Mastery Flight Training, Inc. 

Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


August 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



8/6/2009 Report



A reader reports that on 7/21 a Be35 on a local flight at Moraine, Ohio, suffered catastrophic oil loss.  The pilot writes: 

As we were about over the Dayton Mall, I noticed a few spots on the windshield. Very quickly those few spots turned into a lot of spots, and next I knew, the entire windshield was covered in oil!  Fortunately, we were only a few miles from the Moraine airport and just starting the descent. The landing would be a bit challenging though, because of the lack of forward visibility (and limited side visibility at this point!), but fortunately I knew the terrain and surrounding area fairly well.  I had to keep the approach to the left of centerline though, because I knew there were trees and other obstacles.

Fortunately, it was a successful landing, but boy, sure lost a LOT of oil, and it sure made a mess!

The problem was that on this particular model of propeller, the pitch change mechanism is accomplished by oil pressure in a rubber diaphragm that pushes against a jackplate to change the blade angle.  Even though this diaphragm was almost new, it had developed an internal tear which let the diaphragm burst and let the oil out (and that's *engine* oil!).  In the time it took to get on the ground, we lost about six or seven (of the eight or nine) quarts of oil.  Sure glad it wasn't much further out!  Where we stopped on the ramp, the oil puddle was big enough that we needed a whole bag of kitty litter to sop it up!

The airplane was not identified other than it is a 1948 A35.

(“Engine failure in flight—catastrophic oil loss”—and a great job getting it back on the ground.)


7/22 (time not reported):  I spoke with a reader at Oshkosh whose Be58 suffered an engine failure in cruise flight near Sydney, Nebraska.  The pilot shut down the engine and landed uneventfully at Sydney.  No one was hurt and there was no aircraft damage.  Investigation ultimately revealed a hole “about the size of a quarter” in the upper deck induction manifold.  N240HC (TJ-221) is a 1979 58P registered since 2001 to a co-ownership in Walnut Creek, California.

(“Loss of turbo boost—induction manifold failure”—there are several possible causes for a loss of manifold pressure in turbocharged engines.  Some are relatively benign—induction leaks, failed wastegate controllers, sticky wastegates—but some are potentially deadly, such as catastrophic oil loss or exhaust leaks that release blowtorch-like plumes toward fuel lines.  Trouble is, you can’t usually rule out any of the possible causes from the pilot’s seat.  Consequently your only choice when faced with an unexplained loss of manifold pressure in a turbocharged or turbonormalized airplane is to shut it down and land as soon as possible.  In single-engine airplanes you might throttle back but retain some power while you spiral down to a nearby landing strip.  But single or twin, there is no “continuing as if it was a normally aspirated engine” when turbo boost goes away.  Excellent decision-making on the part of this pilot!) 


7/30 (time not reported):  A reader reports that a Be55 lost engine power in cruise near Kirksville, Missouri.  The pilot shut down the engine and landed at Kirksville without injury or further incident.  Subsequent inspection revealed a four-inch crack on the offending engine case.  The pilot had reported having trouble operating that same engine earlier in his trip to AirVenture, however, so the crack may be unrelated to the cause of failure.  N9497Y (TC-57) is a 1961 95-55 registered since 2002 to a Yukon, Oklahoma corporation.


(“Engine failure in flight”—Another good example of calm and control in making an emergency landing.)       



7/23 1900Z (1200 local):  A Be36 “was cleared for a touch and go and [its] gear collapsed on departure,” at San Diego, California. The solo pilot was not hurt and aircraft damage is “minor”.  Weather was sky clear, visibility eight miles, with a variable, six-knot surface wind.  N8138R (E-587) is a 1974 A36 registered since 2004 to a co-ownership in Bonita, California.


(“Gear collapse on takeoff—touch and go”—We’ve seen many times when the high workload/short duration “go” phase of a touch-and-go has contributed to inadvertent retraction of the landing gear.  Evidence suggests that the landing gear squat switch system will not protect against pilot movement of the landing gear control during a touch-and-go.  Most instructors avoid the touch-and-go maneuver in retractable gear airplanes because of its high correlation with landing gear mishaps).


