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IFA Accident Reports

Safe flying is the aim of all pilots and comes from training and experience. These accidents reports are presented in the interest of safety by helping pilots learn from the experience of others. To view the reports, click on any of the headings below:

Takeoff Accidents

Landing Accidents

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Click on any of the aircraft listed below to read its accident report:

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 Where: Grayslake, IL
Injuries: None
Phase of Flight: Landing

The single-engine airplane veered off the left side of runway 9 (3,270 feet by 40 feet, asphalt) during landing and sustained substantial damage. Winds, 11 miles from the accident airport, were 120 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 21 knots. The pilot reported that he flew a Global Positioning System (GPS) approach and cancelled his instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan when he had the airport in sight. He entered a left downwind for landing on runway 9 and confirmed a right crosswind condition by observing the windsock. The airspeed was 90 knots with a right "crab" on final approach to landing. The pilot reported, "Prior to touchdown the wind calmed to the point that the crab was not needed." He reported the airplane touched down on the centerline of the dry runway. He reported, "Almost immediately after touchdown, the plane started moving left." He reacted by putting in full right aileron and applying right rudder, but he did not apply any pressure to the toe brakes. The airplane veered off the left side of the runway. The airplane encountered soft terrain, spun around, and impacted a ditch. The inspection of the airplane revealed that the wheels spun freely when turned and the brakes did not stick. The tires had no flat spots. The inspection of the runway revealed that there were no long skid marks on the runway, but there were black skid marks about 2 feet in length that were about 20 feet apart. There was no indication of braking when the airplane came in contact with the grass.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot failed to compensate adequately for the crosswind condition and failed to maintain directional control during the landing roll. Contributing factors included the crosswind, the narrow runway, soft ground, and the ditch.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Dassault Aviation DA-20 Falcon Jet
Where: Pueblo, CO
Injuries: 5 Uninjured.
Phase of flight: Landing

The captain reported that he obtained weather briefings prior to and during the flight. The briefings did not include any NOTAMS indicating a contaminated runway at their destination airport. The captain obtained a report from the local fixed base operator that a Learjet had landed earlier and reported the runway as being okay. The tower was closed on their arrival, so they made a low pass over the airport to inspect the runways. Based on the runway and wind conditions, they decided their best choice for landing was on runway 08L. The captain said the landing was normal and the airplane initially decelerated with normal braking. As they encountered snow and ice patches, the captain said he elected to deploy the thrust reversers. The captain said that as the thrust reversers deployed, the airplane began to yaw to the left and differential braking failed to realign the airplane with the runway. The captain said the airplane departed the left side of the runway and rotated counter clockwise before coming to rest on a southwesterly heading. A witness on the airport said, "I watched them touch down. I heard the [thrust] reversers go on and then off, and then on again. As they came back on for the second time, that s when the plane started making full circles on the runway. This happened two, maybe three times before going off the side of the runway." The airplane s right main landing gear collapsed on departing the runway, causing substantial damage to the right wing, right main landing gear and aft pressure bulkhead. At the accident site, the right engine thrust reverser was partially deployed. The left engine thrust reverser was fully deployed with the blocker doors extended. An examination of the airplane revealed a stuck solenoid on the right engine thrust reverser. No other system anomalies were found. Approximately 33 minutes prior to the accident, the pilot requested from Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center, the weather for the airport. Denver Center reported the conditions as "winds calm, visibility 6 miles with light mist, 3,000 overcast, temperature zero degrees Centigrade (C) dew point -1 degree C, altimeter three zero 30.20, and there was at least a half inch of slush on all surfaces." The pilot acknowledged the information. The NOTAM log for the airport showed that at 2115, the airport issued a NOTAM stating there was "1/2 inch wet snow all surfaces." The airport operations manager reported that at the time of the accident the runway surface was covered with 3/4 inch of wet snow. The airport conducts a 24 hour, 7 days a week operation; however, operations support digresses to fire coverage only after 2300.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot s improper in-flight planning/decision to land on the contaminated runway, the stuck thrust reverser solenoid resulting in partial deployment of the right engine thrust reverser, and the pilot s inability to maintain directional control of the airplane due to the asymmetric thrust combined with a contaminated runway. Factors contributing to the accident were the wet, snow-covered runway, the airport s failure to remove the snow from the runway, and the pilot s failure to recognize the reported hazardous runway conditions by air traffic control.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: De Havilland DHC-6
Where: Rittman, OH
Injuries: 1 serious, one minor
Phase of Flight: Landing

A de Havilland DHC-6 was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain following an aborted landing at Hilty Field (OI68), Rittman, Ohio. The certificated airline transport pilot received serious injuries, and the second pilot, also a certificated airline transport pilot, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the parachuting flight.

During a telephone interview, the second pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to perform an evaluation of the first pilot, who was recently designated by the operator as a backup pilot.

The pilots initially departed and performed three takeoff and landings, with the first pilot in the right seat. They then embarked passengers, and performed several parachuting flights. The pilots then decided that the first pilot would transition to the left seat. Two additional parachuting flights followed uneventfully.

Following the passenger drop on the third flight, the pilots discussed single engine operations. The first pilot subsequently reduced the right engine s power to flight idle, and feathered the propeller.

During the final leg of the approach to landing, the airplane crossed over a fence near the runway threshold, and the first pilot pitched the airplane downward. The nose landing gear then contacted the runway "hard," and the airplane began to bounce. After two bounces, the first pilot increased power on the left engine to "full," and pitched the airplane up. He then told the second pilot that he was going to abort the landing, and to reduce the flap setting to 10 degrees. The airplane continued to pitch up, yawed to the right, and "stalled" at an attitude about 25 feet above ground level.

According to a written statement submitted by the first pilot, following several previous flights, the decision was made to demonstrate single engine operations. He performed a practice single engine approach, and missed approach, between 3,000 and 4,000 feet. The pilot then performed an actual single engine approach to landing. During the entire approach, nothing unusual was noted. During the touchdown, "a slight bounce was encountered." The pilot judged that the groundspeed was too fast in order to land within the remaining runway, and elected to abort the landing. He added full power and initiated a climb, "at which time the aircraft slid off to the right which resulted in a loss of directional control."

The owner/operator of the airplane witnessed the accident, and described what he had seen during a telephone interview.

He viewed the airplane as it was on the final leg of the approach, and described that approach as being "a little long, and a little fast." The airplane then contacted the runway, and bounced three times, with the nose landing gear contacting the runway first, followed by the main landing gear. The airplane s pitch angle then increased, and the airplane "looked like it stalled." It then rolled to the right, and the right wing contacted the ground.

Another individual witnessed the accident, and provided a written statement. The witness was driving on a highway adjacent to the airport, when he saw the airplane "coming down very fast." The landing gear contacted the ground, and the airplane bounced back into the air, then turned right. As the airplane was turning, it again began to descend, the right wing contacted the ground, and separated from the airplane. When asked, the witness stated that the airplane initially touched down about 100 yards from the runway end.

The wreckage was examined at the scene by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors, and no anomalies were noted with the airframe, or either engine.

The first pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land, and a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent first class FAA medical certificate was issued and at that time he reported 10,154 total hours of flight experience.

The second pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land, and a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent second class FAA medical certificate was issued and on that date he reported 6,882 total hours of flight experience.

The weather reported at Akron-Canton Regional Airport (CAK), Akron, Ohio, included winds from 170 degrees at 6 knots, few clouds at 4,000 feet, temperature 79 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot s improper flare and recovery from a bounced landing, which resulted in a stall and subsequent impact with the ground.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: De Havilland DHC-2
Where: Anchorage, AK
Injuries: None
Phase of flight: Landing

About 1705 Alaska daylight time, a float-equipped de Havilland DHC-2 airplane received substantial damage when it collided with trees and a private residence following a loss of engine power while on approach to land at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base, Anchorage, Alaska. The solo commercial pilot was not injured. The Title 14, CFR Part 91 personal flight operated in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight departed a remote lake near Beluga, Alaska, about 1635, and the destination was the Lake Hood Seaplane Base.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) spoke with the pilot of the accident airplane, and an Anchorage FAA Flight Standards District Office inspector, at 1725. The pilot spoke with the IIC from the accident site using the FAA inspector s cellular phone. The pilot related that he had departed a remote lake near Beluga, and was on final approach to land at Lake Hood, when the engine lost all power. The pilot said it was a "fuel starvation event." He said he had the fuel selector on the right fuel tank, and thought the right tank was about 1/4 full, but the engine stopped when he was about 300 yards from the lake, and about 150 feet above the ground. He reported that he had insufficient time or altitude to switch to the belly tank and restore power, and that he had to make an off-airport emergency landing. The airplane subsequently struck trees, and then a railing on the deck in the backyard of a private residence on Lakeshore Drive, and came to rest in the residence s garden, with the left wing resting on the deck railing.

An FAA inspector at the accident site, and an NTSB investigator who viewed the airplane the day after the accident, noted structural damage to the left wing.

