Mastery Flight Training, Inc. 

Beech Weekly Accident Update archives


October 2008 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!


©2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved



10/2/2008 Report




Regarding this report: 


9/11 (time not reported):  A Be76’s nose gear collapsed “under unknown circumstances” at Livermore, California.  The solo pilot was not hurt; damage is “minor” and weather was “VMC”.  N5351Y is a registration reportedly “held” after being released from an exported airplane, suggesting perhaps this is a “recent registration” aircraft.


A reader confirms this was in fact a PA44 Seminole, not a Duchess as originally reported by FAA (two engines, T-tail….).   Remove “gear collapse on landing” and other applicable entries from the record.


And regarding this item:


9/11 2108Z (1708 local):  A Be36, “operating as an Angel Flight, made a hard landing on [Erie, Pennsylvania’s] Rwy 6 due to apparent fuel starvation.” 


A reader close to the investigation reports FAA mis-identified this as being a charity flight, and that it had no connection with Angel Flight.  The FAA preliminary report in fact has been updated to remove reference to that organization, as well as having removed “fuel starvation” from the report. The informed reader did not, however, dispute the fuel starvation reference from the initial report so I’ll keep the incident logged as a fuel starvation event until the NTSB might tell us otherwise.


Thanks, readers, for helping keep the record accurate.





9/18 0126Z (1826 local 9/17/2008): Five aboard a Be58 avoided serious injury when, “four minutes after takeoff” from Medicine Hat, Alberta [Canada] the Baron’s pilot “reported an engine failure” and that he was “returning to the airport.”   After no further radio contact was received, a “search was begun and the aircraft was located partially submerged in the…South Saskatchewan River two and a half hours later…after two victims walked out of the site to call 911.”   The remaining three people were extracted after emergency personnel arrived.  None received life-threatening injuries.  A reliable witness on the ground [had] observed the aircraft flying low with the right propeller feathered…with smoke....” visible in flight.  Injuries to the three extracted are considered “minor”.  Weather conditions were VMC.  The Baron’s registration letters and serial number are not available, but it is reportedly an IO-520-equipped 1973 Baron 58 registered to a Canadian corporation.


(“Engine failure in flight”; “Substantial damage”—I assume the latter.)   


9/24 2211Z (1711 local):  A Be76 landed gear up at Cleburne, Texas.  The two aboard were not hurt; damage is “minor” and weather was “not reported”.  N117JA (ME-282) is a 1980 Duchess registered to a Friendswood, TX corporation since 2005.


(“Gear up landing”—I wonder whether this was a dual instructional flight.)


9/28 1419Z (0719 local):  While executing an instrument approach into Carlsbad, California, a Be36 crashed and the solo pilot was fatally injured in a post-crash fire that “destroyed” the airplane.  Weather was 100 overcast, visibility ¼ mile in fog, with calm surface winds.  The surface temperature was 17°C and the dew point reportedly 16ºC.  N82TB (E-1216) was a 1978 A36 recently (August 2008) registered to a co-ownership in Lake Havasu City, AZ.


(“Controlled flight into terrain--Descent below IFR approach minimum altitude” [more in a moment]; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”; “IMC”; “Recent registration”—According to a press account the Bonanza “crashed after canceling an attempted landing in the morning fog and advising air traffic controllers that he planned to circle the airport and try again….”  A television news video quotes witnesses as saying it was “too foggy” to see the impact, although it was heard and clarified “the pilot declared a missed approach and turned around to make another landing attempt. The plane hit the hillside and burst into flames…”


For some time I have noted the number of Controlled Flight into Terrain [CFIT] mishaps that occur after multiple attempts at the same instrument approach.  Although logic dictates each subsequent attempt should be just as safe as those before, as long as adequate fuel remains in the selected tank(s), history suggests pilots may be tempted to fly “just a little bit lower” or “just a little bit farther” if fixated on landing at that destination airport. 


To combat the human factor I teach that once an approach has been missed the first time that the pilot should not attempt a second approach using the same procedure unless one of two conditions exist:

  1. The pilot has good reason to believe conditions have improved and will be above minimums [regulatory or personal] on the second attempt; or

  2. The pilot can identify something that was not done properly on the first approach [for example, failing to descend all the way to DA, DH or MDA as appropriate] that the pilot feels would have made the difference in breaking out at or above minimums, and has good reason to believe he/she can do correctly on the subsequent attempt.

