Aviation Safety Letter 2/2003

Lessons Learned in 2002? Read and Weep...

The following occurrence descriptions were randomly selected from the TSB's Class 5 investigations for the year 2002. As you will see, there are very few new accidents. The occurrences have been slightly edited and de-identified, just enough to protect the innocent, the foolish or the simply unlucky aviators. Some locations were left in where needed for proper context.

The pilot of a Piper PA 28-180 was attempting to land on a road 10 NM south of Lloydminster, AB, when the aircraft came into contact with an unmarked power line. The aircraft struck the ground causing substantial damage to the wings, engine, and forward fuselage. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained serious injuries as a result of the accident. Fuel was spilled, but there was no post-crash fire. It was reported that the pilot had landed on this road on several occasions.

Should we mark all power lines near roads? — Ed.

A Cessna 172M was departing Runway 25 at a private airstrip with the pilot and two passengers on board. The winds were estimated to be from 200° at 7 to 10 kts, the temperature was approximately 24°C, and the surface of the airstrip was soft, dry silt. The pilot selected 10° of flap for the takeoff and the aircraft became airborne after a sluggish ground roll, about 2 000 ft down the runway. On climb through 40 ft, the aircraft encountered increasing performance wind shear and the pilot selected the flaps up. Immediately thereafter the aircraft encountered decreasing performance wind shear and the aircraft entered a full-power departure stall. At that point the pilot elected to reject the takeoff/climb. The aircraft descended into the second growth vegetation on the departure clearway and came to rest upright approximately 230 m beyond the runway end cones. The pilot sustained minor injuries and the passengers sustained non-life-threatening, but serious injuries, including broken bones and lacerations. The aircraft was substantially damaged. The runway is located at 1 910 ft above sea level and the aircraft was at or near gross weight at the time.

The pilot "elected to reject" after entering a full-power departure stall ... hmmm ... This one is worth discussing with your flight instructor, i.e. taking off in hot weather, heavy aircraft, soft field, etc. ... and also about the use of flaps. — Ed.

A privately-owned Luscombe 8C was on a local flight at High River, AB. On landing, the aircraft bounced several times and the pilot elected to reject the landing and go around. As the aircraft climbed out, the wheels caught a fence. The aircraft came around beside the runway and overturned. There was one occupant and no injuries.

High fence or late abort? — Ed.

A Cessna 182 approached a 2 424 ft-long airstrip at a speed faster than normal after a parachute drop, floated a considerable distance before touchdown and overran the strip. The aircraft went through a fence and came to rest in a ditch, sustaining substantial damage. The pilot was not injured. Winds were light at the time of the accident.

High and hot? Know when to abort! — Ed.

An amateur-built Slepcev Storch was manoeuvring at low altitude when the right wing tip hit a gate post. The aircraft looped to the right, collapsing the right main gear and damaging the cowling, propeller and firewall. The pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured.

Must have been the Pearly Gate. — Ed.

A Cessna 175 on a pleasure trip was at low altitude to overfly a small road for landing in the future, when it encountered rough air turbulence. Soon after, the aircraft flew into some dead air and was forced down. Power was applied simultaneously as the aircraft struck a power line. It then crashed on a secondary road, and was substantially damaged. There were four people on board. The pilot was seriously injured but there were no injuries to the passengers.

Low flying, rough turbulence, dead air, power lines ... nasty combination! If you're going to test fate in such a way, at least go by yourself. — Ed.

A Cessna U206G touched down at approximately the midpoint of the 2 800-ft long private airstrip and overran the end of the strip during the landing roll. The nose wheel dug into moss in the overrun area and the aircraft overturned and came to rest inverted. The pilot and two passengers were not injured; however, the aircraft sustained substantial damage. The pilot had conducted the approach over tall trees located near the threshold of the strip, in a light tailwind, and the surface of the strip was described as very wet and muddy.

Tailwind approach over obstacles on a short, very wet and muddy runway ... is it a surprise the aircraft overran the end? — Ed.

A Cessna 150M was in descent when the engine began to lose power. The pilot conducted a forced landing on a dry shore area of a lake. After a ground roll of approximately 60 m, the nose gear collapsed and the aircraft nosed over and came to rest inverted. The pilot was wearing a shoulder harness and was not injured.

An Ayres S-2R was on a crop-spraying run over a pea field when the engine lost power. The pilot jettisoned the remaining load and landed the aircraft straight ahead into the field where the aircraft flipped over onto its back. The aircraft was substantially damaged, and the pilot, who was wearing a helmet and a four-point harness, sustained minor injuries.

