Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601) in Powder Wash: 1 killed

Date & Time: Apr 23, 2020 at 2130 LT
Registration:
N601X
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
MSN:
61-0393-117
YOM:
1977
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Circumstances:
The twin engine airplane crashed in unknown circumstances in an isolated area located near Powder Wash, about 176 miles northwest of its departure point, Fort Collins-Loveland-Northern Colorado Regional Airport. The pilot, sole on board, was killed.

Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601P) in Springfield: 3 killed

Date & Time: Jan 28, 2020 at 1509 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N6071R
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Huntsville – Springfield
MSN:
61P-0686-7963324
YOM:
1979
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Circumstances:
On approach to Springfield-Abraham Lincoln, the pilot reported trouble with his instruments when the airplane descended and crashed left wing first in a garden located in Sangamon County, about 7 miles southeast of the airport, bursting into flames. The aircraft was destroyed and all three occupants were killed, among them former Springfield Mayor Frank Edwards.

Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601) in Baton Rouge

Date & Time: Jul 20, 2018 at 1430 LT
Registration:
N327BK
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Baton Rouge - Baton Rouge
MSN:
61-0145-076
YOM:
1973
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
28829
Captain / Total hours on type:
600.00
Aircraft flight hours:
1912
Circumstances:
The aircraft experienced a loss of engine power and landed in a field after takeoff from Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR), Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The commercial pilot and one passenger were not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a maintenance test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight was departing at the time of the accident. A review of the air traffic control recording revealed that the pilot requested to takeoff from runway 31 and fly one time around the traffic pattern for a maintenance check. The air traffic controller stated that the airplane dropped below the tree line after takeoff and was unable to reach the pilot on the radio. After the accident the pilot stated that he completed a preflight inspection about 1400, then boarded the airplane and started both engines. While holding short of runway 31, he performed a pre-takeoff check of the airplane including a run-up for each engine with no anomalies noted. During the takeoff roll he advanced the throttles to takeoff power, then rotated. Shortly after rotation he noticed the right engine was not producing full power and the engine speed was decreasing. With no remaining runway available to land, he continued and looked for an off field landing location. He retracted the landing gear and feathered the right propeller. The airplane was unable to maintain altitude so the pilot made a hard forced landing to a grass covered field (figure 1) about 1 mile northwest of the departure end of runway 31.

Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar in Miami: 1 killed

Date & Time: Dec 10, 2017 at 1450 LT
Registration:
N7529S
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
MSN:
61-0161-082
YOM:
1974
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1000
Aircraft flight hours:
3576
Circumstances:
The aircraft collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from Miami Executive Airport (TMB), Miami, Florida. The pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The airplane was registered to the pilot who was operating it as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which was originating at the time of the accident. An employee of the flight school where the airplane was tied down stated that the pilot arrived about 1000 and began to preflight the airplane. About 1030, the pilot fueled the airplane, adding 105.2 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. How the fuel was distributed between the airplane's three fuel tanks could not be determined. The pilot then taxied the airplane to the ramp in front of the flight school hangar where he kept a toolbox. The witness stated that the pilot was working on the airplane when he noticed a fuel leak and stated that he should have "fixed that" before he fueled the airplane. Both the employee and another witness stated that fuel was leaking from the aft fuselage belly area. They stated that the pilot had two or three 5-gallon orange buckets under the airplane to catch the fuel as he worked to stop the leak. Neither witness saw how much fuel was in the buckets or what the pilot did with the fuel. One witness asked the pilot if he fixed the problem, and the pilot responded that he had. The pilot was cleared for takeoff from runway 31 at 1426; however, the pilot aborted the takeoff and landed the airplane back on the runway. The controller asked the pilot if he needed assistance, to which the pilot replied, "… not sure what happened just yet but so far so good." The pilot then requested to taxi back to the runway to take off again. The airplane was cleared to take off at 1447, and 32 seconds later, the pilot declared an emergency. The controller cleared the pilot to land on any runway. Two pilots in an airplane waiting to take off from runway 31 stated that they did not notice anything unusual about the takeoff until they heard the pilot declare an emergency. They reported that the airplane was between 400 ft and 800 ft above the ground and in a left turn toward runway 9R. They stated that they thought the pilot was going to make it back to the runway, but then the left bank increased past 90° and the nose suddenly dropped. One of the pilots likened the maneuver to a stall/spin, Vmc roll, or snap roll-type maneuver. The airplane subsequently impacted a cornfield east of the approach end of runway 9R. The following day, a 12-ft-by-16-ft stain was observed on the ramp where the airplane had been parked. One of the witnesses stated that the stain was from fuel that leaked out of the airplane.

Crash of a Piper PA-61P Aerostar in Donegal Springs

Date & Time: Aug 19, 2017 at 1642 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N7108
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Donegal Springs - New Orleans
MSN:
61P-0405-142
YOM:
1967
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
400
Captain / Total hours on type:
1.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3957
Circumstances:
The aircraft was substantially damaged during takeoff from the Donegal Springs Airpark (N71), Marietta, Pennsylvania. The commercial pilot was not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. According to the pilot he was hired by the owner of the airplane to reposition it from N71 to New Orleans, Louisiana. After completing a preflight inspection and engine run-up, he taxied the airplane to the active runway for takeoff. During the takeoff roll, the airplane swerved to the right and the pilot corrected to the left and aborted the takeoff; however, the airplane departed the left side of the runway and collided with an embankment. According to a mechanic, who was hired by the airplane owner to conduct a pre-purchase inspection of the airplane; the pilot was planning to deliver the airplane and had not previously flown the make and model of the accident airplane. He reviewed the operation of the airplane's systems with the pilot, including a specific discussion of the steering and braking systems, and then left the airport. The mechanic later received a call from the pilot who informed him about the accident and during a subsequent conversation the pilot stated that the airplane "got away from him." Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the right wing was buckled, and the right main landing gear separated from the trunnion mount. Examination of the flight control system and the nose wheel steering system did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. During an interview with the FAA inspector, the pilot stated that he had never previously flown the accident airplane make and model, or any multiengine airplanes with engines capable of producing more than 300 horsepower each. The weather conditions reported at the Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which was located about 10 miles north of the accident site, included wind from 230° at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, ceiling few at 6,000 ft, temperature 31° C, dew point 19° C, and an altimeter setting of 29.85 inches of mercury. At the time of the accident the airplane was departing with a quartering tail wind.

Crash of a Piper PA-61P Aerostar (Ted Smith 601) near Carrollton

Date & Time: Oct 20, 2016 at 1110 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N601UK
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Hampton – Carrollton
MSN:
61-0183-012
YOM:
1974
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
1338
Captain / Total hours on type:
36.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2236
Circumstances:
The pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was to reposition the airplane to another airport for refuel. During preflight, he reported that the airplane's two fuel gauges read "low," but the supplemental electronic fuel totalizer displayed 55 total gallons. He further reported that it is not feasible to visual check the fuel quantity, because the fueling ports are located near the wingtips and the fuel quantity cannot be measured with any "external measuring device." According to the pilot, his planned flight was 20 minutes and the fuel quantity, as indicated by the fuel totalizer, was sufficient. The pilot reported that about 12 nautical miles from the destination airport, both engines began to "surge" and subsequently lost power. During the forced landing, the pilot deviated to land in grass between a highway, the airplane touched down hard, and the landing gear collapsed. The fuselage and both wings sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The pilot reported in the National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/ Operator Aircraft Accident Report that there was a "disparity" between the actual fuel quantity and the fuel quantity set in the electronic fuel totalizer. He further reported that a few days before the accident, he set the total fuel totalizer quantity to full after refueling, but in hindsight, he did not believe the fuel tanks were actually full because the wings may not have been level during the fueling. The "Preflight" chapter within the operating manual for the fuel totalizer in part states: "Digiflo-L is a fuel flow measuring system and NOT a quantity-sensing device. A visual inspection and positive determination of the usable fuel in the fuel tanks is a necessity. Therefore, it is imperative that the determined available usable fuel be manually entered into the system."
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to verify the usable fuel in the fuel tanks, which resulted in an inaccurate fuel totalizer setting during preflight, fuel exhaustion, and a total loss of engine power.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61P Aerostar (Ted Smith 601) in Karlsruhe

