General Aviation Accident Bulletin

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.


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 Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at

December 11, 2019, Phoenix, Ariz.

Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II

At about 0822 Mountain time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing. The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later stated that, while on final approach, he moved the throttles and realized both engines had lost power. Despite troubleshooting, he was unable to restore engine power and initiated a forced landing to a nearby road. During the landing sequence, the airplane struck unoccupied vehicles prior to coming to rest upright on a road about a mile west of the destination airport. The right wing had separated from the fuselage.

December 12, 2019, Carlsbad, Calif.

Cessna 182P Skylane

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1900 Pacific time during a forced landing. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported that the engine started to run rough while en route. About a minute later and after troubleshooting, engine roughness increased. The engine monitor appeared to have normal indications. Then the alternator voltage light illuminated, and the engine ran rougher. The pilot saw two “flash explosions” on the left side of the engine and propeller area, followed by the smell of oil in the cabin. The engine monitor then showed the #5 cylinder was “dead.” The pilot diverted to a nearby airport but landed in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5, coming to rest in the far-left lane along the Jersey barrier. The airplane’s nose landing gear had collapsed, the aft fuselage was buckled near the cabin door area and residual oil covered the airplane’s belly.

December 18, 2019, Harrison, Ohio

Cessna 172F Skyhawk

At about 1910 Eastern time, the airplane impacted trees and a fence during a forced landing resulting from loss of engine power, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot and flight instructor were not injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

While climbing out on a practice missed approach, the flight instructor simulated an engine failure. The pilot responded by entering a power-off approach to runway they had overflown. At about 200 feet AGL, the flight instructor advanced the throttle to clear the engine and discovered the engine had stopped producing power. The flight instructor took control; the airplane struck trees and a three-foot-high fence before landing safely on the runway. Examination revealed substantial damage to the outboard left wing.

December 28, 2019, Lafayette, LA

Piper PA-31T Cheyenne I/II

The airplane impacted terrain at about 0921 Central time, shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and four passengers were fatally injured; one passenger sustained serious injuries. Two individuals inside a nearby building sustained minor injuries and one individual in a car sustained serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

The flight’s ADS-B data started at 09:20:05 as the airplane climbed through 150 feet MSL in a right turn. At 09:20:13, the airplane started rolling back toward wings-level. At 09:20:20, the airplane rolled through wings-level to the left. The airplane was tracking 232 degrees; altitude was 475 feet and climbing, and it was accelerating through 165 KCAS.

The airplane continued to roll steadily to the left. At its peak altitude of 925 feet MSL at 09:20:40, bank angle was about 35 degrees left, track was about 200 degrees and airspeed was about 172 KCAS. The airplane began descending while continuing to roll left, reaching a 70-degree bank at 09:20:52 while descending through 600 feet MSL, at between 2000 and 3000 fpm. A low-altitude alert was issued by ATC, but the pilot did not respond. The airport’s automated observation at 0853 included wind from 120 degrees at five knots, an overcast at 200 feet and ground visibility of ¾ mile.

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

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