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

August 1, 2019, Candle, Alaska

Douglas C-118A (DC-6A)

At about 1400 Alaska time, the airplane sustained substantial damage while landing. The airline transport pilot/captain, airline transport pilot/first officer and the flight engineer were not injured. Day visual conditions prevailed for the Part 121 supplemental air-cargo flight. An IFR flight plan had been filed.

After overflying the destination runway, the crew made a steeper-than-normal approach to the 3880-foot-long runway due to terrain. According to the captain, a bump was felt near the threshold during the landing but it was not extreme. As the propellers were reversed, the airplane veered to the right. The crew corrected and the airplane tracked straight for about 2000 feet before veering sharply right, exiting the runway and spinning 180 degrees. Inspection of the runway threshold revealed several four-foot-tall piles of rocks and dirt.

August 3, 2019, Ontonagan, Mich.

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

The airplane collided with trees and terrain at about 1143 Eastern time, fatally injuring the solo private pilot. The airplane was destroyed. Instrument conditions prevailed at the accident site.

Track data downloaded from an ADS-B device recovered at the accident site show the airplane took off at 1115 local time and turned toward the intended destination. When the track was combined with weather radar data, investigators determined that, between 1127 and 1132, the airplane flew between two areas of moderate precipitation. Between 1132 and 1136, the airplane flew through a thunderstorm with moderate to heavy precipitation at between 2100 and 2800 feet MSL. At 1141:50, the airplane turned southwest at 2600 feet MSL and at 1142:30 it entered an increasingly tight left turn, descending from 2900 feet to 2600, and then climbing back to its previous altitude. Immediately, a second descent began that continued until the final track point, at 1143:04, which was recorded about 240 feet east of the accident site at 1562 feet MSL (about 80 feet AGL), with the airplane on a westerly heading.

Two convective SIGMETs for embedded thunderstorms were valid for the accident site during the flight. The non-instrument-rated pilot had held his private certificate for less than two years, logging 78.6 hours total time.

August 5, 2019, Miami, Fla.

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

At about 0940 Eastern time, the airplane impacted vegetation and terrain during a forced landing following a loss of engine power after takeoff. The flight instructor received minor injuries; the student pilot and the passenger reported serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the forced landing. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the flight instructor, preflight inspection and the engine run-up did not uncover problems with the airplane. The student conducted a normal, no-flaps takeoff, lifting off at about 75 KIAS. At 150-200 feet AGL, engine power dropped by about 200-300 RPM, whereupon the instructor took over the controls. The instructor turned left to land on a parallel runway but the engine lost all power and he performed a forced landing to a corn field between the two runways.

During post-crash examination, some 16 oz. of water was removed from the left fuel tank sump. The gascolator bowl was broken, but it contained a liquid consistent with water and fuel, as did the carburetor.

August 4, 2019, Girdwood, Alaska

Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer

The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire on colliding with steep, mountainous terrain at about 1627 Alaska time. The airline transport pilot/flight instructor, the owner/student pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Multiple witnesses observed the airplane flying parallel to a mountain ridge prior to entering a turn to the north, and then beginning a descent. The airplane then disappeared from view, which was followed by a plume of black smoke. None of the witnesses reported hearing any unusual sounds from the accident airplane. One witness observed the airplane earlier in the flight performing aggressive flight maneuvers. The airplane impacted the south face of a mountain about 15 feet below the top of a rock-faced ridgeline at an altitude of about 5512 feet MSL and came to rest at about 5437 feet.

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

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