AVweb’s General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages of our sister publication,Aviation Safety magazine. 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 at www.ntsb.gov. Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at www.aviationsafetymagazine.com.
March 1, 2019, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Piper PA-25-235 Pawnee
At about 1141 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted a condominium structure while maneuvering. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the pilot’s first solo banner-towing flight. He was towing a 30-foot-high by 90-foot-long banner.
Radar data depicted the airplane flying northerly until about 1138, when it initiated a right turn to the south at about 400 feet MSL. Witnesses then saw the airplane turn right to a westerly or northwesterly direction over land while radar depicted the airplane descending to about 200 feet MSL. The airplane banked sharply left, and one witness observed the banner twist and separate. The airplane then banked to the right and impacted a 19-story condominium near its top floor. The airplane fell to the second-floor deck and came to rest on its left side. Witnesses described the engine sound as either “sputtering,” “operating normally” or “being at a low throttle setting.”
March 1, 2019, Louisburg, N.C.
Cessna 182S Skylane
The airplane was destroyed at 1921 Eastern time when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Night instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.
The pilot’s clearance called for climbing to 3000 feet MSL on a 180-degree heading after takeoff from Runway 23 and the flight’s radar data was first acquired at 19:20:03, over the runway, at 425 feet MSL. At 19:20:56, at 1225 feet and 99 knots, the airplane entered a right turn. At 19:21:03, the airplane reached the top of its climb in the turn at 1300 feet and 100 knots groundspeed. The airplane then entered a descending right turn and accelerated to 145 knots groundspeed before the target was lost at an altitude of 625 feet at 19:21:17. An approximate descent rate of 6000 fpm was interpolated from radar data. At 1920, local weather included scattered clouds at 300 feet, a broken ceiling at 600 feet and an overcast ceiling at 1100 feet, with five miles of visibility in rain.
March 1, 2019, Melba, Idaho
Cessna 172N Skyhawk
At about 1345 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pair had performed a series of power-off and power-on stalls between 4500 and 2000 feet MSL. During another power-off stall, the engine stopped without warning, with the throttle closed and carburetor heat on. The pair were unable to restart the engine—the starter would not rotate the engine—and the flight instructor performed a forced landing to a field. During the landing roll, the right wing impacted the ground and the right wing spar sustained substantial damage.
Examination revealed the idle adjustment screw and spring assembly had separated from the carburetor; the parts were found in the lower cowling. A mechanic subsequently was able to rotate the engine via the starter.
March 2, 2019, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Cessna 172 Skyhawk
During the student pilot’s touch-and-go landing, the airplane began to veer off the runway, so he added power for a go around. Shortly, he noticed the left landing gear strut was bent and the wheel/tire assembly was “missing.” A tower controller confirmed damage to the left landing gear. During the subsequent landing, the airplane skidded off the runway, sustaining substantial damage to the left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator. Video evidence revealed the airplane had drifted left and struck a runway sign.
March 4, 2019, Presque Isle, Maine
At 1143 Eastern time, the airplane landed between Runway 1 and Taxiway A in light-to-moderate snow. Earlier, the crew had conducted a missed approach to the same runway. Radar data showed the airplane was aligned to the right of Runway 1 during both approaches. Of the 31 passengers and crew aboard the scheduled domestic Part 121 United Express flight, two passengers and one crewmember received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged.
March 5, 2019, Summersville, Mo.
Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180
The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain at about 2204 Central time. The pilot was fatally injured. Dark night visual conditions prevailed.
Preliminary radar data depicted the flight westbound at 5000 feet MSL. The airplane initiated a turn back toward the east before the radar track was lost. The wreckage was located the next morning by the driver of a vehicle on a nearby road. The accident site was characterized by deciduous walnut trees and hilly terrain vegetated in short grass. The wreckage came to rest on a heading of 099 degrees at an elevation of about 1330 feet.
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.
For more great content like this, subscribe to Aviation Safety!