Accident Cessna 404 Titan II N2683S, Monday 21 July 1980
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Date:Monday 21 July 1980
Type:Silhouette image of generic C404 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 404 Titan II
Owner/operator:Scenic Airlines
Registration: N2683S
MSN: 404-0606
Fatalities:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 8
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Tusayan, AZ -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Nature:Passenger - Scheduled
Departure airport:Tusayan, AZ
Destination airport:Phoenix, AZ
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Scenic Airlines 306 was a commuter flight that departed Grand Canyon National Park Airport for Phoenix. The air traffic controller who cleared the aircraft to depart observed a normal takeoff; however, the pilot of a Cessna 207 that was cleared for takeoff after the accident aircraft noted black smoke trailing behind the Cessna 404 as it departed. After the C207 departed, the pilot watched as the accident aircraft, still trailing smoke, flew over trees at no more than 200 ft AGL; at 1702 local time, the C207 pilot saw the accident aircraft settle into the trees and crash. A post-crash fire ensued, and a firefighting aircraft that departed behind the accident aircraft dropped two salvos of slurry on the wreckage to extinguish the flames.

Post-impact examination of the wreckage disclosed damage to all 11 compressor blades of the the left engine turbocharger and that the turbo bearing was seized, preventing any rotation. Records research revealed that on July 17th, four days before the accident, a pilot reported the left engine ran rough; mechanics discovered the #5 cylinder exhaust guide had broken apart, and the cylinder assembly was replaced. The missing portion of the valve guide was not recovered. The NTSB report concluded that the exhaust valve guide from the #5 cylinder was ingested by the engine, passed through the exhaust system and inflicted FOD damage to the turbocharger, which then seized during the accident flight.

The NTSB also noted that the aircraft was not configured for single engine flight at the time of the crash. This, coupled with the high density altitude and high gross aircraft weight, would have seriously degraded the aircraft's climb performance.

Probable Cause:
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the accident was a substantial loss of power from the left engine at a critical point in the takeoff an the failure of the pilot to establish a minimum drag configuration which degraded the marginal single-engine climb performance of the aircraft. The loss of power resulted from the seizure of the turbocharger following a progressive failure of the turbine wheel blades initiated by foreign object ingestion which had occurred previous to this flight and was not detected during maintenance on the engine 4 days before the accident.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: NTSB-AAR-81-2
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


Revision history:

25-Feb-2008 12:00 ASN archive Added
27-Feb-2010 06:46 harro Updated [Aircraft type, Operator, Destination airport, Narrative]
01-Jan-2011 13:50 TB Updated [Other fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport]
14-May-2018 18:57 piperonslaught Updated [Source, Narrative]
10-Feb-2020 10:15 harro Updated [Source, Accident report, ]

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