National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
nvestigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating three separate general aviation accidents that occurred on August 3-4, 2004 in Texas. Below are updates on the investigations. All times indicated in the updates are central daylight time.
Lakeway, Texas - Aerostar PA-60-601P
On August 3, 2004, at 11:59 a.m., an Aerostar PA-60- 601P twin-engine airplane, N601BV, was destroyed shortly after takeoff from runway 16 at Lakeway Airpark (3R9), Austin, Texas. The commercial pilot and five passengers (three adults and two children) were killed in the crash. The airplane was registered to and operated by Aviation Flight Standards, LLC, Wilmington, Delaware. A visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Lakeway, about 11:58 a.m., and was destined for Wylie Post Airport (PWA), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.
The airframe wreckage, engines, propellers, and propeller governors have been examined and no obvious preimpact mechanical deficiencies were noted. The hand-held Garmin global positioning system (GPS) MAP 295 receiver was sent to Garmin in an attempt to retrieve any stored data, including the airplane's groundspeed, headings, latitude and longitude positions, and altitude. However the unit was too damaged and the information could not be retrieved.
The Safety Board has received pilot and maintenance logbooks and will be reviewing the material in the next few weeks. Additionally, investigators will conduct interviews with witnesses to the accident and business associates of the pilot.
A preliminary weight and balance calculation indicated that the airplane was over its published maximum gross weight by approximately 284 pounds and was slightly forward of the allowable center of gravity limits. Interpolation of the airplane's published performance charts revealed that the takeoff, at the airplane's maximum gross weight and with the calculated pressure altitude, would have required a distance of 3,850 feet of runway to clear a 50-foot obstacle on a paved, level runway. Runway 16 at Lakeway Airport is 3,930 feet long and sloped uphill.
The NTSB identification number for this investigation is FTW04FA204 and the investigator-in-charge is Leah Yeager of the NTSB's South Central Regional Office in Arlington, Texas.
Olney, Texas - Mooney M20J
On August 4, 2004, at approximately 8:45 a.m. a Mooney M20J single-engine airplane, N1050W, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of control while maneuvering for landing at the Olney Municipal Airport (ONY), near Olney, Texas. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by Maxwell Aviation of Gladewater, Texas. The commercial pilot and two passengers were killed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 business flight. The 200-nautical mile cross-country flight originated from Gladewater, Texas, at about 7:30 a.m., with ONY as its intended destination. The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, and instrument ratings.
A witness located on the ramp of the airport reported that he heard a transmission from the accident aircraft reporting their intentions to land on runway 35. The witness reported the following information in his statement to investigators: He went outside and observed the airplane over the approach end of runway 35 at an altitude estimated at 500 feet above the ground. He then observed the airplane initiate a 360-degree left turn to runway 35. As the airplane started to come around to a northerly heading, the airplane appeared to drift east of the extended centerline of the runway. The witness stated that the pilot appeared to correct his approach by increasing the airplane's angle of bank. The witness added that the airplane rolled inverted, the nose dropped and the aircraft descended vertically to impact with the ground.
A post-impact fire consumed the cabin and most of the left wing of the airplane. Flight control system continuity was established for the aft flight controls to the control bar underneath the rear seats.
The airplane came to rest in a drainage ditch approximately 0.2 miles south of runway 35. The wreckage debris distribution area remained within a 50-foot radius to the main wreckage. Ground scars were consistent with a right wing low, 70-degree approximate nose-down position at the time of impact.
The NTSB identification number for this investigation is FTW04FA206. The investigator-in-charge is Hector Cassanova, Regional Director of the NTSB's South Central Regional Office in Arlington, Texas.
Mineral Wells, Texas - Piper PA-32-260
On August 4, 2004, at approximately 11:40 a.m. a single-engine Piper PA-32-260, N3352W, operated by Century Flight Systems, was destroyed when it departed controlled flight and impacted power lines and terrain one mile northwest of Mineral Wells Municipal Airport (MWL), Mineral Wells, Texas. A post crash fire ensued. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The test flight was being conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The commercial certificated pilot and private pilot rated passenger were killed in the crash.
The test flight departed Mineral Wells at approximately 10:00 a.m. The purpose of the flight was to functionally test the Garmin 530 GPS receiver that had been installed. According to several witnesses, the accident airplane was observed flying from south to north over runway 31. One witness stated that the airplane was approximately 150 feet above ground level and flying "rather slow." The airplane then "pulled up hard" and banked steeply to the right. Another witness stated that the bank was approximately 80 to 90 degrees. The airplane was then observed to descend below the tree line.
The airplane was found inverted in an open field, directly under power lines. The right wing, fuselage, cabin area, and horizontal stabilizer exhibited severe post-crash fire damage. The left wing had separated from the fuselage and was charred. The outboard section of the left wing was separated and showed signatures consistent with a wire strike. The engine was recovered and will undergo an examination at a later date. A power pole located 430 feet west of the airplane was broken. The pole supported three lines. The northern most power line was down.
The investigator-in-charge for this accident is David Bowling, Regional Director of the NTSB's Central Mountain Regional Office, Denver, Colorado. The NTSB identification number for this accident is DEN04FA115.
NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.