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 23, 2021, Everett, Wash.

Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP

At about 0900 Pacific time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when it lost engine power shortly after takeoff. The solo pilot sustained minor injuries. Weather conditions were not reported.

During the preflight, the pilot attempted to add fuel but discovered the tanks were nearly full. Takeoff and initial climb were normal. Seconds later, with the airplane at about 100 feet AGL, the engine began sputtering and the pilot made a left turn to land on the parallel runway. At that point, the engine lost all power and he was unable to maintain altitude. The airplane collided with trees and came to rest about 500 feet east of the threshold for Runway 34L.


March 24, 2021, Animas, N.M.

Mooney M20B

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0130 Mountain time after ATC lost radio and radar contact with its pilot while en route. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured. The flight encountered instrument conditions; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

While in cruise flight, the pilot reported a loss of engine power and that they were experiencing light rime icing. An Alert Notice was issued when ATC lost contact with the airplane, which was later found by local law enforcement after it came to rest in mountainous terrain at about 5010 feet elevation.


March 26, 2021, Bridgeport, Texas

Beech 35 Bonanza

At 1527 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain short of the runway while conducting a simulated engine-out approach. The pilot and flight examiner were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed; the flight’s purpose was to conduct a flight review.

After topping the fuel tanks and taking off, the two pilots simulated a loss of engine power and made a return to the departure airport. The pilot stated they encountered a strong downdraft while turning from base to final, but he did not recall what happened after that. A witness said the airplane’s nose was “up in the air” and its tail “barely cleared the power lines along the highway.” After crossing the road, the nose lifted higher and the airplane banked right before hitting trees and descending out of sight.


March 27, 2021, Justin, Texas

Piper J3C-65 Cub

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1600 Central time when it lost engine power while landing. The solo pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later reported he had turned for his approach to a private landing strip when the engine lost power. The pilot then attempted to land the airplane in a wheat field, but it impacted trees and came to rest in a stand of trees on the edge of a field. Both wings were damaged. An FAA inspector noted fuel was present in the airplane.


March 28, 2021, Marana, Ariz.

Cirrus Design SR22

At about 1428 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-airport landing following complete loss of engine power. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot later reported that, while en route, the airplane experienced heavy vibrations and moments later a complete loss of engine power. He began maneuvering toward a nearby airport but determined he did not have the altitude. He attempted to deploy the airframe parachute to no avail. He then selected a dirt road and made an off-airport landing; the right main landing gear collapsed, and the right wing contacted the ground. Engine oil was streaked down both sides of the cowling.


March 29, 2021, Yacolt, Wash.

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1647 Pacific time when its pilot made a forced landing after the engine lost power. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Instrument conditions were present; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

While in cruise at about 8000 feet MSL, the engine started to run rough. The pilot applied carburetor heat and requested a lower altitude from ATC but the engine was running worse. While being vectored to the nearest airport, the airplane exited instrument conditions and the pilot elected to make a forced landing in a nearby clearing but impacted several trees. An Alert Notice was issued and the accident site was located later that evening by U.S. Navy SAR personnel.


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

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