Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


January 2004 Reports


Official information from FAA and NTSB sources (unless otherwise noted).  Editorial comments (contained in parentheses), year-to-date summary and closing comments are those of the author.  All information is preliminary and subject to change.  Comments on preliminary topics are meant solely to enhance flying safety.  Please use these reports to help you more accurately evaluate the potential risks when you make your own decisions about how and when to fly.  Please accept my sincere personal condolences if anyone you know was in a mishap. I welcome your comments, suggestions and criticisms.  Fly safe, and have fun!


Copyright 2004 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved



1/15/04 Report

1/12 2100Z (1400 MST): During a multiengine checkride, a Be95 "crashed under unknown circumstances" near Cedar City, UT. Both aboard the Travel Air died and the airplane was "destroyed." Weather in the area: "clear and 10" with a four-knot surface wind. N9679R was a 1960 Travel Air registered to a corporation in a Wilmington, DE corporation

("Crash/Unknown"; "Fatal"; "Aircraft destroyed"; "Dual instruction"; "Recent registration"--local news reports quote a member of the local police as saying the airplane impacted in a "flat spin" during an apparent single-engine maneuvering portion of the student pilot's checkride. Unless artificially limited by the examiner [usually, by limiting rudder travel with the foot], at those altitudes a Be95 will stall before reaching a VMc situation; single-engine stalls have a history of turning into an unrecoverable, flat spin if not managed expertly. I log this as "dual instruction" even though a checkride is not "dual," per se, because one intent of such recording is to highlight the responsibility of all crew members [and during an checkride, the examiner is a crew member] to actively monitor the safety of the flight. We'll wait for the NTSB report to assign something other than "unknown" given the source of the "flat spin" information.)


1/23/04 Report




(Date and time unreported):  A reader reports the forward cabin door of a Be55 opened and then separated in flight near Tipton, MD.  A reader reports “The top hinge broke off at the pin and the bottom one broke off at the door screw holes.”  The airplane landed without further incident.  (“Forward door departed airframe”—the reader cautions pilots to check door hinges before flight.  He states it is necessary to use a small mirror and flashlight to fully inspect the hinges.  Very few of these airplanes are less than a couple of decades old; time and use may result in fatigue damage in areas heretofore considered “bulletproof.”)


(Date and time unreported):  Be36 was seen to be diving steeply for the runway at Montgomery Field, San Diego, CA, after which is “rounded out at about midfield” and “landed long,” departing the runway into a ditch.  The occupants were apparently unhurt.   N321JT is a 2001 B36TC still registered since 2001 to a corporation in Medford, OR.


(“Landed long”)





1/15 1748Z (1248 EST):  An IFR flight from Naples, FL to Orlando, FL, ended in a gear-up landing for a Be55.  The solo pilot was not hurt and damage is “unknown.”  Weather at KORL was “few” clouds at an unreported height, visibility eight miles with a 17-knot wind.  N19MC is a 1974 B55 registered since 2002 to a corporation in Naples, Florida.


(“Gear up”—in over three years of publishing this Update I’ve noted a correlation between gear-up landings and surface winds in excess of 15 knots.  It may be pure coincidence, but the visual cues of final approach into a strong wind [reduced ground speed, steeper-than-normal descent angle] mimic some of the cues associates with extended landing gear.  A distracted pilot, who may not have firmly developed and practiced habit patterns for landing gear operation, may misidentify the effects of a strong headwind and think the landing gear is down when it is not.)


1/16 0010Z (1810 CST 1/15/04):  The solo pilot of an A36 died, and the Bonanza was destroyed, in the early stages of a night missed approach at Weatherford, TX.  Arriving from Houston, TX, the pilot learned the Weatherford weather was 200 overcast, visibility two miles in rain and drizzle, with a nine-knot wind.  The pilot was cleared for the approach and replied he would “make one attempt and if (he) was unable (to land) he would divert to Odessa, TX.  The pilot flew the approach and called missed; ATC cleared him to Odessa at 6000 feet.  The flight was lost on radar shortly thereafter.  N7252X was a 1985 B36TC registered since 1998 to a private individual in Odessa.


