The following information provides an awareness of problems that might be avoided in the future. The information is based on final reports by official investigative authorities on aircraft accidents and incidents.
No In-Flight Indication of Damage
Airbus A320. Minor damage. No injuries.
The A320 was being prepared for a scheduled flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Sydney, Australia, with 149 passengers and six crewmembers the morning of Oct. 27, 2017. After the last cargo container was loaded into the aircraft, the ground handling operator’s “leading hand” placed his clipboard in the inlet cowling of the right engine to protect it from wind and rain, intending to retrieve it later.
“Normally, staff use the pushback tractor for shelter during adverse weather and to prepare paperwork for the flight,” said the report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). “However, as the pushback tractor was not yet present at the bay, he used the engine cowling. He recalled that he did not feel pressure to rush the departure.” After leaving the clipboard in the cowling, the leading hand went to the cockpit to give the flight crew some documents. He then exited the aircraft to organize the pushback.
A few minutes later, a dispatcher ensured that all ground vehicles and equipment were clear of the A320, and began a walk-around inspection of the aircraft. She saw the clipboard in the engine cowling but did not retrieve it. “The dispatcher stated that she did not view the clipboard as a foreign object, as it belonged to the leading hand and had the paperwork for the flight,” the report said. “She assumed that the leading hand would retrieve it later, prior to engine start-up.”
Shortly after the dispatcher completed the walk-around inspection, the flight crew started the engines without incident. The A320 was being taxied from the bay when the leading hand realized that his paperwork was missing; he thought the dispatcher had it. “The leading hand asked the dispatcher about the clipboard, and she mentioned she saw it in the right engine during the walk-around,” the report said.
Ground personnel then inspected the bay and found paper debris and a piece of sheared metal. Company operations personnel notified air traffic control (ATC), which in turn advised the flight crew of the situation. The A320 was climbing through 15,000 ft at the time. “The captain requested further information about the paperwork, specifically whether the paper was on top of the engine or inside the inlet,” the report said. “The flight crew checked the engine instruments and [found] no abnormal indications.”
After further radio communications with ATC and a company engineer, the captain decided to return to Auckland. After an uneventful landing, engineers found paper inside the engine and minor damage to a fan blade and fan case liner.
The ground-handling operator told ATSB that its operations manual did not specifically require that engine cowlings be checked for foreign objects during walk-around inspections. “Further, there was no guidance on how paperwork was to be prepared and managed by ground crew during adverse weather conditions,” the report said. “[However], the manual stated that all staff operating near the aircraft were to be constantly observant for abnormalities and to report these to the leading hand or supervisor prior to the aircraft departing.” After the incident, the airline and the ground-handling operator issued new guidance and procedures to prevent foreign object damage.
Mud Dauber Blocks Static Port
Gulfstream G-IV. Substantial damage. No injuries.
The G-IV was at 43,000 ft over the Caribbean Sea on a positioning flight from Maiquetía, Venezuela, to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., the evening of April 10, 2015, when the pilots noticed an illuminated annunciator warning that the cabin pressure differential had reached 9.8 psi, or about 0.3 psi over the maximum differential, indicating a cabin overpressurization.
“The pilots donned oxygen masks and referenced the airplane’s emergency checklist,” said the report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). “They then heard a loud ‘bam’ sound in the cabin and immediately initiated a descent.”
The pilots manually opened the cabin pressure outflow valve, leveled the airplane at 12,000 ft and continued to Fort Lauderdale. After an uneventful landing, an examination of the G-IV revealed substantial damage to cabin floor and wing structures.
“An examination of the outer fuselage revealed that the cabin pressurization relief/safety valve (CPRV) static port, located above the CPRV, was completely plugged with a foreign material resembling dried dirt from a mud dauber [insect],” the report said. The blockage prevented the CPRV from comparing cabin and outside air pressure, and functioning as designed to prevent a cabin overpressurization.
“The cockpit aural warning speaker was found inoperative, which may have delayed the pilots’ ability to recognize the overpressurization situation,” the report said. “No other mechanical anomalies were found with the airplane’s pressurization system.” Thus, investigators were unable to determine what initially caused the overpressurization.
