar and did not see it impact the ground.

July 5, 2014, Parma, N.Y. Cessna 140
At about 1211 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during landing. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness noticed the airplane performing touch-and-go landings at approximately 1200. At approximately 1245, the witness observed the airplane upside down next to Runway 18. Investigation revealed the airplane touched down 1123 feet beyond the runway threshold, veered off the left side of the runway into a wheat field and then nosed over. A nearby weather observation at 1154 included winds from 300 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 16 knots.

July 5, 2014, Gasport, N.Y. Flight Design CT-SW 2006
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1233 Eastern time when it collided with trees then the ground shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After liftoff, witnesses observed the airplane appear to pitch up higher than normal, followed by up-and-down pitch oscillations and left-bank oscillations. Witnesses reported the airplane climbed no higher than approximately 75 feet. The airplane also began a slow bank to the left, before impacting trees south of the runway in a left-wing-low attitude. The airplane came to rest nearly inverted on an easterly heading in a heavily wooded area.

July 6, 2014, Topping, Va. Cessna 150J
At about 1643 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Several eyewitnesses reported the plane “would not gain altitude.” The airplane made two landing attempts and, while on a southerly heading, made a “hard right turn” to the east, and subsequently descended and impacted the ground.

July 6, 2014, Mattituck, N.Y. Raven Experimental
The airplane impacted Long Island Sound at about 1905 Eastern time and was substantially damaged. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to radar data and at about 1904, the airplane was at 7000 feet msl and began a left 270-degree turn to the east, descending to about 5800 feet. The last radar return was recorded about 1905 and indicated an altitude of about 1100 feet msl. Examination revealed the pilot’s “personal parachute pack” had been deployed, remained attached and was found trailing behind the airplane. Brackets attaching the canopy to the fuselage and both hinges revealed no tearing or shearing of the bolts; however, neither the bolts nor the canopy were present. The canopy was subsequently located on July 9, about 39 miles northeast of the last recorded radar return.

July 6, 2014, Lake Elsinore, Calif. Piper PA-28R-180 Arrow
At about 0920 Pacific time, the airplane collided with mountainous terrain. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.
Witnesses observed the airplane flying in a northerly direction at about 200 feet agl. The airplane then made a steep, climbing turn to the left, barely clearing nearby powerlines. The wings leveled and the airplane flew in a southwesterly direction towards rising terrain. About five seconds after the airplane flew out of view, they observed a plume of smoke. Initial examination revealed the airplane impacted two trees before coming to rest at the base of a ravine.

July 7, 2014, Landmark, Idaho Am. Champion 7GCBC/Cessna R172K
The two airplanes collided at 0733 Mountain time. The solo commercial pilot in the American Champion received minor injuries after she made a dead-stick approach to a meadow and struck a tree during the landing, resulting in substantial damage to the airplane. The Cessna impacted terrain and was consumed by a post-crash fire. Its solo private pilot received fatal injuries. The destination for both airplanes was Sulfur Creek Ranch Airport, Idaho.

The two pilots were in radio communications with each other. The Cessna pilot stated he was five miles west of the airport at 6800 feet msl; the American Champion’s pilot reported 10 miles west at 7800 feet. At that point, the American Champion pilot saw the Cessna appear under her left wing, overtaking her from behind and below. The Cessna appeared to be climbing and she had no time to react before the airplane struck her propeller and then disappeared downward. Her engine stopped, she tested the flight controls, made a “Mayday” radio transmission, then executed a forced landing into an open area.

July 8, 2014, Fall City, Wash. Cessna 182 Skylane
At about 0800 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged following impact with terrain at a golf course. The solo private pilot sustained fatal injuries. Instrument conditions prevailed; no flight plan had been filed and no clearance had been issued. The flight had been airborne for about five minutes.

