Sunday, January 11, 2015

Piper PA-28RT-201T Turbo Arrow IV, N82828: Fatal accident occurred January 11, 2015 in Brighton, Colorado

NTSB Identification: CEN15FA101
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 11, 2015 in Brighton, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/06/2015
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28RT-201T, registration: N82828
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Witnesses reported observing the pilot taxi the airplane from inside his hangar and depart. For several minutes, the airplane maneuvered at a low altitude and high airspeed. Witnesses then observed the airplane make a steep bank turn, descend, and impact terrain about 5 miles east of the departure airport. The pilot’s wife had reported to local law enforcement that she believed he had committed suicide. The pilot’s wife reported that she had recently informed him that she wanted a divorce and was purchasing another home. She added that, about 5 years earlier, the pilot had told her that, if she ever left him, he would fly his airplane into the ground and kill himself. Although the wreckage was significantly fragmented, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the airframe or engine were noted that would have precluded normal operation. The medical examiner determined that the pilot’s manner of death was “suicide.”

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:

The pilot’s intentional descent into the terrain.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 11, 2015, at 1246 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28RT-201T single-engine airplane, N82828, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Brighton, Colorado. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed from Van Aire Airport (CO12), Brighton, Colorado, about 1220.

According to witnesses who spoke with local authorities, the pilot taxied the airplane from inside his hangar and departed CO12. A witness described this as unusual because the pilot would typically tug the airplane out of the hangar and then start the engine for a flight. For several minutes, witnesses observed the airplane at a low altitude and maneuvering at high airspeeds. Witnesses last observed the airplane make a steep bank turn, descend, and impact terrain approximately 5 miles east of the Van Aire Airport.

Local law enforcement, who spoke with the pilot's wife, had been advised that she believed he committed suicide. Recently, the pilot's wife had informed him that she wanted a divorce and was purchasing a home nearby the pilot's residence. She stated that approximately five years ago, the pilot told her that if she ever left him, he would fly his airplane into the ground and kill himself.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 41, held an airline transport pilot certificate, a commercial pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. In addition, the pilot held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single-engine, multi-engine, and instrument ratings. The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued on November 20, 2014, with no limitations or restrictions.

According to the pilot's most recent airman medical certificate application, the pilot had accumulated 10,600 total flight hours and 200 flight hours in the previous six months. The pilot's logbooks were not located during the investigation.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane, serial number 28R-8131015, was manufactured in 1980. The airplane was powered by a Continental Motors TSIO-360-FB1B, 200-horsepower engine, equipped with a Hartzell constant-speed propeller. The airplane was registered to the pilot on September 2, 2008.

A review of the airplane logbooks revealed the most recent annual inspection was completed on September 6, 2014. At that time, the airframe and engine had accumulated 4,105.9 total hours. The engine had accumulated 88.3 hours since major overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1253, the Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, automated surface observing system, located approximately 11 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the wind from 360 degrees at 9 knots, 10 miles visibility, few clouds at 5,000 feet, ceiling overcast at 11,000 feet, temperature 4 degrees Celsius, dew point 1 degree Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.00 inches of Mercury. 

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage came to rest in a dormant wheat field, and airplane debris was distributed for approximately 200 feet along a bearing of 308 degrees. The initial impact point, consistent with the left wing, was a continuous ground scar that extended 24 feet to a ground crater that measured 2.5 feet in depth. The propeller assembly, engine, and a portion of the forward fuselage were located within the ground crater. The wings, fuselage cabin, and empennage were fragmented and located within the debris field. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site.

The cockpit and cockpit instrumentation were fragmented and destroyed. All four seats and seat assemblies were separated from their attach points. The left wing and fuel tank were fragmented. The left aileron and flap remained partially attached to the wing structure. The right wing and fuel tank were fragmented. The right aileron and flap remained partially attached to the wing structure. Both the left and right main landing gear assemblies were found in the retracted position.

Partial control cable continuity was established due to fragmentation of the wreckage. The aileron cables remained attached to the chain assembly, and the chain was separated in several sections. The fractured aileron cable ends were broomstrawed, consistent with an overload failure. Both the left and right aileron bellcranks were separated and pulled from their attach points in the wings. The aileron cables were attached to their bellcranks and separated at the wing root. The rudder cables were attached to their respective cockpit attach points. The cables were fractured and broomstrawed, consistent with an overload failure. The rudder cable assembly was detached from the rudder pulley. The horizontal stabilator cables were separated from the lower T-bar, and the cables were attached to the aft turnbuckle.

The engine sustained significant impact-related damage. The engine remained partially attached to the firewall. The spark plugs were impact damaged and exhibited normal color and wear signatures. Due to damage, the crankshaft was partially rotated by a hand tool, and mechanical continuity was noted throughout the engine. The engine crankshaft was fractured at the propeller flange; the fracture surface displayed 45 degree shear lips consistent with an overload failure.

