Beech Weekly Accident Update

Piston Beechcraft Accidents 

1/21/2016 through 1/27/2016

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.  © 2015 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved


The December 31, 2015 End-of-Year Beech Weekly Accident Update has been updated a second time, and is posted here.

New reports this week

1/22 2040Z (1340 local Friday afternoon): A Be35 force-landed in a field 1.5 miles from the Steamboat Springs, Colorado airport. The solo pilot was unhurt; airplane damage is “unknown”. Weather was VMC. N816R (D-6016) is a 1959 K35 registered in Elbert, Colorado.

(“Engine failure immediately after takeoff”—local news quotes the pilot as saying the engine lost power immediately after takeoff, and she had to hike through deep snow back to the airport. It appears in photos that she did a masterful job of maintaining control through the crash.

Are you dressed and equipped to survive in the conditions over which you’ll fly, if you have an unexpected early arrival? I discuss this in this week’s FLYING LESSONS.)

1/26 1742Z (1242 local Tuesday afternoon): A Be35’s landing gear collapsed during an attempted takeoff at Blythe, Georgia. The two “flight crew” aboard escaped injury; airplane damage is “unknown”. N5320E (D-5815) is/was a 1959 K35 registered in Augusta, Georgia.

(“Gear collapse during takeoff”—with a “crew” of two aboard, this might have been the common accidental gear retraction during a touch-and-go landing.  Most instructors, myself included, recommend against touch-and-goes in retractable gear airplanes, to guard against this and other high workload/short work time type of events.)

New NTSB reports this week

Events previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update

1/14 fatal C35 loss of control and inflight break-up in flight over mountains, at Meeker, Colorado. The NTSB preliminary strongly suggests the pilot lost control after entering IMC during attempted visual flight over mountains. 

2016 SUMMARY: Reported Beechcraft piston mishaps, 2015:

Total reported: 8 reports

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

Operation in VMC:  3 reports 
Operation in IMC:    0 reports  
Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  5 reports
Operation at night:  0 reports 
Surface wind > 15 knots:  0 reports    

Most Serious Injury
Fatal accidents:  1 report 
“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  0 reports 

Aircraft damage
“Substantial” damage:  2 reports
Aircraft “destroyed”:   0 reports

Other factors

FAA's 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  4 reports  
Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner/Custom III  1 report
Be33 Bonanza/Debonair  1 report  
Be55 Baron  1 report
Be58 Baron  1 report

(all subject to update per official findings):

Landing gear-related mishaps (4 reports)

Gear up landing  
2 reports (Be35; Be55)

Gear collapse during landing  1 report (Be58)

Gear collapse during takeoff  1 report (Be35)

Engine failure (2 reports)

Engine failure during approach/landing  1 report (Be33)

Engine failure immediately after takeoff  1 report (Be35)

Loss of Control in Flight (LOC-I)  (1 report)

Inflight break-up/Catastrophic airframe failure   1 report (Be35)

Unknown (1 report)

Crash/Unknown  1 report (Be23)

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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