Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


March 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



3/4/04 Report




2/27 2240Z (1640 CST):  Flying from 6KS1 to SN07, a Be36’s “engine stopped and (the) pilot was unable to restart the engine.”  The “pilot executed a forced landing on a road” near Hayes, KS, landing in winds at 20 gusting to 27 knots with no damage and no reported injury to the two aboard.  Visibility was 10 miles and skies were clear.  N7886L is a 1968 Model 36 registered since 1976 to a corporation in Brighton, CO.


(“Engine failure in flight”—and apparently heck of a landing in adverse conditions [of course, it was in  “flat” western Kansas].  The identified departure and planned destination airports are not in the AOPA records and likely are private airstrips.)


2/27 1645Z (1045 CST):  A pilot and instructor flying a Be76 were “practicing single-engine approaches at St. Charles County Airport (MO)” when they “forgot to lower the landing gear.”  The Duchess “landed on (runway) centerline and skidded approximately 800 feet….”  Pilot and instructor avoided injury; “minor” damage includes “damage to the bellow skin” and “prop strikes” to both engines.  Weather at KSET: “clear and 10” with a five-knot wind.  N3733D is a 1980 Duchess registered since 1983 to an individual in Ava, IL.


(“Gear up landing”; “Dual instruction”—one of the hazards of single-engine work in multiengine airplanes is that a complacency develops from flying around in a simulated engine-out configuration that results in a blaring gear horn.  Not only is the horn no longer an adequate warning device at that point [it will not suddenly sound later on, closer to the ground] but it serves as a distraction and desensitizes both student and instructor to the gear horn in other scenarios.  Further, many instructors pull the gear horn circuit breaker to silence the horn [some training twins even have a switch designed for this purpose], making it easy to forget to reset the breaker/switch later.  My technique is to check gear position aloud at 1000 AGL in all cases during an approach and landing, and to recheck at full flap extension, usually at about 500-600 AGL on final approach.  The BPPP has recently introduced a policy I like that calls for a gear check at 500 AGL on all landings, and a no-questions-asked go-around or missed approach if the gear is anything but “all down and locked” at that point.)


2/29 1434Z (0934 EST): A Be36 landed on a highway in Vermont following an inflight engine failure during a planned trip from Farmingdale, NY to Rutland, VT.  The four aboard weren’t hurt although damage to the Bonanza is “substantial.”  Weather was “not reported.”  N916EB is a 1997 A36 registered since 2001 to a Wilmington, DE corporation.


(“Engine failure in flight”; “Substantial damage”—having been to Vermont, an off-airport landing without injuries is a significant accomplishment.  A local press account[ [,1413,102~8862~1988884,00.html  ] is actually pretty complimentary of the pilot and his handling of the emergency, including a last-minute decision to glide under a bridge instead of risking a stall trying to fly above it).



NEW NTSB PRELIMINARY REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to update per NTSB findings. 


**There are no new piston Beech reports this week**



3/11/04 Report




3/8 (time not reported):  A caller in MS e-mailed that at Be58 suffered a nosegear collapse while landing at Lexington, NC.  No one was hurt.  His e-mailed photos show the bottom of the radome was ground off, the nose gear doors were destroyed, the pitot tube and several antennae were bent, and there was damage to the aircraft’s keel structure at and behind the bulkhead where the radar mounts to the nose of the airplane.  Both propellers and engine nacelles were damaged.  The caller, who had sold the airplane to its current owner five weeks previous, said the pilot had “three green” indications at touchdown and “his first indication was when the props hit the pavement.”  Investigation revealed a preexisting crack inside the upper portion of the nose wheel V-brace that had eventually failed.  The crack, when it propagated through the tube structure, “was in a place that could only be seen with a mirror and a flashlight, or by removing the nose gear.”  N17850 is a 1977 58TC currently still shown on the FAA website as registered to a Wilmington, DE corporation.


(“Gear collapse—fatigue damage”; “Recent registration”—this is the 1977 58TC I flew for about three years/500 hours at the construction company where I worked in Tennessee.  The airplane had over 6000 total hours at the time it was sold by that company; the caller told me he put about 500 hours on it before selling to the current owner—so the failed part had 6500+ hours time in service over 27 years.   Although the Beech POH calls for overhaul of the nose gear assembly every 2000 hours, this is not a mandatory overhaul for noncommercial airplanes and the owners of the company I had worked for would never authorize the overhaul.  The caller said he had overhauled the gear actuator and motor during the time he owned the airplane, but he had not overhauled the gear units themselves.  Although the current owner [or his insurance company] is facing teardown, inspection and reassembly [perhaps even replacement] of two 600-hour, $42,000 engines and replacing a pair of $7000 heated propellers, a radome, nose gear doors, cowling repairs, various antennae and the pitot tube, and dealing with potentially serious damage to the airplane’s structure behind the forward bulkhead, this is still not “reportable” to the NTSB, and if it were would be characterized as “minor” damage.  This is another example of the results of “flaunting” the recommended overhaul schedules.)


