Beech Weekly Accident Update

Piston Beechcraft Accidents 8/20/2015 through 8/26/2015

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


New reports this week

8/21 1840Z (1340 local Friday afternoon):  A Be33 “landed with the landing gear up under unknown circumstances,” at Morristown, Tennessee.  The two aboard the “personal” flight have “unknown” injuries, and the Bonanza has “unknown” damage. N5648S (CD-1034) is/was a 1966 35-C33 registered in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

(“Gear up landing”)

8/22 1720Z (1420 local Saturday afternoon):  A Be35’s nose gear collapsed during takeoff at Denver, Colorado.  The solo pilot reports no injury; airplane damage is “minor”.  N159W (D-888) is/was a 1948 Bonanza 35 recently registered in Broomfield, Colorado.

(“Gear collapse during takeoff”—almost certainly an airframe-ender for a Bonanza of this vintage)

8/22 2033Z (1333 local Saturday afternoon):  A Be24 “experienced a nose gear collapse after landing” at Bakersfield, California.  The solo pilot was unhurt; airplane damage is “unknown”.  N6588R (MC-251) is/was 1974 B24R registered in Bakersfield.

(“Gear collapse during landing”—almost certainly totaling this Sierra.)

New NTSB reports this week

Events previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update

8/12 fatal N35 engine failure during takeoff at Weirsdale, Florida.  From the NTSB:

"The airplane took off from runway 36. At the departure end of the runway there was a crossing runway, 9/27. According to a witness, a pilot who was working outside his home located near the departure end of runway 36 (third house back from the runway), airplanes utilizing runway 9/27 would typically stay low during takeoff, while those taking off from runway 36 would typically climb at a relatively high angle to avoid airplanes utilizing the crossing runway.

"The witness had seen the accident airplane take off many times to the north, utilizing the higher climb angle, but on the day of the accident, when he thought he'd see the airplane climb above houses about halfway along the runway, he was surprised that he didn't see it. When he finally saw the airplane [about 300-400 feet prior to the departure end of the 3,600-foot runway], it was about 50 feet in the air, landing gear retracted, and about level with the eaves of the houses lining the runway. The witness then lost sight of it, but subsequently heard two loud ‘bangs.'

"The witness further noted that the engine sounded ‘ ormal' until takeoff, when it then started to ‘ tall' as if a cylinder was ‘ issing.' He also noted that when he saw the airplane, it appeared to flying in ground effect; it was as if it was in slow flight with a high angle of attack….

"The throttle and propeller controls were found pushed in, and the mixture was found pulled out about ½ inch (of rod as measured from the panel bulkhead.) The fuel boost pump was found in the "on" position. The pump switch did not appear to be impact-damaged and could be switched on and off without binding.

Change “Crash immediately after takeoff/Unknown” to “Engine failure during takeoff.”  It’s unknown whether the auxiliary fuel pump was turned on in an attempt to address the loss of engine power, or if it was turned on inadvertently and contributed to the reduction in power.

8/16 fatal C35 engine failure and attempted landing on the Long Island Railroad tracks at Hicksville, New York.  This is the event in which a controller first directed the pilot toward his choice of two airports and, when the pilot reported he was unable to make it that far, the controller vectored him toward a nearby closed airport that was apparently still on the controller’s screen—although the controller also apparently did not know the closed runway had been covered with buildings.

2015 SUMMARY: Reported Beechcraft piston mishaps, 2015:

Total reported: 105 reports

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

Operation in VMC:  48 reports 
Operation in IMC:    9 reports  
Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  48 reports
Operation at night:  9 reports 
Surface wind > 15 knots:  1 report    

Most Serious Injury
Fatal accidents:  14 reports 
“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  10 reports 

Aircraft damage
“Substantial” damage:  18 reports
Aircraft “destroyed”:   18 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  30 reports
Be36 Bonanza  27 reports        
Be58 Baron  11 reports  
Be33 Bonanza/Debonair  10 reports  
Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner/Custom  7 reports   
Be55 Baron  7 reports   
Be17 Staggerwing  4 reports  
Be24 Sierra  3 reports  
Be45 (T-34) Mentor  2 reports 
Be18 Twin Beech  1 report 
Be19 Sport  1 report    
Be50 Twin Bonanza  1 report
Be60 Duke  1 report
Be95 Travel Air  1 report

(all subject to update per official findings):

Landing gear-related mishaps (46 reports; 44% of the total year-to-date)

Landing gear collapse during landing  
26 reports (Be24; four Be33s; six Be35s; seven Be36s; Be45; two Be55s; four Be58s; Be60)

Gear up landing  
16 reports (two Be24s; two Be33s; five Be35s; Be36; Be45; two Be55s; two Be58s; Be95)

Gear up landing/mechanical gear failure  1 report (Be17)

Gear up landing/electrical failure/failure to complete the manual extension procedure  1 report (Be36)

Gear collapse during touch and go  1 report (Be36)

Gear collapse during takeoff  1 report (Be35)

Engine failure (22 reports; 21% of the total year-to-date)

Engine failure in flight  
9 reports (three Be23s; four Be35s; two Be36s)

Engine failure immediately after takeoff  
5 reports (Be33; two Be35s; two Be36s)

Engine failure immediately after takeoff--catastrophic cylinder separation  1 report (Be35)

Engine failure in flight/Catastrophic oil loss  1 report (Be19)

Cylinder bottom end/hole in crankcase  1 report (Be36)

Partial power loss during takeoff/failure to abort  1 report (Be35)

Engine failure during takeoff/failure to abort  1 report (Be36)

Partial power loss in cruise with subsequent total engine failure  1 report (Be36)

Fuel exhaustion  1 report (Be36)

Engine failure during approach/landing  1 report (Be36)

Impact during landing (14 reports; 14% of the total year-to-date)

Loss of directional control during landing  
9 reports (Be17; Be18; Be23; two Be33s; Be35; Be36; Be50; Be55)

Landed long/runway overrun  
2 reports (both Be58s)

Landed short/impacted obstacles  1 report (Be23)

Hard landing  1 report (Be23)

Loss of directional control during landing/blown tire  1 report (Be58)

Miscellaneous (6 reports; 6% of the total year-to-date)

Collision during taxi  2 reports (Both Be17s)

Bird strike  1 report (Be35)

Collision with wildlife during landing  1 report (Be36)

Collision with a parked aircraft while taxiing   1 report (Be33)

Cabin fire in flight  1 report (Be35)

Crash/Unknown (5 reports; 6% of the total year-to-date)

Takeoff/Unknown  1 report (Be36)

Forced landing/unknown  1 report (Be58)

Crash/unknown: Night, mountainous terrain  1 report (Be36)

Crash/unknown--Flight in area of thunderstorms  1 report (Be55)

Approach/Unknown--IMC  1 report (Be55)

Stall (6 reports; 6% of the total year-to-date)

Stall/mush on takeoff  
2 reports (both Be35s)

Stall during missed approach in IMC  1 report (Be36)

Stall/spin immediately after takeoff/Uphill/Short Field/Obstacles at end of runway  1 report (Be36)

Loss of control/stall/spin from cruise flight  1 report (Be35)

Stall/spin turning base to final  1 report (Be36)

Impact during takeoff (3 reports; 3% of the total year-to-date)

Loss of directional control/rejected takeoff  1 report (Be58)

Loss of directional control/possible mechanical cause  1 report (Be23)

Landed short  1 report (Be36)

Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT)  (2 reports)

Controlled Flight into Terrain/Icing Conditions  1 report (Be36)

CFIT/Attempted visual flight in IMC/mountainous terrain  1 report (Be35)

Tail vibration/control flutter (1 report)
Tail vibration/control flutter during high-speed descent  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.  

Personal Aviation: Freedom.  Choices.  Responsibility.

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