7/24 1830Z (1430 local):  A Be36 “struck lights” on landing at Dayton, Ohio.  Its lone pilot was unhurt and damage is “unknown”.  Weather was “VFR”.  N4970M (E-1277) is a 1978 A36 registered since 2007 to a corporation in Seneca, South Carolina.


(“Fuel starvation—fuel cap O-ring failure”—I spoke with the pilot at AirVenture, who provided “the rest of the story.”  On short final, the A36’s engine quit.  The pilot switched tanks but the engine did not restart.  In the confusion the pilot failed to maintain directional control and, although he landed all right, the Bonanza impacted runway lights, causing only minor damage.  According to the pilot, his preflight planning indicated there should have been much more fuel in the selected main tank.  Investigation revealed, however, that the rubber bladder tank had been sucked upward, bunching up in flight and preventing much of the fuel in the tank from being available to the fuel pickup.  The problem was traced to a leaking rubber O-ring seal inside the fuel cap, but not the one that’s visible during preflight—an O-ring that costs only a few cents to replace.  The lesson: Know where such seals exist, and replace them at every annual or two to prevent a pittance from placing you and your passengers in peril.)


7/24 2312Z (1912 local):  “On landing” at Dayton, Ohio’s Wright Brothers Airport, a Be18 “went off the runway and [its] right gear collapsed.”  No one was hurt despite “substantial” damage.  Weather was “VFR”.  N87711 (BA-650) is a 1963 H18 registered since 2005 to a co-ownership in Riva, Maryland.


(“Tailwheel failure”; “Substantial damage”—I spoke with this pilot and passengers of this Twin Beech at Oshkosh, their intended destination.  The airplane, which had just come out of annual inspection, suffered failure of its rudder lock pin.  The tailwheel subsequently experienced a severe shimmy on rollout and separated; the pilot was unable to maintain directional control.  The right wing, engine and main landing gear were heavily damaged.)


7/25 1352Z (0852 local):  The pilot of a Be35 died, and four other adults aboard the Bonanza suffered “serious” injuries, when the pilot reported engine failure “after departure” and crashed “short of the runway,” at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s Wiley Post Airport.  The airplane sustained “substantial” damage.  Weather was “clear and 10” with an 11-knot wind.  N9112S (D-9856) is a 1976 V35B registered since 2005 to a Carson City, Nevada-based corporation.


(“Engine failure on takeoff”; “Fatal”; “Substantial damage”—an online press account states “the single-engine plane was apparently trying to make an emergency landing when it clipped a tree and crashed….”  The likely center of gravity consequence of five adults aboard a V35B would not have contributed to an engine failure, but the instability that results would have made recovery from engine failure extremely difficult. Rescuers had to cut off the top of the airplane to extricate the pilot and passengers.  “Emergency officials said the situation could've been a lot worse if the plane landed on the street rather than the side of the road. ‘If they had attempted to land on Northwest Expressway, with the type traffic flow that's on Northwest Expressway, there would be a lot more injuries on the ground,’ said a local fire battalion chief.)  

7/25 1820Z (1320 local):  A Be55’s gear collapsed on landing at Waukesha, Wisconsin.  The three aboard avoided injury and the Baron suffered only “minor” damage.  Weather was “clear and 10” with a 12-knot wind.  N7821R (TC-1196) is a 1968 B55 registered since 2000 to an individual in Brookfield, Wisconsin.


(“Gear collapse—retract rod bearing separation”—I spoke with the pilot who said he was departing Rockford, Illinois en route to the EAA Convention at Oshkosh, Wisconsin when its left main gear failed to retract.  Other pilots in the mass flight reported the failure to him and cautioned he not cycle the gear, but extend it manually.  Despite this excellent advice [the Weekly Accident Update has carried many reports of pushrods bending or failing completely when the pilot tries to electrically “cycle” the gear after a partial extension] the gear folded on touchdown.  The pilot initially thought the propeller on that side of the airplane did not strike the runway [he had feathered the prop], but later said close inspection suggests it may have made runway contact so an engine tear-down may be in order.  The pilot reports the press-fit bearing in the rod end had not been properly staked and it fell out, causing the pushrod to bind during gear transit.  Others in the mass flight laud this pilot for professionally handing over flight lead responsibilities and breaking off from the formation.  Excellent job dealing with the capability that remained, safety exiting the mass flight and maintaining composure and control through the entire scenario.) 