In the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report submitted by the pilot, he reported that when he drained the fuel tanks prior to moving the airplane, he recovered about one quart of fuel from the right wing tank, and about 18 gallons from the belly tank.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot s incorrect positioning of the fuel tank selector to a nearly empty tank, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel starvation, and subsequent emergency landing at an off-airport site.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Grumman American AA-1A
Where: Shreveport LA
Injuries: 2 fatal
Phase of Flight: Takeoff

At 1346 central standard time, a Grumman American AA-1A single-engine airplane was destroyed upon impact with terrain following a lost of control during initial takeoff climb near Shreveport, Louisiana. The non-instrument rated private pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. No flight plan was filed for the local flight that originated as a flight of two airplanes, from the Shreveport Downtown Airport (DTN) at 1342.

According to the air traffic control tower personnel at the DTN airport, the airplane was cleared for takeoff at 1342, as a flight of two airplanes, in which a Cessna 120 airplane was the lead aircraft, and the accident airplane was the trail airplane. The pilot of the lead airplane maintained radio contact with the trail airplane, and he observed the trail airplane during his takeoff roll. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot of the trail airplane reported the he was in trail about a mile behind the lead airplane. About 10 to 15 seconds later, the pilot of the lead airplane reported that he looked back to determined the location of the trail airplane. He observed an airplane, which he did not immediately recognize, entering a spin to the right; however, he did not observe the airplane impact the terrain.

A few seconds later, the lead pilot reported to the DTN tower that "[the Grumman] may have gone down." Two additional airplanes circled the area looking for the missing airplane. The wreckage was located at 1427.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot received his private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating in 1977. According to the pilot s logbook, he accumulated a total of 50.5 flight hours prior to discontinuing his flying.  In 2000, the pilot started flying again in a Cessna 152 and in 2001 purchased the accident airplane. According to his logbook, the pilot had accumulated a total of 125.1 flight hours as of his last entry on the logbook. The pilot was estimated to have accumulated a total of 49.6 hours in the accident airplane. The pilot completed his most recent biennial flight review (BFR) in the accident aircraft. He was issued an FAA Third Class medical certificate, with a restriction to wearing corrected lenses for near and intermediate vision.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The 1971-model airplane was manufactured by Grumman American Aircraft.. The most recent annual inspection was completed at 823.2 aircraft hours (tachometer time), approximately 16.22 hours prior to the accident.

The airplane was powered with a 4-cylinder Lycoming O-235-C2C engine. The engine was driving a fixed pitch, all metal, 2-bladed McCauley propeller, model number SCM 71575, serial number G16035. A review of the maintenance records revealed, the engine accumulated a total of 2,894.72 hours, with 159.32 hours since its last engine overhaul.

According to data provided by several sources, the airplane had been previously involved in a mishap on July 20, 2001. The previous mishap was reported to be the result of fuel starvation due to a defective or improperly installed fuel selector valve, which resulted in a forced landing near Monroe, Louisiana. No records of the reported accident were available in the NTSB or FAA accident database. As result of the mishap, the airplane was reported to been out of service until about 11 months later. All necessary repairs were performed at a repair station at the DTN airport.

COMMUNICATIONS

The pilot of the Cessna 120 aircraft reported that he had been communicating with the accident airplane on 123.45. No distress calls were received from the pilot of the accident airplane on either 123.45 or on the tower frequency.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The Global Positioning System (GPS) location of the accident site, provided by a member of the Sheriff Department, was recorded at 32 degrees 35 minutes and 35 seconds north latitude and 93 degrees, 45 minutes, 56 seconds west longitude.

The airplane impacted the ground in a 100-foot wide pasture, which was oriented on a measured heading of 340 and 160 degrees magnetic heading. The ground was soft with several saturated sections. The nose and main landing gear tires made ground impressions varying in depth from 8 to 12 inches deep. The aircraft impacted the ground and came to rest on a measured heading of 280 degrees, approximately 4 nautical miles from the departure end of the runway at DTN.

The engine remained partially attached to the airframe. The two top engine mounts separated from the airframe at the airframe mounting point as the attaching hardware pulled out of the honeycomb. The engine was found canted forward about 30 degrees nose low. No evidence of a catastrophic engine failure was noted. The barrel of the #3 cylinder showed evidence of exposure to high heat (paint peeling and bluing). Engine control continuity was established to the throttle, mixture control and carburetor heat. The mixture control was found in the full rich position, the throttle was found in the closed position, and the carburetor heat was found in the cold/off position.

Five quarts of oil were present in the engine crankcase. The oil had an olive-green color and appeared to be clean. The propeller was rotated by hand and continuity to the engine accessory section was confirmed. The oil filter canister was removed from the aircraft and opened for inspection during the engine examination. No metal chips or any other contaminants were found within the paper elements of the oil filter.

The propeller remained attached to the engine. The bottom half of the chromed spinner dome was found crushed inwards and did not show any evidence or signatures of rotational damage. No leading edge damage was found on either propeller blade. One propeller blade was found slightly bend aft about 5 to 10 degrees. The other blade was undamaged.

Approximately 2.5 ounces of straw colored fuel were drained from the carburetor bowl during the engine examination.

The muffler and some of the exhaust pipes were crushed; however, the carburetor remained attached to the engine, and appeared to be undamaged.

The windshield assembly was not compromised and was found separated from the aircraft. The sliding canopy, reported to have been removed by the first responders, was found in the closed and locked position at the time of the accident. The fuselage was buckled in several areas. The underside of the airplane was crushed upwards.

Both wings remained attached to the airframe. There was no leading edge damage to either or the wings or the horizontal stabilizers. The wings were buckled and pushed upward. The flaps were found extended to the 2/3 (two third) position. The elevator trim indicator in the cockpit was found in the neutral position; however, the elevator trim was found in the full up (nose down) position.

All flight control surfaces, with the exception of the rudder and vertical stabilizer, remained attached to their respective surfaces. Flight control continuity was established to the elevators, rudder, and ailerons. The vertical stabilizer and the rudder were found partially separated to the airframe, and rotated towards the left side of the airframe.

The nose landing gear was folded in the aft direction. The nose gear tire was destroyed by a minor post-impact fire. The main landing gears were pushed up into the skin for the lower portion of both wings. Also, the gears were spread and the laminations of the fiberglass main landing gear legs were spread. The tubular nose landing gear assembly was buckled.

The fuel selector was found in the off position; however, one of the first responders to the accident later reported that the fuel selector had been found in the left position and was moved to the off position by one of the first responders. The aircraft s 12-gallons tubular fuel cells were intact and not compromised. Both fuel tanks were found near the full position. Fuel was drained from both tanks during recovery. The fuel drained from the airplane appeared to be straw colored, and had the odor consistent with automotive gasoline. No evidence of water contamination was found in the gasoline.

The antennas on the bottom of the airplane were crushed and found lying on their left side.

Neither of the two occupants of the airplane made contact with the instrument panel during the impact sequence, thus the instruments and gauges were mostly undamaged. The airspeed indicator was reading zero. The altimeter was reading minus 90 feet. The altimeter setting was found reading 30.14 inches. The directional gyro was reading 216 degrees. The attitude indicator was level in a slight right turn. The magnetic compass was reading 277 degrees. The OBS on NAV 1 was set on 046 degrees. The clock was stopped at 2:37. The Hobbs meter was reading 2,606.7 hours. The engine tachometer was reading 0839.32 hours. The fuel primer was found in the locked position. The cabin heater was found in the off position.

FIRE

The top of the battery case was found separated from the fiberglass battery case. The inner side of the battery case top had evidence of a post-impact fire. The top of the battery did not show any evidence of fire damage. Two of the screw-on filler caps on the battery were missing.

The inside of the engine cowling showed evidence of fire and smoke damage to the area above the engine driven fuel pump. The electric fuel pump was wet from an apparent leak. The fuel system was tested for leaks on the airplane using the aircraft electrical system. Fuel was observed leaking from the engine driven fuel pump when the system was pressurized.

The inside of the side Plexiglas windows in the airplane bore the smell of smoke; however, no evidence of an in-flight fire was found in the engine compartment or cabin. The airplane was not equipped with a hand-held fire extinguisher.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The 1353 METAR weather report from the DTN airport reported winds from 310 degrees at 13 knots, gusting to 22 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, with few clouds at 4,100 feet, temperature 9 degrees Centigrade, dew point of minus 1 degree Centigrade, and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of Mercury.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFROMATION

An autopsy and toxicological tests were requested and performed on the pilot. Forensic Pathologists, Inc., of Bossier City, Louisiana, performed the autopsy as requested by the Caddo Parish Coroner s Office. The FAA s Civil Aero medial Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed toxicological tests. Toxicological tests were negative for alcohol or drugs.

SURVIVAL FACTORS

The airplane was found to be equipped with a NARCO model ELT-10 electronic locator transmitter (ELT). The ELT, which was installed in the tail cone of the aircraft, was found to be in the "off" position. The ELT battery was found to have expired on the last annual inspection. The ELT did not operate and thus did not aid in locating the wreckage of the airplane.

The fire department was alerted as to the possibility of an aircraft accident at 1359; however, the aircraft was located from the air until 1427, approximately 41 minutes after the accident.

The airplane was equipped with shoulder harnesses and seat belts for both occupant of the airplane. The seat belts and shoulder harnesses had a "like-new" appearance to them and it was assumed that they had been installed at the time the interior was refurbished. None of the seat belts or shoulder harness was found stretched or damaged on any way.

