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.
June 4, 2021, Justin, Texas
Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140
At about 1830 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it descended into trees after losing power shortly after takeoff. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot later stated there were 15 to 20 gallons of fuel in each wing tank, which had been added about three months earlier. On the evening of the accident, he had already completed two landings on the grass runway when, at about 45 feet AGL on the third takeoff, the engine lost power. The airplane descended, coming to rest suspended in trees without its left wing, which had separated in the accident sequence.
Examination revealed the left fuel tank was intact and contained about a gallon of fuel. The right fuel tank was breached and did not contain any fuel; a fuel odor was present at the accident site. The fuel selector was positioned to the right tank. The pilot said the flight’s purpose was to ensure that the airplane operated normally before selling it. He added that the airplane had not had an annual inspection in about seven years and had not flown much recently.
June 6, 2021, Darlington, Ind.
Diamond Aircraft DA40 NG Star
The airplane was destroyed at about 1020 Eastern time when it struck terrain after its pilots apparently failed to recover from a stall demonstration. The pilot and flight instructor were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
Once airborne, the airplane’s flight data revealed several turns, and engine power and altitude changes, consistent with maneuvering. A witness saw the airplane was in a “nose down, left spin” before it disappeared behind a tree line. The flight data also revealed the airplane was at about 4000 feet MSL when engine power was reduced, airspeed decreased and its pitch attitude increased. The airplane nosed down and entered a spiraling turn to the right “consistent with” a spin.
June 10, 2021, Muncie, Ind.
At about 2028 Central time, the unregistered airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following an apparent aerodynamic stall shortly after takeoff. The non-certificated pilot was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
A pilot-rated witness observed the airplane take off from the 1200-foot-long grass runway. It had started a turn to avoid trees when it “stalled, fell sideways from the sky” and impacted the ground left-wing-first. The witness said the airplane appeared “underpowered for the hot and humid weather conditions.” Runway elevation was 937 feet; density altitude was 3314 feet.
June 13, 2021, Madisonville, Texas
Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six 260
The airplane was substantially damaged when it apparently collided with terrain short of the intended runway at 2355 Central time. The private pilot was fatally injured; the five passengers received serious injuries. Visual night conditions prevailed.
The airplane impacted 50-foot-high trees about 680 feet south of the approach end of Runway 36. The propeller displayed S-shaped bending consistent with engine power. The wing flaps were fully extended. Flight control continuity was confirmed, and there were no mechanical anomalies precluding normal operation.
June 14, 2021, Matthews, VA
At about 1230 Eastern time, the airplane was ditched in the Chesapeake Bay following complete engine failure. The flight instructor and student pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After descending the airplane to 2500 feet MSL to avoid military airspace, the engine began vibrating and running rough before shaking “violently” and losing all power. The flight instructor took control and ditched the airplane near a fishing trawler, which rescued both occupants.
June 16, 2021, Parker, Colo.
Lancair Evolution Experimental
The airplane was destroyed at about 1345 Mountain time when it reportedly collided with power lines and terrain while on final approach. The two private pilots sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
The airplane was about 2.6 miles from the end of the runway when the pilot advised that the airplane had lost its autopilot capabilities. A nearby airplane reported it had the accident airplane in sight, and then saw it impact powerlines and terrain. A postimpact fire consumed most of the composite airplane.