7/26 1402Z (0902 local):  A Be36 force-landed on a highway near Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Three aboard the Bonanza avoided injury and there was no additional damage on touchdown.  Weather at Green Bay was “few clouds” at 2500 feet, visibility 10 miles, with surface winds at 12 gusting to 20 knots.  C-FFIH (EA-258) is a 1981 A36TC registered since 2006 to a corporation in Bracebridge, Ontario.


(“Piston/cylinder failure in flight”; “Wind”—I spoke with this pilot at Oshkosh as well.  He and his passengers had over-flown Lake Huron and Lake Michigan before catastrophic cylinder failure drove a piston through the A36TC’s engine case.  The Bonanza was at 8000 feet when the failure occurred and found an unoccupied section of an interstate highway on which to land.  The pilot said he may be reconsidering his risk management decision to overfly the lakes in a single-engine airplane.  This is another example of superb airmanship after experiencing an inflight failure.  It’s frequently said that it doesn’t matter whether the airplane is over flat land, cold water, areas of extensive low IFR or mountains because “the engine doesn’t know”.  The other side of the risk management equation, however, is the consequences of that unlikely engine failure if the pilot is over inhospitable terrain or weather.  It’s the pilot-in-command’s decision, of course—but consciously consider the consequences of failure before making that choice.)


7/29 0245Z (1945 local 7/28/09):  On landing, a Be58 struck a deer at Hayfork, California.  The solo pilot was unhurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather conditions were “not reported”.  N62254 (TJ-431) is a 1982 58P registered since 2005 to an individual in Hayfork.


(“Collision with animal on landing”)


7/29 1550Z (1150 local):  A Be36’s landing gear collapsed while touching down at Hartford, Connecticut.  Three aboard the Bonanza were unhurt; damage is “minor”.  Weather: 2300 scattered, 3000 overcast, visibility six in haze, with a five-knot wind.  N6467X (E-2056) is a 1982 A36 registered sine 1989 to an individual in Sarasota, Florida.


(“Gear collapse on landing following electrical failure”—local news reports the electrical issue, which history shows has a high correlation value with gear collapse.  Any time the gear is extended with anything less than full system voltage, follow up the extension with the manual landing gear extension procedure to ensure the gear is indeed locked down.) 


7/30 2231Z (1531 local):  A Be76’s left main gear collapsed while taxiing to park at Glendale, Arizona.  The solo pilot was not injured; damage is “minor”.  Weather was “VFR”.  N83ER (ME-201) is a 1979 Duchess registered since 2003 to a Wilmington, Delaware corporation.


(“Gear collapse during taxi”)


8/2 1615Z (0915 local):  A unoccupied Be36 “rolled down a hill and struck two other parked aircraft,” at Roche Harbor, Washington.  No one was hurt.  The Bonanza sustained “substantial” damage.  Weather was not a factor.  N161TS (E-3519) is a 2005 A36 registered since 2005 to a Hayward, California corporation.


(“Unoccupied aircraft rolled into parked airplanes”; “Substantial damage”—Don’t depend on parking brakes to hold the airplane in place for long periods.  Changes in ambient temperature may cause brake fluid to contract enough to release parking brake pressure, or expand sufficient to blow out brake seals.  Either instance will release the parking brake.  Instead, set the brake on shutdown only long enough to chock the airplane or tie it down, then re-enter the cockpit and release the brake to prevent damage.  When preparing for flight, ensure the parking brake is set before untying the airplane or removing chocks.  Don’t leave an airplane unattended when it is neither tied nor chocked.)




Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


**7/17 B33 engine failure on takeoff from Truckee, California.  Change “weather not reported” to “VMC”.**


**7/18 fatal Twin Beech engine failure near Verdel, Nebraska.  Change “Crash/Unknown” to “Engine failure in flight”.  A possible factor: “The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land and was not certified to operate multi-engine airplanes.”**


**7/25 fatal V35B engine failure on takeoff at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, cited above.**



8/13/2009 Report



A reader emailed a link to this news report8/12 1638Z (1138 local):  A Be18 crashed during an attempted “immediate” return to the airport following takeoff at Flying Cloud Airport, Flying Cloud, Minnesota.  The flight’s planned destination was “somewhere in Wisconsin.”  Two died in the “fiery” crash and the airplane appears to have been destroyed.  Weather conditions were not reported.  “Witnesses told police that the propeller aircraft had trouble taking off and saw the plane dip before it crashedthe plane's "wings teetered" before impact, according to the report.  One witness says he “saw it do some erratic movements ... a second later it just went straight down.”  The wreckage was “engulfed in flames” for some time after crashing in a yard, with no injury to anyone on the ground.  No registration or serial number information is available at this time.

(“Stall/spin on approach”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”—we should have at least airplane registration information by next week’s report, and perhaps more insight as to why the pilot was attempting to return to the airport.)      



8/5 2359Z (1859 local):  A Be35’s “engine failed” while inbound for landing at Sundance Air Park, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  The pilot landed in a field and the Bonanza “flipped over.”  The solo pilot suffered “minor” injuries, the airplane “substantial” damage.  Weather was “clear and 10” with a five-knot surface wind.  N4554V (D-1383) is a 1948 Beech 35 registered since 2002 to an individual in Spencer, Oklahoma.


(“Fuel starvation” [more in a moment]; “Substantial damage”—A reader reports he spoke with a highway patrolman who was a first responder on the scene.  The trooper reports both fuel tanks were “bone dry” and there was no fuel smell or evidence of fuel spilled at the scene.  A HAZAT team responded only because the engine case was cracked and there was an engine oil spill, according to this source.  A local news report says the pilot was taken to a hospital with only minor injuries, and shows a picture of the Bonanza on its back with the nose wheel and strut sheared off, most likely from hitting a berm or a hole on touchdown.)


8/6 2250Z (1550 local):  On takeoff from St. Johns, Arizona, a Be35 “went off the side of the runway and through a fence.”  The solo pilot reports no injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was “clear and 10” with surface winds from 260° at 17 gusting to 29 knots.  N4577V (D-952) is a 1947 Beech 35 registered since 1975 to an individual in Poway, California.


(“Loss of directional control during takeoff—strong, gusty wind”; “Substantial damage”; “Wind”—St. Johns Industrial Air Park has two runways, 14/32 and 3/21.  It’s not reported which runway the pilot was using, but the gusty wind would have been challenging on any one of the options.  As wind gusts it tends to turn toward its own left [in the northern hemisphere], that is, the steady wind from 260° would tend to be more from 240° or even more off-heading during the gusts.  If Rwy 21 makes the most sense for the prevailing wind, because it would “only” have a 50° crosswind, then in the gusts the crosswind may easily have become nearly 90° to the runway—a direct, 29-knot crosswind.  St. Johns often comes up on chat lines as a spot for inexpensive fuel.  This may have been a fuel stop as part of a longer cross-country trip, and the pilot may have been unfamiliar with the airport and unpracticed in strong winds that are common in the desert summer.  We think about thunderstorms and ice as go/no-go items, but pilots tend to consider wind as a challenge to be overcome, not a factor that delays or cancels a flight.  Loss of control in string winds, however, is the most common weather-related mishap.  Seriously consider your currency in crosswind operations, the capability of your airplane, and the actual wind conditions to make this critical go/no-go decision.)


8/9 1609Z (1209 local):  A Be36 landed short of the runway at Brighton, Michigan.  Two aboard the Bonanza were not hurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather conditions were “clear and 10” with a 15-knot wind from 260 degrees.  N336TC (EA-211) is a 1981 A36TC registered since 2005 to an individual in Coldwater, Michigan.


(“Landed short”; “Substantial damage”—Brighton’s runway 4/22 is 3120 feet long with trees on each end, according to AOPA’s Airport Directory.  3120 feet with obstacles is well within the capability of a turbocharged Bonanza, but borders on being a “short” runway by many pilots’ standards, and the tendency might be to aim for the runway threshold instead of a touchdown zone further along the runway.  Had a wind gust hit at the wrong moment that decreased groundspeed [a headwind component increase] or momentarily decreased indicated airspeed [a shear to an increase in tailwind component], the glide angle may have steepened and caused a planned “on-the-numbers” landing to come up short.  Be especially cautious of attempting touchdown “on the numbers” in windy conditions; give yourself a cushion for changes in glide path that will occur as winds change close to the surface.)


