Mastery Flight Training, Inc. 

Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


May 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



5/1/2008 Report



Regarding the 4/9 G36 engine failure and off-airport landing near El Dorado, KS.  Although the official cause of this mishap has yet to be released, Hawker Beechcraft less than two weeks later issued Safety Communiqué (SC) 249 containing this guidance: 


“Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) is issuing this Safety Communiqué to advise owners/operators of Model G58 Baron and Model G36 Bonanza airplanes that have not completed their first annual or 100-Hour Inspection of a potential engine fuel leak issue. HBC has received a report of a Model G36 airplane that reported loss of engine power in flight. Subsequent investigation revealed that the fuel pressure was lost due to a leak from the Fuel Manifold Valve Assembly installed on a Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) IO-550-B engine. HBC recommends that owners/operators of Model G58 Baron and Model G36 Bonanza airplanes visually inspect the Fuel Manifold Valve Assembly in accordance with the applicable information in the appropriate manuals and TCM guidelines" as listed in the Communiqué.” 

SC 293 continues:  "The inspection should be completed prior to the next flight. Pay particular attention to the P/N 629518-1 Plug installed in the Fuel Manifold Valve Assembly on top of the engine."


Change “Engine failure in flight” to “Engine failure—fuel system malfunction”.  Presumably this same inspection is recommended for any airplane with a newly installed fuel-injected engine or fuel flow divider.  For more details and pictures see SC 249.


Regarding the 4/16 airframe ice encounter in Wisconsin that resulted in damage to a Bonanza’s nose gear door, I mis-identified the aircraft as an A36 when in fact it was an F33A.  The SUMMARY (below) has been updated.





4/26/1950Z (1450 local):  “While taxiing,” a Be95’s “wingtip struck a parked vehicle” at Plainfield, Indiana.  The solo pilot was not injured; damage is “minor” and weather conditions were “not reported”.  N8251D (TD-16) is a 1957 Travel Air, “registration pending” since February 2008 to an individual in Peoria, Illinois.


(“Taxied into obstruction”; “Recent registration”— AVEMCO Insurance president Jim Lauerman, a CFI and FLYING LESSONS reader, reports that taxi mishaps are far more numerous and costly than most might think.  Although in his company 11% of all claims occur while the airplane is taxiing, almost none result in enough damage or injury to be reportable to NTSB, and there is no regulation requiring reporting of Part 91 mishaps to FAA so we rarely hear about them.  Yet the average cost of a taxi mishap is $20,000—likely higher, says Lauerman, in more complex, higher-value airplanes with bigger engines and more expensive propellers.  What are the leading causes of taxi mishaps?  Distraction from trying to accomplish checklist steps and verification while on the move, and more and more frequently programming a GPS or other avionics while taxiing.  As Lauerman puts it, “the most common general reason appears to be that people are in too much of a hurry to be careful.”   


Mastery Flight Training’s Single-Pilot Procedures During Taxi Operations briefing sheets, from the Tools for Flying Safely page of and customized for taxi at tower-controlled and taxi at non-towered airports, include a recommendation to “Program GPS, tune radios and run checklists only when at a complete stop”.  Avoid costly taxi accidents and the possibility of a deadly runway incursion by keeping all eyes outside during taxi.)


4/28 2040Z (1540 local):  During a “training” flight a Be76’s gear collapsed on landing at Cleburne, Texas.  The pilot and instructor were unhurt; damage is “minor” and weather was “VFR”.  N928TA (ME-308) is a 1980 Duchess recently (October 2007) registered to a Dover, Delaware corporation.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Dual instruction”; "Recent registration"—There’s a strong correlation between dual flight instruction and gear collapse during the landing or takeoff roll.  Possible scenarios include:


  • Touch-and-go landings, a procedure with a high correlation to landing gear-related mishaps (LGRMs) in its own right.  In most complex airplanes there’s a lot to be reconfigured in a very short time in a touch-and-go, so much in fact that the record shows it’s easy for even the best among us to slip up just long enough to inadvertently move the landing gear handle.  For more see Rethinking the Touch and Go on AVweb.

  • Instructor-induced stupidity”, where an otherwise competent pilot succumbs to a false sense that “the instructor will take care of me” and becomes lax or complacent during instruction. 

  • CFI complacency from multiple trips around the pattern and/or letting his/her guard down with a high-time or well-known student in the left seat.

  • In multiengine airplanes, distraction and irregular airplane movements brought on by simulating an engine failure in the runway environment, with the chance of a hard landing, side-loads on the landing gear and/or inadvertent retraction of the landing gear by a harried pilot.

  • Purely mechanical failure from undetected gear component stress or deferred inspections and replacements.  By the nature of their mission training airplanes often have accelerated fatigue compared to components in non-training airplanes with similar times in service.  Take recommended inspection and replacement/overhaul intervals very seriously where the landing gear is concerned, especially in training airplanes.


Avoid the greatest chances of gear collapse during instructional flight by maintaining extreme vigilance in the runway environment; watching with skepticism the actions of your student or your instructor, while being ready to act to prevent an inadvertent gear retraction; avoiding touch-and-goes to avoid the need for rapid reconfiguration while moving; limiting flight training in the pattern to three or four takeoffs and landings, flight away from the pattern to practice other items in the syllabus, and then a return for no more than two or three more full-stop or stop-and-go landings…all to prevent landing repetition that can lead to complacency by both student and CFI; and using extreme care if presenting engine-out scenarios on or just above the runway.)



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.**



5/8/2008 Report




3/4 (time and location not reported):  The number six cylinder on a Be35's E225-8 engine "disintegrated" in flight.  There were no injuries and the airplane apparently landed without further damage.  N2995B (D-3633) is a 1953 D35 registered since 1994 to an individual in Salina, Kansas.


(“Piston/cylinder failure in flight"— This account results from a Service Difficulty Report [SDR] filed from the Central Region and posted by the FAA.  The pilot apparently did a good job getting it down without further damage.   According to the SDR the piston, no time in service reported, was manufactured by Airmotive Engineering, Inc. [AEC].  The report notes Engine Components, Inc. (ECi) has since bought out AEC but ECi has not ever produced the affected part number.)


4/30 1745Z (1245 local):  A Be24 landed gear up at Dayton, Tennessee.  Despite “substantial” aircraft damage the two aboard were not hurt.  Weather conditions for the “pleasure” flight were not reported.  N9321S (MC-341) is a 1975 B24R registered since 1998 to a corporation in St. Joseph, Michigan.


(“Gear up landing”; “Substantial damage”)


5/1 (time not reported):  While taxiing at Durham, North Carolina, a Be58’s nose gear collapsed.  The solo pilot was not hurt; the extent of damage is “unknown” and weather conditions were “not reported”.  N888BD (TH-2127) is a 2006 G58 registered since 2006 to a Durham-based corporation.


(“Gear collapse during taxi”—given the age of the airplane it’s less likely the gear collapsed from a fatigue-relate disuse, unless that resulted from hard landings or side loads on the nose gear that damaged the structure.  It’s more likely the result of insufficient gear down tension [resistance to retraction] from mis-rigging or a weak landing gear motor or aircraft electrical system. 


It’s also possible the pilot inadvertently moved the gear switch away from the down position; there are reports of the “little plastic wheel” on later-model Beechcraft being screwed in too far on the threads that hold it onto the metal part of the switch.  If the plastic wheel is threaded on too far it may prevent the switch from settling into the “detent” on one side or the other of the mechanical stop it must be pulled over to move the switch up or down.  This in turn makes the switch susceptible to sliding over the detent and, if this coincides with taxiing over a bump or even an expansion joint in the pavement that’s big enough to flex the main gear, the squat switch(es) may close and the gear will retract. 


If you have a Beechcraft with any version of the “little white wheel”-type landing gear switch, check to see that it is not screwed in so tight the switch will not go firmly into the detent on either side of the mechanical stop.)


5/3 2235Z (1835 local):  Three died when, on takeoff, a Be35 “veered and crashed onto [a] taxiway” at Americus, Georgia.  The Bonanza was “destroyed”.  Weather: “clear and 10” with calm winds.  N546B (D-1564) was a 1948 A35 registered since 2006 to an individual in Bessemer, Alabama.


(“Takeoff/Unknown”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”—there’s no indication yet what causes this crash.  Local news reportsthe airplane took off from the runway making it about 50-feet into the air. That's when witnesses say it made a sharp left, crashing down next to the taxiway exploding into a ball of flames.”  A local mechanic notes no one heard the pilot conduct an engine run-up prior to takeoff on this the return portion of a day-long stay, but it’s not yet known whether engine issues were a factor.  The airplane reportedly burned almost completely away, suggesting there was plenty of fuel on board.)


5/4 1945Z (1445 local):  The nose gear of a Be35 collapsed on landing at Huntsville, Arkansas.  The solo pilot avoided injury despite “substantial” airplane damage.  Weather was “clear and 10” with surface winds from 270° at nine gusting to 14 knots.  N866L (D-4141) is a 1955 F35 registered since April 2007 to an individual in Elkins, Arkansas.


(“Gear collapse on landing”—the pilot would most likely have been landing on Huntsville’s runway 30, with a 30-degree difference between runway heading and wind direction as measured.  As wind gusts it also turns toward the area of lower pressure, usually toward the wind’s own left in the northern hemisphere [toward the right for readers in the southern hemisphere].  This would tend to create stronger crosswinds as the wind gusted, and varying headwind and crosswind components as well as changes in wind speed.  Hilly terrain in the area would create further turbulence that may have decreased the pilot’s control over touchdown and made a nose-hard landing more likely—one possible scenario [among many] for the nose gear collapse.)


5/5 0340Z (2040 local 5/4/2008):  A Be33 landed gear up at Scottsdale, Arizona.  The solo pilot was not hurt; airplane damage was “minor”.  Weather: “Sky clear” with winds at eight knots.  N8548M (CD-636) is a 1963 B33 recently (November 2007) registered to a Phoenix, Arizona-based corporation.


(“Gear up landing”; “Recent registration”)



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


** 4/9 G36 engine failure and landing on a road near El Dorado, KS.  Add “substantial damage”.**


** 4/20 C23 stall during an attempted go-around following a runway excursion while landing in a strong crosswind, at De Queen, AR.  Add “substantial damage” from the description in the report.  **



5/15/2008 Report


5/9 2240Z (1840 local):  “While taxiing after landing,” the pilot of a Be35 “retracted [the] gear instead of flaps, and the nose gear and right main gear collapsed,” at New Hudson, Michigan.  No one was hurt; damage is “known” and weather at nearby Pontiac, MI was 6000 scattered, visibility 10 with a 10-knot wind.  N8388D (D-5513) is a 1958 J35 registered since 2005 to an individual in Bingham Farms, Michigan.


(“Gear collapse—pilot activation of gear on ground”—we’ve seen before that we cannot depend on landing gear squat switches to protect us if we accidentally move the landing gear selector on the ground.  Use extreme caution to positively identify all controls before repositioning to prevent this frequently-$40,000+ mistake.)


5/10 2240Z (1540 local):  Two aboard were unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage, when a Be19 “crashed while landing [at] Burns Municipal Airport, Burns, Oregon.”  Weather was “clear and 10” with a variable, four-knot wind.  N9342S (MB-776) is a 1975 B19 registered since 2002 to an individual in Summerville, Oregon.


(“Loss of directional control on landing” [based on witness reports]; “Substantial damage”—despite the benign METAR, local sources report the Beech Sport lost control in a “gust of wind” on landing.)


5/11 1540Z (1040 local):  “On takeoff,” a Be18’s “gear collapsed” at Houston, Texas.  The two aboard report no injury and damage is “minor”.  Weather at KDWH was 7000 broken, visibility 10 with surface winds from 360° at nine gusting to 18 knots.  N6676 (CA-104) is a 3NM Twin Beech, year not reported, registered since 1998 to a Spring, Texas-based corporation.


(“Gear collapse on takeoff”; “Wind”)


5/12 1512Z (1112 local):  Two died and their Be35 was “destroyed” when it “crashed under unknown circumstances” 15 miles southeast of Zanesville, Ohio.  Weather conditions were not reported.  N7947M (D-8256) was a 1966 V35 recently (November 2007) registered to an individual in Cullman, Alabama.


(“Crash/Unknown”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”; “Recent registration”—local television news reports the flight was en route from Huntington, West Virginia, where it had undergone unspecified maintenance to include a battery change, to Rochester, New York when it went down in a heavily wooded area.  Another TV report includes pictures of small, mostly unidentifiable bits of wreckage suspended in thick treetops.)  


5/13 0200Z (2000 local 5/12/2008):  A Be55 “crashed [while] performing [a] touch and go” at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  One of the two aboard has “minor” injuries; airplane damage is “substantial”.  Weather: 5500 scattered, visibility 10 miles with an eight-knot surface wind.  N5885C (TE-868) is a 1972 E55 recently (October 2007) registered to an individual in Coeur d’Alene.


(“Loss of control on takeoff/initial climb”; “Substantial damage”; “Recent registration”—local media reports the Baron “lost power and crashed into two parked vehicles…. One of the two men aboard the plane was sent to a hospital with minor injuries while the other walked away from the crash.”  A fire inspector “says the pilot was practicing touch-and-go landings Monday evening when the plane crashed into a pickup and a Sno-Cat vehicle.”  A picture accompanying the news posting shows the Baron sitting right-side-up in the parking lot.  This suggests directional control was lost before the aircraft was airborne and the aircraft departed he runway into the parking lot, or that the airplane lost power and the pilot maintained wings-level into the ground, as opposed to an engine-related control loss after becoming airborne that would been more likely to have ended with the Baron on its side or inverted.  There does not appear to have been any fire.


