Friday, November 29, 2019

Loss of Control in Flight: Bellanca 17-30A Viking, N28037; accident occurred November 23, 2019 at Leaders Clear Lake Airport (8Y6), Sherburne County, Minnesota

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Clear Lake, Minnesota 
Accident Number: CEN20CA026
Date & Time: November 23, 2019, 17:30 Local 
Registration: N28037
Aircraft: Bellanca 1730 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot was conducting a night visual flight to an airport with dim runway lighting. The pilot stated that, during the base turn and final approach, his attention was focused inside the cockpit as he rechecked the landing gear, mixture lever, and propeller lever positions. He noticed a sink rate had developed as the landing lights illuminated a row of 50- to 75-ft-tall trees on final approach. The pilot pulled back aggressively on the yoke to clear the trees. The airplane continued to descend and impacted the ground hard short of the runway. The fuselage and firewall sustained substantial damage. The pilot reported that his attention should have been focused more outside the cockpit during the base turn and final approach and that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's focus inside the cockpit during the base turn and final approach, which led to a high sink rate developing and a subsequent hard landing short of the runway. 


Personnel issues Attention - Pilot
Aircraft Descent rate - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern final Miscellaneous/other
Approach-VFR pattern final Attempted remediation/recovery
Approach-VFR pattern final Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Uncontrolled descent Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 66, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: December 10, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: February 13, 2019
Flight Time: 248 hours (Total, all aircraft), 248 hours (Total, this make and model), 248 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Bellanca 
Registration: N28037
Model/Series: 1730 A 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1979 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 79-30949
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle 
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: February 1, 2019 Annual Certified 
Max Gross Wt.: 3325 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 31 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1935 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-540
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 300 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSTC,1024 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 17:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 331°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 240°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.67 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 2°C / -2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Maple Lake, MN (MGG)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Clear Lake, MN (8Y6)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 17:15 Local
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Leaders Clear Lake 8Y6 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 990 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 36 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3000 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full stop; Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 45.440277,-93.970558

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