Zone

Crash of a Grumman US-2C Tracker in Reno: 3 killed

Date & Time: Apr 17, 2000 at 1035 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N7046U
Flight Phase:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Reno - Reno
MSN:
27
YOM:
1957
Crew on board:
3
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
3
Captain / Total flying hours:
8170
Copilot / Total flying hours:
3700
Circumstances:
During the takeoff climb, the airplane turned sharply right, went into a steep bank and collided with terrain. The airplane began a right turn immediately after departure and appeared to be going slow. A witness was able to distinguish the individual propeller blades on the right engine, while the left engine propeller blades were indistinguishable. The airplane stopped turning and flew for an estimated 1/4-mile at an altitude of 100 feet. The airplane then continued the right turn at a steep bank angle before disappearing from sight. Then the witness observed a plume of smoke. White and gray matter, along with two ferrous slivers, contaminated the chip detector on the right engine. The airplane had a rudder assist system installed. The rudder assist provided additional directional control in the event of a loss of power on either engine. The NATOPS manual specified that the rudder assist switch should be in the ON position for takeoff, landing, and in the event of single-engine operation. The rudder boost switch was in the off position, and the rudder boost actuator in the empennage was in the retracted (off) position. The owner had experienced a problem with the flight controls the previous year and did not fly with the rudder assist ON. The accident flight had the lowest acceleration rate, and attained the lowest maximum speed, compared to GPS data from the seven previous flights. It was traveling nearly 20 knots slower, about 100 knots, than the bulk of the other flights when it attempted to lift off. The airplane was between the 2,000- and 3,000-foot runway markers (less than halfway down the runway) when it lifted off and began the right turn. Due to the extensive disintegration of the airplane in the impact sequence, the seating positions for the three occupants could not be determined. One of the occupants was the aircraft owner, who held a private certificate with a single-engine land rating, was known to have previously flown the airplane on contract flights from both the left and right seats. A second pilot was the normal copilot for all previous contract flights; his certificates had been revoked by the FAA. The third occupant held an airline transport pilot certificate and had never flown in the airplane before. Prior to the accident flight, the owner had told an associate that the third occupant was going to fly the airplane on the accident flight.
Probable cause:
The flying pilot's failure to maintain directional control following a loss of engine power. Also causal was the failure of the flight crew to follow the published checklist and use the rudder assist system, and the decision not to abort the takeoff.
Final Report:

Crash of a Douglas SC-47D in Burns: 7 killed

Date & Time: Sep 24, 1955
Operator:
Registration:
43-16145
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Selfridge - Reno
MSN:
20611
YOM:
1944
Location:
Crew on board:
7
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
7
Circumstances:
Enroute from Selfridge AFB, Michigan, to Reno-Stead Airport, the crew encountered poor weather conditions and lost control of the airplane that crash near Burns. All seven crew members were killed.

Crash of a Douglas SC-47A near Hawthorne: 7 killed

Date & Time: Aug 19, 1955
Operator:
Registration:
42-108944
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Reno - Reno
MSN:
13288
YOM:
1944
Crew on board:
7
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
7
Circumstances:
The crew left Reno-Stead Airport on a classified mission with six other similar aircraft. While cruising in limited visibility at an altitude of 6,000 feet, the airplane hit the slope of a mountain located in the Gillis Mountain Range, about 12 miles northeast of Hawthorne. The wreckage was found few feet below the summit and all seven crew members were killed.
Probable cause:
It is believed that the accident was the consequence of a controlled flight into terrain.

Crash of a Douglas C-47D near Wells: 6 killed

Date & Time: Dec 10, 1952
Operator:
Registration:
43-49553
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
Peterson - Reno
MSN:
15369/26814
YOM:
1944
Location:
Crew on board:
5
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
6
Circumstances:
While overflying a mountainous area located south of Wells, the crew encountered extreme turbulences and severe downdrafts. The aircraft lost height and eventually hit the east slope of Mt East Humbold, about 13 miles southwest of Wells. All six occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
While flying under IFR, the pilot did not maintain sufficient drift correction to stay within the airway, and extreme downdrafts caused the aircraft to descend approximately 1,300 feet below the assigned altitude.