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The following are the NTSB reports of the aviation accidents that have occurred in Arizona from late March through late April. APA will use this detailed accident information to develop safety programs, briefings, and posters/flyers that would help pilots learn from the mistakes being made by others and take the action necessary to prevent them from having similar accidents.

Because the number of accidents reported by the NTSB has been very noticeably reduced in number each month since last December, I contacted the NTSB to determine if there has been a change in reporting requirements or what could account for the significant reduction in reports. I was assured that there were no internal changes in the reporting system, but they have also noted that there has been a reduction in the number of accidents that have resulted in reportable structural damage to the airplane. An example of this might be something similar to a financially devastating gear up landing that didn’t cause structural damage to the airplane, just skin, and formers, and an engine teardown. Based on the NTSB comments and their examination of the concerns, there was a comment that perhaps the amount of flying has been reduced or people are being more careful. I would like to think the latter is the case, because I really haven’t noted a reduction at my home airport, Falcon Field, but at airports without a large flight school in operation, perhaps the numbers are down, and I would really like to think people are taking note and are flying more carefully. 

In any event, in this past reporting period the NTSB indicated there were only three accidents that occurred. There were also three accidents from the previous period that had their reports issued in this reporting period. These six accidents are as follows:

 

THE FOLLOWING THREE ACCIDENTS OCCURRED IN THE PAST REPORTING PERIOD

 

Accident Date: April 16, 2019

Preliminary Report Dated: 4/23

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Fort McDowell

Aircraft Type: Bell 206 Jetranger

Injuries: 2 Fatalities

INFLIGHT MECHANICAL FAILURE

On April 16, 2019, at 0706 MST, a Bell 206B experimental helicopter impacted an alfalfa field, about 1 mile south of Fort McDowell, Arizona. The commercial pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured, and the helicopter was destroyed. The helicopter was registered to TRE Aviation Corporation and operated by Van Horn Aviation, LLC for research and development flight testing. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, a flight plan was not filed, and the second leg of the test flight originated from Falcon Field (FFZ), Mesa, at 0632. 

The purpose of the flight was to evaluate developmental main rotor blades that had been installed on the helicopter. According to the operator, the helicopter was fueled for two test flight legs. The helicopter departed at 0545 for the first event and returned at about 0620, parked on the ramp with the engine at idle, and 100 lbs. of ballast was added to the helicopter. Preliminary radar data showed that the helicopter departed at 0632 to continue the second leg of the test flight. The test flight legs consisted of multiple autorotations at maximum gross weight involving a simulated loss of engine power. The accident flight was the last test flight of the main rotor blades before the certification process.

A witness who was walking to a bus stop, about 1/3-mile northwest of the accident site on Fort McDowell road, heard a loud bang southeast of her position. She saw the helicopter falling from the sky and used her phone to video record the helicopter and several other objects descending to the ground before losing site of it behind trees along the road.

Initial examination of the main wreckage revealed post-crash fire and impact damage consistent with a right side-down, nose-level attitude during ground impact. The main rotor hub assembly, vertical tail, tail rotor assembly, tail rotor driveshaft, and forward induction cowl fairing separated from the main wreckage and were found in the debris field. The debris field was about 1 mile long and 1,000 ft wide, covering an area of wooded desert terrain and flood irrigated alfalfa fields.

The helicopter was manufactured in 1981 and was equipped with a Rolls-Royce 250-C20B engine and was registered to the owner in January 2019.

The 0654 automated weather observation at FFZ, located about 12 miles to the south of the accident site, included wind from 130° at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, and clear skies.

 

 

Accident Date: April 17, 2019

Preliminary Report Dated: 4/22/19

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Wickenburg

Aircraft Type: Piper PA28

Injuries: UNK

The NTSB has not yet made the preliminary report available.

 

 

Accident Date: April 23, 2019

Preliminary Report Dated: 4/24/19

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Prescott

Aircraft Type: Cessna 172

Injuries: UNK

The NTSB has not yet made the preliminary report available.

 

 

THE FOLLOWING THREE ACCIDENTS HAD OCCURRED IN THE PREVIOUS REPORTING PERIOD. THE ACCIDENT REPORTS WERE RELEASED IN THIS REPORTING PERIOD

 

Accident Date: February 28, 2019

Preliminary Report Dated: 4/2/19

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Cottonwood

Aircraft Type: Beech 35

Injuries: UNK

The NTSB has not yet made the preliminary report available.

 

 

Accident Date: March 2, 2019

Factual Report Dated: 4/16

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Scottsdale

Aircraft Type: Cessna 172

Injuries: 1 Uninjured

LOSS OF CONTROL LANDING

The solo student pilot reported that, during the landing roll of a touch and go landing, the airplane began to veer off the runway, so he added power for a go around. He called the tower controller to inform them of the go around and he observed the left landing gear strut was bent and the tire was "missing." He told the controller that he must have hit something and was instructed to fly by the tower. After the flyby, the tower controller confirmed damage to the left landing gear and cleared him to land. The student landed, and, during the landing roll, the airplane skidded off the runway.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left horizontal stabilizer and left elevator.

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

The automated weather observation station located on the airport reported that, about 7 minutes before the accident, the wind was from 320° at 8 knots. The student pilot was landing the airplane on runway 21.

Examination of security videos revealed that, during the first landing and go around, the airplane drifted to the left and the left main landing gear struck a runway sign.

 

 

Accident Date: March 9, 2019

Factual Report Dated: 4/16

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Chandler

Aircraft Type: Cessna T210

Injuries: 1 Uninjured

LANDED WITH GEAR RETRACTED

The pilot of the retractable landing gear equipped-airplane reported that, while in the traffic pattern, he was distracted looking for other aircraft and failed to continue the landing checklist, but assumed it was completed. During approach, he reduced power, but did not hear the landing gear warning horn. The pilot then landed the airplane with the landing gear retracted.
The pilot added that, during the recovery process with a tow truck, they attempted to troubleshoot the landing gear warning system, but they did not hear the landing gear warning horn again.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing.

Post-accident examination by the Federal Aviation Administrator inspector revealed that the landing gear audible warning horn switch on the bulkhead (engine compartment) was improperly rigged and the horn did not sound when tested. He added that the airplane was equipped with a mirror on the right wing which the pilot could have used to visually check if the landing gear was extended.

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