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

This reporting period appears to have been relatively good given the number of accidents that have been reported. In the past month there have been three accidents, but unfortunately two of them were fatal accidents resulting in three fatalities. The flight safety record for this year is not all that great. With only two months left of the year, let’s do whatever we can to be more careful and make sure both we and our airplanes are in proper condition for flight, and fly safe.

Details of the three accidents reported in this period are detailed below. The last portion of this report contains the details of three accidents that occurred much earlier, but the accident details were only made available in the past reporting period. The cause of the last accident in this report, while a bit unusual, should be a concern of all who fly. Fly alert and fly safe.




Accident Date: Saturday, September 15, 2018
Preliminary Report Dated: 10/15/18
Title 14 CFR Part 91 Operation
Location: Bullhead City
Aircraft Type: Cessna A185F
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Non Injured

On September 15, 2018, about 1245 MST, a float-equipped Cessna A185F airplane collided with terrain shortly after takeoff at Laughlin/ Bullhead International Airport (IFP). The private pilot was not injured, and the passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight to Glendale Municipal Airport (GEU).

The pilot departed from Reno/Tahoe International Airport, Reno, Nevada, in the accident airplane earlier that morning with a destination of IFP. After landing at IFP, the pilot refueled and was on the ground at IFP for about 30 minutes before departing. While departing from runway 16, the pilot was entering data into his fuel totalizer when he looked up and saw that he was flying towards rising terrain. He was unable to maintain altitude and turned left to avoid terrain and power lines. The airplane subsequently impacted the ground near a ravine.

Initial examination of the accident by the Federal Aviation Administration inspector, revealed the accident site was about 5 miles southeast of IFP. Both wings and forward fuselage sustained substantial damage. The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land and sea, multiengine land and instrument rating. Flight time records indicated that the pilot had about 3,400 total hours of flight experience, and about 1,500 hours in this make and model.



Accident Date: Monday, September 17, 2018
Preliminary Report Dated: 10/11/18
Title 14 CFR Part 91 Operation
Location: Cottonwood
Aircraft Type: Beech F33A
Injuries: 1 Fatal

On September 17, 2018, about 0945 MST, a 10 Beech F33A airplane impacted a home 1/4 mile southeast of the approach end of runway 32 at the Cottonwood Airport (P52). The airline transport pilot was the sole person on board and was fatally injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage and a post-accident fire ensued. The airplane was operated by the pilot as a cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from North Las Vegas Airport (VGT), Nevada, about 0820, with a destination of P52.

According to the owner, the airplane was based at P52. The owner asked the pilot to fly him to VGT, where the owner would pick up a truck that he planned to drive back to the Cottonwood area, and the pilot would fly the airplane back to P52. Although the trip from P52 to VGT was the first time the pilot had flown in the accident airplane, the owner had previously flown with the pilot a few times in other airplanes. The pilot flew the entire leg uneventfully, and the owner stated that he felt confident in the pilot's flying abilities. After landing at VGT, the owner exited the airplane, and the pilot departed VGT in the airplane shortly thereafter.

Ground scars and wreckage distribution indicated that the airplane impacted the roof of the home; a landing gear wheel and strut were found in the home's attic. The airplane then impacted a tree and a bush before impacting the ground in the backyard of the home. The bush exhibited cut branches, which was consistent with propeller blade strikes. The right wing had leading edge impact damage, and the right wing inboard section, and cabin area was mostly consumed by post impact fire. The left wing was mostly intact, and trace amounts of fuel from the wing was collected during the recovery of the wreckage.

According to a first responder, the pilot had initially survived the accident, and he was found outside the airplane, about 15 feet from the airplane. The first responder recalled that the pilot stated that the engine had quit while the pilot was trying to land at P52. Other witnesses in the area did not remember hearing any engine sound prior to the airplane impacting the home. The owner stated that upon landing at VGT, the airplane should have had enough fuel for 4 more hours of flight time. The accident occurred about 1 hour 25 minutes after the pilot's departure from VGT.



Accident Date: Saturday, October 13, 2018
Preliminary Report Dated: 10/23
Title 14 CFR Part 91 Operation
Location: Payson
Aircraft Type: Cessna T240
Injuries: 2 Fatal

On October 13, 2018, about 1845 MST, a Cessna T240 airplane was destroyed when it impacted a house while on approach to landing at Payson Airport (PAN). The private pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The flight originated from Glendale Municipal Airport (GEU) about 1815, with an intended destination of PAN.

Review of preliminary radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration revealed a primary target, which correlated with the accident airplane, on a right downwind leg for runway 24, about 900 ft above ground level (AGL) at a groundspeed of 107 knots. About 0.75 miles from the approach end of the runway, the airplane started a right turn about 700 ft agl and continued the turn through the base leg while maintaining the altitude. The groundspeed decreased to 60 knots as the airplane continued to turn. The primary target continued to maneuver in what appeared to be an extended downwind before starting another right turn to the base leg about 650 ft agl and a groundspeed of 94 knots. The data indicated that the airplane made a final 180° near the approach path for the runway at 625 ft agl and 81 knots. The final turn was in the vicinity of the accident site and where the radar target was lost.

Review of the photos provided by first responders revealed that the airplane impacted the 11 house in a vertical attitude. The propeller, the engine and the instrument panel were embedded into subfloors of the residential structure. The wreckage debris was contained within 25ft by 25ft area inside the house.




