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Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


January 2009 Reports


Official information from FAA and NTSB sources (unless otherwise noted).  Editorial comments (contained in parentheses), year-to-date summary and closing comments are those of the author.  All information is preliminary and subject to change.  Comments on preliminary topics are meant solely to enhance flying safety.  Please use these reports to help you more accurately evaluate the potential risks when you make your own decisions about how and when to fly.  Please accept my sincere personal condolences if anyone you know was in a mishap. I welcome your comments, suggestions and criticisms.  Fly safe, and have fun!


©2009 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved


 1/8/2009 Report




1/1 2225Z (1625 local):  An A36 landed gear up at Salina, Kansas.  The solo pilot was unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was “VFR”.  N754P (E-461) is a 1973 A36 registered since 2000 to a Wichita, KS-based corporation.


(“Gear up landing”; “Substantial damage”)


1/2 2300Z (1700 local):  A Be19’s engine failed in flight 10 miles from Philip, South Dakota.  The solo pilot made a forced landing on a road and was not hurt; aircraft damage is “unknown”.  Weather at Philip was “clear and 10” with a 12-knot wind.  N9107T (MB-377) is a 1968 19A registered since 1988 to an individual in Philip.


(“Engine failure in flight”—and what sounds like a good job with the off-airport landing)


1/3 1940Z (1340 local):  A Be58 suffered “substantial” damage when the aircraft “bounced on landing” and then departed the far end of the runway, at Brainerd, Minnesota.  Two aboard the “business” flight avoided injury.  Weather was “sky clear”, visibility five miles in haze, with a seven-knot surface wind.  N70DD (TH-370) is a 1973 Baron 58 registered since 1985 to a Bemidji, MN-based corporation.


(“Bounced landing”; “Substantial damage”—Bounced landings result from one of three conditions:


1.       The pilot does not arrest descent by flaring, the airplane impacts hard and then rebounds from the surface;

2.       The pilot attempts to touch down at too great an airspeed, while the wing is still developing excess lift, and the aircraft skips back into the air; or

3.       The pilot relaxes elevator pressure at the point of touchdown, reducing the wing’s angle of attack from a stalled condition to one that generates enough lift to put the airplane back into the air.


There are three main hazards with bounced landings:

1.       Aircraft damage resulting from the initial impact, usually limited to blown tires or damaged landing gear components. This can also cause loss of directional control and additional damage or injury.

2.       Damage to additional aircraft components as a result of “hopping” or “dropping in” on subsequent touchdowns.  This often causes propeller strikes [and costly engine teardowns], more substantial landing gear damage, and in some models buckled engine compartment firewalls and other structural items.

3.       Runway overrun from a bounced landing where the pilot recovers and makes a smooth, subsequent touchdown, but in a position where there is insufficient runway remaining to come to a stop [as appears to have happened in the case of this Baron]. 


In my pre-solo Air Force pilot screening training we were initially required to go around any time we bounced a landing… to avoid a pilot-induced oscillation or close-to-the-ground stall, as well as to ensure we did not recover from the bounce only to run off the end of the runway afterward.  Closer to our first solo we were taught to recover from a bounce by adding a little power and lowering the angle of attack, then transitioning into a flare.  If we bounced a second time, however, we had no choice [under Air Force rules] but to power up, lower the nose and go around for another landing.  I still adhere to this two-bounces-go-around philosophy [although I’ve not needed to use it for a long time].   

Airspeed control is the key to a smooth, accurate landing.  Too fast on short final can be as disastrous as too little airspeed.  Focus on proper airspeed control on every landing so you’ll be less likely to bounce one in.


1/6 2229Z (1729 local):  Two aboard a Be36 (and their dog) escaped injury when they landed on a frozen reservoir near the intended destination of Three Rivers, Michigan.  The airplane suffered “substantial” damage.  Weather in the area was 1300 overcast, visibility two miles with an eight-knot surface wind, a surface temperature of +2°C and a one-degree temperature/dew point spread.  N92WT (EA-230) is a 1981 A36TC registered since 2003 to a Wilmington, Delaware corporation.


(“Controlled flight into terrain: Airframe ice in cruise/unable to maintain altitude” [more in a moment]; “Substantial damage”; “IMC”; “Night”—television news reports the pilot and his son were returning from a fishing trip to Texas by way of a refueling stop in Springfield, Missouri when the “plane was forced to land because of ice that was forming on the wings at about 6,900 feet.”  Multiple witnesses report the pilot mentioned this specific airframe ice report.  Video on the TV news website shows the A36’s nose and left main gear collapsed or broke through the ice, and it appears the Bonanza’s left wing was significantly damaged.


The pilot appears to have done a masterful job landing under the circumstances.  It should have been easy to predict, however, the possibility of ice formation in cruise in the immediate lee of Lake Michigan when surface conditions were IMC with near-freezing temperatures.  Astronaut Frank Borman [a turboprop-converted Bonanza owner and FLYING LESSONS reader] said "a superior pilot uses his superior judgment to avoid situations which require the use of his superior skill."  Few scenarios seem as potentially fraught with hazard as night IMC in freezing temperatures on the downwind side of a large body of water, in an airplane not designed [nor likely aftermarket-certified] for flight in icing conditions. 


Turbocharger power may help to a point, but when wing and tail aerodynamics begin to fail there’s very little power can do; power itself will fade in ice as well as propeller blades become left efficient in turning power into thrust, and if the induction air filter plugs turbocharged engines may lose significant power operating on alternate air if that air is taken from the low-pressure portion of the engine compartment.   


Plan your flight—to avoid potential icing conditions—and fly your plan.  “Known ice” certified or not, treat the first appearance of airframe ice the same as you’d treat an unexpected sounding of the stall warning horn: as a signal to do something NOW to get yourself out of hazardous conditions.)      



UPDATES FROM NTSB: Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


**12/21/08 C23 crash at Linden, NJ.  “[O]n climb out, at approximately 300 feet above ground level (agl), he noticed that the engine was producing only 1,700 to 1,800 rpm. At that point, he repositioned the fuel selector from the left to right tank, and then and looked for a place to land. Shortly thereafter, he heard the stall warning horn, and attempted to lower the nose to prevent the airplane from stalling. The airplane subsequently stalled and crashed into a tree.”  Change “Takeoff/Unknown” to “Engine failure on takeoff” in the 2008 summary.**


**12/27/08 Twin Beech engine failure on takeoff at Fort Myers, FL.  The pilot told NTSB investigators he “had just departed runway 6…and while climbing through 100 feet above ground level, he reduced the engines power from takeoff to a cruise/climb power….”  He then “noticed a loss of engine power but it took some time to determine that the right engine had lost power. He attempted to feather the right propeller using the feather switch and stated that the right propeller did not feather. He switched the fuel selector from the main tank position to the auxiliary fuel tank position; however this did not restore engine power, and he executed a forced landing. He stated that after the airplane came to a stop he turned the magnetos and master switch to the OFF position, and exited the airplane through the main cabin entry door. The pilot also stated that earlier in the day he had each main and auxiliary fuel tanks filled at FXE. That would have provided him with 270 gallons of fuel, the rear tank had some fuel but he did not use the rear tanks to supply fuel to the engines.

“Examination of the cockpit [by an FAA inspector] revealed that the throttles were full forward, the left propeller lever was approximately 3/4 forward, and the right propeller was approximately 1/4 forward. Both mixture controls were 1/4 forward, the left fuel selector was in the forward position and the right fuel selector was in the OFF position. The outboard fuel tanks were ruptured, but there was evidence of fuel. The forward fuel tanks were empty and the aft fuel tanks contained fuel.  Add  Change “Engine failure on takeoff” to “Fuel starvation on takeoff”, and least for now on the basis of this report, and add “serious injury” and “substantial damage”, all in the 2008 summary.** 



 1/15/2009 Report




1/8 1255Z (0455 local):  A Be36 landed gear up during a predawn “training” flight ay San Luis Obispo, California.  Both aboard the Bonanza were unhurt; airplane damage is “minor” and weather conditions were “not reported”.  N6696Y (E-1639) is a 1980 A36 registered since 2004 to a Wilmington, Delaware company.


(“Gear up landing”; “Dual instruction”; “Night”)


1/9 2030Z (1530 local):  A Be33, “registration unknown”, suffered a gear collapse on landing at Indian Head, Maryland.  Two aboard were not hurt; damage is “unknown” and weather “not reported.”  There is no registration or serial number information available from this report.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


1/11 1921Z (1121 local):  A Be24 landed gear up at Chino, California.  The Sierra’s solo pilot reports no injury; damage is “minor” and the weather was 25,000 scattered, visibility 10 miles with an eight-knot surface wind.  N6698F (MC-698) is a 1979 C24R registered since 2001 to a co-ownership based in Mission Viejo, California.


