Mastery Flight Training, Inc. 

Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


September 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


9/13/2007 Report




Re: the 8/22 G58 fire during taxi at Chamblee, Georgia.  Investigators say a fire erupted under the wing of the Baron in the run-up area, causing minor damage primarily to paint.  The pilot reports the engine quit during his run-up and the fire broke out while he was attempting a hot start.  Local speculation is that he flooded the engine or that the mixture control was not completely in IDLE position during the Pilots Operating Handbook HOT START procedure.  Excess fuel from the overflow drains was ignited by a backfire or other ignition source during start.  Flame arrestors in the fuel vents successfully prevented fire from reaching the fuel tanks.  Change “Fire during taxi” to “Engine fire on start-up: hot start”. 


Re: the 8/22 “serious injuries” C24R crash on takeoff at Niceville, Florida, a reader provides this account:


Nothing official on the Sierra mishap at Ruckel Field, Niceville, Florida.  That is my home field and [the mishap pilot] parks his new Sierra next to my Sundowner.  I stay out of town during the week on business so the info I have is just speculation.  [The pilot] flew his Sierra into Ruckel around mid July and landed shortly after I landed that Friday.  He made three passes at the field, a 3500 ft grass strip with 1000 feet overrun on the north end and 80 ft trees on all sides.  We can only take off to the north and land to the south to avoid overflying the houses;  north of the field are the Eglin AFB ranges.  After [he] landed I introduced myself and invited him to join BAC [Beech Aero Club].  I had not seen the plane move after he occupied the parking space next to mine.  On the day of the mishap, he attempted to take off with four adults on board and unknown amount of fuel.  From [my] experience, if he had more than half tanks and any luggage he would be toying with clearing the trees at the departure or sides.  Recounts from local pilots said the plane dropped out of the air.  I think he stalled trying to get above the trees.  The temperature was around 100˚F at [sea level].  I do not know [density altitude] but probably several thousand feet.  Ever since I heard of the mishap - people calling my cell or home seeing if it was my Beech--I have blamed myself for not offering to fly around the area with him to familiarize him with the plane, the area, and the specifics of flying around Ruckel field.  Since he is senior to me, I assumed he was a retired Air Force pilot and didn't need me to tell him anything about our Baby Beeches or the area.  I should have spoken up.  I have not heard the status of any of them.  [The] pilot and the passenger in the seat behind him were Aeroflighted to Pensacola in serious condition.  The other two passengers were taken to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and released.  The plane was removed from the field prior to me getting home the following Friday.  It had landed gear up in the overrun area (sand) between the end of the runway and the wood line.  All I could see of the evidence remaining were the ruts where the folks drove down the runway instead of along the west side where they are supposed to drive.  Hope this helps with your Flying Lessons and Accident updates.”  (Do you know a pilot that is “an accident waiting to happen”?  Intervene to the extent possible before the worst occurs.  All pilots: “hot” and “high weight” don’t mix—a recurring theme in this week’s report.  Change “Takeoff/Unknown” to “Stall on takeoff: short field, maximum weight, hot weather.”)


Thanks, readers, for adding value to the Weekly Accident Update.





8/30 1935Z (1235 local):  A Be36 crashed on departure from Cameron Park, California.  The aircraft came to rest inverted, killing one occupant and seriously wounding three others.  The airplane sustained “substantial” damage.  “A news camera crew was filming airplane operations at the Cameron Park Airport and captured the accident on video. An FAA inspector and the Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) viewed the video. The video depicted the airplane on its takeoff roll, accelerating almost 2/3 of the way down runway 31 before getting airborne. Once airborne the airplane climbed to approximately 40 feet before it settled back down towards the ground, and the wings began to wobble. The airplane settled into the rising terrain at the end of the runway, slid on the ground, and abruptly nosed over on to its back after encountering a fence.

Cameron Air Park is located in a slight geographical bowl, with rising terrain at both ends of the runway. Field elevation is 1,293 feet msl. The single runway is marked 31 and 13, and is 4,051 feet long. The Cameron Park Fire Department reported that the temperature at the scene of the accident around 1300 was 107 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to the 4 adults on board, the airplane was loaded with 271 pounds of additional baggage/cargo, and at least 60 gallons of fuel.”  N1098F (E-3059) is/was a 1996 A36 registered since 2001 to a corporation in Las Vegas, Nevada.