If neither of these conditions exist, as I teach, then proceed to an alternate with better weather or higher minimums after the first missed approach.  If one of the conditions exists and you have to miss after a second approach, abandon attempts to land there at that time and head for an alternate.  Anything else is just temptation to submit to human factors, and a waste of fuel you might need to get somewhere else.  My most recent article on this philosophy is on AVweb, with an earlier treatment available here.


I was fortunate to attend the seminar “The 5 Mistakes Pilots Make” presented by AOPA Air Safety Foundation chief instructor, Master CFI and FLYING LESSONS reader J.J. Greenway at the American Bonanza Society convention this past week.  J.J. cites the same considerations when evaluating multiple attempts at the same instrument procedure.  I’m not claiming to have influenced AOPA Air Safety Foundation’s viewpoint by my articles on this in years past, but do feel validated [and honored] to be in the same august company concerning this stance.


Recent panel upgrades—and the possibility of confusion flying with the new equipment—may also be a focus of the investigation.  The first press report names one of the airplane’s owners as saying the plane “had recently been upgraded with new computers,” but also said they “did not indicate any problems as [the pilot] approached the airport.”  It goes on to say the pilot “was an information-technology guru” but that may not translate directly into familiarity with new avionics under the stress of low IMC.  A common pilot error I’ve seen in training pilots new to GPS is the failure to completely load and activate the approach after a “missed.”  It’s possible this occurred here, when a pilot new to the airplane and equipment new to both impacted the ground during a second approach attempt.  Using a detailed, airplane-specific approach checklist is a boon to safety for all instrument operations.  Read more about what it takes to prepare for an approach in this article.


The crash happened about 35 minutes after local sunrise…probably the worst time of day for obscured visibility and fog.  The colder the air’s temperature, the less moisture it can hold in suspension.  Once air reaches the temperature where it is holding all the moisture it can (the “dew point”), any further drop in temperature results in condensation.  Condensation cannot occur in a vacuum, however; water droplets need small particulates around which to form.  These small particulates are called condensation nuclei. In a polluted environment, with lots of condensation nuclei, there may be a significant reduction in visibility even at temperatures a bit above the dew point—consider the northeastern U.S.’ hazy summers.  In more remote areas the same temperature/dew point difference [“spread”] may be significantly better than it would be where more condensation nuclei are present.  However, when at the surface the temperature and dew point meet there is almost always condensation in the form of fog.


Typically temperatures drop after the sun stops the day’s heating and warmth radiates away from the surface.  It’s easy to visualize that the air temperature will be at its lowest at or even shortly after the sun comes up—it’s had all night to cool, and will not begin to warm again until exposed to sunlight for an hour or more.  That’s why, other fog-producing factors aside, obscuration tends to start at or before sunrise, then “burn off” an hour or more afterward as the earth again warms.  Back on topic: an approach missed due to fog right at sunrise had little chance of being successful on a second attempt that ended disastrously no more than about 35 minutes afterward—long before the fog would have burned away.)


9/28 2041Z (1541 local):  A “pleasure” flight ended when a Be23 lost power and the pilot force landed in a field [eight] miles from Duncan, Oklahoma.  Two aboard the Beechcraft were unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather in the area was “clear and 10” with a four know surface wind.  N6714E (M-2200) is a 1979 C23 recently (February 2008) registered to an individual in Edmond, OK.


(“Engine failure in flight”; “Recent registration”)


9/28 2100Z (1700 local):  “On landing” at Boca Raton, Florida, a Be33’s “gear collapsed.”  The solo pilot was not hurt and damage is “minor”.  Weather was 500 broken, 800 broken with eight miles visibility and calm winds.  N55FL (CD-996) is a 1965 C33 registered since 2006 to a corporation in Boca Raton.