The combination of two aboard and a touch-and-go at least suggests this may have been an instructional flight.  That in turn suggests an instructor may have simulated an engine failure during the “go” part of the touch-and-go, or very shortly after lifting off.  Note that the Multiengine Airplane Practical Test Standards prohibit simulating an engine failure on takeoff at any speed above 50% of the “red radial” [VMC] speed to protect against just this sort of instructor-induced loss of control.


There is a period of time after liftoff in a light twin, before gear retraction, when the airplane has enough drag it will very rapidly decelerate to VMC speed or stall extremely quickly after an engine failure.  In that configuration the twin-engine pilot is faced with the same options presented a single-engine pilot with an engine failure after takeoff—get the nose down to maintain flying speed for minimum descent rate and lowest impact speed, and land pretty much straight ahead unless much better options exist within the gliding range of the airplane.  The difference is that, in a twin, the remaining engine is driving the airplane to diverge in all three axes, and it takes prompt and correct pilot input to maintain control.  Avoiding prolonged exposure this most dangerous configuration is the source of “positive rate, gear up” philosophy among almost all multiengine pilots, getting into a low-drag configuration as quickly as possible to provide at least the possibility of flying out of an engine failure.  A great many pilots are now also climbing out at a shallower pitch attitude, allowing airspeed to build as soon as possible in case an engine quits at this most inopportune time.  Airspeed = control, and control [as perhaps seen in the case of this Baron] is far more important to survival than quickly gaining altitude. 


Even in airplanes like the Baron the landing gear won’t retract quickly enough to remove the drag and fly out of the engine failure; except at extremely light weights and low density altitudes “accelerate-go” really doesn’t exist as an option in light piston twins.  I teach this “line-up litany” for recitation when taking the runway for departure:

·        If the gear is down, I’m going down

·        If the gear is up, three degrees up


“Going down” means lowering the nose as both throttles are brought quickly to idle, basically the VMC recovery maneuver we learn when earning the multiengine rating.  “Three degrees up” is the approximate pitch attitude needed for “blue line” airspeed in a Baron with a propeller still windmilling, unless heavily loaded and/or at a high density altitude.  Perhaps a shallow, three-degree attitude is appropriate for initial climb unless obstacles are a hazard, so the airplane is already at the correct attitude for “blue line” in the unlikely event an engine quits just after gear retraction.  Try this a few times when taking off from a long runway to see if it’s a procedure that works for you.)



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


**4/3 triple-fatality A35 crash on takeoff at Americus, Georgia.  The Bonanza was “approximately 100 feet above ground level” when witnesses say "the airplane began to make a left bank. The airplane continued until the wings were almost perpendicular to the ground, lost altitude and crashed adjacent to the parallel taxiway.”  The engine appears to have been running until impact, the right flap is confirmed to have been fully retracted, the forward cabin door was closed (door open in flight is a common contributor to accidents-by-distraction), and there is no mention of control gust locks or other contributors to similar mishaps in the past.  A six-knot wind was from 20 degrees to the left of runway heading.**


5/22/2008 Report


5/15 0218Z (2218Z 5/14/2008):  A Be58 “with an unsafe gear indication did a fly-by for a visual check” at Cincinnati, Ohio.  “The gear appeared down.  The pilot landed and [the] gear collapsed [during the] landing roll.”  The solo pilot was not injured; damage is “minor” and weather conditions were “not reported”.  The Baron was operating under an Orlando, Florida corporation’s air cargo callsign so registration and serial number are unknown.


(“Gear collapse on landing—known incomplete electrical extension”; “Night”—a tower fly-by is effective in determining gear status only if the observer on the ground knows precisely what to look for on your make and model of airplane.  For instance, with retractable-gear Beech piston airplanes the landing gear locks down only after the inner main gear doors fully retract against the underside of the wings.  A binocular-equipped observer may be able to tell if one or both of the main gear inner doors is/are drooping, virtually guaranteeing a gear collapse on touchdown, or if the gear doors are flush with the wing, providing as much assurance as possible from the ground that the gear legs are all locked.  Making this level of determination would be close to impossible at night.  The pilot of this Baron had not have heeded the oft-repeated advice in the Weekly Accident Update to follow any incomplete extension with the manual landing gear extension procedure, to push the gear into its downlocks and avoid the frequently cited scenario seen here.  Or the gear may have been damaged to the point it simply would not go all the way down.) 


5/15 0520Z (2220 local 5/14/2008):  A Be35 landed gear up at Hayward, California.  The solo pilot was unhurt; damage is “minor”.  Weather: “clear and 10” with calm winds.  N6005E (D-5927) is a 1959 K35 registered since 2004 to an individual in Oakland, CA.


(“Gear up landing”; “Night”)


5/15 1506Z (1106 local):  A Be33 landed gear up at Brevard, NC.  The lone pilot was not hurt; damage is “minor” and weather was “VFR”.  N9437S (CD-1105) is a 1965 C33 registered since 2006 to an individual in Etowah, NC.