(“Impact with obstacle following takeoff/unable to attain climb”; “Fatal”; “Substantial damage”—video of the crash.  A party to the investigation who contacted Mastery Flight Training for information about this incident reports the airplane was turbonormalized and certified under an STC to operate at an up to 4000 pound maximum gross weight.  The POH supplement for that approval states that takeoff distance is increased “approximately 30%” over POH maximum takeoff weight figures, and climb performance is reduced by that same percentage over POH climb performance at the original maximum takeoff weight.  That same knowledgeable party estimates the accident airplane may have been as much as 300 pounds above even this STC-approved weight on takeoff.  Although the performance effect of additional weight may not be linear and in no way should this be construed as justification for approximating performance at unapproved weights, the alleged additional weight suggests a requirement for as much as 60% more runway than “book” on this particular takeoff.  The POH-computed 50-foot obstacle clearance distance at original maximum gross weight, uncorrected for higher weights, is approximately 3500 feet.  Density altitude is estimated by one reader as 4297 feet.  Higher operating weights, hot temperatures, uphill takeoff and rising terrain around the runway made this flight a disaster before the pilot and passengers ever climbed aboard.)


8/31 1855Z (1455 local):  A Be35 landed gear up at Delevan, Wisconsin.  The solo pilot was unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather: 4600 scattered, visibility 10, with a four-knot surface wind.  N6070S (D-9822) is a 1975 V35B registered since 1976 to an individual in Downers Grove, Illinois.


(“Gear up landing”; “Substantial damage”—gear up landings can happen to anyone, even possibly someone who has owned the same airplane for 30 years.)


8/31 1855Z (1355 local):  A Be33 crashed shortly after departure from Tucumcari, New Mexico.  The two aboard have “serious” injuries, the aircraft “substantial” damage. According to the NTSB preliminary report, “the pilot departed Yuma, Arizona, earlier that day and landed at TCC approximately 1200 to refuel. Prior to departure, the airplane's fuel tanks were topped off with fuel, and the airplane departed runway 21. The pilot reported that during initial takeoff climb, ‘the engine wasn't making the power that [he] expected.’ The pilot adjusted the mixture control to different lean and rich positions, with no change to engine power noted. The pilot then attempted a forced landing to a nearby interstate highway; however due to vehicle traffic, the pilot executed a forced landing to a field. Subsequently, the airplane landed in a field with the landing gear retracted approximately 1 1/2 miles south of TCC….The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harness restraints.”  Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.  N2133B (CD-563) is a 1962 B33 registered since 2005 to a corporation based in Yuma, Arizona.


(“Partial power loss on takeoff for unknown reasons/high density altitude”; “Serious injuries”; “Substantial damage”—more testament to the wisdom of prioritizing shoulder harness installation above merely nice-to-have items like avionics.  A local news report shows significant crushing damage to the forward fuselage in the gear-up, off airport landing.)


9/1 (time not reported):  A Be36, departing Elizabethton, Tennessee with five aboard, was unable to outclimb mountains on the pilot’s chosen heading and crashed into terrain, killing all five adults aboard.  The Bonanza was “destroyed”.  The NTSB preliminary report states: “Witnesses reported that the airplane landed at 0A9 on runway 06 at approximately 1001 hours, taxied to the south side of the airport, and without securing the engine, boarded 2 waiting passengers. The airplane was observed taxiing towards the approach end of runway 24, but an airplane was being towed on the taxiway at that time. The accident airplane turned around and taxied to the approach end of runway 06, [and] no engine run-up was heard before takeoff. The pilot began the takeoff roll from runway 06 with all available runway, and a pilot-rated witness located on the north side of the airport reported the airplane became airborne when it was 2/3 down the runway. The witness reported the airplane did not appear to be climbing very well and continued on the runway heading for approximately 1 mile.

”Another pilot-rated witness who was located approximately 1,500 feet east-northeast from the departure end of runway 06 reported that the airplane flew 200 yards behind his house between 75 and 100 feet above ground level (agl) or ‘exceptionally low.’ The airplane was in a steep climb attitude, flying slow with what he thought was the landing gear retracted; there was nothing unusual from the engine.”  The Bonanza and the victims were eventually found at about the 3400-foot level on Holston Mountain.  Weather at nearby Tri-Cities Airport (KTRI) at departure time was clear with visibility four miles in haze, with winds from 050˚ at three knots and a surface air temperature of 24˚C (75˚F).  N326DK (E-2377) was a 1987 A36 registered since 2003 to an individual in Morristown, Tennessee.


