General Aviation Accident Bulletin, February 20, 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

November 9, 2022, Bignell, Neb.

Piper PA-46-500TP

The airplane was destroyed at about 0934 Central time when it collided with terrain during an instrument approach. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

After being vectored for the ILS Runway 30 approach, ATC cleared the flight for the procedure and approved a frequency change. A controller position change occurred and the relieving controller then reported the airplane overdue. About that time, a resident about three miles southeast of the destination airport noticed smoke coming from a nearby field. Authorities responded to the area and reported the airplane accident.

During the last minute of recorded ADS-B data, the airplane’s descent rate increased from 500 fpm to 3000 fpm. In the last 30 seconds, the airplane entered a climb at 2000 fpm, and then transitioned to a descent exceeding 5000 fpm.

A flight instructor reported the pilot had purchased the airplane about three weeks before the accident. By October 28th, the instructor and the pilot completed 10 hours of ground instruction and 15.1 hours of flight instruction in the accident airplane. The pilot’s accumulated flight time totaled 505.3 hours, of which 24.5 hours were in the accident airplane. The pilot had logged 5.2 hours of actual instrument time, of which one hour was in the accident airplane. The instructor reported the pilot’s actual instrument time in the accident airplane was at high altitude.

November 10, 2022, Chickaloon, Alaska

Piper PA-18 Super Cub

At about 1140 Alaska time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with an unmarked cable crossing a river. The solo student pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The accident airplane and a Cessna 172 were flying together along the Matanuska River. The Cessna pilot saw the accident airplane descend and fly at a low altitude along the river. He saw the airplane strike an unmarked tram cable strung about 30 feet over the partially frozen river. The airplane came to rest inverted in the river. Damage to the airplane was consistent with contacting the cable.

November 12, 2022, Dallas, Texas

Boeing B-17G/Bell P-63F

The two airplanes collided in midair at about 1322 Central time. A post-impact fire ensued. The pilot, co-pilot and three crewmembers aboard the B-17G and the solo pilot of the P-63F were all fatally injured. There were no ground injuries reported. Visual conditions prevailed; both airplanes were participating in the Wings Over Dallas Airshow.

The P-63F was #3 in a threeship formation of vintage fighters airplanes. The B-17G was lead of a five-ship formation of historic bombers. The Air Boss directed both formations to maneuver southwest of the runway, instructing the fighter formation to transition to in-trail, fly in front of the bomber formation and proceed near the 500-foot show line. The bombers were directed to fly down the 1000- foot show line.

There were no altitude deconflictions briefed before the flight or while the airplanes were airborne. When the fighter formation approached the flying display area, the P-63F was in a left bank and collided with the left side of the B-17G, just aft of the wing section. Both airplanes broke up in flight and impacted terrain on airport property. A fire ignited in the wing center section of the B-17G as it descended to the ground. It exploded upon impact.

November 14, 2022, Opa-Locka, Fla.

Antonov An-2

At about 1330 Eastern time, the Cuban-registered airplane was substantially damaged when it was force-landed following loss of engine power. The pilot and co-pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

On October 21, 2022, the airplane landed at a nearby airport after a flight from Cuba. The pilot sought asylum in the U.S. and was detained. The airplane was taken into custody by federal law enforcement. After being transferred to a seized-property contractor, the airplane was to be flown to a warehouse for storage.

After a nominal preflight inspection and takeoff, the pilot noticed the engine was producing more smoke than normal. At about 1325, the engine lost power, airspeed decreased and the airplane began descending. Shortly, the pilot aligned the airplane with a levee and touched down on the main landing gear. As the tailwheel was about to touch down, the airplane turned to the left and the pilot was unable to keep the airplane on the levee. The airplane then rolled down the bank on the side of the levee, contacted the water, nosed over and came to rest inverted in water and vegetation.

November 15, 2022, Pewaukee, Wis.

Fairchild SA227-AT Expediter

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1500 Central standard time when it collided with terrain during an instrument approach. Both flight crew members received minor injuries; the passenger was not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand cargo flight, which operated on an IFR flight plan.

After being cleared for the approach, the crew encountered a flight-director anomaly and disconnected the autopilot. The airplane immediately rolled right. Both pilots got on the controls and increased engine power, attempting to regain control. They were able to regain partial control before the airplane flew through trees, which separated its wings, before it impacted the ground in a near-wings-level attitude.

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

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