By Jim Timm JimTimm

June 2017

 

The following are the NTSB reports of aviation accidents that have occurred in Arizona from late April, 2017, through late May, 2017. We will use this detailed accident information to develop safety programs and briefings to help pilots learn from the mistakes being made by others, and then take the action necessary to prevent similar accidents from happening to them.

From a flight safety standpoint, this month’s report has both bad news and good news. The bad news is that there was a significant jump in the number of accidents reported, five to be exact, but the good news is that none of them involved fatalities. They only involved minor or no injuries, but unfortunately some fine airplanes did get seriously damaged. I’m not sure what is going on with the NTSB, but they have started the routine of publishing an accident notice giving only the basic information, the date, the location, the airplane information, and type of injuries, fatal or nonfatal. They state a preliminary report was prepared and its date, but they don't provide any information from the preliminary report. The report details show up several days later. Of the five reported accidents this period, two are this case. The following are the five reported accidents and the information that has been published to date. 

 

Accident Date: Saturday, March 11, 2017

Preliminary Report Dated: 3/16/17

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Gila Bend

Aircraft Type: Piper PA28

Injuries:  Nonfatal

A Preliminary Report had been prepared, but the report details were not yet released.

 

Accident Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017

Findings Report Dated: 4/3/17

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Wilcox

Aircraft Type: Baking Duce (Experimental Biplane)

Injuries:  1 Minor

LOSS OF CONTROL LANDING

The pilot of the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during the landing roll as he pulled the power to idle and lowered the tail, he raised the flaps and the airplane encountered a "sudden and strong wind" that caused the airplane to weather-vane. Subsequently, the airplane veered off the right side of the runway, the main landing gear collapsed, and the airplane came to rest nose down. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both right and left wings and both lift struts.

The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

 

Accident Date: Thursday, April 20, 2017

Preliminary Report Dated: 5/22/17

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Goodyear

Aircraft Type: Diamond DA 40 NG

Injuries:  1 Uninjured

LOSS OF POWER ON TAKEOFF

On April 20, 2017, at 0719 MST, a single-engine Diamond Aircraft DA 40 NG airplane lost engine power during the takeoff from the Phoenix Goodyear Airport (GYR). The student pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. 

According to the student pilot, he performed a preflight check in accordance with the airplane flight manual; it included a check of the ECU, with no discrepancies noted. Taxi and takeoff were normal until about 400 feet above ground level (agl). The pilot noticed a change in the engine sound. When he looked at the engine load indicator, it read 35%, he then tried to cycle the power level to see if he had any control, but the load indication remained at 35%. Shortly thereafter, the pilot reported the annunciator lights for the ECU illuminate; ECU A FAIL and ECU B FAIL.

The pilot stated that he did not believe there was sufficient altitude to turn back to the airport. Per the flight schools standard operating procedures (SOP), below 1,000 feet it is advised to not turn back to the airport. The student pilot maneuvered to a field to the right of him, however, he stated that his altitude was low, and he did not think the airplane was going to be able to clear power lines. He decided to go under the power lines, and as the airplane went under the power lines, it struck the bottom wire. There was a white flash in the cockpit, and the pilot stated that he tried to get the airplane to a field for landing. When the airplane touched down, it bounced, and then eventually struck a ditch. He switched off the fuel pumps, opened the canopy, and exited the airplane.

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area solo instructional flight and no flight plan had been filed.

 

Accident Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017

Preliminary Report Dated: 5/11/17

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Coolidge

Aircraft Type: Schweizer 269C (Helicopter)

Injuries:  1 Minor

LOSS OF POWER IN FLIGHT AND FORCED LANDING

On April 27, 2017, about 0945 MST, a Schweizer 269C sustained substantial damage subsequent to a hard landing near Coolidge. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. The cross-country instructional flight departed Falcon Field Airport (FFZ), Mesa, about 0915 with a planned destination of Coolidge.

The pilot reported that it was a training flight and that he was working towards a commercial certificate. The pilot reported that in level flight he noticed a change in the sound of the engine. He then noticed that the RPM dual tachometer was below the normal limit, and attempted to correct the anomaly by increasing the throttle with the twist grip. He noted there was no response to the RPM and he attempted to make a landing in the open desert. He flared just before touchdown, and the helicopter landed hard and rolled onto its right side. The pilot noted that he did not observe the rotor/engine tachometer needles split prior to landing.

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

 

Accident Date: Saturday, May 20, 2017

Preliminary Report Dated: 5/22/17

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Casa Grande

Aircraft Type: Airtime Aircraft Inc. Cygnet

Injuries:  Nonfatal

A Preliminary Report had been prepared, but the report details were not yet released.

 

I hope a low accident and serious injury rate can continue for 2016, and I also hope we have met our quota for fatal accidents for 2016. Please fly carefully out there! Based on information available when this summary was prepared, the three accidents in this period are as follows:

 

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