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 in 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.


October 12, 2018, Midland, TEXAS

Cirrus SR22

The airplane impacted a parking lot while descending under its airframe parachute at about 1045 Central time, following a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries; the airplane was substantially damaged. Daytime instrument conditions prevailed for the flight.

According to the pilot, shortly after departure and at about 500 feet AGL, the engine “surged.” The pilot turned back toward the airport, but the engine lost power. The pilot recognized the airplane would not make it back to the airport, so he deployed the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). The airplane descended under the parachute into a parking lot and impacted a parked automobile.

October 12, 2018, Culpeper, Va.

Van’s RV-8 Experimental

At about 2000 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it collided with terrain while maneuvering. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

The accident airplane was half of an aerobatic team participating in an airshow. The full flight sequence was planned to last about five minutes. The two performers were in the middle of their routine when the accident occurred. A video showed both airplanes completing a double aileron roll maneuver. Both airplanes were observed in a shallow descent and, after the maneuver was completed, the lead airplane began to climb while the accident airplane entered an inverted dive, which continued until it collided with terrain.

October 13, 2018, Westhampton Beach, N.Y.

Piper PA-34-200T Seneca II

The airplane was substantially damaged when it experienced an in-flight breakup at about 1100 Eastern time and impacted the Atlantic Ocean. The flight instructor, the private pilot receiving instruction and a passenger were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed.

Shortly after takeoff, the flight requested VFR flight following with a planned climb to 8500 feet MSL. The airplane continued to climb, however, and as it climbed through 15,700 feet, ATC advised that other aircraft in the area were reporting IMC and asked the flight to confirm it was in visual conditions. The pilot responded that they were “trying to maintain VMC” and that the attitude indicator was “unreliable.” The controller declared an emergency on behalf of the airplane and suggested a heading toward VFR conditions. The flight asked ATC for the height of the cloud tops and was told the last top reports were at 19,000 feet. The flight replied that the airplane would be climbing to 19,000 feet.

The airplane continued on a southeasterly heading, and its crew reported “VFR on top” and unable to descend below the clouds. The flight requested vectors to visual conditions and the controller instructed the airplane to turn west, but the airplane continued southeast. About two minutes later, after the controller repeated the instruction to turn west, the airplane entered a figure-eight turn and began to descend rapidly. Radio and radar contact was lost shortly thereafter. A witness reported seeing the airplane “nosedive” out of the clouds and into the ocean. A second witness saw two large pieces of the airplane descending from the sky. The airplane came to rest in 20 feet of water on the ocean floor. A portion of the right wing was recovered floating above the airplane about mile offshore.


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

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