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 website 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.

February 2, 2018, Las Vegas, Nev.

Beechcraft Model 95 Travel Air

At about 1105 Pacific time, the airplane departed the runway after landing. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured but the airplane sustained substantial damage to its left wing. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the flight instructor, they were practicing single-engine approaches by simulating failure of the left engine. The airplane was low on the approach, and the student was instructed to add power to the right engine. The student advanced the right engine’s throttle, but there was no increase in power/thrust. The flight instructor told the student to push both throttles full forward and make a go-around. The right engine returned to full power but the left one failed to produce thrust. The airplane entered a VMC roll toward the “failed” left engine and impacted terrain.

February 4, 2018, Cleveland, Ohio

Raytheon 400A Beechjet

The airplane overran the end of the runway at about 1924 Eastern time during a landing. The two airline transport pilots and the two passengers were not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. Instrument conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight, which operated on an IFR flight plan.

The pilots abandoned their first approach due to wind conditions and ATC vectors. They then conducted a straight-in approach to Runway 24R and landed in the touchdown zone. They applied maximum braking but the airplane did not slow down and skidded off the runway into the engineered material arresting system. An initial damage assessment of the airplane indicated substantial damage to the fuselage and a collapsed nose gear.

At 1900, observed weather included wind from 330 degrees at 15 knots, gusting to 25 knots, four miles of visibility in mist and an overcast at 700 feet.

February 5, 2018, Carrabelle, Fla.

Sonex Trainer Experimental

At 1125 Eastern time, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain after a loss of engine power during the initial climb after takeoff. The private pilot—who was also the airplane’s owner/builder—was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to a witness, the flight’s purpose was to test the engine, with which the pilot/owner had been having problems. When the airplane was about halfway down the 4000-foot-long runway on takeoff, he heard the engine lose power. According to the witness, the airplane was about 100 feet above the runway when the pilot made an “aggressive bank” to the left. The airplane stalled and descended straight down to the ground. The airplane came to rest upright in a nose-down attitude about 250 yards north of the airport. There was no post-impact fire.

February 6, 2018, Patterson, La.

Piper PA-34-220T Seneca III/IV/V

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1715 Central time during a forced landing following loss of power from both engines. The pilot, pilot-rated passenger and another passenger were not injured. A third passenger sustained serious injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, the fuel gauges indicated about 45 gallons “a side” during the preflight inspection. After a 30-minute flight to pick up passengers, the airplane proceeded out over the Gulf of Mexico to photograph an oil rig. The rear door had been removed for the mission, limiting airspeed to 130 KIAS. Fuel gauges indicated about 40 gallons per tank before the second takeoff.

A passenger’s GPS tracking application reported that the accident flight departed at 1347 and arrived at the oil rig at 1514. Photography was completed at 1607, and the pilot turned toward the departure airport. According to the passenger, the pilot decided to divert to a closer airport at about 1628. The first engine lost power at about 1708, followed by the second one about 1715. The pilot executed a forced landing to a canal. Recovery personnel did not observe a fuel sheen on the water. No fuel was observed in the tanks.

February 6, 2018, Santee, Calif.

Cessna 182T Skylane

At about 0654 Pacific time, the airplane impacted an industrial storage facility. The pilot/owner, one passenger and a family dog were fatally injured; another family dog was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. Instrument conditions prevailed. The preliminary NTSB report fails to note whether the private pilot was instrument-rated.

The flight departed at about 0645, before the control tower opened. Witnesses reported low-level fog. The accident flight also was captured on video, which showed the airplane make a turn back toward the departure airport. The airplane was flying in and out of fog before it entered a spin and dropped below the rooftops of several buildings. Witnesses reported the airplane was in a nose-high attitude when it turned back, with its wings rocking back and forth, before it started to spin and impact the ground.

February 7, 2018, Fargo, N.D.

Piper PA-24-260 Comanche 260

The airplane was involved in a runway excursion when its landing gear collapsed at about 1800 Central time while landing. The pilot and passenger were uninjured. The airplane sustained substantial wing damage when it contacted a runway sign. Visual conditions prevailed.

After the pilot landed and boarded a passenger, the airplane would not start. The pilot used a ground power unit to start the engine and ran the airplane for about 10 minutes to charge the battery and verify the charging system. The pilot then taxied to the runway but did not verify ammeter output during the run-up. After departure, all the radios were inoperative. The pilot re-entered the traffic pattern and received a green light from the tower.

Without electrical power to lower the landing gear, the pilot initiated the manual gear extension procedure but was unable to remove the handle’s cover plate. After bending the cover back, he performed the manual gear extension procedure and observed the wingtip mirrors indicate the gear appeared to be down. On touching down, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane slid off the runway, impacted the sign.

This article originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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