Sunday, February 21, 2021

Loss of Control on Ground: Beech V35B Bonanza, N6643Y; accident occurred August 16, 2020 in White Owl, Meade County, South Dakota

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Rapid City, South Dakota

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: White Owl, SD
Accident Number: CEN20CA344
Date & Time: 08/16/2020, 2000 MDT
Registration: N6643Y
Aircraft:Beech 35
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control on ground
Injuries: 3 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that he was taking off from a private dry grass airstrip that was slightly uphill and into a slight wind. As the airplane accelerated, the pilot had "increasing trouble keeping the airplane from going left." The airplane departed the airstrip to the left and collided with terrain and hay bales. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The pilot reported that there were no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airframe or engine 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 failure to maintain directional control during the takeoff, which resulted in a runway excursion and subsequent impact with an obstacle and terrain.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft Directional control - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Loss of control on ground (Defining event)
Takeoff Runway excursion
Takeoff Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 48, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/28/2020
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/17/2019
Flight Time: 447 hours (Total, all aircraft), 377 hours (Total, this make and model), 447 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 26 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Beech
Registration: N6643Y
Model/Series: 35 V35B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: D-10264
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/07/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3361.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-520-BB
Registered Owner:On file
Rated Power:285 hp
Operator:On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KD07, 2580 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 30 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0156 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 31°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 30°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.19 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: White Owl, SD (None)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Tea, SD (Y14)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 2000 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Private Airstrip (None)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 2730 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2600 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 3 None
Latitude, Longitude: 44.604722, -102.388611 (est)


  1. So sad that he he didn't practice good ADM before he attempted to takeoff.Yes, "poor technique" indeed !

  2. "The use of flaps was taken out of the POH in newer Bonanzas ..."
    Is this correct?? I haven't flown a Bonanza in 40 years, but I can't imagine landing one without flaps. Were the flaps removed from newer production model Bonanzas?

    1. I think his reference to flaps was for take-off and not landing...

    2. All Bonanzas have wing flaps. What he's saying is, there is nothing in the manual about the use of flaps for takeoff. Early model Bonanzas came with an "Owner's Manual" that had a generic reference to the use of partial flap extension for takeoff from a soft/short field. It is not mentioned in the current manuals, because there are no data provided with which to make a performance calculation. Having said that, takeoff with partial flaps is not prohibited. Anyone flying a Bonanza should take The American Bonanza Society training, and get a copy of John Eckalbar's book "Flying the Beech Bonanza" .

  3. Should’ve rejected the takeoff if directional control was in doubt.

  4. Good on the pilot for not making excuses.

    1. Actually there are always some pilots who admit what they did wrong in a report and what they'd do differently next time as a lesson(s) learned. We generally remember those who finger point more than those who are more humble and truthful about what happened. I'm sure someone can do the research for the last say five years of KR stories and run the numbers. My bet would be nearly 50/50 of owning it or blame gaming.

  5. Always a good idea to consider what aircraft is based at a private field. His named farmer host has a Bellanca Citabria 7GCBC registered to there, which can go in and out of surfaces you might hesitate to take a v-tail.

    Video below is another 7GCBC doing unimproved surface takeoff. No v-tails in sight.

  6. Wonder if he bothered contacting his insurance agency afterwards?

  7. This is the second time today that I've read that the POH for newer Bonanzas don't mention the use of flaps on takeoff. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Check the performance tables in Section 5 of the POH... there are charts for "Flaps Up" and "Flaps Approach." As one would expect, flaps approach give better short-field takeoff performance.

    1. LOL! Maybe it's the definition of what is a "newer Bonanza"---for the accident aircraft, a 1979 V35B,(serial D-10264) chart 5-19 in the POH only shows takeoff "numbers" for a flaps-up takeoff.

    2. What I should have also mentioned, there is ONLY the one chart for takeoff performance calculations (POH page 5-19) for the V35B. The G36 manual, in comparison, does have 2 takeoff charts, as the commenter above says. (pages 5-19 and 5-20).

    3. He mentioned the plane didn't respond to his turning the yoke full right. That's probably the reason it was going left to be begin with. Right rudder! ..... right rudder!!!