(“Impact with obstacle following takeoff/unable to attain climb”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”—A few observations: (1) the pilot appeared to be rushed.  He did not shut down to board passengers, he did not wait for an airplane that was being towed to clear the runway, and he reportedly did not accomplish an engine run-up before takeoff [although the engine had remained running the whole time].  (2) With five aboard the airplane was heavily loaded, and may have been approaching [if not beyond] maximum weight and/or aft c.g. limit.  Certainly on a hot day even if the heavy load was within the weight and balance envelope, it would very adverse impact takeoff and climb performance.  (3) The pilot violated standard procedure.  I’ve flown into 0A9 often, and the locals consider it a one-way airport because of terrain, i.e., take off on Runway 24 in almost all cases.  Runway 6 aims directly at terrain that rises steeply immediately to the north and northeast, with several smaller hills blocking turns to the south to exit the one-way valley.)


9/2 1858Z (1458 local):  A Be35 “crashed under unknown circumstances into a residential area,” shortly after departing Borger, Texas.  Two aboard report “serious” injuries while aircraft damage is “substantial.”  Weather was “clear and 10” with a variable, four-knot wind.  N118TT (D-2602) is a 1950 B35 registered since January 2006 to an individual in Fort Worth, Texas.


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


9/3 1746Z (1346 local):  A Be36 pilot “declared an emergency with alternator and gear failure,” at San Angelo, Texas.  The two aboard were unhurt and damage is “unknown.”  Weather: 1100 scattered, visibility six miles in haze, with a three-knot wind.  N929JD (E-2387) is a 1987 A36 registered since 2005 to an individual in Arlington, Texas.


(“Gear up landing—electrical failure, handcrank inaccessible”— A reader, owner and pilot of the mishap airplane, reports after the electrical system failed he discovered the manual extension handcrank was blocked by the carry-thru spar cover.  He had no choice but to land gear up. It is apparently easy to install the heavy plastic carry-thru spar cover so that it obstructs the emergency gear extension handcrank (see picture, from the mishap airplane and provided by the owner).  I’ve seen this so many times I personally include a picture of the condition and instructions to check as part of all training confirmations I send.  It is virtually impossible to engage the handcrank from this condition or to repair the condition in flight.  If the electrical system fails or there is a gear motor malfunction you will probably not be able to extend the landing gear by any means if the handcrank is trapped behind the spar cover.


Preflight check

Add this step to your preflight inspection checklist:


Landing gear emergency inspection handcrank…STOWED AND ACCESSIBLE


Be especially careful to inspect for an obstructed handcrank whenever accepting the airplane after any inspection, maintenance or repair that might even remotely require removing the carry-thru spar cover.  Check your airplane today—I guarantee at least one reader will discover this condition in their airplane when they look.)


9/4 1345Z (0945 local):  The nose gear of a Be33 collapsed on landing at Augusta, Maine, leaving the solo pilot unhurt and “unknown” aircraft damage.  Weather: “not reported”.  N5691E (CE-1453) is a 1990 F33A registered since 1996 to an individual in Dublin, Ohio.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


9/4 1858Z (1358 local):  “On [the] landing roll” at Waukesha, Wisconsin, the “left main gear” of a Be36 “broke and [the] aircraft slid off the runway.  The two aboard report no injury; damage is “substantial.”  N998PL (E-3036) is a 1996 A36 registered since 2001 to a Delafield, Wisconsin corporation.


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


9/4 1949Z (1549 local):  The “nose gear [of a Be18] collapsed,” at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The solo pilot was not injured and aircraft damage is “minor”.  Weather was 3500 scattered, visibility 10 miles with an eight-knot surface wind.  N117ME (BA-638) is a 1963 H18 registered since 2005 to a corporation in Palm City, Florida.


(Gear collapse on landing”)


9/6 0228Z (2028 local 9/5/2007):  A Be33 “porpoised, had a prop strike, and broke the nose wheel while landing,” at Laverne, California.  Two aboard report no injuries and damage is “minor”.  N7298R (CE-557) is a 1975 F33A registered since 1998 to an individual in El Cajon, California.


