October 1, 2017, Klamath Falls, Ore.
Cirrus Design SR22
At about 1043 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering in a remote mountainous area. The private pilot and the passenger received fatal injuries. Instrument conditions were reported in the area at the time of the accident.
Before departure, a retired U.S. Air Force F-15 pilot queried the accident pilot about the weather. The pilot replied he would climb above the clouds if needed and look for a hole to get down through. If he could not find a hole, then he would return to the departure airport. A state trooper conducting fish and wildlife surveillance reported hearing the airplane pass overhead on a westerly heading “at a very low altitude, in the clouds.” He stated “the engine was screaming” and that clouds were at tree-top level. The airplane started a left turn, followed shortly by the sound of a crash.
October 2, 2017, Tonopah, Nev.
Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1230 Pacific time when it impacted a dry river bed. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot topped off the accident airplane with about 52 gallons of fuel, then departed for an airport 306 nm away, flying at approximately 1000 feet agl. The flight was proceeding normally until the engine lost power and would not exceed 1500 rpm. He configured the airplane for a precautionary landing and landed into the wind. As the nose gear settled down, the airplane stopped abruptly, nosed over and came to rest inverted.
October 2, 2017, San Juan, P.R.
Cessna 182D Skylane
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1048 Atlantic time when it collided with terrain during landing. The private pilot was fatally injured; a pilot-rated passenger was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot was cleared to land on Runway 9, behind a flight of two Blackhawk helicopters, shortly after they had cleared the runway at midfield. The airplane touched down just past midfield, bounced and came to rest in the grass infield, inverted.
October 3, 2017, Virginia Beach, Va.
At about 0830 Eastern time, the aircraft was substantially damaged during a forced landing after a partial loss of power during initial climb. The solo airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the test flight. The accident airplane’s assembly recently had been completed; the accident flight was its first.
The airplane was started, taxied and fast-taxied (with the tail up) the previous day. The accident flight began after normal taxi and run-up operations. According to the pilot, the engine ran “perfectly” as the aircraft accelerated and became airborne. At about 200-300 feet agl and more than of the way down the runway, the engine began losing power. After turning back toward the airport, the pilot realized he did not have sufficient power to reach it and headed for a recently harvested corn field instead. The approach and touchdown were normal, but the airplane’s landing gear was damaged by corn stalks and failed. The airplane nosed over and came to a stop. The engine had accrued about six total hours of operation since major overhaul.
October 3, 2017, Blythe, Calif.
Cirrus Design SR22
The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1521 Pacific time during an emergency landing after a reported loss of engine power. The flight instructor and commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After an uneventful takeoff, the two climbed and leveled off at a cruise altitude of about 11,500 feet msl on a flight to deliver the airplane to its new owner. About 1.5 hours into the flight, engine oil pressure started to decrease, and they decided to divert. Shortly thereafter, the engine completely lost power. The two pilots elected to activate the airplane’s parachute system.
October 4, 2017, Salters, S.C.
At about 1745 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering. The commercial pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
A witness watched the airplane take off and, about 10 minutes later, the pilot made a low pass over the grass strip and then began a steep climb. The witness stated the airplane rolled left and the left wing dropped. The airplane became inverted and descended in a nose-low attitude. The airplane’s wings were level before it disappeared behind trees. It came to rest in an open field surrounded by trees about a mile southwest of the departure airport.
October 5, 2017, Hillsboro, Ore.
Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 250
The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1420 Pacific time during a hard landing. The flight instructor and student pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
During a practice short-field, full-stop landing, the airplane was slow and the instructor called for a go-around just before the student flared. During the go-around, the airplane stalled and struck the runway hard, substantially damaging the fuselage and wings.
October 5, 2017 Santa Ynez, Calif.
Glasair Super II RG Experimental
At 1053 Pacific time, the airplane made a forced landing to a grassy field following a loss of engine power. The pilot/owner was not injured but the airplane was substantially damaged on rollout when it impacted a perimeter fence and a dirt berm. Visual conditions prevailed.
Preflight, taxi and run-up were normal and there were no problems with the first full-stop takeoff and landing. Shorty after the second takeoff, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot initiated a left turn to enter the pattern, but he had to make a forced landing in an open field. During the landing, the airplane collided with a perimeter fence. Examination confirmed fuel was present in the tanks.
October 6, 2017, Sugar Grove, Ill.
Piper PA-34-220T Seneca III/IV/V
The airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a corn field at about 0706 Central time, following a loss of engine power on its right engine shortly after takeoff. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed. The flight was originating, with Wichita, Kan., as the intended destination. The airplane received substantial damage to its fuselage and both wings.
October 6, 2017, Sweetwater, Texas
Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking
At 1329 Central time, the airplane experienced a total loss of electrical power. About 18 minutes later, the engine lost all power during cruise flight. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field, but the airplane received substantial damage on impact with terrain. Visual conditions prevailed.
October 6, 2017, Centre Hall, Penn.
The airplane experienced a partial loss of engine power after takeoff at about 1415 Eastern time and was substantially damaged during the subsequent forced landing. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
After takeoff, the airplane had climbed to 200 feet agl when it experienced an “appreciable” loss of engine power, the flight controls became “sluggish” and the airplane would no longer climb, according to the pilot. The pilot performed a forced landing to a field directly off the departure end of the runway. During the landing roll, the airplane struck fences, resulting in substantial damage to both wings.
Examination revealed the left, right and fuselage fuel tanks were intact and contained fuel. The engine was rotated by hand and compression was confirmed on all but the No. 2 cylinder. The No. 2 exhaust valve was stuck in the open position without rocker-arm contact through several rotations of the crankshaft.
October 7, 2017, Front Royal, Va.