(“Missed approach/unknown”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”; “IMC”; “Night”—a missed approach is one of the most workload-intensive procedures in the single-pilot cockpit.  Although the FAA preliminary report does not state exactly how soon after calling missed the flight was given a new clearance, the complexity of that new routing, or how soon the airplane subsequently crashed; and although there is no evidence to suggest the following has anything to do with this mishap, anyone who has flown with a GPS knows the level of workload associated with reprogramming for a new routing while flying a missed approach from very near the ground.  Perhaps we should be training pilots to ask to enter the published hold, or at least asking for an initial vector and a level-off at least, say, 3000 feet above ground level, before accepting a new routing to a destination if we do not already have a flight plan for that routing ready for call-up on the GPS.  Whether a factor in this specific crash or not, this flight’s demise serves as a reminder to consider the workload associated with the missed approach.)


1/16 2220Z (1420 PST):  A Be55 and a Cessna 180 collided over Tehachapi, CA.  The C180’s wing separated and its pilot died in the crash.  The Baron has “substantial” damage, but the pilot, who suffered “minor” injuries, landed the airplane.  Weather conditions were not reported.  N555RD is a 1977 B55 registered since 1999 to an individual in Tehachapi.


(“Midair collision”; “Fatal”)


1/23 0215Z (1915Z MST 1/22):  During solo, night pattern practice, a Be36 “lost power” and “crashed into a building,” at Farmington, NM.  The pilot suffered “serious” injuries; the airplane “unknown” damage.  Weather for the night flight was “clear and 10” with a three-knot breeze.  N8240U is a 1991 A36 registered since 1991 to an airline ab initio training program in Farmington.


(“Engine failure on approach/in pattern”; “Serious injuries”; “Night”—media reports show an airplane that, in the words of one reader, is “remarkably intact” on the roof of a prison.)



NEW NTSB PRELIMINARY REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update. 


**1/12 double-fatality Be95 incident at cedar City, UT.  Change “Crash/Unknown” to “Stall/Spin during multiengine checkride”—the NTSB preliminary confirms this was a checkride and that the airplane apparently impacted in a flat spin, but  it does not state whether one engine was shut down at the time of impact. **


**1/15 fatal B36TC missed approach/unknown cause, cited above. **



1/29/04 Report




A reader reports:  1/22 (time unreported): A Be33 crashed on takeoff from Shoshone Airport, in Death Valley, CA, a 2500 foot runway at 1500 MSL.  Local press reports say “heavy winds interfered with the plane’s liftoff and after narrowly missing some low hanging power lines. The unidentified pilot attempted to set the plane back down. By then he had run out of tarmac (sic) and the landing gear snagged on soft dirt, flipping the plane over.”  The local fire chief is quoted as saying “the winds forced him down" and that "what saved him was he was able to slow the plane."  Two aboard the airplane reportedly have “minor” injuries; the airplane did not burn but there is no further damage estimate.  “The pilot had reportedly just purchased the plane,“ according to the news report, “and was executing his first takeoff from the Shoshone airstrip. Winds were probably around 10mph."  N33HY is a 1988 F33A whose registration has not been updated to reflect the reported new ownership.


(“Impact with obstacle/aborted takeoff”; “Recent registration”—thanks, reader, for the report)





1/26 0010Z (1510 local time):  A Be58 landed gear up at Hoonah, AK.  The solo pilot was not hurt; damage is “substantial.”  Weather: “few clouds” at 3500, 5000 scattered, visibility 10 miles with surface winds at eight gusting to 23 knots.  N436AT is a 1978 Model 58 recently (October 2003) registered to an individual in Hoonah.


(“Gear up”; “Substantial damage”; “Recent registration”—another in the frequent correlation of high surface winds and gear-up landings…the visual cues of landing into a very strong wind [reduced ground speed, steeper angle of descent] mimic those of extending the landing gear, perhaps lulling a distracted or fatigued pilot into believing the gear is down.  High surface winds?  Triple-check your gear indications!)


1/26 0343Z (1943 PST 1/25/04):  The nose gear of a Be76 collapsed during a night takeoff from Gillespie Field, El Cajon, CA.  The solo pilot, bound for Montgomery Field near San Diego, CA, was not hurt; damage is “minor.”  Weather: clear, visibility nine miles, with calm winds.  N6001R is a 1978 Duchess registered since 1990 to an individual in San Diego.


(“Gear collapse [takeoff]”; “Night”)




NEW NTSB PRELIMINARY REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update. 


**1/16 fatal (to the other pilot), head-on midair of a Be55 and a C180, Tehachapi, CA. **




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