Date & Time: Oct 17, 2016 at 1243 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N20NR
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Bitburg - Karlsruhe
MSN:
61-0445-169
YOM:
1977
Country:
Region:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
1446
Captain / Total hours on type:
362.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2635
Circumstances:
Following an uneventful flight from Bitburg, the pilot was cleared for an approach to Karlsruhe-Baden Baden Airport Runway 21. On final approach, while completing a sharp turn to the left to join the runway, the twin engine airplane stalled and crashed in an open field, bursting into flames. The pilot was seriously injured and the aircraft was destroyed by a post crash fire. The wreckage was found about 500 metres from the runway threshold and 350 metres to the left of the runway extended centerline.
Probable cause:
The aircraft stalled on final approach while completing a sharp turn to the left at an insufficient speed with an insufficient distance with the ground, following an unstabilized approach. The limited visibility was considered as a contributing factor.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601P) in Austin: 1 killed

Date & Time: Sep 10, 2014 at 1326 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N711YM
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Dallas – Austin
MSN:
61-0215-023
YOM:
1975
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
525
Captain / Total hours on type:
37.00
Aircraft flight hours:
3438
Circumstances:
Witnesses reported observing the airplane flying slowly toward the airport at a low altitude. The left engine was at a low rpm; "sputtering," "knocking," or making a "banging" noise; and trailing black smoke. One witness said that, as the airplane passed over his location, he saw the tail "kick" horizontally to the right and the airplane bank slightly left. The airplane subsequently collided with trees and impacted a field 1/2 mile north of the airport. Disassembly of the right engine revealed no anomalies, and signatures on the right propeller blades were consistent with power and rotation on impact. The left propeller was found feathered. Disassembly of the left engine revealed that the spark plugs were black and heavily carbonized, consistent with a rich fuel-air mixture; the exhaust tubing also exhibited dark sooting. The rubber boot that connected the intercooler to the fuel injector servo was found dislodged and partially sucked in toward the servo. The clamp used to secure the hose was loose but remained around the servo, the safety wire on the clamp was in place, and the clamp was not impact damaged or bent. The condition of the boot and the clamp were consistent with improper installation. The time since the last overhaul of the left engine was about 1,050 hours. The last 100-hour inspection occurred 3 months before the accident, and the airplane had been flown only 0.8 hour since then. It could not be determined when the rubber boot was improperly installed. Although the left engine had failed, the pilot should have been able to fly the airplane and maintain altitude on the operable right engine, particularly since he had appropriately feathered the left engine.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain sufficient clearance from trees during the single engine and landing approach. Contributing to the accident was the loss of power in the left engine due to an improperly installed rubber boot that became dislodged and was then partially sucked into the fuel injector servo, which caused an excessively rich fuel-air mixture that would not support combustion.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601) in Aurora: 1 killed

Date & Time: Mar 19, 2014 at 1650 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N90464
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Aurora - Aurora
MSN:
61-0261-051
YOM:
1976
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
26000
Aircraft flight hours:
1975
Circumstances:
The pilot's friend reported that the pilot planned to fly his recently purchased twin-engine airplane over his friend's home to show it to him and another friend. The pilot's friends and several other witnesses reported observing the pilot performing low-level, high-speed aerobatic maneuvers before the airplane collided with trees and then terrain. A 1.75-liter bottle of whiskey was found in the airplane wreckage. A review of the pilot's Federal Aviation Administration medical records revealed that he had a history of alcohol dependence but had reportedly been sober for almost 4 years. Toxicological testing revealed that the pilot had a blood alcohol content of 0.252 milligrams of alcohol per deciliter of blood, which was over six times the limit (0.040) Federal Aviation Regulations allowed for pilots operating an aircraft.
Probable cause:
The pilot's operation of the airplane while intoxicated, which resulted in a loss of airplane control.
Final Report: