Beech Weekly Accident Update

Piston Beechcraft Accidents 

8/8/2019 through 8/14/2019

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

8/8 1014Z (0614 local Thursday morning): Three aboard a Be33 perished, and the Bonanza was “destroyed,” when it impacted a residential area shortly after takeoff at Hartboro, Pennsylvania. Weather for the dawn takeoff was 800 overcast with five miles’ visibility. N4082S (CE-555) was a 1975 F33A registered in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania.

(“Takeoff/Unknown”; “Fatal”; “IMC”; “Night”—the launch occured moments after local dawn, which would ahve resulted in dark skies under the low overcast. Local news accounts describe a long impact pathway more or less aligned with the departure course, and the strong smell of aviation gasoline on the scene in spite of the lack of fire. From the news account:

After taking off from Northeast Philadelphia Airport bound for Ohio, the plane was airborne for only three minutes before rapidly losing altitude and crashing into the rear yards of four homes on Minnie Lane, about 10 miles from the airport. No one on the ground was harmed.

The Bonanza reached an altitude of 1,325 feet before heading down, picking up speed as it descended. At the last point of radar measurement, 775 feet from the ground, it was moving at 205 mph.

One neighbor...said he heard what appeared to be a loud engine directly above his house just before the crash 400 yards away, suggesting that the plane’s engine was working or at least had been restarted as the plane descended.

Debris was spread over four properties. Al Yurman, a former NTSB investigator, said Friday that agency experts would study where pieces were scattered for evidence of a possible airborne structural failure 

One FLYING LESSONS reader sent a copy of the pilot’s communication with Clearance Delivery, suggesting that the pilot’s trouble copying a full-route clearance may reflect the pilot’s mindset, fatigue state or proficiency that morning. Once the clearance was recieved communications appeared to be normal until the pilot did not change frequencies when handed off to Departure; the pilot never contacted Departure. Another reader who knew the pilot told me the airplane had very recently returned from a major avionics update. I’m certain this evidence will be reviewed by NTSB investigators. 

With little more or go on besides the ground track, the high-speed, near wings-level impact (had the airplane been in a spin or a spiral, or even turning much, it would not have created the resulting debris path), and the communications record, this tragic event remains in the “unknown” category until the NTSB may provide us more.

8/12 1726Z (1326 local Monday afternoon): A Be55 “landed and its gear collapsed,” at Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. All four aboard were unhurt; airplane damage is “unknown”. N100GM (TC-1183) is a 1968 B55 registered in Underhill, Vermont.

(“Gear collapse during landing”)

8/13 1320Z (0820 local Tuesday morning): A Be35 landed “with [its] gear retracted” at Madison, Mississippi. The solo pilot was not injured and airplane damage is “minor”. N5768K (D-7544) is a 1964 S35 registered in Brandon, Mississippi.

(“Gear up landing”)

New NTSB reports this week

Events previously reported in the Weekly Accident Update

7/19 B55 gear up landing and fire at Sanford, Florida. The NTSB preliminary report states:

According to the pilot, after being released for departure he started the takeoff roll, rotated and climbed to the traffic pattern altitude. He retracted the landing gear and started a turn to the downwind leg of the traffic pattern. While on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern the pilot extended the landing gear and deployed the flaps. He said that it was hard to see if the landing gear indicator light was illuminated, but he did confirm that he observed "one green." He said that the subsequent landing was "very smooth" until he heard the noise of the propellers striking the ground. He noticed that the left propeller was curled and pulled back on the yoke to allow the airplane to slide to a stop. Once the airplane came to a stop the pilot noticed flames coming from the underside of the airplane. The pilot exited the airplane and the airport fire department responded and extinguished the fire. 

A review of airport surveillance video showed the airplane on short final with the landing gear in the up and locked position. Surveillance video also showed the airplane during the landing flare with the landing gear stowed prior to touch down.

During further examination of the airplane, a gear retraction and extension test was performed. Power was supplied to the airplane, and the landing gear operated normally when lowered and raised. No landing gear anomalies were noted with the landing gear assembly during the gear extension and retraction test. 

7/20 F33A landing mishap at Battle Ground, Washington. From the NTSB preliminary report:

During the landing roll, the pilot noticed that his airspeed did not decrease as it normally had during previous flights. Additionally, the engine rpm was higher than normal. The pilot attempted to reduce the engine power by retarding the throttle control, but did not observe a response from the engine. As they were approaching the runway edge, the pilot retarded the mixture control to IDLE/CUTOFF; however, the airplane overran the runway edge, traversed an adjacent road and the left wing impacted a metal pole before the airplane came to rest.      

Yet another reason to crosscheck pitch attitude, power setting, airplane configuration (flaps and gear position) and the resulting perfomrance (airspeed and vertical speed) when established on final approach…and to go around if any of the parameters are not met. Change “Crash/unknown” to “Stuck throttle”.

2019 SUMMARY: Reported Beechcraft piston mishaps, 2019:

Total reported: 101 reports

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

Operation in VMC:  65 reports 
Operation in IMC:    8 reports  
Weather “unknown” or “not reported”:  28 reports
Operation at night: 3 reports    

Most Serious Injury
“Serious” injury accidents (not involving fatalities):  1 report 
Fatal accidents:  20 reports

Aircraft damage
“Substantial” damage:  23 reports
Aircraft “destroyed”:   24 reports

By Aircraft Type      

Be35 Bonanza  29 reports
Be36 Bonanza  25 reports
Be55 Baron  11 reports 
Be33 Bonanza/Debonair  9 reports  
Be58 Baron  6 reports
Be23 Musketeer/Sundowner  4 reports 
Be60 Duke  4 reports  
Be76 Duchess  3 reports
Be19 Sport  2 reports 
Be50 Twin Bonanza  2 reports  
Be65 Queen Air  2 reports
Be24 Sierra  1 report
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 (33 reports)

Gear up landing  
14 reports (Be33; six Be35s; two Be36s; Be45; two Be55s; Be76; Bonanza model unknown) 

Gear collapse during landing  
13 reports: (Be24; two Be33s; four Be35s; five Be36s; Be55) 

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)

Engine failure (29 reports)

Engine failure in flight  
13 reports (Be23; four Be35s; seven 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)

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)

Cylinder separation in flight  1 report (Be33)

Impact during landing (11 reports) 

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

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

Landed short  1 report (Be65)

Blown tire on landing  1 report (Be58)

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

Miscellaneous  (10 reports)(

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

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

Extreme turbulence encounter  1 report (Be58)

Bird strike  1 report (Be95)

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) (6 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)

Controlled Flight into Terrain (1 report)

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

Unknown (10 reports)

5 reports (two Be35s; Be36; Be55; 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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