(“Prop strike”)


9/8 2026Z (1626 local):  “On landing” at Gainesville, Florida, a Be55 “ran off the end of the runway.”  Three aboard report no injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather at KGNV was clear, visibility 10 miles, with an eight knot wind from 060˚ variable to 130˚, and a surface temperature of 32˚C (90˚F).  N1751W (TC-1497) is a 1972 B55 registered since 2000 to an individual in Flowery Branch, Georgia.


(“Landed long”; “Substantial damage”—perhaps another symptom of high density altitude operations brought on by heat)


9/10 1821Z (1121 local):  A Be35’s nose gear collapsed on landing at Chino, California.  The solo pilot was not hurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather was “clear and 10” with a five-knot wind.  N5545D (D-5091) is a 1957 H35 registered since 1994 to an individual in Yorba Linda, California.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)




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


**8/5 “straight” 36 off-airport landing at Jean, Nevada.  Change “Gear up landing” to “Fuel starvation.”  From the report: “The pilot reported that while flying en route he exhausted the fuel in the right wing's fuel tank. He then repositioned the fuel selector to draw fuel from the left main fuel tank. After about 10 minutes all engine power was lost. The pilot advised an air traffic controller that he was diverting to the Jean (uncontrolled) airport, and the pilot attempted to restart the engine. The pilot was not successful, and the airplane landed short of the runway.”  It’s become popular to intentionally exhaust all fuel from the tanks to eke out the greatest possible range.  If you run all but one tank dry, however, you run the risk that fuel in your one remaining tank may become unusable for some reason and you no longer have the redundancy of multiple tanks.  Miscalculation of fuel loading or fuel burn, a loose or leaky fuel cap seal, blocked fuel vents and bunched or collapsed fuel bladders are just a few examples of scenarios that can make fuel in any one tank unexpectedly unusable.  As is very often the case, the engine failed in this mishap at a point the pilot made it within half a mile of an airport—just a little reserve fuel in the intentionally drained tank would have averted this crash.  Will switching tanks with reserve fuel remaining reduce the ultimate range of the airplane?  Absolutely.  But it can also prevent severe aircraft damage and the very real possibility of death to yourself and innocent passengers.  Don’t choose to put yourself or your family and friends at the mercy of a single fuel cell.**


**8/30 A36 collision with terrain after takeoff at Cameron Park, California, cited above.**   


**9/1 quadruple-fatality A36 collision with terrain after taking off from Elizabethton, Tennessee, cited above.**



9/20/2007 Report




Regarding the 9/8 B55 runway overrun, an alert reader notes the mishap occurred at Gainesville, Georgia, not Florida as I erroneously reported last week. The Baron pilot was “landing at his home field after a Coast Guard Auxiliary patrol” flight.  (Two runways are available at KGVL, 4000 and 5500 feet long.  Traffic pattern procedures, airspeed control and a timely decision to go around if not on the ground in the planned touchdown zone are vital for avoiding a runway overrun.   Thanks, reader, for setting the record straight.)





9/13 1627Z (0927 local):  Three died when a Be36 “crashed under unknown circumstances while on approach” to Burlington, Washington, the planned destination of a trip from Harve, Montana..  The aircraft impacted 1.5 miles from the airport.  Aircraft damage is “unknown”; weather was “IFR.”  N1811Q (EA-239) is/was a 1981 A36TC registered since 1985 to a corporation based in Harve.

(“Approach/Unknown”; “Fatal”; “IMC”— Press accounts quote an NTSB source as saying “the single-engine plane was on its second approach to the airport at the time. Heavy fog cut visibility to about a quarter-mile at the time the plane crashed, and officials said the pilot had already made one landing attempt before crashing. They said the pilot had missed his approached but announced he could see the runway despite the fog.”  As evidenced in the press pictures the Bonanza burned, indicating it likely had plenty of fuel in at least one tank when it impacted.  The time aloft, over three hours twenty minutes including a climb to 12,000 feet before radar contact, always makes fuel starvation a suspected contributing factor.  Fog can create unusual visual cues, where runway lights are visible looking downward through a thin layer of fog but are obscured when looking nearly horizontally toward the runway at the missed approach point.  Seeing the lights during the first missed approach may have emboldened the pilot to try again, and made him/her subject to landing expectation and a temptation to go "just a little lower.".   I’ve written about the human factors hazards of attempting multiple approaches, including guidance a pilot may choose to use to develop a personal standard operating procedure regarding attempts at multiple approaches.  The overriding lesson of attempted multiple approaches is this: Pilots must show discipline to fly approach procedures as published EVERY time, and to abandon attempts at getting into a particular airport long before adverse stress, fuel or fatigue become issues. Recognize that, historically, pilots are not good at maintaining this discipline, and for those who do not, the survival record is abysmal.)

9/14 1449Z (1049 local):  “On landing,” a Be23 “veered off the runway” at West Chester, Pennsylvania.  The two aboard have “minor” injuries, the airplane “substantial” damage.  Weather conditions were “not reported.”  N5073T (MA-319) is a 1968 A23-24 registered since 1989 to a co-ownership based in Georgetown, Delaware.


(“Loss of directional control on landing”; “Substantial damage”)


9/16 2240Z (1840 local):  The pilot of a Be35 “declared an emergency due to engine problems” and force-landed on a drag strip near Leaon, West Virginia.  The solo pilot was jot hurt; damage is “unknown” and weather conditions “not reported.”  N609D (D-2865) is a 1951 C35, “sale reported” to an unreported address.


(“Engine failure in flight”; “Recent registration”—West Virginia is extremely rugged country with steep hills hemming in narrow river valleys, and very little flat land.  The pilot was extraordinarily lucky to have the drag strip within gliding/reduced power range when the engine problem occurred, and very skillful to put the plane down on the drag strip.  Undoubtedly a decision to cruise at a reasonably high altitude provided the only option likely available when the engine acted up.)



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


**7/19 C-45H double engine failure at Longmont, Colorado.  Another instructional flight gone bad, “the right engine was shut down [for training] and the propeller feathered. It was subsequently restarted, but the left engine started ‘running very rough suddenly, and vibrated excessively.’ The left engine was [then] shut down and the propeller feathered. Level flight was maintained from power produced by the right engine. ‘Thinking the left engine might still be able to produce thrust, we restarted the left engine,’ the instructor wrote. Instead of producing thrust, the engine produced more drag so it was secured again. Then the right engine began losing power. Full power was applied but the airplane continued to descend. The instructor's intention was to land on Niwot Road or in the adjacent field. He lowered the landing gear and while the gear was in-transit, the airplane clipped the tops of trees.”  Investigation revealed that unapproved oil drain valves were installed on the Twin Beech’s engines, valves that remain open on the ground but must be manually closed during preflight.  The pilot stated that “when they preflighted the airplane, the drain valves were open (the drained oil is captured and recycled). He thought they had closed both valves. According to the [airplane’s owner/operator], either the pilot failed to close the drain valves or they were jammed in the open position, but the latter would be unlikely ‘because you can feel the valve move when you close it.’  The report states “upon hearing of the accident, the mechanic who maintained the airplane went out to where the airplane had been parked. There were two pools of oil in the run-up area, and trails of oil led out onto the runway.”  Evidence is that both engines “failed catastrophically due to oil starvation.”  Legality of the valves aside (it may have ramifications for insurance and FAA action against the owner/operator and the mechanic who last signed off an annual or 100-hour inspection), this is a reminder to use a preflight inspection checklist to ensure all items were covered.  The flight crew undoubtedly did a thorough preflight—the NTSB report says preflight took  “about 1 ½ hours—but a quick checklist review before start-up might have reminded them to close the oil valves.  Also, in general, if a engine is shut down "for cause" in flight, it should remain shut down through landing.  Attempts at engine restart may merely result in no power but additional drag, such as in this case, and in some situations an inability to re-feather the propeller, greatly reducing single-engine performance.**


**8/1 Beech Duke double engine failure just after takeoff at Bismarck, North Dakota.  Change “Power loss on initial climb” to “Power loss on initial climb—jet fuel contamination.”  Personally observe fueling whenever possible.  If you’re not able to be present when the airplane is fueled, closely scrutinize all records to ensure the expected grade and amount of fuel was added.  Jet fuel contamination will not usually be detectable until the engine(s) have been run at high power for a little time, i.e., on takeoff or initial climb.  Start-up, ground operations and even engine run-up will usually appear normal.  When jet fuel begins to pre-ignite or detonate in the cylinders, catastrophic failure is mere seconds away.**


