General Aviation Accident Bulletin, May 29, 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

September 10, 2022, Hartwell, Ga.

Beech 95-B55 (T42A) Baron

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1237 Eastern time when it collided with terrain while maneuvering for an instrument approach. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.

After a one-hour and 50-minute flight from southwest Florida, ATC cleared the pilot for an RNAV approach, which ended with a missed approach. A second attempt didn’t succeed, either. Soon, the pilot reported trouble with his gyros. The controller then issued vectors for an ILS approach. The pilot was cleared for the approach but did not intercept the localizer. The controller instructed the pilot to stop his turn and maintain 3000 feet, but no further communications were received from the pilot.

At 1235, tracking data show the airplane at 3975 feet MSL. About 30 seconds later, it began two right turns and descended to 1900 feet, briefly climbed to 2750 feet MSL and then began a left turn. The last track data was observed at 1237, as the airplane descended through 1825 feet MSL, about 1165 feet AGL. The airplane then impacted Lake Hartwell.

September 13, 2022, Seligman, Ariz.

Piper PA-46-310P Malibu

At about 1100 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it apparently broke up in flight in an area of reported turbulence. The student pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.

The airplane departed Albuquerque, N.M., and flew west for about an hour and 50 minutes before the flight track data ended near an area of heavy precipitation and moderate turbulence. Near the end of the track data, the airplane made a 270-degree left turn, followed by a steep descending right turn. The debris field was about two miles long, and consisted of sections of both wings and the empennage. The left flap and the rudder were not located.

September 14, 2022, Conway, S.C.

Piper PA-28R-201 Arrow III

The airplane was destroyed at about 1222 Eastern time as the pilot attempted an off-airport landing after reporting total engine failure. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Shortly after departure, the pilot reported to ATC that he was having problems with cockpit instrumentation resulting in difficulty maintaining assigned headings. He wanted to return to the departure airport and was not declaring an emergency. About 30 seconds later, the pilot reported loss of engine power, that he was unable to make it back to the departure airport and that he had identified an off-field landing area. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane but they heard no engine sound. The airplane impacted a tree and a powerline before coming to rest. A post-crash fire consumed much of the wreckage.

Examination revealed catastrophic failures of three of its four connecting rods. The left engine crankcase half was fractured inboard of the #4 cylinder mounting pad. During engine disassembly, a vacuum pump cover was found installed to the vacuum pump drive pad without a gasket. Maintenance records revealed the airplane had just undergone an avionics upgrade, which included removal of the vacuum system and installation of electronic flight instruments. The accident flight was the first one after the upgrades.

September 20, 2022, Pasco, Wash.

Cessna 525B CitationJet CJ3

At about 0709 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it was unintentionally landed gear-up and then consumed by a post-landing fire. The pilot and nine passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported the flight was otherwise uneventful. While on left base, he lowered flaps and extended the gear handle. He did not recall confirming whether the gear was down and locked, but reported there were no annunciations or aural warnings. The pilot noticed that the airplane floated longer than expected and, upon touchdown, realized that the landing gear was not extended. The airplane slid down the runway and came to a stop near its departure end. The pilot assisted passengers evacuating the airplane and reported a fire near the right engine. Shortly, the airplane was engulfed in flames.

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

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  1. Does anyone happen to know the criteria the NTSB uses for categorizing aircraft damage in an accident? RE: The AZ Malibu accident, it would seem to me that an aircraft that broke up in flight and left a 2-mile debris field would be considered “destroyed” vs. “substantially damaged.”