8/9 1745Z (1245 local):  A Be33’s landing gear collapsed on arrival at Morris, Minnesota.  The solo pilot was unhurt although the airplane has “substantial” damage.  Weather was 2700 scattered, 3400 scattered, visibility 10 with a five-knot surface wind.  N7881R (CE-264) is a 1969 E33A recently (February 2009) registered to a co-ownership in Kensington, Minnesota.


(“Gear collapse on landing”; “Substantial damage”; “Recent registration”)


8/11 1219Z (0819 local):  Landing at Sanford, Florida, a Be23 “veered off the runway.”  Two aboard the “pleasure” flight were not hurt despite “substantial” airplane damage.  Weather at Sanford was “clear and 10” with calm winds.  N9261S (M-1754) is a 1976 C23 registered since 2007 to a corporation in Bear, Delaware.


(“Loss of directional control on landing”; “Substantial damage”)


8/11 2040Z (1340 local):  A Be36 landed gear up at Los Banos, California.  Three aboard the “training” flight were not hurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather conditions were “not reported.”  N8204M (E-2667) is a 1991 A36 registered since new to a “foreign corporation” in El Segundo, California.


(“Gear up landing”; “Dual instruction”—there is an historic correlation between instructional flights and gear up landings.  Perhaps it’s merely a matter of exposure—training flights usually involve a greater number of takeoffs and landings than non-instructional flying.  Maybe it’s distraction with off-normal activity—by definition flight instruction will introduce tasks and distractions not encountered in normal operation.  Most likely, however, it’s complacency.  After the third or fourth time around the pattern the pilot might remember extending the landing gear…but it was on the last trip around, not this time.) 




Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


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


8/20/2009 Report



7/11 after 1813Z (1440 local):  On July 16, 2009, about 1640 Atlantic standard time, the wreckage of a Be36 was located on the Ilu – Tepuy mountain, within the sector of Masizo del Roraima, Bolivar, Venezuela. The pilot had filed a flight plan from the Maurice Bishop International Airport, Grenada to the Boa Vista International Airport, Brazil. The last radio contact was with the Venezuelan Control Center, which they reported their position as 63 nautical miles north of Santa Elina de Uairen, Venezuela, on July 11, 2009, at 1813. Authorities from both Brazil and Venezuela were involved in the search and rescue operation once the airplane was reported overdue. The airplane impacted into the side of the mountain at an estimated 8,200 feet above ground level. The pilot and passenger were killed, and the airplane was destroyed.  The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Venezuela. N354RA (E-3541) was a 2004 A36 registered in the name of a Salt Lake City, Utah bank nine days before the crash.


(“Crash/unknown”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”; “Recent registration”) 


8/12 1545Z (1045 local):  The pilot of a Be33 “declared an emergency” for unreported reasons, over Osage Beach, Missouri.  The pilot then “diverted [to Osage Beach] and landed without incident.”  The solo pilot was not hurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather conditions were not reported.  N3866A (CD-1236) is a 1969 F33, “registration pending” to an individual in Columbia, Missouri.

(“Crash/unknown”; “Recent registration”—anyone have any details on this incident?)


8/14 1845Z (1445 local):  A Be24 was landing at Panama City, Florida, when it’s gear collapsed.  The solo pilot was unhurt; damage is “unknown”.  Weather: 4400 scattered, 5500 broken, visibility 10 with surface winds at six knots.  N6682T (MC-786) is a 1983 C24R registered in July 2008 to a Lynn Haven, Florida-based corporation.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


8/15 1930Z (1530 local):  While stopped on the ramp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, a Be35 was struck nearly head-on by a taxiing Cessna 180.  Both airplanes suffered “substantial” damage although nobody was hurt.  Weather was “VFR”.  N4398D (D-5565) is a 1958 J35 registered since 2006 to a Wilmington, Delaware-based corporation.