Accident Date: Sunday June 10, 2018
Factual Report Report Dated: 10/12/2018
Title 14 CFR Part 91 Operation
Location: Benson
Aircraft Type: Cessna 170
Injuries: 1 Uninjured

The pilot reported that, during the landing roll, the tailwheel-equipped airplane veered to the left and began to bounce. He applied right rudder correction, which quickly turned the airplane right towards centerline, and then applied left rudder to realign with runway heading. He increased the engine power setting to full to perform a go around, but the airplane, on its third bounce, ground looped to the left. The right wing impacted the ground and the airplane came to rest on its right side with the wing at a 90° angle. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing.

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

The pilot reported that the automated weather observation system located on the airport reported that, about 15 minutes before the accident, the wind was light and variable at 2 knots, gusting to 5 knots. The airplane landed on runway 28.



Accident Date: Friday, June 22, 2018
Factual Report Report Dated: 10/4/2018
Title 14 CFR Part 91 Operation
Location: Goodyear
Aircraft Type: Piper PA30
Injuries: 2 Uninjured

The flight instructor reported that, while landing at night, the pilot receiving instruction allowed the twin engine airplane to drift left of the centerline at touchdown. The pilot then overcorrected with right rudder, the airplane veered to the right, and the pilot then locked the brakes. The airplane continued to veer right and exited the runway.

The flight instructor further added that he did not request the flight controls but asked the pilot to release the brakes to no avail. After exiting the runway, the flight instructor had only right rudder and nose wheel steering and "fishtailed" the airplane further to the right before the left main landing gear collapsed. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

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

The automated weather observation system on the accident airport reported that, about the time of the accident, the wind was from 230° at 9 knots. The pilot landed on runway 21.



The following is a synopsis of a Vans RV-7 fatal accident that had occurred on June 27, 2017, near Arlington, AZ. The lengthy factual NTSB report was released very shortly before this report was prepared. The cause was a surprise to some of us, and should be of significant concern for all pilots.


Accident Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Factual Report Dated: 10/18/18
Title 14 CFR Part 91 Operation
Location: Arlington, AZ
Aircraft Type: Vans RV7
Injuries: 2 Fatal



On June 27, 2017, about 0849 MST, a Vans RV7 was destroyed when it impacted terrain about 10 miles southwest of Arlington. The airline transport pilot and the pilot-rated passenger sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the local personal flight originated from Buckeye Municipal Airport (BXK) about 0835.

The wreckage was found by local law enforcement in the Gila Mountains at 1810.

Radar data revealed a primary target that correlated with the accident airplane about 2.5 miles southeast of BXK at 2,200 ft mean sea level (MSL) and climbing. At 0847 the target made a left 180° turn to the northeast at 7,600 ft MSL. The target continued along this heading before radar returns were lost at 0849; the last return was near the accident site.


The pilot, age 78, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multiengine land and single-engine sea. The pilot reported 22,510 total hours of flight experience.

The passenger held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He reported flight experience that included 3.2 hours total.


The airplane was issued an FAA Airworthiness Certificate in November of 2013. The maintenance records were not located during the investigation, and the airplane's maintenance history could not be determined.


At 0853, the automated weather observation for BXK, located about 18 miles northeast of the accident site, reported visibility 10 statute miles with no clouds.


The airplane impacted rocky, desert terrain and was destroyed by impact forces. The wreckage was dispersed in a triangular pattern and exhibited impact damage consistent with an inverted, left-wing-down, nose-down attitude at the time of impact. One of the propeller blades exhibited heavy gouging on the leading edge and chord wise scoring. The other blade displayed forward bending at the midsection, leading edge scoring and missing material at the tip. The main wreckage comprised the horizontal stabilizers and both elevators, cabin area structure, and both wings. The horizontal stabilizer and associated structure remained attached to the main wreckage by flight control cables and electrical wires.

The plexiglass canopy, vertical stabilizer, and rudder were not located during the examination of the accident site on that day. They were located several days later about 1 mile northwest of the main wreckage.

During the examination of the recovered wreckage, specimens of biological matter were observed on the underside of the right horizontal stabilizer and upper rear bulkhead behind the pilot's seat position. Bird feathers were found in the cockpit under the passenger seat. Bone matter was found between the engine cylinders and on the oil cooler. The specimens were collected and sent for further identification and classification.

Examination of the airframe, engine, and system components revealed no evidence of pre impact mechanical malfunction that would have precluded normal operation.


The Office of the Medical Examiner at Maricopa County concluded that the causes of death were multiple blunt force trauma and thermal injuries.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research 13 A Few Words About Safety Denny Granquist “Using ATC is better than avoiding ATC.” “Nothing is more useless than the runway behind you, the airspeed you don't have, or the airspace above you.” Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot and passenger, and did not detect a presence of drugs. Tests for carbon monoxide and cyanide were not performed.


The Feather Identification Lab, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, determined that the biological matter, the whole feathers and some downy feather material all matched a single museum specimen of rock pigeon. Additionally, microscopic examination of the feather samples was consistent with rock pigeon.

Airframe components from the empennage were examined at the NTSB Materials Lab, in Washington, DC, and additional samples of biological matter were collected. These samples were extracted from a dented section underneath the horizontal stabilizer, including a small whole feather found deep inside the empennage. This feather and the additional empennage samples were also identified as rock pigeon based on whole feather comparisons and microscopic analysis. Additionally, the impact dent was consistent with the typical size of this bird species.

There were no indications of any preexisting damage such as cracks or corrosion. All aircraft assemblies exhibited damage consistent with secondary fractures (such as ground impact).

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