Mastery Flight Training, Inc. 

Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


April 2008 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!


©2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved



4/3/2008 Report




3/28 2315Z (1619 local):  A Be33 “landed in the grass” at San Diego, California, incurring “substantial” damage.  The solo pilot was not hurt.  Skies were clear; visibility was nine miles and winds were variable at four knots.  N3133W (CE-465) is a 1973 F33A registered since 2002 to an individual in Coronado, California.


(I’m going to go out on a limb and say “Gear up landing—known mechanical system failure”; “Substantial damage”—I was unable to find anything online about this incident, but assuming the pilot intended to land in the infield chances are extremely good the decision was made because of an inability to extend the landing gear.  Can any reader confirm or refute the circumstances of this incident?  Most of us were taught that, if you attempt to extend the gear and it does not go down completely, you should cycle the gear…move the switch to the UP position, bring the gear back up, and try to extend it again.  I’ve heard many reports, however, when something was about to break in the gear system [usually a pushrod or rod end], and the action of retracting the gear during the “cycle” caused that component to jam or break.  Instead of cycling the gear, to put less stress on possibly bent or cracked gear components it’s wiser to attempt to extend the gear manually from the point where it failed, to see if it will go down this one last time before jamming or breaking.  Treat any interrupted gear extension, even if resetting a breaker or some other action caused it to complete its extension normally, as grounds for putting the airplane on jacks and having a mechanic give it a thorough inspection and operational check.  Remember, as many as half of all reported RG airplane mishaps involve the landing gear system.) 


3/28 2319Z (1819 local):  A Be33 landed gear up at San Antonio, Texas.  The solo pilot was not hurt.  Damage is “unknown”.  Weather at KSAT: “few” clouds at 5000, 20,000 broken, visibility 10 with a 13-knot surface wind.  N9070S (CE-793) is a 1978 F33A registered since 2006 to an individual in Austin, Texas.


(“Gear up landing”—A FLYING LESSONS reader was on frequency at the time and reports inbound traffic was such that controllers were requesting pilots “maintain 150 knots to the marker.”  ATC requests for nonstandard arrivals can divert the pilot’s attention and make him/her miss vital pre-landing actions and checks.  Later Bonanzas like the F33A in this account have a high gear extension speed that permits a pretty easy technique for holding speed until intercepting the glideslope.  Here’s an article describing a predictable technique for flying 150 knots to the marker in most Beech piston airplanes.  I’ve also posted a printable diagram of the technique for your use.  Modify it as necessary for other airplanes and those with lower gear and flap extension speeds.  With a practiced technique for your airplane, complying with a request for a high-speed approach becomes just another “normal” procedure, with less distraction and permitting attention to landing gear and other pre-landing checks.)


3/29 1302Z (0602 local):  On a predawn departure from Prescott, Arizona, a Be33 “lost engine power and force-landed in a field.”  The solo pilot reports no injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was clear, visibility 10, with a seven-knot surface wind.  N4833J (CE-118) is a 1966 C33A registered since 2004 to a Prescott-based corporation.


(“Engine failure on takeoff”; “Substantial damage”; “Night”)


3/29 1830Z (1330 local):  While on the landing roll at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a Be35’s gear collapsed.  The solo pilot reports no injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather: “clear and 10” with winds at 15 gusting to 20 knots.  N617ES (D-4567) is a 1956 G35 registered since 2001 to an individual in Cedar Rapids.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Substantial damage”; “Wind”—there is a correlation between strong and gusty surface winds and landing gear-related mishaps [LGRMs].  Challenging wind conditions may cause a pilot to land hard or fast, overstressing the gear, or with a slide-load that exceeds design capabilities.  Often it’s not a single high-wind event that leads to failure, but the cumulative fatigue effects of many wind-affected landings over time.  Be especially careful inspecting the landing gear system at annual and before each flight as the airplane logs more and more high-wind landings.)



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


**3/14 "Substantial damage" C23 loss of control while landing in a 25-knot nearly direct crosswind at Marble Canyon, Arizona.**



4/17/2008 Report




A reader on the scene reports the 3/28 F33A gear-up landing at San Antonio, Texas (reported in the 4/3/2008 Weekly Accident Update) was actually an inadvertent gear retraction caused when the pilot accidentally moved the gear position switch instead of the flap control when “cleaning up” after landing.  Again we learn to avoid all cockpit reconfiguring chores until the airplane is clear of the runway and preferably brought briefly to a complete stop on the taxiway.  This gives the pilot time to visually identify each cockpit control before each configuration change.  Why didn’t the airplane’s squat switches prevent gear retraction?  Here’s a possible explanation.  Change “Gear up landing” to “Gear collapse—pilot activation of gear on ground”. Thanks, reader. 