Excess Airspeed Leads to Overrun
Fokker F28-100. Minor damage. No injuries.
Weather conditions were deteriorating as the F28 approached the airport in Gallivare, Sweden, the night of April 6, 2016. Visibility was 1,500 m (1 mi) in snow and rain, vertical visibility was 800 ft, surface winds were from 030 degrees at 8 kt, and the temperature and dew point were both at freezing. There was a thin layer of slush on the runway, and reported friction coefficients averaged 0.35. One hour earlier, coefficients averaging 0.54 had been reported. (Coefficients below 0.40 indicate progressively worse braking performance and directional control.)
The flight crew conducted an instrument approach to Runway 30, and the aircraft crossed the threshold of the 1,714-m (5,624-ft) runway at 134 kt — 12 kt above target landing speed (Vref). The airspeed did not decrease before the F28 touched down hard, bounced and touched down again in a left yaw.
“After the landing, which was performed with full flaps and extended speed brake, the lift dumpers on the wing’s upper surface extended,” said the report by the Swedish Accident Investigation Authority. “According to interviews, maximum reverse thrust was activated, and the brakes were applied immediately after the displacement in yaw. Data from the recordings indicate that reverse rpm increased from low idle 20 seconds after touchdown at a speed of about 50 knots. Engine reverse rpm then only reached 75 percent [about 10 percent less than maximum].”
The F28 overran the runway and came to a stop on the runway strip, with the main landing gear about 6 m (20 ft) from the departure threshold. None of the 51 passengers and five crewmembers was injured. The aircraft’s tires and engine fan blades were slightly damaged during the overrun, the report said.
Descent Into a Black Hole
Beech King Air A90. Destroyed. Two fatalities.
Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed as the pilot conducted a visual approach to Slidell, Louisiana, U.S., on April 19, 2016. “Adequate visibility and moon disk illumination were available,” the NTSB report said. “However, the area preceding the runway is a marsh and lacks cultural lighting, which can result in black-hole conditions in which pilots may perceive the airplane to be higher than it actually is while conducting an approach visually.”
The airplane overshot the extended runway centerline during the turn from base to final, struck an 80-ft power-transmission tower and descended to the ground about 0.6 nm (1.1 km) from the runway threshold.
“The circumstances of the accident are consistent with the pilot experiencing the black-hole illusion, which contributed to him flying an approach profile that was too low for the distance remaining to the runway,” the report said. “It is likely that the pilot did not maintain an adequate cross-check of his altimeter and radar altimeter during the approach and that the copilot did not monitor the airplane’s progress.
“Further, it is likely that neither pilot used the visual glidepath indicator at the airport, which is intended to be a countermeasure against premature descent in visual conditions.”
Visual Approach in IMC
Socata TBM 700B. Destroyed. Four fatalities.
The pilot and three passengers were en route the morning of April 26, 2013, to pick up two more passengers in Rotenburg, Germany, and then continue to Friedrichshafen, where an aviation fair was taking place. The pilot had obtained permission to land at Friedrichshafen between 1040 and 1100 local time. Friedrichshafen is about 100 km (54 nm) southeast of Rotenburg.
Although Rotenburg was reporting 2 km (1 1/4 mi) visibility and a 500-ft ceiling, the pilot canceled his instrument flight rules flight plan when the TBM was about 5 nm (9 km) from the airport. The pilot then attempted a visual approach in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), said the report by the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation (BFU).
After the pilot reported that the aircraft was on final approach to Runway 08, one of the waiting passengers went to the balcony of an airport building to watch for the TBM. However, he was unable to see the aircraft approaching.
The TBM struck terrain about 1.3 nm (2.4 km) from the runway and 570 m (1,870 ft) left of the extended centerline at 0912. There were low clouds, mist, fog and drizzle at the accident site, the report said.
