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

December 9, 2017, San Diego, Calif.

Beech A36 Bonanza

At about 1633 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted a residence during an emergency landing after engine failure. The pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries. Two other passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The pilot later reported that, at about 1.5 miles west of the airport and 700 feet AGL, the engine experienced a complete loss of power. He executed a steep 180-degree turn to the right and performed the emergency procedure for loss of engine power. Engine power was not regained and he executed a forced landing to a nearby field. During landing, the pilot applied brakes, but due to an insufficient stopping distance, the airplane impacted and traveled through a fence before colliding with the residence. A postcrash fire ensued.

December 10, 2017, Mauna Loa, Hawaii

Cessna U206G Stationair

At about 1105 Hawaiian time, the airplane impacted remote, hilly terrain while performing an instrument approach. The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. Instrument conditions were reported at the destination airport. While the airplane was conducting the VOR-A circling instrument approach to Runway 5, ATC observed the airplane south of course on a six-mile final and advised the pilot. The pilot responded that he was correcting, but was maneuvering to remain clear of clouds. The airplane then disappeared from the radar display system and the air traffic controller transmitted to the pilot with no response. The airplane’s wreckage was found on the western side of a hill that crested about 100 feet, with about a 50-degree incline, and was populated with low-growth vegetation. The wreckage was subsequently destroyed in a postimpact fire. Weather observed at the destination airport included wind from 030 degrees at eight knots, six statute miles of visibility, scattered clouds at 1,200 feet AGL and broken clouds at 1,700 feet.

December 10, 2017, Miami, Fla.

Smith Aerostar 601

The airplane collided with terrain at 1450 Eastern time, shortly after takeoff. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. Visual conditions prevailed. Earlier, after adding 105.2 gallons of 100LL, the pilot parked theairplane in front of a flight school hangar where he kept a tool box. Two witnesses observed fuel leaking from the airplane’s aft fuselage and stated the pilot had several five-gallon orange buckets under the airplane to catch the fuel. The pilot initiated a takeoff on Runway 31 at 1428. The airplane became airborne and, for unknown reasons, the pilot aborted the takeoff, landing back on the runway. The airplane was taxied back to Runway 31 and a second takeoff was made. Witnesses did not notice anything unusual until they heard the pilot declare an emergency. They reported the airplane was between 400 feet and 800 feet AGL in a left bank and appeared to be turning toward Runway 9R. The witnesses thought the pilot was going to make it back to the runway, but the left bank kept increasing past 90 degrees and the nose suddenly dropped. The airplane impacted a cornfield about 0.9 miles east of the approach end of Runway 9R.

December 20, 2017, Cross City, Fla.

Beech G35 Bonanza

The airplane was destroyed when it impacted wooded terrain at about 1900 Eastern time while maneuvering. The solo instrument-rated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Night instrument conditions prevailed; no flight plan had been filed. Review of radar data revealed a target with a 1200 transponder code consistent with the accident airplane. As the target proceeded from Alabama over Florida, it climbed from 3,400 feet MSL to 7,100 feet, then made two left 360-degree turns, followed by a rapid descent to 1,400 feet. The target flew east at altitudes below 2,500 feet MSL, then turned south, flying s-turns and descending to 1,400 ft. At 1849, it flew near a cold front boundary. The target completed numerous course deviations, including three complete left circuits and two right circuits, before disappearing from radar coverage about 0.4 nm east of the accident site. Examination revealed both propeller blades exhibited s-bending. When the vacuum pump was rotated by hand, intake air and exhaust air were confirmed to their respective ports. Weather recorded about 11 miles southeast of the accident site at 1855 included an overcast ceiling at 600 feet.

December 24, 2017, Bartow, Fla.

Cessna 340

At 0717 Eastern time, the airplane impacted terrain shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and four passengers were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed. The five occupants boarded the plane inside a hangar and remained there while the airplane was towed to the ramp. The pilot then very slowly taxied the airplane from the ramp to Runway 9L where the engine run-up was completed. Witnesses then heard the airplane take off and proceed east. They could not see the airplane because of dense fog and low visibility, but they heard an explosion on the east side of the airport. They drove to the explosion and found the main wreckage on fire. Another witness observed the airplane taxiing to the runway and, about 12 minutes later. heard the airplane take off. During the takeoff, he heard a “pop” and the explosion near the end of Runway 9L. He estimated the runway visual range was 600 to 800 feet due to the fog. At 0715, the automated weather observation included calm wind, visibility less than sm in fog and overcast clouds at 300 feet. The pilot did not request a weather briefing from Flight Service.

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

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