Beech Weekly Accident Update

Piston Beechcraft Accidents 

9/12/2019 through 9/18/2019

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


A note as you read this (and other weeks of the) Beech Weekly Accident Update:

Gear collapse in piston Beech airplanes is usually, but not always, an outcome of improperly rigged landing gear and/or a mechanical failure of the nose gear pushrod system. Other contributors are weak landing gear motors and failures of the landing gear transmission. There are many things that may safely be deferred in airplane maintenance, but landing gear component inspection, maintenance and time-based overhaul or replacement are not among them. 

We don’t know why the several gear collapse events listed below occurred. But they are all a reminder for all Beech pilots to check the maintenance and overhaul status of their landing gear system. The costs of proper landing gear upkeep is relatively small compared to the consequences failure to do so, which is more often than not an airplane-totaling event.

New reports this week

9/8 1501Z (1101 local Sunday morning): A Be35 “struck a bird” while en route near Fort Myers, Florida. The pilot and passenger were unhurt but the Bonanza has “substantial” damage. N9422S (D-8020) is a 1965 V35 registered in Fort Myers.

(“Bird strike”; “Substantial damage”)

9/9 1345Z (0945 local Monday morning): A Be23 “was taxiing for takeoff” at Keystone Heights, Florida, “when it struck a barrier with [its] left wing.” The solo pilot was unhurt despite “substantial” airplane damage. N6009U (M-2008) is a 1978 C23 Sundowner registered in Middleburg, Florida.

(“Taxi into object”—heads up whenever the airplane is in motion on the ground.)

9/11 1356Z (0956 local Wednesday morning): A Be55’s “nose gear collapsed during takeoff causing a [dual] propeller strike,” at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The two aboard the “personal” flight were uninjured, and airplane damage is “unknown.” N4492F (TE-1097) is a 1977 E55 registered in Onalaska, Texas.

(“Gear collapse during takeoff”)

9/11 1740Z (1040 local Wednesday morning): A Be35’s gear collapsed during landing at Quincy, California, and the Bonanza “slid off [the] runway.” The solo pilot was unhurt and airplane damage is “minor”. N555M (D-6216) is a 1959 M35 registered in Incline Village, Nevada.

(“Gear collapse during landing”)

9/11 2147Z (1747 local Wednesday afternoon): A Be35 “veered off the runway into the grass and [then] flipped over,” at St. Augustine, Florida. The two pilots aboard suffered “minor” injuries and the extent of airplane damage is “unknown”. N5300E (D-5765) is a 1958 K35 registered in St. Augustine.

(“Loss of directional control during landing”; “Substantial damage” [more below]—several news accounts show the airplane, gear and flaps fully down, resting on the airplane’s top in the grass alongside the runway. The Bonanza’s nose wheel appears to be turned to one side, but it’s unknown as yet whether that’s true or a photographic illusion, and if true if any damage that resulted in this condition occurred before or after the airplane departed the runway surface. The pilot Tweeted:

“We had a mechanical problem in our V Tail Bonanza after landing a St Augustine this evening. People have been asking and I wanted to let everyone know that my passenger (one of our instructors) are doing fine.”

An industry safety website notes that damage to the Bonanza is “substantial” and reports the purpose of the flight was “training." The pilot is well known so I expect we’ll learn more details from the NTSB.) 

9/13 1738Z (1438 local Friday afternoon): A Be65’s “gear collapsed on landing” at Charlevoix, Michigan. Nine persons aboard the “commercial” Queen Air escaped unhurt. Airplane damage is “unknown”. N5078G (LF-8) is a 1960 Model 65 registered in Charlevoix.—a local news report includes a photo that shows all gear doors partially opened and all gear legs in a partially extended condition.)

(“Gear collapse during landing”) 

9/13 2320Z (1920 local Friday evening): A Be55 “landed and [its] nose gear collapsed” at Sebring, Florida. The two aboard were unhurt and airplane damage is “unknown”. N854T (TE-998) is a 1974 E55 registered in Lake Ariel, Pennsylvania.

(“Gear collapse during landing”)

New NTSB reports this week

Events previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update

8/20 A36 ditching in Half Moon Bay, California. The pilot’s comments suggest foreign-object fuel contamination, perhaps damage to the fuel bladders and/or damage related to recent fuel system modification, leading to power interruption at low altitude from which there was no chance of making it to shore. There has been significant internet discussion of a possible intentional motive behind the ditching; whatever the circumstances it was an absolutely flawless ditching, and because the airplane sank into the ocean we will almost certainly never know anything more.

