Beech Weekly Accident Update

Piston Beechcraft Accidents 10/16/2014 through 10/22/2014

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


New reports this week

10/17 2000Z (1500 local Friday afternoon):  The lone occupant of a Be36 died when, during taxi at Rayville, Louisiana, the Bonanza "went off [the] taxiway and crashed into a fence." Airplane damage is "unknown".  N143LH (E-143) is/was a 1969 Beech 36 registered in Oak Ridge, Louisiana.

("Taxiway excursion"; "Fatal"--the pilot had just completed a "ferry/repositioning flight" of roughly one hour and sixteen minutes' duration.  Local news reports: "Preliminary investigation revealed the pilot...had successfully landed at the airport. He and his passengers had deplaned and the aircraft was refueled. [The pilot] had re-entered the aircraft to move it to its hangar.

According to evidence and witnesses, [the pilot] began moving the aircraft onto the taxiway and had gotten his right landing gear off the pavement onto the soft grassy area. Witnesses reported hearing the engine being throttled up and as the aircraft came back onto the pavement it traveled approximately 275 feet and struck an unoccupied golf cart with its left wing. It traveled approximately another 30 feet and struck the perimeter fence.

[The pilot] was transported by Medlife Ambulance to the Richardson Medical Center where he was treated and later being transferred to Shreveport by Air Evac. Richland Parish Sheriff's Department learned at approximately 6:15 p.m. [the pilot] had died during transport.")

10/19 1800Z (1100 local Sunday morning):  A Be58 "went off the runway and struck a taxiway light" during an attempted takeoff at Atwater, California.  Two persons aboard the Baron were unhurt.  The aircraft has "minor" damage.  N6060U (TJ-452) is a 1984 58P registered in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.)

("Loss of directional control during takeoff")

10/21 1635Z (1235 local Tuesday early afternoon):  The pilot of a Be95 died, and a second "crew member" aboard the Travel Air suffered "serious" injuries, when the Beech twin "crashed into a wooded area" 10 miles from Durham, North Carolina.  The airplane was "destroyed".  N64GM (TD-592) was a 1964 D95A registered in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

("Crash/unknown"; "Fatal"; "Aircraft destroyed"--a local news account includes a picture of the airplane, largely intact after what appears to be a near-vertical descent into trees, with the tail of the airplane bent completely forward as is consistent with an airplane that was in a spin at the time of impact.  Was this a simulated or actual engine failure scenario gone horribly wrong?  Does the FAA's identification of the person with serious injures as a second "crew member", as opposed to a passenger, support that this was an instructional flight?  A photo of the crashed airplane in a second news account appears to show the airplane's left propeller was stationary and feathered at the time of impact.  The airplane was owned by a "multiengine flight instruction school," according to a third account.

This serves as a grim reminder of the need for multiengine instructors to actively manage the aircraft during engine-out training, letting the student go far enough--but never too far--to assure the same outcome of the flight.)

New NTSB reports this week

Events previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update

10/12 triple fatality Baron 58 attempted visual flight into marginal VMC at night, at Palos Hills, Illinois.  From the report: 

"Preliminary radar track information showed that the airplane departed runway 22L at MDW and began climbing on runway heading (220 degrees). When the airplane had reached an altitude of about 2,200 feet above mean sea level (msl), it turned about 30 degrees to the left to a heading of about 190 degrees and began descending. During the descent, the airplane then turned to the right to a heading of about 260 degrees. During the right turn the airplane descended to about 1500 feet msl and then started to climb. During this period, the airplane entered a left turn which continued for about 360 degrees before radar contact was lost. The final recorded altitude was about 2,000 feet msl.

"At 2238, the weather conditions at MDW were: wind 170 degrees at 9 knots; 6 statute miles visibility; mist; a broken ceiling at 1,000 feet above ground level (agl); an overcast ceiling at 1,400 feet agl; temperature 15 degrees Celsius; dew point 13 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 29.89 inches of mercury. The field elevation at MDW was 620 feet msl.

"The accident location was in a residential area about 6 nautical miles southwest of MDW. The initial impact point was within a group of trees. Broken limbs and the condition of the wreckage was consistent with a near vertical attitude at impact. The majority of the wreckage remained at the initial impact point while smaller pieces of wreckage were spread in a fan shaped pattern to the southeast. All major airframe components were located and identified within the wreckage debris path."

Change "Loss of control: Attempted visual flight in night IMC" to "Loss of control: Attempted visual flight in marginal VFR at night.")

2014 SUMMARY: Reported Beechcraft piston mishaps, 2014:

Total reported:  103 reports

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

Operation in VMC:  48 reports 
Operation in IMC:    6 reports  
Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  49 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:  21 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  29 reports
Be36 Bonanza  25 reports      
Be58 Baron  15 reports  
Be55 Baron  10 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
(41 reports; 41% of the total)

Gear up landing  19 reports
(two Be24s; three Be33s; eight Be35s; three Be36s; two Be55s; Be76)

Gear collapse during landing  14 reports
(six Be35s; Be36; Be55; 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

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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