A witness reported the vertical visibility was about 75 feet due to fog. He heard the airplane take off, which he thought was to the west, make a right turn, head north, then make a left turn heading south. The witness observed the airplane flying directly overhead at about 75 feet heading south, and then about five seconds later heard an explosion. Two fuel stains were observed and all components necessary for flight were accounted for at the accident site.

July 10, 2014, Mt. Vernon, Texas Piper PA-28R-200 Arrow
The airplane’s solo pilot made a forced landing into a field following a loss of engine power, receiving serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses heard the engine “sputter” as the airplane was flying low to the ground. The airplane’s engine experienced a loss of power and the pilot made an emergency landing into a field. During the descent, the airplane collided with trees and the left wing separated from the fuselage. The right wing remained partially attached. A post-accident examination revealed no evidence of fuel in the fuel tanks or on the ground near the airplane.

July 10, 2014, Titusville, Fla. Beechcraft C24R Sierra
At about 1150 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed. The local flight originated about 1042.

The pilot flew north along the coast for about 30 minutes. The pilot then made a 180-degree turn to the south and switched the fuel selector to the left tank. After about 30 additional minutes of flight, the pilot descended the airplane to about 1200 feet agl and the engine subsequently experienced a total loss of power. The pilot’s attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful and the airplane impacted the roof of an automotive supply store, coming to rest upright inside the building. 

First responders reported the fuel tanks were breached and there was no evidence of fuel at the accident site. Examination revealed a sump drain valve on the underside of the fuselage was in the open detent position and functioned normally when tested.

July 16, 2014, North Captiva Island, Fla. Piper PA-32R-301T Saratoga
The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted the water. The airplane had departed a nearby airport at about 1735. Day visual conditions prevailed. The private solo pilot was fatally injured.

Witnesses reported the airplane was attempting to land; however, the airplane was about halfway down the runway when the pilot aborted the landing attempt. During the go-around maneuver, the airplane was observed at no more than 10 feet agl and the engine was heard operating, but the airplane failed to climb. The left wing impacted the water, separated and the airplane sank.

The four passenger seats had been removed and two wood pallet structures were present on the floor of the cargo area. Porcelain tiles of various sizes were present. Following recovery of the airplane, the tiles were removed from the airplane and weighed a total of 666 pounds.

July 20, 2014, Sedona, Ariz. Cessna 182L Skylane
At about 1530 Mountain time, the airplane collided with terrain, fatally injuring the private pilot and three passengers aboard. The airplane was destroyed by impact and post-crash fire. Visual conditions prevailed. The flight was arriving.

A witness heard the engine accelerate, get quiet and accelerate again. An explosion was heard shortly after. The airplane impacted trees and terrain near the bottom of a steep, rugged canyon.

July 26, 2014 in Clayton, GA Piper PA-46-310P Malibu
The airplane impacted trees and terrain at about 0850 Eastern time, shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

The elevated terrain surrounding the airport was obscured by fog. Two witnesses later reported the airplane seemed to drift left after takeoff. They heard the engine running normally, with no change in the sound, until the crash. The airplane crashed into elevated terrain, in a heavily wooded area, about 1500 feet north of the departure end of the runway, and about 300 feet higher than the runway. A majority of the wreckage was consumed in a post-crash fire. All major structural components of the airplane were accounted for within the wreckage debris path.

July 26, 2014, Spanish Springs, Nev. Thunder Mustang Experimental
At about 0842 Pacific time, the experimental, amateur-built airplane was destroyed by fire following a forced landing. The builder/owner/pilot was uninjured, and the passenger received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later described the engine failure as “immediate,” without any prior symptoms or a gradual onset. The propeller continued to windmill after the loss of power. The pilot manipulated various engine controls in an attempt to get the engine running again, but without success. He spotted a suitable road and set up for a landing to the north. Shortly after touchdown, the airplane struck a northbound pickup truck. The airplane came to a stop and a fire began. After some difficulty with the canopy, both occupants egressed safely. The airplane was equipped with a converted V-12 powerplant based on a Chevrolet automotive engine.


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