General Aviation Accident Bulletin

Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents.


AVweb’s General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages of our sister publication, Aviation Safety magazine 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 web site at Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at

Cessna 172 Skyhawk
July 4, 2016, Brookings, Oregon

The airplane impacted the Pacific Ocean at about 2300 Pacific time, shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and two passengers were presumed to have been fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed for the local flight.

The pilot’s family contacted authorities when he failed to arrive at his planned destination. An Alert Notification was issued, but it was cancelled on July 7 when airplane wreckage washed up on shore nearby. Radar data depicted the airplane turning left shortly after takeoff, then climbing westward to about 700 feet agl. The last recorded radar target was about a mile west of the departure airport and less than two miles from where the airplane wreckage was found.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk
July 5, 2016, Wonder Lake, Illinois

At about 1530 Central time, the airplane collided with terrain, sustaining substantial damage. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the flight instructor, he was instructing the student pilot on touch-and-go landings. While on final for a landing to Runway 18, another airplane announced intentions to take off on Runway 27. The approach path was low, and the instructor prompted the student to add power. As the instructor coordinated with the other airplane to deconflict flight paths, he did not monitor the student’s approach. When the instructor returned his attention to the approach path, there was insufficient time for the instructor to intervene before the airplane landed short. The left main landing gear separated from the airplane, and the left wing was substantially damaged.

Champion 7EC
July 6, 2016, Placedo, Texas

The airplane was landed in a corn field at 1000 Central time following a loss of engine power. The airline transport pilot was not injured, but the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported the airplane had not been flown for some time while the wings were removed and reskinned, and an annual inspection was completed. The engine had been run on the ground, but the accident occurred on the first flight after the maintenance. The pilot stated 20 gallons of fuel were added to the airplane about 1 weeks prior to the accident. The airplane had been run on the ground about an hour since the fuel was added. The pilot reported he ran the engine for about 10 minutes prior to takeoff and it operated normally. He also checked the magneto and carburetor heat operation during the engine run-up. About 10 to 15 minutes into the flight, the engine sputtered. The pilot applied carburetor heat and checked the position of the fuel selector, and the magnetos. The engine operation smoothed out but a short time later, all engine power was lost.

Gulfstream American AA-5A Cheetah
July 7, 2016, Cheyenne, Wyoming

At about 1200 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The flight instructor reported the airplane encountered very windy conditions shortly after takeoff and he was unable to control it. The airplane was unable to climb out, and the flight instructor performed a forced landing to a road, during which the pilot had to maneuver the airplane to avoid a collision with a construction crew. The airplane’s right wing was substantially damaged when it impacted a construction sign.

Cessna 182 Skylane
July 7, 2016, Searcy, Arkansas

The pilot later described flying the approach to a 2000-foot-long private grass airstrip as “a little high and fast.” The pilot further reported the airplane touched down about midfield and he applied brakes, but the airplane overran the runway and impacted trees. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.

Piper PA-32R-300 Lance
July 8, 2016, Houston, Texas

At about 1615 Central time, the airplane was destroyed during a post-impact fire following a loss of control shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and his three passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Numerous witnesses observed an open forward baggage compartment door shortly before the airplane rotated for liftoff. The airplane continued with the takeoff and climbed on runway heading to 100-150 feet agl before turning a left crosswind at a bank angle estimated to be 30-45 degrees. The airplane was observed to briefly roll into a wings-level attitude on the downwind leg before entering an aerodynamic stall/spin to the left and descending nose-first into terrain. The witnesses did not report hearing any engine anomalies during the accident flight.

Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six
July 8, 2016, Windermere, Florida

The airplane was substantially damaged when it was ditched following a total loss of engine power. The private pilot and passenger were seriously injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The accident flight was the airplane’s third flight of the day. After the first one, the airplane was fully fueled. The second flight, according to the pilot, consumed approximately 15 gallons of fuel from the right wing tip tank. The pilot stated he switched to the left wing tip tank before departing on the accident flight. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot heard a “popping” sound from the engine. The pilot later stated the engine initially sustained a partial power loss, and he performed the “engine power loss in flight” checklist, but was unable to diagnose the problem. The engine lost complete power shortly thereafter and the pilot ditched into a nearby lake.

Cessna 140
July 8, 2016, Salinas, California

At about 1604 Pacific time, the airplane was substantially damaged when its left main landing gear collapsed during the landing roll. The pilot/owner and his passenger were uninjured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot stated he made a normal three-point landing and the left wing dipped during the rollout. He applied opposite aileron, but the airplane continued to roll to the left, and then the cabin floor beneath his legs deformed upward. The left wing and propeller struck the runway surface, and the airplane came to a stop on the runway. Post-accident examination revealed the landing gear leg support structure formed by two transverse bulkheads had failed.

Cessna 310Q
July 11, 2016, Bartow, Florida

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1100 Eastern time during a forced landing. The commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the FAA, the airplane lost right engine power on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern to Runway 9L, then lost left engine power and subsequently impacted swampy terrain near the base leg. An FAA inspector noted the airplane came to rest in knee-deep water about a mile northwest of the airport and that neither propeller appeared to be feathered. The right engine’s propeller blades appeared to be bent aft while the left engine’s blades were straight.

Piper PA-28R-201 Arrow III
July 16, 2016, Esperance, New York

At about 1845 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed by collision with terrain and a post-crash fire shortly after takeoff. The private pilot was seriously injured; the three passengers were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Several witness observed the airplane’s nosewheel lift off and then settle back to the runway during the takeoff roll. The witnesses stated that the airplane then lifted off with approximately 500 feet of the 2000-foot-long paved runway remaining. The airplane overflew a hangar at the departure end of the runway “at a very low altitude” as it began a left turn. Radar data depicted a target correlated to the accident airplane in a left turn after takeoff. The target climbed to about 100 feet agl before the radar track ended about 1000 feet laterally from the departure runway.

The airplane came to rest on flat, swampy, wooded terrain and was consumed by a post-crash fire. All major components were accounted for at the scene. The flap handle indicated a flap position of 10 degrees. The landing gear was retracted.

This article originally appeared in the October 2016 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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