10 April 1st Crashes…No Foolin’

While my peanut gallery comments may inject a bit of sarcasm to drive points home, I decided early on SaferAviator would not be a place where pilots or others would be judged.  Sometimes, I have to bite my tongue.  Draw your own conclusions about the 10 fatal General Aviation accidents listed below.  None of them are jokes, even though they all occurred over the years on April Fool’s Day.  

  1. Cessna T210N, Riesel, TX: NTSB Accident FTW85FA171
    • After an overhaul, the mechanic instructed the pilot to go easy on the engine and stay in the pattern for about 45 minutes in order to check for oil leaks. Instead the pilot flew several miles away and performed abrupt climbs and descents. A witness saw white smoke trailing the aircraft before the engine quit.  

  2. Pterodactyl AscenDer II, Palm Bay, FL: NTSB Accident MIA84FU003
    • The lead ultralight of a pair crossed 10 seconds behind and 40 feet below the path of a plane going about 140 knots.  The right wing spar failed.  
  3. Maule M-4-220C, Hungry Horse, MT: NTSB Accident WPR09FA176 
    • A pilot had recorded numerous instances of flying in poor weather conditions in his logbook.  He did not have an instrument rating.  The handheld GPS recovered from the wreckage found on the surface of a frozen reservoir indicated fluctuating airspeed and multiple turns in the 14 minutes before the ELT activated. 
  4. Kolb Mark 3X, Charleston, SC: NTSB Accident ERA10LA199
    • The pilot launched on the first flight of this experimental plane in good weather.  It was also his first flight in this make and model of aircraft. He was not rated for tail wheel configured airplanes.  He didn’t even make it around the pattern. 
  5. Aerotek Pitts S-2C, Shelbyville, IL: NTSB Accident CHI00LA101
    • A green, ummarked vehicle spraying for weeds along the edge of a grass runway was struck by a plane attempting to land.  
  6. Cessna 172N, Saticoy, CA: NTSB Accident LAX88FA146A
    • Three 172s converged at 3400 feet near an uncontrolled airport.  The one on an instrument training flight was turning left went it collided with the one a pleasure flight, which was climbing to 4500.  The third pilot didn’t see a thing.  
  7. Cessna 150F, Lloyd, NY: NTSB Accident NYC90FA083
    • This non-instrument rated pilot launched when reported weather was 800/4 for a 12 mile flight where the weather was reported to be 1400/4.  Witnesses report he had flown this route for years. He struck a 300 foot tower on a fog obscured hilltop 140 feet above the ground.  The wreckage was found at the base of the tower.  
  8. Cessna 182P Arcata, CA: NTSB Accident LAX92FA160
    • Following a missed approach in weather reported as 100 foot ceilings and 1 1/2 mile visibility, the pilot cancelled IFR and requested a DF steer back to the airport. No further transmissions were received after he was vectored onto the ILS.  His BAC was later determined to be 0.14.  
  9. Mooney  M-20E, Lee Vining, CA: NTSB Accident LAX91LA154 
    • The first leg of his cross country flight began at 0830.  The non-instrument rated pilot departed on his last leg of the day about 2000 into a moonless night. An ELT signal was received from an area of mountainous terrain at 0024.  
  10. Piper PA-24-260, Henrietta, TX: NTSB Accident FTW88FA085
    • This pilot launched from an airfield surrounded by convective storms.  He didn’t get far. 
All Probable Cause and Factual reports are available from the NTSB Aviation Accident Database using the accident number. 

What say you?