(“Gear collapse on landing: electrical failure/incomplete manual extension”; “IMC”--Multiple readers report the pilot experienced an alternator failure from what was later found to be a broken alternator belt on the Debonair’s IO-470 engine.  The pilot attempted a manual landing gear extension but [according to the reader] “forgot how many turns it takes” to extend the gear, subsequently landing with the gear partially deployed.  Of course the correct answer is that it takes as many turns as necessary to get to where the hand crank will not turn any more.  Practicing the manual landing gear extension procedure to completion should be a requirement for initial checkout in any retractable gear airplane, and the should be checklist reviewed at least annually to ensure the pilot is ready to complete the process under the stress of an actual failure.)


9/29 0100Z (1900 local 9/28/08):  While landing at Jekyll Island, Georgia, a Be60’s “nose gear collapsed” and the Duke “skidded down the runway.”  The pilot and two passengers escaped injury.  Damage is “unknown” and weather conditions “not reported”.  N445CA (P-411) is a 1977 B60 registered since 1999 to an Atlanta, GA-based corporation.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


9/29 2230Z (1830 local):  The nose gear of a Be23 collapsed on landing at New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  The solo pilot was unhurt.  Damage is “unknown”; weather was VMC with an eight-knot surface wind.  N2376Z (M-101) is a 1962 Musketeer registered since 2006 to an individual in New Smyrna Beach.


(“Hard landing”)




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


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



10/9/2008 Report




A reader called to report:  10/8 1200Z (0700 local):   A Be36 crashed after its pilot reported a “mechanical problem”, near David Wayne Hooks Airport, Houston, Texas.  According to an online press report the solo pilot was able to escape with only minor injuries, although the Bonanza appears to have been destroyed in a post-crash fire.  Witnesses say the airplane descended with “total silence” and “like [it] was floating in the air,” suggesting the mechanical failure may have been engine-related.  The press report further states “the engine shut off as he made the emergency landing.”    Although the news account identifies the airplane as an A36 and news photos confirm it was a straight-tail Bonanza, no registration information is yet available. 


(“Crash/Unknown”; “Aircraft destroyed”—The local fire chief is quoted as saying “we do believe the pilot may have actually jumped from the plane just as he got within a few feet of landing,” but that’s extremely unlikely. Hopefully we’ll have more information soon.) 





10/3 1715Z (1215 local):  A Be17’s landing gear collapsed on touchdown at Moscow, Tennessee.  The two aboard were not hurt and damage to the Staggerwing is “minor”.  Weather conditions were not reported.  N18555 (s/n 157) is a 1937 F17D registered since 1997 to a Wilmington, Delaware corporation. 


(“Gear collapse on landing”)


10/4 1620Z (0920 local):  “On landing,” a Be76 “crashed [on a] private airstrip,” near Eloy, Arizona.  The solo pilot was unhurt despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather conditions were not reported.  N6013X (ME-113) is a 1978 Duchess registered since 1997 to an individual in San Diego, California.


(“Landing/unknown”; “Substantial damage”)




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


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



10/16/2008 Report




A reader called to report two Be36 incidents that, although they were not piloted, in-motion mishaps and therefore will not be included in the Summary tabulation, nonetheless point out potentially dangerous and expensive issues for the shop or FBO owner.  In the first instance, an A36 was being towed when one of the Bonanza’s wings impacted a parked fuel truck.  The force of impact broke the nose wheel tow pin; the Bonanza rolled free of the tug with enough speed it pivoted around so that the other wing also collided with the fuel truck.  Lessons learned:  Use spotters or keep a very close lookout when towing an airplane in tight quarters and around other vehicles, and tow at a slow enough pace that if the airplane comes off the tow bar it will quickly come to a stop on its own.


In the second instance an avionics shop had an A36 in for some work.  The job required access to the underside of the airplane, and the installers decided to crank the landing gear up slightly to open the inner gear doors to improve access.  The nose gear folded, damaging both main gear inner doors and the nose gear doors.  The propeller did not impact the shop floor so the engine was spared.  Lesson: Put the airplane up on jacks for any operation that requires the inner gear doors be opened.


Thanks, reader, for passing along your concerns to fellow owners.




Regarding the 10/8  A36 crash near David Wayne Hooks Airport, Houston, Texas:   An FAA preliminary report now confirms the Bonanza’s engine failed and the pilot force-landed about 15 miles from the airport.  Internet chatter from locals states the pilot was returning to Hooks after an annual inspection, and that engine oil pressure was lost before the engine failed.  N703KP (E-1975) was a 1981 A36 registered since 2005 to an individual in Burnet, Texas.


