Mastery Flight Training, Inc. 

Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


April 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


4/5/2007 Report




12/25/2006, time not reported:  A reader reports that in “midmorning” last Christmas Day, a Be35 departed Sevierville, Tennessee for a short flight and landed gear up at Knoxville Downtown Island Airport, Knoxville, Tennessee.  “Minor” damage includes “visible damage was to the prop, nose gear doors, cowl flaps, and the bottom of the fuselage immediately behind the engine compartment.  The plane was put on its wheels by lifting [it] with a strap around the prop shaft, etc., [and] minimal additional damage, if any” was incurred.  The pilot was not injured.  N5105C (D-2386) is a 1950 B35 recently (at the time of the mishap) registered (March 2006) to an individual in Jupiter, Florida.


(“Gear up landing”; “Recent registration”—thanks, reader, for your report.)





3/11 (time not reported):  “According to the pilot [of a Be23], during his initial attempt to land…on a 2,999-foot long runway” at Fredericksburg, Virginia, “the airplane was ‘too high and too hot,’ so he executed a go-around. After completing a circuit around the airport traffic pattern, the pilot descended the airplane to 500 feet on the final leg of the approach, and added ‘one notch’ of flaps. About 1/4 mile from the runway, the pilot reduced engine power to idle, and crossed the runway threshold at 75 feet and 90 mph airspeed. The airplane touched down within the first 1,000 feet of the runway, bounced, and floated another 500 feet. The airplane touched down again around the mid-point of the runway. The pilot then applied the brakes, but the airplane was not slowing as he expected. With 500 feet of runway remaining, the pilot elected not to abort the landing and continued applying the brakes. The airplane then departed the runway end, encountered a ditch, and came to rest upright. Following the accident, while the airplane was being recovered, a mechanic commented to the pilot that the brakes looked ‘worn.’ The pilot stated that had he known this, he would not have flown the airplane. According to the airplane's Pilot Operating Handbook, the flaps down landing approach speed was 78 mph, and the flaps up speed was 92 mph.”  Damage and weather conditions were not reported; the solo pilot was not injured.  N9150S (M-1771) is/was a 1976 C23 registered since 2003 to an individual in Saint Marys. Georgia.


(“Landed long/failed to go around”—Landings, especially on relatively short runways, demand precise airspeed and glidepath control.  In most cases full flaps are part of the short-field set-up.  As a general rule, for every extra five knots of airspeed on final approach, the landing distance [over a 50-ft obstacle] increases about 10%.  Be ready for a go-around if you will not be firmly on the ground in the first third of the runway, or if your touchdown results in a bounce that adds an appreciable distance to your eventual touchdown point.  Also, work with mechanics to include brake pad condition in a recurring brief of maintenance status, and check brakes to the extent possible as part of every preflight inspection.)


3/19 0955Z (1055 local):  A Be24 “was destroyed when…it collided with terrain at Rendsburg-Schachtholm Airport, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was fatally injured. The local flight originated at Rendsburg-Schachtholm Airport, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.”  D-EDER is not identified on the available, unofficial German registration websites.


(“Crash/Unknown”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”—readers, do you have a source for German-registered aircraft serial numbers?)


3/20 0155Z (2155 local):  A Be55 “experienced a wing explosion during engine start at the Fulton County Airport, Atlanta, Georgia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was substantially damaged and the airline transport-rated pilot and commercial pilot rated passenger were not injured…. The pilot stated that he landed at Fulton County Airport to drop off a passenger and was returning the airplane to its home base. He started the left engine normally and began to start the right engine…. During the start he heard a ‘thump’ coming from the right side of the airplane. He looked at the right engine and observed fire coming out of the engine cowling. The pilot shut the engine down by placing the mixture control to idle cutoff and turning off the master switch. The pilot and passenger evacuated the airplane and observed severe damage to the right wing from the engine nacelle to the wing tip.”  The two aboard were not hurt and damage is “substantial.”  N500JP (TC-2396) is a 1981 B55 registered since 2005 to a Wilmington, Delaware corporation.


(“Fire/explosion on engine start”; “Substantial damage”; “Night”—similar reports in the past usually center on fuel leaks and/or poorly connected fuel lines that permit vapors to form in the interior of the wing that are ignited with the application of electrical power, such as strobe lights.  It may also have been an engine-compartment fire that explosively traveled into the wing.  If you notice any unusual fuel smells, stains or other signs of leaks, track them down with a mechanic and repair them as necessary before attempting flight.)


3/28 1420Z (0820 local):  A Be55 landed gear up at Terrell, Texas.  The local flight did not result in injury to the three aboard; damage is “minor”.  Weather: 2100 overcast, visibility 10 miles with surface winds at 10 knots.  N7700N (TC-1159) is a 1968 B55 registered since 2000 to an individual in Heath, Texas.


(“Gear up landing”)


3/29 1905Z (1405 local):  While en route between Cobb County Airport, Atlanta, Georgia to the nearby Griffin, Georgia airport, a Be58 “experienced fire on the right wingtip” and “force landed on a private field” at Fayetteville, Georgia.  Three aboard the Baron avoided injury and damage is as yet “unknown”.  Weather was “VFR”.  N1MQ (TH-731) is/was a 1976 Model 58 recently (March 20, 2007) registered to a corporation based in Stockbridge, Georgia.


(“In-flight electrical fire”; “Recent registration”—strangely, many Pilots Operating Handbooks do not include an electrical fire in flight checklist.  Check the POH for the airplane[s] you fly.  If they do not contain an electrical fire in flight checklist, an abbreviated version is (1) battery and alternator(s)/generator(s) OFF; (2) confirm fire is out; (3) if fire is confirmed out, battery and alternator(s)/generator(s) ON; (4) confirm fire is still out (if fire resumes, turn battery and alternator/generator switches OFF); and (5) if fire remains out, turn on only that equipment essential to safely land as soon as practical)


3/31 1445Z (1045 local):  A Be55’s nose gear collapsed on landing at Key West, Florida, sparing the two aboard injury and resulting in “unknown” aircraft damage.  Weather was “few clouds” at 3000, 4600 scattered, visibility 10 miles with surface winds at 13 gusting to 19 knots.  N25612 (TE-897) is a 1973 E55 registered since 1995 to a corporation based in Brandenton, Florida.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


4/1 1740Z (1340 local):  A Be24’s nose gear collapsed on landing at Greenville, Maine.  The solo pilot was not hurt; damage and weather are “unknown”.  N66293 (MC-674) is a 1979 C24R recently (September 2006) registered to an Augusta, Maine corporation.


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


4/3 1400Z (1000 local):  Landing at Avon Park, Florida, the pilot of a Be23 “swerved to avoid trucks on the runway and veered into the grass,” collapsing the nose gear and bending the propeller.  Two aboard were not hurt; damage is “minor” and weather “VFR”.  N23978 (M-1907) is a 1976 C23 registered (since an unlisted date) to a corporation in Albany, Georgia.


(“Departed runway while avoiding objects on runway”—While in the pattern, watch for obstacles and vehicles/aircraft on the runway or that may pull out onto the runway and go around if there’s a threat of a runway incursion and on-runway collision)



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


**2/4 F35 fuel starvation at McKinney, Texas.  For more on this system configuration see my article in the current [April 2007] issue of ABS Magazine.”


**3/11 C23 runway overrun cited above.**


**3/19 fatal Sierra crash in Germany, cited above.”


**3/19 B55 wing explosion on start-up, cited above.**



4/12/2007 Report




4/6 2040Z (1440 local):  En route from Augusta, Georgia to Memphis, Tennessee, a Be50 “reported a fuel problem” and subsequently landed gear up at Decatur, Alabama.  The pilot and four passengers report no injury despite “substantial” damage to the Twin Bonanza.  Weather in the area was “few clouds” at 6500, 7500 scattered, 9000 overcast, with visibility at 10 miles and surface winds running at 15 gusting to 19 knots.  N107WB (DH-332) is a D50E, year not reported, registered since 1993 to a corporation based in Memphis.