(“Gear up landing”)


5/17 0457Z (2357 local 5/16/2008):  During a midnight landing at Midland, Texas, the nose gear of a Be65 collapsed.  The solo pilot reports no injury; damage to the Queen Air is “minor” and weather conditions were “not reported”.  N6AQ (LD-214) is a 1964 65-A80 registered since 1986 to an individual in Midland.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Night”)


5/18 1316Z (0616 local):  A Be23 “crashed under unknown circumstances” at Bagdad, Arizona.  The solo pilot has “unknown” injuries; damage was “substantial” and weather conditions “not reported”.  N4026T (M-1132) is a 1968 B23 registered since 1984 to a co-ownership based in Irvine, CA.


(“Crash/Unknown”; “Substantial damage”)


5/19 2114Z (1614 local):  “On final” approach, a Be33 “force landed in a field [three] miles from Sioux City, Iowa.  The pilot and three passengers escaped injury; there was no reported airplane damage.  Weather was “VFR”.  N738Q (CD-291) is a 1961 A33 registered since 2005 to a Sioux City-based corporation.


(“Approach/Unknown”—similar reports in the past are usually fuel-related engine failures where power cannot be restored before the pilot must commit to preparing for impact.  These engine stoppages, in turn, usually result from:


·         Selecting a tank with insufficient fuel for landing; 

·         Selecting a tank not approved for takeoff or landing (e.g., an auxiliary fuel tank);

·         Exceeding maximum slip duration limits with low fuel level, “sloshing” fuel away from intake ports and cutting off fuel flow to the engine(s); or

·         Changing tank selection close to the ground (to land on the “fullest tank”), only to miss the fuel detent or for any other reason interrupt fuel flow to the engine(s).


There is no flight track information available for this airplane that might suggest fuel state at the time of impact.  Regardless of the circumstances, the pilot in this case apparently did a superb job of getting the airplane on the ground without injuries or aircraft damage.  The lack of injury, also, suggests shoulder harnesses were installed and used by at least the front-seat occupants.  We unfortunately have a history of serious or even fatal head and face injuries resulting from minor or even otherwise uneventful impacts when shoulder harnesses are not installed and properly used.  Prevent approach-and-landing fuel starvation events by selecting a fuel tank at top-of-descent [TOD, just before beginning descent to approach or pattern altitude], choosing a tank with sufficient fuel for approach, landing, go-around and/or missed approach to a safe altitude.  Despite the admonition to always “land on the tank with the most fuel”, if approach and landing fuel takes your TOD selection below the fuel level in the other tank, it’s much more important to remain on a tank with sufficient fuel than to attempt changing tanks close to the ground.)



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


**4/18 B55 LGRM at Lansing, MI.  “The pilot reported that he touched down on runway 24 in the twin-engine airplane. He intended to raise the flaps to increase the braking effectiveness, but he raised the landing gear instead of the flaps. The landing gear retracted during rollout and the airplane sustained substantial damage.”  Change “Gear collapse on landing” to “Gear collapse—pilot activation of gear on ground”. **


**4/20 C23 hard landing at Santa Fe, NM.  “The 170-hour student pilot was performing closed traffic pattern practice take-off and landing procedures. The student stated in the NTSB form…he had perform 8 successful touch and go landings without incident. The next landing was intended to be a full stop landing. The pilot stated that he flared and attempted to keep the airplane off the runway to slow his airspeed, then reduced power too quickly and the airplane touched down hard and bounced. The student pilot then ‘forced the nose forward’ and touched down hard on the nose gear. The aircraft slid to a stop and remained on the runway. The aircraft was substantially damaged when the nose gear collapsed and both propeller blades struck the runway. The pilot, sole occupant, was not injured and was able to egress unassisted. Weather at the airport approximately 10 minutes prior to the landing was wind 270 degrees at 16 knots….”  Add “substantial damage”.**


**5/12 E55 crash into a parking lot following takeoff from a touch-and-go, at Coeur d’Alene, ID.  This event was discussed at length in last week’s report, and as suspected was indeed a dual instructional flight.  NTSB’s initial report at least hints at fuel starvation or exhaustion as a possible contributing factor:  “According to the CFI, he and the private pilot were on a local instructional flight. After completing an approach into the airport, they initiated a takeoff. At approximately 200 feet above ground level, the left engine lost power. The private pilot was flying the airplane and the CFI pushed the nose of the airplane over to maintain airspeed. The CFI could not recall if the right engine also lost power. During the forced-landing, the airplane impacted a vehicle.”  Change “Loss of control on takeoff/initial climb” to “Engine failure on takeoff” and add “serious injuries”.**




5/29/2008 Report




A reader reports:  5/21/2008 (time note reported): During practice of takeoffs and landings at Pitts Meadows Airport, British Columbia, Canada, the pilot of a Be58 accidentally “pulled the wheels before he was off the ground” and “skidded [to a stop] along the runway.”  The solo pilot was not hurt; damage to the P-Baron fits the description of “minor”, with both propellers curled and minor damage to extended flaps and the 58P’s two boarding steps.  Weather in pictures taken immediately after the event show good VMC.  C-FLML (TJ-383) is a 1981 58P recently (March 2008) registered to an individual in Vancouver, British Columbia.