According to the first responders, the passenger was found in the cargo compartment located aft of the two side-by-side seats.

Examination and evaluation of the signatures of the damage sustained by seat tracks, the bottom of both seat cushions, and both seat backs, were consistent with both occupants of the airplane occupying their respective seats at the time of the accident.

TEST AND RESEARCH

An engine examination and complete wreckage layout examination was conducted. The engine was successfully ran for 12 minutes. In order to facilitate the engine run, the carburetor float assembly and the electrical harnesses for both magnetos were replaced. Both items had been fire damaged.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot s failure to maintain adequate airspeed resulting in a stall.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Grumman American AA-5B
Where: Barrett, TX
Injuries: 4 fatalities
Phase of Flight: Maneuvering

Approximately 1000 central daylight time, a Gulfstream American AA-5B airplane was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain while maneuvering near Barrett, Texas. The airplane was registered to and operated by a Flying Club of Longview, Texas. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from Longview, Texas, at 0821, and was destined for Galveston, Texas.

Witnesses, located at football fields near the northwest end of the Texas Sport Ranch and the Rogers private airstrip, reported that they observed the airplane approach from the west, and it appeared that it was going to land. As the airplane flew by the witnesses, at about 30-60 feet AGL, the engine "sounded like it was cutting out." After the airplane passed by the witnesses, it pulled up and "suddenly the engine cut out." The airplane turned left and then nosed down into trees.

The Texas Sport Ranch and Rogers private airstrip are located 36 nautical miles north-northwest of the Galveston International Airport.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
According to FAA records, the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot was issued a third class medical certificate. The medical certificate stipulated limitations to use hearing amplification and wear corrective lenses while operating an aircraft. According to the last FAA medical application, the pilot reported having accumulated a total of 120 flight hours, of which 30 hours were in the previous six months.

The pilot s flight logbook was not located. According to a representative of the flying club, within a week of the accident, the pilot had accumulated a total flight time of 127 hours, of which 56 hours were in the accident airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
The 1978-model Gulfstream American AA-5B, was a low wing, single-engine, four-place airplane, which had fixed tricycle landing gear. It was powered by a Lycoming O-360-A4K engine rated at 180-horsepower, and a McCauley, two-bladed, fixed pitch propeller.

Maintenance records were in the airplane at the time of the accident and were destroyed by fire; however, a few burnt pages, which were legible, were recovered. The last recorded maintenance activity on the engine was an oil change at a total aircraft time of 4,054.4 hours and engine time since major overhaul of 1,872.4 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total time of 4,072 hours.

The representative of the flying club reported to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) that the aircraft had been flown on three cross-country trips prior to the accident flight and no aircraft problems were reported. The representative estimated that the airplane departed on the day of the accident with approximately 38 gallons of fuel.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION:
At 0953, the William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), located 22 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, reported the temperature as 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dew point as 73 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the carburetor icing probability chart, this places the airplane in the serious icing range at glide power.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located using a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver at 29 degrees 52.596 minutes north latitude and 94 degrees 58.692 minutes west longitude.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted trees and continued through the trees on a magnetic heading of 090 degrees for 90 feet before impacting the ground. The airplane came to rest upright and partially on its right side, on a magnetic heading of 081 degrees. The airplane was consumed by fire. Both wings were separated from the fuselage, and the right wing was found lying near the left side of the fuselage. The entire left wing spar was found next to the right side of the main wreckage leaning up against a downed tree. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the left and right wing roots, the rudder, and the elevator. The fuel selector was found selecting the right fuel tank.

The engine remained attached to the mounts, but separated from the firewall. Fire damage was noted in all areas of the engine. The carburetor was separated from its mounting flange, but remained attached to the air-box remnants. The throttle plate was found in the full open position, and the mixture arm was in the full rich position. The fire damaged carburetor was opened, and the float was found to have incurred thermal damage. Both magnetos were attached to their respective mounts and had incurred fire damage. The magnetos did not spark when rotated by hand. The vacuum pump also sustained fire damage. The engine driven fuel pump body was burned away from its mounting flange. The crankshaft rotated freely and completely. Continuity was confirmed to all rocker arms and the accessory gearbox. Thumb compression was confirmed on all 4 cylinders.

The propeller remained attached to the crankshaft. Both propeller blades exhibited minimal fire damage. One propeller blade exhibited minimal impact damage. The other blade exhibited some twisting with its tip bent forward. The spinner remained attached to the propeller, and it had a single crease near its apex.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Office of the Medical Examiner of Harris County in Houston, Texas, performed an autopsy of the pilot. There was no evidence found of any preexisting disease that could have contributed to the accident.

Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute s (CAMI) Forensic Toxicology and Accident Research Center at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological tests were negative for alcohol, cyanide, and drugs. Carbon monoxide detected in blood was 18 percent saturation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot s failure to maintain aircraft control while maneuvering, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. A contributing factor was the loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Home built
Where:
Peru, Indiana
Injuries:
1 fatal
Phase of Flight:
landing

At about 1332 Central Daylight Time, an experimental amateur-built Young Pietenpol Air Camper, piloted by a recreational pilot, was destroyed on impact with trees and terrain during a landing at Robison Airport (IN33), near Peru, Indiana. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Logansport Municipal Airport, near Logansport, Indiana, at time unknown and was landing at IN33 at the time of the accident.

The Miami County Sheriff s Department report stated that the pilot s wife called two acquaintances when the pilot did not return. The report said that the acquaintances stated, "They were checking the area from the air. ... They located the plane and pilot. It appeared the pilot had been ejected and it was noted his harness was broken."

The Sheriff stated that the pilot survived the accident and was "transported to Parkview Hospital via Samaritan helicopter."

The Miami County Sheriff s Department report stated that the pilot died from his injuries about 0633.

The experimental amateur-built airplane was destroyed on impact with trees and terrain during an attempted landing. The recreational pilot reported on his application for his last airmen s medical that he had accumulated 70 total flight hours, 15 of which were flown in the 6 months preceding that physical examination. Local wind was 230 degrees at 11 knots. The sheriff s report stated, "It appeared that possibly the [airplane] struck the trees with [its] left wing. There was fuel in the aircraft and it appeared the engine was running at the time of the accident. The [tachometer] was stuck at 1450 rpms." An on-scene examination revealed no pre-impact anomalies. The Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report stated, "DIPHENHYDRAMINE present in Urine." Diphenhydramine (commonly known by the trade name Benadryl) is an over-the-counter antihistamine with sedative effects, most commonly used to treat allergy symptoms.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot not maintaining altitude/clearance from the trees during the landing. A factor was the trees he impacted.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Kitfox
Where: Spruce Pine, GA
Injuries: 1 serious
Phase of Flight: Cruise

About 1030 eastern daylight time, a Kitfox experimental homebuilt airplane, registered to and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged when it collided with terrain following a loss of engine power during cruise flight near Spruce Pine, Georgia. The private pilot, the sole occupant aboard, received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Avery County/Morrison Airport in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, at 1015, with a planned destination of Shiflet Airport in Marion, Georgia.

According to the pilot, he was planning to fly to Marion, Georgia, located 13.5 nm south of Spruce Pine, Georgia, for the purpose of having an annual maintenance inspection performed on the airplane. The pilot stated that the taxi and run-up took approximately five minutes, and he then departed on runway 16. Shortly after departure, the pilot leveled off at a cruising altitude of 1,000 feet above ground level. Approximately 15 minutes after departure, while three miles south of the departure airport, the airplane s engine began to lose power. According to the pilot, the engine "took about 45 seconds to gradually quit." The airplane collided with trees in a heavily wooded area, descended approximately 80 feet to the ground, then nosed over.

The pilot stated that five days prior to the accident, he added five gallons of automotive fuel to three existing gallons in the fuel tanks, and departed with approximately 8 gallons of fuel in the fuel tanks. The total fuel capacity is 12 gallons, and the airplane burns approximately 3.9 gallons per hour. At the time of the accident, the airplane had flown 5 hours since the last inspection was performed. An on-scene examination of the airframe and engine by an FAA inspector revealed no mechanical discrepancies. According to the inspector, evidence of fuel was found at the accident site.

At 1020, weather conditions at Morgantown, North Carolina, located 20 miles east of the accident site, were reported as clear skies, a temperature of 22 degrees C. (72 degrees F.) and a dew point of 17 degrees C. (63 degrees C.). According to an icing probability chart, weather conditions were favorable for the formation of carburetor ice.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: A total loss of engine power due to carburetor icing conditions. A factor was the mountainous, unsuitable terrain on which to make a forced landing.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Lancair 235
Where: Tecumseh, MI
Injuries: None
Phase of Flight: Takeoff

A Miller Lancair 235, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage when it departed controlled flight and impacted terrain on takeoff from runway 18 (2,922 feet by 100 feet dry/turf) at the Tecumseh Merillat Airport (34G), Tecumseh, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal, cross-country flight was to be conducted on a visual flight rules flight plan to Batavia, Ohio. The pilot reported no injuries.

