By Jim Timm JimTimm

April 2018 

 

 

The following are NTSB reports of aviation accidents that have occurred in Arizona from late February through late March. The Arizona Pilots Association uses this detailed accident information to develop safety programs and briefings that will help pilots learn from the mistakes being made by others, and then hopefully they will take the action necessary to prevent similar accidents from happening to them.

This reporting period has been very good in that the number of accidents were down with only two accidents being reported by the NTSB, and the good news is that none of them involved fatalities. In this reporting period, the NTSB released the final reports on four accidents that occurred last year. These were the Cessna 210 accident near Payson, the T51 accident at Chandler, the Cavalon Autogyro accident at Casa Grande, and the Eurocopter AS350 accident near Santa Rosa. These four accidents and two from this reporting period are contained in this report.

Unfortunately, there are still eight reported accidents that the NTSB has not yet published the detailed preliminary reports as of this date. These reports are from both 2017 and 2018.

Everyone out there, please continue to fly safely, help keep these accident reports small, and don’t get hurt.

 

THE FOLLOWING ARE THE FOUR ACCIDENTS THAT OCCURRED IN PREVIOUS REPORTING PERIODS 

 

Accident Date: Monday, January 2, 2017

Final Report Dated: 3/14/2018

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Payson

Aircraft Type: Cessna T210K

Injuries: 4 Fatal

CONTROLLED FLIGHT INTO TERRAIN / VFR FLIGHT INTO IMC CONDITIONS

The Cessna T210K was destroyed after it collided with mountainous terrain near Payson, Arizona. The flight departed Scottsdale Airport (SDL) at 0912 and was destined for Telluride, Colorado.

Analysis

The non-instrument-rated private pilot departed his home airport with three family members on a cross-country visual flight rules (VFR) flight over mountainous terrain. The forecasted weather conditions called for instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and mountain obscuration due to clouds, precipitation, and mist along the route of flight and at the accident site. The co-owner of the airplane, who held an instrument rating, had reviewed the pilot's flight plan and the forecast weather conditions two days before the accident and informed the pilot that he should drive to his destination as the weather would not allow for VFR flight. However, the pilot elected to proceed with the flight contrary to the co-owner's recommendation. The pilot entered the flight route into the ForeFlight mobile application but did not receive any weather briefings from flight service or the mobile application before departure. GPS data recovered from an electronic display device installed in the airplane showed that the airplane departed, entered a climb on a northerly heading, and maintained this direction for the remainder of the flight. After the airplane reached a peak altitude of about 8,000 ft above mean sea level (msl), it descended to 7,000 ft msl and then gradually descended to about 6,000 ft msl, where it remained until near the end of the flight. The airplane subsequently impacted the tops of trees on the rising face of a cliff about 6,600 ft msl. The orientation and length of the wreckage path were consistent with a controlled flight into terrain impact. Track data from the GPS showed that the airplane maintained a straight course after its departure all the way to the mountain rim, which had a published elevation between 6,700 feet msl and 8,000 feet msl. Post-accident examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any pre impact mechanical malfunctions or failures.

Although the autopilot switch was found in the "ON" position at the accident site, the autopilot was likely not engaged as the airplane's ground track and altitude varied, consistent with the pilot hand flying the airplane.

A weather study revealed that the airplane departed in visual meteorological conditions (VMC) and likely entered a combination of VMC and IMC after it climbed above 7,000 ft. Minutes later, the airplane encountered IMC and did not return to VMC for the remainder of the flight. The pilot's descent from 8,000 ft to 7,000 ft and then to 6,000 ft, occurred after the airplane entered IMC and indicates that he may have been attempting to return to VMC by descending, but was unsuccessful. Upon encountering IMC, the pilot could have turned around and returned to VMC, but he elected to continue and descend about 750 feet below the lowest peak terrain elevation in the area. The airplane's altitude increased rapidly by about 500 ft just seconds before the airplane impacted terrain suggesting that the pilot may have been alerted by the onboard terrain awareness warning system, which had been successfully tested by the co-owner, or observed the terrain and maneuvered to avoid the impact. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The non-instrument-rated pilot's improper decisions to begin and to continue a flight under visual flight rules into instrument meteorological conditions, which resulted in controlled flight into terrain.

 

 

Accident Date: Monday, October 28, 2017

Factual Report Dated: 3/15/2018

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Chandler

Aircraft Type: Titan T51

Injuries: 1 Uninjured

POWER LOSS ON APPROACH (CFIT)

The pilot reported that while on final approach, after passing over the airport perimeter fence, the engine lost power. The airplane had a high rate of descent, impacted the ground about 100 ft from the approach end of the runway, and slid to a stop about three feet from the runway threshold.

During the post-accident examination, it was found that the instrument panel layout had the flap position buttons adjacent to the unguarded engine control switches. The pilot reported that while on final approach, he inadvertently made contact with the engine control unit (ECU) toggle switch while he was positioning the flaps, which shut the engine down. Engine download data indicated that the ECU was turned off while on short final.

The fuselage and inboard wing spar structure were substantially damaged.

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

 

 

Accident Date: Saturday, November 18, 2017

Factual Report Dated: 2/21/2018

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Casa Grande

Aircraft Type: Autogyro Cavalon

Injuries: 2 Minor

LOSS OF CONTROL ON GROUND

The pilot reported that, during landing, the right wheel touched down first on the runway, and the gyroplane veered to the right. He added that, the "aircraft bounced from one wheel to the other" multiple times until the main rotor blade struck the runway. The gyroplane then rolled to the right, slid off the runway, and came to rest on its left side. A post-crash fire ignited in the engine compartment and consumed the gyroplane. The gyroplane was destroyed. The pilot reported that there were no pre accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the gyroplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Probable Cause and Findings:

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in loss of directional control and a subsequent runway excursion.

 

 

Accident Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Factual Report Dated: 3/14/2018

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Santa Rosa

Aircraft Type: Eurocopter AS 350

Injuries: 2 Uninjured

HARD LANDING

The pilot reported that, while landing off airport, the helicopter landed slightly harder than normal. The pilot flew the helicopter back to the airport without further incident. A post-accident examination revealed that the helicopter had sustained substantial damage to the tail boom. The pilot reported that there were no pre accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the helicopter that would have precluded normal operation. 

Probable Cause and Findings: 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing. 

 

 

THE FOLLOWING TWO ACCIDENTS HAD OCCURRED IN THE PAST REPORTING PERIOD

 

Accident Date: Friday, February 23, 2018

Report Dated: 3/1/18 Preliminary Report

Title 14 CFR Part 91 

Location: Show Low

Aircraft Type: Cessna 172

Injuries: UNK

The NTSB has not released any details other than the above information.

 

 

Accident Date: Monday, March 12, 2018

Report Dated: 3/13/18 Preliminary Report

Title 14 CFR Part 91 

Location: Green Valley

Aircraft Type: Cessna 172

Injuries: UNK

The NTSB has not released any details other than the above information.

  

For a brief look at what has happened in 2017 based on the NTSB reports made available: