Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I in Akron: 2 killed

Date & Time: Dec 25, 2002 at 1006 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N421D
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Denver - Mitchell
MSN:
421A-0045
YOM:
1967
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
1230
Captain / Total hours on type:
22.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3564
Circumstances:
The pilot reported to Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZDV) that his left engine had an oil leak and he requested to land at the nearest airport. ZDV informed the pilot that Akron (AKO) was the closest airport and subsequently cleared the pilot to AKO. On reporting having the airport in sight ZDV terminated radar service, told the pilot to change to the advisory frequency, and reminded him to close his flight plan. Approximately 17 minutes later, ZDV contacted Denver FSS to inquire if the airplane had landed at AKO. Flight Service had not heard from the pilot, and began a search. Approximately 13 minutes later, the local sheriff found the airplane off of the airport. Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the airplane flying westbound. They then saw the airplane suddenly pitch nose down, "spiral two times, and crash." The airplane exploded on impact and was consumed by fire. An examination of the airplane's left engine showed the number 2 and 3 rods were fractured at the journals. The number 2 and 3 pistons were heavily spalded. The engine case halves were fretted at the seam and through bolts. All 6 cylinders showed fretting between the bases and the case at the connecting bolts. The outside of the engine case showed heat and oil discoloration. The airplane's right engine showed similar fretting at the case halves and cylinder bases, and evidence of oil seepage around the seals. It also showed heat and oil discoloration. An examination of the propellers showed that both propellers were at or near low pitch at the time of the accident. The examination also showed evidence the right propeller was being operated under power at impact, and the left propeller was operating under conditions of low or no power at impact. According to the propeller manufacturer, in a sudden engine seizure event, the propeller is below the propeller lock latch rpm. In this situation, the propeller cannot be feathered. Repair station records showed the airplane had been brought in several times for left engine oil leaks. One record showed a 3/4 inch crack found at one of the case half bolts beneath the induction manifold, was repaired by retorquing the case halves and sealing the seam with an unapproved resin. Records also showed the station washed the engine and cowling as the repair action for another oil leak.
Probable cause:
The fractured connecting rods and the pilot not maintaining aircraft control following the engine failure. Factors contributing to the accident were the low altitude, the pilot not maintaining minimum controllable airspeed following the engine failure, the pilot's inability to feather the propeller following the engine failure, oil exhaustion, the seized pistons, and the repair station's improper maintenance on the airplane's engines.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle in Talladega: 5 killed

Date & Time: Feb 13, 2001 at 1840 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N5AY
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Hamilton – Talladega
MSN:
421A-0133
YOM:
1968
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
4
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
5
Captain / Total flying hours:
2000
Captain / Total hours on type:
29.00
Aircraft flight hours:
4887
Circumstances:
The pilot and passengers were on a instrument flight returning home. When they were within range of the destination airport, the controller cleared the flight for an instrument approach. Moment later the pilot canceled his instrument flight plan and told the controller that he was below the weather. Low clouds, reduced visibility and fog existed at the destination airport at the time of the accident. The airplane collided with a river bank as the pilot maneuvered for the visual approach. The post-crash examination of the airplane failed to disclose a mechanical problem.
Probable cause:
The pilot continued visual flight into instrument weather conditions that resulted in the inflight collision with a river bank. Factors were reduced visibility and dark night.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I in Little Falls: 1 killed

Date & Time: Jun 1, 1998 at 1831 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N541N
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Little Falls - Little Falls
MSN:
421A-0161
YOM:
1968
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
6000
Captain / Total hours on type:
1500.00
Circumstances:
A witness reported the airplane did not climb above 200 feet and reported seeing the airplane 'wobbling up and down' as it attempted to climb. He reported the airplane went into a sharp left bank and nose dived down. The airplane burned upon impact. The wreckage was located in a wooded area about 3/4 mile from the approach end of runway 30. Numerous open farm fields were located near the airplane's flight path. The winds were reported at 240 degrees at 22 knots gusting to 29 knots. The wreckage path was on a 040 heading and covered about 190 feet from initial tree impact to the location of the main wreckage. The engine inspection did not reveal any anomalies to either engine. The flight was the first maintenance check flight after the airplane had not been flown for 14 months. During maintenance the pilot had put about 100 gallons of water in the left main and left auxiliary fuel tanks to locate a fuel leak. A plug was installed in the left auxiliary fuel drain valve and the fuel tank could not be checked during preflight for fuel contamination without removing the plug.
Probable cause:
The pilot's continued operation with a known deficiency in equipment.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I in Shobdon: 3 killed