(“Struck by taxiing aircraft”; “Substantial damage”) 




Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


**7/11 double-fatality A36 crash in Venezuela, cited above.**

**8/11 C23 loss of directional control on the runway at Sanford, Florida.  Change “Loss of directional control on landing” to “Loss of directional control on takeoff—touch and go.”**

**8/12 double-fatality E18S stall/spin at Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  From the report:

The flight was operating on a ferry permit.... Visual meteorological conditions prevailed…. The flight departed FCM [Flying Cloud] minutes prior to the accident. The intended destination of the flight was the Simenstad Municipal Airport (OEO), Osceola, Wisconsin.


The pilot contacted FCM ground control and requested flight following for the flight to OEO. He also stated that he wanted to circle FCM a couple of times prior to heading to OEO. The pilot was cleared to takeoff on runway 28R and circle the airport at 2,500 feet above mean sea level (msl) prior to heading to OEO.


Numerous people witnessed the accident. Witnesses reported seeing the airplane depart FCM and climb to an altitude of 500 feet above ground level (agl) or less. The airplane made left hand turns until it was parallel to the north side of runway 28R in the direction of takeoff. Witnesses reported the airplane was low and slow from the time it took off. They described the airplane was yawing and banking to the left and right in a nose high attitude throughout the flight. The witnesses stated the left wing dropped and the nose descended just prior to the airplane impacting the terrain.**



8/27/2009 Report





8/13 2141Z (1541 local):  En route between Pocatello, Idaho and Boise, Idaho, a Be60 “experienced a total loss of engine power.”  The pilot diverted toward the nearest airport, the Bear Trap Airport at Minidoka, Idaho, but landed about a quarter mile short of the runway in an open field.  The two aboard have “minor” injuries; the airplane “nosed over during rollout and was substantially damaged.”   Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.  The NTSB preliminary report states:


The pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he departed Boise with a total of 89 gallons of fuel in his airplane. Upon landing in Pocatello, 57 gallons of fuel remained in the tanks. Prior to departure for his return flight to Boise, he added 20 gallons of fuel to the airplane. The pilot reported that he does not understand why, when the airplane was examined by the Federal Aviation Administration coordinator, only about 2 gallons of fuel were found in the tanks.


N99BE (P-132) is a 1970 A60 Duke registered since 2005 to a corporation in Chubbuck, Idaho.


(“Fuel exhaustion”; “Substantial damage”—Unless the tanks are very nearly full you cannot visually confirm fuel level on a Duke.  Consequently the pilot must have been relying on fuel gauges, a fuel totalizer, fuel billing records and/or personal observation of the fueling operation to establish the fuel level.  Running short of fuel in flight suggests these possible scenarios:

1.   Inflight fuel leak.  Fuel may have vented overboard through cracks in fuel cap O-rings or a loose fuel cap.  It may be pulled out through leaking sump drains [who has never seen a drain that drips after testing the fuel?  In flight a drip can turn into a stream].  Occasionally glance at the fuel caps to look for any sign of leaking; look at the trailing edge of the wing behind the caps and the fuel sump drains for fuel droplets.  Since both wings apparently emptied, however, this is not a likely scenario in this case.

2.   Unexpected fuel burn.  Pilots often think of endurance based solely on cruise fuel flow expectations.  A Duke’s 380hp engines, however, may burn 60 to 80 gallons per hour in climb.  The cockpit fuel flow is indicated in pounds per hour, not gallons per hour, so the pilot may not turn the panel indication into a visualized rate of fuel burn during climb. Assuming the pilot climbed, say, 12,000 feet from takeoff to cruising altitude, and did so at a Duke-like 700 fpm average, it may have burned about 20 gallons just reaching cruising altitude [there is not flight track for this trip online to indicate the actual altitude flown].  Further, if the pilot did not use a power setting he was familiar with, and/or did not lean the mixture the same way or as promptly as is normal for him, high fuel burn may have continued longer than anticipated.

