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.

March 13, 2018, Chesapeake, Va.

Piper PA-28-181 Archer II/III

At about 1130 Eastern, the airplane was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a loss of engine power during initial climb. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed. In a written statement, the pilot described completing the preflight inspection, run-up, takeoff and one circuit in the airport traffic pat-tern with no anomalies noted. He performed a touch-and-go landing on Runway 23 and, as the airplane climbed to about 200 feet AGL, the engine stopped producing power. The pilot elected to land straight ahead off the departure end of the runway, and cycled the throttle during the descent, which only restored power momentarily before the forced landing was completed. A review of atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident revealed conditions conducive to “serious [carburetor] icing—de-scent power.” While examining the wreckage, an FAA inspector raised the nose of the airplane by anchoring the tail and attempted to start the engine. The engine started immediately, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously without interruption. Magneto and carburetor heat checks were performed, and the results were within the manufacturer’s parameters. When asked at what point he had applied carburetor heat, the pilot replied that he did not apply carburetor heat at any point during the flight.

March 16, 2018, Palatka, Fla.

Cirrus Design SR20/ Cirrus Design SR22

At about 1038 Eastern time, the two airplanes collided while on approach to land. There were no injuries to the SR22’s solo pilot or to the flight instructor and pilot receiving instruction aboard the SR20. Both airplanes were substantially dam-aged. Visual conditions prevailed. The SR22 pilot performed two landings and remained in the traffic pattern for a third, using the radio to announce his position on cross-wind, midfield downwind, base and final for Runway 27. He noted one pilot could not be heard well on the radio, one airplane was rolling out on the runway and another airplane was on a six-mile final. During the landing flare, he saw his propeller strike something, but could not see the airplane that was directly beneath him. As the SR20 proceeded to the airport, the two announced their intention to enter the left downwind for Runway 27. In response, a pilot advised he could not hear them well. After switching to Comm 2, the SR20 was advised they were “loud and clear.” They remained in the traffic pattern announcing their progress on every leg and executed two touch-and-go landings to Runway 27. Due to traffic on final to Runway 27, they extended their downwind leg. While on final approach about to land, they felt a big explosion then came to rest in the grass adjacent to the runway.

March 17, 2018, Punta Gorda, Fla.

Skybolt Experimental

The airplane was destroyed at about 1424 Eastern time during a forced landing. The solo commercial pilot had minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed. The pilot reported the engine had just been overhauled, and he was flying in the local area as part of a 10-hour break-in period. This was the first flight following the overhaul. The preflight and ground operations were normal, with no signs of oil leaks. About 35 minutes into the flight, oil appeared on both wind-screens, blocking forward visibility, and eventually completely covering them. The pilot alerted ATC, who cleared him to land and noted smoke coming from the engine. The engine lost power but continued to run. Unable to make the runway, the pilot elected to land the airplane in a field, during which it collided with a ditch and came to a stop, catching fire. The pilot egressed. The engine was examined and a hole was observed in the top of the crankcase, adjacent to the no. 2 cylinder.

March 18, 2018, Brown Valley, Calif.

CubCrafters CC11-160 Carbon Cub

At about 0910 Pacific time, the air-plane crashed in a lake following a wire strike. The solo private pilot was seriously injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed. According to the pilot, he was flying along the river at about 200 feet AGL when the airplane struck a transmission power line. An inflight fire erupted in the aft fuselage and the airplane crashed in a nearby river. The pilot reported there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

March 20, 2018, Deadhorse, Alaska

DeHavilland DHC 6 Twin Otter

The airplane struck a pedestrian after takeoff from a remote sea ice airstrip, about 140 miles north of Deadhorse, Alaska. The pedestrian was seriously injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The captain, first officer and the three passengers aboard the airplane were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the VFR Part 135 on-demand air taxi flight. The captain later said both pilots saw the pedestrian standing near the departure end of the airstrip on the left side and near the intersection of the east/west runway. After liftoff, the pilot lowered the nose to remain within ground effect and gain airspeed before initiating a climb. As airspeed increased, he started to climb the airplane, then initiated a left turn. During the turn, both pilots said they heard a loud thump, which was immediately followed by an aileron control anomaly. They continued the left turn, flew left traffic and landed. The injured pedestrian later reported the pilots knew he would position himself alongside the airstrip to get a photo of the airplane’s departure. As the airplane’s takeoff progressed, it did not climb as quickly as he observed during previous departures. The last thing he remembered before the collision was the airplane’s left wing getting lower to the ground as the airplane continued accelerating toward him.

March 22, 2018, Kansas City, Mo.

Cessna 310R

At about 1800 Central time, the airplane sustained substantial damage when its right landing gear collapsed during the landing roll. The pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed. The pilot later reported the landing gear warning lights were all green during the approach and the landing was normal. A witness observed the landing appeared normal. During landing rollout, the right landing gear collapsed. Examination revealed the landing gear collapsed about 200 feet after touchdown. The airplane skidded for about 1,200 to 1,500 feet and veered off the runway, resulting in substantial damage to the horizontal stabilizer and elevator.

March 23, 2018, Canton, Miss.

Cessna 180K

According to the pilot, the engine began accumulating carburetor ice and began to run “very rough.” The pilot applied carburetor heat, but the engine continued to run rough. He attempted to land with a tailwind but the airplane continued beyond the runway and impacted trees before coming to rest in the upright position. The airplane was substantially damaged. Fuel was noted in the tanks.

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

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