Date & Time: Aug 3, 1997 at 1521 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
G-BKNA
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Elstree - Shobdon
MSN:
421A-0097
YOM:
1968
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
2386
Circumstances:
The aircraft was on a private flight from Elstree to Shobdon in Herefordshire. The meteorological forecast indicated that a warm front was approaching Southern England from the south-west and conditions were generally deteriorating. The visibility on departure from Elstree at 1437 hrs was greater than 10 km with a broken cloud base at 2,500 feet. When the aircraft arrived at Shobdon the visibility was estimated to be 3 to 4 km in light drizzle with a cloud base at approximately 1,200 feet, and the surface wind was 090_/5 kt. The first radio contact between the aircraft and Shobdon was made at about 1502 hrs when the pilot called to say that he was inbound from Elstree. In response to this call he was passed the airfield details. The pilot later called when approaching Leominster and subsequently called downwind for Runway 09 which has a right-hand circuit. The operator of the ground to air radio facility at Shobdon saw the aircraft on the downwind leg abeam the tower at what appeared to be a normal circuit height. He did not observe the aircraft downwind but shortly afterward she heard a brief and indecipherable radio transmission which sounded like a scream. This same transmission was heard by an aircraft enthusiast who was monitoring the radio transmissions on his 'airband' radio. The radio operator repeatedly attempted to make contact with the aircraft but to no avail and so he instructed an aircraft refueller to inform the emergency services that an aircraft had crashed. Analysis of recorded radar data from the radar head at Clee Hill,Shropshire, indicates that the aircraft joined the downwind leg from the east at a height of 1,100 feet. This radar data shows that the aircraft then followed a normal ground track until towards the end of the downwind leg when there was an alteration of track to the left of about 20_ before the aircraft entered a right turn onto the base leg. At the same time as the aircraft altered track to the left it began a slow descent, at about 350 ft/min, from 1,100 feet to 600 feet, at which stage it disappeared below radar coverage. The average ground speed on the downwind leg was 112kt and this reduced to 100 kt as the aircraft descended. Two witnesses saw the aircraft in a position that equates to the base leg. The witness to the east of the aircraft track first heard the sound of an aircraft engine that was unusually loud and then saw the aircraft at an estimated height of 150 to 200 feet, it was descending slowly with the wings level. A loud "cough"from one of the engines was heard "as if it had backfired"followed by a puff of white smoke and then the sound of an engine increasing in RPM. The wings were then seen to rock from side to side as the aircraft went out of sight. The second witness,to the west of the aircraft track, described the aircraft flying very low, between 50 and 100 feet, and slowly descending. He saw that the wings were "wavering", the left wing then suddenly dropped until it achieved a bank angle of about 90_ at which stage the nose dropped and the aircraft disappeared behind some low trees and was heard to hit the ground. Some local farmers immediately went to the crash site. Initially there was no fire or smoke, but a small fire soon developed in the area of the right wing and this was quickly extinguished by the farmers.
Probable cause:
Examination of the engines showed that they had both been mechanically and electrically capable of running, however, at impact the left engine was stationary. It was also likely that there was very little fuel onboard the aircraft at the time of the accident. It is therefore probable that mismanagement of the fuel system caused the left engine to stop. The eye witness accounts are consistent with the behaviour of a twin engine aircraft that has suffered a failure of one engine and is flown below its minimum control speed for flight on one engine. With a low power setting on the right (live) engine the speed was allowed to reduce further until the left wing stalled. There was then insufficient height available to regain control of the aircraft
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I off League City: 1 killed

Date & Time: Mar 19, 1997 at 2333 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N4050L
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
San Diego - Galveston
MSN:
421A-0050
YOM:
1967
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
536
Circumstances:
The twin engine airplane had been cleared for a night instrument approach to Galveston, Texas, after flying non-stop from San Diego, California, when the pilot reported that he had lost the right engine and did not have much fuel left. The controller vectored the airplane toward the closest airport, and the airplane was approximately 1 mile northeast of that airport when radar contact was lost. A witness observed the airplane enter a spin, descend in a nose down attitude, and impact near the center of a lake. When the pilot filed his flight plan for the cross country flight, he indicated the airplane carried enough fuel to fly for 7 hours and 30 minutes. At the time radar contact was lost, 7 hours and 32 minutes had elapsed since the airplane departed San Diego. Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical discrepancies. The landing gear was down, the flaps were extended to about 15 degrees, and neither propeller was feathered. The single engine approach procedure in the airplane owner's manual indicated that the landing gear should be extended when within gliding distance of the field and the flaps placed down only after landing is assured.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to refuel the airplane which resulted in the loss of power to the right engine due to fuel exhaustion, and the pilot's failure to maintain airspeed during the single engine landing approach which resulted in a stall/spin.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I in Bernard: 3 killed

Date & Time: Apr 29, 1996 at 1515 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N341DA
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Cedar Rapids - Milwaukee
MSN:
421A-0181
YOM:
1968
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
6100
Aircraft flight hours:
6804
Circumstances:
During flight, the pilot reported shutting down the left engine due to a loss of oil pressure. He declared an emergency and diverted toward an alternate airport. However, while diverting, radar and radio contact were lost, and the airplane crashed. The wreckage path covered a distance of approximately 60 feet; the descent angle during impact was estimated to be about 45°. Oil was found behind the left engine, on the left flap, on the bottom of the left horizontal stabilizer, and on the bottom of the fuselage. Also, fuel stains were seen in the grass around the airplane. No preimpact fire indications were found. The pilot had reported low oil pressure in the left engine before the accident flight, and purchased seven quarts of oil before departing. No indications of power at impact were seen on either engine or propeller. Numerous abnormalities existed with the left engine. No discrepancies were noted with the right engine. The farmer who found the wreckage reported that sleet was falling at the time of the accident. The pilot of another aircraft reported structural icing conditions.
Probable cause:
The pilot's operation of the airplane with known deficiencies, subsequent loss of oil from the left engine, and the pilot's failure to maintain minimum controllable airspeed (VMC), while diverting to an alternate airport. Factors relating to the accident were: a leak from an unknown component in the left engine oil system, and the local weather condition.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I in Reno

Date & Time: Nov 1, 1994 at 1306 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N421WB
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Portland – Reno – Palm Springs
MSN:
421A-0099
YOM:
1968
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
3
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
7000
Captain / Total hours on type:
65.00
Circumstances:
The pilot was completing the first leg of an IFR flight in a multi-engine airplane. As the airplane was established on final approach, about 5 miles from the airport, the pilot encountered visual meteorological conditions and canceled his IFR flight plan. Moments later, the right engine began to sputter and then lost power. The pilot said that he switched the fuel selector valves to various positions and positioned the fuel boost pump to high-flow; however, during this time, the left engine also lost power. The pilot attempted to start both engines, but without success. During a forced landing, the airplane struck a pole, then crashed into a condominium. A fire erupted, but all 4 occupants survived the accident. Two occupants in the condominium received minor injuries. The pilot believed that he had moved the fuel selector valves to the auxiliary position for about 1 hour during flight; however, the passengers did not see him move the fuel selectors until after the engine(s) lost power. The right fuel selector handle was found between the right main tank and off positions. The left fuel selector was destroyed by post-impact fire.
Probable cause:
The pilot's improper use of the fuel selector and subsequent fuel starvation.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I in Avignon: 2 killed

Date & Time: Nov 20, 1993
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
F-GBEX
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
421A-0143
YOM:
1968
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
2
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Circumstances:
On approach to Avignon-Caumont Airport while on a positioning flight, the twin engine aircraft crashed on a road and was destroyed. Both pilots were killed.

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I in Eloy

Date & Time: Jun 17, 1989 at 1500 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N421S
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Eloy – Sedona
MSN:
421A-0063
YOM:
1968
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
3
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
25169
Captain / Total hours on type:
700.00
Aircraft flight hours:
5070
Circumstances:
The left engine lost power just after takeoff. With the gear and flaps retracted and the left propeller feathered, the airplane would climb slightly. As it passed over green fields, the airplane started a descent. The airplane touched down in a cotton field and the left tip tank burst into flames as it touched the ground. The airplane was consumed by fire. Engine teardown revealed the number three exhaust valve failed. Elevation of the accident was 1,600 feet mst, OAT was 114° F. Density altitude was approximately 5,600 feet.
Probable cause:
Failure of the number three exhaust valve on the left engine. A major factor was the high density altitude where the airplane would not operate on single engine.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 421A Golden Eagle I in Brownsville: 1 killed

Date & Time: Mar 28, 1989 at 1834 LT
Type of aircraft:
Registration:
N4595L
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Brownsville - Brownsville
MSN:
421A-0195
YOM:
1968
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1215
Captain / Total hours on type:
1.00
Circumstances:
The newly hired corporate pilot starved the right engine of fuel on the multi-engine airplane while on a local area self checkout in the airplane. He did not feather the right propeller. At the time of the non-mechanical loss of power, the airplane was in low level (600 feet agl) cruise. The pilot lowered the flaps to 45° and extended the landing gear to the down and locked position. The airplane's airspeed decreased below vmc and the airplane stalled, went out of control, and impacted open ranch land nose low, in a vertical descent angle. A post-impact fire occurred. The pilot lacked knowledge of the airplane systems and lacked experience in the Cessna 421. The pilot, sole on board, was killed.
Probable cause:
The pilot's improper emergency procedure after losing power in the right engine, and his failure to maintain minimum control speed (VMC), which resulted in a loss of aircraft control. Factors related to the accident were: fuel starvation of the right engine, the pilot's lack of experience in this type of aircraft, and his lack of understanding of the fuel system.
Final Report: