By Jim Timm JimTimm

August 2016

The following are the NTSB reports of the aviation accidents that have occurred in Arizona from June thru late July, 2016. We will use this detailed accident information to develop safety programs and briefings that we hope will help pilots learn from the mistakes being made by others and take the appropriate action necessary to prevent similar accidents from occurring to them. The first half of the year didn’t get off to a very good start, as we had a number of accidents that involved fatalities, and unfortunately, the trend has not been improving. We all need to take a more careful look at what we are doing and exercise more caution.

From a flight safety standpoint, things didn’t go very well this past reporting period. While there were only four accidents, one of them involved two fatalities. One accident, while involving very significant aircraft damage, did not involve any injuries, and the other two accidents reported did not contain details at this time, and most likely they did not involve serious injuries, if any at all. In this reporting period there are two accidents that occurred in April and May that have finally had detailed reports issued, and these are included at the end of this report.

As you know, summer is here; please check density altitude performance and fly safely. Don’t ever become part of this report.

The accidents that have been reported the past reporting period are as follows:

Accident Date: Monday, June 13, 2016

Title 14 CFR Public Use

Location: Ajo

Aircraft Type: EUROCOPTER EC120


Accident Date: Saturday, June 18, 2016

Report Dated 6/27/16

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Prescott

Aircraft Type: Beech C23

Injuries: 2 Uninjured


On June 18, 2016, about 0815 MST, a Beechcraft C23 was substantially damaged during a landing attempt in Prescott following a loss of engine power. The private pilot and pilot rated passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the cross county flight that departed Grants-Milan Municipal Airport (GNT), Grants, New Mexico at approximately 0630 MDT. The personal flight was destined for Ernest A Love Field Airport (PRC), Prescott, Arizona.

The pilot reported that she and her friend, a pilot rated passenger, were on their way to PRC to participate in an air race. They departed GNT with the fuel selector in the left tank position and about 36 gallons of fuel onboard. After the occupants reached their cruise altitude, the pilot handed the controls over to the pilot rated passenger for the remainder of the flight, while the pilot continued to operate the radio. They made contact with the tower controller about 5 nautical miles east of the airport (PRC) and reduced engine power to begin a descent. When the engine suddenly lost power, the occupants immediately cycled the throttle and mixture and activated the fuel boost pump, which produced a brief surge of engine power. They contacted the tower controller to report the engine failure and to declare an emergency. The controller cleared the airplane to land on runway 21L, but as the pilot rated passenger turned towards the runway she realized the airplane would not reach the airport. The pilot reported that they had experienced two separate power losses in the days leading up to the accident, but successfully restarted the engine during both events.

According to the pilot rated passenger, the main landing gear separated shortly after the airplane touched down. The airplane then skidded up the rising face of a small berm. An initial report from an airport operations representative indicated that the airplane came to rest in an area of sparse vegetation about one half mile north of PRC.

Accident Date: Thursday, June 23, 2016

Report Dated: 7/5/16

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Wikieup

Aircraft Type: Robinson Helicopter R66

Injuries: 2 Fatalities


On June 23, 2016, about 1420 MST, a Robinson R66 collided with terrain under unknown circumstances near Wikieup. The commercial pilot and the commercial pilot rated passenger sustained fatal injuries. The helicopter was destroyed during the accident sequence, and the cabin area was consumed by a post impact fire. The cross-country positioning flight departed Prescott, Arizona, about 1340 with a planned destination of Riverside, California.

The pilot was going to Riverside to take a Part 135 chief pilot check ride with an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards District Office located there. The pilot rated passenger was the operator's Part 141 Chief Pilot. The airplane was reported overdue when it did not arrive at the destination, and the wreckage was located about 0430 on June 24.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), inspectors from the FAA, and an investigator from Robinson Helicopter Company examined the wreckage on site. The helicopter came to rest in hilly desert terrain. The debris field was about 750 yards long and 150 yards wide. One of the first pieces identified was the outboard 5 feet of a main rotor blade afterbody that had separated from the leading edge spar. The left side of the helicopter was more fragmented than the right, and left side cabin pieces and instruments were distributed throughout the early part of the debris field. The tail boom was about midway into the debris field. The left side/nose cabin was in the same approximate part of the debris field with a straight separation line across one side. The cabin came to rest inverted about 600 yards into the debris field, and was destroyed by a post crash fire. The engine remained attached to the cabin. The remaining piece of main rotor blade was about the same distance into the debris field, but 85 yards left of the debris path centerline. The transmission, mast, and second main rotor blade separated as a unit, and were about 100 yards past the cabin area in the direction of the centerline of the debris field. The main rotor driveshaft was bent approximately 15 degrees at the swashplate.

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

Accident Date: Sunday, July 10, 2016

Title 14 CFR Part 137 Agricultural

Location: Surprise

Aircraft Type: Bell OH58A



Accident Date: Thursday, April 24, 2016

Report Dated: 7/14/16

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Marana


Injuries: 1 Minor, 1 Uninjured


According to the pilot, while maneuvering the glider about 2,900 feet above ground level, the pilot determined that the wind conditions were not conducive to sustain flight and turned toward the runway in order to establish an approach. He recalled that while maneuvering toward the runway, he encountered downdrafts and began to lose altitude rapidly. He reported that he issued a mayday call about ¾ of a statute mile from the runway, established a nose up attitude to decrease the airspeed, and the glider impacted the trees. The glider sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical failures or anomalies with the glider prior to or during the flight that would have prevented normal flight operation.


OCCURRENCES Maneuvering - Other weather encounter

Maneuvering - Loss of lift

Emergency descent - Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)


Aircraft-Aircraft oper/perf/capability-Performance/control parameters-Altitude-Attain/maintain not possible - C

Environmental issues-Conditions/weather/phenomena-Wind-Downdraft-Effect on equipment

Findings Legend: (C) = Cause, (F) = Factor

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The glider's loss of lift as a result of unfavorable wind conditions for glider operations, consequently resulting in a collision with trees.

Accident Date: Monday, May 2, 2016

Report Dated: 7/14/16

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Mesa

Aircraft Type: Cessna C172

Injuries: 1 Uninjured


The student pilot reported that during landing, the airplane porpoised, subsequently he attempted to abort the landing, but the airplane touched down again, which resulted in a collapsed nose gear, runway excursion, and an impact with terrain. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage.

According to the student pilot there were no pre impact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.


OCCURRENCES Landing-flare/touchdown - Abnormal runway contact Landing-flare/touchdown - Landing gear collapse Landing - Runway excursion

Landing - Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)


Aircraft - Aircraft oper/perf/capability-Performance/control parameters-Pitch control - Not attained/maintained - C

Personnel issues - Task performance-Use of equip/info - Aircraft control - Pilot - C

Findings Legend: (C) = Cause, (F) = Factor

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The student pilot's failure to maintain pitch control during the landing flare, which resulted in an abnormal runway contact, porpoise, nose gear collapse, runway excursion, and impact with terrain.

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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