Friday, August 17, 2012

Piper PA-24-260 Comanche, N8546 Papa LLC, N8546P: Accident occurred August 16, 2012 in Holton, Kansas

http://registry.faa.gov/N8546P

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NTSB Identification: CEN12LA551 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Holton, KS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-260, registration: N8546P
Injuries: 2 Serious,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

During a cross-country flight, the pilot and passengers smelled something burning; smoke began to fill the cockpit, and the oil pressure dropped. The propeller then oversped, and the engine seized. In the ensuing forced landing in the dark, the airplane struck trees and impacted a ditch. The engine was covered with oil, and the right magneto was found hanging by spark plug wires. The separation of the right magneto from the engine allowed the engine oil to escape, causing the engine to seize. The magneto had been installed in the airplane about 7 hours before the accident. The mechanic who had replaced the magneto could not recall if he had torqued the magneto attachment nuts. It is likely that the right magneto attachment nuts were not torqued properly and came loose.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The mechanic's failure to adequately torque the right magneto attachment nuts, allowing the right magneto to come loose, which allowed engine oil to escape, causing the engine to seize.

CEN12LA551

On August 16, 2012, about 2154 central daylight time, the pilot of a Piper PA-24-260, N8546P, made a forced landing on a rural road 3 miles southwest of Holton, Kansas. The pilot and a pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. Another passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to N8546 PAPA, LLC, Tecumseh, Kansas, and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The cross country flight originated in Mitchell, South Dakota about 2030 and was en route to Topeka, Kansas.

According to the pilot's accident report, after cruising at 7,500 feet mean sea level (msl), he began a 700 foot per minute descent about 37 miles form Topeka. About 6,500 feet msl, he and his passengers smelled something burning and smoke began to fill the cockpit. There was a loss of oil pressure, engine sounds changed, and the propeller oversped to high rpm. Shortly thereafter, the engine seized. The pilot declared an emergency with the Kansas City air route traffic control center. The pilot said the sky was overcast, there was no moon, and the ground was indistinguishable. The pilot then saw automobile headlights, and he aligned the airplane with the lights. The pilot saw telephone poles and trees. He attempted to skim the tree tops, but one of the trees tore the right wing off mid-span and the left wing broke off when the airplane impacted the road and nosed down into a ditch.

Two Federal Aviation Administration inspectors examined the airplane. The airworthiness inspector said oil covered the engine components in the aft section of the engine compartment, and the oil-soaked right magneto was hanging by spark plug wires. The inside radius of the magneto spacer bore nicks and scratches around the entire circumference. There was also a hole and crack in the engine case above the number 3 cylinder.

The engine, a Lycoming TI0-540-D4A5 (serial no. RL-6852-48), was installed on the airplane on May 5, 2005, after undergoing a major overhaul. The most recent annual inspection was accomplished on July 2, 2012, at a tachometer time of 8545 hours, about 32 hours before the accident. On August 10, 2012, the right magneto was removed and a new magneto was installed, which was about 7 hours before the accident occurred.

The FAA inspectors interviewed the mechanic who had replaced the magneto. He told the inspectors he could not recall if he had torqued the magneto attachment nuts.



 NTSB Identification: CEN12LA551 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Holton, KS
Aircraft: PIPER PA-24-260, registration: N8546P
Injuries: 2 Serious,1 Minor.

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 August 16, 2012, at 2154 central daylight time, the pilot of a Piper PA-24-260, N8546P, made a forced landing on a rural road 3 miles south of Holton, Kansas. The pilot and a pilot-rated passenger were seriously injured. Another passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by N8546 PAPA, LLC, Tecumseh, Kansas, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The cross country flight originated in Tioga (KD60), North Dakota approximately 1930, and was en route to Topeka, Kansas (KFOE).

Preliminary information indicates the pilot reported to air traffic control that the propeller was overspeeding, there was smoke in the cockpit, the engine was losing power, and he couldn't maintain altitude. The pilot attempted to land on a rural road but clipped trees and impacted a ditch. There was no evidence of fire in flight.


IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 8546P        Make/Model: PA24      Description: PA-24 Comanche
  Date: 08/17/2012     Time: 0248

  Event Type: Incident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Unknown

LOCATION
  City: TOPEKA   State: KS   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. TOPEKA, KS

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   1
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   2
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: WICHITA, KS  (CE07)                   Entry date: 08/17/2012 



HOLTON, Kan. — A plane crash north of Topeka late Thursday night still has everyone involved just shaking their heads in amazement after somehow everyone on board survived. 

 The crash happened last night just west of Holton, Kansas. The plane is badly damaged but all three men in the plane survived.

The front seat passenger was the most seriously injured – air ambulance took him to University of Kansas Hospital Thursday night with what appeared to be a broken pelvic bone. But the other two men literally walked away from the plane’s wreckage.

“You look at that and can’t believe they were able to live through that,” says friend of the pilot and co-owner of the plane, Jay Hubbell. He had to see the wreckage for himself. He says his friend, pilot David Osborne, did an amazing job piloting the plane to safety.

“I think a pilots worst nightmare is an engine failure at night and off airport landing,” Hubble says. “It’s even worse with no moon and it’s overcast so no starlight. So he faced the worst situation that he could.”

Sheriff Tim Morse says the crash happened just before 10:00 p.m. Thursday, as the three men were returning to Topeka from a trip to North Dakota when the pilot reported that his cabin was filling with smoke.

“They lost their engine and they were trying to find a place to land but it was pitch dark outside,” says Morse. “They saw some car lights on N Road so that’s where they chose to land.”

The plane clipped some trees on the way down and tore off the wing, but the sheriff’s amazed that’s all that went wrong.

“Narrowly missed a home, narrowly missed a power line,” he says. “Things turned out pretty well.”

The backseat passenger, Stephen Graff, had only minor bruises. Osborne was also banged up but walked away from the wreckage. Front seat passenger Steven Stutzman was most critically injured, but friends are calling the whole thing nothing short of a miracle.

“Lot of help from the good Lord and a lot of skill as a pilot,” says Hubbell. “He did well.”

The only casualty is the plane itself, a 1964 Comanche that had been in Hubbell’s family since his dad bought it in 1966.

“It’s like losing a family member but when you get down to it as long as everybody is all right that’s what counts,” said Hubbell.

Source:  http://fox4kc.com

Topeka builder home again after crash landing 

Former Topeka pastor also injured in Holton plane crash 

By Phil Anderson
THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

 

David F. Osborne was back in his home near Berryton on Friday afternoon, less than a day after piloting a disabled small aircraft to a crash landing that he and two other men were able to survive.

Osborne, 58, owner of DF Osborne Construction, was piloting a small aircraft Thursday night, returning to Topeka with two passengers after a business trip in North Dakota.

Flying at an altitude of 9,500 feet, the plane was about 35 miles from its destination at Topeka’s Philip Billard Municipal Airport.

Suddenly, around 9:50 p.m., the plane began experiencing engine trouble. The cabin began filling with smoke, and the small plane began a rapid descent.

Osborne immediately began planning for an emergency landing in the 1965 Piper Comanche single-engine airplane.

Jackson County Sheriff Tim Morse said Osborne thought he saw car lights on a rural road three miles west of Holton and planned his approach.

Witnesses said the plane sounded like a semi truck with its tailgate flapping as it neared the ground.

Traveling at an estimated 90 mph, the plane struck several trees with its right wing before it landed on its bottom side in a ditch.

It came to an abrupt stop with its left wing extended over the roadway near 22625 N Road, about a half mile south of K-16 highway and three miles west of Holton.

Osborne and front-seat passenger Steven L. Stutzman suffered what the Kansas Highway Patrol called disabling injuries.

Osborne was taken by Jackson County Emergency Medical Services to Stormont-Vail Regional Health Center in Topeka. He remained overnight but was released Friday.

Stutzman also was taken to Stormont-Vail, then was airlifted to The University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., for treatment of what a friend said was a badly broken pelvis.