Investigators determined that the pilot likely conducted a rapid descent to get below the clouds and gain visual contact with the airport. The TBM’s left wing struck the ground first, an indication that uncontrolled yaw and roll movements likely occurred when the pilot abruptly increased power to go around after seeing the ground too late to avoid collision, the report said.
The BFU concluded that the pilot’s decision to conduct the visual approach in known instrument conditions likely was influenced “by outside pressure because of the two waiting passengers at the aerodrome of destination and the slot waiting for them at Friedrichshafen Airport, which had to be met.”
Control Lost During Training Flight
Rockwell 690B. Destroyed. Two fatalities.
The private pilot, who owned the airplane, was receiving recurrent training from a flight instructor to satisfy insurance requirements the morning of April 9, 2016. An acquaintance of the pilot heard the instructor tell him that they would perform airwork at 4,000 to 5,000 ft, followed by instrument approaches, the NTSB report said.
Recorded ATC radar data showed that, after taking off from Georgetown, Texas, the 690 climbed to 5,500 ft (about 5,000 ft above the ground) and completed two 360-degree turns. “It then continued in level flight for about two minutes as it slowed to a groundspeed of about 90 kt, which may have been indicative of airwork leading to slow flight or stall maneuvers,” the report said. The airplane then entered a steep bank, descended rapidly and struck the ground near Taylor, Texas.
Investigators were unable to determine the probable cause of the control loss. “Both engines and propellers displayed evidence of operation at the time of impact, and post-accident examination revealed no mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation of the airframe or engines,” the report said.
Overheated Windshield Cracks
Beech King Air B200. Substantial damage. No injuries.
A trainee pilot was receiving instruction from a line captain the morning of April 6, 2017. After departing from Gifu (Japan) Airfield, the King Air was climbing through 15,000 ft when the trainee pilot detected the odor of something on fire. After leveling at 20,000 ft, both pilots and a mechanic seated in the cabin saw white smoke emerge from the lower right side of the center pillar of the windshields. “One minute later, the white smoke changed to black smoke, then soot flew into the air,” said the report by the Japan Transport Safety Board.
The pilots began to accomplish the actions prescribed by the “Electrical Smoke or Fire” checklist when the mechanic advised them to turn off the windshield heat. The captain did so, and the smoke abated. “At almost the same time, the whole right windshield cracked like a spider web,” the report said.
The pilots declared an emergency and returned to Gifu, where the King Air was landed without further incident. Examination of the aircraft revealed that the electrical terminal block for the right windshield heating system had overheated, causing the windshield to crack. Investigators determined that the screws on the terminal block had not been tightened properly when the windshield was replaced in January 2012. The screws subsequently loosened due to in-flight airframe vibrations, which gradually increased electrical resistance until the terminal block overheated, the report said.
Before the serious incident, several other flight crews had reported briefly detecting odors of something burning in the aircraft. The report said that the odors likely were generated by the terminal block and that “proper measures were not taken to correct the indications and symptoms of malfunction.”
Glideslope Antenna Disconnected
Cessna 414A. Substantial damage. Seven fatalities.
The airport in Bloomington, Illinois, U.S., was reporting a visibility of 1/2 mi (800 m) and an overcast ceiling at 200 ft the night of April 7, 2015. The pilot requested and received vectors from ATC for the instrument landing system (ILS) approach to Runway 20.
The airplane did not closely track either the glideslope or the localizer during the approach. “The airplane crossed the final approach fix about 360 ft below the glideslope and then maintained a descent profile below the glideslope until it leveled briefly near the minimum descent altitude, likely for a localizer-only instrument approach,” the NTSB report said.
The 414 then continued descending until it was about 1 nm (2 km) from the runway threshold. The airplane then turned 90 degrees left and entered a series of pitch excursions until it stalled and struck terrain, killing all seven people aboard.
Examination of the wreckage revealed no anomalies with the airplane’s flight control systems, engines or propellers. However, the ILS glideslope antenna was found disconnected. “There was no history of recent maintenance on the glideslope antenna, and the reason for the inadequate connection could not be determined,” the report said.
The NTSB concluded that the probable cause of the accident was “the pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during the instrument approach in night IMC.” The disconnected glideslope antenna, pilot fatigue and a center-of-gravity behind the aft limit were listed as contributing factors.
Cessna 206. Substantial damage. Three fatalities, one serious injury.
The pilot was conducting a charter flight with three passengers from Wrangell, Alaska, U.S., to Angoon in the amphibious-float-equipped single-engine airplane the morning of April 8, 2016. As the airplane neared mountainous terrain, the pilot found that he could not fly the usual route due to low clouds and visibility. He radioed the company that he was going to take an alternate route through a valley with lower terrain.
However, the pilot did not enter the intended valley; he inadvertently flew into a different valley with higher-than-expected terrain, the report said. The pilot made one climbing 360-degree turn in an attempt to gain altitude. “However, the airplane did not gain sufficient altitude to clear terrain, and it is likely that the pilot attempted another climb, which reduced the airspeed and led to the exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle-of-attack,” the report said. “The disposition of the airplane at the accident site was consistent with an aerodynamic stall and a right spin.”
Two passengers and the pilot were killed, and one passenger was seriously injured when the airplane, in a near-vertical attitude, struck snow-covered terrain at about 2,240 ft and about 17 nm (31 km) from the destination.
Descent Into the Sea
Robinson R22. Substantial damage. One fatality, one serious injury.
After a day of fishing in northern Queensland, Australia, the pilots of two helicopters and their charter passengers began the flight back to Mossman late in the afternoon of April 7, 2016. Stronger-than-expected winds required the pilots to land and refuel at Cooktown before continuing the flights to Mossman, about 100 km (54 nm) south. “The pilots departed Cooktown at last light, intending to track via the coast [south] to Mossman,” the ATSB report said.
Neither pilot was qualified to fly at night or in IMC. However, they proceeded along the coast in increasing darkness and among patches of cloud and rain. There was no moon, and lights along the shoreline were scarce. “It is not clear how the pilot of [the R22] was maintaining control of the helicopter,” the report said. “Without an artificial horizon instrument and the training to use it, the pilot was reliant on external reference to a natural horizon or surface features.”
Noting that he had turned down the cockpit lights to improve visibility through the windshield, the report said, “It would have been difficult for the pilot to monitor the instruments [altimeter and vertical speed indicator] with dimmed cockpit lighting.”
About 50 minutes after departing from Cooktown, the R22 descended under control and struck the sea about 400 m (1,312 ft) offshore. There were no life jackets aboard the R22. Although it sank after impact, the passenger was able to exit the helicopter. “The passenger was injured in the accident but was able to reach the shore and notify emergency services,” the report said. “Unaware of the accident, the occupants of the other helicopter continued to Mossman.”
The wreckage of the R22 was found in 10 m (33 ft) of water two days later. “The pilot was not located,” the report said.
Dynamic Rollover in Crosswind
Bell 206B-3. Substantial damage. Two minor injuries.
The pilot was undergoing evaluation flights the afternoon of April 4, 2014, as a candidate for employment by an operator in Missoula, Montana, U.S. “The prospective employee had obtained most of her flight experience in a helicopter model that was different from the single-rotor helicopter being used for the evaluation,” the NTSB report said.
After a brief flight with a company pilot, she landed the JetRanger and remained in the right seat while the company’s chief pilot boarded. The pilot then flew to a field that is used by the company as a practice area. “The landing surface was dry and level, and consisted of mixed dirt and clumps of grass,” the report said. “After a brief discussion, in which it was agreed that the chief pilot would demonstrate the next maneuver that he wanted to see, the chief pilot attempted a liftoff.”
The chief pilot told investigators that the right skid felt stuck to the ground. “Despite his efforts to correct the situation, the chief pilot was unable to successfully set the helicopter fully back down,” the report said. The JetRanger rolled onto its right side, damaging the fuselage, tail boom and main rotor. Both pilots sustained minor injuries but were able to exit the helicopter.
