Mastery Flight Training, Inc. 

Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


March 2007 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!


©2007 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved


3/1 /2007 Report




(Precise date and time note reported):  On or about February 1, 2007, a Be58 “hydroplaned” and departed an icy runway surface while landing at Butler, Missouri.  Damage was reportedly limited to a wheel and tire; no one was hurt.  Weather conditions were not reported.  There was no registration information given for the Baron.


(“Loss of directional control on landing: wet/icy surface”—Dynamic hydroplaning can occur in as little as one-tenth an inch of water.  A good overview of hydroplaning shows us that the speed at which an airplane hydroplanes is directly related to tire pressure, with a higher tire pressure hydroplaning at a higher indicated airspeed. Note that the “NASA Critical Speed” for hydroplaning is in line with normal touchdown speeds in Beech airplanes—and that viscous hydroplaning can occur at even lower speeds.  The overview provides recommended techniques to avoid hydroplaning.  Readers of my mishap reports know I would dispute the advice to “retract the flaps immediately after landing to place more weight on the tires”—all too often this ends up putting too much weight on the belly of the airplane.)





2/23 0030Z (1830 local 2/22/2007):  “On landing,” a Be55 “went off the runway into a snowbank” at Michigan City, Indiana.  The Baron “spun around and came to rest in [a] drainage culvert.”  The pilot and passenger report no injury, and damage is “minor”.  Weather was “clear VMC”.  N919Y (TC-408) is a 1964 A55 registered since 1982 to an aero club in Chesterton, Indiana.


(“Loss of directional control on landing”—and possibly a slick runway surface)




NTSB PRELIMINARY or FACTUAL REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to change per NTSB findings.


**There are no newly posted piston Beechcraft NTSB reports this week**



3/8/2007  Report




3/1 1355Z (0755 local):  A Be35 was completing a flight from Clinton, Oklahoma to Ponca City, Oklahoma when it “was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power while on final approach to the Ponca City Regional Airport.”  The pilot, alone in the airplane, suffered “minor” injuries, while the Bonanza incurred “substantial” damage.  “According to the pilot, while on a five mile final approach for Runway 35 at PNC, he reduced engine power to intercept the glide slope. Once established on the glide slope, the pilot attempted to add engine power. The pilot reported that when he added throttle, the engine ‘sputtered’ and then experienced a complete loss of power. The pilot added that he pumped the throttle and switched the fuel selector valve from the left fuel tank to the right fuel tank position in an attempt to restore engine power. The engine power was not restore[d]. The pilot elected to turn the airplane towards a flat open field located on the airport property. While crossing the airport's perimeter road, the airplane ‘clipped’ the top of a moving automobile and subsequently impacted a fence…. The airplane came to rest in an upright position on the right main landing gear and the lower engine cowling. The left wing was found separated from the fuselage. There was no post impact fire and the pilot was able to exit the airplane unassisted. The driver of the automobile was not injured.”  Weather was “few clouds” at 2900 feet, visibility 10 miles, with a surface wind from 280 degrees at 10 knots.  N1554Z (D-6864) is/was a 1961 P35 registered since 2002 to a co-ownership in Clinton, Oklahoma.


(“Fuel starvation” [more in a moment]; “Substantial damage”—that the left wing separated without a fire and the engine quit while the left fuel tank was selected strongly supports reports from the scene that the engine failed from fuel starvation.  There was reportedly fuel in the right wing, but the engine did not restart soon enough to avoid impact.  Landing in an almost direct crosswind meant the pilot was likely landing wing-low, which is known to cause fuel unporting in tanks with little fuel on board.  Local news says the pilot suffered a head injury.  Airplanes of this vintage rarely have shoulder harnesses to resist head injury, which is often much worse than in this case even in less severe impacts.  A wise owner will install shoulder harnesses—and manage the fuel system to avoid similar accidents.) 


3/2 0630Z (2230 local 3/1/2007):  A Be35 received “minor” damage when, while parked and unoccupied on the ramp at Palo Alto, California, a PA24 Comanche “lost control” when “starting [the] engine” and “struck three parked and unattended aircraft” including the Bonanza.  One other airplane on the ramp also received “minor” damage, while the Comanche and another parked airplane were “substantially” damaged.  No one was hurt.  Weather conditions were not reported.  N6040E (D-6007) is a 1959 K35 registered since 2004 to a co-ownership in Palo Alto.