(“Gear up landing”)


1/12 2010Z (1210 local):  A Be55’s “right engine failed” on takeoff from Corona, California.  The Baron’s pilot lost directional control; the Beech collided with a parked Navion and then a Cessna 182 before coming to rest against a hangar door.  The pilot reports no injury despite “substantial” damage to the Baron.  Weather conditions were “not reported.”  N9694Y (TC-405) is a 1963 A55 recently (October 2008) registered to an individual in Winside, Nebraska.


(“Engine failure on takeoff--multiengine”; “Substantial damage”; “Recent registration”—If I had to guess I’d say this owner or one before him had made the extra effort to install shoulder harnesses in the airplane, and the pilot was wearing restraints correctly to “walk away from” this wreck.


Local television news video quotes witnesses reported strong Santa Ana winds, saying the wind was blowing so hard they thought it was just a gust of wind against the door when the Baron hit the hangar.  On online news report also mentions wind, and includes a picture of the aftermath.  Others on the scene say the wind was not blowing that hard.  One third-hand report is that the Baron had just lifted off when it departed from controlled flight.  Internet chatter and a check of the pilot’s FAA records online show that he does not appear to hold a multiengine rating, but it may be that the recent airplane purchase coincides with a recent AMEL not yet added to the online record.


Engine failure on takeoff in multiengine airplanes is rare, but it is an event multiengine pilots need to anticipate every time the throttles go forward for flight.  Asymmetric thrust is great at high power, while airspeed during takeoff is low enough control surfaces may not have the authority needed to counteract the resulting directional change.  The proper pilot action faced with an engine failure during the takeoff roll is to immediately “chop” both throttles: “chop” indicating a very rapid movement; both throttles because there is not time to identify which engine has failed.  This removes the asymmetry of thrust and gives the pilot the control he/she needs to bring the airplane to a stop on or near the runway.


How do pilots prepare for this?  Multiengine training in the actual aircraft is limited by the threat of actual damage or injury.  The FAA Practical Test Standards requires no intentional [i.e., training] engine failures on the runway when the indicated airspeed is more than 50% of the VMC or “red radial” airspeed [78 KIAS in the A55 Baron].  In most piston twins the airspeed indicator does not become effective until reaching at least 40 knots. This means that if the airspeed indicator is alive, the airplane is traveling too fast to safely simulate an engine failure on the runway.


At pre-50% VMC speeds nosewheel steering [if the airplane is so equipped] still helps overcome the asymmetric thrust; the rate of departure from controlled roll is slow enough that recovery on the pavement is fairly assured because, once turned from runway heading, the plane does not travel off the runway as quickly.  Does this simulation fully prepare you for a surprise engine failure at a higher speed, when the nose wheel is not in firm contact but controls are not yet effective enough to “keep it on the runway” if an engine fails?  History suggests it may not.


What about engine failure immediately after takeoff?  At a high angle of attack and relatively low airspeed, asymmetric thrust may require almost all the control authority you have…if you very rapidly lower pitch attitude to retain speed while you chop both throttles.  If you wisely climb out shallower than usually taught [when taking off without obstacles] you will still have to act quickly and lower the nose to maintain a safe speed.  This is the VMC recovery demonstration we all had to master to earn our multiengine wings, but which few of us practice after the checkride. 


If the landing gear is still down airspeed will decay extremely rapidly following an engine failure—so quickly as to get dangerously near [or slower than] VMC before you can get the gear fully up.  The “Accelerate/go” option is rarely available; in most designs drag increases when the gear is in transit, so you can’t safely “snatch the gear up” if the engine quits while the gear is still down.  I teach the mnemonic “if the gear is down, go down” to avoid loss of directional control after takeoff engine failure.


How does typical training fare for this scenario?  By regulation all VMC practice must be done no closer than 3000 feet above ground level.  Normally aspirated engines lose roughly 10% of their power for every 3000 feet of altitude increase.  Consequently the rate of departure from controlled flight resulting from lessened asymmetric thrust is significantly reduced in practice compared to what would be encountered closer to sea level.  In fact, most multiengine instructors restrict rudder pedal movement with a foot so the pilot receiving instruction [PRI] encounters “maximum” control deflection before slowing to aerodynamic stall speed when presenting the practice VMC maneuver.  Although you see the sequence of events in the training maneuver, you won’t experience it in its full fury at this reduced-power setting.