The propeller assembly remained attached to the fractured crankshaft propeller flange. One propeller blade was bent aft, tip curled, and contained chordwise blade polishing. One propeller blade displayed s-type bending and contained chordwise blade polishing.

MEDICAL AND PATHEOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Coroner for Adams and Broomfield Counties, Colorado. The listed cause of death was "multiple blunt trauma injuries to the body due to airplane crash." The manner of death was determined to be suicide.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. The tests were negative for all screened drugs and alcohol.



  NTSB Identification: CEN15FA101 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, January 11, 2015 in Brighton, CO
Aircraft: PIPER PA 28RT-201T, registration: N82828
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On January 11, 2015, at 1246 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-28RT-201T single-engine airplane, N82828, impacted terrain while maneuvering near Brighton, Colorado. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and was operated by a private individual. The personal flight was conducted in day, visual meteorological conditions, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed from Van Aire Airport (CO12), Brighton, Colorado, about 1220.

According to witnesses who spoke with local authorities, the pilot taxied the airplane from his hangar and departed CO12. For several minutes, witnesses observed the airplane at a low altitude and maneuvering at high airspeeds. Witnesses last observed the airplane make a steep bank turn, descend, and impact terrain approximately 5 miles east of the Van Aire Airport.

The airplane wreckage came to rest in a dormant wheat field, and airplane debris was distributed for approximately 200 feet along a bearing of 308 degrees. The initial impact point, consistent with the left wing, was a continuous ground scar that extended 24 feet to a ground crater that measured 2.5 feet in depth. The propeller assembly, engine, and a portion of the forward fuselage were located within the ground crater. The wings, fuselage cabin, and empennage were fragmented and located within the debris field. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site.

At 1253, the Denver International Airport, Denver, Colorado, automated surface observing system, located approximately 11 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the wind from 360 degrees at 9 knots, 10 miles visibility, few clouds at 5,000 feet, ceiling overcast at 11,000 feet, temperature 4 degrees Celsius, dew point 1 degree Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.00 inches of Mercury.

WADE H. TEFFT: http://registry.faa.gov/N82828

Any witnesses should email witness@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov.


Wade Howard Tefft




ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — One person was killed Sunday afternoon after a single-engine plane crashed in Adams County. 
 
The crash happened near Watkins Road and 160th Avenue about 12:45 p.m., northeast of Denver International Airport, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office said.


The pilot was identified as Wade Howard Tefft, 41, of Brighton. He was the only person on board the plane and was described as an experienced pilot.

He was a pilot for Mountain Aviation Private Jet Charter, his Facebook page read.


Numerous 911 calls were taken from residents in the area reporting the plane was having engine trouble.



The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Story and Video:  http://kdvr.com

BRIGHTON, Colo.(WIVB) – A Southern Tier native has died in a single engine plane crash just outside of Denver, Colorado.
According to Denver media reports the pilot was Cassadaga native, Wade Howard Tefft, 41, an experienced pilot.

Tefft was a pilot for Mountain Aviation Private Jet Charter.

His single engine plane was spotted by residents as experiencing engine trouble shortly before the crash on Sunday morning. However, the exact cause of the crash is not known.

The Jamestown Post Journal reports that Tefft attended Cassadaga Valley Central School and friends have been sharing their grief on the Class of ’91 Facebook page.


LOCHBUIE, Colo. (CBS4) – One person is dead after a small plane crashed in an Adams County farm field. 

The crash happened early Sunday afternoon near the intersection of East 160th Avenue and Watkins Road. That’s northeast of Denver International Airport and not far from Lochbuie.

The plane was described as a single-engine Piper plane, and so far it’s not clear where it departed from and what its destination was.

When the plane crashed it broke into several pieces. The field it landed in was between two silos.

At least two people who were nearby when the crash happened told police they heard a plane making engine noises that indicated there was a problem.

Officials with the FAA are investigating the crash.

Story and Video:    http://denver.cbslocal.com

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - The pilot of a single-engine plane died when it crashed in Adams County Sunday afternoon.

The plane crashed near the intersection of Watkins Road and 160th Avenue, near Horse Creek Reservoir, just before 1 p.m., according to Adams County Sheriff's Sgt. Paul Gregory.

There were reports from witnesses that said the plane appeared to have had engine trouble shortly before it crashed, Gregory said.

It was not immediately clear where the plane had taken off from or where it was headed when it crashed.   The closest general aviation airport is Front Range, about 12 miles away.

Original article can be found at: http://www.thedenverchannel.com

ADAMS COUNTY – One person is dead after a single-engine plane crashed Sunday afternoon near 160th Avenue and Watkins Road, police on the scene tell 9NEWS.

The fire department discovered the plane at around 1 p.m.

The FAA says the aircraft crashed under unknown circumstances in Lochbuie near Horth Airstrip.

Story and Video:  http://www.9news.com




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