A third occupant of the plane, Stephen M. Graff, 47, of Topeka, suffered minor injuries. He was treated at the scene.

Osborne was in a great deal of pain Friday afternoon, but he said he felt much better than he did Thursday night immediately after the crash.

Seated in a leather chair in his home, where several family members were assisting him, Osborne said the plane began having trouble when it lost oil pressure. Within minutes, he said, the control panel “lit up like a Christmas tree.”

He made a call to the Federal Aviation Administration in Kansas City to declare an emergency, then turned his attention to making a safe landing.

Osborne, who has been a pilot for about 30 years, said he stayed focused on flying the airplane and “making the best of a bad situation.”

He searched for a place to land on the dark, overcast night, when not even the moonlight was available to help him see a safe place to land.

As the plane was coming in for a crash landing, Osborne brought the aircraft down on a narrow stretch of N Road, landing it between a tree line on the east side of the gravel road and power poles and lines on the west side.

“We’re very thankful to the Lord for sparing our lives,” he said. “We could very easily have been dead or paralyzed or injured a lot worse than we were.”

On Friday morning, an owner of the plane, James Hubbell, 69, and his son, Christopher Hubbell, 43, both of Topeka, were standing on N Road, talking with Leon Conger, who lived in a house across the road from the crash site.

Conger earlier had told authorities the plane “sounded like a semi-truck with the tail gate banging” before it crashed.

After the crash, Conger ran outside with his flashlight and found the plane’s wreckage. Amazingly, all three people were alert and talking. Conger then called for help.

Emergency responders were able to cut the roof off the plane and get the three men out.

The plane was owned by a limited liability company with three partners — the elder Hubbell, Osborne and Bill Leeds, a Topeka physician.

The elder Hubbell said he was notified of the plane’s problem after its beacon signal was activated, indicting the aircraft was in distress.

“I thought maybe they’d had a hard landing over at Billard,” Hubbell said. “As I was heading over there, I got a call. It was Dave, who was in the back seat of the ambulance, telling me the plane had crashed.”

Christopher Hubbell said the plane’s lights only illuminated a short distance in front of the aircraft, just enough to give about 1 or 2 seconds for Osborne to react before the plane hit the ground.

“He saw the power poles and swung a little to the right to avoid hitting the poles,” Christopher Hubbell said. “That’s all he had time to do.”

Both Hubbells, who are pilots themselves, said they were amazed by Osborne’s cool hand in what they described as “a pilot’s worst nightmare” — making a landing at night with absolutely no light.

Because the plane was partially blocking N Road after it came to rest, it was moved early Friday to a lot on the east side of Holton, where the Federal Aviation Administration and National Safety Transportation Board were to inspect the aircraft.

Barry Feaker, executive director of the Topeka Rescue Mission, said Stutzman, who was the most seriously injured of the three occupants, was the former pastor of Open Way Church in North Topeka.

Stutzman also is a former employee at the mission, where he helped oversee construction of the Hope Center, a two-story facility for women and families, about 12 years ago.

Feaker said Stutzman, who also is a pilot, is now working with the DF Osborne Construction Co., which he said has projects in various parts of the nation.

The Rev. Mike Shinkle, current pastor of Open Way Church and a close friend of Stutzman’s, said he visited Stutzman late Thursday in the trauma center at Stormont-Vail, before Stutzman was airlifted to the KU hospital.

Stutzman, he said, was in and out of consciousness because of pain medication for his injuries.

Shinkle noted there have been recent plane crashes in northeast Kansas in which no one walked away.

In Friday night’s crash, he said, “there were 100 things that could have gone wrong and one thing that could have gone right, and that one thing went right.”

When he was awake Thursday night, Stutzman praised Osborne for making a crash landing in extremely difficult circumstances, Shinkle said.

“Steve said Dave did an incredible job getting the plane down,” Shinkle related. “The engine failed, and the cabin filled with smoke. It was nighttime, and they couldn’t see where they were going.”

Of the three crash survivors, Shinkle said, “They are under the hand of the Lord, to be here at this time.”

Story, video and photos:  http://cjonline.com

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