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 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.
July 5, 2017, Rushville, Ind.
Piper PA-32-300 Cherokee Six
The airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing at about 1400 Eastern time. The airline transport pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
According to the pilot, the engine did not respond to his increased throttle input after a descent. The pilot selected a diversion airfield and began troubleshooting the engine. The engine would decrease engine power with throttle movement, but would not restore engine power when throttle was added. Eventually, the airplane was not able to maintain altitude and the pilot performed a forced landing to a field.
July 6, 2017, Honesdale, Pa.
At 1645 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a collision with trees and terrain during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
A witness observed the airplane take off and return for a touch-and-go landing. The initial takeoff sounded “normal” but the engine “fumbled...faltered drastically for 3 or 4 seconds” on the ensuing takeoff. The pilot aborted the takeoff, taxied back to the beginning of the runway, and took off again. The airplane reached traffic pattern altitude “or close to it” on the downwind leg when the witness heard the engine “miss” and heard further power interruptions before his attention was diverted. Surveillance video showed the airplane in a shallow descent and a shallow angle of bank as it descended from view behind trees.
Examination of the wreckage revealed the lap belt and shoulder harnesses were not buckled. Both wing-mounted fuel tanks were intact and fuel-system continuity was confirmed. A total of three ounces of fuel was found at the accident site.
July 7, 2017, San Francisco, Calif.
The Part 129 scheduled international passenger flight was cleared to land on Runway 28R at about 2356 Pacific time. Runway 28L was closed at the time; its lighting was turned off and a 20.5-ft-wide lighted flashing X (runway closure marker) was at its threshold. The Airbus lined up for its landing on parallel Taxiway C, which had four air carrier airplanes on it awaiting takeoff clearance—a Boeing 787, an Airbus A340, another Boeing 787 and a Boeing 737.
Subsequent investigation reveals the Airbus crew advanced its thrust levers for a go-around when the airplane was about 85 feet above the taxiway; the minimum altitude recorded on the FDR once the go-around was initiated was 59 feet agl. The Boeing 787 is 55 feet 10 inches high. Night visual conditions prevailed, and the Airbus had been cleared for a visual approach.
July 7, 2017, Cape Coral, Fla.
Cessna 172D Skyhawk
At about 0950 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged during a forced landing after total loss of engine power. The pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
While cruising at 1200 feet agl, the pilot noticed a partial loss of engine power. He immediately turned toward his departure airport and applied carburetor heat. The engine continued to run rough and produce partial power, then lost all power. The airplane struck power lines and then the ground.
July 7, 2017, Greenwood, S.C.
Cessna T337 Turbocharged Skymaster
The airplane was substantially damaged at about 0735 Eastern time during a forced landing. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
After performing some touch-and-go landings, pilot and flight instructor departed the traffic pattern to perform airwork, including steep turns and a practice stall. Subsequently, the front engine started to surge from high power to low power, then lost all power. The pair turned back toward the departure airport and performed the engine-out checklist but could not restart the front engine. Before reaching the airport, the rear engine experienced a total loss of power. The airplane was too low to reach the runway, and the flight instructor performed a forced landing into the trees.
July 8, 2017, Waterford, Ohio
Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III
At 0942 Eastern time, the airplane impacted a reservoir. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed. Instrument conditions prevailed; an IFR flight plan had been filed.
Radar data show the airplane proceeding toward an initial approach fix for an RNAV (GPS) procedure. The final 2.5 minutes of the radar data revealed several sharp left and right turns. The last radar fix recorded the airplane at 2950 feet msl, or about 2100 feet agl. A witness less than a mile from the accident site reported low overcast clouds and fog were present as the accident airplane flew overhead. It exited the clouds in a steep angle of descent with the engine producing a sound similar to high power before disappearing behind a tree line.
July 8, 2017, Walters, Okla.
Beechcraft V35 Bonanza
The airplane sustained substantial damage at about 1050 Central time in a forced landing after a loss of engine power. The airline transport pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.
About 10 minutes after takeoff, the engine oil pressure indication went to zero and the engine failed. The pilot executed a forced landing to a farm field, during which the airplane sustained substantial damage to the firewall and lower fuselage. Examination revealed a hole above the engine’s #4 cylinder. All engine cylinders had been replaced about 10 flight hours prior to the accident flight.
July 13, 2017, Marineland, Fla.
Piper PA-44-180 Seminole
At about 2300 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed during an inflight breakup. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed. Shortly before radio and radar contact were lost, the flight was at 5400 feet msl with its destination in sight. The outboard portions of the left and right wings, baggage door, and a portion of the right stabilator were located throughout a 0.5-mile-long and 0.2-mile-wide debris path.
July 13, 2017, Hailey, Idaho
Beechcraft D55 Baron
The airplane landed hard and ground looped at about 2010 Mountain time, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.
The pilot observed that the throttles were not rigged correctly and were not aligned with each other. On approach, he realized the airplane was too high and reduced power to lose altitude. Closer to the runway, the airplane drifted right of centerline, so he added power to go around. However, he added too much power to the left engine, which increased the rightward drift. The pilot returned the airplane to a wings-level attitude, but the nose was pitched up too high, and the airplane landed hard.
July 27, 2017, Oshkosh, Wis.
Lake LA-4-250 Renegade
At 1943 Central time, the amphibious airplane impacted water during takeoff. The pilot and one passenger were fatally injured, the pilot-rated passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.
When the airplane arrived at about 1230 on the day of the accident, the pilot requested assistance because the airplane was taking on water in the left wing sponson. Boats assisted the airplane to the dock, and both the sponson and an integral fuel tank were emptied.
When the pilot was ready to depart, personnel expressed concern regarding rough water conditions. At one point, the pilot was taken out on the lake by boat to observe conditions. Subsequently, the seaplane was towed outside the base by boat. While under tow, the pilot reportedly asked the harbor master for permission to start the engine several times. Once the tow was complete, the pilot started the airplane engine and the airplane “went to full power within two seconds.” The airplane began its takeoff run immediately.
Video showed the airplane porpoising, then its nose rose steeply out of the water and the airplane rolled to the left and the left wing struck the water. The airplane settled back to the right, its nose entered the water and the airplane began to sink. Video documenting the takeoff revealed the airplane’s wing flaps were retracted. The elevator trim tab was close to or at maximum nose-up.
This article originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.
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