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.


November 1, 2020, Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Raytheon 400A BeechJet

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1400 Eastern time when it failed to stop on the landing runway and rolled off the departure end. The pilot, copilot and four passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.

Automated weather at the destination reported winds from 110- 120 degrees at four knots, gusting to 18. Rain showers had passed over the airport prior to arrival. According to the crew, performance calculations were within limits for the 5100-foot-long wet Runway 13. The airplane touched down on-speed, on the centerline and on the aiming point. Speed brakes were deployed at approximately 97 knots.

The pilot applied wheel brakes but the airplane was not decelerating normally. The copilot selected anti-skid off, but there was no improvement in braking. The pilot managed to “scrub off” some speed by steering to the left and right sides of the runway before the airplane departed the end of the runway and stopped approximately 150 feet beyond it in soft soil and grass. After the accident, the airport manager and the pilot drove the runway’s full length but could not find any skid marks except for the side-to-side skidding.


November 1, 2020, Ellicott, N.Y.

Gulfstream American GA-7 Cougar

At about 1748 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain about a mile short of its destination’s runway while on an instrument approach. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured; instrument conditions prevailed.

Earlier, the pilot and his flight instructor discussed weather decisions and in-flight icing by telephone before the flight departed North Carolina. Before he received an approach clearance, ATC asked the pilot about flight conditions. “The pilot did not report ice accumulation, but reported being in and out of clouds, updrafts, downdrafts, snow, and light to moderate turbulence.” Contact was lost about 1.5 miles northeast of the airport.


November 3, 2020, Weslaco, Texas

Piper J-3C Cub/Piper J-3C Cub

The two airplanes collided in mid-air at about 1754 Central time. The student pilot in one Cub was not injured while the airline transport pilot in the other sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The student stated his third touch-and-go landing was a normal wheel landing. After the tailwheel contacted the runway, he advanced the throttle to takeoff power and accelerated. After the airplane became airborne, it drifted to the right while his attention was diverted to cockpit instruments. His airplane then collided with the other Cub at about 80 feet.

The airline transport pilot later stated that, after turning from base leg to the final approach, he realized his Cub was too close to the airplane ahead. He decided to go around and sidestepped to the runway’s right, maintaining visual separation from the other Cub in his 9-10 o’clock position and slightly below. Shortly after he shifted his gaze to the right to assess any additional impediments to his flight path, the other airplane “made an apparent right turn” and collided with his airplane.

Both airplanes became intermingled and descended to the ground, coming to rest about 110 feet from the runway’s right side.


November 4, 2020, Glendale, Ariz.

Remos Aircraft GX

The light sport aircraft was substantially damaged at 1130 Mountain time during a series of touch-and-go landings. The flight instructor and the student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed. During the third landing, the student pilot was manipulating the flight controls as the airplane touched down normally just left of the runway centerline.

During the landing roll, the airplane continued left toward the runway’s edge and, in response, the student applied right rudder. The instructor then took the controls and attempted to maneuver the airplane back to the runway centerline. The airplane then made a grinding noise and began vibrating. The instructor exited the runway and shut down the airplane. Examination revealed the main landing gear carrythough structure was damaged and about 12 inches of it had separated from the airplane.


November 6, 2020, Fredericksburg, Texas

Beechcraft J35 Bonanza/Beechcraft M35 Bonanza

The two airplanes collided in flight at about 1638 Central time after aborting a planned four-ship practice formation flight. The J35 Bonanza was destroyed and its pilot fatally injured. The M35 Bonanza sustained substantial damage; its pilot and a pilot-rated observer sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

Shortly after the four Bonanzas took off in two pairs, the M35 Bonanza’s pilot reported his landing gear would not retract and believed it remained down and locked. The J35 and M35 Bonanzas returned to the airport while the other two Bonanzas continued to the practice area. Shortly, the returning airplanes joined the downwind leg for landing, with the M35 Bonanza—the one with the gear problem—leading and the J35 about three to four wingspans left to its right.

As the two aboard the M35 Bonanza prepared for the landing, they heard a loud “bang/wham and the airplane violently shook.” The airplane pitched down, its engine sound “went quiet” and “engine oil began to accumulate on the windscreen.” Its pilot executed a forced landing to a grassy area with small trees and came to rest upright.

According to witnesses, the J35 Bonanza “descended very rapidly towards the terrain” before visual contact was lost behind trees and they observed a fireball and smoke. Damage consistent with propeller impact marks was noted on the M35 Bonanza’s left forward engine cowling, forward engine cylinders and nose landing gear tire.


This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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