3.   Over-reliance on a totalizer.  We’ve seen before when a plane runs out of fuel after the pilot inputs fuel incorrectly into a totalizer, or inputs fuel he/she thinks was added but for some reason line service didn’t pump the gas.  An incorrect fuel input might have occurred after the last refueling, or it may have occurred some time previously, leaving the pilot to think he had 89 gallons of fuel on board at the beginning of this exercise when the actual fuel load was less.  Properly calibrated fuel totalizers are a tremendous management tool, but you should occasionally top off the tanks [when safe to do so] to restart the totalizer’s calibration from a known, full level.  Write in a “Fuel Totalizer….UPDATE” or similar step on your Before Start checklist and use it diligently; who among us has never forgotten to update the totalizer or input an approximate value?  Once you introduce inaccuracy you can’t depend on the totalizer for near-minimums fuel planning until you recalibrate by filling the tanks and resetting the totalizer at full.    

In all cases, crosscheck the cockpit fuel gauges regularly in flight to see the indicated level fits your expectations based on initial fuel level and fuel burned.  If there’s a discrepancy between expectation and indication, get on the ground at the first practicable airport until you add fuel or by some means directly determine the amount of fuel remaining on board.) 


8/21 0705Z (0305 local): During a night landing at Teterboro, New Jersey, a Be58 “overshot Runway 19…and crashed into a vacant warehouse.”  Two aboard the Baron have “serious” injuries and the Baron was “destroyed”.  Weather was “unknown”.  N167TB (TH-1905) was a 1999 Baron 58 registered since 2007 to a corporation in Reading, Pennsylvania.


(“Go-around/failed to clear obstacles”; “Serious injuries”; “Aircraft destroyed”; “Night”—a local news report quotes an FAA spokesman as saying the Baron was about “half way” down the runway when its pilot began a go-around, but the airplane did not climb and impacted a 35-foot high tree beyond the airport grounds.  Pictures in the news account show the airplane sitting flat on its belly and split in two just aft of the crew seats.  The wreckage was severely burned.  The two aboard the medical samples transportation flight were found conscious but dazed and severely burned, sitting on the curb at a bus stop near the airport, and were transported to a hospital.  See the August 27, 2009 FLYING LESSONS for discussion about go-around considerations and hazards that may or may not have played a part in this particular event.)


8/23 1600Z (1100 local):  A Be36 landed gear up at Perryville, Missouri.  The solo pilot was not hurt; airplane damage and weather conditions were not reported.  N4464W (E-543) is a 1974 A36 registered since 2005 to a Carbondale, Illinois corporation.


(“Gear up landing”)


8/25 2230Z (1830 local):  The nose gear of a Be24 collapsed on takeoff from Shelby, North Carolina.  There were no reported injuries and airplane damage is “minor”.  Weather was “clear”.  N1877A (MC-499) is a 1978 C24R registered in a Rutherfordton, North Carolina co-ownership since 2005.


(“Gear collapse on takeoff”)


8/26 1800Z (1300 local):  Two aboard a Be24 died during an attempted go-around at Jackson County Airport, Silva, North Carolina.  The Sierra suffered “substantial” damage.  Weather at Jackson County was 9000 scattered, visibility 10 with a three-knot surface wind.  N770DL (MC-689) is a 1979 C24R registered since 1994 to a Vidalia, Georgia corporation.


(“Go-around/unknown”; “Fatal”; “Substantial damage”—a local news report states the airplane was landing after a roughly 3.5 hour flight and did not burn despite crashing into a ravine, which makes fuel starvation or exhaustion likely initial foci of the NTSB investigation.)     




Events previously appearing in the Weekly Accident Update:


**8/13 Duke fuel exhaustion over rural Idaho, cited above.**


**8/15 Cessna 180 collision with a J35 while taxiing at Spartanburg, South Carolina.**



SUMMARY: Reported Hawker Beechcraft piston mishaps, year-to-date 2009:


Total reported:  117 reports 


Operation in VMC: 80 reports    

Operation in IMC:    2 reports  

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  32 reports

Operation at night:  11 reports 

Surface wind > 15 knots:  15 reports          


Fatal accidents: 15 reports  

“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities): 3 reports 


“Substantial” damage: 44 reports  

Aircraft “destroyed”:   14 reports  


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):  16 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   34 reports 

