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.


March 2, 2021, Johnstown, N.Y.

Cessna P210N Pressurized Centurion

At about 0747 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its landing gear collapsed on a runway. The solo pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

While in cruise, the pilot heard an unfamiliar noise that became increasingly louder and he diverted to a nearby airport. Shortly, he noted smoke in the cockpit, informed ATC and opened a window. On downwind for the divert airport, he performed a before-landing checklist and landed. During the rollout, the landing gear collapsed and he lost control. The pilot later reported he had visually verified the gear was in the extended position but failed to check the gear-down status lights. Examination revealed the landing gear’s hydraulic pump circuit breaker had tripped and a related hose was partially melted.


March 2, 2021, Grand Haven, Mich.

Cessna 210A Centurion

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1549 Central time during a forced landing following loss of engine power. The solo pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later reported a total loss of engine power shortly after departing a nearby airport. During the forced landing, substantial damage was sustained to both wings and the fuselage.


March 3, 2021, Lodi, Calif.

Cessna 150J

At about 1220 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing following engine failure. The flight instructor and the pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot had recently purchased the accident airplane; this was his first flight with a new instructor. While in cruise at 3000 feet MSL, they heard a sound like a gunshot and the propeller stopped rotating. The instructor took control while the pilot searched for a suitable place to land and attempted to restart the engine. They subsequently landed in a field with rough and uneven terrain, damaging the wings and tail.


March 4, 2021, Skwentna, Alaska

Cessna A185F Skywagon

The ski-equipped airplane was substantially damaged at about 1500 Alaska time when its right ski assembly failed shortly after landing. The pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

After takeoff from a remote frozen lake, the right rear check cable “came loose” from the fuselage attach fitting, allowing the right main landing gear ski to rotate to a nose-high position. A “very serious” vibration was noted in the right horizontal stabilizer and the pilot decided to return to the departure lake to land. During the landing on untracked snow, as the right ski was moving “into its normal landing position,” the airplane veered hard to the right. The right main landing gear separated from the fuselage and the right wing impacted snow.

In 2018, the ski manufacturer issued a service bulletin (SB) calling for inspection of the yoke assemblies for cracks and notified operators an upgraded component was available. According to the NTSB, the pilot “stated that he and his mechanic were unaware of the SB. He added that, if he would have known of the SB, he ‘would have been the first in line for the upgraded, beefed up yoke.’”


March 4, 2021, Purcellville, VA

Beechcraft C23 Sundowner

At about 1510 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. An observer later noted it appeared the airplane took off with a tailwind. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness heard the airplane take off from Runway 19. When she saw it, the airplane was “tilted to the left” as it descended into the trees. She heard the engine the entire time making “traditional engine noises.” The airplane struck several trees and came to rest in a heavily wooded area about 600 feet from the runway’s departure end. All major components were located at the accident site. Recorded weather about 13 miles southwest of the accident site at 1455 included wind from 310 degrees at 24 knots, gusting to 29 knots. The airport was equipped with two windsocks: one about 500 feet from the departure end of Runway 19 and another one beyond it.


March 6, 2021, Palestine, Texas

Beechcraft 35 Bonanza

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1340 Central time during an off-airport landing following loss of engine power. The private pilot was seriously injured; the private pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot had recently purchased the airplane and was flying it home. While en route, the engine lost power and the pilot maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing. The airplane impacted trees and came to rest in a grass field, sustaining damage to both wings and the fuselage. The wreckage was recovered for subsequent examination.


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

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