Two shoulder harness success stories...need I say more? — Ed.

A Piper PA-34-220T landed to the left side of Runway 03 in IMC conditions and struck a snow wind row. The left main gear detached from the aircraft, and the left wing and both propellers sustained substantial damage. The pilot was not injured. The pilot had conducted an NDB approach to the runway, and estimated the ceiling to be 550 ft and the visibility to be 2 mi. in snow. AWOS recorded the ceiling at 0 ft and the visibility as 0.2 mi. at the time of the occurrence. The wind row was parallel to and about 25 m to the left of the left edge of the runway. The edges of the runway were marked with flags and the surface of the runway was covered with 3 in. of snow.

Pilot reported 2 mi. visibility but still missed the runway laterally by more than 25 m ... I'll bet on the AWOS on this one. — Ed.

One pilot was checking out a second pilot on a Cessna 210B. Following several circuits, and during what was intended to be another touch-and-go, the aircraft landed gear up. The pilots had been interrupted and distracted with ATC calls while performing the pre-landing checklist, and did not lower the gear. The landing gear warning horn sounded during the flare and was mistaken for the stall warning. The propeller and lower fuselage sustained substantial damage; however, neither occupant was injured.

Good one to remember folks. It has happened before, and it WILL happen again. — Ed.

After a short flight, the pilot of a Cessna 180 on floats landed on a lake and started taxiing to the dock when the left float rapidly filled with water. The aircraft nosed over and sank. The two occupants on board exited the aircraft safely and were taken to shore by boat. There were no injuries. The pilot suspects the plug for the left front float compartment went missing sometime during the brief flight.

This is the time to check the plugs on your floats (and your boats for that matter.). — Ed.

A Piper PA 18-150 Super Cub was overflying an outfitting camp area to check on local conditions when the pilot decided it was too windy to land. When turning around (at 45-50 kts) to return to base, a gust of wind caught the wings and nearly inverted the aircraft. A recovery was attempted; however, the aircraft stalled and there was insufficient altitude to recover. The aircraft collided with trees and came to rest in a nose down position. The lone occupant received minor injuries but the aircraft was substantially damaged.

Low speed low bank, high speed high bank. — Ed.

A King Air 100, on a flight from Comox, cancelled IFR with the Quesnel Airport when they had Runway 31 in sight. However, as fog patches were in the process of forming, especially to the northwest, the Prince George FSS advised that the weather at Quesnel was below VFR, so the pilot asked for Special VFR, which was approved. Seconds before touchdown the pilot lost visual reference, and during the rollout, the pilot lost directional control. The aircraft went off the left side of Runway 31, ground-looped, and came to rest on a heading of approximately 130° magnetic. None of the occupants were injured but the aircraft sustained substantial damage, mostly to the propellers and engines. A runway condition report, issued 28 minutes before the accident, indicating somewhat slippery conditions, had not been passed on to the pilot by ATS.

A few issues here ... unpredictable and last minute weather changes are not uncommon, so be prepared. Cancelling IFR too early in patchy conditions may not be advisable. Also, always ask for a runway surface condition report. — Ed.

A Cessna 180 on floats was departing Tofino harbour. As the aircraft floats came out of the water onto the step, the right wing began to rise and the right float came out of the water. The aircraft began turning to the left towards a barge. The pilot reduced engine power to idle to abort the takeoff, but was unable to avoid a metal beam sticking out from the barge. The left wing struck the metal beam and the right wing struck the water, causing it to bend up. There were no injuries to anyone on the aircraft or the barge. The aircraft was towed back to the docks.

This is a lesson for float operators ... allow for as much lateral space as you can, just in case. — Ed.

A DHC-2 Beaver on floats began to take off from Victoria Harbour with two pilots and five passengers onboard. During the latter stages of the take-off slide, the aircraft began to turn markedly to the left and the pilot aborted the take-off run. The pilot taxied the Beaver back to the start of the take-off area and began a second takeoff. About halfway along the take-off slide, the pilot was again unable to maintain directional control, and the aircraft turned quickly to the left. The pilot aborted the takeoff but could not prevent the right wing from striking the water, causing the wing tip to dig in and the left float to become briefly airborne. The aircraft remained upright and the pilot taxied back to the dock and deplaned the passengers. During takeoff, the pilot reportedly had used full right rudder and full right rudder trim. At the time of the incident, the wind was a direct left crosswind.

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