(“Gear collapse—pilot activation of gear on ground”; “Recent registration”—We’ve seen before the hazards of attempting touch-and-go landings in retractable gear airplanes.  A great deal must be done to reconfigure the airplane in a short period of time, and the scenario is rife with opportunity for mistakes.


As a data point, I managed a 58TC that in 1999 received two factory-new TSIO-520 engines, virtually identical to those in the P-Baron.  Cost for replacement, including installation, was $85,000 nine years ago. I mention this just to show that repairing this airplane, including two new propellers, reskinned flaps, new boarding steps and any other ancillary repairs, will likely far exceed US$100,000 and may even be enough to “total” the airplane.  Truly a waste resulting from trying to save a little time while on the runway.  Thanks, reader, for your report).  





5/11 1547Z (1447 local):  A Be77 “lost engine power on initial climb after takeoff and impacted terrain in a steep nose down attitude near Kilmovee, Ireland. The airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot on board the airplane was killed. The passenger on board sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight had just departed East Ireland Airport (EIKN) at Knock and was en route to Weston, Ireland.  Witnesses in the area described a ‘labouring engine which stopped, restarted for a couple of seconds and stopped again’ a few seconds before hearing the sound of the airplane impacting the ground. Two witnesses in a car nearby saw the airplane's ‘wing drop’ while attempting to return to EIKN. An examination of the engine showed a segment of the number two cylinder inlet valve separated and located in the number 4 cylinder.”  EI-BHT (WA-77) is a Beech Skipper, year not reported [but probably 1979], registered to an aero club in Waterford, Ireland.


(“Engine failure on takeoff”; “Fatal”; “Substantial damage”—another failed attempt at returning to the departure runway after a low-altitude engine failure.  It’s quite possible that a turn to some extent may get you to a suitable landing spot following an engine failure shortly after takeoff…and at times a controlled turn may be your best option based on what’s ahead.  But it’s highly unlikely you’ll have the altitude, and still be close enough to the runway, to arrive on the runway surface you just departed.  Regardless of the option you select, it’s vital to get the nose down to a glide attitude and to maintain adequate airspeed for lift and control.  Your survival likely depends on touching down wings level, under control, at the slowest safe speed.  Anything other than proper pitch/attitude/angle-of-attack control makes it highly unlikely you’ll achieve any of those three goals.  Next time you practice engine-out procedures get a feel for the aircraft attitude [visual reference, supported by instrument readings if equipped] that results in your best glide and least-rate-of-descent speeds straight ahead and in turns.  See Section IV, Emergency Procedures and any amplifications in your aircraft’s Flight Manual or Pilot’s Operating Handbook for the target airspeeds.)


5/23 1730Z (1030 local):  Arriving at Fall River Mills, California, four died when the Be35 in which they flew “crashed into trees”.  The Bonanza was “destroyed”.  Weather was “clear and 10” with surface winds at nine gusting to 29 knots.  N1886L (D-9895) was a 1976 V35B registered since 1988 to a co-ownership in Albion, California.


(“Stall/Spin during turn in visual traffic pattern in strong/gusty winds” [on the basis of witness reports]; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”; Wind”—a local press account states the four were arriving to participate in a golf tournament and had turned onto final approach when it “abruptly dove toward the ground, striking several trees as it crashed and caught on fire….” Another online article features a picture of the wreckage that makes it appear the airplane hit in a flat attitude with enough downward force to separate the stabilators, highly suggestive of a spin.  Gusty winds likely aggravated any other factors that contributed to the crash. 


With four adults and [most likely] four sets of golf clubs on board the Bonanza, the center of gravity would be far enough aft to reduce stability significantly even if still within the loading envelope.  Later-model V-tails with similar payloads are very often aft out of c.g. limits after some fuel burn, decreasing controllability even more.  At a rearward c.g. the airplane is more likely to pitch up as airspeed is reduced and control effectiveness decreases.  If the pilot permits speed to decrease excessively [reducing control authority] and/or angle of attack to increase then a stall is more likely.  Add any cross-control and one wing may exceed its critical angle of attack at a pitch attitude far lower than is typically seen in pilot training [which usually is done at forward c.g.s].  See my article “Achieving Balance”, currently posted on AVweb.


