Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary WPR23LA022

Nogales, AZ, USA

Aircraft #1




The pilot and his wife were at the conclusion of a cross-country flight. The pilot reported that he completed a normal approach and during touchdown the airplane veered to the left. After he was unsuccessful in his attempt to align the airplane with the runway using control inputs, the pilot elected to abort the landing, at which time he added full power and retracted the landing gear. The propeller subsequently struck the runway before the airplane started to climb. The pilot circled around the airport and the airplane impacted the ground about 0.5 nm north of the approach end of his landing runway. A postcrash fire ensued and the airplane sustained substantial damage. Postaccident examination of the airplane’s flight control system did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Propeller strikes near the approach end of the runway indicate that the pilot retracted the landing gear before establishing a positive rate of climb during the aborted landing, which resulted in the propeller contacting the runway. As there was no evidence of a preimpact mechanical anomaly with the engine, it is likely that the airplane’s subsequent degraded performance during the aborted landing was the result of the propeller strike.

Factual Information

On October 20, 2022, about 1258 mountain standard time, a Beechcraft V35B airplane, N50JM, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Nogales, Arizona. The pilot sustained minor injuries and the passenger was hospitalized with serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot reported that he was returning from Tarkio, Missouri (K57) on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan. At 1252, the pilot canceled VFR flight following, announced his intentions on the common traffic advisory frequency for Nogales International Airport (OLS), Nogales, Arizona, and entered the left downwind for runway 21. He lowered the landing gear and confirmed 3 green landing gear lights with his passenger after he turned to the base leg of the airport traffic pattern. At this time, the aural landing gear warning system confirmed the landing gear was down for landing. The pilot reported that during touchdown the airplane immediately “flopped down” and veered to the left. The pilot applied right brake and rudder to try regain the runway centerline, but he decided to perform an aborted landing. He applied full power and raised the landing gear. Striations on the runway, which were consistent with propeller strike marks, were observed about 150 ft beyond the 1,000-foot markers of runway 21. The pilot reported that the airplane was unable to gain airspeed and decided to land off the airport. After he circled around to the north via the east side of the airport, he was still unable to gain airspeed and executed a forced landing to an open field about 0.5 nm north of the approach end of runway 21. The airplane came to rest on its belly and was oriented on a northeast heading. A postcrash fire ensued and the airplane subsequently exploded. One witness reported that he watched the airplane make what was apparently a normal landing, but then he heard the engine rev up and saw the landing gear retracted. He stated that he saw the right side of the airplane on fire after the aborted landing. Another witness observed the airplane flying in a nose-high attitude at a very low altitude during the balked landing. He reported that the airplane was “on the edge of a stall, his gear was up, barely hanging on at about 10-30 feet above the ground.” He did not observe the airplane on fire until after the impact with terrain. Postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any preimpact anomalies with the flight control system. The rudder control system cables were traced from the cockpit to the rudder through cable cuts made by recovery personnel. Although fire damaged, the right main landing gear linkages were continuous from the landing gear actuator to the landing gear. The left main landing gear linkages were continuous from the actuator to the left main landing gear through an overload separation at the drive tube near the left-wing root. The landing gear and brake systems were destroyed by fire and could not be examined due to lack of available evidence. Postaccident examination of the engine did not reveal any preimpact mechanical anomalies. In addition, the pilot and witnesses who observed the aborted landing said the engine sounded like it was developing full power. Each propeller blade displayed deformation about 20 inches from its blade root. Bending, curling, and chordwise scratching was consistent with that of damage to a propeller with an engine developing full power. There were no tire marks associated with the accident airplane found on the runway; however, the runway had propeller strike markings consistent with that of an engine developing full power while traveling down, and in contact with, the runway. Figure 1. Flight path after go-around is initiated.

Probable Cause and Findings

The pilot’s failure to establish a positive rate of climb before retracting the landing gear when he executed an aborted landing, which resulted in a propeller strike, diminished climb performance, and the inadvertent contact with terrain.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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