4/2 0235Z (1935 local 4/1/2008): Two aboard a Be55 died during an attempted go-around at Benson, Arizona.  The airplane was “destroyed”.  According to witnesses the Baron had attempted the landing twice and was on its second go-around after approaching “high and fast” in gusty winds. The aircraft was still at “10 feet agl” at the midpoint of the 4000-foot runway on the second landing attempt when the witness “heard what he described as a hard touchdown followed by increasing engine sounds. He looked over the hangar, and saw a green light arc to the left. He then heard a thud and the engine sounds stop.”  Weather: “clear and 10” with surface winds from 230˚ at 13 gusting to 18 knots.  N20480 (TC-1862) was a 1975 B55 registered since 2006 to a co-ownership in Thatcher, Arizona.


“Loss of control--attempted go-around in strong/gusty winds”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”; “Wind”— Wreckage was found leaking fuel but initial reports may indicate the left engine may not have been developing power.  The FAA preliminary report stated one propeller had struck the pavement before the pilot attempted to go around, but the comment does not appear in the NTSB preliminary report.  Should a propeller strike the runway it would take every bit of discipline a pilot has to accept the need to let the airplane settle onto the ground instead of trying to go around, but the chances of injury or death would be greatly diminished.  In all cases, attitude and airspeed control are vital in a go-around under any circumstances, but especially in strong or gusty winds to prevent a wind shear-related stall.)


4/2 2228Z (1728 local):  A Be58’s gear collapsed on landing at Jackson, Mississippi.  The solo pilot was not hurt and airplane damage is “minor”.  Weather was 3300 broken, visibility six in haze, with a nine-knot surface wind.  N6650D (TH-1375) is a 1983 Baron 58 registered since 1997 to a Columbus, Ohio-based air cargo fleet operator.


(“Gear collapse on landing”—remember that, since it takes out two propellers, requires tear-down of two engines, and may necessitate significant repairs of aircraft structure and antennae, even a “minor” damage landing gear-related mishap [LGRM] in a twin-engine airplane is a $60,000 to $80,000 or greater repair…adding to the cost and availability of insurance, and potentially causing the airplane to be ‘totaled’ and taken out of service.  The answer is preventive landing gear maintenance using manufacturer’s recommendations and those of experts on the aircraft type, thorough preflight inspection and disciplined sequencing of pilot actions after landing.)


4/5 2134Z (1634 local):  “On landing,” a Be35 “struck a runway light and the nose gear collapsed” at Nashville, Tennessee.  The lone pilot was not hurt; damage is “unknown” and weather conditions “not reported”.  C-FINV (D-6470) is a 1960 M35 registered since 2001 to an individual in Calgary, Alberta.


(“Impact with obstacle on landing”)


4/6 1900Z (1500 local):  A Be23 “landed hard and skidded off the runway into the grass,” at Calhoun, Georgia.  Two aboard the “pleasure” flight reported no injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was 1500 overcast, visibility 10 miles with calm surface winds.  N6701Y (M-2122) is a 1979 C23 registered since 2006 to an individual in Marietta, Georgia.


(“Hard landing”; “Substantial damage”—‘hard’ landings usually result from improper speed control, slowing the airplane too much with a resulting high sink rate [common in fairly high wing-loaded airplanes like the Aero Club-series Beechcraft] or flaring too high above the runway and ‘dropping it in’.  Concentration on airspeed control in all phases of flight will improve accuracy and efficiency in your flying…not to mention helping you avoid landing and takeoff accidents.)


4/9 1822Z (1322 local):  The pilot of a Be36 “reported engine failure and force-landed on a road 11 miles from El Dorado, Kansas.  The pilot, alone in the aircraft, was not hurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather conditions were “not reported.”  N984W (E-3849) is a 2008 G36 still registered to the aircraft manufacturer.


(“Engine failure in flight”; “Substantial damage”)


4/10 2055Z (1555 local):  A Be95’s nose gear collapsed on landing at San Antonio, Texas.  Two aboard the Travel Air were not hurt; aircraft damage is “unknown”.  Weather was 25,000 scattered, visibility 10 with surface winds at eight knots.  N9628R (TD-304) is a 1959 B95 recently (January 2008) registered to a corporation in San Antonio.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Recent registration”—this may have been an instructional mishap; I encourage anyone who may have information on the cause of this mishap to let us all learn from this experience).


