Aircraft: Cessna 340A. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Ocala, Fla. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: On the accident flight the 1,005-hour pilot was cleared to land and entered the left downwind leg of the traffic pattern to land to the north. A surface wind from the west prevailed with gusts to 15 knots. Radar data revealed that the airplane was on final approach, about 1.16 miles from the runway at an altitude of about 210 feet AGL. The airplane then crashed in a pasture south of the airport, in a slight left-wing-low attitude and burned.
The pilot’s wife, who was in the aft cabin and survived the accident, recalled that it was choppy and that they descended quickly. She recalled hearing two distinct warning horns in the cockpit prior to the crash. The airplane was equipped with two aural warning systems in the cockpit, a landing gear warning horn and a stall warning horn.
Investigators determined that the pilot likely allowed the airspeed to decay while aligning the airplane on final approach and allowed the airplane to descend below a normal glide path.
Examination of the wreckage revealed that the landing gear were in transit toward the retracted position at impact, indicating that the pilot was attempting to execute a go-around before the accident. The pilot made no distress calls to air traffic controllers before the crash.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed and altitude on final approach, resulting in an impact with terrain short of the airport.
NTSB Identification: ERA12FA161
This January 2012 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.