General Aviation Accident Bulletin

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents


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

September 9, 2018, Lake Worth, Fla.

Cessna 335

The airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain at about 1037 Eastern time. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses observed the airplane in the traffic pattern. Near the left base leg, it rolled back and forth, became inverted and then descended to the ground in a spiral or spin. The airplane came to rest upright a mile north of the destination airport and was partially consumed by a post-crash fire. Flight control continuity was established and all five fuel caps were intact and secure. The main (wingtip) fuel tanks were separated from the wing while both auxiliary fuel tanks were significantly fire damaged and partially consumed.

The left wing-locker fuel tank was intact and contained about 15 gallons of fuel. Both fuel selector valves were in their respective main-tank positions, but the right one could not be confirmed. All three right propeller blades were bent and twisted aft, with chordwise scratches and leading-edge gouges. The left propeller was separated at the flange. Two blades remained attached, one of which was largely undamaged. The second blade was bent slightly, approximately 8 inches from the root, and again about 24 inches from the root, with a slight twist. The third blade was separated from the hub and was largely undamaged.

According to FAA records, the 70-year-old pilot did not possess a valid medical or airman certificate. His logbook showed 157 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

September 12, 2018, Roche Harbor, Wash.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

At 0810 Pacific time, the airplane collided with terrain during the takeoff roll from a private grass strip. The pilot was not injured but the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, during the takeoff roll, the seat slipped all the way back and he was not able to reach the throttle or the rudder pedals. The airplane veered to the left and lifted off the ground. The tail and left wing struck the ground and the airplane came to rest on its nose. An FAA inspector examined the airplane and found the seat moved freely in both directions to each stop with no binding encountered. He further reported that there was proper hole engagement with the seat pin and holes in the seat rail.

September 14, 2018, Warthen, Ga.

American Aviation AA-1A Trainer

The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain at about 1020 Eastern time during a forced landing. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he purchased the airplane earlier in the day in Morristown, Tenn. He filled the two fuel tanks with 12.5 gallons of fuel apiece and took off around 0730. About 20 minutes after takeoff, while cruising at 9500 feet MSL, he noticed the fuel quantity was down to in each fuel tank. He landed at the closest airport, filled the tanks again with 24 gallons of fuel and departed about 0950.

About 30 minutes into the second flight, the pilot noticed the fuel quantity indicated tank again and diverted to the nearest airport. About 15 miles from the divert airport, the engine lost all power. He switched tanks, and the engine restarted. A few minutes later, the engine again lost all power and both fuel tanks indicated empty. The pilot executed an engine-out landing to a field, during which the nose landing gear contacted soft dirt and collapsed. Both occupants egressed through the canopy.

Examination revealed there was no fuel in either tank. When fuel was added to the right tank and the electric fuel pump was turned on, fuel began draining from the carburetor float bowl, which was missing its threaded plug.

September 29, 2018, Sebring, Fla.

Diamond DA20/Piper PA-28R-180

At about 1240 Eastern time, the two airplanes collided. There were no injuries to the flight instructor (CFI) aboard the Diamond or the private pilot and passenger aboard the Piper. The student pilot aboard the Diamond sustained a minor injury. Both airplanes were substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

The Diamond was performing touch-and-go landings on Runway 14. On the upwind leg, the CFI noticed a Piper arriving from the west, heading east but he and the student pilot lost sight of the Piper. The student pilot announced the Diamond’s position on every leg of the airport traffic pattern, but neither pilot heard the Piper or saw it. After landing on runway 14, the Diamond was reconfigured for takeoff and, just as the student pilot advanced the throttle to full, the tail was contacted by the Piper’s left wing.

The Piper’s pilot later stated that he made his first radio call when crossing the airport midfield at 1200 feet MSL. He turned downwind leg for Runway 19, which he announced, then flew the rest of the pattern, announcing his position on each leg. As he was flaring above Runway 19, the collision occurred. Examination revealed the Diamond’s transceiver was set to 122.7 MHz, the published CTAF. The Piper’s transceiver was set to 122.725 MHz.

This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue ofAviation Safetymagazine.

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