4/10 2215Z (1715 local):  The lone pilot of a Be36 escaped unhurt when, “after departure,” the Bonanza’s “engine failed” and the pilot force-landed in a lake at Guntersville, Alabama.  The airplane, which reportedly sank in the lake, has “substantial” damage; weather was “VFR”.  N6559N (E-2052) is/was a 1982 A36 registered since 2005 to a Dallas, Texas-based corporation.


(“Engine failure in flight”; “Substantial damage”)


4/15 1145Z (0645 local):  A Be24 was “found abandoned off the end of the runway in a pond,” at Blythe, Georgia.  All other circumstances of the mishap are unknown, including “unknown” aircraft damage and unreported weather conditions.  N85PC (MC-548) is/was a 1977 C24R registered since 2006 to an individual in Crandall, Georgia.


(“Crash/Unknown”—does any reader have details?) 



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


**3/21 double-fatality, dual instruction Duchess single-engine stall at Rome, Georgia. “The airplane was operated by a flight school and based at the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport (PDK), Chamblee, Georgia. The private pilot was receiving instruction toward a multiengine airplane rating. The training syllabus for the flight included introduction to engine failures on takeoff and initial climb, as well as approaches and landings with an inoperative engine.  A witness at RMG observed the airplane climbing after takeoff from runway 19, a 6,000-foot-long, 150-foot-wide, asphalt runway. He stated the airplane seemed to be 'struggling' and was climbing at a very slow rate of speed. The airplane reached an altitude of 600 to 800 feet, and began a left turn, consistent with a return to the airport. The airplane then began a nose first descent toward the trees, southeast of the airport.” 


As previously discussed in FLYING LESSONS and the Weekly Accident Update, without strict discipline to maintain airspeed throughout all maneuvers, attempting to turn back to the airport too soon can quickly degenerate into a descent into the ground, or a reduction in airspeed that leads to a stall or a VMC  loss of control.  In most cases, engine failure on takeoff should be met with a climb straight ahead until reaching pattern altitude, where the airplane may be leveled and accelerate to a speed where it can maintain altitude in a half-standard-rate turn back to the departure airport.  In many cases it may be prudent to continue straight ahead to a more suitable airport for single-engine recovery.  For much more on decision-making after dealing with an engine failure, see my article “Identify, Verify, Feather—Now What?”, published in the March 2007 issue of Twin and Turbine magazine.**


**3/29 “substantial damage” off-airport landing at Prescott, Arizona.  “The pilot was departing on an early morning flight. He performed his preflight and pretakeoff checklists. During the takeoff roll, he realized that he had forgotten to switch the fuel tank from the left tank (containing less than 1 gallon of fuel) to the right tank (containing about 35 gallons of fuel). The pilot switched the fuel tank selector from the left tank to the right tank during the takeoff roll, and during the initial climb, the engine sputtered and lost power. The pilot force-landed the airplane off the end of the runway. During the forced landing, the airplane collided with a fence post and incurred substantial damage to the left wing. Following the accident, the Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the fuel transfer system on the airplane and successfully test ran the engine. No mechanical anomalies were identified.” 


First, the C33A POH contains a legally binding Limitation that no less than 13 gallons of fuel must be present in each main fuel tank for takeoff, a fact that may have pilot certificate and/or insurance implications for the pilot and/or owner(s) of this airplane. 


Second, switching fuel tanks any time near (let alone during) the takeoff roll invites fuel starvation and an engine failure.  I recommend starting and taxiing to the run-up area on one tank, then switching tanks for run-up and takeoff.  Regardless, always take off on the tank used for engine run-up, with no intervening tank selection changes.  This assures you have an unbroken connection between tanks and engine and, assuming you adhere to the minimum takeoff fuel limitation, will prevent hazardous and needless crashes like this event.**


*4/2 double-fatality B55 loss of control during a go-around at Benson, AZ, cited above.**



4/24/2008 Report





Actually, an update on an update…regarding the 3/28 F33A gear-up landing at San Antonio, Texas (originally reported in the 4/3/2008 Weekly Accident Update):  A reader and mechanic who helped recover the mishap airplane reports that, despite another reader's report last week, this was in fact a gear-up landing and not an inadvertent gear retraction during the landing roll.  The mechanic states the pilot admits he was distracted on arrival and simply forgot to extend the landing gear.  Change “Gear collapse—pilot activation of gear on ground” back to “Gear up landing”. Thanks, reader. 





