General Aviation Accident Bulletin

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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

Czech Aircraft Works SportCruiser
July 1, 2016, Wyoming, Minnesota

At about 2206 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during an off-airport landing on Interstate Highway 35 (I-35). The solo sport pilot received minor injuries. Night visual conditions prevailed for the local flight.

The pilot later stated he could not find his departure point because it was dark. The airplane was low on fuel and he could not see an airport beacon, so he landed the airplane on a road, I-35. During the landing roll, the airplane’s right wing hit a road divider, causing substantial damage.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk
July 1, 2016, Bountiful, Utah

During an introductory flight for two passengers, the pilot flew into a canyon where the airplane encountered an “unforeseen immense downdraft.” He initiated a right turn to exit the canyon but terrain interfered. The pilot then decided to make an emergency landing on a mountain road. After touchdown, the airplane skidded off the dirt road and down an embankment. A post-crash fire resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.

Cessna 172RG Cutlass RG
July 1, 2016, Manhattan, Kansas

The pilot was receiving instruction in an airplane with retractable landing gear. The flight instructor was the pilot in command. On final approach, both pilots were on the controls. They first realized there was an issue when they heard metal scraping on pavement. The airplane impacted the runway with its landing gear retracted, causing substantial damage to the fuselage and bulkhead. A post-accident landing gear aural warning horn check/test was conducted, with no maintenance issues found.

Rans S6ES Experimental
July 1, 2016, Bridgeport, California

At about 1040 Pacific time, the airplane impacted terrain about 1 miles north of the intended destination. The solo pilot was seriously injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

Upon nearing his destination, the pilot flew over his parents’ home to let them know that he was landing at the airport. After passing over the home, he turned sharply to the right then remembers the ground coming up into view. The impact marks were consistent with the airplane colliding with the terrain in a nose-down attitude.

Piper PA-22-150 Tri-Pacer
July 2, 2016, Houghton Lake Heights, Michigan

The airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with a wire fence and terrain while landing. The private pilot and three passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the introductory flight conducted during an event hosted by a local EAA chapter.

While on final approach, as it passed over a tree line, the airplane encountered a downdraft and descended below a normal glide path. As the pilot increased engine power to arrest the airplane’s descent, the main landing gear collided with a wire fence located near the approach end of the runway. The airplane landed hard, collapsing the nose gear, and skidded to a stop on the runway. The fuselage, engine firewall and left wing were substantially damaged.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk
July 2, 2016, Salmon, Idaho

At about 1100 Mountain time, the airplane was force-landed and collided with a fence, sustaining substantial damage. The student pilot receiving instruction and the flight instructor were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The flight instructor set the airplane up for simulated engine failure by pulling out the carburetor heat control and reducing throttle to 1200 rpm. The student pilot followed emergency procedures, used the checklist and prepared to land. After the carburetor heat control was pushed back in and the throttle advanced, there was a sudden loss of power; efforts to restart the engine were unsuccessful. The airplane collided with the fence during the landing.

Cessna 182 Skylane
July 3, 2016, Llano, California

During takeoff from a private dirt airstrip with a density altitude near 6100 feet, the airplane became airborne in ground effect but was not able to “build airspeed sufficient to pitch rate of climb.” The pilot reported wind pushed the airplane over an orchard and he intentionally put the airplane into an aerodynamic stall prior to impacting terrain. A post-impact fire ensued and the airplane was destroyed.

During the takeoff roll, the pilot heard a “bang,” which he initially assumed to be a rock hitting the fuselage, but later believed to be an engine failure. The airplane’s propeller, however, exhibited damage consistent with the engine producing power at the time of impact.

Seawind Experimental
July 4, 2016, Buena Vista, Colorado

At about 1128 Mountain time, the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a post-impact fire, after an apparent forced landing. The solo pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness reported hearing the pilot declare a mayday on the airport’s CTAF, stating his intention for a straight-in approach to Runway 15, but did not state the nature of the emergency. The entire airplane was almost completely consumed by the post-impact fire. Remnants of all major components and control surfaces were located in the immediate vicinity of the main wreckage. No anomalies could be found with respect to the engine and its accessories, airframe, flight control system or engine control system; however, the extent of fire damage precluded a complete examination and testing of components.

Bellanca 7ECA Citabria
July 4, 2016, Oak Ridge, Louisiana

The airplane was substantially damaged when it hit a ditch during an aborted takeoff and runway excursion. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the attempted takeoff.

During the takeoff roll, the pilot did not feel the airplane was at the speed it should be when it was of the way down the runway, so he decided to abort. When he applied brakes and full aft input on the control stick, the airplane ballooned. Once it settled back down, he was unable to stop the airplane before it overran the end of the runway. The airplane hit a ditch just beyond the end of the runway, bounced up, hit a second ditch and nosed over, coming to rest inverted in the second ditch. The left wing separated from the airplane, and the fuselage and empennage were substantially damaged.

Cessna 305/O-1 Bird Dog
July 4, 2016, Narragansett, Rhode Island

At about 1250 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it was ditched in the Atlantic Ocean after experiencing a total loss of engine power while in cruise flight. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the banner-tow flight.

According to the pilot, he departed with five hours of fuel. About 3.5 hours into the flight, the airplane was flying about 500 feet over the ocean when the engine lost total power. Subsequently, the pilot performed a forced landing to the water. The airplane sank, and came to rest in about 30 feet of water. The pilot egressed and was rescued a short time later. The airplane subsequently was recovered but no reason for the engine failure could be determined.