Vacuum failure, inadequate assistance from ATC proves fatal

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Parkton, N.C. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The private pilot, 63, who had logged more than 1,000 hours, took three tries to get his instrument ticket. He failed the checkride twice because he failed the “air traffic control clearances and procedures,” “instrument approach procedures,” and “emergency operations” areas of operations, with special emphasis on partial panel. After additional training he was able to obtain the instrument rating in August 2003.

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Improper parts for Piper

Aircraft: Piper Arrow. Injuries: 1 Serious. Location: Lock Haven, Pa. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, when the airplane was in cruise flight at 7,500 feet, the engine began to “surge,” then stopped producing power. The pilot selected a forced landing area in a clearing, but the plane lacked enough altitude to make it to the field and it crashed in trees before reaching the clearing.

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VFR pilot descends into fog

Aircraft: Bellanca 7ECA. Injuries: None. Location: Tehachapi, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The accident occurred just before dusk. The non-instrument-rated pilot stated that prior to departure, weather reports indicated that clear skies prevailed at the departure airport with patches of fog at his destination. Despite the possibility of fog, he decided to attempt the flight with the intention of diverting to an alternate airport if the weather conditions deteriorated.

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Nose-first landing bends Cessna

Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: None. Location: McKinney, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that windy conditions existed during the flight, but the wind was not a crosswind during landing. However, the airplane touched down hard on the nosewheel, bounced, and then settled onto the runway.

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Airplane vs. car

Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: 2 Minor. Location: Roanoke, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot, who was returning from a solo cross-country flight, stated that the approach for landing at the private airport was normal until short final, when the landing gear struck an automobile that was being driven on a road that crossed near the approach end of the runway.

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Taylorcraft tangles with power lines

Aircraft: Taylorcraft BC12-D. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Clutier, Iowa. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to land on an unimproved airstrip he had previously used. When the field was previously used as an airstrip, the power lines were buried, but at the time of the accident the power line were now above ground and were not marked.

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Piper crashes in mountains

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: 3 Fatal. Location: Aurora, Utah. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: Family members notified the FAA that the airplane was overdue on the cross-country flight. One week after the initial notification, the wreckage was located in the upper end of a canyon about 11 nautical miles west of the departure airport at an elevation of 8,992 feet MSL.

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Solo cross country ends badly

Aircraft: Cessna 150. Injuries: None. Location: Red Oak, Iowa. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot was on the third leg of a VFR solo cross-country flight. He was on approach to an airport where he planned to do a touch and go, then return to his initial departure airport.

During his first and second approaches for the touch and go he executed go-arounds due to what he described as turbulence when the airplane came into ground effect.

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