On or before 4/16/2008 (time not reported):  A reader called to tell me he learned from the owner of a Be36, that the owner was arriving at an airport in Wisconsin and collected “a lot of ice” while flying an instrument approach.  After landing the pilot discovered the weight of the ice had severely bent back one nose gear door, resulting in “minor” damage and requiring replacement of the nose gear door.  There were no injuries.  The airplane registration and serial number were not reported.


(“Gear door damage—ice accumulation”; “IMC”—thanks, reader.)


4/18 (time not reported):  A reader reports a Be36 landed gear up at Watsonville, California.  “Details…were sketchy,” wrote the reader.  “Per the folks at the FBO (who helped the pilot and moved the plane), the pilot was pre-occupied in an unusually busy Friday afternoon KWVI pattern.  [He] landed gear up, [incurring] substantial damage [but the] pilot [is] OK.  [The] runway [was] closed by airport manager [and the] fire department [was] called.  [The] plane [was] jacked up by FBO folks, [the] gear lowered and [the Bonanza] towed to hangar. Evidently many sympathetic people (mostly pilots) helped the Bonanza pilot (reportedly an older gentlemen, who admitted he “messed-up”) get the plane to the hangar.”  The reader continued:  “I’ve noted in your writings before many LGRMs go unreported.  I always wondered how such a major event could go without getting more attention.  After hearing this I can understand.  I would have never known if one of the FBO folks, who attended some of my safety seminars (I’m one of the local FAAST reps) hadn’t pulled me aside to share the story.”  The airplane, registration and serial number unreported, is a 1980 A36TC. 


(“Gear up landing”; “Substantial damage”—Busy traffic patterns create distractions that often correlate with landing gear-related mishaps.  If the CTAF frequency is busy, use that as a cue to be especially careful to extend, verify and double-check landing gear before touchdown.  Thanks, reader, for your report.)





4/18 2004Z (1604 local):  A Be55’s landing gear collapsed on arrival at Lansing, Michigan.  Two aboard the Baron avoided injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was “VFR”.  N8991M (TC-937) is a 1965 B55, sale “recently reported” to an individual in Tomahawk, Wisconsin.


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



4/20 2100Z (1600 local):  “On landing” at De Queen, Arkansas, a Be23’s “left main wheel hit grass.”  The “pilot tried to go around and stalled the aircraft.”  Injury to the two aboard and the extent of airplane damage is “unknown”.  Weather was “clear and 10” with surface winds from 120˚ gusting to 14 knots.  N2049L (M-1853) is/was a 1976 C23 recently (December 2007) registered to a co-ownership based in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.


(“Stall--attempted go-around in strong/gusty winds”; “Recent registration”-- The pilot most likely was landing on Runway 8, a 5000-foot, 75-ft wide paved runway.  This was the most closely aligned with the gusty wind but still 40 degrees off the wind direction and presenting a roughly 10 knot crosswind from the right in the strongest reported gusts.   That the Musketeer’s left main hit the grass suggests the aircraft was drifting to the left on the force of the right crosswind.


The trouble resulted during the go-around that followed the runway excursion.  Applying power causes the nose of most light airplanes to pitch upward.  Any flap extension generally requires the pilot to trim the nose to a higher angle; a typically nose-heavy plane like the Aero Club-series Beechcraft can land normally with the trim set well “up” from the safe takeoff range.  The trim position and nose-up tendency with power application together mean in many airplanes it takes significant forward control pressure to avoid pitching excessively nose-high with power application in a go-around.  Combine the likelihood of a high angle of attack, the surprise and distraction of having run off the side of the runway, and the gusty winds, and the airplane was primed for a departure stall—which is apparently exactly what happened.


We practice power-off stalls a lot, but in many airplanes the FAA Practical Test Standards means of practicing a power-on stall results in an unrealistic nose-high attitude before the onset of stall.  So many times the power-on stall is not realistically presented in training, if it’s presented at all.  Maybe this is why most Beechcraft stall mishaps we’ve seen in almost nine years of Weekly Accident Updates have been stalls not with the power off on landing, but on takeoff, in a go-around or on a missed approach with the power on.  We stall in the power-on, high angle of attack modes because we’ve not regularly practiced what these stalls look like, what airplane weight does to stall onset, or how to avoid power-on stalls.  For more see my 2003 article Trimmed Stalls.)


