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Crash of a Cessna 421C Golden Eagle III near Floriston: 1 killed

Date & Time: May 16, 2013 at 1330 LT
Operator:
Registration:
N421W
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Site:
Schedule:
San Jose - Reno
MSN:
421C-0868
YOM:
1980
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
1480
Captain / Total hours on type:
79.00
Aircraft flight hours:
9086
Circumstances:
During a cross-country instrument flight rules (IFR) flight, the air traffic controller cleared the pilot to begin his initial descent for landing and issued a heading change to begin the approach. The pilot acknowledged the altitude and heading change. One minute later, the controller noticed that the airplane's radar track was not tracking the assigned heading. The controller queried the pilot as to his intentions, and the pilot replied that he was in a spin. There were no further communications with the pilot. The wreckage was subsequently located in steep mountainous terrain. A study of the weather indicated widespread cloud cover in the area around the time of the accident. A witness near the accident site reported that he heard an airplane in a dive but could not see it due to the very dark clouds in the area. He heard the engine noise increase and decrease multiple times. It is likely that the pilot entered into the clouds and failed to maintain airplane control. The changes in the engine noise were most likely the result of the pilot's attempt to recover from the spin. About 8 months before the accident, the pilot completed the initial pilot training course in the accident airplane and was signed off for IFR currency; however, recent or current IFR experience could not be determined. Examination of the fragmented airplane and engines revealed no abnormalities that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during descent while operating in instrument meteorological conditions.
Final Report:

Crash of a Beechcraft E90 King Air in Reno

Date & Time: Mar 13, 2002 at 1940 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N948CC
Survivors:
Yes
Site:
Schedule:
Durango - Truckee
MSN:
LW-236
YOM:
1977
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
5
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
0
Captain / Total flying hours:
1610
Captain / Total hours on type:
608.00
Aircraft flight hours:
8773
Circumstances:
During an instrument approach, upon descending to the prescribed minimum descent altitude, about 1/2 mile from the missed approach point, the pilot failed to maintain flying airspeed. The airplane stalled, rolled left, and in an uncontrolled descent collided with a commercial building 0.96 nm from the runway's displaced threshold. The accident occurred during the return portion of a round trip flight, while on final approach to the pilot's alternate airport due to a weather-induced diversion. Moderate intensity snow showers and freezing fog existed. During the initial approach, the reported visibility was 1 1/2 miles. About the time the pilot passed the final approach fix, the visibility decreased to 1/2 mile, but the pilot was not informed of the decrease below his 1-mile minimum requirement. The pilot had maintained the recommended 140-knot approach speed in the icing conditions until about 3 1/2 miles from the runway. Thereafter, the airplane's speed gradually decreased until reaching about 75 knots. After the airplane started vibrating, the pilot increased engine power, but his action was not timely enough to avert stalling. Company mechanics maintained the airplane. On previous occasions overheat conditions had occurred wherein the environmental ducting melted and heat was conducted to the adjacent pneumatic tube that provides deice air to the empennage boots. During the accident investigation, the deice tube was found completely melted closed, thus rendering all of the empennage deice boots dysfunctional.
Probable cause:
The pilot's inadequate approach airspeed for the existing adverse meteorological conditions followed by his delayed remedial action to avert stalling and subsequent loss of airplane control. Contributing factors were the pilot's reduced visibility due to the inclement weather and the icing conditions.
Final Report:

Crash of a Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster in Reno: 1 killed

Date & Time: Mar 22, 1995 at 0812 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N9417B
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Sacramento - Reno
MSN:
208B-0065
YOM:
1987
Flight number:
UNF9840
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
0
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
1
Captain / Total flying hours:
4388
Captain / Total hours on type:
200.00
Aircraft flight hours:
4959
Circumstances:
Approaching Reno, the pilot received an instrument clearance to perform a Localizer DME-1, Rwy 16R, approach, which the FAA had previously approved for the operator's use. The localizer centerline passed over a 6,161-foot msl mountain, which was depicted on the chart. The pilot was familiar with the area, having transported cargo from Sacramento to Reno for 5 days each week since December, 1994. IMC existed and light snow showers were present. ATC issued the pilot a series of instructions as he was radar vectored toward the final approach fix (FAF), which had a minimum crossing altitude of 6,700 feet msl. The pilot misstated four of the instructions during clearance readbacks and was corrected by ATC each time. Contact with the pilot was lost following issuance of his landing clearance. The airplane impacted the mountainside at an elevation of about 6,050 feet, while tracking inbound near the centerline of the localizer course, about 2.7 nautical miles before reaching the FAF. The airframe, engine, and avionics equipment were examined. No mechanical malfunctions were found.
Probable cause:
The pilot's failure to comply with published instrument approach procedures by a premature descent below the minimum altitude specified for the approach.
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 414 Chancellor in Reno: 2 killed