The best training tool for the multiengine airplane engine failure on takeoff scenario is a simulator with a savvy instructor, where you can practice engine failures that come without warning until you instinctively chop both throttles while applying control inputs at the first sign of an engine anomaly.  At least for initial qualification in type and preferably on a regular basis afterward, include simulator-based training as a component of your regimen as the only means of preparing for this rare but deadly occurrence.  Also, consciously consider the mantra “If the gear is down, go down” at the beginning of every twin-engine takeoff.)   




UPDATES FROM NTSB: Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


**12/8 C23 takeoff crash at Panacea, FL.  Change “Loss of directional control on takeoff” to “Engine failure on takeoff—mixture control failure” on the 2008 Summary.**     


**12/24 Serious-injury B55 runway overrun at Batesville, AR.  “The pilot reportedly landed on runway 07 [6002 X 150 feet]. The weather reporting station at the accident airport reported the wind was from 290 degrees at 7 knots. This calculated to a tailwind of 5.4 knots.”  There are no notes about the Batesville airport that would suggest using Runway 7 instead of the better wind-aligned Runway 25.  Even with a five-knot tailwind, however, it should not have been difficult to get a B55 down and stopped on a 6000-foot runway.  When selecting your landing surface pick a “go-around point” that, if reached before the airplane is on the ground, requires you execute a balked landing.  Your go-around point should be in the first third of the landing surface or 1000 feet from the runway threshold, whichever is shorter.  If you plan to intentionally “land long” your go-around point should meet the same criteria from your intended touchdown point.  In all cases, your touchdown point must leave enough runway remaining for landing and rollout under the current conditions of weather and airplane weight, with appropriate reserves.  Note: your landing “aim point” should be closer to the arrival threshold than your touchdown point, to allow for additional distance flown in the landing flare unless you are flying a true “short field” profile.**     



 1/22/2009 Report




(Date and time not reported):  A reader writes that “sometime in January” a Be35 suffered in-flight cylinder head separation over Lincoln County, Nevada.  The pilot successfully landed the Bonanza on a snow-covered road with no apparent additional damage, and no injuries.  The engine was an IO-520 that had recently been modified with a turbonormalizing system in Colorado.  Cylinders appear to be manufactured by TCM.  N5790K (D-7562) is a 1964 S35 registered since 1992 to an individual in Danville, CA.


(“Engine failure: Piston/cylinder failure in flight”—and a great job of getting it down safely).




1/17 0230Z (1830 local 1/16/2009):  A Be24 landed gear up at Imperial, California.  The lone pilot was unhurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather for the night landing was “not reported”.  N24668 (MC-150) is a 1973 A24R recently (May 2008) registered to an individual in El Cajon, CA.


(“Gear up landing”; “Night”; “Recent registration”)


1/17 0515Z (2315 local 1/16/2009):  A Be58’s left main landing gear collapsed on touchdown at Nashville, Tennessee.  The two aboard were not hurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather: 8000 overcast, visibility 10 miles with a four-knot surface wind.  N1888W (TH-340) is a 1973 Baron 58 registered to an air cargo operator based in Orlando, FL.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Night”)


1/18 0033Z (1833 local 1/17/2009): A Be19 crashed “under unknown circumstances” at Purdue University Airport, Lafayette, Indiana.  Two aboard the Sport were unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was 1900 broken, 2600 overcast, visibility eight miles with surface winds from 260° at 14 gusting to 21 knots.  N6509T (MB-349) is a 1968 19A registered since 2006 to an individual in North Liberty, IN.


(“Crash/unknown”; “Substantial damage”; “Night”.)


1/18 0158Z (2258 local 1/17/2009):  The right main gear of a Be36 collapsed on landing at Farmington, New Mexico.  The solo pilot, on a “training” mission, was unhurt; damage is “unknown” and weather “VFR”.  N8074P (E-2733) is a 1992 A36 registered since new to an airline pilot training program based in Farmington.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Night”)




UPDATES FROM NTSB: Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


** 1/12 A55 runway excursion and collision with parked airplanes at Corona, CA.  “The pilot stated that he began the takeoff sequence from runway 07, and once the airplane reached an altitude of approximately 20 feet agl it began to bank to the right. He further stated that the engines made a sound that did not appear to correlate with the typical sound of full engine power. He assumed that the right turn was caused by a loss of power from the right engine. He stated that there was a crosswind at the time, and that this may have exasperated the banking tendency….

