Mechanical malfunction brings down Debonair

Aircraft: Beechcraft Debonair. Injuries: None. Location: St. George, Utah. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: According to the pilot, during cruise flight, the engine’s exhaust gas temperature was hotter than normal and the fuel flow was lower than normal.

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In-flight break-up kills three

Aircraft: Beech Bonanza. Injuries: 3 Fatal. Location: Glencoe, Minn. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: There was no record of the non-instrument-rated private pilot receiving a preflight weather briefing. He was attempting to conduct the flight under VFR although the weather was IFR.

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Off runway ride in Cherokee

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: None. Location: Indianapolis. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot was on a solo flight. He completed three normal takeoffs and landings before attempting a soft-field takeoff. As the nose lifted, the airplane began to veer left.

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Hard landing bends Arrow

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee Arrow. Injuries: None. Location: New Smyrna, Fla. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was preparing for his initial flight instructor check ride with a CFI on board. He performed a 180° power-off approach and landing.

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Poor planning results in poor performance

Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Mexico, Mo. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The pilot and his wife were departing from a 2,600-foot grass runway with a quartering right tailwind. The grass on the runway was between 6 and 10 inches high.

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Crosswind crimps Bellanca

Aircraft: Bellanca Super Viking. Injuries: None. Location: Branson, Mo. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to land. At the time the wind was from the south at 8 to 10 knots with gusts to 20 knots.

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Poor visbility, poor decisions

Aircraft: Cessna 150. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Goble, Ore. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: A CFI and pilot receiving instruction were on a flight in an area of light rain, fog, and overcast ceilings. The airplane entered a hilly area during a steady rain.

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Unusual mid-air captures national attention

The NTSB and FAA are investigating a skydiving/plane crash Saturday afternoon in Mulberry, Florida, according to a report at The crash captured national attention with the skydiver appearing on the national morning television newscasts.

Tailwind approach leads to crash

Aircraft: Quicksilver MX Sprint II Injuries: None. Location: Willits, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: It was the student pilot’s first solo flight in the airplane.

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Expectations and fixation

My first flight lesson was out of Virginia’s Leesburg Executive Airport (KJYO), inside the Dulles Class B airspace. We took off and performed some air work in the practice area. Then we headed back toward the airport. My instructor told me to find the airport so he could show me how to do a pattern entry. I looked and looked but I could not spot little Leesburg Airport. Finally I told him, “I can’t find the airport. It’s too small!”

My instructor was a recent émigré from New Delhi, India. In his most patient Indian-accented English he replied, “It is not the fault of the airport that you cannot see it. It is exactly the size it needs to be.”

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