In his written statement, the pilot said, With mixture full rich and full throttle I started my take off roll. After reaching 63 to 65 mph the aircraft became air born with slight back pressure on the stick. While trying to correct for cross wind from about 190 [degrees] to 195 [degrees], I noticed the aircraft was being blown to the right of the runway in the direction of a row of trees and the wind had shifted. At the same time, I noticed my airspeed was becoming too low so I lowered the nose of the aircraft to increase my airspeed. At this point it appeared the aircraft was heading back to the center of the runway when a gust of wind caught the right wing and blew the aircraft just enough for the left wing tip to touch the ground. At this time I lost all control of the aircraft."

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the airplane at the accident site. The tail was separated from the fuselage forward of the vertical stabilizer. The outboard 2 feet of left wing to the wing tip was split open. The nose gear was broken aft and the propeller was splintered. An examination of the airplane s systems revealed no anomalies.

Wind conditions recorded at Toledo Express Airport, Toledo, Ohio, 24 miles south of the accident site, were 210 degrees magnetic at 14 knots with gusts to 20 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot s failure to maintain aircraft control during the takeoff. Factors relating to the accident were the crosswind and the wind gusts.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Learjet 35A
Where: Marianna, FL
Injuries: 2 fatal
Phase of Flight: Landing

The pilot canceled the IFR flight plan as the aircraft crossed the VOR and reported the airport in site. The last radio contact with Air Traffic Control was at 0935:16. The crew did not report any problems before or during the accident flight. The distance from the VOR to the airport was 4 nautical miles. Witnesses saw the airplane enter right traffic at a low altitude, for a landing on runway 36, then turn right from base leg to final, less than 1/2-mile from the approach end of the runway. Witnesses saw the airplane pitch up nose high, and the right wing drop. The airplane than struck trees west of the runway, struck wires, caught fire, and impacted on a hard surface road.

This was a training flight for the left seat pilot to retake a Learjet type rating check ride he had failed. He failed the check ride, because while performing an ILS approach in which he was given a simulated engine failure, and was transitioning from instruments to VFR, he allowed the airspeed to decrease to a point below Vref [landing approach speed]. According to the company s training manual, "...if a crewmember fails to meet any of the qualification requirements because of a lack in flight proficiency, the crewmember must be returned to training status. After additional re-training, an instructor recommendation is required for re-accomplishing the unsatisfactory qualification requirements." The accident flight was dispatched by the company as a training flight. On the accident flight a company check airman was in the right seat, and the check ride was set up. The flight arrived an hour and a half late. The accident flight was the first flight that the left seat pilot was to receive retraining, and was the only opportunity for him to demonstrate the phase of flight that was unsuccessful during the check flight. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any discrepancies.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot s failure to maintain control of the airplane while on final approach resulting in the airplane striking trees. Factors in this accident were: improper planning of the approach, and not obtaining the proper alignment with the runway.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Luscombe8A
Where: Wahoo, NE
Injuries: None
Phase of Flight: Landing Instruction

A Luscombe 8A nosed down while landing on runway 20 (4,101 feet by 75 feet, concrete) at the Wahoo Municipal Airport, Wahoo, Nebraska. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and the private pilot (student) were not injured. The airplane received substantial damage to the firewall. The instructional flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. It originated from a private airstrip in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The purpose of the flight was for the private pilot/student to receive instruction for a tailwheel endorsement. The student reported that they spent about one hour practicing takeoffs and landings on the grass runway with a 30-degree crosswind. The CFI reported that the student was progressing very well, so they decided to switch to the concrete runway 20. The CFI reported the second landing on runway 20, with a 60 degrees crosswind, was normal and there was no tendency to ground loop.

The CFI reported that as the airplane slowed during the landing roll, it nosed down despite "...elevator efforts to stop it." He reported that either the student had over braked or the brake system was not functioning properly. The student reported that "On second landing, during rollout, either I pushed too much brake or we both pushed the same brake and the aircraft nosed over."

The student pilot reported that at the time of the accident, the local winds were from 140 degrees at 10 knots.

Inspection of the airplane was conducted by an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration, Lincoln, Nebraska, Flight Standards District Office. The inspector reported the engine mounts were pushed back into the firewall. He also reported that there was no mechanical failure/malfunction of the brake system, which would have resulted in the excessive braking.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The student, who was a private pilot, used excessive braking during the landing roll.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Mooney M20C
Where: Lakeland, FL
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Uninjured
Phase of Flight: Taxiing

A Mooney M20C collided with a ground marshaller during taxi from landing at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida, while on a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received minor damage and the private-rated pilot was not injured. The ground marshaller received serious injury. The flight originated from Sarasota, Florida, the same day, about 1545.

The pilot stated he landed on runway 9 left and taxied west on taxiway "D". As he approached the intersection of taxiway "D" and runway 5-23, he encountered a ground marshaller waving two orange wands. The ground marshaller was standing such that the left wingtip would clear him by 18 inches. The marshaller, who was facing east, began waving his wands and back stepping to the west. As the marshaller was positioned at the airplane s 10:30 position, he, the marshaller, turned 180 degrees toward the west and bent down from the waist. His back was toward the wing and his face was down toward the pavement. The marshaller continued walking toward the west and turned his head to face another marshaller. The pilot turned to face the direction the airplane was taxing. He then heard a loud bang and the airplane rotated to the left about 15 degrees. He immediately countered with right rudder and turned left onto runway 5-23 and stopped. He looked back and saw the ground marshaller on the ground parallel to runway 5-23, with his head facing the approach end of runway 5.

The ground marshaller stated N2652W approached the point he was working, runway 5-23 and taxiway "D". The sign on the airplane indicated the pilot was going to aircraft camping. He signaled him through the intersection, straight ahead. He had eye contact with the pilot and the pilot acknowledged his signal. The ground marshaller stated he turned 110-130 degrees to signal the motorcycle rider that the aircraft was going to aircraft camping. At this point, he was struck and became unconscious.

A witness stated the airplane was moving at a normal taxi speed as it approached the intersection of runway 5-23 and taxiway "D". The ground marshaller made signal contact with the pilot and determined the pilot s destination. The marshaller made a 90-degree turn to tell the witness, who was on a motorcycle, where to lead the airplane. The ground marshaller s back was to the airplane s outboard left wing. As the airplane continued taxiing, the left wing struck the ground marshaller in the back, knocking him forward. The left wing then struck the ground marshaller in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground.

Another witness stated the marshaller read the sign on the windshield [of the airplane] to verify the airplane s destination and then flagged the airplane on by. She heard the pilot give the engine excess throttle and then the airplane appeared to veer to the left. The marshaller had already begun to turn and walk away when the left wing of the airplane hit him on his right side from the back. He was sent tumbling across runway 5-23.

THE CAUSE
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The inadequate visual lookout of the pilot and the ground marshaller resulting in the ground marshaller being struck by the wing of the taxiing airplane and receiving serious injury.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Mooney M20J
Where: Lake Placid, FL
Injuries: 1 Minor
Phase of Flight: Takeoff

On January 17, 2002, about 0700 eastern standard time, a Mooney M20J, registered to a private individual, operating as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed into an orange grove in the vicinity of Lake Placid, Florida. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed and the private-rated pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The flight was originating from a private airstrip 4 miles southwest of the city of Lake Placid at the time of the accident.

The pilot stated by telephone from the emergency room of the Florida Hospital of Lake Placid a short time after the accident that he estimated his takeoff and crash occurred at about 0630. As to the events leading up to the crash, he stated, "All I remember is the lights on the runway. Anything after that I cannot recall." The completed NTSB form 6120. 1/2 was returned on February 1, 2001 and in the section labeled, "Recommendation (How could this accident have been prevented)", the pilot wrote, "Triple check gas supply in tank selected." During a subsequent telephone conversation on March 3, 2001, the pilot stated the time of the accident would probably be closer to 0700. He stated although the flight service station briefer recommended that VFR flight not be attempted due to existing and forecast ground fog, he could see stars overhead, and decided to depart. He acknowledged that there may have been patches of fog down the runway, although he could see runway edge lights clearly. He stated he observed 32 gallons of fuel in the left fuel tank and 26 gallons in the right fuel tank on the evening prior to his early morning departure. There was no evidence of fuel leakage under the right wing during his preflight walk around inspection that morning. He did not remove the wing tank fuel caps for a visual confirmation of fuel quantity during the walk around. He stated he weighs 200 lbs., his golf bag and clubs weigh about 50 lbs., and the fuel in the left wing weighed about 188 lbs. Not knowing that the right tank was very nearly empty, the imbalance may have contributed to the left drift on takeoff and to the loss of directional control once airborne. He still had no recollection of the loss of engine power, or of the crash, itself.

A Highland County Sheriff s Department deputy, the first official on the scene at 0750, stated that the orange grove is adjacent to the left and right edges of the runway, and that the runway lights existed only along the right edge of the runway. He stated the aircraft tire tracks in the grass revealed a continuous left drift during his takeoff. As to the weather conditions, he stated the fog was like "pea soup". No witnesses to the accident could be located, but numerous local personnel confirmed that foggy conditions prevailed at about 0730.

According to St. Petersburg, Florida, Automated Flight Service Station personnel, at 0450 a person represented as the pilot of the accident airplane received a telephone weather briefing for cross-country flight legs originating from Winter Haven, Florida, with an eventual destination of Sioux City, Iowa. Because of a combination of existing and forecast reduced visibility due to fog in the Winter Haven area, the flight service briefer stated to the pilot that VFR flight was not recommended.

