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.


April 8, 2018, Lowville, N.Y.

Cirrus SR22

At about 1653 Eastern time, the Canadian-registered airplane was substantially damaged during a hard landing following deployment of its airframe parachute. The Canadian-certificated private pilot and two passengers were not injured. Instrument conditions prevailed; the flight operated on an IFR flight plan.

The airplane was in cruise at 9,000 feet MSL, 1,000 feet above clouds, when ATC requested a temporary heading change. After the flight was cleared back on course, the pilot reportedly had difficulty configuring the autopilot. By the time he returned his attention to the flight instruments, the airplane was descending out of control through clouds. The pilot also reported the glass panel’s depicted horizon did not appear correct. The pilot activated the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System.

The airplane descended via parachute and landed upright in a field, sustaining substantial damage. After all occupants egressed, wind gusts filled the parachute and inverted the airplane.

April 9, 2018, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Piper PA-24-260 Comanche 260

The airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain at about 2048 Mountain time, shortly after taking off. The airline transport pilot, student pilot and four passengers were fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed. The inbound flight earlier that evening was the pilot’s first in the airplane.

Video surveillance footage appeared to indicate the airplane’s wings were rocking during and shortly after lifting off from Runway 3. A traffic camera about a half-mile northwest of the end of the departure runway recorded the airplane in a left bank. As the turn progressed, the bank angle increased and the airplane started to descend. The wings became nearly vertical and view of the airplane was lost. A witness did not hear any unusual sounds or see the airplane emitting smoke, fire or vapors, and stated the engine’s sound was typical.

April 15, 2018, San Antonio, Texas

Wittman Tailwind Experimental

At about 1032 Central time, the airplane impacted terrain. The solo commercial pilot was fatally injured; the airplane was destroyed during a post-impact fire. Visual conditions prevailed.

A friend of the pilot reported the flight’s purpose was to accumulate additional time on an overhauled engine installed in September 2017. A witness saw the airplane flying at about 1,500 feet AGL with no appreciable engine issues. As he continued to watch the airplane, its engine began to “struggle” for about 10 seconds before a total loss of power. The witness remarked that the airplane was already engulfed in flames as it descended rapidly into terrain. The airplane impacted in a 20-degree nose-down attitude.

April 15, 2018, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Cessna T210 Turbo Centurion

The airplane lost engine power during a visual approach at about 1048 Mountain time. The pilot made a forced landing in a residential area three miles from the airport. During the landing, the airplane struck an embankment and was substantially damaged. The pilot and one passenger were not injured, but another passenger received a serious injury. Visual conditions prevailed.

The airplane was at 9,500 feet MSL when its engine lost power. The pilot switched to the right tank and the engine regained power. The pilot climbed back to 9,500 feet. The engine lost power again, resulting in the forced landing. Examination revealed the left tank was empty, but the right tank contained 25 gallons of fuel.

April 15, 2018, Crozet, Va.

Cessna 525 CitationJet

At 2054 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Night instrument conditions prevailed; the flight was not operating on an IFR clearance.

While flying a relatively short route, the airplane climbed to 11,500 feet MSL before descending to 4,300 feet at 2044. The airplane remained at 4,300 feet MSL until 2053, when it entered a descending left turn. Radar contact was lost at 2054. Weather recorded about 13 miles northeast of the accident site included wind from 020 degrees at four knots, visibility of 2˝ miles in rain and mist, and broken clouds at 700 feet. The pilot did not contact Flight Service or DUATS for the accident flight.


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

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