Saturday, January 28, 2012

Piper PA-31-310 Navajo C, Owner/operator: Secure Aviation Inc., N30DC: Accident occurred January 28, 2012 in West Palm Beach, Florida

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA165 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 28, 2012 in West Palm Beach, FL
Aircraft: PIPER PA-31-310, registration: N30DC
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On January 28, 2012, about 1430 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-31-310, N30DC, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a beach near West Palm Beach, Florida, following a loss of engine power in both engines. The certificated airline transport pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Secure Aviation, Inc., under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules fight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated at San Salvador International Airport (MYSM), San Salvador, Bahamas, around 1220. The intended destination was St. Lucie County International Airport (FPR), Fort Pierce, Florida.

According to the pilot, prior to the flight, the preflight inspection and engine run up were "normal." After departing the airport, and climbing to 10,500 feet, the left engine was unable to maintain more than 55 percent power. The pilot reduced the power setting of the right engine to match the left engine, and noted a 4 gallon per hour reduction in fuel consumption. He initiated a 400 feet per minute descent about 60 nautical miles from FPR, and about 40 nautical miles away the left engine began to surge. The pilot turned on the fuel boost pump and selected fuel cross feed, and the power in the left engine was restored.

The pilot determined that the closest airport was Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), West Palm Beach, Florida, and continued the flight toward PBI. He contacted Palm Beach Approach Control and continued to descend. The left engine subsequently lost power, followed by the right engine. The pilot turned on the fuel boost pumps and moved the fuel selector to several different settings, but was unable to restart the engines. He feathered both propellers and elected to land on a beach. The pilot completed the landing check, selected full flaps, and touched down on the beach in a nose high attitude. The airplane spun to the left and came to rest upright.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration inspector who examined the airplane, the right engine firewall was substantially damaged. The airplane and engines have been retained for examination.

A PA-31-310 made a quiet landing on the beach Saturday afternoon on the island's North End.

Meghan McCarthy/Palm Beach Daily News

Palm Beach Police and Fire-Rescue responded to a call of a twin-engine plane that made an emergency landing on the beach in the 1500 block of North Ocean Boulevard Saturday afternoon, police Capt. Curtis Kravel said. The pilot, whose identity was not immediately available, was not injured.

A witness said the plane quietly crashed on the sand while stunned beachgoers watched. The crash occurred at about 2:46 p.m.

Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials are investigating.

According the FAA website, the plane is a multi-engine Piper belonging to Secure Aviation in Tequesta.

According to a Palm Beach Fire Department spokesman, the pilot landed the twin-engine plane safely just south of the Lake Worth Inlet.

There were no reported injuries.

Crews said the plane will have to be dismantled to be moved off the beach.