Beech Weekly Accident Update

Piston Beechcraft Accidents 

5/10/2019 through 5/22/2019

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 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.  © 2019 Mastery Flight Training, Inc.  All Rights Reserved


New reports this week

5/12 2349Z (1949 local Sunday evening): The pilot and passenger of a Be35 are presumed dead, and the Bonanza “destroyed,” after the pilot “declared an emergency” due to engine failure while over Lake Michigan near Frankfort, Michigan. Radar contact and commiunication were lost and Air Traffic Control initiated a search. No wreckage was founds and it is “presumed the aircraft[is] under water.” N1561Z (D-8442) was a 1967 V35 registered in Howell, Michigan. 

(“Engine failure in flight”; “Fatal”; “Aircraft destroyed”; “Night"—an aviation safety website reports the airplane was on approach. The ATC flight track shows the flight had originated in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and flew diagonally across the Great Lake at one of its widest points before descending into the water.  FlightAware also reveals that the flight was en route to Monroe, in southeastern Michigan, and “deverted” toward Frankfort at airspeeds gnerally approximating Best Glide, presumably because of the emergency. 

The engine failure appears to have happened at about the worst possible time, when the airplane was not quite within gliding distance of land from its 7000 foot cruising altitude. Studies warn that Lake Michigan water temperatures are cold enough to induce hypthermia in 45 minutes even at the height of summer; expected survival time in May would be much shorter. 

It’s often noted, correctly, that an engine is no more likely to fail over water, or over mountains or other hazards. What is not usually discussed in that context is that although engine failure is no more likely, the consequences of failure if it occurs are much more dire.)

5/13 1915Z (1415 local Monday afternoon): A Be36 “veered off the runway” and its “wing struck [the] ground” during an attemtped landing at Clintonville, Wisconsin. The two aboard the “personal” flight escaped injury despite “substantial” airplane damage. N425P (E-3175) is a 1998 A36 registered in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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

5/15 1845Z (1245 local Wednesday afternoon): A Be60 crashed “under unknown circumstances” near Fort Collins, Colorado, killing the solo pilot. The Duke was “destroyed”. N60RK (P-79) was a 1969 Model 60 registered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

(“Crash/Unknown”; “Fatal”; “Airplane destroyed”—an online accident reporting site posts:

Crash witness...said he saw what looked to be “a fireball dropping straight down” as he was driving north on Interstate 25 just south of U.S. 34. “My first thought was that it looked like a meteor dropping from the sky but it was going way too slow,” [the witness] said in a Wednesday email. “It dropped below the horizon and that is when the dark black smoke cloud raised.”

At 12:54, crews arrived to find plane wreckage just south of County Road 30, across the road from Nelson Reservoir. They upgraded the call to an official plane crash response and put out a fire at the site. Smoke was visible throughout the area. Federal investigators reached the scene just after 3 p.m. to conduct an investigation on the crash. The debris from the plane was in a relatively small a dry detention pond…. 

The witness report raises the spectre of a catastrophic engine fire in flight. The FlightAware track says the airplane was only airborne about 15 minutes, climbing to no more than 2000 feet above ground and gradually descending, suggesting something may have happened shortly after takeoff and the pilot was flying more or less striaght toward a departure alternate airport. Of course we won’t know more until the NTSB releases findings).

New NTSB reports this week

Events previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update

 5/1 S35 engine failure during takeoff during an instructional flight at Sedona, Arizona. The NTSB preliminary report states:

The accident flight was the beginning of the process to familiarize and qualify the pilot in the airplane for insurance and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements purposes.

Both pilots reported that the preflight inspection, engine start, taxi out, and engine run-up were all normal. The pilots planned to depart from runway 21, practice some airwork away from SEZ, and then return to SEZ. The takeoff roll and liftoff were normal, but just after the airplane lifted off, both pilots sensed a significant loss of engine power, the stall warning sounded, and the airplane began to roll right wing down. In response, both pilots pushed the nose down. The combination of right roll and left crosswind resulted in the airplane drifting to the right, and the airplane impacted the terrain off the right side of the runway. The airplane traversed some rough terrain adjacent to the runway, and slid to a stop on its belly.