(Change “Crash/Unknown” to “Engine failure in flight” and “Weather not reported” to “VMC”-- Any time an airplane has been opened up for inspection, maintenance or repair, the possibility exists that in the process of making all the wrong things right, some right things were made wrong. Mechanics and inspectors are professionals, and I don’t mean to doubt their professionalism, but they are people too and sometimes people make mistakes.  Returning an airplane to service is a team effort, and as pilots we need to accept at least some of the responsibility to determine an airplane is ready to fly when it comes out of the shop.  The first flight after leaving the shop is a test flight, and on that flight you become a test pilot.   For more on what to look for and how to safely accept an airplane from maintenance, inspection, modification or repair, see my articles “The Post-Annual Inspection” parts 1 and 2, also discussed in a podcast.) 





10/9 1608Z (1108 local):  A Be23 was “destroyed” in a hard landing at Chesaning, Michigan.  The solo pilot escaped injury.  Weather was “clear and 10” with winds from 270˚ at eight gusting to 18 knots.  N317NF (M-494) was a 1963 Musketeer registered since 1996 to an individual in Saint Charles, Michigan.


(“Hard landing”; “Airplane destroyed”; “Wind”—Airplanes with full-flying stabilators and those that tend to be nose-heavy in typical landing conditions tend to be more sensitive to proper airspeed and pitch control, and involved in more hard and bounced landing mishaps.  The piston Beech record bears this out—of 11 “hard” and “bounced” landing reports so far this year, nine have been in Be23s.


Chesaning’s airport has two fairly short [2200 feet and 2800 feet, each with trees on both end] but wide [150 ft wide each] turf runways, one north/south, the other east/west.  The mishap report does not state which runway the pilot used, but most likely it was runway 27 [2800 X 150].  As wind gusts its direction shifts toward the area of low pressure.  In the Northern hemisphere this means wind direction at the surface would shift to its own left.  The greater the magnitude o the gusts, the greater the change in wind direction.  To the pilot landing on runway 27 into a gusting wind from 270,˚ in the gusts the wind would become a quartering left crosswind.  As gusts fade the wind would again shift to a direct headwind.  My Southern hemisphere readers, of course, would notice the opposite effect as wind direction would tend to shift to the right in gusts. The pilot would have to be on speed with enough added for control effectiveness to counter shifting wind direction as well as speed changes.  Landing on a fairly short runway over obstacles naturally causes the pilot to want to land slowly and at a steep angle, to avoid trees and touch down as close to the runway threshold as possible.  If the airspeed became too slow for stabilator, aileron and rudder effectiveness, or the stabilator loses airflow because of disruption by the airframe itself at high angles of attack [a common stabilator trait], the resulting arrival could be quite jolting.  All the way through final approach and even in the flare the pilot should be spring-loaded to go around if needed. 


Pilot ability is often the limiting factor in an airplane’s ability to land in windy conditions.  But sometimes airplane design places limitations on what can be flown as well.  The wise pilot evaluates his/her ability and those of the airplane, and then decides whether to attempt a landing or go around from a landing attempt.)   




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


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



10/23/2008 Report




10/18 1902Z (1402 local):  During a visual approach to Salina, Kansas, a Be36 “lost communications” with the tower “and force landed on a highway.”  Two aboard the A36 avoided injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage.  Weather was VMC.  N3112Y (E-2410) is a 1988 A36 recently (September 2008) registered to a corporation in Helena, Montana.


(“Fuel starvation” [more in a moment]; “Substantial damage”; “Recent registration”—a local news report states the pilot was completing a short flight from Kansas City when the Bonanza “ran out of gas”.  Video shows the airplane on an interstate highway, where the pilot had expertly landed the powerless aircraft, with its right main and nose gear collapsed.  The left main wheel’s tire was rolled off to the left, suggesting excessive side-loads when the pilot may have tried to avoid an obstacle on the highway. 


Sources on the scene speculate the engine may have quit when the pilot selected a fuel tank for landing, and would not restart when the pilot attempted to re-select the previous, fueled tank.  The interstate highway where the Bonanza landed is roughly under the downwind leg for Salina’s southbound runway.  


