Beech Weekly Accident Update

Piston Beechcraft Accidents 

5/20/2016 through 5/25/2016

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.  © 2016 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved


New reports this week

5/19 1543Z (1143 local Thursday morning): The pilot of a Be35 died, and a passenger suffered “serious” injuries, , when the Bonanza “crashed shortly after takeoff” from Sevierville, Tennessee.  The airplane was “destroyed”. Weather was VMC. N2967B (D-3608) was a 1953 D35 registered in Tennessee.

(“Gear up landing/Attempted go-around after propeller strike/Stall”; “Fatal”; “Airplane destroyed”—an eyewitness posted in a public web forum that the pilot "was landing on Rwy 28. He had not put the gear down. As the prop began to strike the runway he attempted to climb away. With a 10" curl on each propeller blade (two blades) there wasn't enough ‘bite' to climb well. He pulled the nose up prematurely, stalled the plane, pitched straight down into the ground, then burst into flames.

Gear up landings almost never hurt anyone, let alone result in serious injuries and death. When they do, it’s because the pilot attempted to fly out of his or her mistake, making matters far worse in the process. Do everything you can to avoid a Landing Gear-Related Mishap. But if you do make ground contact with something other than the tires when touching down, pull the throttle, pull the mixture and maintain directional control for as long as you can as the airplane slides to a stop.)

5/22 2030Z (1530 local Sunday afternoon): The pilot of a Be24 lost directional control during landing at Marine City, Michigan. The Sierra“went off the runway and the gear collapsed.” The solo pilot reports no injury; airplane damage is “unknown”. N20135 (MC-604) is/was a 1978 C24R registered in Indiana.

(“Loss of directional control during landing”) 

5/22 2040Z (1340 local Sunday afternoon): A Be33 landed gear up at Santa Rosa, California. The pilot, alone in the Bonanza, was unhurt; airplane damage is “minor”. N7935K (CD-762) is/was a 1964 35-B33 Debonair registered in California.

(“Gear up landing”)

5/23 2120Z (1220 local Monday afternoon): One pilot aboard a Be23 suffered “minor” injuries, and another “flight crew” member was unhurt, when the Beechcraft “landed in the [ocean] off Makaha Beach and sank,” near Waianae, Hawaii.  The airplane was destroyed. N6697Y (M-2224) was a 1979 C23 registered in Hawaii.

(“Total engine failure during cruise flight”; “Airplane destroyed”—an industry website reports: "Following an apparent loss of engine power the aircraft ditched into the sea approximately 30 yards off Makaha Beach. The aircraft sustained unreported but substantial salt water damage. County lifeguards brought two people to shore, the pilot was apparently uninjured and the passenger was taken to hospital with a minor injury.”)

5/22 (Sunday; time not reported): The solo pilot of a Be36 suffered “unknown” but reportedly minor injuries when the Bonanza landed long, ran off the end of the runway and into a ravine at Griffin, Georgia. The airplane received substantial damage. Weather was VMC. N36SR (E-1096) is/was a 1977 A36 registered in Texas.

(“Landed long/runway overrun”; “Substantial damage”—a witness reports the airplane was very “hot” on the approach, and because of the excessive airspeed did not touch down until near the far end of the runway. As the Bonanza departed the pavement its nose gear collapsed, which absorbed enough energy that the airplane slid down the side of the ravine and did not impact against its opposite side.)

5/24 2125Z (1625 local Tuesday afternoon): A Be33 landed gear up at New Richmond, Wisconsin. The two aboard escaped injury despite “substantial” airplane damage. N318Z (CD-215) is/was a 1960 35-33 registered in Minnesota.

(“Gear up landing”; “Substantial damage”)

New NTSB reports this week

Events previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update

5/24 C23 Sundowner crash at Delano, California. From the NTSB preliminary report:

...the [student] pilot stated that he departed from the Bakersfield Municipal Airport (L45), Bakersfield, California, and flew to the west side of the valley practicing maneuvers before flying to Porterville Airport (PTV), Porterville, California, for a quick stop. The pilot then departed PTV, destined to Shafter Airport – Minter Field (MIT), Shafter, California. While en route, in the vicinity of Delano, the pilot stated that he switched the fuel selector from the right tank position to the left tank position. Shortly after he switched fuel tanks, the engine lost power and he could not get it restarted, so he initiated a forced landing to an orange orchard. During the forced landing the airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings and fuselage. The pilot estimated that he had 22 gallons of fuel per fuel tank prior to departure. 

Change “Total engine failure during cruise flight” to “Fuel starvation”. Pilots, plan your fuel management strategy, monitor expectations against reality in flight, and practice your engine failure in flight drills to be ready in the even of power interruption. Instructors, don’t send your students out on their own until they know all of that.

2016 SUMMARY: Reported Beechcraft piston mishaps, 2015:

Total reported: 61 reports

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

Operation in VMC:  34 reports 
Operation in IMC:    1 report  
Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  26 reports
Operation at night:  5 reports 
Surface wind > 15 knots:  1 report    

Most Serious Injury
Fatal accidents:  6 reports 
“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  2 reports 

Aircraft damage
“Substantial” damage:  13 reports
Aircraft “destroyed”:   6 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  17 reports   
Be36 Bonanza 10 reports
Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner/Custom III  6 reports 
Be33 Bonanza/Debonair  6 reports
Be58 Baron  6 reports   
Be55 Baron  4 reports      
Be24 Sierra  3 reports
Be45 (T-34) Mentor  1 report
Be17 Staggering  1 report
Be18 Twin Beech  1 report
Be60 Duke  1 report
Be76 Duchess  1 report
Be77  1 report

(all subject to update per official findings):

Landing gear-related mishaps (25 reports: 41% of the total)

Gear collapse during landing  
12 reports (five Be35s; two Be36s; four Be58s; Be60)

Gear up landing  
10 reports (two Be33s; five Be35s; two Be36s; Be55)

Gear collapse during takeoff  1 report (Be35)

Gear collapse during taxi  1 report (Be55)

Gear up landing/Attempted go-around after propeller strike/Stall  1 report (Be35)

Engine failure (18 reports: 30% of the total)

Total engine failure during cruise flight  
8 reports (four Be23s three Be33s; Be35; Be36)

Engine failure immediately after takeoff  
5 reports (Two Be24s; Be35; two Be36s) 

Engine failure during approach/landing  
2 reports (Be33; Be55)

Partial power loss during cruise flight  1 report (Be35)  

Fuel exhaustion  1 report (Be36)

Fuel starvation  1 report (Be23)

Impact during landing (7 reports; 11% of the total)

Loss of directional control during landing  
3 repors (Be18; Be24; Be77) 

Landed long/runway overrun 
2 reports (Be23; Be36)

Hard landing  1 report (Be58)

Runway excursion during landing 1 report (Be36)

Impact during takeoff (5 reports; 8% of the total)

Loss of directional control during takeoff  
3 reports (Be17; Be23; Be65)

Runway overrun during attempted takeoff  1 report (Be45)

Loss of control shortly after takeoff/unknown  1 report (Be76)

Miscellaneous (3 reports;  5% of the total))

Bird strike shortly after takeoff  1 report (Be33)

Collision with powerlines  1 report (Be35)

Diverted in flight/Unknown  1 report (Be58)

Loss of Control in Flight (LOC-I)  (3 reports)

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

Partial panel flight/Loss of control/Inflight breakup 1 report (Be35)

Loss of control during go around/balked landing  1 report (Be55)

Midair collision (1 report)

Collision during visual maneuvering  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.  

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