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 9, 2019, Savannah, Ga.

Cessna 550 Citation II

At 1228 Eastern time, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power to both engines while en route and diverted to Savannah, Ga., where it landed without further incident. Both airline transport pilots, two medical crew, and three passengers onboard were uninjured. The flight was operated as a FAR Part 135 on-demand aeromedical flight. Visual conditions prevailed; the airplane operated on an IFR flight plan.

While cruising at FL350, the crew experienced difficulty setting the left engine’s N1 speed at around 103 percent. All engine gauges were normal, but then the left engine began to “spool down very slowly.” After unsuccessfully attempting to recover engine power, the crew began a descent with the left engine at idle power, then shut it down after noticing there was no oil pressure. At about 8000 feet MSL, while preparing for a single-engine approach, the right engine became unresponsive and then began “spooling down.” The crew declared an emergency and performed a straight-in approach. The airplane landed without incident and was towed to the ramp.

The airplane was based in Punta Gorda, Fla., and was fueled with 480 gallons of Jet A with a fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII) additive mixed at the time of fueling. The evening before the incident, a lineman inadvertently refilled the jet fuel truck’s FSII reservoir with a combination of FSII and diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Analysis of fuel samples, fuel system filters and fuel screens from the airplane indicated the presence of urea, the primary chemical found in DEF.


May 11, 2019, Naples, Fla.

Piper PA-30-160 Twin Comanche

The airplane was destroyed at about 1530 Eastern time when it impacted the ground while on approach. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

While the airplane was conducting a visual approach, ATC observed the airplane turn away from the final approach course and questioned the pilot, but there was no reply. The airplane came to rest in a residential area about five miles northeast of the destination airport. Feathers and a dead bird were found in separate areas among the wreckage. Parts from the airplane plus three inflatable life vests were found several hundred feet from the main wreckage.


May 13, 2019, Ketchikan, Alaska

DHC-2 Beaver/DHC-3 Otter

At about 1221 Alaska time, the two float-equipped airplanes collided in midair. The DHC-2’s commercial pilot and four passengers sustained fatal injuries. The DHC-3’s airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries, nine passengers sustained serious injuries and one passenger sustained fatal injuries. The DHC-2 was destroyed; the DHC-3 sustained substantial damage. Both airplanes were being operated as on-demand sightseeing flights under FAR Part 135 and were based at the same seaplane base, though flown by different operators. Visual conditions prevailed.

Flight track data depict the DHC-3 traveling southwest at about 3700 feet MSL and gradually descending at 126 knots as it crossed the east side of the George Inlet. The DHC-2 was traveling west-southwest at about 3350 feet MSL at 107 knots when it crossed the east side of the George Inlet. The airplanes collided at about 3350 feet MSL near the west side of the George Inlet.

The DHC-3 rolled right and pitched about 40 degrees nosedown. Its pilot was able to maintain some control and flared the airplane prior to impact. The pilot estimated that the airplane impacted the water about five seconds after the collision. The DHC-3’s main wreckage came to rest underwater about 1¾ miles northeast of the DHC-2’s main wreckage. The DHC-2 airplane broke up in flight and was scattered over water and mountainous tree-covered terrain on the west shore of George Inlet. Its debris field was about 2000 feet long by about 1000 feet wide.


May 13, 2019, Gila Bend, Ariz.

Piper PA-28R-180 Cherokee Arrow

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0926 Mountain time during a runway excursion. The solo commercial pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he used the standard GUMP check as a landing checklist but may not have verified the landing gear position due to heavy traffic in the airport traffic pattern. In the last two minutes of his approach, an aural alarm engaged, which he dismissed as a false stall warning. The pilot later surmised the aural warning may have been part of a feature that automatically extends the landing gear in low power/ low airspeed conditions. The airplane touched down on the main landing gear; he heard a sound as he lowered the nose and decided to add some power. The airplane turned about 45 degrees to the left and departed the left side of the runway, coming to rest in the dirt.

A witness observed the accident airplane at about 30 feet AGL without its landing gear extended, and it was not extended when the airplane began to flare. Examination revealed the runway surface showed striated gouges and two long skid marks tracing the airplane’s path from the runway.


May 24, 2019, Atlantic Ocean

Cessna 560 Citation Encore

At about 1755 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted the Atlantic Ocean. The solo airline transport pilot is presumed fatally injured. Visual conditions existed near the accident site; an IFR flight plan had been filed. The airplane’s owner purchased it two days prior to the accident and hired the pilot to fly the airplane to Florida for avionics work.

The jet was in cruise flight at FL390 when ATC became unable to contact its pilot. The U.S. Air Force dispatched two aircraft to intercept the accident airplane, one pilot of which reported he could see the pilot unconscious and slumped over the controls. The intercepting airplanes followed the accident airplane until it descended and impacted the Atlantic Ocean about 310 miles east of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The pilot and the airplane were not recovered. The airline transport pilot reported 9016 hours total time in June 2018, and held a Cessna 560 type rating plus certification for single-pilot operation.


This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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