ePilot Accident Report Archive

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Don’t wait to go around

2014, 11 18

For those who fly either airplanes or helicopters, the go-around is like Monopoly’s Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. The go-around is not a difficult maneuver, but it does get harder the longer you wait.

IFR in IMC

2014, 11 03

Safe instrument flight requires a realistic understanding of how sharp your skills are today.

No guarantees

2014, 10 27

In an unprotected airplane, anything more than a trace of ice is cause for immediate action, including declaring an emergency if that’s what it takes to get out. In a better-equipped aircraft, the urgency of the situation depends on a number of things.

Don't do it yourself

2014, 10 17

Initiative is widely regarded as admirable, and having the gumption to manage one's own education is one of the most widely admired initiatives of all. But aviation isn't a skill that lends itself to being "self-taught."

Patience

2014, 09 30

Hurry is usually counterproductive. In aircraft maintenance, it can be catastrophic.

VFR into VMC?

2014, 09 15

Reported ceilings and visibilities above VFR minimums are no guarantee of a clear view of the horizon. NTSB investigators concluded that the VFR pilot in a fatal crash Oct. 21, 2013, likely lost control in reduced visibility caused by rain showers.

Borrowing trouble

2014, 09 05

Teaching yourself to fly an unfamiliar airplane is daring enough. Teaching yourself to fly an unfamiliar homebuilt when you haven't flown in a decade practically invites catastrophe.

Due diligence

2014, 08 11

Initial reports that a King Air C90 had succumbed to apparent fuel exhaustion on the short hop from Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Bentonville (about 172 nautical miles straight-line distance) inspired some incredulity. How could anyone able to operate a King Air be too cheap or too careless to assure he had enough fuel for the flight?

Too many unhappy returns

2014, 07 28

On Aug. 5, 2013, the 34-year-old pilot of an Air Tractor AT-400 became at least the fourth crop duster in the past few years killed when his airplane collided with a meteorological tower.

More than meets the eye

2014, 07 10

A VFR-only pilot’s decision to take off in night instrument meteorological conditions resulted in spatial disorientation and a loss of control.

A race to the finish

2014, 06 13

An EMS helicopter tried to make it back to base ahead of a converging storm front.

It's called that for a reason

2014, 05 27

A Cessna 170 pilot suffers a classic stall/spin accident in the Alaskan bush.

'Moderate' peril

2014, 05 13

Pilots flying in areas covered by airmets for moderate turbulence often encounter nothing especially alarming, so it's easy to forget that actual conditions may be worse than predicted. Early in the evening of Dec. 14, 2012, a Beech King Air E90 broke up in flight about 15 minutes after takeoff from the Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo, Texas.

Not 'ready for anything'

2014, 04 28

Was the flight of a 1956-model Cessna 310 that took off from the Monett Municipal Airport in Missouri for a short hop to a private grass strip near Miller doomed from the start? Or could the pilots have done something to save it when an emergency started to unfold?

Mother knows best

2014, 04 15

A low-time VFR private pilot continued flying into instrument meteorological conditions even after his mother had requested he return his departure airport to avoid the low ceilings and fog at his planned destination. The pilot continued and crashed 15 miles east of his destination. His mother reported him missing.

Judgment call

2014, 04 02

The question of whether to attempt an instrument approach to an airport where the weather is below minimums is left entirely to the pilot’s discretion under 14 CFR Part 91. The fact that it’s legal doesn’t make it wise, as is evidenced in this special report from the Air Safety Institute.

Familiarity and contempt

2014, 03 17

An 18,000-hour pilot takes off with two pilot passengers after an abbreviated preflight. They’re going on a short 10-nautical-mile flight. Less than 1,000 feet in the air, the engine stops, and the pilot crashes trying to turn back to the airport, killing all on board. A careful preflight could have spotted the problem that made the engine seize.

Wire strike

2014, 03 03

Their ability to get in and out of incredibly constricted spaces is one of the most useful attributes of helicopters—but it can also be one of the most treacherous.

Rust removal

2014, 02 18

Rusty pilots must be careful to base their planning on the skills they have now rather than those they had when they quit or expect to regain soon.

Blown away

2014, 02 05

The pilot who took off from Angel Fire, N.M., in March 2013, when winds were gusting to 47 knots perpendicular to the runway, had told the lineman that he didn’t think the winds would be a problem.

Tragedy in the statistics

2014, 01 22

Remember that individual tragedies underlie the general aviation accident statistics: Three men died in the crash of a Cessna 310 near Vero Beach, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2013, in instrument meteorological conditions.

Fast and loose

2014, 01 07

Investigators of the fatal crash of an Extra EA-300 in 2012 found something unexpected in the tail cone.

The simple things

2013, 12 17

Just before 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2012, a fixed-gear Piper Cherokee 180 flew into a heavily wooded ridgeline about six miles southwest of the Simsbury, Conn., airport, killing the 73-year-old pilot and his only passenger.

Nothing is routine

2013, 12 07

Buzzing around the pattern becomes an easy default for satisfying the urge to fly, and it’s easy to forget that the majority of accidents during personal flights happen while taking off or trying to land. If a pilot isn’t alive to explain what happened after the accident, it may be impossible to figure out why.

A question of emphasis

2013, 11 18

On Nov. 23, 2012, a 68-year-old private pilot with more than 5,000 hours of flight experience undertook some flight testing in an amateur-built Coot-A Amphibian. After two successful flights with other pilots, the pilot took off solo. He crashed and was killed on a base-to-final turn.