4/20 2254Z (1654 local):  During a “training” flight, a Be23’s “gear collapsed” on landing at Santa Fe, New Mexico.  The two aboard avoided injury and damage is “minor”.  Weather: “clear and 10” with a four-knot wind.  N23845 (M-1997) is a 1977 C23 registered since early April, 2007 to a Santa Fe-based corporation.


(“Hard landing”)


4/22 2151Z (1251 local):   A Be18 landed gear up at Honolulu, Hawaii.  The two aboard report no injury and damage was “minor”.  Weather at PHNL was “few clouds” at 4400, 6000 broken, visibility 10 with winds at 16 gusting to 19 knots.  N231H (BA-281) is a 1957 E18S registered since 1998 to a Honolulu-based corporation.


(“Gear up landing”; “Wind”—there’s a common correlation between strong or gusty surface winds and gear-up landings, likely related to distractions presented during a turbulent approach.)



NEW 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.**



SUMMARY: Reported Hawker Beechcraft piston mishaps, year-to-date 2008:


Total reported:  58 reports 


Operation in VMC: 40 reports   (69%)  

Operation in IMC:    2 reports   (3%)  

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  16 reports

Operation at night:  9 reports  (16%) 

Surface wind > 15 knots:  7 reports  (12%)             


Fatal accidents: 7 reports   (12%)  

“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities): 1 report   (2%)


“Substantial” damage: 19 reports   (33%)  

Aircraft “destroyed”:   6 reports   (10%)   


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):  10 reports   (17%)  


(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:


Be36 Bonanza  10 reports  

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza  8 reports  

Be76 Duchess  7 reports  

Be35 Bonanza  6 reports  

Be58 Baron  6 reports   

Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  5 reports 

Be55 Baron  4 reports  

Be24 Sierra   3 reports 

Be50 Twin Bonanza  2 reports 

Be95 Travel Air   2 reports  

Be18 Twin Beech  1 report 

Be45 (T-34) Mentor  1 report   

Be60 Duke  1 report 

Be65 Queen Air  1 report 

Be77 Skipper  1 report  




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


LANDING GEAR-RELATED MISHAPS (27 reports; 47% of the total) 


Gear up landing

10 reports (Be18; Be24; three Be33s; Be35; Be36; Be50; Be58; Be76)


Gear collapse (landing)

8 reports (Be35; Be36; Be50; Be55; Be58; Be60; two Be95s)


Gear up landing—known mechanical system failure

4 reports (Be33; Be35; Be45; Be76)


Failure of nose gear to extend due to mechanical failure

2 reports (Be65, Be76)


Gear collapse—pilot activation of gear on ground

1 report (Be33)


Gear collapse on landing—known mechanical system failure

1 report (Be55)


Gear collapse on landing: electrical failure/incomplete manual extension

1 report (Be45)


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



IMPACT ON LANDING  (13 reports; 22% of the total) 


Hard landing

3 reports (two Be23s; Be35)


Loss of directional control on landing

2 reports (Be23; Be77)


Loss of control on landing—strong, gusty winds

2 reports (Be23; Be58)


Wing strike on landing

1 report (Be58)


Hard landing—strong, gusty wind

1 report (Be36)


Impact with animal while landing

1 report (Be76)


Landed long

1 report (Be33)


Impact with obstacle on landing

1 report (Be35)


Loss of control--attempted go-around in strong/gusty winds

1 report (Be55)



ENGINE FAILURE   (8 reports; 14% of the total) 


Engine failure in flight

5 reports (Be35; four Be36s)


Partial power loss: fuel line leak

1 report (Be36)


Propeller overspeed

1 report (Be36)


Engine failure on takeoff

1 report (Be33)



MISCELLANEOUS CAUSES  (4 reports; 7% of the total) 


Pilot incapacitation—heart attack

1 report (Be58)


Bird strike on landing

1 report (Be33)


Taxied into obstruction

1 report (Be76)


Gear door damage—ice accumulation

1 report (Be36)



LOSS OF CONTROL IN FLIGHT   (3 reports; 5% of the total) 


Loss of control—single engine visual approach

3 reports (Be55; Be58)



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (2 reports; 3% of the total)  



1 report (Be36)



1 report (Be24)





Loss of directional control during takeoff

1 report (Be76)





In-flight break-up—probable pilot incapacitation

1 report (Be35)



STALL/SPIN   (1 report)


Stall--attempted go-around in strong/gusty winds

1 report (Be23)



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, M.S. Aviation Safety, Master CFI

2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year

Mastery Flight Training, Inc.

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