NOTE: The reports republished here are from the NTSB and are printed verbatim and in their complete form.
Daytona Beach, Florida/Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Minor
The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were landing at the conclusion of a personal flight. The passenger stated that, during the landing approach, he noted that the wing flaps were down, and three green landing gear lights were illuminated; the airspeed was about 90 knots on final approach. Just before landing, he heard the angle of attack indicator alarm and knew that the airplane had stalled. The airplane landed hard and the left main landing gear collapsed. The pilot initially applied full power to take off again; however, he then reduced the throttle to idle and applied full braking. The airplane slid off the left side of the runway and collided with the precision approach path indicator lights. The airplane continued across the grass until the right wing dug into the ground; it then cartwheeled, came to rest upright, and caught fire. Bystanders assisted the pilot and passenger in opening the canopy and egressing the airplane; the pilot succumbed to burn injuries about one week after the accident. The passenger stated that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions with the airplane, and examination of the wreckage revealed no anomalies.
The circumstances of the accident are consistent with the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the landing flare, which resulted in exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall. The subsequent hard landing resulted in a landing gear collapse and loss of directional control.
Probable cause(s): The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed during landing, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack, experiencing an aerodynamic stall and hard landing, which resulted in a landing gear collapse, loss of directional control, and runway excursion.
West Milford, New Jersey/Injuries: 1 Fatal
The private pilot told a friend that he was having problems with his airplane’s engine and stated that he was going to taxi to the end of the runway and perform an engine run-up. If the engine run-up was successful, the pilot was going to conduct a short cross-country flight and return. During takeoff, the engine experienced a total loss of power; the airplane subsequently impacted a wooded area about 1,100 ft south of the departure runway.
Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane experienced an in-flight fire, with the heaviest concentration of thermal damage on the aft right side of the engine compartment. The fuel inlet line from the fuel pump to the fuel servo was loose. According to the manufacturer, the part number of the inlet line installed on the accident airplane was not approved for aircraft use; however, aside from the part number, the approved hose looked identical to the unapproved hose, and the error likely could not be detected during an annual inspection. The airplane’s maintenance logbooks were destroyed during the accident and the pilot performed some of the maintenance of the airplane himself; therefore, when and by whom the unapproved hose was installed could not be determined. It is likely that the loose fuel line allowed fuel to spray onto the exhaust system, which resulted in the in-flight fire and the total loss of engine power.
Probable cause(s): An in-flight fire and total loss of engine power after takeoff due to a loose fuel line. Contributing to the accident was the installation of an unapproved fuel line by unknown personnel.
Newport, New Hampshire/Injuries: 1 None
The commercial pilot was initiating a personal flight and noted no discrepancies with the brakes during the preflight inspection, the engine run-up, or the initial portion of taxiing aside from the left brake pedal not lining up exactly with the right brake pedal, which had been that way for a while. When the pilot attempted to slow the airplane during the taxi, the right brake pedal travelled to the floor, which resulted in asymmetric braking. In an effort to avoid trees, the pilot intentionally ground looped the airplane and added power, which exacerbated the turn and resulted in the right wing impacting the ground. Postaccident examination of the right brake revealed no fluid in the reservoir and a leak at the slave cylinder, which likely resulted in the asymmetric braking and ground loop.
Probable cause(s): A leak in the right brake slave cylinder, which led to no fluid in the reservoir and subsequent asymmetric braking.
Cross City, Florida/Injuries: 1 Fatal
The commercial pilot was conducting a long cross-country flight. There was no record that he received a weather briefing from an official source, and he did not file a flight plan before departing. The pilot completed the first leg of the trip uneventfully and purchased fuel at an intermediate stop. During the second leg, about 30 minutes after takeoff and over a period of about 20 minutes, the airplane climbed from 3,400 ft mean sea level (msl) to 7,100 ft msl. It then made two left, 360° turns, followed by a rapid descent to 1,400 ft msl. During the next approximate hour, the target flew east at alternating altitudes below 2,500 ft msl, before turning south, flying s-turns and descending to 1,400 ft. The target proceeded south at 1,100 ft msl until about 10 minutes before the accident, when it flew near a cold front boundary. After that, the airplane completed numerous course deviations, including three complete left 360° and two right 360 turns; the last recorded radar return was about 0.4 mile east of the accident site at an altitude of 450 ft msl. The recorded weather near the accident site about the time of the accident included 10 miles visibility and an overcast ceiling at 600 ft. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.
Although the pilot held an instrument rating, his most recent simulated instrument experience was about 11 months before the accident and his most recent actual instrument experience was more than 2 years before the accident. The dark night, restricted visibility conditions, and the pilot’s extensive maneuvering in the last 10 minutes of flight, coinciding with the frontal boundary, provided conditions conducive to the development of spatial disorientation. The final path of the airplane in a direction opposite the last radar returns and the airplane’s steep impact angle are consistent with the known effects of spatial disorientation and a subsequent loss of control.
Probable cause(s): The pilot’s improper decision to continue visual flight rules flight into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in the pilot experiencing spatial disorientation and a subsequent loss of airplane control.
Corona, California/Injuries: 2 None
The pilot in the low-wing airplane reported that, while in the traffic pattern at the nontowered airport, he made continuous reports on the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF). He added that, on final, he observed a high-wing airplane positioned adjacent to the runway he was approaching. He added that, on short final, “the runway was clear,” and he heard no radio transmissions. The low-wing airplane impacted the high-wing airplane on the runway. The low-wing airplane yawed right and came to rest nose down in front of the right wing of the high-wing airplane.
The pilot receiving instruction in the high-wing airplane reported that, after performing a run-up, she and the flight instructor taxied to and held short of the departure runway. She added that, during the taxi, she and the instructor did not hear radio transmissions on the CTAF from other aircraft in the traffic pattern. Before departure, they visually cleared final and base and reported their departure intentions on the CTAF. They lined up on the runway for a short-field takeoff, held the brakes, and applied full power. She released the brakes and about 3 to 5 seconds into the takeoff roll, they heard a loud noise, and the airplane was pushed left. Despite reporting not hearing the other pilots on the CTAF, all the pilots reported that they used the same frequency.
The low-wing airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The high-wing airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and empennage.
Two witnesses in the other airplane reported that, while taxiing, they heard the pilots in the high-wing airplane transmit that they were “taking the runway” and departing. They observed the high-wing airplane line up on the runway but did not see any aircraft on base or final. Several moments later, they looked back and saw the highwing airplane still on the runway and the low-wing airplane on final. One of the witnesses made a call on the CTAF warning the low-wing airplane pilot that another airplane was on the runway but heard no response. He made another call to the low-wing airplane pilots to suggest that they perform a go-around, and then they observed the low-wing airplane land on top of the high-wing airplane.
The pilots of the low- and high-wing airplanes reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with their airplanes that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause(s): The pilot’s failure to see and avoid the airplane on the runway while landing and the pilot receiving instruction’s and flight instructor’s failure to properly scan the approach before pulling onto the runway during the takeoff.