By Jim Timm
The following are the NTSB reports of the aviation accidents that occurred in Arizona from late January through late February, 2016. We will use this detailed accident information in the coming year to develop safety programs and briefings that will help pilots learn from the mistakes being made by others and hopefully take the action necessary to prevent similar accidents from happening to them. I was hoping we could get our pilots to continue flying as carefully in 2016 as they had in 2015, unfortunately however, we have experienced two fatal accidents with three fatalities already this year.
From a flight safety standpoint, this reporting period was not as good as it could have been, but fortunately, only four accidents had been reported. One was devoid of any detailed accident information, but the other three have had detailed preliminary reports issued. One accident incurred minor injuries, and the other two accidents involved three fatalities. This was not the way we had hoped to start the year.
I hope we can continue a low accident and serious injury accident rate for 2016. Please be careful out there! Based on the information available when this summary was prepared, the four accidents this period are as follows:
Accident Date: Saturday, January 23, 2016
Title 14 CFR Part 91
Aircraft Type: Cessna TR182
NO NTSB INFORMATION AVAILABLE
Accident Date: Sunday, January 24, 2016
Report Dated 1/28/16
Title 14 CFR Part 91
Aircraft Type: Enstrom 280
Injuries: 1 Minor
POWER LOSS ON TAKEOFF
On January 24, 2016, about 1812 MST, an Enstrom 280 helicopter was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power after takeoff from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). The private pilot sustained minor injuries.
The pilot stated that he was climbing the helicopter to an altitude of 2,000 feet after takeoff from PHX. As the helicopter climbed through 1,500 feet, he felt an "abrupt" left yaw and observed the engine rpm indication drop to zero. The rotor rpm began to decay, and the pilot conducted an autorotation to a dry riverbed, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage and main rotor blades.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was destined for La Cholla Airpark (57AZ), Tucson, Arizona.
Accident Date: Friday, February 5, 2016
Report Dated 2/18/16
Title 14 CFR Part 91
Location: Near Maricopa
Aircraft Type: North American P-51D
Injuries: 2 Fatal
IN FLIGHT LOSS OF CONTROL
About 1157 MST, a North American F-51D sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain about 6 miles southwest of Maricopa. The commercial pilot and a passenger, who was an airline transport pilot, were fatally injured.
A witness located about 1 mile from the accident site reported observing the airplane in a nose down spiral about 1,500-2,000 feet above ground level, until it impacted the ground. Another witness located near the accident site stated that the airplane was in a dive and that he did not observe the airplane pull out of the descent.
Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), investigator-in-charge (IIC), revealed that all the major components of the airplane were located at the main wreckage site. A debris path extended from the forward part of the airplane about 150 feet and contained various debris including fragments of the canopy. A majority of the fuselage structure and wings were consumed by a post impact fire. The power lines located adjacent to the main wreckage were not damaged.
Accident Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Report Dated 2/19/16
Title 14 CFR Part 91
Aircraft Type: Evolution Revo (Weight-Shift Control “Trike”)
Injuries: 1 Fatal
LOSS OF CONTROL ON TAKEOFF
About 1452 MST, an Evolution Revo light sport weight-shift control "trike” impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Buckeye Municipal airport (BXK). The pilot, who was the sole person on board, received fatal injuries, and the aircraft was substantially damaged.
According to the owner of the aircraft, the pilot was a friend of a friend, and was visiting the area. The pilot had some free time, and urged the owner to be allowed to fly the aircraft. Based on the pilot's credentials and behavior, the owner eventually agreed to let the pilot fly the aircraft. The evening prior to the accident, the owner (acting as pilot-in-command) took the accident pilot (as a passenger) on an uneventful flight in the aircraft. On the day of the accident, both individuals conducted the preflight inspection, with no anomalies noted.
The pilot reportedly planned to conduct a solo flight, and then return for an unspecified passenger. According to the owner, the takeoff roll on runway 17 was normal, but shortly after breaking ground, the wing went to the "full flare" position, which he explained to mean that the wing was at the full wing leading edge up position. The wing remained in that position, and the aircraft climbed rapidly and steeply, but then appeared to stall, at an altitude the owner estimated to be about 100 to 150 feet above ground level. The aircraft then "rounded out," and descended rapidly to the ground in a nose-down attitude. The aircraft was equipped with a Ballistic Recovery System brand rocket propelled parachute, but the device was not activated by the pilot.
According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial certificate with airplane single engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings, and "sport endorsements" for gyroplane and powered parachutes. He also held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single- and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings, The pilot's most recent valid FAA medical certificate was obtained in 2004, and had expired; he was operating under the conditions of the light sport medical requirements. On that 2004 medical certificate application, the pilot reported a total flight experience of 4,500 hours.
FAA information indicated that the aircraft was manufactured in 2015, and was equipped with a Rotax 912-IS series engine. The wreckage was examined on site by FAA inspectors, and was recovered to a secure location for possible subsequent examination.
The BXK 1455 automated weather observation included winds from 130 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear skies, and temperature 27 degrees C.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan was filed for the flight.
Here is a link to the synopsis of NTSB reported Arizona accidents for 2015