3/9 (time not reported):  A reader reports that a Be65’s “right wing at the stall sensor exploded,” taxiing in after landing at Sedona, AZ.  A second reader relates that “a third of the wing (is) missing from the spar forward,” and that “it looks like (there was) some fire…between the (visible) damage and the engine nacelle.”   The explosion “rattled the windows” of the airport manager’s office.  Photos of the airplane show extensive damage to the wing forward of the forward spar, and the wing tip ballooned from the inside, split most of the way around.  There is no report of injury.  N751T is a 1966 Queen Air recently (August 2003) registered to a Wilmington, DE corporation.


(“Fire/explosion on the ground” and, knowing the NTSB definition, “Substantial damage”; “Recent registration”—the most likely scenario is a fuel leak with fumes filling the wing structure, which were ignited by a short in the electrical system.  There was a similar Beech incident in Portland, OR, some time ago [ ] that was traced to pinhole leaks in the fuel bladder combined with spark from improperly installed strobe lights.).





3/5 2135Z (1635 EST):  A Be36’s nose gear collapsed while landing on Charlotte, NC’s runway 18L.  The solo pilot was not hurt and damage is “minor.”  Weather was 4500 scattered, 14,000 scattered, 20,000 overcast, visibility 10 miles, with winds from 210 at 10 gusting to 18 knots.  N204P is a 1991 A36 registered since 2001 to a corporation in Clover, SC.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


3/7 1834Z (1334 EST):  A Be18 completed a “business” flight from Winchester, VA to Chattanooga, TN, with a landing gear collapse at KCHA.  The two aboard report no injury and damage is “minor.”  Weather: 4000 scattered, visibility 10, with a 13-knot wind from 270 degrees.  N8183H is a C45H, year unreported, serial AF-396, registered to a corporation in Winchester.


(“Gear collapse on landing”—the main runway at CHA is 2/20, meaning this Twin Beech likely had a nearly direct crosswind, which may have been a factor)


3/7 2035Z (1435 CST):  A Be35 “landed hard” and its “nose gear collapsed” on landing at Mobile, AL.  The flight, operating on a VFR flight plan from Destin, FL to Bunkie, LA, diverted to Mobile for reasons not stated in the report.  The five aboard the Bonanza were not injured and damage is “minor.”  Weather at Mobile: “clear and 10.”  N8369D is a 1958 J35 recently (October 2003) registered to an individual in LeCompte, LA.


(“Hard landing—gear collapse”; “Recent registration”)


3/7 2255Z (1755 EST):  Touching down at Griffin, GA, a Be35 “made a hard landing on the nosewheel” and the nose gear collapsed.  The pilot and two passengers were unhurt; damage is “unknown.”  Weather: “clear and 10” with surface winds at 20 gusting to 25 knots.  N8915U is a 1965 S35 recently (August 2003) registered to an individual in Clinton, OK.


(“Hard landing—gear collapse”; “Recent registration”)



NEW NTSB PRELIMINARY REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to update per NTSB findings. 


**1/22 “serious injury” Be33 instructional crash at Shoshone, CA.  Add “Serious injuries,” “Substantial damage” and “Dual instruction.”  The CFI providing instruction was in the left seat and manipulating the single controls when the mishap occurred, attempting a downhill takeoff with a gusty and variable, 15 to 20 knot or greater tailwind. **


**1/22 B36TC long landing at San Diego’s Montgomery Field.  Add “substantial damage.”  The flight was arriving IFR and executing an ILS approach circling to land on Runway 10R in VMC, daylight conditions.  Landing long out of the circle the pilot “applied brakes…The left main tire blew out and she attempted a go-around. The airplane overran the runway and veered to the left, resulting in the left wing colliding with a runway end identifier light. The airplane continued to the left and encountered a ditch filled with soft mud.” **    



3/18/04 Report




RE: the 3/9 Queen Air fuel tank explosion during taxi, at Sedona, AZ:  The FAA’s preliminary report has now been posted.  “Investigation on the scene…located a rag and clamp on the fuel line.”  The report also confirms my earlier estimate of “substantial” damage.  Further, an astute reader pointed out that I initially reported it was the airplane’s right wing that exploded, when in fact it was the left…I apologize for my error.