Ever wonder why your first instructor admonished you to keep bank angle shallow in the traffic pattern?  It’s not necessarily to avoid stalls.  Aerodynamically slick airplanes enter incipient spirals very quickly if the wings are banked beyond about 30 degrees and the pilot does not compensate [remember the “overbanking tendency” you learned when introduced to steep turns?].  Even draggier training-type airplanes will enter a spiral expeditiously if allowed to overbank without correction.  In airplanes with standard propeller rotation a left bank will generate a spiral even more quickly, as the prop torque pulls the airplane downhill…and left-turn patterns are the norm.  In seconds the rate of descent is so great the airplane may run out of altitude right away--in my opinion, a large number of what we read to be “stall/spin” accidents in the turn to final approach may be a developing spiral instead.  This may also be a major player in the adverse descent-into-terrain reputation of circling instrument approaches, which by nature are done at low altitude, in low visibility, and—usually—with left-hand turns.  Corollary: If the pilot detects the increasing bank and descent rates and applies instinctive reactions—pulling back on the controls and/or applying opposite rudder—the airplane is set up for the classic turn-to-final crossed-control stall.


Bank Angle


Stall-Speed Increase



















There’s not much increase in stalling speed with bank angles below about 30°, but a significant increase when you approach “steep turn” angles.  As a function of bank, the spiral hazard is much greater than an increased danger of stalling at shallow bank angles.   Note: percentage increases assume a loaded (increased g-loading) turn.




Back to stalls and spins [given the flat impact of this Bonanza, the more likely scenario]:  If in training airspeed is allowed to decay too rapidly [greater than the one-knot-per-second rate suggested in the Practical Test Standards] and/or all training is done at light airplane weights and forward c.g.s, the pilot may not appreciate that the airplane can stall at a “normal” pitch attitude and even with the nose pointed down in the landing pattern.  If possible, get an instructor experienced in your make and model of airplane and practice stalls at varying c.g. locations to get a better feel of the range of potential stalling conditions).


For more see:


5/24 1506Z (1006 local):  Landing at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the nose gear of a Be58 collapsed.  The pilot and two passengers report no injury; airplane damage is “unknown”.  Weather at KMKE: 25,000 broken, visibility 10 miles with a four-knot surface wind.  N66619 (TH-1070) is a 1979 Baron 58 registered since 1994 to a West Bend, Wisconsin-based corporation.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


5/25 0030Z (1930 local 5/24/2008):  A Be55 was on landing rollout at Odessa, Texas, when its landing gear collapsed.  The solo pilot was not hurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather conditions were “not reported”.  N508WB (TE-1029) is a 1975 E55 registered since 1996 to a co-ownership in Colorado City, Texas.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)




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


**5/11 fatal Beech Skipper engine failure and apparent stall attempting to return to the airport, at Kilmovee, Ireland (cited above).**


**5/12 double-fatality V35 inflight breakup over Bristol, Ohio.  “The airplane [was] at 7,000 feet mean sea level (msl). At 1050:29, the pilot stated "... can we try going up two or three hundred feet? I think we're right in the tops where we are." The air traffic controller cleared the pilot to climb to 9,000 feet msl. At 1055:27, aircraft radar track data showed the airplane level at 9,000 feet msl on a north-northeast course…. At 1056:55, the pilot acknowledged the local altimeter setting. There were no additional communications received by the accident pilot…. At 1102:00, the airplane made a 35-degree right turn to the east-northeast at 9,100 feet msl. At 1103:42, the airplane made a left turn to a heading of north. The airplane then entered a descending right spiral. During the next 40 seconds, the airplane descended from 9,100 to 7,800 feet msl. The calculated descent rate incrementally increased to approximately 4,200 feet/min.” 


The route of flight was included in an AIRMET for “instrument meteorological conditions…within clouds between 2,000 and 10,000 feet msl. The accident location was about 18.4 miles northwest of the western edge of a moderate turbulence advisory area. Light to moderate turbulence was possible below 10,000 feet msl. The accident location was along the western edge of a moderate icing advisory area. There was a possibility of moderate structural icing above the freezing level at 6,000 feet msl. The local weather radar indicated weak radar echoes with cloud tops above 10,000 feet in the accident area.” 