Date & Time: Jan 15, 1993 at 1343 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N4733G
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
No
Schedule:
Reno - Camarillo
MSN:
414-0928
YOM:
1976
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
1
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
1935
Circumstances:
A Cessna 414 collided with a level ground while attempting to land during a snow shower. The pilot reported an emergency one minute after departing ifr and requested to return to the airport under visual rules. The pilot indicated to air traffic control that 'I can't get any speed.' The visibility was variable around the airport with the lowest report of 1/2 mile. Witnesses observed the airplane traveling fast at low altitude and indicated both engines were running. Investigation revealed during servicing before the flight, the pitot tube covers were not used. About 1.5 inches of snow had accumulated on the airplane during the refueling and was brushed off. The airplane was seen flying into a snow shower and reversing course. Witnesses reported the airplane's angle of bank to be 80 to 90° with a 20° pitch down attitude. The airplane descended into a snow covered pasture. Witnesses reported the airplane leveled its wing just before impact. Manufacturer's safety and warning supplements indicate inflight ice protection is not designed to remove snow on parked aircraft. The manufacturer recommends use of heated hangars or approved deicing solutions to insure the are no internal accumulations in pitot static system ports. Both occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
The failure of the pilot to use pitot static system covers during icing conditions which resulted in a blocked pitot tube and subsequent loss of airspeed indications. This led to pilot disorientation and an invertant stall. Factors to the accident were improper snow removal and adverse weather conditions.
Final Report:

Crash of a Piper PA-60 Aerostar (Ted Smith 600) in Ruidoso: 2 killed

Date & Time: Sep 11, 1991 at 1150 LT
Registration:
N4VH
Flight Phase:
Flight Type:
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Ruidoso - Reno
MSN:
60-0055-125
YOM:
1971
Crew on board:
1
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
2
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
2
Captain / Total flying hours:
5600
Circumstances:
While departing on a cross country flight the aircraft was observed to have an abnormally long takeoff roll and to rotate abruptly to a higher than normal nose attitude. Initial climb was followed by settling with a high nose attitude and the aircraft crashed approximately one mile beyond the departure end of the runway. The main cabin door was found in the unlocked position and the lower half was found near the beginning of the wreckage path with impact damage. The top half was found further down the wreckage path and had sustained fire damage. The Aerostar has an observed drag and pitch performance degradation if the cabin door opens during takeoff run. A passenger was seriously injured while two other occupants were killed.
Probable cause:
Loss of control in flight after to the cabin door opened inadvertently during takeoff run.
Final Report:

Crash of a Lockheed L-188C Electra in Reno: 70 killed

Date & Time: Jan 21, 1985 at 0104 LT
Type of aircraft:
Operator:
Registration:
N5532
Survivors:
Yes
Schedule:
Reno - Minneapolis
MSN:
1121
YOM:
1960
Flight number:
GX203
Crew on board:
6
Crew fatalities:
Pax on board:
65
Pax fatalities:
Other fatalities:
Total fatalities:
70
Captain / Total flying hours:
14500
Captain / Total hours on type:
5600.00
Copilot / Total flying hours:
5000
Copilot / Total hours on type:
172
Aircraft flight hours:
34148
Aircraft flight cycles:
33285
Circumstances:
A Galaxy Airlines Lockheed L-188A Electra, registration N5532, was scheduled operate flights from Seattle (SEA) to Oakland as Flight 201, from Oakland to Reno (RNO) as Flight 202, from Reno (RNO) to Minneapolis (MSP) as Flight 203 and finally returning to Seattle using flight number 204. Scheduled departure time for Flight 201 had been 15:30, but had been delayed and the airplane departed Seattle at 20:19 on a ferry flight to Oakland, where it arrived at 22:25. Sixty-five passengers boarded the plane for the flight to Reno. Following ground servicing the ground handler supervisor signalled to the crew that they could commence engine starting. However, after engines one and four were started, he noticed that the other ground handler was unable to disconnect the air start hose. It was stretched taut from the power cart to the airplane’s air start access panel, located on the underside of the right wing leading edge, close to the fillet area. The supervisor gave the flightcrew an emergency stop signal, left his position, and disconnected the hose. None of the two ground crew members remembered closing the air start access door. At approximately 00:59 the first officer requested taxi instructions Reno tower almost immediately thereafter cleared Galaxy 203 to taxi to runway 16R. The aircraft taxied to the runway and at 01:01:32 the first officer requested takeoff clearance. Four seconds later Galaxy 203 was given clearance to take off from runway 16R. While accelerating through V1 speed, a "thunking" type sound was heard, followed by another one just after V2. Heavy airframe vibration started after liftoff. The captain reacted to the airplane’s vibration by reducing power significantly in all four engines, indicating that he believed the vibration was caused by the powerplants or propellers. The airplane reached an altitude of about 200-250 feet and started a right hand turn to return to the airport. The Electra then entered an aerodynamic stall buffet because of insufficient engine power to maintain flight. The Electra crashed into a field, bounced, slid into some mobile homes and burst into flames. Of the 71 occupants, three initially survived the crash. One died on January 29, while the second died of injuries on February 4. The sole survivor, a 17-year-old male, was thrown clear of the airplane onto the adjacent highway.
Probable cause:
The captain's failure to control and the co-pilot's failure to monitor the flight path and airspeed of the aircraft. This breakdown in crew coordination followed the onset of unexpected vibration shortly after takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the failure of ground handlers to properly close an air start access door, which led to the vibration.
Final Report: