General Aviation Accident Bulletin

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Recent general aviation and air carrier accidents

AVweb’s General Aviation Accident Bulletin is taken from the pages of our sister publication, Aviation Safety magazine. All the reports listed here are preliminary and include only initial factual findings about crashes. You can learn more about the final probable cause on the NTSB’s website at Final reports appear about a year after the accident, although some take longer. Find out more about Aviation Safety at

November 18, 2018, Harmon, N.D.

Cessna 441 Conquest II

At 2240 Central time, the airplane was destroyed when it broke up in flight and impacted an open field. The airline transport pilot, flight nurse and paramedic were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 aeromedical flight, which operated on an IFR flight plan.

The crew reportedly was en route to pick up a neonatal infant. Radar data show the airplane climbed until reaching 14,000 feet MSL. Ground speed was at 240 knots. The airplane then entered a steep right bank and radar contact was lost. No distress calls were received. A 600-foot-wide swath of wreckage was scattered over snow-covered terrain for about a mile. The cockpit area, cabin area, empennage, both engines and propellers, and both wings were identified and recovered.

November 19, 2018, Casper, Wyo.

Backcountry Super Cub Experimental

The airplane was substantially damaged at about 1530 Mountain time during a forced landing shortly after takeoff. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were not injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

According to the pilot, he took off with full power. After the airplane became airborne, he slightly reduced power. As the airplane climbed through about 500 feet AGL, he increased power, which resulted in a total loss of engine power shortly after. The pilot initiated a left descending turn and attempted to return to the runway. During the turn, he realized that he would not be able to complete the turn to completely realign with the runway and leveled the wings. The airplane subsequently landed hard and the left main landing gear axle separated. Subsequent examination revealed the left wing strut was structurally damaged.

November 20, 2018, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

At about 0930 Mountain time, the airplane was substantially damaged following an aborted takeoff. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed.

After touch-and-goes at another airport, the pilot initiated an approach at 60 knots with flaps fully extended and the “mixture... set appropriately for the 7000-foot field elevation.” Carburetor heat was not used. The airplane landed uneventfully; the pilot added full power, raised the flaps and raised the nose. The airplane departed the runway surface at about 50 knots. However, it then decelerated to about 45 knots and began exhibiting characteristics consistent with a stall. He lowered the nose and the airplane settled to the ground off the left side of the runway surface. Although the pilot slowed the airplane as rapidly as possible, it rolled through a grassy field, a fence and a ditch before it nosed over and came to rest inverted.

November 23, 2018, North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Cessna 172 Skyhawk

The airplane collided with a parked, unoccupied airplane at about 1105 Eastern time while taxiing after landing. The commercial pilot was not injured; the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual conditions prevailed.

The pilot stated that there were no discrepancies with the brakes at the departure airport. After landing, he turned off at the first taxiway and taxied to the ramp while following a van. While taxiing at about 4 to 5 mph, a wind gust pushed the tail to the right, which full right rudder failed to correct. As the airplane turned left, he applied right brake, which failed. He then applied both brakes to stop but the left turn became exaggerated. He released the left brake and pulled the mixture control to stop the propeller but while rolling about 1-2 mph, the airplane impacted a parked Beech Baron. Subsequent investigation found an O-ring in the right brake assembly had become misshapen.

November 23, 2018, Bakersfield, Calif.

Cessna 208 B Grand Caravan

At about 1733 Pacific time, the pilot became incapacitated while taxiing for departure. The airline transport pilot received minor injuries. The airplane was not damaged in the incident. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 135 on-demand cargo flight.

The airplane was loaded with cargo, including 41 large boxes totaling about 36 kg of dry ice. A company dangerous goods representative approved the shipment as the dry ice weight furnished by the shipper was below the company’s operating limit of 76 kg. While taxing, the pilot felt “strong sleepiness” and experienced difficulty breathing. He stopped the airplane at the runway run-up area and closed his eyes.

After the pilot failed to respond to air traffic controllers for 25 minutes, firefighters arrived and observed the pilot’s head rolled back and his mouth open. After chocking the running airplane and accessing the cockpit, the fuel cutoff valve was used to shut down the engine. The pilot began to revive and moments later was able to answer a series of questions. The pilot exited the airplane on his own and was hospitalized.

Examination revealed numerous boxes labeled “Dry Ice” positioned behind the pilot and stacked to the ceiling of the upper cargo pod. Their contents included refrigerated thermal bags filled with dry ice pellets, which were loosely closed and taped.

November 26, 2018, Santa Fe, N.M.

Mooney M20C Mark 21/Ranger

The airplane impacted terrain and was destroyed by impact forces, and a post-impact fire, at about 1950 Mountain time. The pilot was fatally injured. Night visual conditions prevailed.

A witness observed the airplane flying without lights on what appeared to be two “abbreviated” left downwind segments for Runway 20, then turn and cross over the approach end of the runway, as if the pilot was not trying to land but wanted the tower controller’s attention. The airplane’s landing gear and wing flaps appeared retracted. Shortly after losing sight of the airplane a second time, he heard sirens related to the emergency response to the accident. Recorded weather at 1953 included clear skies and wind from 360 degrees at four knots. Sunset had occurred at 1652, with civil twilight ending at 1719. The moon did not rise until 2034.

This article originally appeared in the March 2019 issue of Aviation Safety magazine.

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