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.


May 6, 2021, Young Harris, GA

DJI Matrice SUAS

The small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) injured its pilot after it became unresponsive. The remote pilot in command (RPIC) sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

During a demonstration flight near a manufacturer-designated prohibited-flight zone, the sUAS became unresponsive, and the pilot used the return-to-home function. The sUAS flew to a hover at about seven feet AGL, over a vehicle, and remained unresponsive to control inputs. The RPIC grabbed the landing gear and attempted to physically move the drone away from the vehicle but the sUAS “resisted the physical displacement and maintained its position over the vehicle,” according to the NTSB. With assistance from a bystander, the RPIC attempted to remove its battery but was struck several times by a rotor, injuring his hand. “After the injury was sustained,” the NTSB said, “the RPIC continued to hold onto the drone for several minutes until the batteries were exhausted and the motors stopped.”


May 6, 2021, La Belle, Fla.

Ted Smith Aerostar 600

At about 1520 Eastern time, the Canada-registered airplane was substantially damaged when it apparently suffered an engine failure and collided with terrain. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured and the pilot-rated passenger was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Surveillance data revealed that the airplane took off at about 1500. The airplane was in cruise flight at about 3500 feet MSL and 170 knots groundspeed when it began a decelerating descent until the target disappeared about 0.5 miles east of the accident site at about 200 feet and a groundspeed of 110 knots. A doorbell camera about 500 feet east of the accident site captured the airplane as it passed overhead at low altitude. The engine sound was smooth and continuous as it passed into and out of the camera’s view. Seconds later, the sounds of impact were heard. Examination revealed each of the left propeller’s blades displayed similar twisting, bending and chordwise polishing. The blades of the right propeller were secure in the hub and were in the feathered position.


May 6, 2021, Spring, Texas

Piper PA-28-161 Warrior II

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1707 Central time when it experienced an apparent engine fire during landing rollout. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The flight instructor later said the engine quit during the landing rollout. After exiting the runway, the flight instructor restarted the engine and subsequently noticed a fire that produced smoke and extreme heat in the cabin compartment. The flight instructor and student evacuated the airplane. Initial examination revealed a damaged engine mount and buckling of the engine firewall.


May 11, 2021, Merrill, Wis.

Beech C23 Sundowner

At 1500 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during an off-field landing after it lost engine power. The pilot and passenger had minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane was about five miles from the airport, descending through about 1250 feet, when the engine started to run rough and gradually lost power. The pilot switched fuel tanks and magnetos, to no avail, and executed an off-field landing, collapsing the landing gear. Reported weather at the time included temperature of 55 degrees F and a dewpoint at 25 degrees F.


May 12, 2021, Englewood, Colo.

Swearingen SA226TC/Cirrus SR22

The two airplanes collided in flight at 1023 Mountain time while approaching to land. There were no injuries aboard either airplane. Visual conditions prevailed.

Both airplanes were in communication with ATC. At 1022:43, the Swearingen was on about a 5.5 nm final for Runway 17L. At the same time, the Cirrus was on a right downwind and about to turn onto the base leg for Runway 17R. The two airplanes collided about 3.2 NM from the airport. The Swearingen remained aligned with Runway 17L while the Cirrus was turning from base to final and heading about 146 degrees when the collision occurred. It apparently overshot its turn to final for Runway 17R and drifted into the final approach path for Runway 17L. The Swearingen’s pilot declared an emergency and landed successfully on Runway 17L without further incident. The Cirrus pilot reported the airplane was not controllable and deployed the airframe parachute, coming to rest about three nm north of the airport.


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

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