Fuel starvation [running the selected tank of fuel dry while other tanks still have fuel on board] can result in any of several scenarios:


·        The pilot does not plan to have adequate fuel to reach destination on either tank independently, and does not properly time switching between selected tanks.

·        The pilot does not confirm fuel level through all means necessary before flight, and assumes the tank has more fuel on takeoff than it actually does.

·         During tank selection the fuel selector does not go firmly into the tank detent, cutting off fuel flow.

·        The pilot does not manage power and fuel flow in the manner he/she planned, resulting in higher fuel flow than expected.

·         Fuel siphons from a tank in flight and it no longer contains the amount of fuel the pilot thought it does.


To guard against interruption of fuel flow the Pilot’s Operating Handbook directs selecting the fullest tank for landing.  I teach making that selection at the top-of-descent [just before beginning descent from cruise], picking a tank with adequate fuel for descent, landing, go-around or missed approach, and climb to a safe altitude without further selections.  I’m not a fan of the classic GUMPS check only because “G” for Gas suggests making a fuel tank selection [not just confirmation of the selected position] in the traffic pattern.  I acknowledge that if verification, not selection, is emphasized, that GUMPS is a useful prelanding check.


It’s not uncommon in Beechcraft for a delay in restarting the engine when a tank is run completely dry and the selector valve then moved to another, fueled tank. 


If you can’t plan your flight to have enough fuel in a tank for descent, approach, landing and go-around/missed approach at top-of-descent, in my opinion, you have not adequately planned your flight and en route fuel stops.   


I also teach that switching fuel tanks is a three-part process—1) move the selector handle, 2) wiggle it slightly to make certain it is firmly in the fuel tank detent, and 3) leave your hand on the selector handle for several seconds while watching the fuel flow/fuel pressure gauge.  If flow begins to drop, switch back to the previously selector tank to keep the engine running until you confirm you have fuel in the tank you’ve tried to select, and can again attempt to switch tanks. 


10/19 1950Z (1250 local):  Landing at Big Bear City, California, a Be33 “went off [the] runway [and] struck a parked aircraft, a truck and a hangar.”  The two aboard were unhurt; damage to the Bonanza is “substantial” and there is no report of the damage to other vehicles or ground facilities.  Weather was “nit reported”.  N65HP (CE-610) is a 1975 F33A registered since 2004 to an individual in Burbank, California.


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


10/20 1335Z (0835 local):  A Be35’s landing gear collapsed on arrival at Austin, Texas.  The solo pilot was unhurt; damage is “unknown”.  Weather: sky clear, visibility four miles in haze, with calm winds.  N9360Y (D-6476) is a 1960 M35 registered since 1992 to an individual in Austin.


(“Gear collapse on landing”)




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


**9/6 G35 fuel exhaustion at Knoxville, TN.  Change “Fuel starvation” to “Fuel exhaustion”.**


**9/11 G36 fuel starvation and subsequent hard landing at Erie, PA.  From the report:

The pilot stated the airplane was topped off with fuel before departing, and he did not have any problems in opening or closing the fuel caps during the preflight inspection He switched the fuel tanks every 30 minutes while en-route and did not notice any siphoning of fuel. Air traffic control cleared the flight to descend about 30 to 45 miles from the destination airport. The pilot elected to remain on the right main fuel tank since the fuel gauges indicated it had the most amount of fuel. The controller cleared the flight for a visual approach to runway 6 and the engine stopped about one half mile from the airport. The pilot immediately switched the fuel tanks, and attempted an engine restart, which was unsuccessful. He flared the airplane high over the runway. The airplane landed hard, bounced, and landed hard again, Examination of the airplane revealed structural damage to the right wing. A mechanic who examined the airplane stated a lanyard, which holds the fuel cap down interfered with the latch, and the cap may not have been seated properly leading to the fuel leak. Blue fluid staining was present in the vicinity of the right main fuel cap and aft section of the right wing.  The right fuel tank was de-fueled and about one quart of fuel was present. The left main fuel tank was de-fueled and about 18 gallons of fuel was present.

My earlier Weekly Accident Update report notes this is the first known case of fuel starvation or exhaustion in a glass-cockpit piston airplane, but now we know the circumstances are unusual.  Float-type fuel gauges may not report the extra fuel loss, as the suction that pulls fuel out may also hold fuel floats in the full-up, fully-fueled position.  Such losses would not be reflected in fuel totalizers or other integrated fuel management information; as far as a totalizer or glass cockpit GPS interface knows, if the fuel doesn’t go through the injection system transducer, it’s still on board the airplane. 


I had a fuel cap come loose in flight in a Baron once, and know a fellow CFI who has had this happen in an A36.  Fuel can siphon at a great rate if the tank is near full when the cap comes loose.  Since that time I include a scan of the fuel caps in my Climb checklist, to see if there’s any sign of fuel leakage from the filler caps.  If fuel is leaking, land as soon as practical and refuel, as that’s the only way to confirm how much fuel actually remains on board.**


**9/28 C23 engine failure near Duncan, OK.**


**9/28 A36 fatal controlled flight into terrain during an ILS approach at Carlsbad, CA.**


**10/4 Beech Duchess loss of control landing in a high wind at Eloy, AZ.  Change “Landing/Unknown” to “Loss of control on landing—strong, gusty winds”**



10/30/2008 Report




10/24 2312Z (1912 local):  A Be36 landed gear up during a dark IMC arrival at Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Two aboard the Bonanza avoided injury despite “substantial” aircraft damage at the completion of a trip from White Plains, New York.  Weather was 300 overcast, visibility three miles in drizzle and light rain, with surface winds at five knots.  N4474S (E-698) is a 1975 A36 registered since 1988 to a co-ownership based in Bedford, New York.


(“Gear up landing”; “Substantial damage”; “Night”; “IMC”—it’s extremely unusual for airplanes to land gear up out of an instrument approach.  Most IFR pilots learn to use specific power settings and aircraft configurations [flap and landing gear settings] for approaches. In most light aircraft this includes extending the landing gear at the Final Approach Fix [FAF] inbound.  If the pilot flies “by the numbers” he or she should immediately detect forgotten landing gear; the airplane simply will not fly the preplanned approach profile with the gear up.  For a given pitch attitude the airspeed will b high and the rate of descent too small to track a glidepath.  If glideslope or WAAS glidepath is maintained the speed will be too great.  Crosschecking power, attitude, airspeed and performance is the best confirmation of landing gear position flying an instrument approach or a visual final using a glideslope indicator [VASI, PAPI, etc.].  See my upcoming article “Stabilized Approaches in Light Airplanes” on AVweb.


Possibly a side note in this case, the reported ceiling was 200 feet below all approach minima that might have been available to the A36 pilot [assuming the airplane was WAAS certified].  The lowest minima appear on the RNAV (GPS) Rwy 6 approach.  Prior to WAAS the appropriate Decision Height/Decision Altitude/MDA for any straight-in approach with all equipment working was always the top set of information on approach charts.  With WAAS, however, the appropriate minimums for a given airplane may be the second or third block from the top on most RNAV approach charts, depending on the level of that aircraft’s GPS certification.  The LPV minimum was right at the reported ceiling.  But the airplane may not have qualified for LPV approaches.  The pilot may have used years of experience reading approach charts to mis-read the minimums for this approach, making him feel he had a chance at seeing the runway and landing when in fact he should have missed two hundred feet above the bases. 


Another scenario that occurs at times is when a pilot initiates a missed approach at the MAP, then catches a glimpse of the runway environment and reverses the “missed” decision, pulling the power to land.  This frequently leads to a gear-up landing and may have been what happened here.  Runway overrun is another common outcome of trying to land when seeing the runway after beginning the missed.  Once you have begun the missed approach commit yourself to completing the missed, even if you later see the runway lights or the runway itself.  Once safely in a holding pattern or at Minimum Vectoring Altitude you can decide if conditions are such that you try the approach again, being careful to maintain the same level of altitude discipline the next time around.)  


10/26 2115Z (1715 local):  A Be18 “experienced [a] fuel problem and landed short of the airport in a field near Lebanon, Ohio.”  The solo pilot was unhurt and he/she made the landing without damage to the Twin Beech.  Weather was VMC with winds at 10 gusting to 25 knots.  N6BA (A-406) is a 1946 D18S registered since 2006 to a corporation in Memphis, Tennessee.


