General Aviation Accident Bulletin

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.


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 Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at

July 6, 2021, Ashtabula, Ohio

T-51D Mustang Experimental

At about 1445 Central time, the homebuilt airplane was substantially damaged during an aborted takeoff attempt. The pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot intended to perform fuel flow and fuel indicator checks on the newly built airplane. After takeoff, while climbing through 200 feet AGL, the engine lost power. The pilot noticed the engine computer circuit breaker had tripped, but an attempt to reset it was unsuccessful. He nosed over the airplane to land on the remaining runway but the left main landing gear collapsed and the airplane ground looped.

July 6, 2021, Manteo, N.C.

Piper PA-46-500TP Malibu Meridian

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1508 Eastern time after its engine lost power and the pilot turned back to the departure airport. The airline transport pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed. Just after retracting the landing gear, the pilot noted a loss of thrust. Remedial actions restored power, albeit with a brief interruption, but the pilot was able to climb and turn back toward the departure airport. He landed about midfield, at the intersection of Runways 35 and 23, aligned about 35 degrees off the heading for Runway 35. The airplane rolled into a grassy area and its nose landing gear collapsed.

July 10, 2021, Longmont, Colo.

Cessna 421C Golden Eagle

At about 0920 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a takeoff attempt. The pilot and three passengers received minor injuries.

After the airplane lifted off from the runway, the pilot didn’t feel that the engine(s) were making full power. The airplane settled back onto the runway, and then rolled off the departure end, coming to rest upright. A small post-crash fire developed. Substantial damage was noted to the airplane’s fuselage and wings.

July 10, 2021, Wikieup, Ariz.

Beechcraft C90 King Air

The airplane was destroyed after its airframe apparently failed at about 1255 Mountain time during its aerial reconnaissance and supervision mission in support of firefighting aircraft. The pilot and Air Tactical Group supervisor were fatally injured. Flight conditions included smoke from nearby wildfires.

The airplane had been on-station for about 45 minutes over the area of the Cedar Basin fire, flying multiple orbits at about 2500 feet AGL. The last radar data point showed the airplane’s airspeed about 151 knots, its altitude about 2300 feet AGL and descending, and its location about 805 feet east southeast of the accident site. A witness observed the airplane in a steep dive before it impacted a ridgeline in mountainous desert terrain. A post-crash fire ensued. The left wing was located about 0.79 miles northeast of the main wreckage; it did not sustain thermal damage.

July 13, 2021, Monterey, Calif.

Cessna 421C Golden Eagle

At about 1042 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the pilot had requested an IFR clearance to VFR-on-top.

The departure clearance used the Monterey Five departure procedure, which included instructions to turn left after takeoff. After takeoff, as the airplane climbed through 1700 feet MSL, ATC noticed the airplane was turning in the wrong direction. The controller issued instructions for an immediate turn to a 030-degree heading, which the pilot acknowledged. The controller then issued two low-altitude alerts but there no response and no further communication with the pilot was received. The flight’s ADS-B data was lost at an altitude of 775 feet MSL, about 520 feet southwest of the accident site.

A witness observed the accident airplane descend below the cloud layer in a right turn with its landing gear retracted, then impact a pine tree before it dropped below the tree line. Weather included visibility of nine statute miles and an overcast ceiling at 800 feet AGL.

July 14, 2021, Muscatine, Iowa

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

The airplane was destroyed at 1238 Central time when it collided with terrain. The non-instrument-rated private pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. Unknown weather conditions prevailed at the accident site, with a broken overcast at 6500 feet AGL and six miles of visibility reported nine miles away.

Originating in Iron Mountain, Mich., at 0918, the flight proceeded VFR on roughly a 210-degree track at 4500 feet MSL until about 1141, when it began a series of course and altitude changes. At 1238, while heading about 240 degrees at 2900 feet, it turned right and began a descent. Turn radius decreased and descent rate increased until the last recorded data point at 1238:28.7. The final data point was about 200 feet from the initial impact location.

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

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