(“Struck by starting/taxiing aircraft”; “Night”)


3/4 2056Z  (1556 local):  “Shortly after departure” from Spruce Creek Fly-In, Port Orange, Florida, a Be55 “crashed into trees”.  The solo pilot died in the crash, and the Baron was “destroyed”. Weather was “clear and 10” with a 12-knot wind.  N100FG (TE-438) is a 1967 C55 registered since 2000 to a corporation in Daytona Beach, Florida.


(“Takeoff/Unknown”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”—a news media picture of the aircraft shows it aligned vertically, nose down, in trees, while an online scrapbook [linked with permission of both the photographer and the web site owner] details the crash scene closer up.  The Baron “had just taken off when it…made a hard turn, flipped upside down and then crashed in a field near a home.”  Witness reports, uncorroborated at this time, are that one engine was heard to be ‘surging’ during the Baron’s takeoff run.  The news report, location relative to the runway and pattern of wreckage strongly suggests a stall or a VMC roll shortly after takeoff.  Monitor engine power and indications during the takeoff roll, and abort the takeoff at the first sign of an abnormality.)


3/5 1723Z (1223 local): While landing at Lawrenceville, Georgia, the nose gear of a Be55 collapsed and the Baron “veered off the runway.”  The solo pilot reports no injury and airplane damage is “minor.”  Weather: “clear and 10” with a seven-knot wind.  N2016K (TC-2163) is/was a 1978 B55 registered since 2005 to a corporation based in Bridger, Montana.


(“Gear collapse on landing”—this is the IO-520E B55 I flew for three years in Tennessee.  Perhaps the current owner, with whom I occasionally speak, will volunteer more details.) 



NTSB PRELIMINARY or FACTUAL REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to change per NTSB findings.


**3/1 P35 apparent fuel starvation on landing at Ponca City, Oklahoma, cited above.**




3/15/2007 Report




3/6 2028Z (1428 local):  A Be33’s nose gear collapsed on landing at Mason, Michigan.  The pilot was not hurt; damage is “unknown” and weather “not reported”.  N16CT (CE-843) is an F33A, year not reported, recently (10/2006) registered to a corporation in Ada, Michigan.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Recent registration”)


3/6 2145Z (1645 local):  A Be65’s main landing gear collapsed on landing at Stuart, Florida.  The solo pilot was unhurt; damage is “unknown.”  Weather: “few clouds” at 5000 feet, visibility 10 miles, with a 10-knot surface wind.  N614BB (LC-263) is a 1967 A65 Queen Air registered since 2003 to a corporation in Stuart.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


3/7 2115Z (1415 local):  “On landing rollout,” the landing gear of a Be55 “collapsed and [the Baron] came to rest on its nose” at Prescott, Arizona.  The solo pilot was not hurt; damage is “minor”.  Weather: “not reported”.  N7621N (TC-1138) is a 1968 B55 registered since 1998 to an individual in Prescott.


(“Gear collapse on landing”—conventional wisdom is that all these nose gear collapses on landing result when the pilot inadvertently retracts the landing gear instead of retracting the flaps or performing some other cockpit function.  Experience shows that many gear mishaps also result from long-neglected landing gear components, especially rod ends, pushrods or other drive mechanisms with internal or unseen corrosion, and weak landing gear extension motors that do not fully extend the gear.  Although many Pilots Operating Handbook and shop manual recommended times before overhaul are very conservative, evidence is beginning to show that the recommended time before replacing rod ends, for inspecting pushrods internally as well as externally and for overhauling gear components may actually be wise.  A good practice is to replace rod ends and thoroughly inspect for corrosion and other damage at 2000 hours in service, and overhaul gear components on condition without delay.  Widespread adoption of this practice would likely reduce the number of gear collapse mishaps—accidents that frequently are expensive enough to repair that the airplane is totaled.)


3/9 2242Z (1742 local):  Landing at Rochester, New York, a Be58 “veered off the side of the runway and struck a snowbank.”  The solo pilot was not hurt; damage is “unknown” and weather was “not reported.”  N3059N (TH-1881) is/was a 1998 Model 58 recently (December 2006) registered to a Pittsford, New York corporation.


(“Loss of directional control on landing”; “Recent registration”) 


3/10 0150Z (1950 local 3/9/2007):  A Be58 “crashed shortly after departure” from Lansing, Illinois.  The Baron impacted “onto a street” and the two aboard died, at Munster, Indiana.  The Baron has “substantial” damage; there were no reported injuries to persons on the ground.  Weather for the night departure was 1800 overcast, visibility 1 ¾ miles in light rain with a 10-knot surface wind.  N332HA (TH-683) is was 1975 Model 58 registered since January 2006 to a corporation in Hinsdale, Illinois.