According to an FAA inspector dispatched to the crash site, the airport s single, turf runway is oriented east/west, and the pilot was using runway 27 when the accident occurred. Tire tracks on the 3,000-foot runway revealed that the lift-off point was half way down the runway and the aircraft tracked a continuous left drift throughout the takeoff roll. Examination of the wreckage path revealed more downward than forward momentum. The propeller blades and spinner revealed no bending or evidence of power being developed at impact. The left wing fuel tank was almost full, the right fuel tank was empty, and the cockpit fuel selector was positioned to the right wing fuel tank. The inspector and responding fire rescue personnel could find evidence of very little fuel spill. Subsequent examination of the wreckage revealed the right fuel tank was compromised in the crash sequence, however, there was no evidence of fuel being contained in the right tank, precrash. The engine s fuel injection distributor block was examined and found dry.

On February 28, 2001, the NTSB and a Sebring, Florida, based certified engine repair station mounted the aircraft s engine, on an engine stand, and started and operated it three separate occasions. The engine started instantly and ran smoothly up to 2,500 rpm for 10 minutes. The magneto check was conducted and rpm drop was within POH limits. Oil pressure was steady at 100 psi. Engine components rendered inoperative due to the crash, and that had to be substituted or omitted for the engine run included, the propeller governor, the oil cooler, the engine driven fuel pump, two replacement intake pipes, the exhaust stacks, and the club propeller.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The failure of the pilot to perform a proper preflight inspection and his improper fuel tank selection for takeoff, resulting in a loss of engine power on takeoff due to fuel starvation, and the pilot s failure to maintain directional control of the aircraft resulting in an uncontrollable descent and collision with orange trees and terrain.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Mooney M-20J
Where: Fort Pierce, Florida
Injuries: 1 Minor
Phase of Flight: Climbing

A Mooney M-20J, N511G, registered to and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 CFR part 91 personal flight, incurred a loss of engine power while climbing to cruise altitude, and the pilot made a forced landing in Fort Pierce Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The private-rated pilot received minor injuries, and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight originated in Fort Pierce, Florida, the same day, about 1230.

According to the pilot, about 8 to 10 minutes after takeoff, while still climbing, at an altitude of about 5,000 feet, the airplane lost engine power. The pilot further stated that the gauges showed about 1,000 rpm, and the manifold pressure remained at 25 inches. He said he operated the throttle, and observed instruments while attempting to regain power, but he could not regain power or determine the reason for the power loss. He said he turned the airplane back towards Fort Pierce, Florida, and as it glided towards the airport, he communicated with the air traffic control tower controller, and declared an emergency. As the airplane glided toward the airport the pilot said he became less certain that he would reach it, so he selected a clearing in which to execute a forced landing. Upon reaching 900 feet, he abandoned the approach to the airport and made an approach to a clearing. While on short final to land in the clearing, the right wing of the airplane impacted the top of a pine tree, which changed the path. The airplane pan caked into the ground and bounced into an area of numerous 4-foot high sand piles, coming to rest upright on top of one of the piles.

A post crash examination of the airplane and engine was performed by a FAA licensed mechanic, under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The examination revealed that the magneto had detached from its mounted position, and was hanging by the ignition harness behind the engine. The magneto had not been damage, and the magneto drive gear was laying in the accessory housing along with one "hold-down" plate. The retaining nuts, washers and lock washers were not recovered. When tested, the magneto operated on all eight distributor outputs, and the impulse coupler and the distributor wiring were intact and undamaged. There was engine continuity as well as valve action and compression on all cylinders. Engine oil was present, and there was evidence that some oil had leaked at the back of the engine. No anomalies were noted to exist with the induction or fuel systems.

The airplane and engine had last received an annual inspection when an overhauled engine had been installed. The airplane and engine had accumulated 10 hours since the annual inspection.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: Improper magneto installation by maintenance personnel, which resulted in the magneto detaching from the engine and subsequent loss of engine power.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft:  Mooney M20S
Where: Port Huron, MI
Injuries: None
Phase of flight: Landing

A Mooney M20S, operated by a private pilot, collided with a snow bank while landing on runway 04 (5,103 feet by 100 feet.) The pilot was not injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan.

The pilot reported he flew a practice ILS approach to runway 04. The approach was terminated in a go-around followed by VFR traffic pattern and full stop landing on runway 04. He reported the winds were out of the northwest at 10 knots. He then departed on runway 04 and made a left hand traffic pattern for another landing. The pilot reported, "Final approach required minimal crab to correct for crosswind and then mild slip to maintain the centerline." He reported that just prior to touchdown while 2 feet above the runway " a significant gust ballooned the aircraft 5-6 ft. above the runway where the aircraft stalled and began to settle abruptly with a nose high attitude." He reported he applied power to recover, but could not gain enough airspeed. The airplane veered to the right and the right main landing gear contacted the snow on the side of the runway. According to the pilot, the airplane spun around clockwise into the snow where it came to rest.

The local weather observation, taken 5 minutes prior to the accident, reported winds from 270 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 18 knots.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: The pilot failed to maintain directional control of the airplane and the runway selected resulted in a tailwind condition. Factors associated with the accident were the gusty crosswind and the snow bank.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Mooney M20S
Where: West Chicago, IL
Injuries:
3 Uninjured
Phase of Flight: Landing

At 2130 central daylight time, a Mooney M20S, piloted by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage when it veered off the side of the runway and collided with airport signs and markings after a hard landing on runway 10 (4,751 feet by 75 feet, asphalt), at Dupage Airport (DPA), West Chicago, Illinois. The pilot and two passengers were uninjured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The business flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The flight originated from Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), Eagle, Colorado, at 1500 mountain daylight time.

The pilot stated, "The flare was too high, the aircraft dropped to the runway and bounced." The pilot noted the aircraft bounced twice, and on the second bounce he attempted a go-around. The pilot reported applying full throttle and raising "what was thought to be one notch of flaps." The pilot reported the aircraft swerved left and then was "overcorrected right" and subsequently swerved off the right side of the runway, striking fixed objects with the wing. The pilot reported he reduced the throttle to idle when the aircraft ran onto a taxiway. The pilot indicated the nose gear collapsed when the aircraft transitioned from the grass onto the taxiway.

The on-sight investigation revealed that the aircraft exited the left edge of runway 10 at taxiway E-6. The aircraft s right wingtip was found at the intersection of taxiway E-6 and runway 10. A runway light was found damaged near the path of the left landing gear. The wreckage pattern and markings, including eight propeller strikes, continued to the east of runway 20 right. The left main landing gear was found separated from the rest of the aircraft. The taxiway sign for taxiway C was damaged and found next to the wreckage path. The aircraft came to a stop at the intersection of taxiways C and G.

Inspection of the airplane revealed that the flap handle was in the "up" position, and the flaps were in the fully retracted position. The tail of the aircraft showed scraping along its underside, and the tailskid was damaged. The blades were broken from the propeller hub, exhibited blade twist, and were bent aft. The left main landing gear was broken off, and the nose gear was collapsed.

The leading edge of the right wing was dented about two-thirds of the way up the span from the fuselage in a pattern consistent with striking an airport sign.

The weather reporting facility located at DPA, reported the winds at 2153 as 120 degrees at 4 knots.

The pilot reported no mechanical problems with the aircraft or powerplant.

THE CAUSE
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The pilot s improper flare, and the pilot s failure to maintain directional control. Contributing factors were the pilot s improper flare and his inadequate recovery from a bounced landing.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Pitts Special
Where: Meridian, CT
Injuries: None
Phase of Flight: Landing

A homebuilt Pitts Special S-1was substantially damaged during a landing at Meridian Markham Municipal Airport (MMK), Meridian, Connecticut. The certificated private pilot was not injured, and visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan had been filed for the flight, between Danbury Municipal Airport (DXR), Danbury, Connecticut, and Meridian. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he landed the airplane on Runway 18. Upon touchdown, the tailwheel-equipped airplane appeared to be on the left side of the runway, so the pilot applied right rudder. The airplane then veered to the right, so the pilot applied left rudder. The airplane continued to the right, so the pilot applied, and then locked, the brakes. The airplane flipped over its nose, and onto its back.

The pilot estimated the airspeed of the airplane to be at 30 miles per hour when the accident occurred.

Winds, recorded at the airport 24 minutes before the accident, were calm.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: The pilot s loss of control of the airplane during the landing roll, due to his locking of the brakes.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Rans S-6 Experimental
Where: Wyatte, MS
Injuries: 2 fatal
Phase of Flight: Low flight

An experimental Rans S-6 airplane impacted with trees 5 miles south of Wyatte, Mississippi. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The aircraft was destroyed. The private rated-pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight had originated about 21 minutes earlier from a private airstrip, near Wyatte.

