General Aviation Accident Bulletin


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

January 1, 2020, Ada, Okla.

Cessna T210L Turbo Centurion

At about 1545 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-field forced landing following a loss of engine power. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the flight, which originated in Denver, Colo., with Shreveport, La., as its destination.

At 1539, the airplane was in cruise flight at about 11,500 feet MSL when the pilot reported a fuel issue to ATC and requested to land “ASAP.” By 1543, the pilot said he was “having all kinds of issues here with instruments” and ATC provided no-gyro vectors to the nearest airport. At 1546, radar contact was lost as the pilot stated, “I’m not sure I can make this runway, I’m trying.” The pilot cleared one set of powerlines, then maneuvered under a second set of powerlines and made a forced landing, winding up in a line of trees.

January 2, 2020, Kenansville, N.C.

Cirrus SR22

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1015 Eastern time when it impacted trees and terrain after its pilot deployed the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). The commercial pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While in cruise flight at 6500 feet MSL and about 50 NM from the planned destination, the pilot heard a “pop” that “wasn’t huge,” but caught his attention, then the autopilot disconnect aural alert sounded, followed by the airplane “decelerating.” The engine had stopped producing power and remedial actions did not restore it. At about 2000 feet MSL and with no airport within range, the pilot activated the CAPS. The airplane impacted trees under canopy, coming to rest partially suspended in tree branches with its right wing touching the ground. During recovery, fuel “was observed to flow from each of the wing’s fuel tanks,” according to the NTSB.

January 4, 2020, Mullin, Texas

Aero Commander 100 Darter

At about 1600 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field. The student pilot and the flight instructor (CFI) were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While descending for a landing to a private airstrip, the engine stopped producing power. The CFI took the controls and performed remedial actions, which did not restore power. The student pilot read aloud the checklist for an engine failure and emergency landing, and confirmed everything had already been completed before the CFI set up for an off-field landing to a flat, plowed dirt field. The CFI attempted to land between trees bordering the field but the right wingtip impacted a tree. The airplane touched down on the dirt with the main landing gear wheels first, skidding about 30 feet in the dry, loose dirt before nosing over and coming to rest upside down.

January 4, 2020, Santa Clarita, Calif.

Thunder Mustang Experimental

The airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain at about 1009 Pacific time. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Several witnesses observed the airplane maneuvering at a low altitude, with smoke trailing from it just before impact. The pilot made a distress call to the Van Nuys ATCT, stating he had a cockpit visibility issue with a loss of engine power. Examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane struck a tall tree before coming to rest in a grassy area in the median of an interstate highway’s cloverleaf offramp. All major components were located at the accident site.

January 5, 2020, Cullman, Ala.

Vans RV-6 Experimental

At about 1243 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to security video, the airplane was seen climbing out from Runway 2 at about 1242. Witnesses heard a loud “pop” when the airplane was about 350 feet AGL during initial climb. The witnesses watched as the airplane made an immediate “sharp left banking turn” in what appeared to be an attempt to return to the airport. The airplane “stalled and went into a left spiral downward turn.” The airplane completed two turns before colliding with the ground on airport property adjacent the taxiway.

Examination revealed the fuel selector was positioned between the left and right fuel tank. Both tanks had been breached but no evidence of fuel was found.

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

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