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

March 8, 2017, Apex, N.C.

Pitts S2E Experimental

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1535 Eastern time when it impacted trees and terrain while on approach. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

Witnesses saw the airplane descending on approach to land. The engine “revved up,” and “sounded like it was running perfectly.” One witness reported seeing the airplane go out of her line of sight. Then, several witnesses reported that they heard two “booms.” The airplane impacted a pine tree, then the ground, and came to rest partially inverted on its left wing about 300 feet from the runway threshold. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to all the respective flight control surfaces. Both propeller blades exhibited chordwise scratching. One blade displayed leading-edge gouging; the other blade exhibited tip tearing and blade curling. Weather observed about nine miles north of the accident site included wind from 300 degrees at seven knots, visibility 10 miles and few clouds at 25,000 feet agl.

March 11, 2017, Reno, Nev.

Piper Aerostar 602P

At about 1515 Pacific time, the airplane landed with a retracted left main landing gear. The solo pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight.

The pilot reported the left main landing gear did not extend as he attempted to land; the nose and right main landing gear extended, however. Upon touchdown, the left main landing gear was still retracted. The airplane slid down the runway, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing.

March 12, 2017, Tampa, Fla.

Piper PA-28-140 Cherokee 140

The airplane impacted water during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The solo private pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot stated that prior to takeoff, the preflight inspection was normal and no anomalies were noted. The engine run-up and magneto checks also were normal. After liftoff, at about 100 feet agl, he noticed a loss of engine power and rpm. He verified fuel and oil pressure were good and started looking for a place to land. He decided to turn back to the airport and try landing on the cross runway. During the turn, he realized he would not make it back to the airport and ditched the airplane into the surrounding water. A local boater picked him up and took him to shore.

March 13, 2017, Skiatook, Okla.

Cessna 182 Skylane

At about 1530 Central time, the airplane impacted terrain following a loss of control while taxiing for departure. The solo commercial pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage to its left horizontal stabilizer. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot stated he was taxiing the airplane for departure when it suddenly veered to the right. He attempted to correct the right turn by applying the left brake, but the attempt was unsuccessful and the airplane entered a drainage ditch. The airplane came to rest upright off the taxiway surface in the drainage ditch.

March 16, 2017, Opal, S.D.

Cessna 210B Centurion

The airplane impacted terrain at about 1640 Mountain time. The pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions prevailed for the flight.

Following an annual inspection, the pilot was returning it to its base airport. While en route, he flew to a third airport, which was adjacent to his ranch home. The airplane impacted a hill 275 yards off the runway’s departure end and came to rest 175 feet beyond the initial impact crater. No witnesses observed the accident.

March 18, 2017, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Cessna R182 Skylane RG

The pilot reported he was performing a simulated 180-degree power-off landing, but he became fixated on his touchdown point and did not complete the landing checklist. He also did not look outside to confirm the main landing gear was down or “confirm a green [landing gear position indicator] light.” The airplane landed with the gear retracted, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot also reported he was using an active noise reduction headset during the accident flight. Although the gear warning horn was audible, “it did not translate in his brain as a landing gear retracted warning.”

March 20, 2017, Greeley, Colo.

Cessna 172RG Cutlass RG

The airplane landed gear up at about 1646 Mountain time. The pilot was not injured; the airplane suffered minor damage. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported the left landing gear would not extend. Following unsuccessful attempts to resolve the problem, the pilot elected to land gear up. Examination revealed the left main landing gear actuator had failed.

March 20, 2017, Boise, Idaho

Swearingen SA226TC Merlin II

At about 0400 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged when a foreign object struck its propeller during initial takeoff/climb. The solo airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the FAR Part 135 cargo flight.

About the time the airplane rotated during takeoff, the pilot experienced a vibration; he subsequently returned and landed without incident. Examination revealed a portion of the outboard section of a blade mounted to the left propeller was missing. The blade itself had fragmented into two pieces. A four-inch-square hole was observed in the left forward side of the fuselage aft of the main airstair door and a piece of the propeller blade was found in the cabin. A runway sweep for foreign objects was conducted shortly after the occurrence. A screwdriver used earlier during maintenance on the airplane and the second piece of the propeller blade tip were recovered from the departure runway approximately where the airplane would have rotated.

March 24, 2017, Marietta, Ga.

Cessna 500 Citation I

The airplane collided with terrain in a residential neighborhood at about 1925 Eastern time. The solo private pilot was fatally injured while the airplane was destroyed by impact and post-impact fire. Visual conditions prevailed.

Nearing his destination, the pilot requested direct routing because his autopilot was not working and he was having steering problems. Radio and radar contact with the flight were lost about 15 miles north of the destination. A pilot-rated witness observed the airplane flying level on a southerly heading about 1000 feet below the overcast. The witness said there was nothing unusual about the airplane until it made a complete 360-degree roll to the left before entering a steep 90-degree bank to the left. The airplane then rolled inverted and entered a slow counterclockwise nose-down spiral before it disappeared behind trees. Weather observed about three miles west of the accident site included wind from 160 degrees at eight knots, visibility 10 statute miles and an overcast 5500 feet.

March 25, 2017, Hayden, Ala.

Cessna T210L Turbo Centurion

At about 1425 Central time, the airplane was destroyed during an uncontrolled descent and subsequent in-flight breakup. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was operating under IFR.

While the flight was en route, ATC advised it of moderate to extreme precipitation and allowed the pilot to deviate as necessary. Shortly thereafter, the airplane began to descend, with the pilot reporting to ATC he was doing the best he could to maintain altitude. The controller suggested a turn, but the pilot did not respond. A witness reported hearing an airplane flying above him making a “weird” sound. He heard a loud “boom” and saw pieces of the airplane falling out of the sky, but did not see it break apart. He then saw the fuselage of the airplane, which was spinning through the air heading toward the ground. The debris field was about one mile in length.

This article originally appeared in the June 2017 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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