**8/27 Beech Duchess instructional mishap at Pompano Beach, Florida.  Change “Gear collapse on landing” to “Hard landing.”  It’s unclear from the NTSB Factual report whether the instructor, providing the first multiengine lesson to a student, simulated an engine failure that led to the hard landing, or if the airplane impacted an obstacle and the instructor shut down both engines in response as the airplane landed hard.**



9/27/2007 Report





A reader reports: 9/24 (time unknown): A Be35 suffered “total” engine failure taking off from Portage County Airport, Ravenna, Ohio.  According to the pilot, the engine quit at about 200 feet above ground level, and he turned just enough to make it safely to a field.  There was “about 20 seconds from power loss to the dirt.”  The Bonanza was “demolished” but “all [occupants] walked away without injury.”  Weather was VMC.  N9271Q (D-9271) was a 1971 V35B registered since 1996 to a Northfield, Ohio corporation.


(“Engine failure on takeoff”; “Aircraft destroyed”—an overhead photo makes it clear the pilot immediately turned toward the field, probably the only survivable option available to him.  In either event he obviously maintained airspeed and impacted wings level, saving the occupants. 






 Excellent work on the part of the pilot; thanks, reader, for providing this report, and let us know if/when a cause of the engine failure is found.)





9/20 1331Z (0831 local):  The pilot of a Be35 “reported engine problem[s] and force landed in a field” four miles form the Lawrence, Kansas airport.  The solo pilot was unhurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather: “few clouds” at 5000 feet, visibility three miles in drizzle.  N2995B (D-3633) is a 1953 D35 registered since 1994 to an individual in Salina, Kansas.


(“Engine failure in flight”—Wichita television news [sorry, no link] showed a picture of the airplane in the field.  Its nose gear had collapsed during rollout, curling the propeller backward [it was windmilling on impact] and apparently damaging the underside of the cowling.)


9/21 1727Z (1327 local):  A Be18 “crashed shortly after takeoff onto a highway ½ mile from the airport,” at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  The solo pilot of the cargo flight suffered “minor” injuries, while the Twin Beech has “substantial” damage.  Weather: “few clouds” at 3700 feet, visibility 10 with an eight-knot surface wind.  N123MD (BA-701) is a 1964 H18 registered since 2005 to a corporation in Palm City, Florida.


(“Engine failure on takeoff” [more in a moment]”; “Aircraft destroyed”—Video news reports show a witness, who identified herself as a pilot, saying the airplane banked “very steep” into the ground.  The video leaves no doubt the Twin Beech was “destroyed”, not merely “substantially damaged” as per the FAA preliminary report.  A second video shows the pilot miraculously sitting, apparently stunned, in the pilot’s seat after the cabin of the airplane had all but disintegrated around him.  The report says the pilot, later interviewed, said an engine had quit suddenly just after takeoff.  Media speculation is that the pilot may have been attempting to land on a highway, then changed to another landing zone to avoid hitting surface traffic, but the pilot and witness interviews suggest the pilot may not have had control of the airplane after the engine quit).


9/22 1615Z (1115 local):  While “on approach” a Be33 “experienced electrical failure.  On landing the left main gear collapsed and the prop struck the ground,” at Burlington, Kansas.  The lone pilot wasn’t hurt and damage is “minor.”  Weather: “Clear and 10” with an 11-knot wind.  N1524S (CD-496) is a 1962 B33 registered since 1995 to a co-ownership in Kansas City, Missouri.


(“Gear collapse on landing/electrical failure”—This is a common situation.  To avoid overstressing the landing gear transmission there are limit switches in the gear mechanism that stop operation of the landing gear motor before the transmission hits an end-of-travel stop.  The system depends on proper system voltage to provide enough inertia the gear legs continue overcenter to lock down after the gear motor stops.  If operating on battery power alone the gear may not be traveling fast enough to lock down after the gear motor cuts off.  It may, however, go far enough to provide false “down and locked” cockpit indications.  To avoid the common electrical failure/gear collapse scenario, when extending the gear on battery power alone complete the process with the Manual Landing Gear Extension procedure to confirm the gear has in fact locked down.)



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


**9/2 B35 engine failure at Borger, Texas.  Change “Takeoff/Unknown” to “Engine failure on approach/landing.”  The NTSB preliminary report states: “The aircraft came to rest in a nose down vertical position against a private residence carport….  The flight departed Hicks Field, Fort Worth, Texas Field (T67)…approximately [1 hr 53 minutes earlier] for the VFR flight to KBGD…. The pilot had to have emergency crews cut away a portion of the cockpit area to allow egress. The passenger was able to egress unassisted….  A preliminary examination of engine was performed by the engine manufacturer under the supervision of the NTSB Investigator-in-Charge. There was no evidence of any anomalies that would prevent the engine from developing power.”  Any time an engine quits for no reproducible reason the first suspect is misuse or failure of the fuel system.  At about two hours into a flight undoubtedly investigators will look into the possibility of fuel starvation [running a tank dry, or attempting landing on an auxiliary tank] or exceeding slip limitations with low-fuel tanks.  Plan flights to be assured you have sufficient fuel in the tank selected for landing to make the approach and landing, and a go-around/missed approach if needed.  Confirm your planned tank selection with a pre-landing checklist accomplished while still at sufficient altitude to change tanks safely if needed.**


**9/6 F33A hard landing at La Verne, California.  The NTSB states: “The pilot said that he landed hard and the airplane bounced several times. He said the nose wheel landing gear failed and the aircraft came to rest on the runway. Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the main keel beam was bent.”   Change “Prop strike” to “Hard Landing” and add “Substantial damage”.**


**9/13 triple-fatality A36TC approach crash at Burlington, Washington.  Change “Approach/Unknown” to “Controlled flight into terrain: Descent below IFR approach minimum altitude.”  According to the NTSB, “at the time of the accident, the pilot was attempting a Global Positioning System (GPS) approach to runway 10 at Bayview-Skagit Regional Airport. He had already attempted one approach, but had executed a missed approach procedure, and was making a second attempt. During the period of time that he was attempting the approaches, the reported ceiling was 100 feet overcast, the visibility was one-quarter mile, and the temperature/dew point spread was zero degrees.”  The pilot appeared to have no reason to believe the second approach would be successful in permitting a landing given the weather conditions.  Without such an assurance additional attempts at the approach merely waste fuel that may be needed to fly to an alternate, and invite human factors-related approach deviations that all too often accompany “multiple approach” mishaps.  Last week’s FLYING LESSON bears repeating: Pilots must show discipline to fly approach procedures as published EVERY time, and to abandon attempts at getting into a particular airport long before adverse stress, fuel or fatigue become issues. Historically, pilots are not good at maintaining this discipline, and for those who do not, the survival record is abysmal.**



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


Total reported:  156 reports 


Operation in VMC:  98 reports   (63% of the total)    

Operation in IMC:     8 reports   (5% of the total)    

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  50 reports    

Operation at night:  13 reports   (8% of the total)    


Fatal accidents:  21 reports   (13% of the total)    

“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  9 reports  (6% of the total)  


“Substantial” damage:  47 reports   (30% of the total)    

Aircraft “destroyed”:     25 reports   (16% of the total)    


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):   38 reports   (24% of the total)    


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



By Aircraft Type:


Be35 Bonanza   42 reports 

Be36 Bonanza   26 reports

Be58 Baron    20 reports

Be55 Baron   18 reports      

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza   13 reports 

Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  8 reports

Be24 Sierra  7 reports   

Be76 Duchess    6 reports  

Be18 Twin Beech  5 reports

Be17 Staggerwing  2 reports  

Be60 Duke  2 reports

Be95 Travel Air   2 reports

Be45 (T-34) Mentor  1 report

Be50 Twin Bonanza  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 (61 reports; 39% of the total) 


Gear collapse (landing)

25 reports (Be18; two Be24s; five Be33s; five Be35s; two Be36s; four Be55s; four Be58s; Be65; Be95)


Gear up landing

25 reports (Be24; three Be33s; twelve Be35s; two Be36s; three Be55s; two Be58s; two Be76s)


Gear collapse—takeoff

3 reports (Be36; two Be58s)


Gear collapse on landing—known mechanical system failure

2 reports (Be18; Be95)


