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

May 8, 2018, Valparaiso, Ind.

Piper PA-34-200 Seneca I

The airplane collided with terrain following a go-around at about 1315 Central time. The flight instructor was seriously injured, and the pilot receiving instruction had minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to information provided by the flight school, the instructional flight was practicing approaches. The second approach was a simulated engine-out approach to a planned go-around. During the go-around, the airplane’s speed dropped below the single-engine minimum controlled airspeed as the pilot advanced the throttle of the operating engine to full power. He lost control of the airplane, and the airplane descended and collided with terrain.

May 10, 2018, Julian, Calif.

Beechcraft Model 76 Duchess

At about 2031 Pacific time, the airplane collided with mountainous terrain while maneuvering. The flight instructor, pilot receiving instruction and student pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed by a post-impact fire. Visual conditions prevailed.

Preliminary FAA radar data show the airplane’s altitude ranging between 6,600 feet MSL and 5,600 feet. Groundspeeds from 50 knots to 133 knots were recorded. The last radar return was recorded at 2031, with the airplane at an altitude of 5,700 feet MSL and a groundspeed of 67 knots. The accident site was located less than one mile southeast of the Julian VOR in mountainous terrain near the bottom of a draw at an elevation of about 4,200 feet. All structural components were located at the accident site.

May 11, 2018, Lone Tree, Colo.

Cirrus Design SR22

The airplane impacted terrain at about 2019 Mountain time. The solo private pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane was cleared for a left downwind departure from Runway 35R and to remain west of the final approach path for the runway due to inbound traffic. Radar data showed the airplane initially was west of the runway at 6,900 feet MSL. The airplane then flew through the center line. The controller asked the pilot his intentions; the pilot requested to return to the airport. Radar data then showed the airplane westbound, back toward the runway, at 7,500 feet. Radar contact and voice communications were subsequently lost. The airplane impacted an open field 2.5 miles south and west of the approach end of Runway 35R. Weather at 1953, from the departure airport’s automated facility located at 5,885 feet MSL, included wind from 350 degrees at 14 knots with gusts to 21 knots, visibility of seven miles and a broken ceiling at 1,500 feet AGL. An airplane flying the ILS approach to Runway 35R reported breaking out of the clouds at 6,800 feet MSL.

May 12, 2018, Whittier, Alaska

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

At about 0940 Alaska time, the airplane impacted remote, snow-covered, mountainous terrain and was substantially damaged. The solo student pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual conditions existed at the departure airport.

Images from the FAA aviation weather cameras along the airplane’s route depicted low cloud ceilings with obscured mountain tops in the area near the accident site. An ELT signal was received about 0940. A U.S. Coast Guard MH-60T helicopter located the 2000-foot-elevation accident site at about 2100 and determined the pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was equipped with a 406 MHz ELT registered to a foreign government entity and placarded with a country code for Ireland.

May 12, 2018, Jacksonville, Ala.

Beechcraft Model 35-A33 Debonair

The airplane collided with trees during an engine-out forced landing at about 2005 Central time. The airplane was destroyed; the airline transport pilot was seriously injured and the passenger was fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

While in cruise flight, the pilot smelled smoke and was troubleshooting when the engine sputtered and quit. He turned on the fuel boost pump on and established the airplane’s best glide airspeed, then maneuvered toward a pasture. During the glide, flames entered the cabin through the firewall. The passenger climbed into the rear seats while the pilot discharged an extinguisher but the fire persisted. The pilot had to open a window to clear smoke from the cabin. The airplane collided with a hill in a forested area on a westerly heading. A majority of the main wreckage was consumed in a post-crash fire.

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

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