Be35 Bonanza   27 reports

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza 14 reports

Be24 Sierra  9 reports

Be58 Baron  8 reports   

Be55 Baron  7 reports  

Be18 Twin Beech   4 reports

Be19 Sport  3 reports

Be60 Duke   3 reports

Be17 Staggerwing   2 reports

Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  2 reports

Be76 Duchess   2 reports

Be50 Twin Bonanza  1 report

Be56 Turbo Baron   1 report

Be95 Travel Air   1 report



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




Gear up landing

19 reports (two Be24s; two Be33s; six Be35s; seven Be36s; Be50; Be56)


Gear collapse (landing)

15 reports (two Be24s; four Be33s; three Be35s; two Be36s; two Be55s; two Be58s)


Failure of landing gear to extend due to mechanical failure

3 reports (Be24; Be58; Be60)


Gear collapse during taxi

3 reports (Be24; Be36; Be76)


Gear collapse on landing following electrical failure

2 reports (Be35; Be36)


Gear collapse on takeoff

2 reports (Be24; Be35)


Gear collapse—retract rod failure after improper installation

1 report (Be36)


Wheel failure/separation

1 report (Be33)


Gear collapse on landing—pilot-induced retraction on the runway

1 report (Be35)


Gear collapse on takeoff—touch and go

1 report (Be36)


Gear collapse—retract rod bearing separation

1 report (Be55)


Tailwheel failure

1 report (Be18)


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



ENGINE FAILURE   (24 reports) 


Engine failure in flight

6 reports (Be18; Be19; Be35; two Be36s; Be55)


Engine failure on takeoff

5 reports (Be33; three Be35s; Be36)


Fuel starvation

3 reports (Be33; two Be36s)


Fuel exhaustion

2 reports (Be35; Be60)


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


Piston/cylinder failure in flight

2 reports (Be35; Be36)


Loss of oil pressure

1 report (Be24)


Engine failure on approach

1 report (Be33)


Engine failure in the traffic pattern

1 report (Be33)


Catastrophic oil loss

1 report (Be35)


Fuel starvation—fuel cap O-ring failure

1 report (Be36)


Loss of turbo boost—induction manifold failure

1 report (Be58)



IMPACT ON LANDING  (19 reports) 


Loss of directional control on landing

5 reports (Be18; Be19; two Be36s; Be58)


Landed long—runway overrun

2 reports (Be17; Be33)


Collision with animal on landing

2 reports (Be36; Be58)


Landed short

2 reports (Be35; Be36)


Loss of directional control on landing—strong, gusty wind

1 report (Be17)


Hard landing

1 report (Be36)


Hard landing—airframe ice

1 report (Be58)


Hard landing—simulated engine failure on takeoff (twin-engine airplane)

1 report (Be58)


Wingtip contact with the runway

1 report (Be58)


Hard landing—landing gear collapse (fixed gear)

1 report (Be19)


Loss of directional control on go-around/fuel imbalance

1 report (Be35)


Go-around/failed to clear obstacles

1 report (Be58)



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (8 reports)  



3 reports (Be33; Be35; Be36)



2 reports (Be19; Be95)



2 reports (Be24; Be35)



1 reports (Be76)



MISCELLANEOUS  (6 reports)

Wheel/strut failure on landing—fixed gear airplane

1 report (Be23)


Unattended airplane with engine running taxis into obstruction

1 report (Be36)


Windscreen separation in flight

1 report (Be35)


Runway overrun—high-speed taxi test

1 report (Be60)


Unoccupied aircraft rolled into parked airplanes

1 report (Be36)


Struck by taxiing aircraft

1 report (Be35)



STALL/SPIN  (5 reports)


Stall on final approach

2 reports (Be33; Be36)


Stall/spin on approach

1 report (Be18)


Stall/loss of control during go-around

1 report (Be55)


Stall/spin during attempted aerobatics

1 report (Be55)





Loss of directional control during takeoff—strong, gusty wind

2 reports (Be35; Be55)


Runway overrun during attempted aborted takeoff

1 report (Be35)


Loss of directional control on takeoff—touch and go

1 report (Be23)





Airframe ice in cruise—unable to maintain altitude

1 report (Be36)


Attempted visual flight into IMC

1 report (Be36)





Loss of control: Attempted visual departure in IMC

1 report (Be36)




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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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