Crash of a Cessna 401 in Comitán de Domínguez

Date & Time: Jan 19, 2021 at 0840 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
XB-NQO
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Tapachula - Tapachula
MSN:
401-0294
YOM:
1969
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The pilot, sole on board, departed Tapachula Airport in the early morning. In unknown circumstances, the twin engine aircraft crashed in a prairie located near an agricultural sector in Comitán de Domínguez. The aircraft was destroyed and the pilot was injured.

Crash of a Cessna 401A in Arnsberg

Date & Time: Aug 28, 2020 at 1600 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N401JP
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Marl – Arnsberg
MSN:
401A-0046
YOM:
1969
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
On approach to Arnsberg-Menden Airport, the twin engine aircraft descended too low and crashed on an embankment located short of runway 23 threshold. All three occupants were seriously injured and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.

Crash of a Cessna 401A in the Lake Maracaibo

Date & Time: Aug 1, 2020
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N17JE
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Puerto Plata – Santa Cruz de Barahona
MSN:
401A-0082
YOM:
1969
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
The twin engine aircraft departed Puerto Plata-Gregorio Luperón Airport at 1718LT on a flight to Santa Cruz de Barahona. En route, the pilot was informed that this airport is closed to all traffic after 1700LT and decided to return to Puerto Plata. A last radio communication was recorded with ATC when the aircraft disappeared from radar screens eight minutes later. Dominican authorities thought the aircraft may have crashed in the septentrional mountain range and SAR operations were initiated. Few hours later, the wreckage was found in a marshy area of the Lake Maracaibo, more than 1,000 km south of Puerto Plata. All three occupants were found alive and arrested while the aircraft was damaged beyond repair. Venezuelan authorities reported the aircraft and its occupants were engaged in an illegal narcotic flight.

Crash of a Cessna 401A in Las Juntas: 6 killed

Date & Time: Oct 23, 2019 at 1800 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
XB-JZF
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Durango - Acapulco
MSN:
401A-0051
YOM:
1969
Country:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
5
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Circumstances:
En route from Durango to Acapulco, the twin engine airplane crashed in unknown circumstances in the Infiernillo River, in the region of Las Juntas. The wreckage was found inverted and partially submerged in water. All six occupants were killed.

Crash of a Cessna 401 in Pelagiada

Date & Time: Apr 1, 2018 at 1530 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
RA-1272G
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
MSN:
401-0112
YOM:
1968
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Circumstances:
Few minutes after takeoff from Stavropol Airport, the pilot informed ATC about an engine failure and elected to return. Unable to maintain a safe altitude, the pilot attempted an emergency landing when the airplane belly landed in an open field located in Pelagiada, about 10 km northwest of the airport, slid for dozen meters and came to rest. The pilot was injured and the aircraft was damaged beyond repair.

Crash of a Cessna 401B near Lane: 2 killed

Date & Time: Oct 4, 2017 at 1745 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N401HH
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
401B-0004
YOM:
1969
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
15000
Aircraft flight hours:
5557
Circumstances:
The commercial pilot and passenger departed on a local flight in the twin-engine airplane. According to a witness, the pilot took off from the private grass runway and departed the area for about 10 minutes. The airplane then returned to the airport, where the pilot performed a low pass over the runway and entered a steep climb followed by a roll. The airplane entered a nose-low descent, then briefly leveled off in an upright attitude before disappearing behind trees and subsequently impacting terrain. The pilot's toxicology testing was positive for ethanol with 0.185 gm/dl and 0.210 gm/dl in urine and cavity blood samples, respectively. The effects of ethanol are generally well understood; it significantly impairs pilot performance, even at very low levels. Federal Aviation Administration regulations prohibit any person from acting or attempting to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft while having 0.040 gm/dl or more ethanol in the blood. While the identified ethanol may have come from sources other than ingestion, such as postmortem production, the possibility that the source of some of the ethanol was from ingestion and that pilot was impaired by the effects of ethanol during the accident flight could not be ruled out. Toxicology also identified a significant amount of diphenhydramine in cavity blood (0.122 µg/ml, which is within or above the therapeutic range of 0.0250 to 0.1120 µg/ml; diphenhydramine undergoes postmortem redistribution, and central postmortem levels may be about two to three times higher than peripheral or antemortem levels.). Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine that causes more sedation than other antihistamines; this is the rationale for its use as a sleep aid. In a driving simulator study, a single dose of diphenhydramine impaired driving ability more than a blood alcohol concentration of 0.100%. The pilot had been diagnosed with memory loss about 8 months before the accident. It appears that he had some degree of mild cognitive impairment, but whether his cognitive impairment was severe enough to have contributed to the accident could not be determined from the available evidence. However, it is likely that the pilot's mild cognitive impairment combined with the psychoactive effects of diphenhydramine and possibly ethanol would have further decreased his cognitive functioning and contributed to his decision to attempt an aerobatic maneuver at low altitude in a non-aerobatic airplane.
Probable cause:
The pilot's decision to attempt a low-altitude aerobatic maneuver in a non-aerobatic airplane, and his subsequent failure to maintain control of the airplane during the maneuver.
Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment by the effects of diphenhydramine use, and his underlying mild cognitive impairment.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 401A in Fulton

