General Aviation Accident Bulletin, April 10, 2023

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

January 4, 2023, New Harmony, Utah

Piper PA-34-220T Seneca V

The airplane was destroyed at about 1456 Mountain time when it collided with rugged, obscured terrain. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.

Preliminary ADS-B data show the accident airplane took off at about 1441, proceeding northeast and climbing to 10,000 feet MSL before beginning a series of climbs, descents and turns. The last 15 seconds of data show the airplane in a climbing left turn to 7525 feet MSL about 2000 feet west of the accident site. The airplane collided with terrain in a ravine at an elevation of 6600 feet MSL, about 200 feet below the surrounding ridgeline.

Multiple witnesses reported that the mountain range was obscured with clouds. A pilot-rated witness heard a low-flying airplane go over her house and reported cloud bases in the area of between 200 and 300 feet AGL at the time, with surrounding terrain completely obscured.

January 5, 2023, Council Bluffs, Iowa

Cessna 182M Skylane

At about 1220 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it was force-landed after the engine became unresponsive. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Approaching the destination, the pilot observed another aircraft in the area that posed a possible conflict. He elected to perform a 360-degree turn at about 500 feet AGL to increase spacing. The airplane was configured with 10 degrees of flaps extended, 13 inches of manifold pressure and with carburetor heat on. Entering the 360-degree turn, he increased power to 17 inches and held altitude. About halfway through the 360-degree turn, he attempted to add more power but the engine did not respond. With little altitude or time to restart the engine, he executed a forced landing to a field. During the landing, a propeller blade and the firewall were damaged.

The pilot later stated the airplane had about 38 gallons of fuel aboard, with the fuel selector positioned to both tanks. After the accident, the engine started normally and idled smoothly. A magneto check was performed at 1500 rpm, with about a 75-rpm drop on each magneto. Carburetor heat was activated and indicated a drop in rpm when applied.

January 6, 2023, Fayetteville, Ark.

Beechcraft M35 Bonanza

The airplane was destroyed at 1753 Central time when it collided with trees and terrain under unknown circumstances. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Earlier, the accident airplane had flown a 153-NM cross-country flight to deliver two passengers. The accident flight was the return, which began at 1649 and was conducted mostly at 4500 feet MSL. At 1746, when the airplane was about 18 miles from its destination, it began a descent averaging about 425 fpm. At 1752:22, the airplane entered a left turn from an altitude of about 1875 feet MSL, or about 600 feet above the destination airport’s field elevation.

A witness heard the airplane, reporting its engine sounded as if it was losing power but then “revved up really high.” This cycle occurred three or four times over a span of 10–15 seconds. The engine subsequently seemed to stop; however, he was unsure if the airplane had simply descended behind a ridgeline. He did not hear the impact, nor did he see the airplane.

January 7, 2023, Suffolk, Va.

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

At about 1213 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain after an apparent engine problem. The pilot/owner and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot obtained his private pilot certificate on November 29, 2022. He owned the accident airplane and contacted a mechanic on January 1, 2023, advising of excessive rpm drop during a magneto check and requesting evaluation. On January 4, the mechanic replaced three spark plugs and reinstalled the others. Later that day, the pilot performed an engine run-up but the problem was not resolved. The mechanic told the pilot the airplane could not be flown until he had time to work on it some more, which most likely would be no sooner than Monday, January 9.

Instead, on January 7, a witness observed the airplane in a “nosedive,” emitting two trails of black smoke, before it impacted terrain and was mostly consumed in a post-crash fire. The airplane had not been released from maintenance for the engine anomaly.

January 7, 2023, Kent, Wash.

Quad City Challenger II E-LSA

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1318 Pacific time when it impacted two storage structures, coming to rest on a roof. The pilot and the pilot-rated passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot-rated passenger had recently purchased the airplane and hired the front-seat pilot to fly it to another airport. The pilot later reported that a preflight and flight-control check were satisfactory. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot realized the airplane “just wanted to turn right and would not turn left,” according to the NTSB. About this time, the pilot-rated passenger/owner in the rear seat noticed the rear control stick was positioned to the left and the left aileron was in the neutral position.

Preliminary ADS-B data show the airplane making multiple descending right turns over the accident site location. Security videos from the storage facility show the airplane in a nose-down, right-wing-low attitude before impacting the buildings.

This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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  1. The skylane pilot tried to do that at only 500 feet? WAY too low. Climbing up or leaving the area would have been a better option. As well as a go around.