Gear up landing—electrical failure, handcrank inaccessible

1 report (Be36)


Gear collapse on landing—tow bar attached

1 report (Be58)


Gear up landing (electrical failure)

1 report (Be24)


Gear collapse during taxi

1 report (Be35)


Gear up landing—known mechanical system failure

1 report (Be55)


Gear collapse on landing--electrical failure

1 report (Be33)


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



ENGINE FAILURE   (28 reports; 18% of the total) 


Engine failure in flight

8 reports (five Be35s; three Be36s)


Fuel starvation

5 reports (three Be35s; Be36; Be50)


Engine failure on takeoff

5 reports (Be18; three Be35s; Be55)


Engine-driven fuel pump failure

2 reports (both Be35s)


Pushrod tube failure in flight

1 report (Be33)


Exhaust system failure in flight

1 report (Be58)


Fuel starvation—fuel unporting in extended slip

1 report (Be45)


Engine failure on takeoff--dual engine failure

1 report (Be18)


Power loss on initial climb—jet fuel contamination

1 report (Be60)


Cylinder head separation in flight

1 report (Be33)


Partial power loss on takeoff for unknown reasons/high density altitude

1 report (Be33)


Engine failure on approach/landing

1 report (Be35)


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



IMPACT ON LANDING  (27 reports; 17% of the total) 


Loss of directional control on landing

7 reports (Be17; four Be23s; Be55; Be58)


Impact with obstacle on landing

3 reports (two Be35s; Be58)


Prop strike on landing

2 reports (both Be76s)


Landed long

2 reports (Be35; Be55)


Hard landing

3 reports (Be33; Be58; Be76)


Wingtip strike on landing—crosswind

1 report (Be36)


Loss of directional control on landing: wet/icy surface

1 report (Be58)


Departed runway while avoiding objects on runway

1 report (Be23)


Landed long/failed to go around

1 report (Be23)


Landed long—tailwind landing

1 report (Be36)


Landed short—probable wind shear

1 report (Be33)


Impact with obstacle—off airport landing

1 report (Be35)


Impact with animal while landing

1 report (Be35)


Nosed over on landing

1 report (Be17)


Landed short

1 report (Be55)



MISCELLANEOUS CAUSES  (11 reports; 7% of the total) 


Taxied into obstruction/pedestrian/other aircraft

3 reports (Be36; two Be55s)


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)


Fire during engine start: hot start

1 report (Be58)


In-flight break-up: low-altitude maneuvering

1 report (Be58)


Mid-air collision

1 report (Be35)


Turbulence encounter (cruise flight)

1 report (Be60)


Blown tire on takeoff

1 report (Be76)



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (10 reports; 6% of the total)  



5 reports (Be23; four Be36s)



3 reports (Be36; Be55; Be58)



1 report (Be33)


Cruise/Unknown (mountainous terrain)

1 report (Be23)



1 report (Be77)



IMPACT WITH OBJECT DURING TAKEOFF   (6 reports; 4% of the total) 


Impact with obstacle following takeoff/unable to attain climb

4 reports (Be35; three Be36s)


Impact with object/animal during takeoff

1 report (Be58)


Loss of control on takeoff—improperly set trim

1 report (Be35)



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


Loss of control—single engine approach in IMC

1 report (Be55)


Loss of control—door open in flight

1 report (Be24)


Attempted visual flight in IMC

1 report (Be36)



STALL/SPIN   (4 reports; 3% of the total)


Stall/Spin on takeoff

1 report (Be55)


Stall on takeoff

1 report (Be36)


Stall on final approach

1 report (Be35)


Stall on takeoff: short field, maximum weight, hot weather

1 report (Be24)



CONTROLLED FLIGHT INTO TERRAIN   (3 reports; 2% of the total)


Descent below minimum altitude on approach—night IMC

1 report (Be36)


Controlled flight into terrain/night mountainous terrain

1 report (Be58)


Descent below IFR approach minimum altitude

1 report (Be36)





In-flight vibration/flutter

1 report (Be35)


In-flight ruddervator separation

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, Master CFI

Mastery Flight Training, Inc.

There's much more aviation safety information at




Thomas P. Turner, MCFI

Mastery Flight Training, Inc.

There's much more aviation safety information at .



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