The airplane came to rest near the intersection of runway 21 and taxiway A8. The undercarriage was collapsed and partially torn away, and the left wing sustained substantial damage. The cockpit and cabin remained intact. There was no fire. The pilots secured the airplane and exited on their own.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He reported that he had about 1,075 hours total flight experience, with no time in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed in November 2016, and his most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued in June 2017.

The CFI held airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates, with airplane single- engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He reported that he had about 10,309 hours total flight experience, including about 845 hours in Beech Bonanza airplanes, and about 5 hours in the specific accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed in September 2017, and his most recent FAA BasicMed medical certificate was issued in June 2017.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the airplane was manufactured in 1964, and was equipped with a Continental Motors IO-520 series engine. The pilot reported that the airplane had a total time (TT) in service of about 5,906 hours, and that the engine had a TT of about 877 hours since major overhaul. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed in August 2018. 

2019 SUMMARY: Reported Beechcraft piston mishaps, 2019:

Total reported: 49 reports

Environment: (Note: FAA preliminary reports no longer report weather conditions)

Operation in VMC:  30 reports 
Operation in IMC:    4 reports  
Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  15 reports
Operation at night: 0 reports    

Most Serious Injury
“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  1 report 
Fatal accidents:  9 reports

Aircraft damage
“Substantial” damage:  13 reports
Aircraft “destroyed”:   11 reports

By Aircraft Type      

Be35 Bonanza  14 reports
Be36 Bonanza  14 reports
Be55 Baron  6 reports 
Be60 Duke  4 reports 
Be50 Twin Bonanza  2 reports
Be58 Baron  2 reports 
Be76 Duchess  2 reports
Be24 Sierra  1 report
Be33 Bonanza/Debonair  1 report
Be45 Mentor  1 report
Be65 Queen Air  1 report
Bonanza (model unknown)  1 report


(all subject to update per official findings):

Landing gear-related mishaps (18 reports)

Gear up landing  
8 reports (three Be35s; Be45; two Be55s; Be76; Bonanza model unknown) 

Gear collapse during landing  
8 reports: (Be24; three Be35s; four Be36s) 

Gear collapse during taxi  (1 report: Be35)

Gear collapse—incomplete extension  (1 report: Be58)

Engine failure (14 reports)

Engine failure in flight  
6 reports (two Be35s; three Be36s; Be60)

Fuel starvation  
2 reports (Be36; Be55)

Engine failure during return to airport/door open after takeoff  1 report (Be35)

Engine fire in flight  1 report (Be36)

Engine failure during takeoff  1 report (Be35)

Engine failure during approach/landing  1 report (Be35)

Engine failure shortly after takeoff/stall  1 report (Be50)

Dual engine failure in flight/suspected fuel contamination  1 report (Be50)

Loss of control in flight (LOC-I) (5 reports)

Loss of control in flight/Initial departure in IMC  1 report (Be36)

Stall during low-altitude maneuvering  1 report (Be65)

Loss of control immediately after liftoff/unknown  1 report (Be60)

Loss of control/Instrument approach  1 report (Be58)

Loss of control during go-around  1 report (Be76)

Miscellaneous  (4 reports)(

Taxied into object/other aircraft  3 reports (Be33; Be35; Be60)

Attempted hand-propping/unoccupied start/ground collision  1 report (Be35)0

Impact during landing (5 reports) 

Loss of directional control during landing  
3 reports (all Be36s)

Landed short  1 report (Be65)

Hard landing  1 report (Be55)

Controlled Flight into Terrain (1 report)

Controlled Flight into Terrain: Visual flight in mountains  1 report (Be55)

Unknown (2 reports)

Precautionary landing/unknown  1 report (Be36)

Crash/unknown  1 report (Be60)

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.  

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