Beech Weekly Accident Update

Piston Beechcraft Accidents 10/23/2014 through 10/29/2014

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 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.  © 2014 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved


From unofficial sources

10/24 (specific time not reported; Friday mid-afternoon):  After landing at the end of a VFR cross-cpuntry flight in "a lot of turbulence," the pilot of a Be35 found "the tail of the aircraft [had] a lot of damage."  He reports the tail was "bent" and he feels "lucky to be alive."  Registration and serial number of the Bonanza, a 1949 A35, were not reported.

("Tail vibration/ruddervator flutter in turbulence"; "Substantial damage"--historically returning an airplane to service will is cost-prohibitive after this type of event, and the airplane is parted out.  It should go without saying that AD-mandated inspections and repairs must be completed, and control balance remains verified. History also tells us smooth aircraft control, including flight at speeds that are at or below Va as computed for airplane weight even during the airspeed variation that result in turbulence, is especially critical in V-tail airplanes.) 

New reports this week

10/23 2146Z (1746 local Thursday evening):  The solo pilot of a Be55 was unhurt when the Baron's nose wheel collapsed during a dusk landing at Venice, Florida.  Airplane damage is "unknown".  N136S (TE-794) is/was a 1970 E55 registered in Nokomis, Florida.

("Gear collapse during landing")

10/25 1715Z (1315 local Saturday afternoon):  Two aboard a Be55 avoided injury when a Be55 landed gear up, at Crystal River, Florida.  The Baron has "unknown" damage.  N22605 (TC-2102) is/was a 1977 B55 registered in Dalton, Georgia.

("Gear up landing")

New NTSB reports this week

Events previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update

10/14 H35 runway excursion at Bountiful, Utah.  From the report:  "The pilot reported electrical and landing gear problems. Following touchdown on runway 34, the airplane departed the runway surface, crossed a ditch, crossed a taxiway, and collided with a hangar."  

Given this report, I suspect the loss of directional control was precipitated by gear collapse during landing.  There is a strong correlation between reported electrical failures and subsequent landing gear collapses in Beech airplanes (as well as other types with similar landing gear, including Mooneys and some twin-engine Cessnas).  An electrical gear motor is designed to run on full system voltage, and also to shut off before the gear transmission reaches its extreme of travel so the gear does not slam into the stop at full operating speed.  With less than full system voltage (even if the battery retains a full charge), the gear may go far enough to cut off the gear motor, and even give the cockpit "down and locked" indications, but still not be fully extended and locked down.  Consequently, any gear extension on anything less than full system voltage should be followed by completing the abnormal extension checkilst, in this case the Manual Landing Gear Extension procedure.  This is the only way to ensure the gear is completely down.

2014 SUMMARY: Reported Beechcraft piston mishaps, 2014:

Total reported:  106 reports

Environment: (Note: FAA preliminary reports no longer report weather conditions)

Operation in VMC:  49 reports 
Operation in IMC:    6 reports  
Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  51 reports
Operation at night:  11 reports 
Surface wind > 15 knots:  2 reports    

Most Serious Injury
Fatal accidents:  13 reports  
“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  4 reports 

Aircraft damage
“Substantial” damage:  22 reports
Aircraft “destroyed”:   14 reports 

Other factors

FAA's new aircraft triennial registration rule means it is impossible to tell whether an airplane registration was because of a change in ownership or simply compliance with the new regulation.  Consequently we will no longer track the number of mishaps that occur in the first year of registered ownership.  Over 16 years of the Weekly Accident Update has shown that, consistently, about 20% of all piston Beechcraft accidents happen in the first year of ownership.    

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  30 reports
Be36 Bonanza  25 reports      
Be58 Baron  15 reports  
Be55 Baron  12 reports
Be33 Bonanza/Debonair  8 reports  
Be76 Duchess  5 reports
Be24 Sierra  4 reports 
Be95 Travel Air  2 reports
Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner/Custom III  1 report
BE45 (T-34) Mentor  1 report
Be60 Duke  1 report
Baron (model unknown)  1 report

(all subject to update per official findings):

Landing gear-related mishaps
(43 reports; 41% of the total)

Gear up landing  20 reports
(two Be24s; three Be33s; eight Be35s; three Be36s; three Be55s; Be76)

Gear collapse during landing  15 reports
(six Be35s; Be36; two Be55s; four Be58s; Be76; Be95)

Mechanical gear failure 5 reports
(Be36; three Be58s; Be76)

Gear collapse: Damage from tow bar not removed before flight 1 report (Be36)

Gear collapse following alternator failure  1 report (Be36)

Tire failure on landing  1 report (Be58)

Engine failure (21 reports; 21% of the total)

Engine failure in flight  10 reports
(three Be33s; three Be35s; four Be36s)

Engine failure on approach/landing 5 reports
(Be35; three Be36s; Be55)

Fuel exhaustion 3 reports
(Be24; two Be36s)

Fuel starvation 2 reports
(Be33; Be35)

Engine failure on takeoff 1 report (Be45)

Impact during landing (16 reports; 16% of the total)

Loss of directional control during landing  6 reports
(Be23; two Be35s; Be36; two Be55s)

Landed short  4 reports
(three Be35s; Be76)

Runway overrun  2 reports 
(Be55; Be58)

Hard landing/airframe ice  1 report (Be58)

Landed short/airframe ice accumulation  1 report (Be60)

Runway overrun/wet runway surface  1 report (Be36)

Collision with animal during landing  1 report (Be36)

Miscellaneous (9 reports; 8% of the total)

Taxied into obstacle/parked aircraft  3 reports
(two Be36s; Be55)

Taxiway excursion  2 reports
(Be35; Be36)

Electrical fire on the ground  1 report (Be55)

Electrical fire in flight  1 report (Be58)

Pilot death by natural causes  1 report (Be36)

Bird strike  1 report (Be58)

Attempted air piracy  1 report (Be76)

Stall (4 reports; 4% of the total)

Stall during go-around/balked landing  2 reports
(Be36; Be55)

Stall during landing: Door open in flight  1 report (Be35)

Stall during takeoff   1 report (Be36)

Impact during takeoff (3 reports; 2% of the total)

Loss of directional control on takeoff  2 reports 
(both Be58s)

Failure to lift off/runway overrun on takeoff   1 report (Be36)

Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT)  (2 reports;  2% of the total)

CFIT  1 report (Be33)

Controlled Flight into Terrain: Descent into Water at Night  1 report (Be35)

Loss of control in flight (1 report)

Loss of control: Attempted visual flight in marginal VFR at night  1 report Be58

Tail vibration/ruddervator flutter (1 report)

Tail vibration/ruddervator flutter in turbulence  1 report (Be35)

Unknown (4 reports)

Crash/unknown  2 reports  
(Baron model unknown; Be95)

Takeoff/unknown  1 report (Be33)

Approach/unknown  1 report (Be24)

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.  

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