Friday, January 10, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Cessna 340, N5418M; accident occurred May 03, 2019 in Carvers, Nye County, Nevada

View of left wing damage.
Federal Aviation Administration

View of right horizontal stabilizer damage.
Federal Aviation Administration

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Carvers, NV
Accident Number: GAA19CA281
Date & Time: 05/03/2019, 1500 PDT
Registration: N5418M
Aircraft: Cessna 340
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 5 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot of the multiengine airplane reported that, while using a short-field takeoff technique on a private, dirt airstrip, the airplane encountered soft patches of dirt. He rotated the airplane to initiate a climb, but the airplane could not climb higher than ground effect, and the stall horn sounded. He lowered the nose to gain airspeed, but the landing gear impacted a gravel berm, which sheared off the landing gear. The airplane then skidded 150 ft and came to rest in a dirt field past the end of the runway.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing and right horizontal stabilizer.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot also reported that, before takeoff, he determined that there was about 5,000 ft of usable runway; however, the runway was actually about 3,500 ft long. He added that he believed the airport elevation was about 5,000 ft mean sea level, and the density altitude was about 8,000 ft. Given this information, it is likely that the pilot's failure to accurately assess the available runway resulted in impact with a gravel berm during the attempted takeoff. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to accurately assess the available runway for the takeoff, which resulted in impact with a gravel berm.


Takeoff distance - Attain/maintain not possible (Cause)
Climb rate - Attain/maintain not possible (Cause)

Personnel issues
Performance calculations - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Debris/dirt/foreign object - Effect on operation (Cause)
High density altitude - Effect on operation
Soft surface - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)
Runway excursion

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor
Age: 61, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/05/2018
Occupational Pilot:  
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/10/2018
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 19000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 150 hours (Total, this make and model), 18500 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 65 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 30 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N5418M
Model/Series: 340 Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1971
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 340-0029
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/02/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 5990 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 7198 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91A installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-520-N
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 310 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KTMT, 5735 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 30 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2155 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 359°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 330°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / -12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Caldwell, ID (EUL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Carvers, NV (N/A)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1045 MST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Private Field (N/A)
Runway Surface Type: Dirt
Airport Elevation: 5500 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Soft
Runway Used: 17
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 4 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 5 None
Latitude, Longitude: 38.966944, -117.182778 (est)

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