(“Fuel exhaustion”; “Wind”—unless we hear otherwise.) 


10/28 1920Z (1520 local):  A Be58 “rolled off the end of the runway” at Gastonia, North Carolina.  The pilot and four passengers were not hurt; aircraft damage is “minor”.  Weather: 6500 scattered, visibility 10, with variable surface winds at five gusting to 15 knots.  N929SP (TH-1465) is a 1986 Baron 58 registered since 2004 to a corporation in Concord, North Carolina.


(“Landed long”—Gastonia boasts a 3770-foot long runway.  Assuming the airplane, loaded with five people at the beginning of its almost 1 ½-hour flight from southern Georgia, departed at maximum gross weight, fuel burn would have put it roughly 300 pounds below maximum gross on landing.  Given the environmental conditions this means the Baron would have required about 1600 feet for ground roll on landing, with an obstacle-clearance distance of about 3000 foot from the point it passed a 50-ft obstacle to where it was stopped on the runway.  


Note that calculated performance requires the pilot adhere to the Associated Conditions stated in the landing performance chart.  These charts often are designed to show the best possible landing performance, i.e., the Associated Conditions described what is essentially a short-field landing, with a high rate of descent on final, power pulled all the way to idle in the flare, and maximum braking begun as soon as the airplane touches down.  Any other technique, including what most pilots consider to be “normal” descent, a little power carried into the flare, and minimal braking on rollout, would result in a longer ground roll and a greater runway distance requirement.  


Airspeed control is critical both to arriving in the desired touchdown zone (generally 1000 feet from the threshold or in the first third of the runway, whichever is less) and arriving while at the proper speed to quickly dissipate in the flare and land with minimal “float” and at low enough speed to come to a stop on the available runway.  Even a little fast on speed will significantly increase landing distance, while any touchdown beyond the touchdown zone makes a runway overrun much more likely.  Gusty, variable winds may have required significant corrections on the part of the pilot to land in the touchdown zone on speed, further complicating the approach.  If you’re not on your speed target and set up to land in the touchdown zone by the time you’re within about 400 feet of the ground, go around and try again until you get it right or divert to a longer runway or one with more favorable winds. )  




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:  180 reports 


Operation in VMC: 118 reports   (66%)  

Operation in IMC:    10 reports   (6%)   

Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  52 reports

Operation at night:  13 reports  (7%) 

Surface wind > 15 knots:  15 reports  (8%)             


Fatal accidents: 20 reports   (11%)  

“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities): 3 reports  (2%) 


“Substantial” damage: 58 reports   (32%)  

Aircraft “destroyed”:   21 reports   (12%)   


Recent registration (within previous 12 months):  32 reports   (18%)  


(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:


Be35 Bonanza  40 reports  

Be36 Bonanza  28 reports  

Be33 Debonair/Bonanza  24 reports  

Be58 Baron  17 reports   

Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner 14 reports 

Be55 Baron  14 reports  

Be76 Duchess  13 reports  

Be18 Twin Beech  5 reports

Be24 Sierra   5 reports 

Be95 Travel Air   5 reports  

Be65 Queen Air  3 reports 

Be17 Staggerwing  2 reports

Be19 Sport  2 reports

Be50 Twin Bonanza  2 reports 

Be60 Duke  2 reports 

Be77 Skipper  2 reports  

Be45 (T-34) Mentor  1 report   





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


LANDING GEAR-RELATED MISHAPS (77 reports; 43% of the total) 


Gear up landing

31 reports (Be18; two Be24s; five Be33s; twelve Be35s; four Be36s; Be50; two Be55s; Be58; three Be76s)


Gear collapse (landing)

24 reports (Be17; two Be33s; five Be35s; Be36; Be50; three Be55s; three Be58s; two Be60s; two Be65s; two Be76s; two Be95s)


Gear collapse—pilot activation of gear on ground

5 reports (Be33; two Be35s; Be55; Be58)


Gear up landing—known mechanical system failure

4 reports (Be33; Be35; Be45; Be76)


Gear collapse (takeoff)