“Immediately after they exited the helicopter, the two pilots attempted to determine what had caused the right skid to become stuck to the ground, but their efforts were curtailed by a fuel leak and small fire,” the report said.
Investigators determined that the JetRanger likely had lifted off in a right bank and with a left crosswind, which caused a dynamic rollover. “Single-rotor helicopters are susceptible to a lateral rolling tendency called dynamic rollover when lifting off,” the report said. “The FAA [U.S. Federal Aviation Administration] Rotorcraft Flying Handbook noted that two ‘critical conditions’ for dynamic rollover are ‘right side down’ and ‘crosswinds to the left.’”
|Date||Location||Aircraft Type||Aircraft Damage||Injuries|
NA = not available
This information, gathered from various government and media sources, is subject to change as the investigations of the accidents and incidents are completed.
|Feb. 1||Marchwood, England||Sikorsky S-61N||substantial||2 none|
|The helicopter was in a hover after liftoff when it pitched nose-down and struck the ground.|
|Feb. 2||St. Joachim de Courval, Quebec, Canada||Robinson R44||destroyed||3 fatal|
|Night visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed when the R44 crashed in a field during a cross-country flight.|
|Feb. 2||Las Vegas||Beech Travel Air||substantial||2 none|
|The airplane descended below the proper glide path during a simulated single-engine approach, and the flight instructor told the student pilot to increase power on the right engine, which had been throttled back to simulate a power loss. The student did so, but the engine did not respond. The instructor then told the student to push both throttles full forward and initiate a go-around. The right engine responded this time, but the left engine did not. The airplane rolled left and struck terrain.|
|Feb. 4||Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.||Raytheon Hawker 400A||substantial||4 none|
|Visibility was 4 mi (6 km) in mist and surface winds were from 330 degrees at 15 kt, gusting to 25 kt, when the Hawker was landed on Runway 24R at Burke Lakefront Airport. The pilots said that they applied maximum wheel braking after the Hawker touched down in the touchdown zone, but the airplane did not decelerate sufficiently. It ran off the 6,600-ft (2,012-m) runway and came to a stop in the engineered material arresting system, where the nose landing gear collapsed.|
|Feb. 6||Patterson, Louisiana, U.S.||Piper Seneca II||substantial||3 none|
|The airplane was returning to Galliano, Louisiana, after photographing an oil rig about 185 nm (342 km) offshore, when the pilot noticed that there was less fuel remaining than expected. He diverted to Patterson, but the Seneca lost power about 24 nm (44 km) from the airport. None of the three occupants was injured when the pilot ditched the airplane in a canal.|
|Feb. 10||Peach Springs, Arizona, U.S.||Eurocopter EC-130||destroyed||3 fatal, 4 serious|
|The sightseeing helicopter struck terrain on approach to a landing site in the Grand Canyon. Three passengers were killed; three other passengers and the pilot were seriously injured.|
|Feb. 11||Stepanovskoye, Russia||Antonov 148-100B||destroyed||71 fatal|
|Russian authorities reportedly have said that the An-148’s pitot heating systems were not activated before the aircraft departed from Moscow. Visibility was 2,100 m (1 1/4 mi) in light snow, surface temperature was minus 5 degrees C (23 degrees F), and there was a 2,600-ft overcast when the aircraft took off. Recorded flight data showed discrepancies between the captain’s and the standby airspeed indications (the copilot’s airspeed indications were not recorded). The captain’s airspeed indication initially was about 30 kph (16 kt) higher but then progressively decreased to zero as the standby indication increased to about 560 kph (302 kt). Vertical flight loads ranging from 1.5 g to 0.5 g were recorded after the flight crew disengaged the autopilot. The An-148 climbed through about 6,000 ft and then entered a steep descent and struck terrain.|
|Feb. 13||Honolulu||Boeing 777-200||substantial||378 none|
|The flight crew received warnings of a compressor stall and shut down the right engine during descent. They declared an emergency and landed the 777 without further incident. A fan blade, the fan cowling and the inlet cowling had separated from the engine in flight.|