Icing conditions are often most intense toward the tops of the clouds.  A pilot request to increase altitude by “two or three hundred feet” is much more indicative of an attempt to climb out of ice than it is a try at escaping turbulence.  This tragedy reminds us that attempting to overfly areas of known icing in an airplane not equipped for ice removal can be a hazardous choice.  Cloud tops often climb higher than forecast or reported; through the conduct of a normal flight or an unforeseen circumstance the pilot may have to descend into the ice he/she planned to overfly. Change “Crash/Unknown” to “Loss of control—airframe ice; in-flight break-up” and “Weather not reported” to “IMC”.**    


**5/18 B23 landing mishap at Bagdad, AZ.  “The pilot said he had just purchased the airplane in California and was returning to his home in Texas. He was landing when a gust of wind blew the airplane off the runway. He attempted to go around, but the landing gear impacted some rocks on the left side of the runway. The outboard 10 feet of the right wing was wrinkled and compressed aft, and the bottom of the empennage was badly wrinkled and compromised. The airplane came to rest approximately 185 feet from the runway. The reported winds at Prescott, Arizona, located 37 nautical miles east of the accident airport, were from 350 degrees at 11 knots gusting to 17 knots.”  Change “Crash/Unknown” to “Loss of control on landing—strong, gusty winds” and “Weather not reported” to “VMC”.**




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


Total reported:  81 reports 


Operation in VMC: 55 reports   (68%)  

Operation in IMC:    3 reports   (4%)  

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  23 reports

Operation at night:  11 reports  (14%) 

Surface wind > 16 knots:  9 reports  (11%)             


Fatal accidents: 11 reports   (14%)  

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


“Substantial” damage: 28 reports   (35%)  

Aircraft “destroyed”:   9 reports   (11%)   


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):  15 reports   (19%)  


(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:


Be35 Bonanza  13 reports  

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza  12 reports  

Be58 Baron  10 reports   

Be36 Bonanza  9 reports  

Be76 Duchess  7 reports  

Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  6 reports 

Be55 Baron  6 reports  

Be24 Sierra   4 reports 

Be95 Travel Air   3 reports  

Be18 Twin Beech  2 reports

Be50 Twin Bonanza  2 reports 

Be65 Queen Air  2 reports 

Be77 Skipper  2 reports  

Be19 Sport  1 report

Be45 (T-34) Mentor  1 report   

Be60 Duke  1 report 




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


LANDING GEAR-RELATED MISHAPS (40 reports; 49% of the total) 


Gear up landing

14 reports (Be18; two Be24s; five Be33s; two Be35s; Be36; Be50; Be58; Be76)


Gear collapse (landing)

11 reports (two Be35s; Be36; Be50; Be55; two Be58s; Be60; Be65; two Be95s)


Gear up landing—known mechanical system failure

4 reports (Be33; Be35; Be45; Be76)


Gear collapse—pilot activation of gear on ground

4 reports (Be33; Be35; Be55; Be58)


Failure of nose gear to extend due to mechanical failure

2 reports (Be65, Be76)


Gear collapse on landing—known mechanical system failure

1 report (Be55)


Gear collapse on landing: electrical failure/incomplete manual extension

1 report (Be45)


Gear collapse on landing—known incomplete electrical extension

1 report (Be58)


Gear collapse during taxi

1 report (Be58)


Gear collapse (takeoff)

1 report (Be18)


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



IMPACT ON LANDING  (15 reports; 19% of the total) 


Hard landing

3 reports (two Be23s; Be35)


Loss of directional control on landing

3 reports (Be19; Be23; Be77)


Loss of control on landing—strong, gusty winds

3 reports (two Be23s; 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   (11 reports; 14% of the total) 


Engine failure in flight

4 reports (Be35; three Be36s)


Engine failure on takeoff

3 reports (Be33; Be55; Be77)


Partial power loss: fuel line leak

1 report (Be36)


Propeller overspeed

1 report (Be36)


Engine failure—fuel system malfunction

1 report (Be36)


Piston/cylinder failure in flight

1 report (Be35)


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



MISCELLANEOUS CAUSES  (5 reports; 6% of the total) 


Taxied into obstruction

2 reports (Be76; Be95)


Pilot incapacitation—heart attack

1 report (Be58)


Bird strike on landing

1 report (Be33)


Gear door damage—ice accumulation

1 report (Be33)



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (4 reports; 5% of the total)  



2 reports (Be33; Be36)



1 report (Be24)



1 report (Be35)



LOSS OF CONTROL IN FLIGHT   (4 reports; 5% of the total) 


Loss of control—single engine visual approach

3 reports (Be55; Be58)


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

1 report (Be35)



STALL/SPIN   (2 reports; 2% of the total)


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

1 report (Be23)


Stall/Spin during turn in visual traffic pattern in strong/gusty winds

1 report (Be35)





Loss of directional control during takeoff

1 report (Be76)





In-flight break-up—probable pilot incapacitation

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, M.S. Aviation Safety, Master CFI

2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year

Mastery Flight Training, Inc.

There's much more aviation safety information at




Return to  archives page.