Date & Time: Nov 17, 2014 at 1720 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N401ME
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Fulton – Little Rock
MSN:
401A-0085
YOM:
1969
Location:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
2949
Captain / Total hours on type:
304.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
8675
Copilot / Total hours on type:
1850
Aircraft flight hours:
6434
Circumstances:
The private pilot reported that, immediately after takeoff in the multi-engine airplane, the right engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot aborted the takeoff; the airplane exited the end of the runway surface, impacted rough terrain, and came to rest upright. Examination of the right engine showed that the magneto distributor drive gears were not turning. Both damaged magnetos were removed and replaced with a slave set of magnetos. The right engine was installed in an engine test cell, and subsequently started and performed normally throughout the test cell procedure. The damaged magnetos from the right engine were disassembled. Both nylon magneto distributor gears exhibited missing gear teeth and brown discoloration. A review of maintenance records showed that the right engine had been operated for about 8 years and an estimated 697 hours since the most recent magneto overhauls had been completed. According to maintenance instructions from the engine manufacturer, the magnetos should be inspected every 500 hours and should be overhauled or replaced at the expiration of five years since the last overhaul. Guidance also indicated that discoloration of the drive gear is an indication that the gear had been exposed to extreme heat and should be replaced.
Probable cause:
A failure of the right engine magneto distributor drive gears, which resulted in a total loss of engine power during takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the operator's failure to inspect and maintain the magnetos in accordance with the engine manufacturer's specifications.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 401 near Chanute: 4 killed

Date & Time: May 11, 2012 at 1630 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N9DM
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Tulsa - Council Bluffs
MSN:
401-0123
YOM:
1991
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
4
Captain / Total flying hours:
613
Captain / Total hours on type:
13.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2455
Circumstances:
While en route to the destination airport, the pilot turned on the cabin heater and, afterward, an unusual smell was detected by the occupants and the ambient air temperature increased. When the pilot turned the heater off, dark smoke entered the cabin and obscured the occupants' vision. The smoke likely interfered with the pilot’s ability to identify a safe landing site. During the subsequent emergency landing attempt to a field, the airplane’s wing contacted the ground and the airplane cartwheeled. Examination of the airplane found several leaks around weld points on the combustion chamber of the heater unit. A review of logbook entries revealed that the heater was documented as inoperative during the most recent annual inspection. Although a work order indicated that maintenance work was completed at a later date, there was no logbook entry that returned the heater to service. There were no entries in the maintenance logbooks that documented any testing of the heater or tracking of the heater's hours of operation. A flight instructor who flew with the pilot previously stated that the pilot used the heater on the accident airplane at least once before the accident flight. The heater’s overheat warning light activated during that flight, and the heater shut down without incident. The flight instructor showed the pilot how to reset the overheat circuit breaker but did not follow up on its status during their instruction. There is no evidence that a mechanic examined the airplane before the accident flight. Regarding the overheat warning light, the airplane flight manual states that the heater “should be thoroughly checked to determine the reason for the malfunction” before the overheat switch is reset. The pilot’s use of the heater on the accident flight suggests that he did not understand its status and risk of its continued use without verifying that it had been thoroughly checked as outlined in the airplane flight manual. A review of applicable airworthiness directives found that, in comparison with similar combustion heater units, there is no calendar time limit that would require periodic inspection of the accident unit. In addition, there is no guidance or instruction to disable the heater such that it could no longer be activated in the airplane if the heater was not airworthy.
Probable cause:
The malfunction of the cabin heater, which resulted in an inflight fire and smoke in the airplane. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s lack of understanding concerning the status of the airplane's heater system following and earlier overheat event and risk of its continued use. Also contributing were the inadequate inspection criteria for the cabin heater.
Final Report: