General Aviation Accident Bulletin

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.

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AVweb’s General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages of our sister publication, Aviation Safety magazine. All the reports listed here are preliminary and include only initial factual findings about crashes. You can learn more about the final probable cause on the NTSB’s website at www.ntsb.gov. Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at www.aviationsafetymagazine.com.


December 6, 2019, Spring Branch, Texas

Beechcraft Model A36 Bonanza

At about 1315 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during an aborted takeoff. The private pilot and four passengers were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he topped off the fuel tanks before a one-hour positioning flight, which he estimated consumed 17 gallons. Before takeoff, he loaded four passengers and completed an engine run-up, with no anomalies noted. He held the brakes before applying full power and starting the takeoff roll. When the airplane reached about 80 knots, he tried to lift off but the airplane would not fly. He then reduced engine power, aborted the takeoff and maneuvered the airplane into the grass to slow it down.


December 8, 2019, Flower Pot, Ariz.

Mooney M20C

The airplane impacted terrain at about 1300 Mountain time. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire. Marginal visual conditions with potential instrument conditions and mountain obscuration prevailed. The accident site was discovered by a rancher five days later. There were no witnesses to the impact, but witnesses who observed the airplane on the day of the accident came forward once they discovered that the airplane had crashed.

The witnesses were southbound on Interstate 17 when they took photos of an airplane that flew over their car at low altitude. They reported that weather at the time consisted of a low ceiling but with good visibility below the clouds. The witnesses further reported that when they were about where the airplane was reported to have crashed, visibility had dropped to about ¼ mile and clouds extended to the ground.

With the witness reports, radar track data for the accident airplane was identified. It had impacted terrain about a mile east of the interstate on a heading of about 060 degrees. The main wreckage came to rest about 320 ft from the initial impact point. The pilot had purchased the airplane four days before the accident.


December 9, 2019, Victoria, Texas

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

At about 2017 Central time, the airplane impacted terrain during initial climb. The solo airline transport pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Night visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 cargo flight, which operated on an IFR flight plan.

After takeoff and while climbing through 1900 feet MSL, the airplane began a series of 15 course reversals, which continued throughout the remainder of the flight. The course reversals alternated between right and left turns, each with more than 90 degrees of heading change. At 2008 and 2011, the pilot told ATC he had “some instrument problem” and then agreed to return to the departure airport. As the airplane continued to make turns, a rapid descent occurred and radar contact was lost. The airplane impacted in a near-vertical attitude.


December 10, 2019, Louisville, KY

Piper PA-28-235 Cherokee 235

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1303 Eastern time while landing. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While conducting a visual approach to Runway 24, the pilot turned final and descended using the visual approach slope indicator (VASI). Winds were from 280 degrees at seven knots. On entering ground effect, he began to flare the airplane, when suddenly the nose “jerked down” and he was unable to physically manipulate the control yoke. The airplane’s nose gear hit the runway first and collapsed. The airplane came to rest left of the runway centerline, with the nose and left main gear in grass and the right main landing gear still on runway.


This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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