January 2005 Accident Reports

These January 2005 Accident Reports are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, they are intended to help pilots learn from the misfortune of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 182.

Location: Little Rock, Ark.

Injuries: 2 Fatal.

Aircraft damage: Presumed destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The 1,014-hour instrument rated pilot was attempting to execute an instrument approach in instrument meteorological conditions. The pilot was vectored to the ILS Runway 22R approach. Radar data showed the airplane drifting to the left and right of course. The pilot was able to get the aircraft back on course approximately one mile from the FAF, but between the FAF and the runway threshold, drifted to the right again.

The controller told the pilot to execute a missed approach. The pilot initiated a 180° left turn, over flying the airport. The pilot reported that he could see the airport and asked for vectors for landing. There were no more transmissions.

A witness at the airport reported seeing the airplane at an altitude of approximately 100 feet agl flying at a high rate of speed. The witness stated that the airplane pulled up sharply and banked in excess of 45° as it reentered clouds that were at approximately 200 feet agl. A short time later a debris field consistent with an airplane crash was located in a nearby river. The body of the pilot and passenger were recovered, but major portions of the aircraft remain missing.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during an instrument approach for undetermined reasons.

Aircraft: Piper Warrior.

Location: Tucson, Ariz.

Injuries: None.

Aircraft damage: Minor.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot was practicing solo takeoffs and landings. During landing roll on the fourth landing, the student maneuvered the airplane off the runway centerline in order to exit the runway at a taxiway. The pilot applied strong brake pressure, and began a turn onto the taxiway. Worried that the airplane would tip over,he stopped the turn. The airplane overran the taxiway and hit a taxiway location sign.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during landing rollout.

Aircraft: Maule M-7.

Location: Chickaloon, Alaska.

Injuries: 2 Serious, 2 Minor.

Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The airplane was in cruise flight in VFR conditions over a highway. The aircraft struck power lines that crossed the highway about 30 feet above the ground. The airplane pulled the cables free and snapped the top six feet off one pole before the cables broke. The aircraft carried the cables and the cross arm for approximately 300 feet before crashing.

The pilot and front seat passenger, who were both seriously injured, said they had no recollection of the accident. The pilot told investigators that he normally flew at an altitude of 800 feet agl. One of the passengers told investigators that he heard someone in the front seat ask, “What was that?” before the crash.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain altitude/clearance during cruise flight, which resulted in an in-flight collision with power lines, and an uncontrolled descent and collision with terrain.

Aircraft: Piper Malibu Mirage.

Location: Palo Alto, Calif.

Injuries: 1 Minor.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was at an altitude of 18,000 feet over the Sierra Nevada Mountains en route to Palo Alto, Calif., when she observed high oil temperature and low oil pressure readings from the engine. She elected to divert to the closest airport to have the engine checked. After landing the pilot learned that there were no mechanics available. She added oil to the engine and continued to Palo Alto, which was 65 miles away. The flight was done in IFR conditions. En route the pilot experienced erratic operation of both GPS units and the oil pressure and temperature indications became erratic again, with the temperature flickering near the upper limit and the pressure flickering near the lower limit. The ice warning system also activated. The pilot engaged the de-ice function and observed clear ice breaking off the wings. Then the fuel gauges started to give erratic indications. The pilot told the controller she needed to land as soon as possible. The controller suggested two nearby airports, one of which had an 11,000-foot-long runway. However, since the original destination was only eight minutes away, the pilot elected to continue to Palo Alto, which has a 2,500-foot-long runway. The winds at Palo Alto were reported as 120° at eight knots. Concerned about losing the engine over a populated city area, the pilot requested runway 31 to make a straight-in approach over a green belt. The pilot was cleared to land. She realized that she was high on the final approach but did not want to do a go-around because of her concern with the potential for an engine failure. The airplane landed about halfway down the runway. She applied the brakes but could not stop before running out of pavement. The aircraft went off the runway and collided with a berm in marshy terrain. The aircraft was equipped with an integrated engine parameter instrument and warning system, which is a measurement and display system that documents engine related parameters and issues alarms for malfunctions. The unit recorded multiple problems with the oil temperature and pressure as well as nine events associated with the manifold pressure and cylinder head temperatures. However, a detailed examination of the engine found no evidence of a malfunction with the lubricating system or evidence of lubrication related damage to the core engine.

Probable cause: The pilot’s misjudgment of distance and speed on final approach, a long landing and a runway overrun.

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