General Aviation Accident Bulletin

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents

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AVweb’sGeneral Aviation Accident Bulletinis taken from the pages of our sister publication,Aviation Safetymagazine. 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 atwww.ntsb.gov. Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more aboutAviation Safetyatwww.aviationsafetymagazine.com.


December 1, 2018, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Cessna 335

The airplane impacted the ground and a building at about 1326 Eastern time during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured; one occupant of the building sustained minor injuries. The airplane was destroyed by a post-crash fire, and the building sustained structural and fire damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

At about 1325:27—shortly after takeoff—an occupant in the accident airplane advised, “Ground, we got a fire left engine turning right back.” After clarifying the situation, the controller cleared the flight to land on any runway. Radar data indicate the airplane departed Runway 9. After a series of turns toward and away from the airport, the airplane continued on a southwesterly direction for about 10 seconds, turned right briefly on a northwesterly direction, then turned left and flew on a south-southwesterly direction toward the airport before it disappeared from radar.

December 2, 2018, Santa Rita, GU

Cessna 172P Skyhawk

At about 1945 universal coordinated time, the airplane collided with vegetation following a runway excursion from an abandoned airstrip. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

While flying south along the shore, the pilot initiated an eastbound climb when he observed engine rpm steadily drop to about 2100 rpm, then 1800 rpm and finally to about 400 rpm. He attempted to restart the engine several times, but to no avail. After turning final to an abandoned airstrip, the airplane was too high and he attempted to lose altitude by slipping the airplane. It subsequently landed long, ran off the end of the runway and came to rest in heavy vegetation.

December 4, 2018, Moscow, Penn.

Lancair LC41-550FG Columbia

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1055 Eastern time during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

About 20 minutes after departure, the pilot experienced a shudder in the airplane. He adjusted engine power and the airplane shook again. He advised ATC and was given a heading to a nearby airport. The engine continued to shake, and the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit. About a minute later, the engine lost power completely and he performed a forced landing to a field. Examination revealed multiple holes in the top of the engine crankcase, plus a damaged left wing.

December 13, 2018, Valparaiso, Ind.

Piper PA-24-250 Comanche 250

At 1044 Central time, the airplane impacted the ground during a loss-of-control event while in initial climb after takeoff. The pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses and surveillance video depict the accident airplane taking off. When the airplane was a few hundred feet above the runway, its right wing dropped and it entered a one-turn spin to the right before impacting the ground in a near-vertical attitude.

Examination revealed the wings and tail surfaces remained attached to the fuselage and all control surfaces were attached. The control system cables were intact from the cockpit to their respective control surfaces. Engine crankshaft, valve train and accessory gear continuity were confirmed. No pre-impact anomalies were identified. All four fuel tanks were ruptured, and no fuel remained in any tank. It was raining during the initial on-scene examination, and no fuel odor was detected.

December 13, 2018, Punta Gorda, Fla.

Czech Sport Aircraft Piper Sport

The light sport airplane was substantially damaged at about 1318 Eastern time during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power while on approach to land. The sport pilot received minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

About four miles from the airport and at 1000 feet AGL, the pilot was cleared to land from an extended base leg of the traffic pattern. As soon as he turned on the electric fuel pump per the descent checklist, the engine lost all power. He switched fuel tanks and attempted to restart the engine but was unsuccessful. Unable to reach the airport and at an altitude too low to deploy the airframe parachute, he selected a small field for a forced landing and advised the control tower of his intentions. During the off-airport landing, the airplane struck a fence and a utility pole. Post-accident examination revealed that fuel was present in both the left and right fuel tanks.


This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue ofAviation Safetymagazine.

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