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

At this point, I’m not really sure what the aviation safety for the past period really was. There were no accident reports coming from the NTSB, and I’ll have to admit that I haven’t heard any news reports of an accident occurring either, so I hope the absence of news is good news, and therefore the report is good, with no accidents. This hasn’t happened in the number of years I’ve been preparing these reports, but I’ll take it. People are flying, I see them, I see them on my ADS-B, and I hear them. Perhaps the virus pandemic has kept the accident-prone pilots grounded, and those flying are being more cautious and careful. I hope the NTSB folks are still on the job issuing reports, and if so, this is great. I like these kinds of reports. I just hope that when all of this is over, we aren’t suddenly inundated with reports of people having accidents.

In the last reporting period, there was a final report that was issued for a powered parachute accident that had occurred on January 18 at Gold Canyon. There are also two accidents that had occurred in July that had their Preliminary Report or Finding reports issued in this past period that are also part of this report. 




Accident Date: January 18, 2020

Final Report: August 17, 2020

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Gold Canyon

Aircraft Type: Powrachute (Powered Parachute)

Injuries: 1 Uninjured


The pilot stated that, during the takeoff roll in the powered parachute, the parachute "did not come up straight but to the side," so he aborted the takeoff. He reduced the throttle, but the powered parachute didn't slow down, and it pulled to the side of the runway. He tried applying brakes, but the front brake was on gravel and got locked up and would not turn the powered parachute, which then slid forward and hit a barricade. The steering bar and frame sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the powered parachute that would have precluded normal operation.



Accident Date: July 5, 2020

Factual Report: August 11, 2020

Title 14 CFR Part 91

Location: Sedona

Aircraft Type: Beech 23

Injuries: 2 Uninjured


The pilot reported that after engine start, he listened to the automated weather observation system (AWOS) that reported the wind from 270° at 3 knots. The pilot considered the density altitude; however, it was not reported on the AWOS. The pilot taxied out to runway 03 and began the takeoff roll. About mid-field the airplane lifted off and began a slow climb. Crossing the end of the runway, the airplane yawed and then began to lose altitude. After the airplane exited the airport boundary, which was on a plateau, the airplane continued to lose altitude and descended the sloped terrain. Unable to gain airspeed or maintain altitude, the pilot initiated a forced landing to a road. During the landing, the right main and nose landing gears collapsed. The right wing and lower fuselage were substantially damaged.

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

The elevation of the airport is 4,830 ft mean sea level. At the time of the accident, the density altitude was calculated to be 7,700 ft.



Accident Date: July 7, 2020

Preliminary Report: July 28, 2020

Title 14 CFR Part 133 (Rotorcraft External Load)

Location: Payson

Aircraft Type: Bell UH-1H

Injuries: 1 Fatal


On July 7, 2020, about 1213 MST, a Bell/Garlick UH-1H helicopter was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Payson, Arizona. The pilot was fatally injured. The helicopter was operated as an FAR Part 133 external load flight, and the helicopter was operated by the United States Forest Service at the time of the accident.

According to witnesses, the helicopter was transporting supplies using a long line for a hotshot firefighting crew that were repositioning on the ground. The pilot transported three loads to the new destination uneventfully prior to the accident and had been using an indirect route to the north to avoid a fire area. While transporting the fourth load, witnesses observed the helicopter begin to fly erratically while en route to its destination. During this time, a witness stated that he observed the helicopter enter a high nose-up pitch attitude and the external payload began to swing. The helicopter then displayed irregular movements for several seconds before the external payload settled and the helicopter appeared to stabilize. However, after about 3 seconds, multiple witnesses observed the helicopter wobble and bank erratically before it entered a steep nose up attitude and then descended rapidly. The witnesses did not observe the helicopter on fire during the accident flight, nor did the pilot report any anomalies over the helicopter crew's common air-to-ground radio frequency or any other assigned frequencies for the fire.

The helicopter wreckage came to rest about 0.5 nm north of its drop off destination, oriented on a heading of 074° magnetic, and was mostly consumed by post-crash fire. All major structural components of the helicopter were accounted for at the accident site. The helicopter's external payload was found 123 ft southeast of the main wreckage. 

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