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.


July 3, 2018, Springhill, LA.

Piper PA-46-350P Malibu Mirage

The airplane collided with terrain at about 1300 Central time. The pilot and passenger were not injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, while attempting a go-around, he raised the landing gear and flaps. However, the engine was not producing power. The airplane descended and impacted the ground beyond the runway. The fuselage was substantially damaged.

July 5, 2018, Daytona Beach, Fla.

Swearingen SX300 Experimental

At about 1345 Eastern time, the airplane was destroyed while landing at the Spruce Creek Airport. The private pilot was seriously injured; the pilot-rated passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot-rated passenger later stated he verified that the flaps were down and the three green landing gear lights were illuminated in the cockpit during the approach. Just before landing, he heard the angle of attack indicator alarm. The airplane landed hard, and he heard a loud pop and felt the left main landing gear fracture. The airplane then slid off the left side of the runway, colliding with PAPI lights, and continued sliding until the right wing dug into the ground. The airplane then flipped over and caught fire. The cockpit canopy was jammed, but several observers helped open it and egress the two occupants.

A witness reported observing that the airplane’s left landing gear was “trailing behind.”

July 7, 2018, Gulf Shores, Ala.

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

The airplane was substantially damaged at 0920 Central time during a forced landing in wooded terrain. The private pilot and four passengers sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

Before takeoff, the pilot checked fuel levels and estimated 30 gallons of fuel were aboard. The pilot reported no anomalies with the airplane during the flight. The pilot encountered difficulty when landing and, after the third or fourth bounce, decided to go around. After setting full power and observing a positive climb rate, he retracted the landing gear. He then observed the left engine was losing power and “surging.” The left engine stopped producing power, the stall horn sounded and the controls “started to buffet.” The pilot chose to land straight ahead into trees.

July 10, 2018, Hydaburg, Alaska

de Havilland Canada DHC-3T Turbine Otter

At about 0835 Alaska time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during an impact with rocky, mountainous, rising terrain. Of the 11 occupants, the airline transport pilot was uninjured, four passengers sustained minor injuries and six passengers sustained serious injuries. Marginal visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 operation.

While in level cruise flight at about 1,100 feet MSL, visibility decreased rapidly from three-to-five miles to nil. The pilot initiated a climbing right 180-degree turn, during which he saw what he believed to be a body of water and became disoriented, so he leveled the wings. Shortly thereafter, he realized that the airplane was approaching an area of snow-covered mountainous terrain, so he applied full power and initiated a steep, emergency climb to avoid rising terrain ahead. The airplane subsequently collided with rocky, rising terrain. The airplane’s floats were sheared off and it sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The pilot stated the terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) was in inhibit mode at the time of the accident.

The U.S. Coast Guard located the accident site at 1156. By 1308, all 11 survivors had been hoisted into a rescue helicopter and transferred to a staging area for transport back to their departure point.

July 12, 2018, Plainville, Conn.

Rutan Defiant Experimental

The airplane impacted terrain at about 1042 Eastern time, sustaining substantial damage. The solo private pilot was fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness reported observing the accident airplane climb out and immediately veer to the left. The airplane was at 150-200 feet AGL and continued in a steep (80-to-90-degree) left bank until it disappeared below the horizon and crashed. The airplane collided with upsloping terrain about 0.4 miles southwest of the airport center. The aft engine and its wood propeller remained attached to the fuselage. They were generally undamaged, with the exception of minor non-rotational surface scratches on the propeller blades.


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

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