“A witness located at a fuel tank adjacent to the runway midpoint stated that he looked up after hearing the sound of, 'engines running at full power.' He observed the airplane flying at an altitude of about 20 feet agl and believed it was performing an aborted landing. He then observed the airplane enter a steep right bank, and pass behind a building and beyond his view. He then heard the sound of a collision. He stated that the winds prior to the accident were gusty, and that throughout the day he observed the windsock swing back and forth between the runway heading and an angle perpendicular to the runway.”  Reported winds were “from 080 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 20 knots….”

The pilot stated that he had amassed a total flight time in multiengine airplanes of 45 hours, and that he did not possess a multiengine rating. 
FAA spokesman Ian Gregor is quoted: "We are investigating whether [the pilot] was authorized to fly a twin-engine airplane on his own. The one exception that pops to mind is an instructional flight. If you're getting your multi-engine certificate, there's a point at which you have to fly solo.”  Of course this is not strictly correct.  A certificated pilot adding a multiengine rating does not have a requirement for solo flight in multiengine airplanes prior to being eligible for the Practical Test.  There is nothing preventing a certificated multiengine instructor from endorsing a pilot to fly as a student in multiengine airplanes, subject to all the restrictions on student pilots, but this is rarely if ever done in practice.


Change “Engine failure on takeoff--multiengine” to “Loss of directional control during takeoff—strong, gusty wind” and “Weather not reported” to “VMC: and “Wind”)**



 1/29/2009 Report




 1/25 2031Z (1331 local):  During its landing roll, a Be19 “veered off the runway and [its] gear collapsed,” at Tucson, Arizona.  Two aboard the Sport were not hurt; damage is “minor” and weather was “clear and 10” with a five-knot wind.  N24006 (MB-835) is a 1977 B19 registered since 2005 to an individual in Gilbert, Arizona.


(“Loss of directional control on landing”)




UPDATES FROM NTSB: Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


**There are no newly posted piston Beechcraft NTSB reports this week.**




SUMMARY: Reported Hawker Beechcraft piston mishaps, year-to-date 2008:


Total reported:  13 reports 


Operation in VMC: 9 reports    

Operation in IMC:    1 report  

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  3 reports

Operation at night:  5 reports 

Surface wind > 15 knots:  1 report             


Fatal accidents: 0 reports  

“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities): 0 reports 


“Substantial” damage: 4 reports  

Aircraft “destroyed”:   0 reports  


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):  2 reports  


(Note: FAA preliminary reports no longer identify the purpose of the flight involved in mishap.  Consequently the number and percentage of Beech mishaps that occur during dual instruction will become less and less accurate over time.  Since the late 1990s the percentage of Beech mishaps that take place during dual flight instruction has remained very consistently about 10%). 



By Aircraft Type:


Be36 Bonanza   4 reports 

Be19 Sport  2 reports

Be24 Sierra  2 reports

Be58 Baron  2 reports   

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza 1 report

Be35 Bonanza   1 report

Be55 Baron  1 report  




PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION OF CAUSE (all subject to update per NTSB findings):




Gear up landing

4 reports (two Be24s; two Be36s)


Gear collapse (landing)

3 reports (Be33; Be36; Be58)


...for more on Landing Gear-Related Mishaps see these data and this commentary. 



ENGINE FAILURE   (2 reports) 


Engine failure in flight

1 report (Be19)


Piston/cylinder failure in flight

1 report (Be35)


...for more on fuel management-related mishaps see  



IMPACT ON LANDING  (2 reports) 


Bounced landing

1 report (Be58)


Loss of directional control on landing

1 report (Be19)





Airframe ice in cruise—unable to maintain altitude

1 report (Be36)





Loss of directional control during takeoff

1 report (Be55)



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (1 report)  



1 report (Be19)




Recognize an N-number?  Want to check on friends or family that may have been involved in a cited mishap?  Click here to find the registered owner.   


Please accept my sincere personal condolences if you or anyone you know was involved in a mishap.  I welcome your comments, suggestions and criticisms.  Fly safe, and have fun!




Thomas P. Turner, M.S. Aviation Safety, Master CFI

2008 FAA Central Region CFI of the Year

Mastery Flight Training, Inc.

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