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-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601) in Cleburne

Date & Time: Jul 22, 2010 at 1100 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N601AT
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Cleburne - Mena
MSN:
61-0332-095
YOM:
1976
Location:
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
28000
Captain / Total hours on type:
332.00
Circumstances:
After takeoff, the right engine experienced a loss of power followed by the left engine losing power. The pilot maneuvered the airplane toward the nearest open field and the airplane impacted terrain during landing, resulting in a circumferential split in fuselage near the aft pressure bulkhead. The airplane was equipped with 4 fuel tanks: 2 located in each wing outboard of the engine nacelle (65-gallon capacity), 1 main fuselage tank (about 44-gallon capacity), and 1 auxiliary tank located in forward section of baggage compartment (45-gallon capacity). The airplane was capable of carrying 209.5 gallons usable fuel and the pilot stated that prior to departure he filled the main fuselage tank to capacity, added 20 gallons in the auxiliary tank and 25 gallons in each wing tank, which he equated to a total of 131 gallons on board. The fuselage contained two fuel filler necks, one for each fuselage tank (main and auxiliary). The auxiliary tank was clearly placarded with a red placard visibly standing out against a silver paint stripe; the main tank was not clearly placarded, with a red placard blending easily with red paint stripe. A salvage retriever recalled that during recovery the left wing contained 17 gallons of fuel, the right wing contained 57 gallons of fuel, the main fuselage tank contained 2.5 gallons of fuel, and the auxiliary fuselage tank contained 28 gallons of fuel. A postaccident examination of the airplane and engines revealed no anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The main fuselage tank and auxiliary fuselage tank were not breached and the fuel sumps contained check valves which prevent the back-flow of fuel from one fuel tank to another. Based on the evidence it is likely that the pilot exhausted the airplane's fuel supply in the main fuselage tank, which resulted in the loss of power to both engines.
Probable cause:
A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation as a result of the pilot’s improper fuel management. Contributing to the accident were the critical fuel placards that were difficult to see due to the airplane's paint scheme.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601) in Aurora: 2 killed

Date & Time: Jan 23, 2010 at 1852 LT
Registration:
N222AQ
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Aurora – Broomfield
MSN:
61-0164-004
YOM:
1974
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
555
Circumstances:
The visibility at the time of the accident was 1/2 mile with fog and the vertical visibility was 100 feet. A witness stated that the pilot checked the weather, but that he appeared to be in a hurry and took off without performing a preflight inspection of the aircraft. After takeoff, air traffic control instructed the pilot to turn left to a heading of 270 degrees. The pilot reported to the controller that he was at 1,300 feet climbing to 3,000 feet and the controller cleared the pilot to climb to 4,000 feet; the pilot acknowledged the clearance. Witnesses on the ground noted that the airplane was loud; one witness located about 1.5 miles from the departure airport reported that the airplane flew overhead at treetop height. The airplane impacted trees and a residence about 2.3 miles north-northeast of the departure airport. The airplane's turning ground track and the challenging visibility conditions were conducive to the onset of pilot spatial disorientation. Post accident inspection failed to reveal any mechanical failure that would have resulted in the accident. The pilot purchased the airplane about three months prior to the accident; at that time he reported having 72.6 hours of instrument flight experience and 25 hours of multi-engine experience, with none in the accident airplane make and model. After purchasing the airplane, the pilot received 52 hours of flight instruction in the accident airplane in 7 days. Logbook records were not located to establish subsequent flight experience.
Probable cause:
The pilot's spatial disorientation and subsequent failure to maintain airplane control.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-61 Aerostar (Ted Smith 601) near Penn Yan

Date & Time: Oct 28, 2007 at 1330 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N717SB
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Rochester – Danbury
MSN:
61-0808-8063418
YOM:
1980
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
2413
Captain / Total hours on type:
1683.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2619
Circumstances:
The private pilot was continuing a cross-country flight after having stopped for fuel. About 20 minutes into the flight, the pilot said both engines started running rough, and he turned the airplane toward the nearest airport and descended. The pilot reported that he did not think the airplane would make it to the airport, and that due to the rugged terrain, he felt it was better to ditch the airplane in a large lake he was flying over. The pilot reported there were no mechanical anomalies prior to the loss of engine power. He said he felt that fuel contamination was the cause of the engine problem, and that not fueling during heavy rain might have prevented the problem. Fuel samples were taken from the fuel supply where he added fuel, and the equipment used to fuel the airplane. No other instances of fuel contamination were reported, and according to the FAA inspector the fuel samples were tested, and found to be clean. The airplane was not recovered from the lake, and has not been examined by the NTSB.
Probable cause:
The loss of engine power during cruise flight for an undetermined reason.
Final Report:

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

Date & Time: Jan 8, 2007 at 0950 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N720Z
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Jamestown – Buffalo
MSN:
61-0592-7963262
YOM:
1979
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
5531
Captain / Total hours on type:
753.00
Aircraft flight hours:
2783
Circumstances:
During the initial climb, a "throbbing or surging" sound was heard as the airplane departed in gusting wind conditions with a 600-foot ceiling and 1/2 mile visibility in snow. Moments later the airplane came "straight down" and impacted the ground. During examination of the wreckage, it was discovered that that the fuel selector switch for the right engine had been in the "X-FEED" position during the accident. Examination of documents discovered in the wreckage revealed, three documents pertaining to operation of an Aerostar. These documents consisted of two airplane flight manuals (AFMs) from two different manufacturers, and a checklist. Examination of the first of the AFMs revealed, that it had the name of both the pilot and the operator on the cover of the document. Further examination revealed that it had been published 4 years prior to the manufacture of the accident airplane, and contained information for a Ted Smith Aerostar Model 601P, which the operator had previously owned. This document contained no warnings regarding the use of the crossfeed system during takeoff. Examination of the second of the two AFMs found in the wreckage revealed that it was the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved AFM for the accident airplane. Unlike the first AFM, the second AFM advised that the fuel selector "X-FEED" position should be used in "level coordinated flight only." It also advised that each engine fuel selector "must be in the ON position for takeoff, climb, descent, approach, and landing." It also warned that, if the airplane was not in a level coordinated flight attitude, "engine power interruptions may occur on one or both engines" when "X-FEED" is selected "due to unporting of the respective engine's fuel supply intake port." Review of the checklist contained in the FAA approved AFM for the Piper Aircraft Model 601P under "STARTING ENGINES," required a check of the crossfeed system prior to engine start by selecting each fuel selector to "ON," then selecting "X-FEED," and after verifying valve actuation and annunciator light illumination, returning the fuel selector to "ON." Additionally, under "BEFORE TAKEOFF" It also required that the fuel selectors be checked in the "ON" position, and that the "X-FEED" annunciator light was out, prior to takeoff. Examination of the pilot's checklist revealed that, it consisted of multiple pages inserted into plastic protective sleeves and included both typed, and hand written information. A review of the section titled "BEFORE TAKEOFF" revealed that the checklist item "Fuel Selectors - ON Position," which was listed in the AFM, had been omitted.
Probable cause:
The pilot's incorrect selection of the right engine fuel selector position, which resulted in fuel starvation of the right engine, a loss of the right engine's power, and a loss of control during initial climb. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's inadequate preflight planning and preparation, and his improper use of the manufacturer's published normal operating procedures.
Final Report: