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 these recent accidents have final NTSB investigation reports available, and most have only minimal information currently.
We had a Meridian accident last November, where the engine seems to have lost engine power just after takeoff gear retraction. Rather than attempt a water ditching off the departure end of the runway, the experienced pilot was able to do
a 180 back to the airport property, thankfully without stalling. There was significant damage to the
plane, and significant, but non-fatal, injuries to the pilot. Hopefully in time we’ll learn more about what caused this engine loss of power.
Earlier this year, a Malibu seems to have run out of fuel on a night cross- county trip with passengers. The pilot was able to land on a lighted road
a few miles short of his destination, totaling the plane, but with only minor injuries to the people on board.
At this time there is no evidence of
a mechanical malfunction in the fuel system; it truly looks like a fuel exhaustion situation. We simply should not have this type of accident in our airplane.
This past summer we had a go-around accident on a nice VFR day. The pilot did a go-around at
a 4,200-foot runway, and felt the engine didn’t produce normal power. The result was a gear-up landing just past the end of the runway. Again, we don’t yet have more information about the possible engine problem.
Finally, just a month before Convention, there was a takeoff crash in a Mirage, likely due to an overloaded plane in a high-density altitude situation. We don’t have
the facts yet, but it looks very much like a takeoff that managed to lift off the runway in ground effect,
but not climb out. An unfortunate aspect to this particular case is that the accident occurred on the second attempt at takeoff. During the first
attempt, using three-quarters of
the runway from an intersection, the airplane never achieved takeoff speed. The pilot ignored this waving red flag, and tried another takeoff using the full runway, resulting in the mush/stall accident. More information to come.
At the Convention, I also talked about a gear-up landing incident in Norway, mostly to applaud the excellent collaboration between the pilot and controller during what must have been a harrowing emergency landing after smoke
in the cockpit and gear extension failure. The audio of this event
is available in the safety review presentation you can download from the MMOPA website; it’s worth a listen. One of our safety lectures
at Convention discussed cognitive/
November 2017: Meridian lost power and the pilot did a successful 180.
perceptual narrowing – the fact that humans can only handle a finite number of simultaneous tasks, and when stress increases, that number
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                                   MMOPA MAGAZINE   NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 33

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