General Aviation Accident Bulletin

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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 2, 2020, Lufkin, Texas

Cessna 551 Citation II/SP

At 0843 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it departed the runway while landing. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries; two passengers were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was arriving on an IFR flight plan.

After an uneventful flight and approach, the airplane touched down on a wet runway. During the landing, the pilot cycled the anti-skid brake system two or three times. Once the airplane slowed to about 20 knots, the airplane’s anti-skid braking stopped working; the jet may have hydroplaned. The airplane exited the runway onto wet grass, went through an airport perimeter fence, crossed a roadway and came to rest in a cow pasture. The nose and main landing gear collapsed after departing the runway, and both wings had structural damage.


December 2, 2020, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0751 Eastern time during an emergency landing after the engine failed to respond. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After several takeoffs and landings in the traffic pattern, the flight instructor’s “fuel timer” went off on the downwind leg, alerting the pilots to switch tanks. The NTSB preliminary report does not state the pilots switched tanks. They performed a go-around procedure and, on the upwind leg, noticed a strong smell of something “being burnt.” The flight instructor noted the carbon monoxide detector indicated high levels of CO were present. As the student turned to the crosswind leg, the flight instructor noted a “lack of engine power” and assumed control of the airplane, moving the throttle lever with no response from the engine. He declared an emergency and turned back toward the airport, unsuccessfully attempting to restart the engine multiple times.

The airplane struck an airport perimeter fence, nosed over and came to rest inverted. Examination confirmed throttle and mixture control continuity. There was no visible damage to the exhaust system.


December 2, 2020, Arden Hills, Minn.

Bellanca 17-30A Super Viking 300A

At about 2115 Central time, the airplane was substantially damage during an emergency landing to an Interstate highway. The pilot, passenger and the occupant of the motor vehicle the airplane struck were not injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

About 10 minutes after taking off on the night sightseeing flight, the pilot heard a loud “bang” and the engine began to vibrate, then lost all power. During the landing on the Interstate highway, the airplane struck a vehicle and highway divider. Examination revealed both wings were bent and a large hole was noted on the top of the engine crankcase, and the numbers 5 and 6 connecting rods were missing. A large amount of metal debris was noted in the oil pan and in the oil filter.


December 6, 2020, Windom, Minn.

Piper PA-32-301T Turbo Saratoga

The airplane was destroyed at about 0625 Central time when it crashed shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Night instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

After takeoff, the pilot did not initiate radio contact with ATC. At 0623:24, the airplane began making large heading changes about two miles north of the departure airport. The last radar data was recorded at 0625:12, near the accident site. The airplane impacted a plowed field on an easterly heading about 2.5 miles north of the departure runway and slightly west of its extended runway centerline.


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

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