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

July 1, 2017, Catawba, Wis.

Cessna 421C Golden Eagle

The aircraft broke up in flight then impacted the ground after an uncontrolled descent at about 0153 Central time. The commercial pilot and five passengers sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. Dark night visual conditions prevailed. An IFR flight plan was in effect.

The airplane was in cruise at 10,000 feet msl when its pilot queried ATC about nearby weather conditions. Radar data then showed the airplane climb slightly and turn left. Then the airplane entered a descending right turn and radio contact was lost. There were no distress calls. The nearest convective activity was about 25 miles to the east. Debris from the aircraft was spread over about ¼ mile.

July 1, 2017, Chatsworth, Ga.

Piper PA-23-250 Aztec

At about 1644 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed during an inflight breakup. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Instrument conditions prevailed but the flight was not operating on an IFR clearance.

After a fuel stop lengthened by the pilot’s inability to perform a hot-start of the airplane’s engines and subsequent weak battery, the flight departed about 1500. The airplane was not in contact with ATC during the accident flight but radar data depicted it heading northeast and encountering thunderstorms advancing from the northwest. The radar data showed the airplane penetrating a thunderstorm before radar contact was lost. Witnesses watched the airplane “tumbling and spinning” out of the sky. The debris field was about one mile in length.

July 2, 2017, Moorhead, Minn.

North American T-28A Trojan

The airplane struck a light pole and impacted terrain at about 1810 Central time, while approaching to land. The solo private pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. Visual conditions existed at the accident site. Witnesses observed the airplane flying at low altitude and heard its engine running prior to it striking a light pole at a truck waystation about two miles south of the runway. The right wing was severed at the root. There was no fire.

July 3, 2017, Alpine, Texas

Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

At about 1815 Central time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing. The solo commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand cargo flight. An IFR flight plan had been filed.

While climbing through about 500 feet agl, the pilot heard a loud bang, followed by a squealing noise and an immediate loss of engine power. The pilot released back pressure on the controls and pulled the propeller control to feather. During the forced landing, the right and left wings were damaged due to impact with power poles before the airplane came to rest in a field.

July 4, 2017, Remsen, N.Y.

Luscombe 8A Master

The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1430 Eastern time when it impacted terrain while on final approach. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness observed the airplane approaching the runway. The airplane was flying toward him and he thought it was coming in to land. The witness said the airplane then entered a sudden “nose dive” and impacted a field. He said he heard the airplane’s engine prior to the impact. The airplane came to rest upright in a hayfield about 600 feet from the end of Runway 9. There was no post-impact fire. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.

July 4, 2017, San Juan, P.R.

Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee 180

At 1721 Atlantic time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a canal shortly after takeoff. The private pilot and three passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

On the takeoff roll, the pilot observed the engine instruments were “in the green” and the engine developed full power. During the initial climb at an altitude of about 250 feet agl, the engine started to run rough and lose power. It did not respond to throttle inputs. The pilot informed ATC he intended to return and land. Although the pilot did not recall subsequent events, video captured from observers on the ground show the airplane in a left descending turn. The airplane’s bank angle increased to about 90 degrees left-wing-down before it impacted the canal.

July 4, 2017, Dillwyn, Va.

Aviation Aircraft A-1C-180 Husky

The airplane was substantially damaged at 1224 Eastern time when it impacted terrain. The private pilot was seriously injured; one passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to a witness, the pilot was attempting to land the airplane on a grass field. Three attempts were made, and the airplane touched down on the third attempt. The pilot then executed a go-around, and the airplane climbed, turned to the right and stalled, colliding with terrain in a cornfield adjacent to the grass field. The field the pilot was attempting to land on was about 665 feet long and designed for radio-controlled aircraft.

July 4, 2017, Willits, Calif.

Cessna P210 Pressurized Centurion

The pilot reported the airplane was “blown to the east, presumably by either stronger winds or gusts” that, while landing and trying to maintain directional control. He was “fearing a stall,” and elected to “put the plane down in the grass and dirt to the left of the runway.” Unable to stop the forward momentum with full application of the brakes, the airplane continued over the edge of the embankment, and came to rest in the trees.

A witness reported the accident airplane did not touch down until the second half of the landing runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. Weather observed about 21 nm away included wind from 150 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 20. The accident occurred as the pilot attempted to land on Runway 16.

July 4, 2017, Marana, Ariz.

Vickers Supermarine Spitfire VC

At about 0900 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged following a loss of control and runway excursion during landing. The solo airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot reported the airplane veered to the left after landing on Runway 12, and he corrected back to the right. As the airplane continued to the right, the pilot attempted to correct back to the left. However, the left brake was ineffective, which resulted in an excursion off the right side of the runway and into some soft dirt. The airplane subsequently came to rest on its nose, having incurred damage to the landing gear, fuselage and propeller. Reported wind about five minutes before the accident was from 230 degrees at three knots.

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

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