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.
December 15, 2022, Kaupo, Hawaii
Beech C90A King Air
At about 2114 Hawaii-Aleutian time, the airplane impacted the Pacific Ocean under unknown circumstances and sank. The airline transport pilot, flight paramedic and flight nurse were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the aeromedical positioning flight. An IFR flight plan was in effect.
The flight departed Maui at 2053. After a series of altitude and heading changes, at 2112, ATC cleared the flight to fly direct to the initial approach fix (IAF) for the RNAV (GPS) 4 procedure at the destination. At 2113:22, ATC asked the pilot to verify he was flying direct to the IAF as cleared. The pilot replied, in part, “Uhh, 13GZ is off navigation here…we’re gonna…we’re gonna give it a try.” The controller then acknowledged the pilot’s last statement and instructed him to turn right to a 170-degree heading and to maintain 8000 feet MSL. At 2113:43, the accident pilot is believed to be heard saying, “Hang on.” There were no further communications with the accident flight.
A witness flying in the area observed the accident airplane descending to 8000 feet MSL and continued watching its position lights. As the airplane continued southbound, it began a right turn and then entered a spiraling right descending turn, which steepened as the descent increased. The witness watched the airplane continue to descend until it impacted the water.
On January 9, 2023, the wreckage was located at a reported depth of about 6420 feet. The pilot, flight paramedic and flight nurse, plus a majority of the wreckage, were recovered January 10.
December 16, 2022, Brooksville, Fla.
Cessna R172K Hawk XP
The airplane was substantially damaged at 1515 Eastern time when its pilot lost directional control after landing. The solo private pilot sustained a minor injury. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the NTSB, the pilot had conducted a “normal” landing to Runway 09 when the airplane started veering to its left during the landing roll. The pilot attempted to maintain directional control but without success. It departed the left side of the runway, struck a ditch, nosed over and came to rest inverted. Weather observed at the time of the accident included winds from 020 degrees at four knots. Post-accident examination revealed the nose wheel had separated from the nose gear fork assembly, which was fractured. Pieces of the fractured fork assembly were collected from the runway and forwarded to the NTSB’s materials lab for examination.
December 22, 2022, Santa Monica, Calif.
At about 1518 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Pacific Ocean surf. The pilot sustained minor injuries; the passenger was fatally injured.
Earlier, the airplane felt “sluggish” to the pilot during ground operations. He taxied back to his hangar to check tire pressures. Although the sluggishness was not resolved, a “successful” runup was conducted and the pilot took off, following the coastline northwest. Four minutes later, at 1025 feet AGL and about 70 mph, the pilot heard a noise and turned back toward the departure airport. Unable to glide back to the airport, the pilot performed a forced landing to the shoreline. The airplane touched down in shallow water and then nosed over onto its back.
December 26, 2022, Annapolis, Md.
Piper PA-28-151 Warrior
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1015 Eastern time during a forced landing following an engine power loss. The solo pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the NTSB, the pilot’s preflight inspection was unremarkable except that he noticed “some” frost on the airplane and performed de-icing “per requirements.” Taxi, runup and takeoff operations were normal. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot noticed airspeed was decreasing below 60 knots without any changes to pitch attitude or power setting. The pilot pushed the nose down to gain airspeed and executed a forced landing to a partially frozen creek.
This article originally appeared in the March 2023 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.
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