|Feb. 13||Stockbridge, Michigan, U.S.||Schweizer 269D||substantial||2 minor|
|Day VMC prevailed when the helicopter struck snow-covered terrain while being maneuvered at low altitude shortly after takeoff.|
|Feb. 14||Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.||Robinson R22||substantial||2 none|
|A student pilot was conducting a takeoff from a practice field when the flight instructor saw a small quadcopter converging head-on. The instructor assumed control and made a hard right turn while applying aft cyclic input. The R22 descended, touched down hard and rolled onto its right side.|
|Feb. 16||Mashhad, Iran||Fokker 100||substantial||NA|
|The left main landing gear did not extend on approach, and the flight crew entered a holding pattern while conducting the associated checklists. The pilots were unable to extend the left main and conducted an emergency landing on a runway. The Fokker swerved left on touchdown and ran off the side of the runway.|
|Feb. 17||Saint Laurent La Roche, France||Beech B55 Baron||destroyed||3 fatal|
|A search was launched after radio and radar contact with the Baron were lost. The wreckage was found in mountainous terrain.|
|Feb. 18||Yasuj, Iran||ATR 72-212||destroyed||66 fatal|
|The aircraft struck a mountain at 11,800 ft about 14 nm (26 km) from the airport while descending to land.|
|Feb. 18||Evanston, Wyoming, U.S.||Socata TBM-700||substantial||2 fatal|
|The airport was reporting 1/4 mi (400 m) visibility in snow and freezing fog, and a vertical visibility of 800 ft when the pilot conducted an instrument landing system approach to Runway 23. During the approach, the TBM completed a 180-degree left turn and was in a right turn when radar contact was lost. The airplane struck terrain in a 60-degree nose-down pitch attitude north of the airport.|
|Feb. 19||Minden, Nevada, U.S.||Piper Seneca||destroyed||1 fatal|
|The Seneca entered a wide right turn at 14,500 ft and descended in a spiral until radar contact was lost. A witness heard a loud noise and saw an airplane descending and trailing smoke. The Seneca was in an inverted attitude when it struck terrain northwest of the Minden airport. The empennage and the outboard portion of the left wing were found about 0.5 nm (0.9 km) from the main wreckage.|
|Feb. 20||Port Harcourt, Nigeria||McDonnell Douglas MD-83||substantial||49 none|
|Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) with thunderstorms and rain showers prevailed when the flight crew conducted the localizer approach to Runway 21, which was 9,843 ft (3,000 m) long and covered with standing water. The MD-83 touched down between 1,000 and 1,500 ft (305 and 458 m) from the approach threshold and overran the runway, coming to a stop about 978 ft (298 m) beyond the departure threshold.|
|Feb. 22||Rossville, Indiana, U.S.||Cessna 441||destroyed||3 fatal|
|Night IMC prevailed when the 441 deviated from the assigned heading on initial climb from Eagle Creek Airport. When questioned by air traffic control, the pilot said that he had a trim problem and was having difficulty controlling the airplane. After reporting that he had regained straight-and-level flight, the pilot was assigned a heading of 310 degrees and cleared to climb to 13,000 ft. The 441 was climbing through 10,600 ft when the pilot again reported trim problems and control difficulties. The airplane then descended and crashed in a field.|
|Feb. 22||Ulysses, Kansas, U.S.||Beech 58 Baron||destroyed||2 fatal|
|Night VMC prevailed when the Baron struck terrain shortly after takeoff.|
|Feb. 23||Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada||Beech King Air B100||substantial||4 minor, 6 none|
|The main landing gear separated when the King Air veered off the runway into a snow-covered field during a rejected takeoff.|
|Feb. 26||Havre Saint Pierre, Quebec, Canada||Beech King Air A100||substantial||4 minor, 4 none|
|IMC prevailed when the King Air struck a snow berm on landing.|
|Feb. 27||Georgetown, Florida, U.S.||Quest Kodiac 100||substantial||2 fatal|
|Night VMC, with a 1,500-ft overcast ceiling, prevailed when the single-turboprop crashed in a river on approach to Mount Royal Airport.|