April 2005 Accident Reports

These April 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 misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna T206.

Location: Johns Island, S.C.

Injuries: 2 Fatal.

Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The commercial pilot, who had an instrument rating, had logged 1,720 hours, including 983 in the make and model of airplane. Upon arrival at the destination airport, he was cleared for an ILS approach to runway 9. The flight was inbound from the final approach fix when it descended below the published minimum descent altitude and hit the ground and burst into flames. The plane hit about 866 feet to the left of the runway centerline and 597 feet short of the runway threshold. Weather at the time of the accident was reported as winds from 090° at nine knots, a visibility of 1/4 statute miles and an overcast layer at 100 feet. Published weather minimums for the ILS approach to runway 9 are a Decision Height of 267 feet with 3/4 of a mile visibility. Investigators determined that the ILS was functioning normally at the time of the crash.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to follow instrument flight procedures and descent below the published minimum descent altitude, which resulted in a collision with terrain during an instrument approach.

Aircraft: Cessna 182.

Location: Shelton, Wash.

Injuries: None.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The instructor pilot was administering an aircraft checkout to a private pilot who did not have much experience flying a Cessna 182. The pilot was attempting to land on runway 5. The winds at the time of the accident were from 030° at 12 knots with gusts to 21 knots. According to the instructor, during the landing flare the pilot receiving instruction allowed the airspeed to decrease to 40 knots. The instructor added full throttle to initiate a go-around but was not quick enough to keep the plane from coming down hard on the main wheels. The instructor took control of the aircraft during the resulting bounce and initiated a go-around. The aircraft returned to its home airport where maintenance personnel inspected it and found structural damage to the firewall.

Probable cause: The pilot’s improper flare resulting in a hard landing.

Aircraft: Cessna 172.

Location: Nachogdoches, Texas.

Injuries: 1 Minor.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The 550-hour pilot reported that when he was at a cruising altitude of 2,500 feet MSL the engine quit. Attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful and the pilot made a forced landing. The aircraft struck the tops of trees, nosed over and hit the ground. The pilot told investigators that he ran out of fuel. The post-accident inspection revealed that the left fuel tank was empty. Three gallons of fuel was drained from the right fuel tank.

Probable cause: The pilot’s improper in-flight planning, which resulted in a loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

Aircraft: Cessna 150.

Location: Tontitown, Ark.

Injuries: 2 Serious.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to a witness, the 450-hour private pilot and passenger departed from a 2,200-foot long by 50-foot wide grass runway. The witness said that the aircraft had a tailwind on takeoff. The plane was about 300 feet above the ground in a nose-high attitude when it appeared to stall. The airplane hit the ground in a nose low attitude and came to rest upright in a grass field approximately 1,500 feet past the departure end of the runway.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. A contributing factor was the prevailing tailwind.

Aircraft: Piper Aztec.

Location: West Palm Beach, Fla.

Injuries: None.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was cleared to land on runway 9R but a crosswind made it difficult to line the aircraft up on the centerline of the runway. The pilot did a go-around. The tower controller advised him to enter a downwind for runway 9R again, but never gave wind speed or direction. The pilot reentered the traffic pattern for runway 9R, turned onto final approach, and found the crosswind had increased in intensity. He decided that his airspeed was too slow to do a go-around and elected to land on a closed taxiway rather than try to correct for the drift and land on the runway. It wasn’t until the airplane landed that the pilot realized that he did not have enough pavement to come to a stop. He veered the aircraft to the left to avoid obstacles in the path of the rollout. The aircraft traveled off the taxiway onto grass, across another taxiway, and into a ditch. The nose landing gear collapsed and the airplane slid approximately 10 to 15 feet before coming to a stop.

Probable cause: The failure of the pilot to maintain proper alignment with the runway, his failure to perform a go-around after recognizing the aircraft was not properly aligned for landing, his intentional landing on a taxiway resulting in an overrun of pavement and subsequent nose landing gear collapse following on ground collision with a ditch.

Aircraft: Piper Super Cub.

Location: Chandler, Ariz.

Injuries: None.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was practicing touch and goes. Upon touch down, the airplane veered to the left. The pilot added right rudder but it was not fast enough to stop the aircraft from veering off the runway. The aircraft ground looped and the right wing tip struck the ground when the right landing gear collapsed.

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

Aircraft: Cessna 210.

Location: Bronson, Mich.

Injuries: None.

Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The airplane logbooks show the last recorded annual inspection was completed on Aug. 23, 2000. The purpose of the flight was to ferry the aircraft to a new location for inspection, however no ferry permit was on file. During the preflight inspection the pilot reported finding water in the fuel sumps. The water was drained and more fuel added, then the pilot took off. Approximately four minutes into the flight the engine began to backfire and lose power. Attempts to restore power were unsuccessful and the pilot made a 180° turn with the intent of returning to the departure airport. The aircraft did not have enough altitude to glide to the airport and came down in a cornfield short of the runway. The ground was soft. The front wheel stuck in the soil and snapped off. The airplane flipped over on its back. The post-crash investigation detected more water in the fuel lines.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadequate preflight preparation, which failed to detect the extent of the fuel contamination that led to a loss of engine power. The unsuitable terrain encountered during the off-airport landing was a factor.

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee.

Location: West Union, Iowa.

Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Serious.

Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot’s logbook indicated he had 73.3 hours of which 49.5 hours was in the accident airplane. The pilot received his private pilot certificate one and a half months before the accident. His family owned the airplane. According to a witness, the pilot was attempting to takeoff from a 4,248-foot, concrete runway. The witness wasn’t sure if the pilot started the takeoff roll from the end of the runway or from the runway entrance near the runup pad, which was 900 feet from the approach end of the runway. The witness stated that the aircraft lifted off, then settled back onto the runway. The witness heard the tires squeal and saw the airplane lift off again and veer to the left. The aircraft pitched up sharply as the pilot tried to avoid a fence and a line of trees. The aircraft rolled left and the left wing struck the ground. The airplane came down hard and caught fire. Inspection of the airplane and engine did not disclose any pre-impact failures or malfunctions that would have resulted in the loss of control. The flaps were found set to 25°, which is the flap setting normally used for short and soft field takeoffs. Two 14-pound weights were located in the rear fuselage area of the wreckage. The airplane owner stated they usually kept the weights in the airplane to help balance the center of gravity when there were just two adults in the front seat. The aircraft occupants during the accident flight consisted of two adults in the front seats and two children in the rear seats.

Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to abort the takeoff, his failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the takeoff, and the pull-up to avoid obstacles, which resulted in an inadvertent stall.

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