AVweb’s General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages or our sister publication,Aviation Safety magazine and is published twice a month. All the reports listed here are preliminaries and include only initial factual findings about crashes. You can learn more about the final probable cause in the NTSB’s website at www.ntsb.gov. Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more aboutAviation Safety at www.aviationsafetymagazine.com.
Aeronca 7AC Champion
June 1, 2016, Toughkenamon, PA
At about 0900 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged upon impacting an aircraft hangar following a total loss of engine power during a go-around. The flight instructor (CFI) and a student pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
The two had been practicing takeoffs and landings for about an hour when, on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the CFI directed the student to demonstrate a simulated engine failure. The airplane was about of the way down the runway when he initiated go-around. At this point, the engine sputtered and lost power. The CFI took over the flight controls and made a left turn at about 100 feet agl with the intent of flying over a hangar to a clear area beyond but realized they would not clear it. He placed the airplane in a 45-degree nose-up attitude so the engine penetrated the hangar’s metal door first.
Robinson Helicopter R44 Raven
June 2, 2016, Las Vegas, NV
The flight instructor reported that during a helicopter “discovery flight,” he was providing instruction to an airplane-rated private pilot. The flight instructor further reported that prior to takeoff, he told the pilot receiving instruction, “I am going to do the takeoff, and you can feel the controls.” As soon as the helicopter entered a hover after takeoff, the pilot receiving instruction “put in strong left input” with the cyclic and would not stop after repeated instruction to let go of the flight controls. Subsequently, the helicopter’s left main skid touched down and the helicopter rolled over and came to rest on its left side.
Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage
June 2, 2016, Seattle, WA
At about 0230 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a gear-up landing. The private pilot and single passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan was active.
While being vectored for an ILS approach, the pilot suffered a partial electrical failure, which disabled the landing gear position indicator lights and the warning horn. The pilot proceeded with the approach to get the airplane on the ground as soon as possible. The pilot subsequently made a gear-up landing, slid down the runway and came to a stop upright.
Later, when the airplane was being recovered in daylight, the pilot noticed one of the two tie buss main circuit breakers had tripped, which he had been unable to see in the darkness while making the approach. When he reset the breaker, the panel lights came back up, the gear warning horn came on, the landing gear cycled normally and the three green landing gear lights illuminated.
Capella FW2R Experimental
June 3, 2016, Alamo, TX
The airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing at about 1030 Central time. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, the flight’s purpose was to use most of the fuel in the airplane, as he was going to park it over the summer. In the past, the automotive gasoline had “gummed up” his system sitting in the heat over the summer. The pilot flew to an airport 17 miles away and was returning at 2500 feet agl when the engine lost power. During the forced landing to a small field, the airplane hit a tree, resulting in substantial damage to its wings and fuselage. The pilot stated he was confident that he just ran out of fuel, resulting in the loss of engine power.
Beechcraft Model F33A Bonanza
June 5, 2016, Caldwell, NJ
According to the pilot, he departed on a cross-country flight but did not visually check the fuel in the main tanks before departure. The flight was uneventful until the pilot made an instrument approach into his destination airport; he had to execute a missed approach. During the missed approach procedure, he entered visual conditions and circled to land. As he was turning crosswind, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot did not have time to switch the fuel selector and ended up striking trees and landing short of the runway threshold. About 20 oz. of fuel were drained from the right main tank; about 21 gallons of fuel were drained from the left one.
Cessna Model 172 Skyhawk
June 5, 2016, Henderson, AR
During a takeoff from a wet grass runway, the pilot believed the airplane would not clear trees at the end of the runway. He aborted the takeoff by pushing the nose of the airplane down and reducing power to idle. Subsequently, the airplane touched down hard in a nose-low attitude, which resulted in a nose gear collapse and propeller strike on the runway. The firewall and both wings sustained substantial damage. All four aboard the airplane were uninjured.
According to information the pilot provided the NTSB, the estimated airplane weight and balance should have been within limitations. The NTSB noted the airplane’s takeoff performance charts did not provide information for departing from wet grass surfaces.
American Aviation AA-1A Trainer
June 5, 2016, Lone Pine, CA
While landing on a back-country dirt airstrip, the left wing lifted due to a gust of wind. The pilot further reported that he established a faster-than-normal ground roll by maintaining some power to taxi up the incline of the airstrip. As the end of the runway approached, the pilot was unable to stop the airplane, which overran the runway and hit a dirt berm, collapsing the nosegear and causing substantial damage to the fuselage.
Duo Deuce Experimental
June 6, 2016, Stafford, VA
At 1759 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a collision with terrain after takeoff. The commercial pilot/owner/builder was seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
Video revealed a shallow takeoff and initial climb. The climb stopped at what appeared to be treetop height, the wings rocked and the airplane continued to pitch up as it descended until ground contact. Both propellers appeared to be turning at the same speed during the takeoff roll and the entire flight until ground contact.
The two-seat, twin-engine, low-wing airplane was constructed from a Van’s RV-8 single-engine airplane kit. Instead of the nose-mounted, single-engine configuration for which the kit was designed, the airplane was equipped with two wing-mounted engines. Both wings and the tail section were substantially damaged in the accident.
Kitfox IV Experimental
June 7, 2016, De Smet, SD
The aircraft impacted a lake at 1000 Central time, following loss of control while maneuvering at low altitude. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries; the single passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the passenger, the flight’s purposes was to assist in a search for a boat that sank in the lake. The pilot and passenger spotted the boat and then flew a right-turn “racetrack” pattern at about 150 feet agl. While maneuvering, the airplane was banked about 45 to 60 degrees at an airspeed of about 50 miles per hour. During a turn, the airplane “snapped over” and the pilot stated the airplane stalled. The airplane spun about 1.5 to two rotations, impacted the lake, and sank. The passenger stated the engine operated normally until impact with the water.
According to local authorities, the passenger was rescued by persons assisting in the boat recovery. Efforts to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful.
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue ofAviation Safetymagazine.