(“Takeoff/Unknown”; “Fatal”; “Substantial damage”; “IMC”; “Night”—a local news report says the pilots had just taken off from Lansing and “were headed back there” when they crashed onto a four-lane avenue about a mile from the airport.  The airplane’s owner “declined to say whether the plane was coming back because of mechanical problems.”)


3/13 0020Z (2020 local 3/12/2007):  Landing at Jacksonville, Florida, at the conclusion of a flight from Orlando, Florida, a Be24’s nose wheel collapsed during the landing rollout.  Two aboard avoided injury, while damage is “unknown”.  Weather at Jacksonville was “clear and 10” with a five-knot wind.  N513MA (MC-318) is a 1975 B24R registered since 2001 to a flight training corporation in Jacksonville.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Night; probably also “Dual instruction” but that’s unverified.”)



NTSB PRELIMINARY or FACTUAL REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to change per NTSB findings.


**3/4 fatal C55 crash on takeoff from Spruce Creek Fly-In, Port Orange, Florida.  Witness accounts differ as to whether engine noise suggests a failure on takeoff.  Both agree that immediately after lifting off the Baron “was in a steep climb, rolled to the left, and pitched straight down.”  A reader who lives in the fly-in community says the unofficial local ‘buzz’ is that at least one engine was found selected to an auxiliary fuel tank and speculation is that it failed from fuel starvation—it wouldn’t be the first Baron to suffer such when attempting to take off or go around using auxiliary fuel.  Change “Takeoff/Unknown” to “Engine failure on takeoff”…subject to further update when the NTSB probable cause report comes out.)** 



3/22/2007 Report




3/13 (time not reported):  A Be23 was en route on a VFR flight between Tucumcari, New Mexico, and Durango, Colorado, when it went missing.  All ALNOT (Alert Notice) was posted by ATC the next day and subsequently wreckage was found in mountainous terrain near Cimarron, New Mexico.  The solo pilot was killed and the airplane “destroyed”.  Weather in the area was “not reported”.  N4761J (M-1022) was a 1967 A23A registered in partnership since 1999 with a Farmer’s Branch, Texas address.


(“Cruise/Unknown—mountainous terrain”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”—the airplane flew from its home base in Texas to Tucumcari on an IFR flight plan, presumably to refuel, before departing on the last, fatal leg.)


3/17 1411Z (0911 local):  “On landing,” a Be58’s “gear failed and [the Baron] spun off the runway” on a private airstrip at Marietta, Oklahoma.  The pilot suffered “serious” injures, while one passenger died and another was “seriously” injured.  A fourth passenger reports no injury; the Baron was “destroyed”.  Weather at Ardmore, Oklahoma (18 miles away) was “sky clear”, visibility 10 miles with a surface wind from 200 degrees at eight gusting to 15 knots.  N584DP (TJ-76) was a 1976 58P recently (January 2007) registered to a corporation in Dallas.


(“Hard landing”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”; “Recent registration”—the flight, which originated at Dallas, Texas, was landing at McGehee Catfish Restaurant Airport [T40], a 2450 ft X 55 ft turf runway in “fair condition” with significant obstructions on both ends requiring a 4:1 slope to clear on runway 35 and a 7:1 slope to clear on runway 17.  Given the winds it’s logical to assume the pilot was attempting to land on Rwy 17, with the higher obstacle—85 ft trees 600 feet from the end of the runway.  A 58P, loaded with four adults, would be quite heavy even after burning fuel during the flight from Dallas, and would develop a significant sink rate if allowed to slow below about 95 knots indicated airspeed on final approach—especially when making a steep approach over obstacles and with the added complication of a gusty crosswind.  This may have contributed to the hard landing.  Local news reports the Baron “burst into flames” after departing the runway.  AOPA’s Air Safety Foundation reports a number of accidents at this airport, several “serious”, but this is only the second reported fatal crash.  Pilots should practice short field landings, especially in a heavy and new-to-them airplane such as in this case, to develop expertise before committing to the maneuver in adverse conditions with a heavy passenger load.)    


3/21 0000Z (2000 local 3/20/2007):  Landing at Charleston, West Virginia, an air cargo Be58 “struck two taxiway lights [and] taxied to the ramp without [further] incident.”  The pilot was not hurt and damage is “unknown.”  Weather was “not reported”.  N882MT (TH-1343) is a 1982 Model 58 registered since 1998 to a Columbus, Ohio corporation.


(“Impact with obstacle on landing”; “Night”)



NTSB PRELIMINARY or FACTUAL REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to change per NTSB findings.


**There are no newly posted piston Beech NTSB reports this week**



3/29/2007 Report




(Date and time not reported):  An anonymous reader reports a Be35 experienced tail vibration in flight and landed without further incident.  On investigation “substantial” damage was discovered to the rear bulkhead and other internal portions of the tail.  Additional details were posted publicly on the Beech Owners’ List, summarized here by permission: A G35 was flying in smooth air from Indianapolis, Indiana to Champaign, Illinois when the “plane began to shudder and the foot pedals were kicking back and forth.”  The pilot “reduced power and put pressure on the pedals” and the vibration stopped; the pilot then “continued on to his home base at Champaign.”  The next day the pilot asked an Inspection Authorized (IA) mechanic to examine the airplane.  Removing the Bonanza’s tailcone he discovered the “front spar of the stabilizer was broken in half where it attached to the bulkhead.”  He reports “the only thing holding [the stabilizer] on were the rear spar and the [stabilizer] cuff”—the inspector “could move the stabilizer up and down almost 8 inches.”   This particular airplane was involved in a similar vibration/skin damage incident in maneuvering flight in 2003, according to an NTSB report that identified several maintenance and control balance discrepancies following that earlier event.  It’s not known to what extent this recent incident will be investigated. N4668D (D-4858) is a 1956 G35 registered since 2001 to an individual in Champaign.


(“In-flight tail vibration/flutter”; “Substantial damage”—There’s no mention of the indicated airspeed at the time the vibration began, the maintenance state of the airplane, or the accuracy of the Bonanza’s control balancing.  AD 94-20-04 revision 2 details tail inspection and repair requirements for C35 and later V-tail Bonanzas.  An American Bonanza Society V-Tail Fact Sheet provides a one-page overview of compliance requirements.  Careful observance of AD requirements and airframe limitations is necessary in all aircraft to ensure continued safe operation.)   


(Date and time not reported):  Another anonymous report this week involves a Be36 gear-up landing during dual flight instruction.  Reportedly a relatively inexperienced flying club CFI A36 was providing a rental checkout to a new member who is a high-time business jet pilot.  In one reader-provided account, during landing practice the pilot receiving training (PRT) apparently turned on both the landing light and taxi light while the landing gear was coming down.  It’s speculated by club members that, in this 14-volt airplane, activating both lights and the landing gear motor simultaneously may have resulted in popping the landing gear motor circuit breaker.  In another reader’s report, the PRT extended the landing gear at approximately 180 knots indicated airspeed and the instructor either prompted the PRT to or himself reversed the switch position in mid-gear travel, popping the gear motor circuit breaker.  For whatever reason, the gear was not fully extended, and the first indication pilot or instructor noticed was when they heard “metal on the runway and the prop[eller] starting to hit.”  The PRT applied go-around power and managed to successfully climb out, fly the pattern, and land without further incident.  Damage meeting the definition of “minor” occurred to the nose landing gear doors, the inner, main gear doors (indicating a partial extension on contact) and the propeller.  An engine teardown and inspection for internal damage is considered mandatory as a result of the propeller strike.  The specific A36 Bonanza has not been identified.


(“Gear up landing”; “Dual flight instruction”—Careful observance of airframe limitations and POH procedures, as well as proper and complete verification of landing gear extension including a “three green” check on short final, would have prevented this mishap.  I highly recommend against an attempted go-around after impacting the surface with any aircraft part [most notably, the propeller(s)] in a gear-up landing.  The chance of engine damage is immense and a go-around may turn embarrassment into tragedy.  But there is a deeper lesson to learn from this mishap. One reporting reader calls this a case of “checkout intimidation,” when a low-time CFI may not monitor the flight as closely, or speak up as quickly or as forcefully, as he/she might because of the high experience level of the PRT.  Similarly, I’ve previously discussed the concept of “instructor-induced stupidity”, where a PRT might not fly as precisely or monitor the airplane as intensely as otherwise because of a subconscious feeling the instructor will ensure safety of the flight.  Ultimately both PRT and CFI need to be aware they are both responsible for the safe outcome of a flight.)



Thanks, readers, for contribution these informative reports—considering them thoughtfully will do much to make us all safer, yet neither is being or has yet been reported through “official” channels.





3/24 0330Z (2330 local 3/23/07):  While en route form an unknown point of departure with an intended destination of Clearwater, Florida, a Be24 “had [an] electrical failure” and the pilot apparently diverted to Moncks Corner, South Carolina only to land gear up.  The solo pilot was unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather for the midnight landing was “VFR”.  N1981L (MC-425) is a 1976 B24R recently (January 2006) registered to an individual in Brigantine, New Jersey.


(“Gear up landing—electrical failure”; “Substantial damage”; “Night”; “Recent registration”—My landing gear-related mishaps study shows a correlation between electrical failures and gear-up landings.  In a Sierra, though, emergency gear extension is accomplished by turning a hydraulic valve in the floor with a special tool.  More likely in the case of a true gear-up, battery depletion and the distraction of dealing with an electrical failure in flight probably contributed to the mishap, or else the pilot was unable to locate the gear tool in the dark cockpit.  I wonder if the new owner had practiced the emergency extension, or checked at the beginning of each flight that the emergency tool was in a known location accessible from the pilot’s seat)



NTSB PRELIMINARY or FACTUAL REPORTS:  All previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update, and subject to change per NTSB findings.


**3/9 double-fatality Baron 58 impact with terrain at Munster, Indiana, during what was earlier reported as an attempt to return to the airport in nighttime fog and drizzle.  Change “Takeoff/Unknown” to “Approach Unknown” **


**3/13 fatal A23A impact with terrain while en route near Holman, New Mexico.  Remains “Cruise/Unknown”**


**3/17 fatal 58P hard landing at Marietta, Oklahoma.**



SUMMARY: Reported Raytheon/Beechcraft piston mishaps, year-to-date 2007:


Total reported:  37 reports 


Operation in VMC:  20 reports   (54% of the total)    

Operation in IMC:     4 reports   (11% of the total)    

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  11 reports    

Operation at night:  6 reports   (16% of the total)    


Fatal accidents:  7 reports   (19% of the total)    

“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  0 reports  


“Substantial” damage:  7 reports   (19% of the total)    

Aircraft “destroyed”:     8 reports   (22% of the total)    


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):   9 reports   (24% of the total)    


(Note: FAA preliminary reports no longer identify the purpose of the flight involved in mishap.  Consequently the number and percentage of Beech mishaps that occur during dual instruction will become less and less accurate over time.  Since the late 1990s the percentage of Beech mishaps that take place during dual flight instruction has remained very consistently about 10%). 



By Aircraft Type:


Be55 Baron     7 reports      

Be58 Baron    7 reports

Be35 Bonanza   6 reports  

Be36 Bonanza   6 reports

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza   3 reports 

Be24 Sierra  2 reports   

Be95 Travel Air   2 reports    

Be18 Twin Beech  1 report

Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  1 report

Be65 Queen Air  1 report 

Be76 Duchess    1 report  



PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION OF CAUSE (all subject to update per NTSB findings):


LANDING GEAR-RELATED MISHAPS (17 reports; 46% of the total)) 


Gear collapse (landing)

8 reports (Be24; Be33; Be36; three Be55s; Be65; Be95)


Gear up landing

6 reports (two Be33s; Be35; Be36; Be55; Be76)


Gear collapse on landing—known mechanical system failure

1 report (Be95)


Gear collapse on landing—tow bar attached

1 report (Be58)


Gear up landing (electrical failure)

1 report (Be24)


...for more on Landing Gear-Related Mishaps see these data and this commentary. 



IMPACT-RELATED FAILURE ON LANDING  (6 reports; 16% of the total)) 


Loss of directional control on landing

2 reports (Be55; Be58)


Wingtip strike on landing—crosswind

1 report (Be36)


Loss of directional control on landing: wet/icy surface

1 report (Be58)


Hard landing

1 report (Be58)


Impact with obstacle on landing

1 report (Be58)



ENGINE FAILURE   (4 reports; 11% of the total))  


Fuel starvation

2 reports (both Be35s)


Engine failure in flight

1 report (Be36)


Engine failure on takeoff

1 report (Be55)



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (4 reports; 11% of the total)  



3 reports (Be36; Be55; Be58)


Cruise/Unknown (mountainous terrain)

1 report (Be23)





MISCELLANEOUS CAUSES  (3 reports; 8% of the total) 


Force landed due to unspecified mechanical problem

1 report (Be35)


In-flight collision with trees and terrain while maneuvering

1 report (Be58)


Struck by starting/taxiing aircraft

1 report (Be35)



LOSS OF CONTROL IN FLIGHT   (2 reports; 5% of the total) 


Loss of control—airframe ice; in-flight break-up

1 report (Be36)


Loss of control-- Missed approach/icing conditions

1 report (Be18)





In-flight vibration/flutter

1 report (Be35)




Recognize an N-number?  Want to check on friends or family that may have been involved in a cited mishap?  Click here to find the registered owner.   


Please accept my sincere personal condolences if you or anyone you know was involved in a mishap.  I welcome your comments, suggestions and criticisms.  Fly safe, and have fun!



Thomas P. Turner, MCFI

Mastery Flight Training, Inc.

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