The following are the NTSB reports of aviation accidents that occurred in Arizona from late February through late March. 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.

Aviation safety in this past reporting period has apparently been very good in that the NTSB didn’t issue any reports of accidents occurring in the period, nor have we heard of any through the media or other contacts that we have. The NTSB did release three accident reports in this period that had been on hold, and they are covered in this following report.




Accident Date: January 24, 2020

Preliminary Report Dated: February 26, 2020

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Payson

Aircraft Type: Piper PA 28-140

Injuries: 1 Fatal 2 Serious


On January 24, 2020, about 0911 MST, a Piper PA28-140 airplane impacted mountainous terrain about 10 miles southwest of Payson Airport (PAN), Payson, Arizona. The private pilot and one passenger were seriously injured, another passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed, and a post-accident fire ensued. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight. The flight originated from PAN, at about 0900.

The pilot stated in an interview that after a flight earlier that morning from Falcon Field Airport (FFZ), Mesa, he landed in PAN, refueled, and departed for the return flight back to FFZ. During the return flight, the pilot decided to fly over the mountains southwest of their position. He stated that he flew about 1,000 ft above ground level (agl) over the mountains, while the passengers were spotting wildlife on the terrain below. The pilot stated the airplane was running well and doesn't remember anything else until waking up in a small creek at the accident site.

Preliminary flight track data showed the airplane departing PAN and flew to the Mazatzal Mountain Range. While maintaining an altitude of about 1,000 ft agl above the mountainous terrain, the airplane made a 280° turning maneuver, then descended over a canyon. About a half mile from the accident site, the flight track turned left and the turn radius increased before the track data ceased. The last recorded flight track data point was located about 500 ft from the accident site and about 200 ft agl.

Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane impacted steep brush covered terrain. The wreckage included all major structural airplane components, and primary flight controls were contained within the debris field that was about 145 ft long and oriented on a magnetic heading of about 35°. The propeller was found about halfway through the debris field and the blades revealed leading edge gouging and loss of blade material at the tips. The main wreckage was found on top of rocks located along a stream. The cabin and forward fuselage were mostly consumed by post impact fire. The left wing and empennage were found partially attached to the main wreckage and had post impact fire damage.



Accident Date: January 25, 2020

Factual Report Dated: March 4, 2020

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Prescott

Aircraft Type: Cessna 150

Injuries: 2 Uninjured


The pilot reported that during the descent for a touch-and-go landing, the airplane was not descending and he noticed that he was high on the approach. The pilot trimmed the airplane for a more nose down attitude and extended the flaps to 40o. Throughout the descent, the pilot had a difficult time controlling the airplane as he experienced updrafts and a tailwind. After passing the touchdown point on the runway, the airplane stalled and landed hard on the runway, bouncing several times. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the engine mount assembly.

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



Accident Date: February 4, 2020

Factual Report Dated: March 4, 2020

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Mesa

Aircraft Type: Piper PA 28-181

Injuries: 2 Uninjured


The flight instructor reported that she briefed the soft-field takeoff procedure with her student while holding short for the active runway. After the flight was cleared for takeoff, the student pilot aligned the airplane with the runway center line, advanced the throttle to the full power position, and released aft pressure from the yoke. During the ground roll, the instructor briefly lost sight of the runway and when the runway reappeared, she observed the airplane rapidly veering to the left. The instructor applied full right rudder and right aileron control as they had lost directional control, but the airplane continued to the left. Unable to remediate the turn, the instructor reduced engine power, but quickly restored it with the intent of flying the airplane back to the runway as the airplane had just become airborne. However, the airplane rolled to the left, the stall horn came on and then they touched down on the taxiway, bounced, entered the ramp and impacted a parked airplane. The right wing and left aileron were substantially damaged.

Please login to add a comment.