3 reports (Be18; Be36; Be58)


Gear collapse during taxi

3 reports (Be18; Be58; Be76)


Failure of nose gear to extend due to mechanical failure

2 reports (Be65, Be76)


Gear collapse on landing—known mechanical system failure

2 reports (Be55; Be95)


Gear collapse on landing: electrical failure/incomplete manual extension

2 reports (Be33; Be45)


Gear collapse on landing—known incomplete electrical extension

1 report (Be58)


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



ENGINE FAILURE   (36 reports; 20% of the total) 


Engine failure in flight

16 reports (Be23; two Be33s; five Be35s; five Be36s; Be55; Be58)


Engine failure on takeoff

6 reports (two Be33s; Be36; Be55; Be77)


Fuel exhaustion

5 reports (Be18; three Be35s; Be55)


Fuel starvation

2 reports (Be33; Be36)


Engine failure on approach/landing

2 reports (Be23; Be35)


Partial power loss: fuel line leak

1 report (Be36)


Propeller overspeed

1 report (Be36)


Engine failure—fuel system malfunction

1 report (Be36)


Piston/cylinder failure in flight

1 report (Be35)


Propeller separation in flight

1 report (Be55)


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



IMPACT ON LANDING  (35 reports; 19% of the total) 


Loss of directional control on landing

9 reports (Be18; two Be19s; two Be23s; two Be33s; Be36; Be77)


Hard landing

8 reports (seven Be23s; Be35)


Loss of control on landing—strong, gusty winds

4 reports (two Be23s; Be58; Be76)


Landed long

3 reports (Be33; Be95)


Hard landing—strong, gusty wind

2 reports (Be23; Be36)


Wing strike on landing

1 report (Be58)


Impact with animal while landing

1 report (Be76)


Impact with obstacle on landing

1 report (Be35)


Loss of control--attempted go-around in strong/gusty winds

1 report (Be55)


Landed short

1 report (Be35)


Nosed over on landing

1 report (Be17)


Bounced landing

1 report (Be23)


Landed long/failed to go around

1 report (Be36)


Landed short—precautionary landing due to loss of oil pressure

1 report (Be33)


Pilot-induced oscillation/propeller strike

1 report (Be35)



CAUSE UNKNOWN  (8 reports; 4% of the total)  



2 reports (Be24; Be35)



2 reports (Be35; Be36; Be58)



2 reports (Be33; Be36)


Forced landing/Unknown

1 report (Be36)


Ground/taxi unknown

1 report (Be33)



MISCELLANEOUS CAUSES  (8 reports; 4% of the total) 


Taxied into obstruction/aircraft

4 reports (Be23; Be33; Be76; Be95)


Pilot incapacitation—heart attack

1 report (Be58)


Bird strike on landing

1 report (Be33)


Gear door damage—ice accumulation

1 report (Be33)


Wing explosion—suspected fuel leak ignited by arcing electrical wiring

1 report (Be58)



IMPACT WITH OBJECT DURING TAKEOFF   (8 reports; 4% of the total) 


Impact with object/animal during takeoff

3 reports (two Be36s; Be58)


Loss of directional control during takeoff

1 report (Be76)


Collision with landing aircraft

1 report (Be36)


Blown tire/loss of directional control during aborted takeoff

1 report (Be24)


Runway overrun—failure to abort takeoff

1 report (Be35)


Propeller strike on takeoff

1 report (Be36)



LOSS OF CONTROL IN FLIGHT   (5 reports; 3% of the total) 


Loss of control—single engine visual approach

3 reports (Be55; Be58)


Loss of control—airframe ice; in-flight break-up

1 report (Be35)


Loss of control on instrument approach

1 report (Be35)



STALL/SPIN   (4 reports; 2% of the total)


Stall--attempted go-around in strong/gusty winds

1 report (Be23)


Stall/Spin during turn in visual traffic pattern in strong/gusty winds

1 report (Be35)


Stall/Spin on takeoff

1 report (Be55)


Stall on landing—returning with unidentified urgency

1 report (Be58)





In-flight break-up—probable pilot incapacitation

1 report (Be35)


In-flight tail vibration/flutter

1 report (Be35)





Descent below IFR approach minimum altitude

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!



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