Piper PA-25-235 Pawnee
At about 1345 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain during initial climb while towing a glider. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the flight instructor in the glider being towed, the takeoff was normal. His attention was diverted and, when he looked back, he noted the accident airplane was below and to the right of the glider, and the tow cable was slack. He then released the cable and performed a 180-degree turn, landing uneventfully. Several witnesses stated that the takeoff appeared to be normal, but then the accident airplane pitched down, descended below the glider and turned right before impacting terrain.
October 7, 2017, Tucson, Ariz.
Long-EZ Experimental/Piper PA-28-180
The two airplanes collided in midair at about 1030 Mountain time. The solo private pilot aboard the Long-EZ, and the private pilot and passenger in the Piper, were not injured. Both airplanes were substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot of the Long-EZ reported he was on downwind when he observed another airplane on left base, slightly above him, off to his right side and closing rapidly. Shortly thereafter, the airplanes collided. The pilot of the Piper had begun his turn to left base when he noticed an airplane on downwind. The pilot of the Piper stated that he attempted to avoid the other airplane, however, his airplane’s landing gear struck the Long EZ. Both pilots declared an emergency and landed without further incident.
October 8, 2017, Vernon, Texas
Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros
At about 1300 Central time, the airplane collided with terrain. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.
Multiple witnesses saw the airplane make a low pass down Runway 20. Some witnesses said the landing gear was being retracted as if the pilot was making a go-around. The airplane pulled up, entered a steep left bank and impacted the ground.
October 9, 2017, Los Lunas, N.M.
Globe GC-1A Swift
The airplane impacted a steel culvert structure at about 1425 Mountain time following loss of control during takeoff. The solo private pilot sustained serious injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
The airplane arrived to refuel the day before the accident. During a subsequent takeoff, the airplane ground looped and sustained unknown damage. The pilot, who also was a mechanic, performed repairs to the airplane, which included welding the right main landing strut assembly. During takeoff on the day of the accident, the airplane veered to the left of the runway and struck a berm. The airplane became airborne and then impacted a steel culvert structure adjacent to the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to its fuselage and wings.
October 9, 2017, Buckeye, Ariz.
Nanchang China CJ-6
At about 1616 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing after loss of engine power. The private pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After the pilot started a descent from cruise flight, the engine lost power. Unable to make an airport, he decided to land on a clearing at a nearby construction site. During the landing, the airplane’s left wing struck an obstacle and the airplane veered out of control.
October 12, 2017, Las Cruces, N.M.
Cessna 182H Skylane
The airplane impacted terrain at about 2015 Mountain time. The flight instructor and student pilot were both fatally injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Night visual conditions prevailed.
Initial reports from local agencies indicated the instructional flight was returning to land when it collided with terrain under unknown circumstances. A post-impact fire ensued.
October 13, 2017, Ramsey, Minn.
Cessna 172M Skyhawk
At 1734 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with power lines and the Mississippi River. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
Ground-based video footage depicted the airplane flying at a low altitude over the Mississippi River about 200 yards east of the accident site. Several witnesses noted the airplane was below the trees lining both sides of the river. The airplane impacted a set of four power lines installed horizontally across the river. According to witnesses, the power lines were equipped with red aerial marker balls.
October 15, 2017, Tuskegee, Ala.
Cirrus Design SR22T
The airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing at about 1100 Central time following a partial loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.
During initial climb after takeoff, the airplane suffered a partial loss of power well below 1000 feet agl. Unable to return to the airport, the pilot selected a sod field as an off-airport landing site. During the forced landing, the airplane’s landing gear collapsed and the airplane sustained substantial damage to its fuselage. A witness observed a cloud of faint white smoke after the accident airplane’s engine was started. He added that the engine sounded “choppy” throughout the entire takeoff. After liftoff, about midfield, he observed gray smoke from the airplane’s exhaust.
October 18, 2017, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Cessna 402B Businessliner
At about 1545 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The commercial pilot, one passenger, and two motorists sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 charter flight.
About 13 minutes after departure, the pilot advised ATC he was “fuel critical” and requested vectors for the nearest airport. At 1543, the pilot was given a vector to the nearest airport, which the pilot reported in sight. The airplane landed on a residential street about two miles from the nearest airport and collided with two motor vehicles.
October 30, 2017, Dawsonville, Ga.
Piper PA-32R-300 Cherokee Lance
At about 0826 Eastern time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing on an asphalt race track. The solo private pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.
While climbing through 8000 feet msl, the pilot heard a sound consistent with prop governor overspeed and observed a low oil-quantity light with zero oil pressure. The pilot declared an emergency and began a descent. Passing through about 5000 feet msl, the pilot heard a loud noise then saw smoke enter the cockpit through the cabin heat system. Seeing an asphalt racetrack below, the pilot selected one of the straight sections of track for landing. As the airplane neared the surface, a truck moved in the way and the pilot veered the airplane left to avoid a collision. Following the maneuver, the airplane’s right wing struck a dirt berm, resulting in substantial damage.
Examination revealed the bottom of the fuselage was coated in oil and the engine crankcase was fractured at the upper aft attach bolts of the number six cylinder. All three propeller blades were present, with only one blade exhibiting signs of damage.
This Month’s Graphic
Accidents resulting from adverse weather always have been a major concern for GA operators. The chart at right, edited slightly for style, is from the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s most-recent Nall Report and depicts the trend (2005 – 2014) in weather-related accidents. Two takeaways:
• A high proportion of such accidents involve fatalities, but the trend is good.
• Except for a blip in 2011, a decline in the number of accidents begins about the time ADS-B’s free in-cockpit weather reached critical mass. Coincidence?