8/29 triple-fatality B33 collision with power lines at St. Ignatius, Montana. From the report: 

According to a witness, the pilot routinely flew low over a ranch to alert the ranch hands that he would be landing at 52S and required a ride back to the ranch. On this occasion he was observed flying lower than normal. Multiple witnesses reported that they heard the airplane approaching then saw sparks erupting as the airplane flew passed wires located about 50 ft above the ground. All the witnesses reported seeing the airplane descend to the ground where it tumbled for about 400 ft. 

Change “Crash/unknown” to “Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT)/Buzzing” and change “Weather not reported” to “VMC”.

9/7 double-fatality door open in flight/loss of control at Henderson, Nevada. The report reads as if airplane weight and perhaps center of gravity, combined with the high density altitude conditions that caused the pilot to abort an attempt earlier that day because the airplane could not outclimb terrain, are in the narrowing focus of the NTSB’s investigation.

2019 SUMMARY: Reported Beechcraft piston mishaps, 2019:

Total reported: 122 reports

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

Operation in VMC:  82 reports 
Operation in IMC:    8 reports  
Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  32 reports
Operation at night: 4 reports    

Most Serious Injury
“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  4 reports 
Fatal accidents:  23 reports

Aircraft damage
“Substantial” damage:  27 reports
Aircraft “destroyed”:   31 reports

By Aircraft Type      

Be35 Bonanza  35 reports
Be36 Bonanza  28 reports
Be55 Baron  14 reports  
Be33 Bonanza/Debonair  12 reports  
Be58 Baron  8 reports
Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  6 reports 
Be60 Duke  4 reports  
Be65 Queen Air  3 reports
Be76 Duchess  3 reports
Be19 Sport  2 reports 
Be24 Sierra  2 reports
Be50 Twin Bonanza  2 reports  
Be45 Mentor  1 report
Be95 Travel Air  1 report
Bonanza (model unknown)  1 report


(all subject to update per official findings):

Landing gear-related mishaps (38 reports)

Gear up landing  
16 reports (Be33; seven Be35s; three Be36s; Be45; two Be55s; Be76; Bonanza model unknown) 

Gear collapse during landing  
16 reports: (Be24; two Be33s; five Be35s; five Be36s; two Be55s; Be65) 

Gear collapse—incomplete extension  
4 reports: (Be35; Be36; Be58; Be76)

Gear collapse—electrical failure in flight, incomplete extension  1 report (Be35)

Gear collapse during taxi  1 report (Be35)

Gear collapse during takeoff. 1 report (Be55)

Engine failure (33 reports)

Engine failure in flight  
16 reports (Be23; two Be33s; four Be35s; eight Be36s; Be60)

Fuel starvation  
5 reports (Be23; Be35; two Be36s; Be55)

Engine failure during takeoff  
3 reports (two Be19s; Be35)

Engine fire in flight  
2 reports (Be36; Be60)

Cylinder separation in flight  
2 reports (Be33; Be35)

Fuel exhaustion  1 report (Be55)

Engine failure during return to airport/door open after 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)

Impact during landing (13 reports) 

Loss of directional control during landing  
5 reports (Be23; Be35; three Be36s)

Hard landing  
4 reports (Be33; Be35; two Be55s)

Landed short  
2 reports (Be23; Be65)

Blown tire on landing  1 report (Be58)

Aircraft porpoised on landing/propeller strike  1 report (Be36)

Miscellaneous  (14 reports)(

Taxied into object/other aircraft  
6 reports (Be23; Be33; Be35; two Be58s; Be60)

Bird strike  
2 reports (Be35; Be95)

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

Extreme turbulence encounter  1 report (Be58)

Struck animal on runway during landing  1 report (Be58)

Wing explosion during takeoff  1 report (Be65)

Engine dire during taxi  1 report (Be55)

Midair collision/short final  1 report (Be35)

Stuck throttle  1 report (Be33)

Loss of control in flight (LOC-I) (7 reports)

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

Loss of directional control in flight/Attempted visual flight into 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)

Loss of control/door open in flight. 1 report (Be24)

Controlled Flight into Terrain (2 reports)

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

Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT)/Buzzing. 1 report (Be33)

Unknown (14 reports)

8 reports (three Be35s; two Be36s; two Be55s; Be58)

3 reports (Be33; two Be35s)

2 reports (Be23; Be35)

Precautionary landing/unknown  1 report (Be36)

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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