General Aviation Accident Bulletin

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.

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AVweb’s General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages of our sister publication, Aviation Safety magazine and is published twice a month. All the reports listed here are preliminary and include only initial factual findings about crashes. You can learn more about the final probable cause in the NTSB’s web site 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.

January 7, 2017, Meeker, Colo.

Cirrus SR22

At about 1000 Mountain time, the pilot made a forced landing on a snow-covered plateau after the engine lost power. The pilot and his passenger were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

While en route, the cylinder head and exhaust gas temperatures were erratic. Since the pilot previously had experienced problems with the engine sensors, he reverted to monitoring the analog gauges. Shortly thereafter, the engine backfired and lost power. The pilot elected not to deploy the airframe parachute but instead made a forced landing on a plateau in deep snow.

January 7, 2017, Niles, Mich.

Mitsubishi MU-2B-40 Solitaire

The airplane departed the left side of the snow-covered runway after landing at 1506 Eastern time. The solo private pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

The pilot did not find any Notam about the runway not being plowed. With the airport was in sight, the pilot activated airport lights and identified the runway. The landing was uneventful until the pilot retarded the power levers into beta range and the airplane made an unexpected left turn then exited the runway. The airplane spun and came to rest in snow-covered field left of the runway.

The airport snowplow operator checked runway conditions earlier that day and noted a light dusting to inch of snow in some areas. He returned about 1530 and observed two or more inches of snow on the runway. An automated weather observation station about nine miles south of the accident site remarked that unknown precipitation began at 1428 and ended at 1438; snow ended at 1428.

January 11, 2017, Green Bay, Wis.

Cessna Model 182T Skylane

At about 0913 Central time, the Canadian-registered airplane was substantially damaged during landing following an in-flight structural icing encounter. The solo pilot was not injured. The airplane incurred structural damage to the forward fuselage and firewall. Visual conditions prevailed at landing.

January 12, 2017, Era, Texas

Steen Skybolt Experimental

Sometime between 1100 to 1200 Central time the airplane sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain after a loss of control. The pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness saw the airplane in a Hammerhead climb (going straight up), then it entered a slow spiraling descent straight down. He was certain the airplane was spiraling down and not in a flat spin. It did not appear to him there was any attempt to recover from the descent. The witness clearly heard the engine during the climb, but not during the descent.

Evidence at the accident site indicated the airplane collided with terrain in about a 45-degree nose-down attitude. Control continuity was confirmed from all flight control surfaces to their respective cockpit controls. One of the propeller blades was bent backward about mid-span and exhibited minimal damage on either the chambered surface or the flat side of the blade. The other blade was underneath the wreckage. It exhibited blade twist, extensive chordwise scratching along the entire span of the blade, and gouges and nicks to its leading edge.

January 12, 2017, Lake Hughes, Calif.

Mooney M20J 201

At about 0905 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain. The solo private pilot/owner was fatally injured. Weather conditions at the time of the accident have not been determined.

The pilot used the airplane to commute. On the morning of the accident, which was a Thursday, a co-worker did not hear from the pilot but was not concerned. Days later, a friend of the pilot realized his vehicle was parked at the airport, but no one had seen the pilot for several days. Investigation by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) determined the pilot’s last known flight date was January 12. When ATC radar data was consulted, a VFR radar track was identified as likely being the missing airplane’s. An aerial search on January 18 by the CAP located the wreckage.

The accident site was on the north slope of a mountain peak, about 70 feet below, and 380 feet from, the Lake Hughes very high frequency omnirange navigation beacon (LHS VOR) antenna.

January 13, 2017, Port Orford, Ore.

Piper PA-28-236 Dakota

The airplane impacted a beach at about 1125 Pacific time after its pilot reported a medical issue. The solo private pilot was fatally injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed,

Earlier, at 1052, ATC requested the pilot report clear of Class D airspace. At 1103, ATC queried the pilot on his position. He responded, “I’m having trouble with err headphones err, say again.” The controller asked the pilot to verify clear of the airspace, but only a muffled response was received. About 10 minutes later, controllers at Seattle Center received reports from crews of both a Coast Guard helicopter and an Air Force airplane that the pilot was transmitting on the “guard” emergency frequency of 121.5 MHz, indicating he had lost vision in one eye. At 1122 a transponder squawking the emergency code of 7700 was recorded northbound along the coastline. The target was present for 24 seconds, during which it descended from 1300 to 1225 feet msl at a 100-knot groundspeed. At about 1400, a Coast Guard helicopter located the airplane wreckage four miles north of the last recorded radar target.

January 14, 2017, Mayo, Fla.

Buccaneer II B Experimental

At about 1715 Eastern time, the amphibious airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted power lines and a river. The solo sport pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Multiple witnesses reported seeing the airplane take off northbound from the Suwannee River, make a 180-degree left turn, descend below treetop level and fly southbound over the river out of view. Shortly thereafter, witnesses heard a loud “boom” followed by the engine “going quiet.” One witness, about a mile from the power lines, stated he saw the airplane flying about 30-40 feet above the river when it “suddenly flipped backwards and then hit the water.” The wreckage was located beneath a set of power lines running approximately east-west and crossing the river below treetops. All major aircraft components were accounted for at the scene, and flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all flight control surfaces.

January 16, 2017, Pilot Point, Alaska

Piper PA-32-260 Cherokee Six

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1520 Alaska time during a forced landing to snow-covered terrain. The airline transport pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a VFR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight.

While en route, the pilot elected to make a precautionary landing due to light ice accumulation on the windscreen. After confirming weather conditions at the destination 48 nm away, the pilot departed and continued southwest at about 800 feet agl. About eight miles from the destination, the engine started “running rough” and the pilot noted ice accumulation on the windscreen. He turned back and selected carburetor heat to the “on” position. The airplane started to accumulate more ice on the windshield and the wing leading edges, and the flight controls felt sluggish.

The pilot noted decreasing altitude and engine performance and at about 400 feet agl, he elected to make a forced landing on ice-covered tundra. During the landing sequence, the right main landing gear sheared off and the right wing sustained substantial damage due to impact with ice. The passenger used her cellphone to call a nearby Flight Service Station and report the accident. A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter arrived onsite at 1830 to extract the occupants.

January 23, 2017, Tucson, Ariz.

Beech Model 300 King Air

At about 1233 Mountain time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain during takeoff. The pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.

A witness observed the airplane take off and rapidly pitch up in its initial climb. At an altitude between 100-150 feet above the runway, the airplane suddenly yawed left while maintaining a nose-up pitch attitude. The airplane then appeared to slow down, the left wing dropped and the airplane began rolling left, striking the ground inverted. After impact, the airplane slid about 650 feet across a ramp before colliding with an eight-foot-tall concrete wall.

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue ofAviation Safetymagazine.

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