According to one witness, when he first heard the airplane ...it sounded to be flying lower than most planes in the area. When it came into his view he first saw the airplane between trees at the back of his house, and it appeared to him as though the airplane was running about half throttle...not at full rpm. As it came into a clearing he said, ...it appeared to start to turn toward the house (west), it was headed northeast. The airplane then straightened up and the front end started to rise. Before it went behind the trees again the witness saw what appeared to him to be about a 10 to 15 degree [nose] up angle. He lost sight of the airplane for about 5 seconds and he said he heard the engine stall. When the airplane came back into his view he saw it in a roll, the nose turned down, and there was no engine sound. In addition, as the airplane started down it made about a 50 to 75 spiral, disappeared behind trees, and as it went out of his sight, he heard the engine rev up.... high rpm. Within 3 to 5 seconds he heard it hit the ground. He said, ...the plane did not seem to be having engine trouble, missing or sputtering at any time, it did seem to be flying low and slow.

The other witness said the airplane passed over him between 20 and 25 feet...with the motor making excessive noise, popping, misfire sound, and banked toward the left. The airplane was flying away from him and it was making a type of fluttering sound, the engine seemed to choke down and stopped. He then heard the sound of the airplane hitting the trees, and then black smoke.

According to the FAA inspector s statement upon his arrival on scene he found the airplane resting nose down against a tree heading generally in a northerly direction. He stated that most of the airplane had burned, destroying the cockpit and instrument panel. It appeared that the airplane had impacted with the top of a 40-foot tree and continued to the ground nose first. The right wing was found 25 feet to the left of the aircraft, and had completely separated from the airframe. The right wing did not display any fire damage. Control continuity was established to the elevator and left wing aileron. The right wing had some fuel, and a small portion was drained and checked for clarity. The fuel exhibited a blue/green color of 100LL, and was clear with no signs of contamination. The engine had burned, but the case was still intact. The oil tank had separated from the engine and was empty of oil. The engine could not be rotated by hand at the propeller. The two bladed carbon fiber blades were found torn off, and the carbon fibers were spread out and exposed. The engine was removed from the crash site for further examination and teardown. The right wing fuel tank was removed and displayed no damage or holes. About 2 quarts of 100LL fuel were drained from the tank. The fuel was clean and no contamination was found.

The engine was disassembled in the presences of the FAA, at the facilities of South Mississippi Light Aircraft, Lucedale, Mississippi, on November 16, 2001. The examination of the engine did not reveal any discrepancies.

According to a note in the FAA inspector s statement, about the time of the accident the temperature was reported as 16 degrees C, and the dew point was 0 degrees C. The inspector s statement said, the carburetor icing chart curve shows this to be a condition for encountering serious icing at glide power.

The airframe, engine, and pilot s personal logbooks were not found. FAA records showed that the pilot had a total of 380 flight hours, in all aircraft, as of his last flight physical. There were no records found to give any history about the airframe or engine.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
According to the autopsy report the cause of death was ...airplane crash...acute traumatic injuries.... No findings, which could be considered causal to the accident, were reported.

Toxicological tests were conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration, Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and revealed, No ethanol or drugs detected.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: Failure of the pilot to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall/spin, and subsequent impact with trees, while at a low altitude.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board

Aircraft: Robinson R-22
Where: Borger, TX
Injuries: 2 fatal
Phase of Flight: In flight

A Robinson R-22 Beta helicopter struck an electrical pole and impacted terrain during a dark night cross-country flight. Both pilots received fatal injuries, and the helicopter was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of departure from Gruver, Texas. A flight plan was not filed for the personal flight with a planned destination of a private helipad near Amarillo, Texas, approximately 70 miles southwest of Gruver.

A witness, the daughter of the pilots, stated that approximately 2145, the helicopter circled over her residence, located 10 nautical miles south of the Gruver Municipal Airport, and then flew south toward Morse, Texas, along the planned route of flight.

Another witness stated that approximately 2210 she observed a "low flying aircraft" descending from the clouds near the south side of Borger. The witness spotted a "light" through a clear patch in the clouds. The "light" descended to just below the clouds and continued to travel south along Highway 207 toward Panhandle. The "light" appeared to be at a height "just above the radio tower," which has an elevation of 285 feet agl.

Local authorities received notification approximately midnight that the helicopter had not reached the planned destination. Search and rescue procedures were initiated; however, search efforts were hampered by the dark night, low ceilings, and fog.

The next day the helicopter was located on a ranch south of Borger, adjacent to an oil pump jack. The terrain at the accident site consisted of rolling hills and sparse vegetation.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION
The pilots daughter observed her parents enter the helicopter and reported that her father positioned himself in the left cockpit seat, and her mother positioned herself in the right cockpit seat. The helicopter was equipped with dual flight controls; therefore, which pilot was serving as pilot-in-command (PIC) at the time of the accident is unknown. For the purpose of flight experience documentation only, the left and right seat pilots are listed in this report as first and second pilots, respectively.

The first pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He received a rotorcraft helicopter rating on August 8, 2000. According to the pilot s logbook, at the time of the accident, he had accumulated 231 flight hours in all aircraft, and 172 flight hours in the make and model of the accident helicopter. The first pilot had accumulated 10 hours of night flying time, and had not logged any instrument flight training. In addition, he had accumulated 7.6 hours of day and 0.9 hours of night flight from Gruver to the private helipad and/or the private helipad to Gruver.

The second pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rotorcraft helicopter rating. According to the pilot s logbook, at the time of the accident, she had accumulated 143 flight hours in the make and model of the accident helicopter. The second pilot had accumulated 6 hours of night flying time, and had not logged any instrument flight training. In addition, she had accumulated 11.2 hours of day and 2.0 hours of night flight from Gruver to the private helipad and/or the private helipad to Gruver.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION
The two-bladed, two-seat, black and white Robinson helicopter was issued a standard airworthiness certificate on June 22, 1990. The helicopter was powered by a 160-horsepower Lycoming O-320-B2C engine (serial number L-16212-39A). At the time of the most recent annual inspection, the airframe and engine had accumulated a total of 954.5 hours. At the time of the accident, the helicopter had accumulated 975.6 hours.

The helicopter was not equipped for flight in instrument meteorological conditions. In addition, an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was not installed on the helicopter, nor was one required.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION
According to McAlester Flight Service Station personnel, at 1447, one of the two pilots requested a weather briefing for a flight to E19 that was to depart from a location near Amarillo at 1830. There were no additional weather briefings requested by either pilot of the accident aircraft.

The forecast was "sky clear occasional broken cirrus east. Becoming ceiling overcast 1,000 feet. Visibility 3 miles mist." There were no AIRMETs, convective SIGMETs, or non-convective SIGMETs issued by the Aviation Weather Center pertinent to the planned route of flight, and there were no PIREPs relevant to the accident area.

At 2053, the weather observation facility at Guymon Municipal Airport Guymon, Oklahoma, located 27 miles north of E19, reported clear skies, visibility 8 statute miles, wind from 120 degrees at 6 knots, temperature 30 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of Mercury.

At 2153, GUY reported clear skies, visibility 8 statute miles, wind from 110 degrees at 3 knots, temperature 28 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 25 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of Mercury.

The weather observation facility at Borger-Hutchinson County Airport (BGD), located 5 miles north of the accident site, was malfunctioning at the time of the observations that follow:

  • At 2151, BGD reported visibility 8 statute miles, wind from 010 degrees at 10 knots, temperature 30 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.00 inches of Mercury.
  • At 2331, BGD reported broken clouds at 800 feet, visibility 8 statute miles, wind calm, temperature 28 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of Mercury.
  • At 2117, the weather observation facility at Amarillo International Airport (AMA), located 28 miles southwest of the accident site, reported broken clouds at 500 feet, visibility 9 statute miles, wind from 120 degrees at 9 knots, temperature 36 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of Mercury.
  • At 2153, AMA reported broken clouds at 300 feet, visibility 7 statute miles, wind from 100 degrees at 9 knots, temperature 30 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.96 inches of Mercury.
  • At 2253, AMA reported overcast ceiling at 300 feet, visibility 5 statute miles, wind from 110 degrees at 11 knots, temperature 30 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of Mercury.
  • At 2330, the Texas/Oklahoma Panhandles Forecast Discussion, issued by the National Weather Service of Amarillo, Texas, reported "low clouds and fog developing on the cool side of surface boundary... from Amarillo to Dalhart. Surface dew point spreads are low elsewhere...so have mentioned low clouds and fog eastern and north-central sections as well. Also mentioned light freezing drizzle developing over south-central...southwestern...and northwestern zones where advection of higher dew points in easterly low-level flow will provide environment favorable for development of same."

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located on the 6666 Ranch, 0.9 miles east of Highway 207, approximately 37 miles south of E19, and 5 miles south of the radio tower referenced by the aforementioned witness. The helicopter wreckage was distributed along a measured 250-foot path. The initial impact point was a 30-foot tall electrical pole with an 8-foot crossbeam.

The main wreckage consisted of the tail boom with tail rotor attached, main rotor assembly, transmission, engine, and the fuselage. Between the initial impact point and the main wreckage, were numerous helicopter components, including fragmented landing skids, doors, flight instruments, and the cockpit instrument console.

The engine and main transmission remained attached to the airframe. The firewalls were buckled and compressed. The engine was intact, and the carburetor and exhaust pipes were crushed. The main rotor clutch was found engaged. The clutch turned freely and locked normally when turned by hand. The V-belts were found off the upper and lower sheave grooves, but the V-belts were visually intact.
The main rotor assembly, with its corresponding remaining main rotor blades, was found adjacent to the fuselage. The main rotor mast was separated at the main transmission. The tail boom was separated aft of the main fuselage. Tail rotor drive shaft continuity was confirmed from the tail boom separation point to the transmission, and also from the separation point to the tail rotor gearbox. The damper was found intact, and the shaft rotated freely within the damper bearing. The aft flex coupling was intact. The tail rotor system remained attached to the gearbox and rotated freely by hand. The tail rotor blades were found separated at the grips.

The main fuel tank was found connected to the airframe, and the auxiliary fuel tank was found separated from the airframe. The integrity of both fuel tanks was compromised. The fuel caps on both tanks were found secured.

An inspection and disassembly of the engine and related components did not reveal any discrepancies that would have precluded normal operation prior to impact.

SEARCH AND RESCUE
According to a search and rescue mission report by the Texas Wing Civil Air Patrol (CAP), CAP searches were initiated February 17 through the 20th, 2001. During the 179.6 hours of searching, there were 118 aerial and ground sorties conducted with 13 to 17 aircraft and 37 to 56 individuals searching each day. The searched area extended outward from Borger to the Oklahoma State Line on the north, Pampa, Texas on the east, Panhandle on the south, and Lake Meredith, Texas, on the west.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: the pilot s inadvertent flight into instrument meteorological conditions and failure to maintain obstacle clearance. Contributing factors were the pilot s failure to obtain an updated preflight weather briefing and the dark night conditions.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Socata TB-20
Where: Frederick, MD
Injuries: 2 minor
Phase of Flight: Takeoff

At 1053 eastern standard time a Socata TB-20 was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power, after departing from the Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK), Frederick, Maryland. The certificated private pilot and passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot stated that he performed a complete preflight inspection and noticed no abnormalities with the engine. During the initial takeoff climb from runway 30, at an altitude of 400 feet, he noticed the engine power decrease to 1,500 rpm, and several seconds later, the engine lost complete power. The pilot then performed a forced landing to a soft field, during which the wings and fuselage of the airplane were substantially damaged.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector performed a preliminary examination of the airplane after the accident. According to the inspector, he observed about 2-3 gallons of fuel in the left wing fuel tank; however, the tank was breached. The inspector reported there was "sufficient" fuel in the right tank. Examination of the cockpit throttle and propeller controls revealed they were in the full forward position, and the mixture control, which sustained impact damage, was in the 3/4 full forward position. The spark plugs were removed, and no anomalies were noted. The fuel servo displayed impact damage, and the fuel inlet line was separated from the inlet side of the servo.

The engine was test run on the airframe with a replacement fuel injector and fuel line. The engine started, and ran for several seconds, without any anomalies, before being shut down.

The National Transportation Safety Board s Metallurgical Lab examined pictures taken of the fuel injector inlet line, by an electron scanning microscope. According to the Metallurgical Lab, the damage to the fuel line was consistent with impact damage, and no evidence of cross-threading was noted.

According to the operator of the airplane, it had been topped off with fuel the day prior to the accident, and had flown about 2.5 hours since then.

A 100-hour inspection had been performed on the airplane and the airplane had flown approximately 8 hours since then.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: Total loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Swearingen SA-227-AT
Where: Fayetteville, AR
Injuries: None
Phase of flight: Landing

A Swearingen SA-227-AT twin-engine airplane was substantially damaged during a wheels up landing at the Fayetteville Airport, Fayetteville, Arkansas. The airline transport pilot, acting as the captain, and the commercial pilot, acting as the first officer, were not injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the Part 135 air taxi cargo flight.

The flight originated from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and was terminating at the time of the accident.

According to the 4,116-hour captain, the crew experienced a problem with the crew intercom system during departure, and the first officer (flying pilot) had to "repeat his requests three or four times" before the captain could hear him. The crew decided they would notify the maintenance personnel when they arrived at their destination.

The captain reported that air traffic control issued a clearance to descend to 3,000 feet "at pilot s discretion." The crew initiated their descent at a later than normal distance from the airport. The first officer needed to reduce the power below 25 percent torque in order to expedite the descent, which set off the gear warning horn. The sound eventually became part of the background noise.

The captain added that at 2 miles from the final approach fix (FAF), he asked the tower to dim the runway lights. At that time, the runway and approach lights went out and the crew lost sight of the runway. While the captain was asking the tower to turn the lights back on, the first officer called gear down, syncs off, speeds high, below the line check list. The captain did not hear the first officer s callout and did not lower the landing gear. The captain stated that he did not hear the first officer s callout either because of the conversation [he] was having with the tower or because of the intercom difficulties.

As the approach continued, the first officer had a problem slowing the airplane to proper approach speed. The airplane touched down on the runway with the landing gear retracted, slid approximately 2,500 feet and exited the left side of the runway. According to the FAA inspector, who examined the airplane, two pressure bulkheads were structurally damaged.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: The flight crew s failure to extend the landing gear. Contributing factors were the flight crew s non-compliance with the checklist, the pilot-in-command s diverted attention as a result of the loss of instrument approach/runway lighting, the partial failure of the instrument approach/runway lighting system, and the partial failure of the intercom system.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Teratorn
Where:
Elbow Lake. Minnesota
Injuries:
1 fatal
Phase of Flight:
Cruise

About 0630 Central Daylight Time, an unregistered Teratorn two-place airplane, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed on impact with terrain about three quarters of a mile west of the Elbow Lake Municipal Airport (Y63), near Elbow Lake, Minnesota. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from a private airstrip near Elbow Lake, Minnesota, about 0600, and was en route to Y63 at the time of the accident.

The Grant County Sheriff s report stated that prior to the flight the pilot s wife told the accident pilot that the weather conditions at Elbow Lake Airport were foggy. The report said that the accident pilot replied that he could see the tops of the trees "and he was going to fly low and follow the rail road tracks into Elbow Lake."

The Grant County Sheriff s report stated:
[The accident pilot s brother] told me that he had flown from Fergus Falls to Elbow Lake this morning looking for his brother s plane which had not arrived at the Elbow Lake Airport. ... [He] then called [his brother s wife] and ... asked what direction [the accident pilot] was taking to get to the airport. [She] said that he was following the train tracks east that come from Wendell to Elbow Lake. [He] then flew over the railroad tracks and followed them east to Elbow Lake and found his brother s plane in the wheat field. ... [He] said that it was too foggy to be flying. The only reason he was flying was to look for his brother.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating. His FAA third-class medical certificate was issued with a limitation for corrective lenses. On his application for that flight physical, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 12 total flight hours. On his application for that certificate, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 45.8 total flight hours of which 3 hours were listed as instrument flight time.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane was an unregistered Teratorn, two-place airplane. The original kit manufacturer is no longer in business. The airplane s original kit builder could not be confirmed. The accident airplane was a single-engine, high-wing airplane. Its engine was a 64-horsepower Rotax 532 engine, serial number 3488536. The engine was shipped from its manufacturer in April of 1985 to Teratorn Aircraft. The propeller was a three-bladed, 66-inch diameter, Warp Drive propeller. The propeller was shipped from its manufacturer on July 31, 1994.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0555, the Fergus Falls Municipal Airport-Einar Mickelson Field (FFM), near Fergus Falls, Minnesota, about 15 miles and 330 degrees from the accident site, recorded weather was: Wind 340 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 1 1/4 statute miles; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 200 feet; temperature 16 degrees C; dew point 15 degrees C; altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

At 0615, the FFM recorded weather was: Wind 330 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 3/4 of a statute mile; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 200 feet; temperature 16 degrees C; dew point 15 degrees C; altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

At 0635, the FFM recorded weather was: Wind 350 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 1/4 of a statute mile; present weather fog; sky condition overcast 200 feet; temperature 16 degrees C; dew point 15 degrees C; altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

At 0655, the FFM recorded weather was: Wind 350 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 3/4 of a statute mile; present weather mist; sky condition overcast 200 feet; temperature 16 degrees C; dew point 15 degrees C; altimeter 29.95 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The Grant County Sheriff s report stated: The nose of the aircraft was pushed back to the left side and the plastic door was in front of the aircraft about 15 feet. The motor appeared to have pushed forward and snapped off two of three propellers. The wings also had damage to the front of them. ...

There was a considerable amount of damage to the cockpit area of the aircraft and it appeared that the aircraft had nose dived directly into the ground, bounced back up into the air, and landed upright, approximately 10 yards away from an area where you could see the plane possibly hit.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed at the Department of Pathology, Lake Region Healthcare Corporation, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report. The report was negative for the tests performed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot s intentional flight into known fog and failure to maintain aircraft control during cruise flight. A factor was the fog, and the low altitude flight.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Thorp Amateur-Built
Where: Imperial, TX
Injuries: 2 fatal
Phase of flight: Cruise

At 1400 central daylight time, a Holt Thorpe T-18C amateur-built experimental airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain following an in-flight separation of a propeller blade near Imperial, Texas. The private pilot, who was the registered owner of the airplane, and his passenger, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. The local flight originated from the Roy Hurd Memorial Airport, Monahans, Texas, approximately 1345.

According to witnesses, the airplane was in cruise flight southwest bound, between 1,500 and 2,500 feet agl, when they heard a loud noise and observed pieces of the airplane separate from the airframe. Subsequently, the airplane entered a descent and impacted the ground. A fire erupted and consumed the airplane.

The FAA inspector, who examined the airplane, reported that the airplane was equipped with a Lycoming IO-360-B1E engine and a Hartzell HC-F2YR-1F, 2-bladed, constant speed propeller. Sections of the engine cowling were located approximately 1 mile northeast of the accident site. Further examination revealed that one of the two propeller blades had fractured and a portion was missing. The missing portion of the blade was not recovered. The propeller was disassembled and the fractured blade was sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C for further examination.

The NTSB metallurgist reported that the blade fractured 14.5 inches from the butt end. The fracture surface appeared relatively flat and parallel to the chordwise plane with a smooth, curving boundary, typical of fatigue. The fatigue features emanated from an intergranular fracture area that was covered by a corrosion product. The metallurgist added that the blade length was not consistent with the original manufacturing specifications. On-scene measurements revealed that the total length of the blade was 32 inches, corresponding to a propeller diameter of 66 inches. When manufactured, the propeller diameter was 80 inches.

According to the propeller manufacturer, the recommended time between overhaul on the accident propeller is 2,000 hours or 5 years, whichever comes first. According to the airplane s maintenance logbooks, the propeller had accumulated a total of 369 hours at the time of its last overhaul. When the airplane underwent its most recent condition inspection, the propeller had accumulated a total of 743 hours. There was no record of the propeller undergoing an overhaul since 1991. Additionally, the HC-F2YR-1F propeller was not approved by the manufacturer for installation on the Lycoming IO-360-B1E engine.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: The failure of the propeller blade due to fatigue, which originated from a corrosion crack. A contributory factor was the pilot/owner s failure to ensure that the propeller was overhauled at the manufacturer s recommended interval.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Vari-Eze
Where: Iowa City, IA
Injuries: 1 minor
Phase of Flight: Forced landing

An experimental-amateur built Fowler Vari-Eze sustained substantial damage when it nosed-over during a forced landing following a loss of engine power while in cruise climb. Visual metrological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was not on a flight plan. The pilot, the sole occupant, reported minor injuries. The flight departed the Iowa City Municipal Airport, Iowa City, Iowa, at 0817, for the local test flight.

According to the pilot s written statement, the purpose of the flight was to evaluate engine cooling performance subsequent to the engine being overhauled and a modification to the engine exhaust system.

The pilot reported, I climbed to pattern altitude, 800 AGL [above ground level] and leveled off to observe the engine temperature. I observed engine temperatures in the normal range, very efficient cooling, so I turned away from the airport. I retracted the nose wheel and advanced throttle to climb above pattern altitude. At this point the engine faltered and stopped. There was no windmilling of the propeller, because the propeller is a short-bladed pusher type mounted in the aft section of the fuselage.

The pilot stated, Because of the low altitude at which the engine ceased operating, I was unable to consider any attempt to make the airport [Iowa City Municipal Airport] and immediately selected the best available field. The only field long enough contained standing corn about 7 in height. The aircraft was damaged while landing in the corn.

The pilot stated, After the engine stopped there was not sufficient time to diagnose the problem, switch tanks and re-start the engine. I felt it was best to give priority to controlling the aircraft, selecting the best field available and preparing and performing the best possible forced landing under the circumstances.

The pilot reported, I discovered subsequently that a fuel-drain petcock had been installed that was of a different type than that which had been in the aircraft previously. It was not appropriate for the location in the aircraft because the petcock position in the Vari-Eze is well up under the cowling and is difficult to observe visually. Draining the fuel sump must be done primarily by feel. The petcock had stuck partially open. I believe that the header tank was drained through the partially open petcock during the first few minutes of flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows. The inadequate preflight by the pilot which resulted in the fuel drain remaining partially open. Factors to the accident were the loss of engine power due to fuel starvation, the partially open fuel drain, the unsuitable terrain for landing encountered by the pilot during the forced landing, and the corn crop.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Homebuilt
Where: Rush City, MN
Injuries: 1 fatal
Phase of Flight: Maneuvering

An amateur built, experimental Wolter Avid Flyer sustained substantial damage when it stalled at about 150 feet agl and impacted the terrain. The pilot received fatal injuries.

A witness, who was a certified flight instructor and operated a flight school, reported the pilot had been practicing taxiing the airplane on a 4,400 foot, asphalt runway at Rush City Regional Airport (ROS) at Rush City, Minnesota. The witness reported that he did not think the pilot intended to takeoff. He reported the pilot was taxiing on runway 34 when the wind caught the left wing of the airplane and it lifted off the runway. The witness reported the airplane turned sharply to the right and headed to the southeast. He reported the airplane had difficulty climbing, but it cleared the trees. Then the airplane turned into the wind and climbed to approximately 125-150 feet agl. The witness reported the airplane was making very little forward progress and that it "hovered" for approximately 15 to 20 seconds. The airplane then turned downwind. The witness reported the airplane stalled, but did not spin. He reported the airplane stalled and "pancaked" into the ground. The airplane wreckage came to rest about 175 feet from the initial point of impact.

The witness reported the surface winds were about 12-15 knots out of the west and the wind above the trees was about 40 knots out of the northwest. He reported that he was not allowing his flight students to fly solo because of the high winds.

At 1415, the observed weather was: winds 350 degrees at 10 knots, winds variable from 270 degrees to 020 degrees, 10 statute miles visibility, sky clear, temperature 2 degrees C, dew point -7 degrees, altimeter 29.75.

The pilot of the airplane did not hold a pilot s certificate or student pilot certificate. The pilot had applied for a Third Class Medical Certificate and Student Pilot Certificate, but was denied. The pilot had been receiving flight instruction prior to applying for the medical certificate, but discontinued receiving instruction after being denied the medical certificate. The pilot s flight logbook was not recovered and it is uncertain how much flight time the pilot had acquired.

A witness reported the pilot had received about 20-25 hours of dual flight instruction in a Cessna 172. He reported the pilot had not been endorsed for solo flight because he did not have a medical certificate. The witness reported the pilot had not received any flight training in a tailwheel airplane. A witness reported the pilot had recently purchased the airplane and had flown it about three times.

The airplane was an experimental Wolter Avid Flyer, Model A, manufactured in 1994. The empty weight was 450 pounds and the maximum gross weight was 1,000 pounds. The engine was a 65 horsepower Rotax 532 engine. The hobbs meter read 233.3 hours at the accident site.

At the time of the accident, the airplane was found with the original N number painted over, and another number painted on the side of the airplane. A witness reported the pilot had purchased the airplane about a month prior to the accident flight.

An autopsy was performed. A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was performed by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute. The results indicated that Verapamil and Norverapamil were detected in the urine, kidney, and liver. Verapamil is used in treating coronary artery disease.

The FAA was a party to the investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: The unqualified pilot inadvertently stalled the airplane. A factor was the unqualified pilot s lack of total experience.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Wampole Mini-Max
Where: Adelanto, Calif.
Injuries: 1 fatal
Phase of Flight: In flight

About 10:00 Pacific Standard Time, an unregistered and non-certificated airplane collided with terrain on El Mirage dry lake near Adelanto, California. The owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The non-certificated pilot sustained fatal injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The origin point, destination, and purpose of the flight were not determined. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Witnesses stated that the airplane was flying eastbound over the middle of the lake bed about 200 feet agl at 60 to 80 mph. It started to climb; the right wing suddenly went down, and the airplane went straight down into the ground. Two of the witnesses rode their motorcycles to the site, but reported that the pilot was unresponsive. The sheriff s report noted that the airplane was a red, white, and blue "Mini-Max" low wing airplane, but it had no registration numbers. The right wing was nearly intact. The right wing was lying against the fuselage with the leading edge on the ground, and the trailing edge facing toward the sky. It had ripped from its attachment point beneath the pilot s seat. The left wing was destroyed. The landing gear seemed intact except for the right main landing gear strut, which was damaged, but still attached. The Rotax engine broke away from the engine mount. One propeller blade was shattered and missing; the other blade appeared undamaged. The fuselage was relatively intact aft of the cabin. The cockpit sustained severe damage; its wooden structure was splintered, and almost unrecognizable as a cockpit.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows: A loss of control for undetermined reasons.

Source: National Transportation Board

Aircraft: Zenair
Where: Kissimmee, FL
Injuries: None
Phase of flight: Landing

A Zenair 601 experienced a loss of directional control on landing rollout at Kissimmee Municipal Airport, Kissimmee, Florida, and crashed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and one passenger reported no injuries. The flight originated from Winter Haven, Florida, (GIF) about 1 hour 8 minutes before the accident.

The private pilot stated he departed GIF on a local flight and became disoriented as it was beginning to get dark. He went on guard frequency and attempted to get some help. He could not locate his position. He observed a city in the distance, and flew towards the city. He figured it would have an airport. As he approached the city, he saw a runway and entered left base without contacting the control tower. He lost directional control of the airplane on touchdown. The airplane went off the side of the runway and collided with a barricade.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows: The pilot s failure to maintain directional control on landing resulting in the airplane going off the side of the runway and colliding with a barricade.

Source: National Transportation Board