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.
August 14, 2020, West Palm Beach, Fla.
Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1718 Eastern time when it caught fire shortly after landing. The pilot/owner received minor injuries; the other pilot aboard was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
After about an 80-minute flight, the two returned to the departure airport and landed. During the landing roll, the pilot opened the airplane’s gull-wing door and instantly heard “a swish of air enter the cabin,” followed by a flash of fire that came forward from the rear cabin. Both occupants jumped out of the airplane as it continued down the runway and into the grass, where it came to rest upright. A majority of the fuselage and engine were consumed by fire.
August 14, 2020, Harlowton, Mon.
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140
At about 1235 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an attempted takeoff. The pilot and three passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, he performed a short-field takeoff at the airplane’s maximum gross weight. Shortly after lifting off, airspeed decreased and the airplane descended, touching down and nosing over in a pasture about one mile west of the airport. The pilot later reported the engine’s power had declined over the months prior to the accident but the A&P who inspected it two days before the accident could find nothing wrong. The pilot reported the engine did not malfunction, yet he affirms that “the engine was not providing as much power as it should have.”
August 16, 2020, Osage Beach, MO
The airplane was destroyed at about 1320 Central time during an attempt to return to the departure airport shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured.
Witnesses observed the pilot “flooding the engine” during startup to the point fuel was observed coming out of the engine cowling and down the nose wheel. Black smoke was coming out of the engine compartment after the engine started and before the airplane taxied, and during takeoff. Several witnesses said the engine did not sound normal. After takeoff, the pilot transmitted the CTAF frequency that he was returning to the airport. The airplane entered a left turn back to the airport at about 100 feet above the trees and then descended steeply to the ground. The wreckage was mostly consumed by post-impact fire.
August 17, 2020, Savannah, GA
Cessna 182P Skylane
During a preflight inspection, the pilot observed wrinkled skin on the right-side fuselage near the engine firewall. A local mechanic believed it to be minor damage and the pilot continued to his destination. Upon arrival, another mechanic noted that the damage appeared to be more serious and a ferry permit was requested. The damage was determined to be substantial and the ferry permit was denied. The pilot stated the damage appeared to be from a landing with the nose gear touching down first, but he did not recall any unusual or hard landings during his previous flights.