3/16 1310Z (0710 CST):  The Houston Chronicle reports three people were injured when a 1999 A36 crashed “during an emergency landing shortly after takeoff,” at Conroe, Texas.  The pilot is listed in “serious” condition in a local hospital.  The two passengers were also hospitalized but their condition is unreported; there was no aircraft damage estimate but a reader states photos showed extensive damage to the engine area, which appears to have burned.  It appears thick fog blanketed the area at the time the photo was taken.  “The airplane, bound for Wichita, Kan., had been in the air for only a few minutes after taking off from Lone Star Executive Airport in Conroe.”     


(“Takeoff/Unknown”; “Serious injuries”; “Substantial damage”; “IMC”)





3/17 0410Z (2210 CST 3/16/04):  A Be23 “landed hard” during a night touchdown at Wheeling, IL, “and broke (the) left main gear.”  The pilot and two passengers were not hurt although damage is “substantial.”  Weather: “unknown.”  N6704L is a 1979 C23 registered since 1995 to an FBO in Wheeling.


(“Hard landing”; “Substantial damage”; “Night”—the FAA preliminary report misidentifies this as a Be24 Sierra)


3/17 1649Z (1049 CST):  During a “training” flight a Be76’s crew was cleared for the option, and the Duchess’ landing gear collapsed on the ensuing touch-and-go landing at Dothan AL.  Pilot and instructor escaped injury and damage is “minor.”  Weather at Dothan was “clear and 10” with an 11-knot wind.  N137AS is a 1978 Duchess registered since 2001 to an FBO in of Ozark, AL.


(“Gear collapse—touch and go landing”; “Dual instruction”—sounds like another case of trying to “clean up” in a hurry, with an inadvertent gear retraction)



NEW NTSB PRELIMINARY REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to update per NTSB findings. 


**3/9 Queen Air explosion at Sedona, AZ, cited above. **



3/25/04 Report




A reader reports the 700-hour left engine of his Be55 failed catastrophically in flight, throwing the #5 cylinder rod. The "case was basically cut in half along the top between the #5 and #6" cylinders." The Baron was "five hours out of annual" on a night flight over the mountains of California. The pilot skillfully dealt with a propeller that would not feather, landing with no injury to pilot and passenger, or any additional airplane damage. ("Engine failure in flight-Cylinder separation"; "Night")




3/20 1335Z (0835 EST): A Be35's landing gear collapsed on landing at Jacksonville, FL. The two aboard have "unknown" injuries and the Bonanza "unknown" damage. Weather was "sky clear" with visibility six miles in drizzle, with calm winds. N412V is a 1971 V35B registered since 1995 to a Wilmington, DE company.


("Gear collapse on landing")


3/24 0125Z (1925 CST): A local night practice flight at Cedar Rapids, IA, resulted in a gear-up landing for a Be35. The solo pilot reports no injury and damage is "minor." Winds were 90 degrees to the runway, at nine knots; the sky was overcast at 3800 feet with visibility six miles in light rain. N8556R is a 1974 V35B registered since 1996 to a corporation in Cedar Rapids.


("Gear up"; "Night"-nine knots is not all that much but this does [almost] go into the category of gear-up landings that correlate with adverse winds near the ground, a likely source of pilot distraction and unusual visual cues that was compounded with the dark night conditions.)



All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to update per NTSB findings.

**3/16 A36 engine failure on takeoff, at Conroe, TX.  Change "Takeoff/Unknown" to "Engine Failure on Takeoff-Jet Fuel Contamination." The pilot and one passenger have "Serious" injuries and a second passenger has "minor" injuries. According to the NTSB preliminary report, the airplane was misfueled with Jet A by an inexperienced fueler (note that airplane fuel port restrictors are not a panacea as older fuel truck/pump nozzles must also be modified to prevent their fitting into a restricted tank). The pilot apparently did not check the fuel sumps before takeoff, and left checking the fuel level to a passenger. The engine quit shortly after start-up but the pilot successfully restarted it for the flight, which began in visibility less than 600 feet according to a reader's eyewitness report. A second reader sent photos that belie my earlier impression that the engine compartment had burned after impact; there is in fact no evidence of a fire. N789SA is a 1998 A36 registered since 2002 to an individual in Johns Island, SC. **


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