Sunday, September 06, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Beechcraft A23 Musketeer, N8868M; accident occurred July 05, 2020 near Sedona Airport (KSEZ), Yavapai County, Arizona

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Sedona, AZ
Accident Number: WPR20CA205
Date & Time: 07/05/2020, 1030 MST
Registration: N8868M
Aircraft: Beech 23
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

The pilot reported that after engine start, he listened to the automated weather observation system (AWOS) that reported the wind from 270o at 3 knots. The pilot considered the density altitude; however, it was not reported on the AWOS. The pilot taxied out to runway 03 and began the takeoff roll. About mid-field the airplane lifted off and began a slow climb. Crossing the end of the runway, the airplane yawed and then began to lose altitude. After the airplane exited the airport boundary, which was on a plateau, the airplane continued to lose altitude and descended the sloped terrain. Unable to gain airspeed or maintain altitude, the pilot initiated a forced landing to a road. During the landing, the right main and nose landing gear collapsed. The right wing and lower fuselage were substantially damaged.

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

The elevation of the airport is 4,830 ft mean sea level. At the time of the accident, the density altitude was calculated to be 7,700 ft. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s):  Airplane Single-engine; Helicopter; Instrument Airplane; Instrument Helicopter
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/18/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/30/2020
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 9800 hours (Total, all aircraft), 30 hours (Total, this make and model), 97 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 45 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N8868M
Model/Series: 23 A23
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1964
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: M-606
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/28/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2350 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 17 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2799.98 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-346-A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 165 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: KSEZ, 4827 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1035 MST
Direction from Accident Site: 72°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 240°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.15 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Sedona, AZ (SEZ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Chandler, AZ (CHD)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1030 MST
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Sedona (SEZ)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 4830 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 03
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:  5132 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing:None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.863889, -111.791944 (est)


  1. Pilot was from Gilbert, AZ, Elevation 1230'. Sedona is 4830' and the D.A. was 7700. I bet he never leaned to peak power before takeoff. Happens a lot. At best he could only make about 75% power but in full rich, maybe only 55-60% power.

  2. Somethings not right with this report! LOL

    (Estimated) 9800 hours (Total, all aircraft) --> 97 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft) ???

    Year of Manufacture: 1964
    Airframe Total Time: 2799.98 Hours at time of accident

    1. Yeah he has both instrument airplane and helicopter - those don't happen at 97 hours individually, let alone combined. A 10K hour pilot is believable (even from an apparent density altitude fail here) but someone got something wrong in that writeup.

  3. Also a 1.8% uphill grade on RWY 3

  4. Probably 9800 hours? But high hours doesn't mean much or mega-hour 80+ year-old pilots would never crash. Skills deteriorate over time.

    1. Yep, but density altitude related accident reports are just as frequent with old 5 digit hour pilots who got complacent as younger overconfident "I've got this flying thing nailed" low 100s hour pilots

  5. If you read the whole thing you will notice that he is a professional helicopter pilot. Yes, he may only have 97 hours on all aircraft, which is not to mention helicopters.