(“Fuel exhaustion”; “Substantial damage”—a reader who was on frequency at the time reports ATC said the Twin Bonanza had run out of fuel.  A flight log shows the aircraft was on radar for slightly over two hours with a planned stop at Decatur [Huntsville], Alabama, although that might have been as a result of a diversion en route from the originally planned four-hour flight to Memphis.  The ground track of the flight seems to indicate a direct heading to Memphis with a turn back toward Decatur just before impact, perhaps after fuel became critical  The Twin Bonanza was cruising at 4000 feet and making 160 knots ground speed after having tried higher altitudes with even lower ground speeds that may have affected the estimated time en route, and therefore fuel requirements.  Nothing beats a visual check of fuel load before flight, and accurate tracking of fuel state en route with a totalizer and/or known fuel burn rate and time.) 


4/7 1845Z (1345 local):  While taxiing, a Be55 hit a runway sign at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The lone pilot was not hurt; damage is “minor” and weather was “clear and 10” with a 10-knot wind.  N208GS (TE-411) is a 1967 C55 registered since 1977 to a corporation in Baltimore, Maryland.


(“Taxied into obstruction/pedestrian/other aircraft”—although I’ve not yet reviewed the historical data, I think the rate of taxi mishaps has gone up since programmable LORAN and GPS entered the lightplane cockpit.  Program avionics, then taxi; or taxi, stop in the run-up area, and program avionics.)


4/8 1834Z (1134 local):  Attempting to take off from a field near Laramie, Wyoming, a Be35 crashed for unknown reasons.  The solo pilot wasn’t hurt; damage and weather conditions were not reported. N3329C (D-4322) is/was a 1955 F35 recently (January 2007) registered to an individual in Solana Beach, California.


(“Takeoff/unknown”; “Recent registration”—from the phrasing of this report it sounds as if the Bonanza may have been departing from something other than a prepared runway surface).


4/9 1730Z (0930 local):  “While taxiing,” a Be55 “went of the pavement and [its] nose gear collapsed,” following landing at Reno-Stead Airport, Reno, Nevada.  The solo pilot, who had just flown from Santa Barbara, California, was not hurt; aircraft damage is “minor”.  Weather conditions are “not reported.”  N29DD (TC-1227) is a 1969 B55 recently (July 2006) registered to an individual in Incline Village, Nevada.


(“Taxied into obstruction/pedestrian/other aircraft”; “Recent registration”—even “minor” damage involving a gear collapse can cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix, especially with two prop strikes and two engine teardowns, and in many cases comes to a significant enough percentage of the aircraft’s insured value that the airplane is totaled and the insurance company takes possession of he salvage.  Here’s another caution to keep your head out of the cockpit during taxi, and to avoid underinsuring your airplane to the point it will be totaled and the insurance company takes possession of your valuable avionics and remaining salvage.)


4/9 1828Z (1228 local):  A Be35’s engine lost power “shortly after departure” from Topeka, Kansas, and the pilot “made an off airport landing.”  The pilot suffered “minor” injuries and a passenger was not hurt; aircraft damage is “minor”.  Weather: 4600 broken, 5500 overcast, visibility 10 miles with an 11-knot wind.  N460B (D-1477) is a 1948 Model 35 recently (March 2007) registered to a co-ownership in Kansas City, Missouri.


(“Engine failure on takeoff”; “Recent registration”—a local news report confirms the minor nature of injuries but little other information.)



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.**



4/19/2007 Report




4/15 1900Z (1300 local):  Arriving at Sedona, Arizona from Tucson, Arizona, a Be33 was “on short final” when it “crashed into the hillside and caught fire.”  Three aboard the Debonair died; the airplane was “destroyed”.  Weather at nearby Flagstaff, Arizona (about 21 miles distant) was “few clouds” at 7500 feet, 9000 broken, visibility 10 miles, with winds at 25 knots gusting to 36 knots and additional “gusts to 45 knots”.  N9556Y (CD-561) was a 1962 B33 registered since 1997 to an individual in Tucson.


(“Landed short—probable wind shear”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”—The Sedona airport is located on a high mesa with terrain obstructions on the north end, and is well known for its tricky wind currents in far less wind than the hazardous conditions reportedly present at the time of the crash.  A 225-horsepower B33 [the FAA database does not show an engine upgrade, although that’s not definitive] would be somewhat underpowered at a 4830 MSL airport, perhaps incapable of countering what must have been severe to extreme terrain-induced mechanical turbulence on approach.  It’s generally accepted that, if surface winds exceed about 30 miles at the height of mountains, that turbulence may exceed the capability of light aircraft and a no-go decision is warranted.  It’s hard to imagine the circumstances that might cause a pilot to elect to begin and then continue flight into such conditions, leading to this tragedy.)  


4/18 1714Z (1314 local):  The solo pilot of a Be55 was killed and the Baron “substantially” damaged when it “crashed shortly after departure” from Saranac Lake, New York’s Adirondack Regional Airport.  Weather was 2000 broken, 2400 overcast, with 10 miles visibility and calm surface winds.  N868ST (TC-1178) is a 1968 B55 registered since 2003 to a corporation based in Saranac Lake.  


(“Takeoff/unknown”; “Fatal”; “Substantial damage”—local news reports confirm the Baron was being flown by a WAU reader and enthusiastic supporter of Beech owners and organizations.  According to a non-pilot witness the Baron "’was about 50 feet in the air. It appeared to begin to ascend at a very steep angle."  The witness “said the plane looked like it was going to stall, almost like it was going to do a stunt…then the 1968 Beechcraft Baron 55 started to barrel-roll left, the nose plummeted, and the plane went straight down.”  If that account is accurate, three possible causal factors come to mind:


[1] engine failure on takeoff, followed by a loss of control and VMC roll into the ground;


[2] flight control obstruction or difficulty [such as limited control travel or a mis-set or runaway trim]; or


[3] pilot incapacitation of some sort. 


Lessons suggested [any or none of which may be applicable to this specific crash] include relentless, realistic training in engine failure scenarios including regular simulator training to safely practice engine failures close to the ground [although in the words of one WAU reader, this pilot “did everything right” by training regularly at FlightSafety, BPPP and elsewhere—no one can afford to become complacent; every flight is a delicate balance between risk and pilot/aircraft capabilities as they exist at that specific place and time]; control freedom of movement checks just before takeoff; thorough autopilot and electric trim systems checks and final setting before flight as per the autopilot/trim supplement to the Pilots Operating Handbook and other manufacturer recommendations; and stringent, honest medical self-certification before every flight.  There is a current move in the U.S. to relax the medical certification requirements for most classes of medical certificate, and significantly extend the interval between required medical exams.  Proponents say there incidence of medically-instigated accidents is very low.  We should pause to think, however, that the rate of aeromedical accidents may be very low precisely because of the current medical requirements.  Supporting this, a March 27, 2007 report by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee reveals that during a 10-year study period the research team found "toxicology evidence" of serious medical conditions in nearly 10 percent of all pilots involved in fatal accidents during a 10-year period, though less than 10 percent of these medical conditions were disclosed to the FAA. 


Regardless of the cause of this particular crash, the pilot involved will be missed in the Beech community).



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


**3/29 B55 in-flight wing fire recovering near Woolsey, Georgia.  Add “substantial” damage.”**


**4/9 Beech 35 engine failure on takeoff at Topeka, Kansas.  Add “substantial” damage.**


**4/15 triple-fatality B33 turbulence encounter on landing at Sedona, Arizona, cited above.**



4/26/2007 Report




A reader reports: 4/23 (time not reported):  A Be35 “almost made it” to the airport at Hermiston, Oregon, but landed short of the runway.  The pilot reportedly stated the “engine quit on final” approach and “didn’t fire up” after the pilot switched tanks.  The pilot, who was not hurt, then landed gear-up in a field.  Damage included “major airframe damage from the [boarding] step ripping off”, which also caused the Bonanza to “spin around”.  Weather conditions were not reported.  N9709Y (D-7119) is a 1962 P35 registered since 1978 to a corporation in Hermiston.


(“Fuel starvation”—as stated before [and as the reader noted in the email he sent me], fuel should be switched to a tank with enough fuel for descent, go-around and climbout as necessary before entering the traffic pattern, to provide more altitude for recovery if the engine does not restart.  In fact, a preliminary count of engine failure mishaps in Beech airplanes shows that the most single commonality among fuel starvation accidents is that the pilot runs a fuel tank dry and the engine will not restart when a tank containing fuel is selected.  It’s best to switch tanks well before the tank in use will run dry, and to make the final tank selection at top of descent, before getting close to the ground.) 





4/20 1610Z (1210 local):  A Be36 landed gear up at Canton. Georgia.  The solo pilot was not hurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather conditions were “not reported”.  N233CK (E-1014) is a 1977 A36 registered since 2005 to an Alpharetta, Georgia-based corporation.


(“Gear up landing”)


4/22 2000Z (1600 local):  Three adult males and two 13-year-old twin brothers died, and the Be58 in which they flew was “destroyed”, when the Baron broke up in flight 10 miles from Columbus, Georgia.  Weather conditions were “VFR”.  N5647C (TH-1574) was a 1989 Model 58 registered since 2004 to a Wilmington, Delaware-based corporation.


(“In-flight break-up: low-altitude maneuvering”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”—local news reports the flight originated at Orange Beach, Alabama, en route to Griffin, Georgia [about 40 miles from the accident site].  The report quotes a witness as seeing “parts coming off the plane” prior to impact, and that the wreckage was scattered over a half-mile area.  One WAU reader reports the Baron was being flown in aggressive, high-speed, low-altitude maneuvers over the home of a friend of the airplane occupants.  Reportedly portions of the ex-airline trainer’s tail surfaces separated first and the airplane then crashed out of control into a densely wooded area.  Total airframe time was around 9100 hours, according to a knowledgeable WAU reader.  Another news report quotes a witness as saying “It sounded like a trick plane that was doing loops, and the noise kept coming. I saw the plane going down on the other side of those trees, at about a 45-60 degree angle. And as it approached the top of the trees, parts started coming off the plane.”  Wreckage was spread over half a mile, confirming the in-flight break-up.  Thanks to the several WAU readers who provided input to this report.)




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


**3/31 E55 nose gear collapse on landing at Key West, Florida.  The NTSB preliminary report says the collapse came as a result of a failed nose landing gear torque link.  The failure reportedly resulted from a previously existing but undetected crack in the torque link at the point of failure.  Have a true expert in the make and model look at critical systems occasionally to detect problems that might go unnoticed in an annual inspection by less-type-familiar mechanics.**




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


Total reported:  56 reports 


Operation in VMC:  33 reports   (59% of the total)    

Operation in IMC:     4 reports   (7% of the total)    

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  17 reports    

Operation at night:  7 reports   (13% of the total)    


Fatal accidents:  11 reports   (20% of the total)    

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


“Substantial” damage:  12 reports   (21% of the total)    

Aircraft “destroyed”:     11 reports   (20% of the total)    


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):   15 reports   (27% 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   13 reports      

Be35 Bonanza   11 reports 

Be58 Baron    9 reports

Be36 Bonanza   6 reports

Be24 Sierra  4 reports   

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza   4 reports 

Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  3 reports

Be95 Travel Air   2 reports    

Be18 Twin Beech  1 report

Be50 Twin Bonanza  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 (22 reports; 39% of the total)) 


Gear collapse (landing)

10 reports (two Be24s; Be33; Be36; four Be55s; Be65; Be95)


Gear up landing

9 reports (two Be33s; two Be35s; two Be36s; two Be55s; 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  (9 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)


Departed runway while avoiding objects on runway

1 report (Be23)


Landed long/failed to go around

1 report (Be23)


Landed short—probable wind shear

1 report (Be33)



MISCELLANEOUS CAUSES  (8 reports; 14% of the total) 


Taxied into obstruction/pedestrian/other aircraft

2 reports (both Be55)


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)


In-flight electrical fire

1 report (Be58)


Fire/explosion on engine start

1 report (Be55)


In-flight break-up: low-altitude maneuvering

1 report (Be58)



ENGINE FAILURE   (7 reports; 13% of the total)) 


Fuel starvation

3 reports (all Be35s)


Engine failure on takeoff

2 reports (Be35; Be55)


Fuel exhaustion

1 report (Be50)


Engine failure in flight

1 report (Be36)


...for more on fuel management-related mishaps see . 



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (7 reports; 13% of the total)  



3 reports (Be36; Be55; Be58)



2 reports (Be35; Be55)


Cruise/Unknown (mountainous terrain)

1 report (Be23)



1 report (Be24)



LOSS OF CONTROL IN FLIGHT   (2 reports; 4% 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)




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